How to Choose a Fishing Reel

Learn how to select the right fishing reel that is right for your fishing needs.

Choosing Fishing Reels

Understanding different types of fishing reels isn’t a difficult as you might think. While there are several variations of fishing reels on the market, like surf reels and trolling reels, there are just four main types to consider when learning how to choose a fishing reel. 

  • Spincast reels
  • Spinning reels
  • Baitcaster reels
  • Fly reels

While spincast and fly reels frequently found in freshwater areas, spinning and baitcaster reels are routinely listed on lists of saltwater fishing reels.

How To Choose The Best Fishing Reels

  • Picking fishing reels starts with knowing what type of fish you’d like to catch.
  • Take a few moments in our Species Explorer if you haven’t already and try to get some idea of the size and species of fish common in your area.
  • When considering how to choose a fishing reel, think about what sort of lures or bait you’ll be casting. In general, spinning reels work best for small lures and baits, while baitcasters favor heavier lures. After that, it’s mostly preference.

How To Match The Reel To Your Rod

When you are shopping for this essential item of fishing gear, you’ll notice that many brands have several reels in different sizes (for example a 100, 200, 400). This is usually based on the capacity of the spool, which dictates the overall size of the reel. So, if you plan on fishing for larger, stronger fish, you’ll need a larger reel that can produce more drag force.

Spool capacity is given by length and the pound-test fishing line that it applies to. Stronger line has a greater diameter, so less line fits on a spool. For example, you might see a reel listed as 230/6lb., which means it can hold 230 yards of 6-pound test monofilament.

Finally, you will want to pick your reel to comfortably handle a fishing line of the same strength as recommended for your fishing rod. See your rod for the gauge. Click the link to learn more about the different freshwater fishing reels available in the market.