Fishing Reels

This is a thorough tutorial that explains all you need to know about the many types of fishing reels available, as well as any downfalls.

Introduction | Varieties Of Fishing Reels

There are several varieties of fishing reels, and distinguishing between them may be a bit of a challenge at times. This page will discuss the many types of reels, as well as their primary distinctions and typical uses.

This tutorial simplifies the procedure for everyone who needs to understand the distinctions.

Whether you’re in the market for a new reel and want to know what to look for, or you’re just plain curious, here is your one-stop shop for all the REEL information you’ll need.

Basic Vocabulary | Fishing Reel Structure

  1. Pick up or depart
  2. Reel seat
  3. retract foot
  4. Handle
  5. Assistance arm
  6. Anti-reverse lever
  7. Skirted spool
  8. Fishing line
  9. Drag adjustment knob

Five Principal Elements Of A Fishing Reel

1) Spool

The common word for the component of the reel around which the line is wound and regulated.

2) Backlash

A bird’s nest occurs when the spool spins faster than the line can leave it, resulting in a big and typically irritating tangle of line around the reel.

3) Drag

The internal mechanism of the reel is responsible for regulating the amount of “pull” necessary to unwind the line from the spool. Frequently, the drag is composed of many compressed carbon-fiber discs and depends on the friction between them to provide resistance.

On the majority of reels, the drag feature is utilized for battling fish, but on a few models, it may also avoid backlash. The pressure is adjusted with the drag knob.

4) Bail

The device revolves around the spool of a spinning reel during reeling; it wraps the line around the spool and enables even line release when drag is applied.

5) Line Roller

Part of the bail mechanism on a spinning reel. As the bail arm revolves, it guides the line onto the spool and guarantees an equal wind.

Types Of Fishing Reels, Their Variations, And Their Appropriate Uses

Let’s Go! We will begin with the simplest reels and work our way up.

1) Centerpin Reels

In terms of design simplicity, centerpin reels are the most simple. The spool freely rotates on a set of bearings and is totally controlled by manual pressure. They fit similarly to fly reels but lack a mechanical drag.

What is the function of a centerpin reel?

Centerpin reels are designed for drift fishing. Using a bait or lure beneath a float, cork, or bobber, this method of fishing allows the angler to imitate a natural downstream drift (depending on where you are from).

Drift fishing is typically employed to target anadromous fish like steelhead and salmon, and it typically outperforms spinning tackle in the majority of instances, especially when employing the drifting technique outlined above.

How is a centerpin reel cast?

To cast with a centerpin reel, the angler must remove any hand pressure on the spool and allow it to spin freely. This enables the line to exit the spool with practically no resistance once the cast has been made; the rate at which the line departs the spool is regulated by light finger pressure. Also, the distance of the cast is controlled in this manner.

Once the bait has reached the target, the reel is retrieved, and the slack in the line is handled by cranking the spool’s handle and winding in line as the bait floats downstream towards the angler.

Once a fish is hooked, hand pressure is applied to the reel; this increases the resistance and operates like the drag on any other reel but provides a great deal more control over the pressure imposed on the fish at any one time.

Our Selections for the Top Centerpin Reels of 2022

1. OKUMA Sheffield Float Fishing Reel

Its structure is what makes the OKUMA. This fishing reel is made from a single piece of aluminum, which considerably enhances its strength, durability, and lifetime.

2. Okuma Raw II Mooching & Float Reel

This reel is wonderful.

It is OKUMA’s top-of-the-line center pin reel. It has a corrosion-resistant coating, a stainless steel spool shaft, and a frame and spool that have been anodized.

3. Z Aventik 2nd Generation High Reel Feet Center-Pin Floating Reel

Similar to the OKUMA, the Aventik features CNC fabrication but at a far lesser price. The price difference is likely attributable to the reel’s finish and bearing quality.

This is an excellent entry-level reel for fishermen wishing to begin this fishing technique.

2) Fly Fishing Reels

In terms of intricacy, fly fishing reels are only second to centerpin reels. Typically, their internal mechanics consist of a clicker and/or a drag. Depending on the size and function of the reel, there may not even be a drag system.

Typically, fly reels without a drag are designed for smaller fish, which do not put up a strong fight and so will not put your drag system to work very often.

These reels rely on a click and pawl mechanism to provide the mechanical resistance necessary to prevent the line from backlashing and, if necessary, to apply pressure on the fish.

Large Arbor reels

Larger reels designed for larger, harder-fighting fish typically use a carbon disc drag mechanism, which functions similarly to a car’s brakes. The discs are more difficult to spin when the drag knob is applied with more force. This stopping force is passed to the spool and, through the line, to the fish, enabling the angler to exert pressure while fighting the fish.

Fly Reel sizes

Sizes of fly reels correspond to the line weight they can accommodate. The sizes of reels vary from 1 to 13, with 13 being the heaviest weight line and the largest reel and 1 representing the lightest weight line and the smallest reel.

The weight of your line and the size of your reel will be influenced by the kind of fish you wish to catch, the distance you must cast, and other variables.

The Top-Recommended Fly Reels for 2022

Please explore this area; however, be aware that we have researched a comprehensive buyers guide on fly reels, Best Fly Reels for the Money (2022, Complete Guide).

1. Ross Animas Fly Reel

This fly reel is a favorite among guides and is referred to as “the beautiful beast.”

The new and improved Ross Animas is stronger and lighter than its predecessors, and a lifetime warranty is included.

2. Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly Reel

This reel is one of the best fly fishing reels on the market for the price.

It is not CNC, but its drag system components are CNC. It’s made in the United States.

3. Orvis Battenkill Reel/Extra Spool

Orvis makes some of the finest gear available.

This reel features an excellent click-and-pawl drag mechanism and is readily adjustable for right or left-handed retrieve.

The Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel Features a CNC-Machined Aluminum Alloy Body

This Piscifun fly reel features CNC construction (meaning it is crafted out of one solid piece of aluminum).

3) Spinning Fishing Reels

Spincasting reels represent the next complexity level up. This style of the reel features internal mechanics that fly, and centerpin reels lack, in addition to an adjustable drag and push-button casting mechanism.

A spincasting reel’s spool is stationary and open-faced. This indicates that it is coated on only one side, unlike the reels stated above. Instead of the spool spinning, the line coils off through a hole in the reel’s casing.

Casting a spincasting reel

To cast, just depress the button and then release it to complete the action. These are the most user-friendly reels and a fantastic spot for novice fishermen to begin. If you have been fishing your entire life, this is likely the first reel you used as a child.

These reels are versatile AND affordable.

Spincasting reels are among the most regularly offered and often inexpensive reels. They are found on the majority of pre-made rod reel combos and are an excellent low-risk alternative if you want to start fishing.

Spincasting reels are not specialized for a particular form of fishing but are effective for nearly all of them. Whether bottom fishing for catfish or casting worms beneath a bobber for bluegill and trout. These reels do it all and are an excellent option for beginners.

The decline

Spincasting reels have the disadvantage of not being able to cast long distances with light tackle. This is due to their design characteristics. When employing light lures and tackle, spincasting reels restrict casting distance. Your distance will be limited if the object you are casting does not weigh enough to produce the necessary amount of tension.

The ensuing slack in the line will force the line to coil off the spool quicker than it is leaving, resulting in a backlash-like effect that is exacerbated since it is contained within the housing. This often requires the angler to disassemble the reel and remove the casing to clean up the filth.

Despite this drawback, spincasting reels are an excellent alternative for beginners or those who just like a relaxing day on the water.

Our Preferred Spinning Reels for 2022

1. Zebco Bullet Spincast Reel With Reel Cover

Zebco has a lengthy history in the fishing industry.

Their bullet is appropriately titled. The reel has a gear ratio of 5.1:1 and retrieves the line at a pace of 29.6 inches per turn of the handle.

2. Zebco Omega Pro Spincast Reel

This creature is as dependable as they come. It is a closed-cast with a recovery rate of 19 inches. It comes equipped with a 10-pound Zebco fishing line.

3. Pflueger President Spincast Fishing Reel

The Pfleuger President is an additional outstanding spincast reel. It is affordable and dependable, allowing you to remain on the water for years.

4) Spinning Reels

In terms of complexity, spinning reels are the next level up, and depending on the model, they contain numerous more features than the reels covered thus far. Spinning reels require slightly more expertise and technique than their relative, the Spincasting reel.

Spincasting reel versus spinning reel

The casting mechanism is the most notable distinction between spinning reels.

The casting mechanism consists of three major components:

  • The bail amount
  • The roller for line
  • The reel

Similar to the Spincaster, the spool on a spinning reel is stationary and does not spin to release the line when casting; it only moves when a fish is applying drag.

Spinning a fishing reel

To cast a spinning reel, the line is initially gripped against the rod’s handle using the index or middle finger. The bail is then released, releasing the line from the roller and allowing it to unimpededly unwind from the spool.

The angler may then cast by releasing the line from their fingers at the chosen point in the casting stroke, propelling the tackle in the direction of the target.

After the lure or bait has landed in the water, the spool is re-engaged, and the line is recovered.

The resistance of a spinning reel’s drag

With the drag knob on the front of the spool, a spinning reel’s drag may be changed. Tightening it adds pressure to the drag discs, which increases friction and forces the fish to exert more effort to draw the line off the spool.

Spinning reels are available in several sizes.

Spinning reels exist in a variety of sizes and forms, and each model has unique features. The standard range for spinning reel sizes is 500 to 30,000, with 500 being the lowest and 30,000 being the largest.

The smaller reels are suited for sluggish and modest freshwater or occasionally saltwater circumstances targeting smaller fish, whilst the bigger reels are designed for targeting huge fish in large or swift water.

Deciding upon a spinning reel

The size you pick will depend on what you intend to catch and how and where you plan to fish.

  • If you want to fish for bass and bluegill in tiny neighborhood ponds, you will likely not need a reel larger than 5500.
  • If you’re fishing for trout in a brook or a small river, a 3300-size reel will suffice.
  • If you intend to engage in beach fishing for tarpon, sharks, or other large game fish, you will need a lure with a size between 8,500 and 30,000.

The precise size will be determined by the species of fish being pursued and the method of pursuit.

Spinning reels are capable of nearly all types of fishing and perform effectively in virtually every circumstance. Spinning reels are the way to go if you are searching for versatility. They can cast light tackle over considerable distances and are very adept with heavier bottom fishing gear. You may tailor your retrieval rate to match the lures you are fishing with, as the same model is typically available with several retrieval speeds.


Spinning reels have just two downfalls.

The initial flaw is a line twist. This occurs when the line twists as it exits the spool, and when it is recovered, the twists pile up and are finally pulled back into the reel and spool. This impedes the smooth operation of the reel and typically restricts casting distance or prevents casting entirely.

To correct this, you must open the bail and take a line off the spool until you reach the twist, untwist it, and then reel the line back in a while, creating tension with your fingers.

Another disadvantage of spinning reels is that they are rather difficult to use. This makes them less appropriate for novices, as learning how to use a spinning reel may be relatively difficult.

Here Are The Best Spinning Reels For 2022

1. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

The Penn Battle II is a bit more expensive, but it is suitable for saltwater applications. If you’re looking for a reel that will last a lifetime, this is it.

2. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel

The Pfleuger President was discussed in our spincast section; here is the spinning reel version. This reel provides an excellent balance of price and quality.

Due to the abundance of spinning reels on the market, we limited our choices to the reels listed above. If you wish to explore the entire universe of spinning reels, go here.

(5) Spinning Reels

Finally, we have baitcasting reels at the end of the line. These are the most complex in terms of features and mechanics. Our, along with their very complex functioning and temperament, makes them the most challenging reel on this list.


There are several types of baitcasting reels, each with its own specific features.

Low-profile baitcasting reel

One design is the low-profile bait caster, which is the reel most frequently used by bass anglers and those who fish in dense cover. It is a little, tiny version of a standard bait caster. It features a smaller spool and a somewhat flatter profile, thus the name.

In conditions with dense cover and large baits or lures, such as bass fishing, the low-profile baitcasting reel is preferable. Because of its construction, it can accommodate a thicker test line and cast heavier tackle than spinning reels. Due to the free-spinning spool, a large amount of weight is required to get the spool moving and cast the line and tackle far enough. This characteristic precludes the use of light tackle on a tiny baitcaster, as employing light lures will make casting nearly impossible.

Sizeable and offshore

The other baitcaster style is the full-size and offshore variety. These are the big reels that spring to mind when deep-sea fishing is mentioned. Their primary application is for large fish, including salmon, sturgeon, sharks, and tuna. The smaller variants are utilized for large freshwater and coastal fish.

The extremely large sizes are suitable for just about anything you can throw at them. They are usually utilized when casting or trolling large baits over short distances or when dropping them straight down. Their shape allows them to handle a big length of heavy-test line, making them perfect for catching large fish.

Most baitcasting reels include powerful drag mechanisms that assist the angler in gaining the upper hand on fish when hauling them out of cover or engaging in a battle with any large fish.


Casting a baitcasting reel can be challenging for novices. This is due to the free-spinning spool described above. To control the pace at which the line departs the reel, the angler applies pressure to the spool with their thumb to prevent backlashing and bird nesting.

As a beginner, controlling the spool’s speed might be difficult to master. However, if the proper technique is discovered, fishing with a baitcasting reel can be quite enjoyable and rewarding.

The majority of new reels include anti-backlash systems, although thumb pressure is still essential to prevent a large mess. Baitcasting reels are an excellent choice if you intend to target large fish such as sturgeon, sharks, tuna, and other ocean-dwelling species. Or if you want to pull heavy-hitting predators such as bass and pike from dense cover.

If you’ve never used a baitcasting reel before, be prepared to perform some untangling. However, if you get the hang of it, baitcasting can be a very satisfying and productive approach to fish.


There is a great deal of fishing equipment on the market, and telling them apart may quickly become difficult and intimidating. There are tens of thousands of distinct reel types, each with its unique set of features, making it even more difficult to choose one.

If you are searching for a new reel or are new to fishing and need a starting point, we hope you have found what you were looking for.

Hopefully, this article has made the decision to purchase a new fishing reel a bit simpler or clarified any misconceptions you may have had regarding the numerous types of fishing reels available on the market, as well as helped you determine which reel best meets your needs or fishing style.

Leave a Reply