Different Types Of Fishing Reels | Reviews and Guides
When I started out fishing as a young lad I fished with whatever I could get my hands on.
I have very fond memories of handline fishing off the pier with a length of orange builders line and a recycled piece of mono line that was teased out of an unfortunate tangled mess I found on the beach.
Skip forward 10, 20, 30, a lot of years and I have amassed a collection of different types of fishing reels.
Each with it's own uses and characteristics.
Today I wanted to go through an overview of each type of reel that I have and where you could use it in the swim.
What are the different types of fishing reels?
(Click on the handy links below to jump to that particular reel section.)
Spincast Reels | Spinning Reels | Baitrunner Reels | Baitcasting Reels
Spincast Reel | Beginners or Kids first fishing reel.
First up I want to talk about is the spincast reel. These particular reels are great for somebody just starting out in the sport of fishing or if you want to introduce your kids to fishing.
Simple to use and very little that can go wrong with it, the spincast reel is probably the easiest of all reel types to master.
A simple press of the button on the back of the reel releases the line, which is fed onto the rod through a centre hole in the from cone of the reel. Make your cast and once the lure or bait has hit the water crank the handle to re-engage the spool and start retrieving your line.
Go into any fishing store anywhere in the world and you will spot these reels a mile off - especially if you have kids with you as they inevitably head straight for them.
Clever marketing on the part of the manufacturers because they are usually decorated as Spiderman or Barbie styles.
Can you land decent sized fish with them? That's part of the challenge. They are great for small fish and just mucking around but if you happen to hook into something a bit bigger you will find they struggle. The drag system is basic enough.
You can view a good range of well priced spincast reels [easyazon_link keywords="spincast reels" locale="US" nw="y" nf="y" tag="rdreel-20"]here[/easyazon_link] on Amazon.
If you wanted a handy guide on how to cast a spincast reel then check out the video below form Shakespeare.
Most of the big reel manufacturers like Shakespeare, Zebco, Abu Garcia, Pflueger and Daiwa make spincast reels so have a look around and find one that suits you. Price wise they are all very reasonable and great to get you started.
Overall a good beginner reel or perfect for the kids to get them started. Once you get 'hooked' on fishing you will most definitely upgrade to something a bit bigger.
This brings us on to our next reel type which is the common spinning reel.
Spinning Reel | Best all round Fishing Reel
Fish for any length of time and you will have a spinning reel. This will most likely be the first reel you ever buy. The beauty of this type of reel is that it can be used for every type of fishing.
Flipping lures into a river or lake, live bait fishing in open water or just have a leisurely days fishing on a riverbank, the spinning reel will do the job for all.
Once you get the hang of fishing with a spinning reel it's a bit like riding a bike. You will fish away all day and not even notice you are using one.
Rigging up a spinning reel couldn't be more straight forward. Fix you line to the spool with an Arbor Knot, thread the line through the rod eyes, attach a hook and a sinker, a bit of bait, and away you go.
Some people (me included) use braided line for fishing so when rigging up new line to your spinning reel you should spool up a good length of monofilament line as backing for the braid first. This gives you the additional strength and feel with zero stretch braided line when you are chasing light touch fish.
PRO TIP: When adding line to your spinning reel make sure to fill the spool fully. I always see people fishing with spinning reels and have the spool only half loaded. This really hampers your casting as the line drags on the spool when you cast out.
How to use a spinning reel
To cast your bait or lure into the water with a spinning reel you grip the line to the rod shaft with your index finger and open the bail arm (5 in the image above) and pull back the rod behind you. Your other hand will be near the butt of the rod with a solid grip ready to cast. The next stage is to fire the rod in a forward action and just as the rod tip reaches you desired target location release your index finger holding the line.
When the lure or bait hits the water you can flick back over the bail arm or crank the reel handle and this will lock the line and spool back into position for reeling in.
I could write 1000 words on this topic but lets look at a quick video from Gene Ellison to see how to cast a spinning reel properly.
Baitrunner Reel | Great for predatory fish that run...
I fished for Snapper and sharks a fair bit when I lived in Australia and one of the most popular fishing reels at the time was the Baitrunner reel. Baitrunner reels are very similar to tradional spinning reels but have a switch on the back of the reel that releases the spool into sort of a free mode.
This is very handy when you are fishing sharks and other large predatory fish who like to 'run' with your bait before they swallow the hook.
This type of fishing is great sport. You could be sitting for ages with no action and then suddenly you hear the whizzing sound of your spool nearly melting off the reel as a large fish has taken your bait and made a run for the hills.
Once the fish has had it's fun it's time to strike the rod and set your hook. The rest of the process is similar to a normal spinning reel. If i had to compare a spinning reel v's a baitrunner I would choose the baitrunner for sea fishing but keep to a normal spinning reel for inland river or lake fishing as the baitrunner action is not really needed.
If you are interested in seeing a baitrunner reel in action check out the video below where Birdy lands a monster Cod on light tackle. Quality fish on quality Shimano gear.
Kastking make a great budget baitrunner reel which you should take a look at. I fished with a Shimano Baitrunner reel in Oz that lasted me about 7 years before I lost it. A great baitrunner reel for the money at the time.
The reel in the video is the Shimano 6000OC and you can find their latest model here on Amazon
Baitcasting Reel | Best Lure Fishing Reel For Bass
The next reel we want to cover and my personal favorite is the Baitcasting reel. These particular style of reels are very popular with Bass fishermen because of their unique casting action.
Great for casting lures and flipping jigs, baitcaster reels, unique in their styling, are a top choice reel for Pro fishermen all over the world - Especially tournament Bass hunters.
Designed primarily for lure fishing the baitcaster series of reels are ideal for lures like the Biko Jig or spinner baits.
One of the primary advantages of baitcasting reels over spinning reels has to do with the cast. When you cast a baitcaster you can control the speed at which the line peels off the reel. This is great for fishing close to banks, weeds or fallen trees in the water.
PRO TIP: When adding line to your baitcasting reel (braided fishing line) make sure to use a monofilament backing first. In some cases you will get line slip if you tie your braid straight to the spool.
The reel I use has combatted this issue by providing small holes in the spool that you can thread the braid through before you load the spool.
I use the Abu Garcia Revo SX (read our Abu Garcia Revo Reel review here) and I have it loaded with top quality braided line - Moss Green by Spiderwire and it has caught me some crackin' fish over the past while. This is my go-to rig when I go lure fishing for freshwater species.
Below is a great overview of the Revo SX Baitcasting reel from the Abu Garcia team. Well worth a look if you are thinking about buying one of these reels
Pair this up with a decent spinning rod and you are good to go. One thing to note about this particular reel and all the reels we mention in this post it to make sure they are treated for Saltwater use as well as freshwater.
Thats it for now. We hope you find the information provided here on the different types of fishing reels of value. Next time around we will be discussing fly reels as we spend al lot of time during the summer evenings fishing for big trout on the Fly.
Tights lines everyone and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I'll get back to you asap.
Perfect timing on this post. I am looking for a new reel for my hubby as a Christmas present. He is mainly into river fishing as we don’t live anywhere near the sea. lol.
What would you recommend for a limited budget but that will last a good while.
If it’s for Christmas buy him one of each…
For a river fishing reel on a budget, you could look at something like the Kastking Sharky as this is a great spinning reel for the money. (click here for link)
Their reels are top notch and will stand the test of time.
Thanks for writing this up. A very handy guide I can use for picking my next reel. Which one do you prefer and why? A spinning reel or a baitcasting one.
Thanks for the comment Edison. I tend to use both spinning and baitcasting reels all the time – it really just depends on the swim I am fishing and the mood I am in.
I like the flexibility of a spinning reel because I can use it for almost any type of fishing.
Lately, though I have been using the baitcasting reel more and more. There is something about the fishing action and the precision of the drag system that’s on my reel that helps me to land a lure exactly where I want it to go.
This can be done with a spinning reel but takes a lot more practice and you don’t always get it right.
For a beginner a good solid spinning it perfect for everyday use – and suitable for inland rivers and lake fishing, but also suitable for sea fishing if that’s your style.
For baitcasting, you can go wrong with one of (these) from kastking. An awesome reel for the money.
Thanks again for the message and if there is anything else feel free to ask.