How To Choose A Spinning Reel?

Picking the right spinning reel is super important for having a good time fishing. Whether you’re new or a fishing pro, figuring out what to look for can be a bit tricky.

Your spinning reel affects how far you can throw your line, how smoothly you reel in, and how well you catch fish. This guide will help you understand simple things like reel size, gear ratio, and what materials the reel is made of. This way, you can choose a spinning reel that fits your fishing style, whether you’re going for small or big fish, in freshwater or saltwater.

Let’s make sure you pick the perfect spinning reel for your fishing adventures!

What Is a Spinning Reel?

A spinning reel is connected to a fishing rod and has an open-faced spool. It’s unlike bait casters where you can see the whole spool. Using this reel all day feels good because the spool is in line with the rod.

When the bail arm is open on a spinning reel, the fishing line easily comes off the spool. When the bail arm is closed, the line goes back in place on the spool.

When you’re reeling in the line, the bail arm and line roller work together to make sure the line fills up the spool evenly. You don’t have to use your thumb or finger to guide the line, which is something you might do with overhead reels that don’t have a level wind feature.

If you’re still not sure what a spinning reel is, you can get a detailed explanation in the article “What is a Spinning Reel?

How To Choose A Spinning Reel?

When picking a spinning reel, it’s not just about where you’ll be fishing. The size of the reel and the rod you pair it with also matter. Consider these factors when making your reel choice.

1. Spool Size

To help you make a smart decision, this important information will always be shown on the reel. Usually, if the spool is bigger, it means it can hold more line, but it might also cost more.

You might not always need a big capacity, so if you’re not planning to use it, there’s no need to spend extra money on it.

2. Matching Your Reel With a Rod

Keep in mind that reels, even if they are the same size, can vary in weight due to the materials used in their construction. It’s important to ensure a good balance between your reel and rod when you put them together. A quick test is to see if the combo stays relatively horizontal when resting on your index finger with the rod handle raised – that means it’s balanced.

If your rod and reel combo is unbalanced, it won’t work well. It might feel top-heavy and uncomfortable to use. Balancing them is key for better performance and a more comfortable fishing experience.

3. Gear ratio

The gear ratio of the reel determines how fast or slow it retrieves. When picking a gear ratio, think about the type of fishing you plan to do. Different ratios are better suited for different fishing styles.

To find the gear ratio, you multiply the number of turns the handle makes by the number of times the bail rotates. If it’s a 5:1 gear ratio, it means the bail rotates five times for every handle turn. A 5:1 gear ratio can work well for versatile or all-around reels.

If you’re after fast-spinning action with lures for pelagic fish, go for a reel with a ratio higher than 5:2:1. But if you’re into regular bait-fishing, a ratio below 5:1 works well for most situations. Picking the right gear ratio is important to match your reel with the kind of fishing you want to do.

4. Ball bearings

The smoother a reel is when you pull it, depends on how many ball bearings it has. If a reel has more ball bearings, it’s better, but it costs more too. Many people who fish recommend getting a reel with five bearings for a smooth pull, and it won’t cost you too much.

Also, it’s important to know that if a low-cost, unknown brand says their reel has many ball bearings, those bearings are probably not well-made. If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Like most things, what you get is usually tied to what you pay.

5. Ease of Handling

All the knobs and handles on the device should be easy to reach and use at all times. Since surfaces around water can be slippery, precautions should be in place to prevent any issues.

Another approach to ensure safety could be to incorporate a rubber handle, allowing the angler to have a secure grip in case of an emergency. Using the correct hand for fishing is essential, as results may not be the same if you use your non-dominant hand.

6. Anti-Reverse

This feature prevents unexpected surprises when the line unwinds. To unwind the reel, you need to manually turn it off, ensuring control and avoiding any unwarranted surprises.

7. Materials

The materials chosen for your reel’s construction affect its weight, versatility, and durability. Reel bodies are typically made from aluminum, graphite, carbon fiber, or a mix of these materials. Their lightweight and sturdy characteristics make them well-suited for this purpose.

Although aluminum is stronger than graphite or carbon fiber, the latter two are lighter. This consideration becomes important during extended fishing sessions or when constantly holding the rod, like when casting lures. Additionally, graphite and carbon fiber have better corrosion resistance, making them more suitable for saltwater environments.

Regularly clean your reel, especially after fishing in saltwater, irrespective of the material it’s made from. This maintenance practice helps prevent corrosion and ensures the longevity of your equipment.

8. Budget

Your choice of a spinning reel will be influenced by this factor. Different types of fishing and various fish species demand specific qualities and advancements in the reel you select.

Acquiring all the best gear can be challenging, and finding the right balance between your wants and needs is crucial. Depending on different purposes, you might find that having more than one reel is necessary.

Benefits of Choose A Spinning Reel

Picking a spinning reel for fishing has some good points:

  • Can Be Used in Many Situations: Spinning reels are good for different types of fishing, like in lakes or the ocean. They work for different kinds of fish and ways of fishing.
  • Easy to Use: Spinning reels are simple, making them great for people just starting. They’re easy to throw out, and you don’t need a lot of skill to use them.
  • Throwing Accuracy: Spinning reels are good at throwing the fishing line where you want it. The way they’re made helps you throw the line exactly where you’re aiming.
  • Not Heavy: Many spinning reels are made from light materials, so they’re not heavy to hold. This is good if you plan to fish for a long time.
  • Less Tangling: Spinning reels help stop the fishing line from tangling, especially when using thin lines or small lures.
  • Good for Live Bait: Spinning reels work well if you’re using live bait. They let you handle live bait easily, and they’re good for catching different types of fish.
  • Can Fit Different Budgets: You can find spinning reels at different prices, so there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re just starting or have been fishing for a while, you can get a reel that fits your budget.
  • Fewer Problems: Spinning reels don’t have as many problems as some other types of reels. They’re good for people who are new to fishing or don’t want to deal with certain issues.
  • Not Much Maintenance: Spinning reels don’t need a lot of taking care of. They’re good for people who want equipment that’s easy to keep up.
  • Works Well with Light Gear: Spinning reels are great when you’re using light gear. This is good for doing delicate fishing techniques.


To pick the right fishing reel, this guide helps you understand important things like size, gear ratio, and what it’s made of. Whether you’re new or experienced, it gives practical tips on balancing the reel with the rod, choosing the right size, and picking the speed that suits your type of fishing.

It talks about important features like ball bearings and how easy it is to handle. The guide also mentions budget and highlights the good things about spinning reels, like being easy to use and working well for different budgets and fishing styles. It’s a helpful guide for anyone who wants a good fishing experience.

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