How to Choose a Fishing Reel

A fishing reel is a handy device that mechanically holds and spools out the fishing line. If you are looking for some fishing fun and have already purchased a rod, you need to choose the right reel for a great fishing experience.

Selecting the right fishing reel eventually comes down to the kind of fishing rod you will use it with.

How to Choose the Best Fishing Reel

With multiple options for reels, it makes little difference whether you are a novice or an experienced fisherman. When you are shopping for the best reel, you should sort through different brands and types.

We usually observe a series of numbers along with the model and brand name on most of today’s rods.  A rod typically has its length measured in feet. However, it is also measured in centimeters. You also see the recommended line weight range.

For instance, if its range is 4-8lb line, it means that the manufacturers have designed it for fish up to around 4 kg or 8 lb.

Moreover, fishing reels have weight classes, which will assist you to match your reel to the rod.

Thanks to a well-balanced finishing rod, casting becomes accurate and easier. A good rod also reduces fatigue to enjoy fishing for long periods. This is great for regular casting and retrieving or for catching your trophy fish.

How to Choose a Fishing Reel

Types of Fishing Reels

There are different types of fishing reels include:

Spinning Reels

Spinning reels are typically referred to as eggbeaters owing to the characteristic whipping action. The reels utilize a bail guide mechanism for holding the line for a smooth retrieval.

The line falls freely off the spool when the bail is flipped across. This is why spinning reels are great for casting since the spool does not spin. You just have to pinch the line for keeping it tight on the spool and calculate your release with the highest point of your cast to make the line fly. Then, the bail can be flicked back to engage the reel for smooth retrieval.

Spinning reels offer an adjustable drag with a free spool option so you can have a smooth fishing experience while fishing in current for letting the fish swim with the bait before it engages with the reel and striking. You can assess the quality of a spinning reel by its material, gear features, and the drag system. You should also pay attention to the number of ball bearings.

Baitcasting Reels

These reels are manufactured particularly for baitcasting rods. Although baitcasting reels offer incredible versatility, they are usually reserved for expert anglers. When you learn to master the art of using baitcasting reels, you can fish with remarkable control and accuracy.

These reels feature adjustable braking systems, which you can adjust with a spool-tensioning knob. The angler can loosen or tighten the spool’s rotation to prevent line backlash which is also referred to as the dreaded ‘bird’s nest’. Anglers modify the spool’s rotation when employing different weighted lures for guaranteeing a precise cast.

Overhead Reels

These reels are engineered for overhead rods and are targeted at bait or lure fishing. Overhead reels are best used when the purpose is not to cast but to either feed out or troll the line below the kayak or boat. Many traditional overhead reels are commonly used for ocean fishing and are ideal for game fishing rods.

Fly Reels

Such reels are particularly designed for fly rods. Conventionally, fly reels boast a simple design and built. However, modern fly reels are becoming more advanced by utilizing disc-type drag systems for better consistency, drag adjustment and resistance to drag friction.

This is a single action reel to counterbalance the weight of the rod when casting.

Alvey Reels

Alvey reels are an Australian invention and are popular among land-based anglers in Australia. The reels are well-liked for their simple design. These reels are famous for being amazingly hard-wearing owing to their lack of small parts. This implies that the reels are ideal for catching big species in harsh conditions.

Electric Fishing Reels

Electric reels are compatible with overhead rods. These reels are fairly new on the recreational fishing market since earlier they were only available to commercial deep-sea operators.

Thanks to their inventive design and functionality, electric reels are now highly popular among seasoned and recreational anglers. Moreover, the reels are available at affordable prices. If you want to enjoy a less exhausting and highly enjoyable fishing experience, choose an electric reel for your next fishing adventure.

It is capable of dropping jigs or baits automatically and retrieves fish over great distances. The resulting outcome is an exciting fishing experience with less fatigue. You can also put the rod in the holder when you are retrieving a catch and put the reel on autopilot. You can also use it manually.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Fishing Reel

When purchasing a fishing reel, make sure you consider a few factors to let you choose the best fishing reel. Here are a few things that you must pay attention to before buying the best fishing reel.


It is imperative that you choose the right type of fishing reel to make your adventure successful.

There are varying types of fishing reels, engineered specifically for fresh or saltwater. Moreover, if you are an amateur, you can use a spin-casting reel. These reels are stable and are durable, thanks to a tough construction. This type of fishing reel is also available at an affordable price.

Another type of reel is the spinning reel, which is common among all anglers owing to its ease of use. The fishing reel delivers superior performance with a 14-pound (or lighter) test line.

Moreover, the spool of the reel is immovable whereas you can switch the handle for both right and left-hand use. Anglers can also choose a baitcasting reel, which offers a streamlined housing.

Type of Water

Another crucial factor to choose the best fishing reel is to know about the types of water you are going to fish. Many reels work great when fishing in freshwater but fail to deliver the same results in saltwater.

Apart from that, a few reels have rust resistant ball bearings that make it convenient to use the reel in saltwater without fearing any rusting.

Line Capacity

Spinning reels are usually popular among anglers, especially for fishing small fish like bream, golden perch, bass and whiting. These reels are capable of handling weights as low as two pounds.


There are some fishing reels, which are very irritating to use, particularly on a long day of fishing. A reel that makes a lot of noise and vibration negatively affects the fishing experience

All anglers who are fishing in saltwater must possess a reel that has quality ball bearings. This is why you should always opt for purchasing a reel with 5 premium quality ball bearings than 10 mediocre ball bearings.

Reel Body

You should also consider the main housing of the reel. The different materials used for manufacturing fishing reels include plastic, graphite and aluminum. There are a few reels that utilize a combination of graphite and aluminum.

Naturally, all fishing reels with an aluminum body offer less flex and are stronger, whereas, reels with a graphite body are lightweight. Anglers who choose a fishing reel for saltwater use should choose an aluminum body while a graphite body is more appropriate for freshwater fishing.


The handle rolls the fishing line onto the spool. The best part is that you can transfer the handle from right to left. Hence, left-handed anglers can also use these reels. Handles have one or two grips with hinges in a few single-grip reels. Again, manufacturers use different materials for making these handles. You can choose one depending on your personal preference. It could be synthetic, metal, or wooden.


The gears connect the roll, line and handle to the spool. The gears usually comprise of plastic in most inexpensive fishing reels. We recommend you not to invest in poor or cheap quality gears since you will be losing these in the long run.

Always look for high-quality gears that are durable for getting the best fishing results. Anglers know that when you fish with poor quality gears, the fish grabs the bait and the gears strip in which case you can’t do anything but to watch the fish swim away.


Naturally, your budget is a key consideration when buying a new spinning reel. The price of a reel increases with the number of features. You should compare different reels to weigh different features and options to decide the best one that fits your budget.

Final Words

Choosing the best fishing reel for different environments and species is the best step you should take for making your fishing experience memorable. Anglers must take care of their target species and know about the kind of water they are planning to carry out their hobby for choosing the best fishing reel.


I have been camping and going outdoors for over 15 years! My first experience was when I joined the scouts. There I learned a lot. From building a campfire to set up a really big tent. Then I know this is awesome. Around 2005 I also started Geocaching. This is a lot of fun. And every time we go camping we look at the map to see if there are some nice caches around.

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