Selecting a Spinning Reel

Selecting a Spinning Reel

Spinning reel have experienced a rebound in popularity, no longer limited to panfish anglers or kids jus starting out. Many experienced anglers have learned that having a spinning reel in their arsenal can make all the difference. But, if you have not owned one since you were a kid picking the right spinning reel can be a challenge.

Spinning reels are available in a wide price range and can include many different features. A quality reel will provide an excellent tool for finessing fish to bite, allowing you to use light weight lures and plastics. But pick the wrong one and you will find the sluggish retrieve, poor drag and inferior construction not up to the task of landing trophies you will be proud of.
Here are some of the items you should look for in any spinning reel.


– spinning reels are made from a variety of materials including aluminum, graphite and carbon composites. Aluminum is generally stronger, lighter and provides a better overall material for the body. Graphite is very light, often lighter than other materials, but not always as strong meaning it may flex under heavy pressure. Carbon composites are growing in both use and popularity, offering a good compromise in both strength and weight. Regardless of what material you select make sure the reel is tight in fit and all parts turn without experiencing and hang ups.


– the ball bearings are one of the most important aspects of your reel as they allow for smooth, reliable action necessary for long casts and quick retrievals. The greater the number of bearings the better the reel will perform under strain and is also a general indicator of expected lifespan. At a minimum you want 5 bearings, anything less will provide a drastically reduced life. Most reels are now utilizing stainless steel bearings, which increases corrosion resistance without increased cost.


– all spinning reels include a drag system, which is important in determining how well the line will control line when fighting a fish. Most drags function by tightening a series of washers while the overall system puts pressure on the gears and main drive, allowing the user to adjust the tension needed to pull line from the spool. Higher end washers will utilize carbon or graphite washers and grease, a combination which will last longer and allow for targeting larger fish species. Lower end reels many depend on felt or plastic washers, which will sometimes be oiled to reduce heat buildup. Regardless of which system is selected it should be easy to engage, operate well in a wide range of settings and experience no skips when applied.


– many people overlook the spool, thinking it is simple a place to store your line. But a poor spool design can ruin even the best reel. A wide, smooth lip is important for accurate longer casting and I would avoid any material other than aluminum. Added bonuses include the ability to use either monofilament or braided line or the inclusion of a second spool you can set up ahead of time and swap when needed.

Good luck, good fishing!

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