Picking the best fishing reels can be a daunting task, and there is no doubt that if you want to catch fish, you need a good rod and reel combination – but what type of reel should you get? In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the different types of fishing reels out there and highlight some of their respective pros and cons.
Honing your angling skills is all about making sure that you’re thoroughly prepared for anything nature throws at you – whether it’s a big catch or more of a challenge than expected, knowing how to react quickly can make all the difference. When it comes to choosing the right spinning reel, there are plenty of brands out there that focus on creating durable products designed for long life without breaking the bank in the process! Just make sure that you know what materials are used and don’t assume that more expensive options are better.
Metal parts used in cheaper models are often machined well enough, but in some cases, they might even be more resilient than their pricier counterparts. This is just one example of where you might have to dig a little deeper in order to see what really makes certain brands stand out from the crowd, but it’s still worth doing your own research instead of just trusting something that seems too good to be true!
Types of Fishing Reels
Conventional Reels – Conventional reels are the most commonly used kind because they’re simple, affordable, and easy to use. They can be closed or open face depending on preference, but regardless of design will have a drag setting if you want to go after bigger prey such as salmon and big trout.
Spincast – A spincast reel has a round profile on its spool. It lacks a level wind system that requires a one-directional casting motion from the user with ongoing tension being applied until the line has been fully cast out. This eliminates any tangles or snagging issues associated with level wind reels. These reels are usually very cheap and durable but lack the accuracy of other types of reels.
Baitcasting – A baitcasting reel is more similar in profile to a spinning reel than it is to a spincast one. If you want to cast further and with increased accuracy, then this type of reel might be for you. They allow lines to be pulled off the spool at very high speeds, which makes them particularly suitable for fishing lures and baits that need faster reeling in so that they can mimic the movements of the fish’s prey e.g. trout or salmon.
Spinning Reel – A spinning reel is unique because its sides are open instead of closed like other kinds of reels. They have a line-level wind system which allows for easier control during the casting process and their open design makes it easy to cast even when fishing from a kayak.
Fly Reel – A fly reel is a type of spinning reel that is only used on fly rods as the name suggests. Instead of using braided nylon or monofilament, the line is wound around an arbor (a spool) instead of being coiled around a series of smaller spools like all other kinds of reels. It’s most suited to catching large fish such as tuna, marlin, and salmon, etc., but if you don’t need something that big then they can be cumbersome and heavy at times – not exactly what we’re looking for when fishing.
Baitrunner – A baitrunner is a type of fly reel that allows you to set the drag manually so that fish can take the line out by running away with it but won’t be able to break the line by pulling too hard. The reel has an adjustable centrifugal braking system which provides even greater control than just leaving it on manual tension and also does this without adding any significant weight or size.
What fishing reel should I use?
Choosing the right kind of fishing reel largely depends on what type of fish you’re planning to catch and where you plan to go. The more streamlined, lightweight, and compact a reel is then the easier it will be to carry around all day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be any less heavy-duty or durable.
If you’re going after trout, salmon, or other medium-sized fish in a local stream somewhere then a spincast reel might do just fine. However, if your destination is further out with bigger fish swimming about – perhaps even sharks or marlin – then something like baitcasting might be more suitable. If you want the most accuracy when casting possible with no chance of tangles from the line getting caught up in different places then spooling the line onto your reel in a uniform manner (radial) is for you. If you don’t need to worry about tangles and want something that has high-quality parts inside then buying a higher-end conventional reel might be more up your alley.
If you’re after bigger game like tuna or salmon then using a fly reel with good drag tension settings is probably the best idea (although it may prove too cumbersome if not done properly, so practice first). For smaller stuff like trout though, spinning can be equally as effective so long as you choose one which comes with an internal centrifugal braking system.
How to set up a fishing reel:
For all reels, you’re going to want to attach the hook using the Lillian. And then attach the final end to your swivel/leader by threading it through and pulling it tight. It doesn’t matter which way round the swivel goes as long as both halves are joined together again at some point. To minimize line twists when casting, reel out around 7-10 feet of fishing line onto your stationary spool.
Turn on the spinning or baitcaster reeling mechanism so that it can begin picking up the line from your stationary spool. When you have picked up enough line for your first cast, use your thumb to apply very light but quick pressure against the rim of the side of the spool – this is called “feathering”. This will stop the spool from spinning once you stop reeling.
Reduce the amount of line that the reel has picked up by taking some back with your forefinger and pushing it against the rim of the spool (this doesn’t really apply to baitcasters). Hold onto some extra line with your pinkie finger so that when you cast – if done correctly – all of your lines should come out evenly without any tangles or tangle issues.
To quickly retrieve your fishing rod after a fish has taken it down, hold onto some line with your pinkie finger, flick off the safety catch on your reel and use both palms to crank as quick as possible until you feel tension on your line which means you’ve hooked up with something.
What features to look for in the best fishing reels:
Firstly, make sure you choose a reel that is the appropriate size for the weight of the fishing rod you will be using. For spinning reels, it won’t matter too much as they are designed to go on both light and heavy rods, but baitcasters can do quite a bit of damage if they’re attached to something that’s too heavy (they really aren’t made for that). While this isn’t necessarily impossible – some anglers use them anyway – it does mean that your chances of hooking something big are significantly reduced. Check with your local fisheries service for what is considered an ideal weight ratio between rod and reel so that you don’t do any harm.
Secondly, decide whether or not you want one with a level wind mechanism. This is a horizontally mounted spool that holds the line and guides it evenly onto the spool as you reel. If you’re just after something that can cast and retrieve your bait then this might not be necessary, but if you want to minimize tangles and improve retrieval speed – especially on those longer casts – then level winds are definitely worth considering.
Thirdly, there are also “anti-reverse” reels with a button right by your thumb which locks up or disengages the crank so that it cannot spin backward. This comes in handy when fighting really big fish because they can sometimes take hundreds of meters of line off you in seconds, making it practically impossible to turn the handle without over cranking (which will make them break free).
Sealed drag systems are generally considered to be the most reliable when it comes to larger fish. Sealed drag is basically a round silicon or rubber piece that sits between your spool and handle. It will have an adjustable knob which you can turn with one hand to apply more pressure without having to crank any further – useful for bigger/hotter fish if your line has started blowing off the spool (not advised on baitcasters).
Baitcasting reels vs spinning reels:
Spinning reels are usually less expensive than baitcasting ones, but they tend not to hold as much line (therefore limited casting range) and they tend not to make use of anti-reverse mechanisms (this is why some anglers prefer spinning). Spinning reels are also generally lighter than baitcasters, which means you can go for longer periods of time without getting arm or shoulder fatigue.
Baitcasting reels will usually have more line capacity than any other type of reel (up to 1000 yards) and they also tend to have anti-reverse mechanisms built-in. However, because of their unique design, they usually weigh more and are harder to transport due to the fact that most aren’t designed with an open structure – this makes it hard to get your hand around them while traveling.
What is important when buying a new fishing reel is making sure that if you get the cheaper option it isn’t made of low-quality materials which will make it perform badly after only a few hours of use. Ask yourself what your priority is; catching more fish, or saving money? If you want the real deal then it’s worth investing in something better (although please keep in mind that some of the best quality reels out there are only really suitable for very experienced anglers).
There are also pre-spooled combos available which usually contain both a spinning reel and fishing rod along with everything else you need to get started. This basically eliminates one step in the process before you go out on the water, saving time and increasing convenience. Just remember that if you just inherited an old fishing rod from your grandfather this might not be the best option for you since they can be manufactured to different standards than modern ones.
As far as warranties go, all reels come with a form of guarantee from the manufacturer, but if you’re getting a cheap option then it’s not worth losing sleep over whether your reel will make it through this season or not. If you plan to use your reel regularly for years to come then I would certainly recommend going for something that’s a little more expensive and has a good warranty program in place – some brands even have lifetime warranties which means they’ll fix anything wrong with it free of charge no matter how long ago you bought it (unless of course it was used recklessly).
How do I know if my fishing reels are compatible?
Well first off make sure that whatever kind of fishing reels you own are compatible with the type of rod(s) that you have. If the space between the fishing rod handle and line guide is smaller than your reel can manage then it can damage your equipment by pushing against them, which will not only cause problems with performance but also your bank balance!
Next off make sure that you have enough spare rings attached to your rod so that you can move one of them over to the new fishing reel after removing all other attachments. The more weight on a rod, the more powerful it becomes so leave yourself enough room for larger fish before attaching heavier gear or bait – especially if you are bringing something big home.
Don’t forget to put some lube oil on moving parts (if applicable), close up any snap locks, attach the line to the spool and replace any line guides. It’s also a good idea to replace any worn or damaged fishing line (if applicable) with a new one of the same type before you go out on the water since this will help to boost your chances of bringing something in when using reels for the first time. Which reels are best for me?
The real answer is that it depends on how much you’re willing to spend and what kind of fish you want to catch. If you just want to use your reels once in a while then it might not be worth splashing all your cash in one go, but if you plan on hitting up some deep-sea fishing spots in the future then its better to invest in something that will handle whatever ocean conditions are thrown at it. A good quality reel doesn’t have to be expensive either – there are plenty of choices available on the budget end of the scale which work just as well as their more lucrative counterparts. When you feel like you’ve got a good grip on what kind of fishing reels suit your style, check out our recommended list below for some options that’ll suit any angler no matter how experienced they might be!
Cheap vs expensive with regards to fishing reels
The highest-end spinning reels can sometimes reach several hundred dollars (depending on where you shop), but if you are happy to spend this amount then rest assured, you will not only get something that is made using top quality materials but also functions exactly as it supposed too at all times. On the lower end of the scale, some reels are affordable but aren’t of particularly high quality – despite this they will still work fine for most occasions so if you’re just starting out then these are worth checking out on the shopping list.
If you are on a budget you can get away with not spending more than 50 bucks, but there’s only so far that cheaper options can be pushed before something gives in which means that regardless of how hard you try to hook into that big one, it’s going to slip away even when using bait which looks dead real! If you’re wanting to upgrade from your entry-level option or replace any missing parts then there’s plenty of good brands available even at this price point.
What about fly fishing reels?
A lot of people think about using certain reels for specific types of fishing, rather than using the same one for everything. This is because some types of fishing require reels that are designed to perform better under different circumstances. For instance, fly reels are made with a disc drag system that is used in order to combat line tension when targeting fish that are known to put up a fight – if you swapped this type of reel out for something else then it might work fine at first, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll turn smoothly or hold enough line.
What’s the difference between baitcasting and spinning reels?
Both have their own pros and cons, so it all comes down to what you personally prefer using! Spinning reels are best suited towards catching smaller fish since they can easily slip away while baitcasting reels are far more powerful and better for reeling in larger fish. A spinning reel is usually made from lightweight materials, but the downside to this is that they don’t have as much drag resistance or line capacity – something which can make fighting bigger catches difficult.
Baitcasting reels are generally used by experienced anglers who know how to work them well, whereas spinning reels are mostly recommended for anyone just looking to improve their fishing experience overall. The reason being that they only have 1-3 ball bearings compared with 8-12 found on even entry-level baitcasting models – despite this they’re easier to maintain since everything’s shown clearly on the outside of the unit without needing any tools to get into its insides.
How to make your fishing reels last even longer!
It’s worth investing in a sturdy carry bag for taking your gear on long trips to the lake or wherever you like spending time fishing. This offers protection from any sharp objects which could otherwise damage parts that stick out and it also helps with organization too. It might seem like a small point but it can help prevent things from getting tangled up together and ruining the day – because no one wants to spend hours untangling lines when there’s fish begging to be caught. Sometimes there’s nothing worse than arriving at a good spot but having an awkward setup makes the experience much less pleasant overall. As such, simply using a bushel or another method of carrying all your fishing equipment is safe and secure so you’re not wasting precious time fiddling with things when you should be catching fish!
Choosing the best fishing reels – our top recommendations
One thing’s for sure – there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing the right reel which can make things pretty confusing. At first glance most models seem fairly similar, so how do you know which ones are worth investing in? The reason being that cheaper reels aren’t always made with poor materials or low standards since many units provide far greater value for money than they should. This makes them ideal for beginners who want to try out this hobby without breaking the bank, but it’s still worth looking into more advanced options whenever you can afford to upgrade your gear. After all, you might end up with something that lasts much longer and provides a smoother experience overall!
Fishing Reels FAQ:
When buying a fishing reel, there are many questions that often get asked. This article will answer all of the most frequently asked questions about fishing reels. It is intended to help anyone looking to buy a new fishing reel be better informed about how various choices in size and materials will affect performance and function of their rod and reel combination.
What type of fishing line do I need?
Fishing lines come in mono-filament (mono), braided or fusion; they can be clear or colored; and they can stretch or not (also known as limpness). All types come in different grades such as light, medium, heavy and super heavy – but really it’s best to keep it simple when starting out. Mono is good for the beginner and people fishing from a pier, boat or bank because it is less visible in water than other lines – especially clear braided line. Line ratings are important when choosing a line diameter to match your reel, rod and technique used when fishing. While it’s okay to make a little bit of a stretch in super heavy line in order to help set the hook, in medium weight line you don’t want even 15% stretch in the line (you can test by pulling some out of your reel and holding both ends with one hand). One way to judge what will be best for you is understanding how much elasticity you think you need for different species of fish; larger fish typically require heavier mono because they can do more damage to lighter line. Line capacity is very important when fishing with a baitcasting reel – especially if you are using more than one of the same size of lure. A heavier line will store more energy, so with each cast you’re able to cast out further before your bait hits the water.
Why do some reels have a disk brake?
The main advantage of having a disk brake is that the spool will rotate backwards for a short period of time after your cast, which allows line to freely flow off of the reel’s spool – if the brake wasn’t there it would quickly run out and cause backlash. Without a disk brake you can also experience premature line wear on the spool surface due to friction during fast retrieve.
What’s the difference between right and left-hand retrieve?
Reels with a right side retrieve are for people who like to reel using their right hand; reels with a left hand retrieve are for people who use their left hand to reel.
Why do reels have a free spool switch?
A free spool switch allows you to hold the spool in place while you cast, which gives the line time to build up momentum when it’s launched off of your rod tip. Then, when you’re ready for it to start reeling, you can engage the free spool switch and maintain line tension.
How important is gear ratio?
Generally speaking, the higher number of speeds your reel has (i.e., 6+), the better suited it will be for fighting large fish over long periods of time; this is because there are more high speed gears, meaning it’s easier to push a larger amount of line through the spool with each turn compared to low-speed reels.
What does A.R.B.S stand for?
When you hear someone say their reel has “A.R.B.S,” they’re referring to Anti Reverse Bearing System. A.R.B.S is a special mechanism in the reel that prevents the spool from spinning backwards when you strip line, such as if you were using your reel to tire out a fish before it was ready for you to net it – this helps prevent your line from snapping and potentially breaking or getting tangled by accident (or even allowing a large fish to pull your line in through the back of your reel).
What’s the difference between an aluminum spool and a graphite spool?
Aluminum spools are heavier than graphite, but they can handle much stronger drag pressures. Graphite is preferred by most anglers because it’s lighter, so you can fish with a heavier line without spooking fish – graphite is also preferred because it’s less likely to warp over time.
Do I need a baitcasting or spinning reel?
Spinning reels are best suited for people who want to cast lures relatively close to them and feel comfortable using spinning gear. Baitcasting reels are great for anglers who need to cast lures further than, say, 30 feet.
How do I know if my fishing rod and reel is a good match?
If you’re using a spinning reel with your baitcasting rod, you’ll want to choose line that’s between 14 and 20 pounds (if you use heavier line your bait may not cast as far). If you’re using a baitcasting reel with a spinning rod, choose lighter line – between 4 and 10 pounds.
Why do fishing reels seem to always come pre-spooled?
A lot of people think that the only thing expensive reels come with is the spool, but that’s not true. The line is typically spooled onto both sides of the spool for you by professionals – that way it will be more balanced and last a lot longer.
What’s a combo?
A combo comes with a fishing rod and reel in one package, typically at a discounted price.
What’s the difference between braid and monofilament line?
Monofilament is more popular than braid because it’s less expensive, but it’s also heavier – so for example if you were using 30-pound mono with 20-pound mono it would be like doubling the weight, whereas if you were using 20-pound braid with 20-pound mono it would be like adding only 10 percent more line (the equivalent of adding one pound).
Why is braid a good choice for catfish?
Catfish have “feelers” that they use to detect their prey, so they can feel the slightest vibration and can usually “taste” your bait and figure out that it’s not what they usually eat. Since braid is thinner than mono, there’s less of a chance for them to feel vibrations surrounding their bait – so you’ll be more likely to fool them.
What does BPS stand for?
What’s the deal with drag?
When you’re using a baitcasting reel, you’ll want to adjust your drag depending on the kind of fish you’re catching – if it’s small fish like crappie, set it at 5 (which will allow them to run for a while). If it’s a larger fish like bluegill or catfish, you can tighten your drag to 10 or so (so they won’t be able to get away). For big game fish like bass and pike, set the drag between 15-20.
What is backing?
Backing is just spare line that’s coiled around the spool (it’s there in case you run out of line). You’ll want your backing to be heavier than your main line – for example if you were using 30-pound mono, it would be best to use at least 40-pound braid as backing.
How many bearings should my reel have?
The more bearings your reel has, the smoother it will operate. Most good reels have at least two ball bearings and four pinion bearings, but some have as many as 10 bearings.
How big should my fishing reel be?
If you’re just starting to fish or are fishing relatively small fish for crappie, bass, panfish, etc., an average-sized fishing reel will do – you don’t need a large one. If you’re looking for bigger catches however (like sturgeon or larger saltwater fish) it’s best to get reels that are designed specifically for those types of fish because they’ll be higher quality and last longer.
What’s the difference between split rings and palomar knots?
Split rings are used to attach your hooks to your fishing line, whereas palomar knots are used for other lures like weights. Split rings don’t break as easily (they’re metal), but they can still be opened by pike or other fish that are very strong.
What’s the difference between spinning reels and baitcasting reels?
Spinning reels are great for beginners because they’re simpler to use – you just need to cast it out, then reel in your line once you feel a tug on the line. Baitcasting reels will allow you to cast your bait a lot farther away, but they can be more difficult to learn how to use.
How do I adjust the drag on my reel?
It depends on the reel, but typically you’ll need a fingernail or dime to turn the knob that allows you to tighten or loosen your drag. Just remember that it’s easier to tighten the drag than it is to loosen it – if you’ve tightened it too much, you’ll need pliers (or another tool) to loosen it.
Why does my line keep getting stuck on the spool?
It’s probably because your spool isn’t rotating freely – you can usually fix this by unscrewing the spool and wiping it with a rag that’s been dipped in some kind of oil. Make sure you wipe off all excess oil when you’re done – if there’s too much, your line will get tangled around the spool.
How do I know how much line to put on my spinning reel?
Put 10-20 inches of line on your reel, then hold it up to a rod and see how much is left over after you’ve wrapped it around the rod a few times. You can adjust from there – if you have too much, cut some off; if you don’t have enough, add more. The key is finding that happy medium.
What are line guides and why do I need them?
The line guide is the sleeve that protects your fishing line from getting frayed or cut while it’s moving through your reel. Some reels have only 1, some have 3 and some have more than that. The more guides you have, the better for casting and retrieving your line.