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Fishing Gear 101: Choosing the Right Fishing Reel

When buying your new fishing reel, there are two things that you mostly think of: what type of fish are you planning to catch and how much will it cost. Choosing a fishing reel doesn’t have to be complicated. So here is everything you need to know about fishing reel.

What is a fishing reel?

Basically, a fishing reel is a mechanical equipment. Its main functions are for holding and spooling out the fishing line. It has a brake to slow running fish, a handle to retrieve line and a bracket to fasten the fishing reel to the rod.

What are the types of fishing reel?

When choosing your fishing reel, you have to know that there are four types of fishing reels that will be used, depending on what type of saltwater or freshwater species you are going to tackle. These are spinning reels, conventional reels and bait cast models. Let us check and take a look at what its uses and functions are so that you can equip yourself of the perfect type for your next angling trip .

Spinning Reels

It is the most popular and most commonly used fishing reel by anglers of all levels because of its superior open faced design. This is also recommended for beginners as they are generally simple and easy to use for casting. The reel sits under the rod and the good thing about this type is that you can easily change the wind operation from left to right-hand. Unlike the other reels that come with right hand wind operation as a standard design. Its open-faced design gives versatility that enables the spool to have an excellent line capacity but this type is not suitable for heavier lines.

Conventional Reels

It is the opposite of the spinning reel. The reel itself is located above the rod operate as a cylindrical spool that winds line back onto the spool when the handle is cranked. Their level-wind line retrieval mechanism, combined with a high amount of line storage, makes them advantageous compared to other types for saltwater applications. This type is a little more expensive and complex but is useful in situations like tackling bigger and stronger fish in rough environments like sharks or bluefin tuna.

Baitcasting Reels

It is the same with conventional reels on which the reel itself also sits at the top of the rod. But this type is extremely difficult to control and made only for the purpose of accuracy, not for easy casting. So you have to practice more while using this reel. It is not also recommended to use lightweight line, but use heavier line and lures. They’re sometimes used by beginners because they’re often sold in cheap kits, rather than being a good choice.

NOTE: You have to remember that some fishing rods come already with a reel, like the rod and reel combo. But if you plan to purchase a separate one or it doesn’t come with a reel when you bought a rod, you have to check the existing rod. Different types of rods require reels with specific fit and set up.

What are the main parts of a fishing reel?

Let’s learn about the specific parts of a fishing reel and the purpose each part serves.

Reel Body: This is the main part of the fishing reel that serves as the housing itself. Most reel body materials are made from either graphite or aluminum. Aluminum is stronger, but also heavier and not as likely to hold up to saltwater conditions. If you are considering a reel for saltwater fishing, graphite is a good choice due to its corrosion-resistant qualities.

Reel Handle: Mostly the real handle is designed either as round or T-bar shaped that can be operated with both hands. It is rotated by hand and the main purpose is to retrieve the line back to the rod after casting it.

Reel Spool: It is the part of the reel that holds the fishing line. It also makes the casting in appropriate distance and smoothness. It is usually made of graphite which is lighter and anodized aluminum that offers greater strength.

Bail: The purpose of the bail is to serve as a gate for the line at the reel spool. When the bail is open, as it would be when casting, it releases a line from the spool. During line retrieval, the bail serves to guide the fishing line back onto the spool of the reel.

Anti-Reverse Switch: It is commonly found in spinning reel that drags and prevents it from turning backward. When the anti-reverse switch is off, it allows you to reel in reverse, rather than relying on your drag system for line tension. This can work effectively at times for lighter fish, but most anglers rely on the drag system.

How to choose the best fishing reels?

1. Initially, buying your first fishing reels starts by researching what type of fish you want to catch. You can check some facts and information about the size and species that will be available around your area where you most likely want to start your fishing experience.

2. You have to determine what type of water environment you are going to. That is either saltwater or freshwater that will also determine the type of reel you are going to choose. Some saltwater reels can be used in freshwater reels but not the other way around for freshwater reels.

3. You also need to put in mind what sort of lures or bait you will be casting. This is because spinning reels work best for small lures and baits, while baitcasters favor heavier lures. After that, it’s mostly preference.

4. As a beginner, you can find a spinning combo (rod and reel together) for a good price that is about an average price $40 dollars. But if you want to have more quality or step up your gear, you can buy it separately so you can choose what kind of materials to use.


Hopefully, this article will help you on how to choose a fishing reel effectively as a beginner. Now you are armed with this knowledge, you can now choose and buy your very own first fishing reel and experience your first angling journey with ease and excitement!


Julie's favorite element is water. She is a passionate diver and likes swimming a lot. In the water she feels weightless and free. She is very fond of diving because it gives her the opportunity to get to know the water world in a very special way.