You are here:

Fishing/Fishing line


Is it ok to put 50lb line on a 25lb reel and what's the consequence

Hello Chris, thanks for the question.

The truth be told, you CAN put any size line on any size reel. The question, as you asked is what are the consequences?

With every fishing reel, no matter what the style, it boils down to these basic considerations:

-Size of the storage...the spool: Is it deep or shallow? The yardage will have a huge effect on
the distance you can cast and the distance a large fish can run.

-Strength of the reel parts...You might easily be able to create forces like torque that can twist or break metal (many less expensive reels are made of low strength alloys, even what some call "pot" metal or cast zinc). Plastic spools are notorious for breaking while either having line pulled of with high force or more commonly, after the line is reeled back onto the spool under tension and then as the now tightly wound line relaxes, it expands (mainly monofilament)and POP!, there goes the spool. I have even had saltwater reels, like the Penn Jigmaster 500L, which holds about 500 yards of twenty pound test mono go cablooey after a nice fight with a big blue shark.

-The Drag system...The drag, as you may well know is the ability of the reel to regulate the tension needed to pull line from the spool. This setting is to be adjusted so that a fish that is stronger or heavier, (able to put more pressure on the line than it's strength rating). Many large saltwater reels can attain drag pressures of thirty to forty of more pounds. At these high drag settings, many anglers cannot even hold the rod and reel without giving up and laying the rod on the boat rail. If your fish is capable of pulling line off the reel with the drag fully tightened or "buttoned down"...get a bigger reel!

So with the newest spectra and "super" fiber, multi-stranded lines like Spider Wire etc, you can easily put a manageable number of yards on your reel but the drag system may not EVER be able to take full advantage of the line's strength. But most anglers are using the super thin, super strong lines for practical reasons like being able to pull a bass through heavy vegetation or wrangle a snapper out of the pilings on a pier or a mass of mangrove roots.

So, yes, you can certainly use Fifty pound-test line on a reel that is rated to a max of twenty-five pound-test...I do so on one of my flippin' reels (an older ABU 521XLT plus) that has some great, smooth drag strength). But if your reel can't take the pressure or the heat of a big fish, it just won't hold up.

So there you have it. I hope I've answered the question for you Chris.

Best of luck next time you're out stroking fish! Remember, it's always better to be lucky than skillful...I'll take lucky any ol' day!

-Mark Rimmer


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Mark Rimmer


I have been actively fishing for forty-five years! For nearly 15 of those years I was able to fish nearly 200 days per year. Those wonderful days have left me with a plethora of knowledge to share. I have fished from the Marianas of the Pacific to the quiet tidewaters of Virginia and North Carolina, Antigua the gulf coast of Texas and many places in between. My home waters are those of the west. I am passionate about bass fishing, tournament as well as recreational. In addition, I am well versed in fishing for most other species...(Okay, although interesting, I'm not an expert on British or European style competitive carp fishing...chumming with a slingshot anyone?). I am intimately acquainted with the San Diego County Lakes, Diamond Valley reservoir in Riverside County California and numerous other exciting fishing waters from Texas (Travis County) to the Pacific Coast and south to Cabo San Lucas. I have many years of experience in blue-water as well as inshore angling of all types in Southern California with both artificial and live baits; high country fishing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of my beloved Golden State with nothing but a backpack and a fly-rod. There are still a lifetime of adventures to undertake, together with my lovely wife, Christine. I am an expert rod smith and have vast experience with both the construction and repair all types of rods including split bamboo (new or vintage) and hickory as well as graphite, boron composites and all types of fiberglass. I spent 20 years in the retail business of which 6 were spent owning and operating a successful tackle shop, specializing in custom rod making, rod and reel repairs and a full scale tackle selection. Uncommon topics I love to discuss: Fisheries Management; Tackle Shop/ retail management; Ethics and responsibilities of anglers; Repair and maintenance of rods/reels; "How to"...any topic in fishing.


I took a few years off,(5 to be exact) from answering questions for but I'm back now! My experience? Forty-Five years of bio-observation, fishing numerous types of waters with virtually every type of tackle: Casting, Fly, Spinning, Offshore/blue-water, Coastal, Surf, Tournaments: ( Bass, Local Saltwater), Alpine lakes/streams, ditches, canals, sloughs, marshes, creeks and swamps; if there is water, I usually throw a cast or two. Tackle Shop ownership and management, Expert Custom Rod Construction and repair (Big-game, Long-range stand-up, Live bait, jig sticks, Casting, Spinning and fly- including split-cane). I have personally constructed over 700 custom rods of all types...nearly half of the rods the shop turned out. I also have performed hundreds of reel repairs of all types- antique to modern. I do not typically offer valuation of tackle. This is very difficult without inspecting the tackle first hand and leaving valuation far to subjective. I will be happy to offer other experts for placing a value on your tackle.

NRA forever...(Gun rights...Guns and fishing rods belong together right?), belonged to BASS for most of my life but keep forgetting to renew. I like Trout Unlimited but again, keep forgetting to renew...gotta more tank of gas and some fresh line...or memberships? Hmmm.

None yet...why aren't they chasing me?

"Roads" Scholar. Life-long independent study of fisheries biology, ichthyology, aquatic/marine biology, ecosystems, angling techniques and observations of animals, fish and humans: both smart guys and knuckleheads.

Awards and Honors
Self-Proclaimed tackleshop of the year! The California Tackle Box- Oceanside, Ca.

Past/Present Clients
Thousands served!

©2017 All rights reserved.