Fishing Reel Buying Guide

Fishing Reel Buying Guide

Choosing the right fishing reel is very important so here is a guide to explain the main types of reel that are available. There are 3 main types of fishing reels, and these are called 'spinning reels'. Then you also have Fly Fishing Reels which are very different to spinning reels


  • These reel are the easiest to use and are often aimed at children as all the important parts are kept covered inside, with the line coming out of a small hole in the cover. Such reels often have a button on the back which is pressed during the forward cast and then the line simply peels out until you let go of the button to stop the line. These reels are not overly accurate and don't go a long distance.


  • These spool turns on these reels when you cast so they are difficult to master. These reels are often used with heavier lines and lures and are extremely accurate. The spool needs to be kept under control at all times so that you don't end up with a nasty nest of line. These reels tend to be used by more experienced anglers.


  • These are the most popular type of reel and are easier to use than a baitcasting reel and far more accurate than a spincast reel. These reels have an open face design and they have great line capacity so you can use a decent amount of line with the reel. You can buy these reels with and extra spool meaning fast changes to your line while you are out on the water. These reels do not operate as well with heavier 20 pound plus lines.

Fly Fishing

  • With fly fishing reels, the angler adds drag (see below explanation of this important term) on the line by palming the rim of the reel as the line goes out. Modern fly fishing reels use a variety of mechanisms which allow the angler to carry the level of drag on the line. Some reels also use gears to speed up retrieving line more quickly so that say two or three turns of line can be pulled in with just one crank of the handle. Fly reels also vary as to whether they are for freshwater or saltwater fishing, with the latter being larger to hold more line and backing and also more corrosion proof in its construction

In relation to reels, an important term you need to know about is 'drag'. This reel mechanism allows you to set how much resistance the fish will feel when it is pulling on the line, so the tighter the drag is set the more resistance the fish feels so the drag needs to be set tight enough to tire the fish out but not so tight that the line breaks and the fish is lost.

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