How to Pick a Fishing Reel

How to Pick a Fishing Reel

Some people might think that fishing is a bit too complicated due to the variety of the market when it comes to fishing gear and equipment. Today, we will be helping you with choosing a fishing reel that is suitable for you. Hence we will go over the basic options and features that should be present in any fishing reel.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Fishing Reel:

1. Type

The first modern reel to be invented was the spincast reel in the 1940s. Before that, fishing was such a complex, tiresome, and expensive procedure. Later on, came three other types of reels, which are the spinning, baitcast, and electric ones. Each one of these reels is better suited for certain environments, specific species, and certain levels of expertise. We will break that down for you.

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Spincast Reel

This is the easiest and simplest type of fishing reel. It is pretty straightforward as you cast, press the button to release the line, and then press the same button again to retrieve it. There is no fisherman who has not started his fishing path with a good old spincast reel. 

Although companies have done their best to adorn spincast reels with new technologies to help them, they are still mostly fit for beginners and some lightweight fishing. Some models are designed in a more sophisticated way that makes them more suitable for trophy fishing.

Spinning Reel

Spinning reels are just a little bit more complicated; however, they still are quite simple and an excellent choice for beginners. They are mostly fit for small to medium size baits and therefore catches. 

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Baitcast Reel 

They are more fit for experienced anglers who are going for trophy catchers. Also, they are suitable for saltwater fishing as they are designed to be sturdy, durable, and element resistant. They are heavy duty pieces that can handle extensive fishing.

Electric Reel

This specific reel is a novelty. It hasn’t been around that long, and it has been designed with deep fishing in mind due to the fact that they are either clipped onto a 12 V battery, plugged into an electric outlet, or even come with their lithium battery. 

They are quite strong, and they give you a lot of control over your thread. So, they can easily drop several hundred feet Into the water or do some kite fishing. Since they are electric, they come with a bunch of other digitized options that vary from one model to the other.

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2. Size

Size depends on a lot of things, mostly the size of its internal components such as the gears, ball bearings, and drag system. Typically, the bigger your reel is, the stronger; however, there are some exceptions to that rule. You might find the size of the reel written in the hundreds or thousands, but mostly it is the same; it is just a way of branding for different companies.

To sum up, if you are going after large trophy catches, going to be scouring large areas of your waterfront, then a large reel will suit you. Yet, if you intend to do some lightweight fishing or you are going after a particular species that is classified as small to medium size fish, then a small to medium-sized reel will suit you better.

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3. Construction

Every reel differs from one another. Some are suited for fresh or brackish water, while others are suited for saltwater. But generally, saltwater reels can work on any waterfront while freshwater reels tend to be a little bit weaker. 

That is because saltwater reels are made out of premium materials such as aluminum, graphite, carbon composite, titanium, or ceramic. All these materials are naturally anti-corrosive and have very high tolerance levels. Also, for an extra line of protection, they can be painted with an anti-corrosive anti-abrasion paint that will even extend its life span. 

Always make sure that the whole reel is made out of the same thing and that you don’t have a weak link as plastic ball bearings or flimsy gears. Even if you’re not going to be always fishing in saltwater, it’s nice to have a robust, durable reel on you.

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4. Target Fish

Now, this point is pretty important because some specific species require certain reels, rods, and fishing techniques as perhaps they are finickier than other fish, or they tend to hide in sheltered places. Therefore you will need to cast a little bit differently.

Always know what your waterfront will have for you and if there’s anything specific worth knowing about the fish inhabiting this waterfront in order to make a more informed decision about your reel. 

If your target species is a stubborn one that will need huge spool capacity in order to tire it out, then you will also need a more muscular drag system, which we will talk about later on, in order to not snap your line in the process.

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5. Rod

You don’t fish using just the reel, rods are just as crucial as reels, and you always have to make sure that your rod and reel are complementary to each other. You cannot spend hundreds of dollars on a reel and then buy a $25 rod and assume that everything will work. You’ll be expecting too much out of the reel, and the rod will fail to measure up to your expectations. 

So, when you have purchased your reel, always take it with you when you are looking for your rod in order to pair them. Or, we could go for the easier choice and purchase an already paired combo that will take a lot of work off you as you would be sure that your gear is cohesive.

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6. Spool Capacity

Certainly, the bigger the spool capacity is, the better. You can easily run out of line; however, you never say that you have too much line on your spool. Still, there are other aspects to think about, such as whether that huge line capacity is for braided or monofilament lines. 

Some species require braided line as monofilament will not be able to tolerate them. Also, always make sure that the spool is made out of the same premium quality materials as the rest of your reel and that it is completely sealed. A spool is just as exposed as the rest of the reel.

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7. Comfort

It goes without saying that fishing is a time-consuming hobby. You must be entirely sure that the reel you are purchasing is comfortable for you. Try it out to see how it fits in your hand and if you’re going to be comfortable holding it for extensive periods. 

The design ought to be oversize as that will give you a better hold on the whole thing. The handle should be non-slip, preferably EVA. Plus, any buttons or triggers should be made out of rubber and large enough to be used efficiently.

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8. Drag System

The drag system is the resistance that your reel puts up against the escaping fish. It is essential that you have a high-quality drag system that will be able to strike a balance between not snapping your line and not letting your fish escape while still dissipating the friction-heat all over the reel, in order to not let it seize-up on you.

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Another thing is that you have to make sure that the drag is sealed, plus water and corrosion resistant in order to extend its lifespan. Of course, the higher the maximum of the drag, the better as that will give you the versatility and freedom that you need to go from one fish species to the other.

9. Gear Ratio

This is the speed at which you retrieve your line. The numbers stand for the number of whole spins that your spool does per one crank of the handle. Gear ratio depends on the species that you are going for and the elements of your waterfront.

10. Ball Bearings 

These are the cogs working inside the reel to keep a smooth operation. Here, the more, the merrier; however, quality rules over quantity. A lower number of high-quality ball bearings is ten-times better than a high number of low-quality ones. They ought to be made out of either stainless steel or ceramic in order to give you a smooth experience.

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Final Thoughts

There are so many factors that go into the decision of purchasing a specific reel. The fact that these factors are interdependent on each other ties everything together. Knowing the factors that we have discussed in this article will open new doors and features that you will find on the market. 

Still,  these are the basics, so our final advice is to know what you want and what you can handle. Lastly, know your budget and know that you can find what you need in a fishing reel for the price that you want. The variety of the market is incredible.

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