Many anglers prefer spinning reels to bait casters. Perhaps because spinning reels present an easier learning curve, making them beginner-friendly. Also, when it comes to finesse techniques, they reign supreme in performance and usage.

However, selecting the best fishing spinning reel to suit your needs may be quite challenging. This is particularly if you do not know how this kind of equipment works and the terminologies used in describing its performance. This guide presents some useful hints for selecting the best spinning reel.

The Components of Spinning Reels

Sometimes, you may find anglers saying open-face in place of spinning reels; they are the same thing. The uniqueness of the equipment is that you can mount it to your fishing rod’s underside. You can watch this video to learn how to spool a spinning reel.

The spinning reel is suitable for beginners because of its design and ease of use. It is unlikely to tangle in your fishing line. Furthermore, it has 8 major parts which are: 

  1. Reel foot
  2. Reel handle
  3. Reel body
  4. A switch for anti-reverse
  5. Bail
  6. Line spool
  7. Spool release
  8. Line roller and drag adjustment 

The Weight and Body of Spinning Reels

The body of spinning reels is called housing and it is made of aluminum or graphite, or a combo of the two materials. Aluminum is stronger and shows less flex while graphite is on the lighter side. Quality reels for freshwater come with aluminum housing. However, if you will be fishing in saltwater, choose graphite because it’s corrosion-resistant.

Another thing you want to consider is the construction of the housing. It should not have flimsy or loose parts. All its movable parts should have a smooth performance. Also, selecting a reel that has fewer parts will help to reduce the probability of any mechanical breakdown.

Furthermore, you need to consider the weight of the equipment. When you choose a light one, it will place less strain on your forearm and wrist. And if you spend more time fishing, this is important to reduce fatigue and joint stress.

Most reels display weights in ounces. So ensure you consider the weight of the equipment when shopping. You can also compare weights online to be sure that you are comparing reels of similar size.

Picking the Right Reel Size 

Just as you can easily determine the size of your fishing line, it is easy to pick the right reel size. If you want to use a lighter line, your reel will be smaller. For instance, if you basically jig for walleye and smallmouth bass, your line strength will likely be a test line of 8 pounds on average. Therefore, your best choice will be medium-sized reels rated for 10, 8, and 6-pound lines.

You can check the information about line capacity on the reel’s spool to ensure that what you are buying has a rating for the test line that you plan to use. Also, if you are shopping online, you can get the information from the product’s chart. Typically, the chart will display the mid-line capacity. Hence, if it reads 6 LB per 90 yards, you can as well use it for an 8- and 4-pound line. 

Understanding the Ratio of the Gear

The spool of spinning reels is fixed, so we cannot discuss this type of reel without mentioning the gear ratio. This ratio is the number of times a bail will rotate around your spool when you turn the handle of your reel once. For instance, if you see a ratio of 4:1, it means the bail will rotate around the spool 4 times per one handle turn.

A ratio of 4:1 is slow but useful when reeling large fish. Also, a ratio of 6:1 is considered high in terms of retrieval speed while 5:1 is considered medium speed. You can choose the medium-speed reel if you can only make a single choice. Otherwise, adding a low-speed and high-speed to your fishing gear won’t be a bad idea. You can visit to know more about gear ratio.

Consider the Reel’s Drag System

This is an important factor to consider because the drag applies pressure to the hooked fish. It also lets out the line when dragging the fish. If your drag is not smooth and low-quality, you are at risk of lost fish and broken lines. Therefore, make sure that the type of reel you want to buy has a non-constructive, smooth drag and you can easily pull out the line steadily at any tension the drag is set at.

The drag system types for a spinning reel are rear and front drags. This is simply referring to the drag control’s location. However, there are certain differences between both styles.

The front drag system features various big drag washers, offering more performance and durability compared to the rear drag model. The controls of a rear drag are easy to access particularly when you are fighting fish. However, they do not do well with big, difficult-to-fight fish species.

Because the reel market continually makes refinements to products, the appearance of sealed drags is a noteworthy innovation. When your reel is exposed to the elements, the effectiveness of the inner gears and drag systems may be affected over time. This can result in mechanical problems and drag slippage. 

However, with sealed drags, this is gradually becoming a forgotten story. Waterproof drag systems ensure that spinning reels operate smoothly. They also add more drag power as well as durability that can last a lifetime.

The Fishing Reel’s Anti-Reverse Handle

When searching for spinning reels, a major prerequisite is an anti-reverse handle. This feature does not allow the handle to spin backward for the hook sets to stay accurate and powerful. If the reel you want to buy has even a slight backward motion, it is better to search for another model. You can lookout for the top spinning reels currently available so you can be sure of finding a reliable model.


Selecting a suitable spinning reel may be tough but learning the beneficial components will dramatically make it easy. When you purchase the best equipment for your fishing needs, it will serve you for a longer time. So, choose wisely!

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Hey! I am Jony Jindal aka Nomadic Jony, Co-founder of Go4explore Community, a travel blogger & Vlogger. I love to explore the offbeat places and share my experience though blogs, vlogs and social media. I took my feet on 7 countries yet which are – India, Nepal, Thailand, Pakistan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, Done Kashmir to Kanyakumari solo trip of 48 days, done Amritsar to Manipur solo trip, Done the trek to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal. You can follow my journey on Instagram and subscribe my Youtube Channel.


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