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Fishing Reel Types: Which One is the Perfect Match for You?

fishing reel types
Written by Simon Michel
Last Update: March 8, 2022

If you’re interested in going into fishing, then you should know the different fishing reel types. The fishing reel you’re choosing should match with your skills. As a beginner angler, you’ll enhance your success at getting a catch with the right type of fishing reel.

If you’re yet to know the different types of fishing reels, keep calm. This article resources that will help you to understand fishing reels.

Understanding Different Fishing Reel Types

Each fishing reel has its features and functionality that allows you to use it for specific purposes. You need to understand the different fishing reels by their features. This will help you to choose the reel that suits your needs.

The Main 4 Fishing Reel Types

There are four main types of reels for fishing. These include spincast, spinning, baitcast, and fly fishing reels. We’ll examine these reels to enhance your capacity to make the right choice.

1. Spinning Reels

Spinning Reels

This is the most preferred fishing reel among anglers. It has an open face design. The spool is fixed thus allowing the free flow of the line. This feature makes the spinning reel an excellent choice for light lures and ice fishing rods.

One of its advantages is that it casts further, quickly, and accurately. Another thing is its large line capacity. It’s very useful for beginners even though it’ll pose some challenges at first. But, it’s easier to operate than baitcasting reel.

Spinning reels are a little expensive compared to baitcasting reel. Also, they perform at limited capacity if you’re using a heavy line. Spinning reel offers a balanced feel when you’re using it with the right rod.

2. Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting fishing reels are one of the most advanced fishing reel types on the market. They’re more suitable for experienced anglers since you’ll need more skills to operate it. The spool of a baitcasting reel turns as you release the line. They make very accurate casts even though they’re difficult to use.

You’ll need much practice sessions to use it effectively. Once you master how to use it, you’ll enjoy each of the fishing moment. Baitcasting reels have good cast speed and retrieve power. This is what makes it suitable for heavy lures.

In as much as you’ll enjoy speed, power, and accuracy there is one thing to be careful of. Baitcasting reels suffer backlash and line twists. You’ll need to press the thumb control button to reduce the occurrence of backlash. Besides, it is the most expensive among the major fishing reels types.

3. Spincast Reels

Spincast Reels

The number one feature of spincast fishing reels is their closed face. This means the components are protected by the metal body. It has a small hole for the line at the cover. There is a button at the back of the spincast reel which allows you to control the cast. Pressing this button causes the line to flow out and stops when you disengage the button.

Using this reel is very easy making it the most recommended for beginner anglers. The chances of backlash and line twist occurring is very slim. Besides, it is one of the cheapest fishing reels around. But, it has problems with distance and accuracy.

4. Fly Fishing Reels

Fly Fishing Reels

The mode of operation of a fly fishing reel is different from the three reels we’ve mentioned above. It provides drag and also keeps the line as the fish fights. They’re inexpensive and also very easy to use.

You should make some research before buying a fly fishing reel. If you’re fishing in the ocean, make sure you’re buying one that is corrosion free. Also, try to buy the brand with a disc drag system. That’s not all, ensure that you’re getting one that matches the line type you’re using.

Other Types of Reels for Fishing

Now that you’re familiar with the main kinds of fishing reels available, let’s consider other ones on the market.

1. Centerpin Reels

Centerpin Reels

Centerpin reels do not come with any drag system making it one of the most used reels by anglers. But, they’re not for beginners because of the difficulty in using it. Also, they’re often expensive yet difficult to cast. You’ll need some maneuvering skills to use it.

Centerpin reels have a free spinning action that allows you to maintain the line with ease. Its line capacity is larger than most reels we have here. Thus, it is ideal for poles of 10 to 12 feet long. If you find it easy with spinning reels, you may have a different view of a centerpin reel. Since it has no drag, it’s a little difficult to handle a heavy catch.

2. Offshore Reels

Offshore Reels

Offshore reels are an upgrade of spinning or baitcasting reels. They are expensive yet durable and suitable for saltwater conditions. They’re built to withstand tough fighting fish found in the ocean waters. The most outstanding feature of an offshore reel is its protection against corrosion.

3. Conventional/Trolling Reels

Trolling Reels

This is one of the few fishing reel types that are for offshore or deep water fishing. It can handle the big sized fishes at the deepest part of the water. They have aluminum or graphite body that is sturdy enough to handle a multi-disc drag system. It has a large line capacity that can handle bigger and powerful fishes.

Conventional or trolling fishing reels can only handle a few fishing lines. But it’ll accept thicker lines. Its drag system is of star or lever. You’ll appreciate its dual-speed function that enables you to control the drag as the fish fights. Besides, it comes with a sound notification to alert you when the fish pricks the line.

4. Surf Fishing Reels

Surf Fishing Reels

You can use either a spinning or a baitcasting reel for surf fishing. Most anglers prefer spinning reels because of its lightweight, powerful drag, and versatility. Surf fishing reels can withstand harsh conditions like saltwater, rocks, and UV rays.

The best surf fishing reels are made from heavy-duty graphite or anodized aluminum. Also, they have stainless steel ball bearings that are resistant to corrosion. Besides, they’re very durable with a large line capacity to handle long distant casts. Surf fishing reels can handle various fish species and fishing techniques.

Which Type of Reel Should You Choose?

Now that you’re understanding different types of fishing reel, which type should you choose? As we mentioned earlier, your level of skill, experience, and fishing technique determines the type of fishing reel to use.

For example, if you’re a new angler, spincasting fishing reel is the best for you. This is because it’s very easy to use and the chances of line twist and backlash are low. As a beginner, you’ll feel encouraged and confident with a spincasting reel.

Spinning reels are best for intermediate anglers because of their accuracy in long distance cast. But they’re a little difficult to master. Experienced anglers prefer baitcasting reels since it holds heavy lines. It’s also good with powerful fishes.

So, there’s always a fishing reel that suits your level of skill and experience. The different kinds of fishing reels have their respective design and purpose. There’s always one that suits your fishing style. Besides, try to buy a reel that is compatible with you’ll enjoy especially one that is compatible with your rod.


Before buying a reel, you should know you’re fishing location, type of fish, and skill level. There are various fishing reel types on the market with designs that suit your purpose. So, look for one that will enhance your fishing experience.

About the author

Simon Michel

The plight of life sometimes takes you to extremes of nature and guess what, you learn the best lessons in your most difficult times. As a keen sea explorer with several years spent in yachts business, I had damn busy schedules throughout 13 years of my career. I used to free my mind from my mundane days in the sea with extreme fishing expeditions when this became not just a fun activity, but a life saver. You could say, I employed most types of fishing techniques but nothing felt better than fly fishing. That drew my whole attention for a good number of reasons. I mean, it’s an amazing feeling when you are in a light mood with buddies munching snacks and casting the fishing road. I look forward to making the most of my leisure time with this fantastic sport.

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