Different Types of Fishing Reels

Mark Johnson
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Choose the Right Type of Reel for the Job

Different reels are suitable for different kinds of fishing. The first decision is whether to use spinning or baitcasting reels.

Spinning reels are more versatile. They are appropriate for most freshwater species of fish and can handle lighter lines and baits. They can also be used on flies.

Baitcasting reels are best suited for saltwater fishing. They are made of heavier materials and have more metal parts. The main advantage of baitcast reels is that they are best suited for heavier line and baits, such as big game fish.

The last thing that you need to decide is how many gears you want. This will depend on how much money you want to spend. The more gears you have, the easier it will be to hold a big fish.

The first number describes the number of gears that allow the spool to move. The second number refers to the number of gears that allow the spool to release line.

Types of Fishing Reels

Normal, non-spinning fishing reels are easily identified by the large crank at the end of the reel. This crank is used to smoothly and slowly bring in the line.

There are several different styles of fishing reels. For example, you can get a bait casting reel or a spinning reel.

A bait casting fishing reel uses a horizontal spool to reel in the fish line.

With a bait casting fishing reel you rotate the spool as you reel in the line.

Baitcasting fishing reels are best used for larger fish. They can also be used for surf fishing.

With a spinning fishing reel, you simply crank on the line, although there are variations to how you hold the reel and how you crank on the line.

Spinning fishing reels are most effective in freshwater and some people even use them for saltwater fishing.

Some of the best fishing reels are spincast fishing reels. They are usually lightweight and do not use bait.

They are used by casting out the line and reeling in with the help of a lever or crank.

Most fishing reels are made of high-quality lightweight metal. The material depends on what you are using it for. Most fishing reels are made of aluminum with some metal.

Spincast Reels

Spincast reels are the simplest reels to use. To cast, place the thumb of your casting hand on the spool and hold the rod with the other hand.

Pull the spool backward quickly and sharply. The lighter the lure or weight on the line, the faster and shorter the cast should be.

The faster you pull back, the more line you will let off at once. Keep the line off to the side of the reel to get a straight cast.

To retrieve, hold down the bail with your casting hand. Then use your thumb to reel the line in.

Spinning Reels

These type of reels consists of a spool that holds the fishing line. A bail is located on top of the spool and the purpose is to allow you to pull the line off of the spool. The spool spins each time you retrieve the fishing line.

Pivots are located at each end and on each side of the top. This allows you to adjust the spool to cast.

These reels are designed to be lightweight and offer a smooth retrieval. They are mainly used for fresh or saltwater fishing for bait fishing and light tackle. The main brands of these reels are Abu Garcia, Daiwa, Fenwick, Lews, Nash, Okuma, and Quantum.

These types of reels tend to be more versatile than spin cast reels, but you will not get as much distance as you would with the spin cast.

It’s a good idea to purchase reels with a high gear ratio and low drag. A lot of people, especially experienced fishermen, prefer spool size when it comes to spinning reels.

Typically, conventional reels have less than 9.0:1 gear ratio, and deep vs. shallow reels will have different spool sizes.

A good spinning reel for righties is the Daiwa Tatula. A good spinning reel for lefties who have a more narrow hand is the Daiwa Tatula LT.

Baitcasting Reels

You should get yourself one of these if you frequently fish from boats or shorelines that have bulkheads or marina walls. These reels are versatile enough to handle light tackle, heavy tackle and everything in between. Using a baitcasting reel, you can simply drop the line into the water and start reeling the fish in.

Baitcasting reels are typically heavier and require a coil of line to be on the spool before you can start. The trigger on these reels is also a bit larger, which makes them easier to use. They’re also not as sensitive as spinning reels, so if you have to, you can still use your thumb to work it or to cast.

Baitcasting reels work best on smooth, non-rough surfaces. Because the spool is closed, it’s possible for the line to get hung up and tangled, and if this happens while you’re fishing, it has to be fixed on the water.

These reels have a spool capacity of up to about 225 yards of line, which means that you can keep a lot of line on the spool at all times. Some types of baitcasting reels have a drag system that allows you to adjust the resistance while the fish is on the run. However, many of them don’t have a drag system.

The Reel Deal

There are many different types of fishing reels. To help guide you through, we’ll go over the most popular and basic, and then dive into the details.

Bait-casting Reel: A popular option for anglers that know what they're doing, bait-casting reels are popular and becoming more so with anglers as time goes by. These reels are named after the way they cast the bait. Unwind the reel’s handle by rotating the spool by hand. The small knob by the tackle box controls the amount wound.

As you rap the reel’s handle, the mechanism disengages the gears in the spool. Each jerk pulls a line from the spool and into the air. Once you let loose a cast, the handle and knob are your controls.

Spinning Reel: Known among new anglers as the “drag knob” reel, spinning reels are popular because of the variety of situations they're suited for. They can be used to cast, but they’re also ideal for fishing on a boat where wading is off the table. Spinning reels have large handles and the knob for adjusting the direction is on the top of the reel. This reel can also double as a large tackle box.