How To Choose A Spinning reel

How To Choose A Spinning reel

Types of reels for spinning

A fishing reel is an indispensable piece of fishing equipment. Not too long ago, anglers exclusively used classic inertial reels, even for the different tackle. Most switched to spinning reels after their invention, and spin fishing was no exception.

Today, there are three types of structures mounted on spinning gear.

Classical Inertial: These are used mostly by old school anglers and professionals following the rules of competition, in which they are competing.

Multipliers. These reels evolved from the classic inertia system are pretty much miniature winches used for catching some monster fish, freshwater fishing, and sea trolling.

Spinning reels. One of the most common fishing reels is the spinning reel. Used by 99% of the time, and typically the first reel one will have in their tackle box.

The Main Elements Of The Spinning reel

The spool is the main element of the spinning reel. The part of the reel which houses the line and where the line comes off when you cast. When the fishing line is released during casting, the spool stays motionless, except for the movement of inertia.

When reeling in the line, there is a bracket, guide roller, and a mechanism that makes the spool move back and forth. This mechanism is engaged and driven by the reel handle and fixed to the rotor.

There are many advantages to using a spinning reel. Here are a few:

  • You can choose from a wide range of baits.
  • More control when winding and converging the line.
  • Less risk of beard formation.
  • Better accuracy when casting.
  • Easy to learn and use.

There are some disadvantages to talk about also. Twisting of the fishing line is more common with this type of reel, and they can be more complex to fix. 

If you have gone shopping for a fishing reel in recent times, you’ll have noticed that there are hundreds of different reels from different manufacturers that all look the same. Because of this, it can be harder to tell if one is a quality reel or one made in china, using poor-quality materials.

If there is a fishing tackle shop you can get to that has a specialist, it can be beneficial to take a trip and speak to him/her. Tell them what type of fishing you wanting to do and ask their recommendations. It can save a lot of hassle, not to mention money in the long run.

Checking The Housing For Quality

Double-check to see if the case is flawless to touch, searching for cracks and other defects. 

The housing design can leave the spool open. These are called open spool reels and are used with the classic straight rod.

The housing design can leave the spool fully open. Open spool reels are used primarily on classic straight rods. 

These can offer more sensitivity, make it easier to change the spool, and minimize wear on the line.

Reels with a closed spool 

The closed spool is less common. The line comes out from a hole. One of the main benefits of closed spools is that it is harder to tangle the line, making things a bit easier in windy conditions, although it is more difficult to change the spool. 

Your line will wear out faster when using a closed spool reel, while you also have less control of the line tension. 

You can also choose a reel of semi-closed type: 

The semi-closed reel has a hole across the diameter of the spool, which helps to reduce friction, increase sensitivity, and prevent the line from getting tangled.

You may not think the fishing reel is a complex piece of equipment, but they are. Reels have many different mechanisms and moving parts, although the spool doesn’t rotate. Most parts are made from high strength alloys to ensure their strength.

The static body and relatively fixed-spool, are usually made from metal, including light allows, up to the more expensive titanium that is much stronger. Many reels are made using polymers and composite materials, and graphite as well.

Each material has its strengths and weaknesses. Metals are stronger but can be heavier. Polymers, on the other hand, are much lighter

When choosing your spinning reel, it is good to find the perfect balance between weight and strength. Finding the balance between your rod and reel is important.

Mid-range reels are made using lightweight plastic spools with metal bodies. The combination of plastic and metal helps achieve the strength required while keeping the cost to a minimum.

Ultralight reels are most;y made from high strength polymers for rigging lightness. 

Ultralight reels are made predominantly of high strength polymers for premium rigging lightness.

Size and capacity

The size and capacity of the spool will let you know how much line can fit on it. Most manufacturers will show how much line, at which weight, the spool can hold. For example, a spool 1000 will have 100 meters of thread or cord 0.1 mm thick, 2000 – 100 m of line with a diameter of 0.2 mm or twice 0.1 mm, and so on.

In this regard, there is a simple rule. Depending on the characteristics of the rods, they are equipped with:

  • for light – 1000-1500 (there are even ultra-light 500);
  • for medium-lights and mediums – 2000-3000;
  • for medium-heavy and heavy – 3000-5000.


The three things that determine your set up, is the length of the rod, the test, and the action. The more powerful the tackle, the heavier the reel it requires. Choosing a lighter coil than indicated in the manufacturer’s recommendations leads to an imbalance. This means that the front part will outweigh, the spinning rod will behave unpredictably during the cast (it may even fly away from the hands of a beginner), the wiring will become more complicated, and the working hand will be unreasonably tired.

Installing a heavier model is also irrational, since the tackle is overloaded, which upsets the balance and leads to a high expenditure of the angler’s physical strength. It is best to stop at the lower limit of the weight specified in the rod manufacturer’s recommendations.


One of the things that play a part in the feel of the rel is the number of bearings there are. These help to keep things moving smoothly and the common rule is the more bearings, the better. Saying this, there’s a lot of other aspects that give the reel it’s feel, and some companies can add more bearing as a selling point, so beware.

Usually, the number of bearings is indicated by a combination of numbers (4 + 1, 5 + 1, and so on). The first number is the number of bearings in the take-up system, the second is in the line. It has been proven that 3-5 bearings in the reel and one in the line laying mechanism is enough for comfortable fishing.

Reels with more than six bearings are designed primarily for trophy fishing with heavy spinning rods. They are expensive, they weigh decently, so a beginner should not chase a large number of bearings. And, again, a branded dive reel with four bearings will last longer and more reliable than a Chinese cheap one with twelve.

Gear ratio

This term refers to the number of revolutions of the bobbin per full rotation of the handle (indicated in the characteristics as a proportion). The gear ratio is determined by the number and location of gears in the take-up mechanism. According to this parameter, the coils can be divided into:

  • power – 1: 4.0-4.7 (for trophy fishing);
  • universal – 1: 5.0-5.6 (the widest possible range of applications);
  • high-speed – from 1: 5.7 (for light and ultralights).

The most popular are medium-light class spinning rods. They are more often chosen by beginners, and the aforementioned universal coils are intended for them.

Line Layer

The outer part of the line device consists of a bracket that fixes and releases the mechanism and a guide roller. Everything is clear with the roller: its task is to direct the line to the spool, with which it, in most cases, successfully copes. True, sometimes he begins to bite the line due to wear and tear or initially poor-quality performance, which is already critical.

The bow (bracket) of the line guide ensures that the line gets onto the roller, if necessary, it can be fixed or released from the spool. When purchasing, check the smoothness of the bow (the slightest burr leads to premature line wear and problems during casting), as well as the correctness of its operation in the open and closed state.

As mentioned above, closed models, as a rule, have special triggers (triggers, buttons) that close or open the bow. This is understandable: in such designs, the bracket is hidden under the body.

Line laying mechanism

The line laying mechanism ensures that the spool moves back and forth when the line is reeled in. Thanks to him, the turns are distributed evenly along with the spool (cylindrically or in the shape of a truncated cone). The chaotic styling typical of most cheap Chinese models is a marker of poor product quality.

At the moment, manufacturers equip spinning reels with mechanisms of two types: with a worm gear (“endless screw”) or a crank drive. They transfer the rotation of the handle to the rotor. The worm gear is simpler, therefore it is used in most models of the low and middle price segment. It ensures that the line is laid in even, successive turns.

The crank gear has a more complex device (several gears, a carriage, a stem that fixes the spool), but allows you to lay the line more effectively, with a small cross (as on factory bobbins of the thread). This styling reduces the risk of beard formation to an absolute minimum.


We come to the brake mechanism, which ensures that the line is deflected when a certain force is applied (following the permitted load on the rod). The friction clutch allows you to reduce the load on the rod and other elements of the rig, which is especially important when playing large fish. It is equipped with a regulator that allows you to set the desired values. According to the rules, the friction clutch is adjusted on a load of a certain mass (tighten, catch the load, drag, gradually release the clutch until the line is dropped). However, experienced anglers feel the rig, so they allow themselves to adjust the friction clutch directly on the road, hooking the bait, for example, to a tree.

The friction mechanism can be located at the back or front of the reel. Rear drag reels are the preferred choice of trophy spinning reels. Although they are heavy, they are more reliable, which is important when playing large specimens.

The front drag is more compact, lightweight, and responsive, but less reliable and durable. It is installed on the vast majority of universal spinners.


The runner is a special mechanism that provides instant drag release and free line release. It makes it much easier to play large specimens.

The presence of a runner is typical mainly for power coils. In principle, they are often chosen by carp fishers, but adherents of trophy fishing with spinning rods sometimes buy such models.

The runner, without going into details, is a complex mechanism that disables the clutch, which, if properly configured, allows even beginners to play ten-kilogram copies. The question is: how high is the probability of catching such a worthy trophy without purposeful preparation and is it worth giving an impressive amount for such an expensive model.


Manufacturers often sin with marketing ploys, mentioning the ergonomic shape of the handle. The shape and size of the palms are different for everyone, therefore, you need to focus only on your ideas about ergonomics. Try to rotate the handle and analyze your feelings, taking into account the fact that fishing will have to do this for hours. Pay attention to the handle folding mechanism, test it for unwanted backlash, and also check the possibility of rearrangement to the other side (if you are left-handed).

The handle can be secured with a screw, screw thread, or rivet. The type of fixation does not matter, the main thing is that it is reliable and of high quality, because quite significant loads fall on this element.

Other elements

Among other points to which it is reasonable to pay attention, it should be mentioned:

  • A spare spool is available. Having a spare spool makes it easier to wind the line (more on this later). But the main advantage of the “spare wheel” is that it is possible to wind a cord of different diameters on it and change the spool if necessary, due to changes in fishing conditions. Seasoned fishermen carry 2-3 spare spools with them.
  • Long-distance casting capability. For long-range spinning rods intended for long casts, it is better to choose reels with appropriate characteristics. Such models have an elongated spool, which reduces the number of wound layers and, consequently, the resistance to the line coming off when casting.
  • Zero retraces. This function, which protects the tackle from breakage during hooks by reducing the load, is still available only in new and expensive models (marking “Continuous anti-reverse”). When the stopper is on, the handle does not turn back in principle. By the way, in such models, the gears are maximally protected from wear.
  • Anti-twist. The main problem with spinning reels is that when casting a spinning rod, the line flies off the spool in turns and twists heavily. At least partially, it is solved by the Anti-Twist system (special roller design), which reduces line twist by 20-40%.


The “Big Three” fishing reel manufacturers are on everyone’s lips: Daiwa and Shimano. 

By the way, every self-respecting brand offers both products in the mid-price range and flagship models worth hundreds of dollars. Of course, I would like to get something “like”, but even with a free budget, the acquisition of a too sophisticated coil can be attributed to unjustified expenses: a beginner simply will not be able to use all the options offered by the manufacturer. A reel for a beginner spinning player should be easy to use and reliable, the rest is from the crafty one.

The choice of a reel depending on the parameters of the spinning rod

As we said before, all the elements of the rig, from the rod to the lure, must match. The coil is no exception to this rule. If you purchase a branded rod, its technical specifications will describe the requirements for this piece of equipment. Let’s take a quick look at some points:

  • Ultralight is a high-speed “thousandth” reel with a front drag.
  • A universal spinning rod (medium-light) is a universal reel with an average gear ratio and a front drag.
  • Powerful tackle from medium and above – universal or power reel. The more powerful the tackle, the more desirable the presence of a rear clutch and a runner.

Rod mounting

Each reel is equipped with a special foot, and the rod is equipped with a reel seat. The only requirement is that the mount must be reliable, without backlash, not interfere with casting and withstand serious loads when playing large specimens.

The vast majority of spinning reels are attached to the spinning rod from the side of the guide rings, presenting a perfectly straight line with them (this should be noted when assembling the tackle). When casting, the inertia tubes are often located along the bottom of the rod. But several closed models, as well as multipliers, assume an upper position relative to the rod when casting.

Line winding

Spinning fishing involves the use of either a classic monofilament or a braided line. Each of the options has its advantages and disadvantages.

Monofilament is cheaper (compared to braid of similar quality). It stretches perceptibly in the water, which reduces the load on the rod when playing. However, this quality can turn into a negative: the extensibility of the monofilament does not allow maximum control of the bait and feel the bite, and the greater the distance, the worse things are with this moment.

The braided line practically does not stretch in the water, which allows you to confidently animate the lightest baits and feel the delicate bites of passive fish. It is twice as strong as monofilament of the same diameter, which is also a plus (reduction of windage). However, braid is more expensive and less durable, and its abrasive properties cause premature wear on the reel and spinning rings. In general, it’s up to you to decide, but the overwhelming majority of spinning reels work exclusively with braids at decent distances. The better the reel you have, the fewer problems it will create when winding the line. 

  • We collect spinning, but you can do it with one knee with a ring (it will guide the line).
  • We take the factory reel with the fishing line and fix it in any convenient way. It is better to pass a hard rod (for example, a pencil) into it and give it to the assistant, but in the absence of it, you can hold the pencil between your knees or fix it in another way. The bobbin must rotate freely.
  • We pass the line through the ring and fix the coils on the spool (with a minimum coarse knot, you can carefully use electrical tape).
  • We start winding by lowering the bow of the line guide. We make sure that the winding is uniform.
  • We finish the winding when the line level practically reaches the spool edge (1-2 mm lower).

As a rule, the spinner does not need to catch as much line as the reel can hold, but it is necessary to fill the spool, and a high-quality cord is expensive. In the lower layers, you can use rewinding (backing) from last year’s cord or a cheaper thin monofilament.


A significant load falls on the coil, therefore, we repeat: all the elements of the equipment must be in balance. Using a thinner cord than recommended by the manufacturer will cause chafing of the moving parts and spool. Casting too heavy a bait at a long distance (especially with an undefined technique) is also critical.

Any uncharacteristic “behavior” of the reel (jamming, suspicious squeaks, unmotivated change in casting distance) should alert the angler and serve as a reason to understand the reasons.

Maintenance and repair

At the end and on the eve of the season, the reel needs to be lubricated. We recommend using greases from the same manufacturer, but you can simply choose the composition per the characteristics. For the cold time, more liquid formulations are used, for the warm – thick ones. Regular engine oil will not work in this case – individual elements will still corrode.

If water gets inside the mechanism, it is highly desirable to disassemble it, dry it, and lubricate all parts.

If the coil squeaks or works with obvious tension, it is not worth turning the handle by force: you need to figure out the reasons – may be some debris got into the mechanism or a burr formed that can be cut down?

Inertial classic

The choice of a classic inertial reel is justified only in one case: a person has become accustomed to wielding an old-school spinning rod for many years. Lures are most often the bait, but you can work with wobblers, as well as jig “silicones”.

By the way, inertial coils have also changed significantly in recent decades: they have ball bearings, backstops, and even aerodynamic brakes. But all the same, it is quite difficult to handle them, especially on casts: “beards” are formed at the slightest inept movement.

The advantages of inertial coils include lightness, structural simplicity, and corresponding reliability, as well as the highest sensitivity, which has a positive effect on the quality of animation.

Tips for beginners

In general, a well-branded spinning rod, selected under the parameters of the blank, is ideal for a beginner spinning player. On that we decided, it remains only to give you some practical advice:

  • Don’t multiply entities. Buying a fancy model with many options is not worth it, at least at first. Go for a simple but reliable entry-level branded reel – if anything, it won’t hurt to break it.
  • Check coil operation. Immediately inspect the reel for defects, rotate a couple of turns to check travel, test the line device.
  • Don’t go beyond the recommendations. If possible, buy a reel along with other spinning equipment (rod, fishing line, baits), and in a regular (not online) store. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully.
  • Take your grooming seriously. Use only certified lubricants (as a last resort, special graphite grease for computers). Do not allow the coil to stay in a humid environment for a long time, react to any changes in its operation.
  • Listen to experienced anglers. If it is possible to attract an experienced spinning player to the first trips, do it. He will teach you the correct handling of equipment, set the technique of casting and posting.

We wish you not to make a mistake when rigging the spinning rod and crown your first trip to the pond with a worthy catch!

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