All Different Types of Fishing Reels

Fishing reels are a cylindrical device attached to a fishing rod which is utilized for stowing line and winding.

Traditionally, the fishing reels are used in the recreational sport of angling and casting. Users typically attach the reels in the fishing rod, however, there are now specialized reels that are mounted directly on the boat transoms or gunwales. Indeed, modern reels have fittings that aid in retrieving the line and casting for accuracy and distance.

In this article, we will discuss what are the different types of Fishing Reels, what are the pros and cons of each type, plus the recommended product to use.


Timeline of the Development of Fishing Reels

Fishing reels have come a long way and research suggest that fishing reels started as early as 1195 A.D., as seen in a Chinese painting. During that time, the reels are attached to a twine in a bamboo pole. Its appearance is similar to the ‘fly reel’ today and it features a manual or hand-wound movement when moving.

Back then, fishing is a mean to provide food for the family. With the help of the reel, catching a fish becomes easier.

Studies show that fishing reels are used in the Western region in 1651. In the 1820s, George Snyder of Kentucky, USA manufactured the commercial version of fishing reels. Snyder’s designs are the basis of the majority of fishing reels nowadays.

Nowadays, recreational fishing becomes a hit since it gives an opportunity for people to relax, bond with their loved ones, free from the chaotic life of the city, and be one with nature.

Meanwhile, the fishing reels are originally created to enable the usage of lures which are too light to cast using the baitcasting reels. Since there is no need to pull the line using the rotating spool, lighter lures can be cast.

There is no backlash through the use of fishing reel although there are times that the line can be trapped under the spool.

The line can be detached in loose loops of line. Through the years, several level-wind mechanisms have been created to try to solve the issue. However, the majority of the fisherman would manually reposition the bail after casting to minimize the line twist.

Bait Casting Reels

Advantages of Using a Bait Casting Reel

Okuma Komodo 463 Bait Cast Reel

Using the bait casting reel takes a lot of patience, experience, and skill. Thus, these are commonly used by the most experienced anglers and fishermen.

The bait casting reel provides better control and accuracy. With this type of reel, the spool rotates as you cast. It allows the user to feather the spool for precise placement of lures. Furthermore, it has also small dimensions with no bail arm or handles which makes it manageable.

With the bait casting reel, you can simply slow the spool more and it can drop to the exact distance you want. This is how amazing the bait casting reel is regardless of how far your initial cast is.

Other benefits of using this reel are for flicking lures, as these reels have more control, better balance and better in one hand operation.

When using it for live baiting, you can definitely have more confidence in terms of power and control. This type of reel is strong and can handle heavy and larger preys like large catfish and freshwater fish such as the alligator gar.

Issues in Using a Bait Casting Reel

The only problem with this fishing reel is user can experience a lot of backlashes. A lot of part-time fishermen do not have the patience that most expert fishermen have. So, make sure you have longer patience in practicing before buying a baitcasting reel.

For more information about the best Best Bait Casting Reels in the market, check these articles:

Electric Fishing Reels

Features of Electric Fishing Reels

Daiwa TANACOM1000 Dendoh Fishing Reel

They say electric fishing reels are the bomb for the deep and these reels are changing the way anglers’ fish. As for most anglers, it makes deep fishing much more fun!

Electric reels are electric assist fishing reels. In this type of fishing reel, you have two mode settings. One setting selects a speed mode and the other is the power factor which you can adjust and alter to maintain speed and the load.

One reason why most fishermen decide to switch to electric reel is due to the frustration of winding all the way in if the baits get picked off. This could result in losing time between drops while trying to stay over a narrow structure.

So, if you plan on catching for large aquatic fishes that roam and live on deep waters like swordfish and tuna, then electric fishing reels are the best reel for you.

The advantage of an electric reel is that it has an electric motor to help you retrieve the rig or jig back and not to winch big fish up. What is also amazing with this type of fishing reel is that the reel can change automatically when you caught a big fish.

Cons and Recommendations in Using Electric Fishing Reels

However, problems also happen with this type of reel. Sometimes the reel changes down a gear when pulling in your sinker and big baits, but you can usually solve this by hitting the button and it will just switch back into high gear.

In buying this type of fishing reel, keep in mind that handling and taking care of electric reel takes a lot of effort for it to last long. You have to keep them clean and dry as possible.

Also, electric reels are all “Power Assisted” reels which mean it operates with the use of batteries. You must have a good voltage supply wherever you use it.

Moreover, direct spraying while traveling is going to damage your reel. Always clean it with good water repelling lubricant or protectant. And lastly, be mindful of the speed and your load especially when the spool is getting near full capacity.

Lever Drag Fishing Reels

Features of Lever Drag Fishing Reels

Penn Reels

All types of fishing reels have a drag system. You may think of it as a clutch or a line braking system.

The idea of using a drag is letting the line unwind in a controlled manner off the reel when a fish fights and pulls so hard that the line is in danger of breaking.

A lever drag allows more precise drag manipulation when fighting a large fish. Also, there is a lot more drag surface on lever drags which can be seen in the smoothness, durability, and power of drag that this reel has.

This is an advantage as it gives better control over drag settings. And this is the reason why all high-end big game reels are now level drag and not a star drag.

An awesome feature with lever drags is its strike setting like a full drag setting. Using this, you can vary the drag and adjust on your need. Then you can come back to a previous setting and know what the drag value is. And what’s more, once you set it for the pound test, you need not adjust it again. All of this can be done quickly and accurately with the lever drag reel.

Disadvantage of Using Lever Drag Fishing Reels

Meanwhile, the disadvantage with lever drags is that it only takes the pressure off the drag with the gear train still turning with the spool.

The lever drag reel also spins the drag disc along with the spool. This increases the mass of the spool and inhibits casting efficiency. Furthermore, this means that you have to move the lever farther.

If you are not that confident in casting but you want to get more distance with no backlash and be in control of fish in the heavy ocean current, then this type of fishing reel is definitely for you.

Saltwater Spinning Reel

Saltwater spinning reels can be classified as either high-speed or low-speed. High-speed saltwater spinning reels have a gear ratio greater than 6:1. This is good to retrieve baits at breakneck speed. While Low-speed reels use a gear ratio with less than 4:1 which offers more power for fighting big fish.

Spinning reels may have almost the same landing power as do the saltwater spinning reel, but the difference is the internal gearing of the saltwater spinning reels which is often most definitely made of special alloys.

These alloys are corrosion resistant which makes this type of reel best to use during harsh conditions like fishing in saltwater.

Benefits of Using Saltwater Spinning Reels

This type of reel is designed to handle the saltwater environment. It is made with a drag knob supported with a stainless steel shaft to avoid damage by the saltwater.

It has also a balance rotor that reduces the amount of fatigue the fishermen experiences for it avoids the reel from wobbling. Thus, the saltwater spinning reel will make you struggle less and exert less energy.

Check out other articles and product reviews for Saltwater Spinning Reels here:

Spincast Fishing Reels

Daiwa Goldcast Spincast Fishing Reel

Spincast fishing reels’ design is modeled after the spinning reels. Generally, they contain the same essential parts, however, a compact nose cone encases the mechanism.

During casting, the amount of line that was released depends upon how far the lure travels plus its weight. You cannot over-spin the spool because of its fixed position on the reel. The line will stop feeding once the bait hits the water. To retrieve the line, you just have to push a button. Meanwhile to maintain the tension, just turn the crank handle and pin inside the reel or pop up accordingly so you can control the line feed.

Spincast reels are smaller than other types of reels and it has a lower line capacity. Moreover, the lines of spincast reels are less sturdy thus these are not recommended for catching hefty fishes. Despite this, spincast reels are still good for children and first-timers!

Benefits of Using Spincast Reels

The Spincast reels are affordable than spinning and baitcasting reels. It can eliminate fatigue, backlash, and tangled lines.

Unlike baitcasting reels, the learning curve of the spincast reels is almost nonexisting. It is easy to use, lightweight, and a great tool for beginning anglers. This is indeed an ideal product for practice fishing. If you wish to catch a small fish in one spot, then a spincast reel would work best. This product can be used by children and adults starting to learn how to fish.

Spinning Reel

Features of a Spinning Reel

You might probably hear about spinning reels as “sissy sticks” and “fairy wands”. Most newbies and entry level in fishing use this type of reel. The younger generation of fishermen and anglers are brought up to fishing starting with the use of spinning reels.  Indeed, many still prefer buying spinning reels than baitcasting reels.

It is probably the most common type of fishing reel and the experience of these anglers using this reel is simply satisfying.

This type of fishing reel has a fixed spool underneath the rod and its line is drawn out by the weight of the lure or bait and tackle.

Advantages of using a Spinning Reel

Fishermen use spinning reel because it is versatile. You can use it to cast different tackle designs, artificial lures, and even live baits.

The lure sinks down faster and prevents the ‘pendulum effect.’ In addition, spinning reels can be used in salt water and it can keep resistance against a big fish on a light line.

Moreover, spinning reels are indeed a big help for bait and light tackle and you just pull the weight of the fishing line. The spinning reels do not get any tangles unlike other kinds of reels. If there are wind issues, you can still use the spinning reel.

If you are just starting on your fishing journey, the spinning reel is the best reel for you since it is easier to use than other reels. You can throw the lighter lures faster and this is indeed amazing.

Right-handed or left-handed users can also use the spinning reel. There are reels available in the market with interchangeable handles which will custom fit to the users’ needs.

Lastly, through a spinning reel, the drag can be easily adjusted amidst the fight with any sizes of fish. Whether the drag is on the rear or front of the reel, the drags of the spinning reel are easily accessible. Thus, this can give you a full range of adjustment especially on battles.

Setbacks in using the Spinning Reel

The only set back to a spinning reel is that when you cast to a target instead of the lure dropping straight down, the lure will swing away from the target in a pendulum motion. The solution is to not close the bail until the lure settles down to where your target is.

Another problem of the spinning reel is that it is susceptible to wear under harsh conditions. But with regards to accuracy, the spinning reel can place a lure of any sizes and weights into a certain target from at least twenty yards away. On the other hand, for distance, it sends a lure quite far and rarely ever gets a backlash.

What to remember about the spinning reel is that it cannot be used for heavy or larger catch. It cannot handle line weights above ten pounds. If you are fishing heavy cover or areas with rocks, use a heavier line or use a baitcasting reel instead.

Check this article for more information and products about the Spinning Reel:

Star Drag Reels

Shimano Torium SW Saltwater Stardrag Multiplier Reel

Star drag reels always work well when fishing from the rocks or sand. This type of reel provides precision and control over the drag, and these are the main reason why other avid fishermen prefer using star drag reel.

Star drag reels have a slight edge on casting ability. This type of fishing reel has a disc that is separate from the spool and does not rotate during casting, which minimizes rotational mass increasing casting efficiency.

The majority of star drag reels disconnect the gear train when put in free spool. Thus, it will cast farther or drop faster.

With the star drag, you can set the strike settings. But once you changed it, it becomes difficult to know the previous strike setting. Since there are no reference points on a star drag and you needed to add some drag pressure during fighting a fish, you won’t be able to know how much more drag you are giving the reel.

Pros of Using the Star Drag Fishing Reels

The star drag fishing reels are affordable than the drag reels for example. Second, it is impossible to move a star drag by a mistake thus it offers steady position when used. Third, a star drag is so simple and you could just forget it and leave it.

This is also a good reel for starters and inexperienced fishermen.

Cons of Using the Star Drag Fishing Reels

The star drag fishing reels can have a problem shifting from five pounds of pressure to 15 pounds of pressure within seconds, unlike the lever drag fishing reels. The star drag cannot smoothly and slowly shift straight through free-spool and into the strike.

Trolling Fishing Reels

Proberos Trolling Reel

The last type of fishing reel is the Trolling Reel. Trolling is a form of angling where lines with hook-rigged lures are dragged behind a boat to entice fish to bite.

There are three basic features of a trolling reel that cannot be found in some reels: a line braking system, an on and off release lever, and a line out alarm. This type of fishing reel offers the most versatility when it comes to fishing line options. It is most useful when presenting multiple lures covering a lot of water.

A trolling reel is designed to be heavy duty. It takes a lot of effort and amount of drag around twenty-five pounds and higher. This type of fishing reel also has lugs to strap into a harness. They are built for resolving line capacity, frame strength, and sometimes it is effective gearing.

It has a very little concern around free spool priority. Most trolling reels have heavy solid spools. These heavy solid spools have more kinetic energy than lighter spools. And this will only mean it is going to be difficult to control since it will take more force to get the spool spinning and it will take more “opposing force” to slow or stop the spool.

Benefits of a Trolling Fishing Reel

A Trolling fishing reel will allow you to fish at various depths and in a larger area quickly. This will allow you to find the strike zone for large freshwater fish and bigger game fish.

Cons of Using a Trolling Fishing Reel

The trolling fishing reels are recommended for more experienced fishermen with an increased point, like the baitcasting reels.


In sum, there are various types of reels that are available in the market. They come in different designs, prices, and purposes. Before spending your money in buying a fishing reel; keep in mind that picking the right reel will depend on the type of fish and the location of your fishing expedition.

It also takes a lot of skills and experience for each reel to be properly used. Fishing is a wonderful hobby; thus whatever reel you choose to have and you think it makes you feel comfortable; then grab it and you’ll surely have a better fishing experience and a great catch!

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