When purchasing a fishing reel it is important to consider the style of fishing you enjoy. Saltwater fishermen will use a totally different type of reel than those designed for fly fishing or freshwater angling. Several reel variations are available, with each offering advantages unique to the type of fishing they are designed for.
Spin cast reels, which are also commonly known as closed face reels, are ideal for youngsters just learning to cast a line. The closed face design limits the amount of line carried on the spool while providing friction to reduce the tendency of the spool to backlash. This reel is excellent for casting into open water. Just press and hold the thumb button while pulling back, then release the button as your arm arcs forward. If your cast is going too far press the thumb button again to limit the cast.
Spinning reels, also known as open face reels, are probably the most popular kind of fishing reel used today. This type of reel is mounted below the rod instead of attaching above it like closed face reels. Freshwater spinning reels are extremely versatile. They can easily handle lures, crankbaits, and live bait using lightweight 6 to 10-pound test line. The fixed open face spool allows the line to slip off in coils, making it easy to cast while limiting the possibility of tangles and backlashes. Just open the bail and use finger pressure on the line to guide the cast. Close the bail to begin retrieving the bait. The drag tension is generally controlled with a dial. Another advantage of this type of reel is the simplicity of swapping reels in case you want to go after bigger fish using heavier line.
Baitcasting reels are also popular due to their ability to handle larger fish. These reels mount on top of the rod and are designed for heavy fishing line with heavier lures. Pressing the thumb button causes the spool to spin freely, enabling the angler to throw the bait. Knobs located on the outside of the reel adjust spool tension and braking, which helps to cast without a backlash. They are somewhat difficult to cast into the wind and are not well-suited for lightweight lures.
Fly reels are designed primarily as a means to hold the fishing line and provide drag instead of being used to reel in the catch. The best fly reels have a disc-drag system and only carry lightweight line. Since most fly fishermen fish from the middle of streams, make sure the reel you purchase won’t rust if it gets wet. This advice also applies to saltwater spinning reels, which are very susceptible to corrosion. Look for reels constructed from cast aluminum and graphite when facing these conditions.