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Fishing Reel Parts of Spinning Reels

Fishing Reel Parts of Spinning Reels

While there are different types of fishing reels, one of the best types for beginners is a spinning reel. Learn about the parts of a spinning reel and look at a fishing reel parts diagram.

Parts of a Fishing Reel

When learning how to fish, it’s important to know the parts of a fishing reel and what they do. Spinning reels are often referred to as an open-face reels. They are generally the most popular type of reel for beginners because they are easy to use and less prone to tangling than baitcasting reels.

Next, let’s learn about the specific parts of a fishing reel and the purpose each part serves (check the diagram of fishing reel parts along with the part descriptions).

Reel Body

The reel body or housing refers to the main component of a fishing reel. With most spinning reels, the body consists of a support arm, a foot that connects to the rod, and the gear box housing. Most reel bodies are constructed from either graphite or aluminum. Aluminum is stronger, but it is also heavier and not as likely to hold up to saltwater conditions. If you are considering a reel for saltwater fishing, graphite is a good choice due to its corrosion-resistant qualities.

Reel Handle

The reel handle is one of the most important fishing reel parts. Since the handle is rotated by hand to retrieve line back to the rod after making a cast, the handle should be smooth and comfortable to hold. Most reel handles are either round or T-bar shaped and can be operated by either the right or left hand (depending on which socket is used to secure the handle to the reel body).

Reel Spool

The spool is the part of a reel that holds the fishing line, but it also plays an important role in casting distance and smoothness. Most spools are made from either Most spools are made from either anodized aluminum or graphite (graphite is lighter while aluminum offers greater strength).

Drag Adjustment

A common feature of a spinning reel spool is the drag adjustment knob. The drag adjustment knob looks like a dial and is generally found on the top of the spool. Learn how to set the drag according to the breaking strength of the line.


The bail on a spinning reel acts as a gate for the line on the reel spool. When the bail is engaged, fishing line is prevented from unwinding from the spool. When the bail is open, as it would be when casting, it releases line from the spool. During line retrieval, the bail serves to guide fishing line back onto the spool of the reel.

Anti-Reverse Switch

Anti-reverse is a feature of a reel that engages the drag and prevents it from turning backward. When the anti-reverse switch is off, it allows you to reel in reverse, rather than relying on your drag system for line tension. This can work effectively at times for lighter fish, but most anglers rely on the drag system.