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Measuring Fly Reel Capacity

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Measuring Fly Reel Capacity

Isn't it such a pain when your new line does not fit on your fly reel? Yet how many of us actually know the volume in our spools?


We rarely get told by the manufacturers so I reckon we consumers should use our collective power and compile a useful list! Here is a little program to calculate the volume for you.


You don’t normally have to take the line off the reel but if the spool shapes off downwards you may need to (or take a guess at how much narrower it goes).

Anyway here is what you need to measure:

  1. Reel Radius: Measure from the outer rim of the line carrying part of spool - to the centre of the reel.
  2. Reel Width: Measure across the width at the top of the line carrying part of the reel.
  3. Arbour Radius: (The spindle is the central core which can be quite wide on larger arbour reels). Measure the distance from its outer edge to the centre of the reel).
  4. Arbour Width: Measure across the width of spool at the arbour. If the spool is straight sided then this is the same as the Reel Width. Sometimes though the spool narrows towards the arbour which is why this measurement is needed.

That’s it. Plug in your answers and see what the volume is. Use centimetres and the answer volume given will be in Cubic Centimetres.

Click here to calculate your reel capacity


Here is my start:

  • Hardy JLH Ultralight Salmon. Volume = 169 cm3
  • Hardy Ultralight LA #9/10. Volume = 171 cm3
  • Hardy Ultralight LA #10/11. Volume = 218 cm3


 Please post your results to so we can compile a list.


Fly Line Volume

Of course you can use the same tool to measure the fly line volume. On the spool or on the reel: measure the outer edge of fly line to centre of reel (radius). Measure width of spool and then measure the inside edge of flyline to the reel centre (i.e treat as the arbour.). Use the tool above to give you approx volume.


Fixed Spool Reels

Use the tool script above to tell you the capacity of your fixed spool reel just like a fly reel and then click the link below to see how much line it will take of varying diameters.


Braid and Mono (Any Level Line) Volume

Click here to calculate your mono or braid line volume. (Line diameter needed) and capacity of your spool




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fishing tackle, fly reel, measurement

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