6 Secrets To Using an Open Face Rod and Reel

By Alycia Downs

Sep 17, 2018

Learn the secrets to using an open face rod and reel like a pro.

To divulge the secrets of using an open face rod and reel, we must first clarify what exactly an open face rod and reel is. The more common term is spinning reel and it’s the most popular type of reel used in the fishing industry today. Beginner anglers favor an open reel fishing rod setup because it’s easy to learn with, yet has plenty of room for advancement. If you’re new to fishing, here are some secrets that will have you using an open reel fishing rod like a pro.

1. The Reel goes underneath the Rod

With baitcasters and spincast reels, the reel placement is on “top” of the rod. This can cause confusion when converting to an open face rod and reel which is designed with the reel underneath the rod.

2. Choose the right Reel Size 

Choose a reel size that's ideal for the type of fishing you plan to do. Spinning reels range dramatically in size from 1000 to 20000 or maybe more! Size 1000 to 3500 are considered small reels ideal for small freshwater species such as bass, trout, and bream. Size 4000 to 5500 are medium reels perfect for most inshore and nearshore saltwater fishing needs.

3. Look for an Anti-reverse locking Handle

This function prevents the reel handle from spinning backwards if your hand slips off. When selecting a reel, be sure it includes an anti-reverse handle.

4. Close the Bail Manually

It’s possible to auto-close the bail by reeling, but closing it manually will help preserve the life of your reel and prevent any unwanted twists or tangles in the line.

5. Know the Drag and How to use it

When you hook up to a fish, a reel’s drag system allows line to be pulled off the spool while maintaining resistance that keeps pressure on the line. Setting the drag correctly will allow you to have a fun, controlled fight. Setting the drag too tight will result in a snapped line.

6. Ask an Expert for Advice

Creating your dream rod and reel setup can be overwhelming when searching the black hole of the internet. Do your research, then get a second opinion from an expert at your local outdoor retailer. Check out fishing forums or see what the pros are using.

Now that you know the secrets to using an open face rod and reel, get out and fish! Or if you want to learn more, check out tips on how to cast an open face rod and reel or choosing fishing rods that are right for you.

Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs is a freelance content creator and avid sportsman who contributes to numerous publications promoting tourism, fishing, and outdoors. Alycia is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and is actively involved with conservation and fishing non-profit organizations. Visit her personal blog at tideandtale.com or on Instagram @tideandtale.