How to Choose a Fishing Reel

A fishing reel is a mechanical device that holds and spools out fishing line. It has a brake to slow running fish, a handle to retrieve line and a bracket to fasten the fishing reel to the rod.

How to Choose the Best Fishing Reel

  • Picking a reel 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.
  • 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 a reel, you’ll notice that many brands have several reels with the same name that come 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. Larger reels can also apply more drag force. If you plan on fishing for larger, stronger fish, you’ll need a bigger 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. See Fishing Line Types for more information about the types and strengths of fishing line.

You want to pick your reel so that it comfortably handles a fishing line of the same strength as recommended for your fishing rod.

Learn more about the different types of reels available in the market.

Here is an infographic, on important aspects of a spinning reel that one needs to know. Tips for Beginners When Buying a Spinning reel. Content courtesy of Propaddling.