Best Fishing Reel

What is Fishing Reel and Types of Fishing Reel

Written by John Carter


A fishing reel is a hand-cranked reel used in fishing for winding and unwinding the fishing line. It is designed in such a way that it is attached to the fishing rod.

It has a spool that holds the fishing line, a brake to slow the running fish, and a bracket to fasten the fishing reel to the rod. Modern recreational reels have fittings aiding in casting for distance and accuracy, and it controls the line’s speed and tension, avoiding line brake and dislodgement of hook. Fishing reels are traditionally used in the recreational sport of angling.

Fishing Reel

The earliest known fishing reel was apparently invented in china from china paintings and records beginning about 1195 A.D. In the west, the fishing reel first appeared in England around 1650 A.D. By the 1760s, London tackle shops were advertising gear retrieved or multiplying reels. The first fishing reel was invented in America around 1820, a bait casting design that quickly became popular. Today, there are varieties of types, models, styles, and features for a fishing reel. This depends on the particular types of fishing.

Types of Fishing Reels:

The most popular reels are bait casting or conventional reel, spinning reel, and spin-cast reel. Outfitting your fishing rod with the right reel is very important because each type of reel has different functions and skill levels. So, to help you find the best reel, we listed each type and its functional benefits for your fishing styles.

Spinning Reel or Spincast reel

The spin cast reel is one of the easiest reels to use, making it much simple and designed for children. This reel has a cover and closed face that protects all the essential parts of the reel.

Spinning Reel

For using a spin cast reel, simply press the thumb button present on the back of the reel, and the line will start peeling out. Once you let go of the button, the line will stop peeling out. This process makes it easy to use. Spin casters feature a metal nose cone that covers all the important components of the reel.

Pros & Cons

The two main advantages of using spin cast reels are that they are much simpler to operate, and they are the cheapest type of reel out of the others. You can pick up a spin-cast reel for as little as $20 nowadays. Spin cast reel is used by middle-aged angler used to start their fishing career. So, you can bet it creates the highest peak in their heart!

The drawback of this reel is that it is a closed face; a design tends to keep water inside the reel, which damages it over time. Number two, its close design gives limited distance and accuracy. Thus, if you want to become a professional angler, this type of reel is not for you.

Baitcasting Reel or Casting Reel

The bait caster is the most advanced type of fishing reel. The bait casting reel is extremely difficult to control. The design of this reel is made exclusively for accuracy, not for easy control and usability. Thus, you can become professional by using this reel practice makes perfect. It requires the guidance of your thumb to keep the line from unspooling. One of the main features of bait casting reels is that the spool rotates when the line is released. So, there is less chance of the twisting of the line as compared to a spinning reel.

The rotations of the spool help increase the casting distance and accuracy than other casting reels available. Bait casting reels are a good option for casting in weeds and near shorelines.

Baitcasting Reel

Features and Design

The first thing you will notice on a bait caster is that it fits on the top of the rod handle. It is a semi-enclosed design. Many baitcasting reels today are made using Aluminum, stainless steel, or synthetic composition material. It includes the level wind mechanism that prevents the line from being trapped under the spool during rewind.

Many are fitted with anti-reverse handles and drag designed to slow run by powerful and large fish. It usually requires a heavier lure for proper operation. Its gear ratio initially was about 3/1, later, it was regularized to 4/1, but recent development has seen many bait cast reels having a ratio of 5.5/1 or even higher.

A higher gear ratio allows a much faster retrieve of line. It has two additional parts that give extra performance and customization. These are the spool tension knob and braking system; both are mainly used to adjust how fast the line is going out of the reel.

Spool tension on most bait casting reels is adjusted by using adjustable spool tension, magnetic control, or centrifugal brakes. Each time of different weight of lures is attached, it must be adjusted. The baitcasting reels are in such a way that they will operate with a wide variety of fishing lines. Most bait casting reels can also use thumb or palmed to increase the drag.

A change in the baitcasting reel is the big game reel. These are very large fishing reels, designed and built for heavy saltwater species such as sailfish, sharks, tuna, marlin, etc. bait casting reels are not only designed for casting but also used for fishing set baits or lures in oceans.

In the U.S., bait casting reels are also known as conventional real or boat reels.   

  In Europe, it is known as multiplier reels due to their gear line retrieve. The bait casting reel contains more moving parts than the spin-cast or the spinning reel. So, it requires training.

Based on what fish you want to catch, what type of lure and bait you need. The bait casting reel has the following features.

Rounded and Low Profile Baitcasting Reel

Rounded bait casting reels carry more lures, which can be used by anglers who use heavier lines. It can suit larger baits, but it is difficult to control.

Most beginners choose a low-profile bait casting reel, which is the most popular profile than the rounded profile. It is easy to use and gives more control when you are casting. It is mostly used for bass fishing.


You can choose the material between Aluminum and graphite. Depending on the material, the price can vary.

In the beginning, you must buy the cheaper one for practice and learning. Aluminum is sturdier and can handle rough use. A lot of anglers choose this option. Graphite is lighter but prone to damage. It is cheaper. The spool is mostly made from Aluminum; however, the high-ended model used forged Aluminum. The spool is seldom drilled to reduce weight.

Ball bearings

A smaller number of well-designed ball bearings is better than a larger number of poorly made ball bearings. If the quality of both ball bearings is the same, then you go to the higher number because quality is most preferred over quantity.

Gear system

The higher gear ratio should go to 7.1/1. Slower performance is mostly done with crankbaits. So, it has a gear ratio of around 5.4/1. The medium option is 6.4/1, which can be used in many conditions.

Braking system

However, the brake system is introduced in bait casting reels with developing technologies. A braking system is used to slow down the spool while casting. Otherwise, the spool gets turned. There are different types of braking systems.

Magnetic ones use a magnet to slow down the spool, and centrifugal ones use friction to slow down. Some reels have two kinds of braking systems. The magnetic one is great for beginners because it does not completely depend on the angler to operate. 

Baitcasting Reel Operation

The bait casting reel and rod can perform their operation by moving the rod backward and then pulling it forward. The weight of the lure pulls the line of the reel during the forward cast. So, the thumb stops the lure at the specific position, preventing the spool overrun. A modern braking system helps to control backlash.

For the use of a baitcasting reel, it requires practice to become a fisherman for the best result.


Bait casting reels do not contain a bail. So to resist the spooling, you actually used your thumb against the spool. Once the bait hits the target point, you only press a clip to stop the line. And you can surely do this.

Pros & Cons

Bait casting reels are the most powerful reels that can handle heavy lines and produce a lot of pulling power. It is highly customizable. One difficulty is that different weights of lines/lures demand different settings for the spool tension knob and braking system. This means you have to adjust the setting for everything you change line/lure. Another drawback is its price. These are the most expensive reel you will ever find. It ranges from $100 to $500, based on its quality. These are the most expensive fishing reel you will find. It depends on your choice, are you can handle this.

1. Abu Garcia Black Max

Baitcasting Reel

If you are looking for your first bait casting reels, Black Mac is an excellent starting point! The Black Mac comes only in one model. It is one size fit for all type of reels. It has a one-piece single solid graphite frame. It has an Aluminum spool, five ball bearings for smooth retrieval, and a good gear ratio of 6.4/1.

 In Black Mac, the power drag system is also a very impressive component with a drag rating of 18lbs, which is the highest for all these low-profile reels. So, even though there is a single model of Black Mac, it can easily handle a large fish.

Abu Garcia Black Max

 All types of anglers use this type of reel, but secondary reel for the advanced angler.

Key features

  • It has a reasonable price point
  • It has a good gear ratio of 6.4/1
  • Contain one-piece graphite body
  • It has an impressive drag rating of 18lbs

2. KastKing Royale Legend

KastKing Royale Legend

Similar to Abu Garcia Black Mac, Kast King Royale Legend is a single model bait caster at a low price. This type of reel has many impressive features. This reel comes with an amazing gear ratio of 7.0/1. It has a dual braking system (magnetic and centrifugal), which helps proper functioning.

With this speed, you will get your baits back very fast and ultimately give you the highest cast within the day. Its line capacity is 12lb mono line. This is helpful for long-running fish with short trolling equipment. It can be used in salt water and has a quality of construction. Overall it is the best reel for the beginning of the secondary reel for the multi-reel angler.

Key features

  • It has a reasonable price point
  • It has a high gear ratio of 7.0/1
  • Having a large line capacity
  • It can be saltwater approved
  • It has a dual braking system

3. Lew’s Speed Spool LFS Bait casting reel

Lew's Speed Spool LFS Bait casting reel

Lew’s is the lightest bait caster and a tough quality product. The one-piece Aluminum frame is exactly like the bait casting reels you want lighted and tough. It has a two-way braking system, magnetic and centrifugal. This braking is important in controlling the spool speed.

This reel has many components, which make it the best baitcasting reel out of the others. The price point and quality of this reel are very impressive.

Key feature

  • It is very lightweight.
  • It has a dual braking system ( magnetic and centrifugal)
  • It contains a one-piece Aluminum frame
  • There are four types of model is available

Spinning Reel:

The spinning reel is the most popular reel because anglers of all levels use it due to its superior open-faced design. This design adds versatility to a reel, providing extraordinary accuracy and usability. In fact, its design enables the spool to have excellent line capacity, and you can change the lure easily when needed.

Spinning Reel:

It is more complicated to use than a spin cast reel but easier than a baitcasting reel. Beginners have no trouble using it, and experienced anglers also use it.

Features and designs

Besides the spin-cast reel, the spinning reel has an open-faced design with drag adjustment on the top. It has a metal ball that aims to prevent the line from unspooling and locks the line. The bail is present, which guides the line back into the spool.

The spinning reel is attached below the rod. This not only provides holding capacity but also gives you impressive balance while casting. So, casting with a spinning reel is very easy!

Most anglers must have at least one spinning reel. Casting with a spinning reel gives you more control, so, during practice, the angler used this to learn distance and accuracy with a spinning reel than any other reel.

You use a spinning reel for the casting of lighter to heavy fish. So, it will likely be the best addition to your collection. If you are using a spinning reel for the first time, make sure you are spooling. Your line in your spinning reel correctly and in incorrectly spooling, which become a headache later on. But many spinning reels come pre-spooled if you are not comfortably spooling your own line.


The spinning reel can be cast by disentangling the bail and holding the line against the rod using the index finger, which prevents unspooling. Then oscillate the rod from overhead or side. As you have done this, release your index finger.

The one main thing many people do wrong with a spinning reel retrieves the bail after casting. Most spinning reels automatically close the bail after your reeling start. That’s why the line tangles to the spool when using the first spin. When you throw out the line, always retrieve the bail back to its original position by hand.

Pros & Cons

Spinning reels are the most amazing fishing equipment. It can easily work with smaller baits and lures. It is greatly preferred for a large number of habitats and species. Combined with thin braided lines, they provide serious pulling power once you get them, and they will give you impressive casting distance. They are known as a golden middle for most anglers. Its price ranges from $50 to $150, depending on its quality.

The drawback of a spinning reel is that if you are not using it in the right way, its bail easily twists and tangles. Second, you are limited to lighter gear and lines.

1. PENN Wrath Spinning Reel

PENN Wrath Spinning Reel

The PENN Wrath was built during legendary PENN durability. It has a corrosion-resistant graphite body with an anodized aluminum spool. It has two stainless steel ball bearings and one quickly anti-reverse bearing. Its size is available from 2500 to 8000. It is lightweight. When you target large fish, it will give you the confidence you need.


  • It is a lightweight and corrosion-resistant graphite body
  • It has two shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • It has one instant anti-reverse bearing
  • Machined and anodized aluminum spool present
  • Having line capacity rings

2. Dukclyn Spinning Reel

Dukclyn spinning reel is a powerful, lightweight freshwater fishing reel. It has a gear ratio of 5.2/1. It has a 3+1 ball bearing. It contains a reversible handle for retrieving and an aluminum spool.

It is perfect for beginners and anglers. It is the best gift for people who enjoy fishing. It can be used for fishing in lakes, ocean boat fishing, stream, beach fishing, etc. it can target the species such as bass, catfish, steelhead, shad, perch, carp, etc.


  • It has a sturdy structure and mirrors polished surface. A narrow graphite frame maintains its toughness and tenacity. It can easily make an angler into PRO.
  • It is a lightweight, strong skeleton, rust-proof, and computer balancing surface. So, it is very reliable for casting and retrieving.
  • Dukclyn’s has three quality ball bearings and one anti-reverse bearing, which help in smooth performance.
  • It makes little noise during use.
  • It is versatile for the lake, river, pond, stream, boat fishing, beach fishing, and many more.

3. SOUTH BEND Microlite Spinning Reel

SOUTH BEND Microlite Spinning Reel

It has been the better quality reel in the industry since is used today for active families and anglers of all ages. It makes fishing simple and fun. It has five ball bearings, an aluminum spool, adjustable drag, and an instant anti-reverse rotor.


  • It has five ball bearings
  • Drilled Aluminum spool
  • Anti-reverse balanced rotor
  • Right and left, retrieve the band
  •  5 line capacity

How can you compare Baitcasting Reels vs. Spinning Reels?

Bait casting vs. spinning reel:

Here we look at the comparison between the baitcasting reel and spinning reel.

Bait casting reels using heavy lures (such as frogs, heavy jigs, etc.) while spinning reels using lighter lures (such as micro jigs, etc.) for bass fishing.

A question arise “Which type of reel is better for bass fishing?”

But actually, both type of fishing reel is perfect for bass fishing, and your choice depends on your personal preference. There is some misleading that bass fishing only uses bait casting reels, but that is something true. Because much angular use bait casting reels for bass fishing due to highest accuracy. It is often concluded that if you are a beginner, just start your bass fishing journey; then, starting your profession with a spinning reel is better until you become a master at catching plenty of fish with it. In addition, a spinning setup is much better with a lightweight tackle.

Distance; spinning reel is a less accurate bait casting reel and has the ability to cast a large distance than a spinning reel. If you connect the baitcasting reel with the right casting rod, you will get a record casting distance at a precise value. Due to this feature bait casting reel is much better than a spinning reel, and that is why many anglers prefer a bait caster over a spinning reel for fishing.

Choosing among the two most commonly fishing reel is not easy enough because both have certain advantages. Professionals make both types of reels and have many extraordinary models at a reasonable price. The main and biggest difference between these reels is the spool. The spool of a spinning reel is fixed. Whitebait casting has a revolving spool. The spool has a greater impact on its performance.

Bait casting has a braking system [magnetic and centrifugal] which slows down the system when the lure hits the water. Unfortunately, it causes backlashes when casting in the wind, but the spinning reel has less chance for tangle and twist, so it maintains the process easier. Spinning reels are mounted below the rod, while bait casting reels are mounted on the top of the rod.

A fish rod will bend when you are fighting, so a baitcasting reel is a better choice to withstand larger forces. Depending on the size and other features, both reels are better for fresh and salt water. Fishing at shore or boat using a popular jigging technique. If you are dealing with large fish, you would have to use a baitcasting reel because it has heavy lines. If you are dealing with smaller fish, you must use a spinning reel. A spinning reel is more happened line twisting while bait casting is tangling, especially when anglers are not skillful. Line tangling also happens in spinning reels too, but it is usually a lesser problem than on bait caster. In the end, bait casting has numerous advantages over a spinning reel. Like winder gear ratio, greater accuracy, great casting distance, lighter weight, highest line capacity, etc., with many advantages, it has the following drawbacks: harder to use, high cost, not suitable for very light lines, and tangling. These downsides of bait casting can be eliminated if anglers learn how to use it properly. Similarly, spinning has some advantages over bait casting. In some conditions, it works better than a bait caster reel.

Our expert buying guidelines

Having the right fishing reel during your job can make your task easier. So, it is important for a person to know about different types of reels because all are designed for a specific task, as we discuss all the features of a spinning reel and baitcasting reel above. The choice of reel depends on your intended purpose. A spinning reel is much better for beginners because it is easy to handle. It has a wide price range from high to low.

Bait casting reels tend to be more complex and expensive. It is useful in special conditions when targeting large fish such as tuna, shark, etc. it is best for any target medium. If you want to become a professional angler, then this type of reel is much better for you.

The main difference between reels depends on their fresh water and saltwater use. Most freshwater reels can’t work on saltwater because it becomes useless due to rust. So, the saltwater reel is more expensive than the freshwater reel.

What is considered when you buy a spinning reel?

The purchase of a reel must depend on your intention. If you want fishing every week, rain and sunshine, etc., purchasing a spinning reel with the additional feature will leave a hole in your money because an expensive reel has a high-grade component? If you want fishing, plenty of reels are available on the market at affordable prices.

In the end, if you want to start your fishing carrier, then you must start with the quality of the reel or spinning reel. If you want to become a professional angler, you must know how to deal with a baitcasting reel.


To summarize the advantages and disadvantages of baitcasting reel vs. spinning reel. The spinning reel is generally easy to use, cheapest, and versatile. It is an excellent choice for beginners and a general-purpose reel for recreational anglers who like to fish on holidays. Bait casting reels have much better casting quality than a spinning reel. They are more expensive than a spinning reel. It is difficult to use. So, it is used by experienced anglers [who use it for a specific purpose]. If you choose this reel from spinning and bait casting, you should choose the one which better for the fishing technique you are practicing. Learning of baitcasting reel takes time.

Why is the bait casting reel not suitable for beginners?

The biggest problem of bait casting reels is backlashes. That is why it is not suitable for beginners.

About the author

John Carter

Hi, I'm John and living in Florida. I'm a well-known writer and known to be the author of most of the articles published on various fishing reel sites. I am an avid fisherman and expert when it comes to fishing reels. I'm also a part-time lecturer in the university and conduct classes on fishing reels and fishing rods.