Types of Fishing Reels to Use With the Right Gear

By Sonnox | Fishing Advice

types of fishing reels
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Fishing might look simple for some people. After all, you just need a good-quality fishing rod, learn how to cast it, and wait for a fish to bite into your lure. There are even people who are making improvised fishing rods, which is not really a big issue because it is all about passion.

Then again, if you are passionate about fishing, checking out the equipment is very important. A fishing reel is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you need to buy.

Finding the right fishing reel for you can be a bit complicated because there are different types of fishing reels that you can find in the market right now. Let’s check out some of the fishing reels that you can choose from and find the one that would fit your preference.

Types of Fishing Reels

It’s great that you want to start fishing, but you need to choose a fishing reel that would fit your needs. Here are the different fishing reels that you can buy.

Spinning Reels

Spinning reels are the most common and also the most versatile reels in the market right now. These are very popular because they are very easy to use and they can work well with different types of tackles. A spinning reel is located below the rod, and it is parallel to it.

This type of fishing reel is a great choice for beginners because it doesn’t have any complicated settings, unlike other fishing reels. All you need to do is to spool the spinning reel, pinch the line toward the rod, and then cast it. You only need to open the bail arm, and the line will spool freely.

For accuracy, it is much better than spincast reels, but it is not as accurate as a baitcasting reel. However, this type of fishing reel is in the middle because it is easier to use. It doesn’t have a lot of power compared to a baitcasting reel since it is made for small- to medium-sized fish varieties. If you are still a newbie, it is better to buy this kind of fishing reel.

Baitcasting Reels

If you are an advanced angler, baitcasting reels are a great choice because of various reasons. It has certain features that are actually perfect for experienced anglers.

This type of fishing reel is unique because the reel is not located parallel to the rod but is mounted perpendicularly. This type of reel relies solely on the weight of your lure to cast the line through the air. It means that if your lure is heavier, you can cast the line much farther, which is different from spinning and spincast reels.

Since this type of fishing reel relies on a big lure, this is often used for catching big fish varieties. It is also more expensive, so if you are just planning to catch small- to medium-sized fish, getting a different type of fishing reel is a good choice.

This reel provides the best control and accuracy among the other types when correctly used. The chances of a backlash are also higher, so you need to have the perfect timing and stop the line as soon as the lure hits the water.

Spincast Reels

This is the most common type of fishing reel used by a lot of people. As a matter of fact, this is the first reel that you probably used when you were still a child because the reel is covered with a plastic cover to prevent any type of injury. If you are afraid of using a spinning reel or an open-faced reel, this is definitely the best choice.

Spinning reels are made for people with a bit of knowledge on fishing, and baitcasting is made for advanced anglers. Spincast reels are made for those without any knowledge or understanding of fishing. They take less effort to operate, and you don’t need to spool the spinning reel as it already comes with a fixed line.

This type of fishing reel prevents the line from tangling. However, it can still happen from time to time, depending on the situation. Nevertheless, this means that you won’t have to deal with the complicated issues associated with fishing. This is the best choice if you are not planning to continue with fishing or you just want to try it.

Surf Fishing Reels

The first three fishing reels mentioned are the main types, but there are also sub-types made for specific circumstances. This type of fishing reel, for example, is different from the others because it is made specifically for saltwater fishing. All of its components are made for saltwater fishing.

You have to know that salt water can be damaging to your fishing gears. Hence, unless they are made specifically for saltwater, it is not advisable to use them in the sea.

This type of reel is coated with a corrosion-resistant material. This coating will prevent the saltwater from weakening or damaging the parts of the reel that are exposed to the water.

Surf fishing reels also have a lot of elements that are sealed completely like ball bearings to prevent sand and salt from building up on these parts. Since it is made for fishing near the coast, spinning reels are often used for this.

Off-Shore Reels

Off-shore reels are pretty much the same with the surf fishing reels because they are both made for saltwater fishing. This means that this type of fishing reel is also protected by a corrosion-resistant coating to prevent saltwater from damaging the fishing gear.

However, this type of reel is recommended only for fishing within 10 and 100 miles from the coastline. This means that you will have to deal with bigger fish.

When you are far from the coast, you won’t have issues with sand, but the corrosive property of salt water will be a big problem. With off-shore reels, this problem can be prevented, and you can fish peacefully in deeper waters.

This type of reel is made for bigger fish varieties, so you will usually find baitcasting reels with the same properties. It has a power capacity of 20 to 50 pounds, so if you plan to catch bigger fish varieties, this will surely be a great choice.

types of fishing reels

Fly Fishing Reels

If you are interested in fly fishing, fly fishing reels are very important. Fly fishing reels are needed to balance a fly rod, and they are often constructed in two different ways: pre-cast and machined.

Pre-cast are heavier, and they are also less durable compared with machined reels, but they are definitely cheaper. Machined reels, on the other hand, are more expensive, but they are carved from solid metal. This means that it will have a lighter design while providing a strong and durable finish that would last for many years.

Fly fishing reels are focused mainly on its drag capabilities, which is one of the most important functions needed for fly fishing. Pre-cast and machined reels are both great, and they have their own set of benefits and disadvantages, so choosing one would be based on your situation.

Trolling Reels

Trolling reels are a bit different when compared to baitcasting and spinning reels. Basically, this type of reel is only made for trolling.

Instead of casting, you only need to drop the line behind a moving boat. These are made from graphite, and they also have large handles along with tough drag systems. They don’t need to be cast, so they are often larger and has more room for fishing lines.

Centerpin Reels

The center pin reel is actually a type of fishing reel that can run freely on the center pin or axle. Compared with a traditional spinning reel, this type of fishing reel actually has a large diameter spool that is perpendicular to your fishing rod. This is the perfect choice if you are planning to achieve long-distance casts.

This type of fishing reel is very popular because it is both drag-free and free-spooling. This will allow the line to actually payout while the current pulls a float. This type of fishing reel is very common to Australian and European waters. However, you can also see a lot of American and Canadian anglers using this type of reel.

Choosing a Fishing Reel

Even if you already have an idea on the different types of fishing reels, knowing how to choose the best one will be a bit of a challenge. You have to remember that fishing reels differ in their main features, and choosing a reel will be based solely on how you plan to use it.

Let’s check out some of the tips to find the best fishing reel for you.

Rod Compatibility

Do you actually believe that any rod would fit any type of fishing reel? This is a big mistake that most beginners make. If you are going to buy a fishing reel, you need to look for a rod that would be compatible with it in terms of weight. This is because the rod and reel should balance each other so there won’t be any issues while using it.

If you decide to just buy any rod in the market and choose a fishing reel without checking its compatibility, you will surely waste a lot of money.


This is a bit complicated because it is pretty difficult to know if a reel is durable or not. However, you should only buy reels that are made from quality materials.

Even if you are on a tight budget, you should only look for reels that are extremely durable. It is not a good idea to get a reel that is of low quality as it may not even last for a few uses. You have to check the brand of the fishing reels, and you should check its material as well.


We talked about durable reels in number two, but it doesn’t mean that you only need to buy expensive ones. There are a lot of affordable brands that provide high-quality reels.

You don’t need to buy from expensive brands when you can get a cheaper alternative and just maintain it regularly. Clean the reel after usage and store it properly so that it can last for a long time. Sometimes, the durability of the reel depends on how often you perform maintenance.

Skill Level

This is the most important factor when choosing a fishing reel. You need to make a decision based on your skill level as an angler. If you are still a beginner and have no idea how to fish, but you are planning to continue this in the future, spinning reels can be a good choice. These are great for beginners but are more expensive than spincast reels.

If you are a beginner and just want to try fishing, spincast reels will be a good choice. This is perfect for people who don’t want to consider fishing as a hobby or passion. If you just want to try fishing at least once in your life, or you won’t be doing this regularly, spincast reels will be your best bet.

For people who are already experienced in fishing, baitcasting reels are the best option as they are more complicated to use compared to others. Choosing a fishing reel should always be based on your skill level because there are reels that are too complicated to use and some are too simple that it won’t even be useful for advanced fishing.


Fishing is not too complicated, but finding the right gear can be a bit complicated. Aside from the rod, you also need to pay close attention to the fishing reel because it is the system that makes the fishing rod usable.

Since there are different types, it is better to choose a reel based on your own preference and how you plan to fish. As long as you know the fishing reel options that you have, deciding will not be too difficult. The tips that we provided to find the best fishing reel will also help you make the right decision and prevent you from wasting a lot of money.

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