Fishing Reels – Choosing the Right Fishing Reel for You


If you are a veteran fisherman, then you probably know everything that I'm about to mention on this page. But for new fisherman, this page is just for you. If you're looking for information on choosing the right fishing reel, this page will break it down for you. This page will also describe which type of reel you will need for which particular circumstances.

There are three basic types of fishing reels:

  • Fly fishing reels
  • Bait casting reels
  • Spinning reels

Fly Fishing Reels

Fly fishing reels have been defined as both science and art. Of the three types of reels, fly fishing reels are the most expensive. If you have already purchased an expensive fly rod, you may be tempted to saving a few dollars when purchasing a fly reel. Technically, you can buy a fly fishing reel for $15 - $1000. However, if you purchase one for under $50, then your purchase will be basically worthless. Purchasing one between $150-$200 should last for life.

The most important part of the fly fishing reel is to hold your line. Therefore, quality is of most importance. When examining fly fishing reels, make sure there are no plastic parts. Plastic will fail when you have a large fish on the line and you will lose it once the plastic snaps. Therefore, make sure your purchase is constructed of good quality aluminum or graphite.

There are three different types of fly reels:

  • Single action
  • Multiplying
  • Automatic

For beginners, your choice is simple: the single action fly reel. The single action fly reel is the most popular of the three types because of it's simplicity. Also, there are not many parts inside of the reel that can break down. Two other advantages of single-action fly reels is that they have more capacity than other fly reels and changing the spool is relatively easy.

Because of these advantages, virtually all serious veteran fisherman use single action fly reels. If you are serious about fishing and want a fly reel that will save you from serious headaches and last a long time, then consider purchasing a single action fly reel.

Bait Casting Reels

Contrary to fly fishing reels, bait casting reels are extremely complicated. These reels are not designed for beginners or children and will cause you serious headaches.

Bait casting reels are used by experienced veteran fisherman who catch big fish such as salmon, bass and pike. Even though these reels are great for catching large fish, it does take significant time to perfect the casting technique. But bait casting reels do have the advantage of farther casting, better leverage and more precise lure placement. Basically, bait casting reels are made for catching bigger fish because they are made for heavier lures and heavier lines.

Heavier lures allow for fisherman to fish at higher speeds and the heavier lines are great for fighting those big fish such as salmon. Basically, you are able to put more pressure on the line without being afraid of it snapping.

One of the reasons that beginners have trouble using a bait casting reel is because the reel actually sits above the rod. Because of this, anglers have to use their thumb to control the spool and lure placement. Beginners also have trouble with backlash. Backlash is what occurs when the line gets tangled in the spool.

The steep learning curve of bait casting reels is the biggest disadvantage. It takes a tremendous amount of practice otherwise your line will be tangled in the spool all day long. Although the advantages are clear, the disadvantages far outweigh them. So unless you are a veteran angler, stay away from bait casting reels.

Spinning Reels

It is becoming more apparent that spinning reels are the choice of experienced anglers because they are easy to use and don't have the steep learning curve of bait casting reels. Choosing the right spinning reel can be difficult for the inexperienced so here are some tips to help you purchase what's right for you when you're in the market for fishing reels for sale.

If you will be fishing in freshwater, you will want to choose a spinning reel with an aluminum body. But if you will be fishing in saltwater, choose a graphite reel. When looking at the body of the reel, make sure there are no loose or flimsy parts and that all moving parts are smooth and not jerky. Spinning reels have more parts than casting reels so try to choose a reel with fewer parts which will decrease the chance of mechanical breakdown.

Weight will be an important consideration in any reel you choose. The obvious reasons are comfort and fatigue. Just think of fishing reels as a bowling ball. There is a perfect size and weight for all of us. If you are trying to buy a reel online, it may be a good idea to go to a retail fishing store to get an idea of how heavy a reel you should purchase. Spinning reels are generally weighted in ounces.

Light tackle spinning reels are the best for inshore fishing. Light tackle spinning reels have a line capacity and strength in the 8 to 15 pound test range which makes them good for a variety of fish.

A big advantage of spinning reels is that they allow the rod to be held in the angler's dominant hand. Whether you are left or right handed, the handle on the modern spinning reel is reversible. Because of this, angler's have greatly increased control to the rod itself. Spinning rods are popular for catching pike, trout, walleye, perch, eel and zander.


After examining the information above, the best choice of fishing reel for beginners is the fly fishing reel. Fly fishing reels are the most popular because of their simplicity. They will save you headaches that are provided by the other two types. Spinning reels would be my second choice of reel because they are easy to use as well without a steep learning curve. And finally, please try to avoid purchasing a bait casting reel until you become a veteran angler.

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