Different Types of Fishing Reels

Have you ever considered taking up fishing as a hobby, but have no idea what type of gear or equipment to use?

Fishing is a great outdoor activity that allows many people to escape from the demands of life while incorporating fun moments at the same time.

However, many people aren’t familiar with the different types of fishing reels. Some are suited for beginners, while others are best handled by experts. Let’s talk about the main types of fishing reels, so you can figure out which type is best for you.

Fishing Reels

In simple terms, a fishing reel is a device created to secure a fishing line when it’s launched into a body of water and later wheeled back to the fisherman.

Usually, fishing reels can be connected to a fishing rod to enhance casting distance and performance. The first prototypes were designed approximately in the 1600s, although fishing rods were employed centuries ago.

Initially, fishers utilized winches and wood spools as fishing reels, while rods were made from different materials, such as wood and aluminum.

gold fishing reel

Nowadays, fishing rods are composed of stainless steel, brass, and other compounds, and reels are made of brass, iron, hard rubber, or German silver.

In addition, manufacturing companies have integrated other devices, like gears to reel back the fishing line faster, and metal materials to improve durability.

Other fishing rods and reels have added features, such as weather-resistant properties, and are impervious to corrosion. Great if you love fishing in the rain!

There is a great variety of fishing reels manufactured in all kinds of styles and designs. Additionally, their prices also differ, from a couple of dollars for plastic fishing reels to thousands of dollars for saltwater reels.

Types of Fishing Reels

There are three fundamental categories of fishing reels:

  1. Spinning reels
  2. Spincast reels
  3. Baitcast reels

Each one of them offers different functions and features, depending on the type of fishing you wish to engage in. However, they all have the same mechanism, which is to throw a fishing line at the desired water spot to attract and catch fish.

In addition, fishing associations have designed other types of reels, such as trolling, incline ice, and mooching reels, to improve fishing during certain weather conditions, and in specific locations.

For example, trolling reels are helpful when fishing offshore, while incline ice reels are excellent for fishing during winter. In the end, it truly depends on your needs.

Remember that most fishing rods are built to a specific type of reel. Therefore, you have to be sure that your fishing reel is compatible with the rod you own. If you buy it without previous knowledge, it will fit adequately and lead to two types of situations.

You’ll either need to buy another fishing reel for the rod, or purchase a specific rod of the newly-bought reel. Either way, it will generate more expenses.

spinning reels

Spinning Fishing Reels

Spinning reels are most popular among beginners because they’re rather easy to maneuver and have a straightforward approach for fishing.

They have an open-faced configuration that allows casting in a faster and more efficient way. They’re also more precise and can be launched at much longer distances than other fishing reels.

Other features include excellent line capacity and rustproof properties. Because of this, spinning reels can hold more fishing lines and can last for longer periods of time.

It’s also a preferred choice for light lures because most spools are unmovable, which grants the fishing line free movement on the cast. Even more, the reel is located beneath the rod, which improves balance and stability.

One drawback of spinning reels is that they don’t work appropriately with sturdier fishing lines. Heavier lines can get tangled in the gears and cannot enhance the fling distance.

Our Top Pick Spinning Reel

KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels

KastKing Summer & Centron Spinning Reel

Ultra smooth, lightweight, and built to last. This high powered reel has all the cutting edge features of more expensive brands but at a fraction of the price.

How to Properly Cast a Spinning Reel?

  1. Make sure that you have a spinning rod instead of a baitcasting rod. Spinning rods have larger guides because the fishing line advances off the spool. Additionally, the reel is underneath the rod.
  2. Grab the rod with your dominant hand and grip it horizontally. Make sure that the reel is below the rod, towards the ground.
  3. Wind back the line slowly until there approximately 6 to 12 inches of fishing line hanging off the top of the rod.
  4. Position the line roller with the rod.
  5. Tug the line of the roller with your index finger in a way that you’re grabbing against the rod’s hold.
  6. As you sustain that grip, use your free hand (non-dominant) to turn the reel’s bail up.
  7. Bring the rod over your hear just past vertical and then apply a forward throwing motion.
  8. Try to let go of your index finger when your arm is at 45 degrees as this is the best angle to launch your lure into the water.
spincast reel

Spincast Fishing Reels

Spincasting reels are also a great option for beginners and experienced anglers. Unlike spinning reels, they have a closed face design, meaning that all of the parts of the reel are inside a cylindrical container known as a nose cone.

The fishing line comes out of an orifice at the top of the nose cone. However, they still use fixed spools so the line can come off on the throw.

These fishing reels are characterized by having a button on the rear of the reel for casting capabilities. When you decide to do a fling, you must press this button for the fishing line to flow.

You must first press and hold the button to release the fishing line, and then let go of it for it to come out. In other words, if you swing a spin casting reel without pressing the button, it will not work.

Due to this simple technique, spin casting reels are easy to use and reduce the probability of snaring or tangling your fishing line.

Children can use this type of fishing reel with no difficulty or risk of injury. Additionally, they’re the least pricey of all fishing reels.

Nonetheless, there are certain disadvantages when using spincast fishing reels. The casting motion is less accurate when compared to the spinning reel because of the button mechanism.

They also have less line capacity, which means that the fishing line won’t cover long distances.

Finally, spincast fishing reels should be attached to casting rods to reduce backlash and improve your flinging motion.

Our Top Pick Spincast Reel


Zebco Omega Pro Spincast Fishing Reel

Powerful and reliable, the Zebco Omega Pro casts like a dream and doesn’t cost the earth. It features 7 bearings for an incredibly smooth retrieval rate and comes pre-spooled with 10-pound Zebco fishing line.

How to Properly Cast a Spincast Fishing Reel?

  1. Hold your casting rod with your dominant hand.
  2. Make sure that the reel is on top of the rod to avoid twisting the fishing line.
  3. Press and hold the button on the back of the reel.
  4. Allow approximately 12 inches of lure hanging at the tip of the road.
  5. Pull your rod back over your shoulder while still pressing down the button.
  6. Fling your rod forward and around 45 degrees, release the button.
  7. The fishing line will come out of the nose cone and fall into the water.
  8. You can wound the fishing line back with an automatic wheel or by manually spinning the handle.
baitcasting reel

Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting reels are far more complex than the previous options. This kind of fishing reels compels great casting skills and experience because they’re difficult to master. For this reason, they’re mostly used by experienced fishermen.

Unlike previous fishing reels, baitcasting reels have rotating spools, which increases the difficulty of performing a cast.

They also have an internal system that regulates the speed at which the spool moves for greater stability. It also aligns the fishing line in the center for better aim, and increases the speed at which the line is reeled back from the water.

Even though some anglers can find them more challenging, they have the best precision of all fishing reels and can handle both light and heavy lures.

They can also cover longer distances than spinning reels, and can be pulled back much faster. Therefore, you’re able to catch bigger and quicker fish.

Some fish also pull against the line when caught, but the power in their retrieving system can overcome them and improve the catching rate.

Apart from the difficulty level, bait casting reels are also susceptible to backlash and twisted fishing lines. Because of this, your hand position must be firm to adequately control the fishing line.

Also, these reels are the most expensive of all, and their cost ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Our Top Pick Baitcasting Reel

Abu Garcia Pro Max Low Profile Baitcasting Reel

The Abu Garcia Pro Max is a smooth and precice reel perfect for anglers of all skill levels. Its tough as nails design has ample capacity for either braid or nylon lines. This unit is durabile, easy of use, and has fantastic reliability.

How to Properly Cast a Baitcasting Reel?

  1. Grab the rod with your dominant hand at about 30 degrees.
  2. Press the spool release button with the thumb and block the spool itself with your index finger to avoid the line from unwinding.
  3. Rotate your wrist to place the handle below the reel so it’s located horizontally to the ground.
  4. Pull the rod using both hands over your heard at around 30 degrees in a smooth motion.
  5. Allow about 12 inches of fishing line hang at the tip of the rod.
  6. Change the direction of the movement towards the front at around 45 degrees, while increasing the speed at the same time.
  7. Once you’re at the 45 degrees angle, abruptly stop moving the rod and release the spool to fling the lure.
  8. You must use your thumb to control the speed at which the spool is rotating to avoid any possible backlash.
  9. Observe the trajectory of the lure and carefully move the rod at a 30-degree angle.
  10. As soon as the lure hits the water, you must stop the spool from spinning with your thumb.
  11. Finally, you must rotate the handle for easier reeling if a fish bites the lure.

Popular Fishing Reel Brands

There are about a hundred types of fishing brands available in the market today, but some of the best ones include:


Shimano is one top of the top brands in the fishing industry. They offer high-quality and durable fishing reels, especially, spinning and baitcasting reels. One of their best products is the Shimano Baitrunner D, which is able to use live or dead bait and offers a smooth reeling without low probabilities of backlash. Additionally, their products are rustproof and weather-resistant. Due to their top-tier qualities, their prices might be higher than most brands.

Abu Garcia

Abu Garcia is another enterprise known for its fishing gear and equipment. Most fishing reels are very comfortable and possess a great grip, even if you have slippery tendencies. Additionally, they’re made with lightweight materials that enhance the rod’s range of motion. The Abu Garcia Black Max Casting Reel possesses great features as an introductory reel to baitcasting. Its internal brake system improves the casting distance and allows the use of heavy lures. It’s quite affordable when compared to other casting reels.


Daiwa is more famous for its spinning fishing reels. They are truly some of the best gear in the market due to the top-tier technology embedded within them. Its spinning reels have a great design that appeals to many fishermen and possesses amazing characteristics, like a waterproof frame and an adequate drag system with a proper roller and pick up. Additionally, the spinning rods are sturdy and comfortable, providing an efficient casting stance. One of its most recognizable products is the Daiwa BG spinning reels, which include previous features at an affordable price.


While it’s not as famous as other brands, Okuma is a great brand that offers good-quality fishing reels. Most products have a lightweight structure and possess a smooth drag system. In addition, its price ranges allow a wider range of selection for those who have a tight budget. The Okum Inspira is known as their top product due to its casting performance and adequate cost.


Lew’s is another fishing brands prominent for its fishing gear, particularly the baitcasting reels. They are lightweight, durable, and have a compact design. Additionally, most reels are weather-resistant and can become a true ally when fishing during heavy rain or strong winds. The Lew’s Speed Spool SLP Casting Reel lives up to its name as it provides efficient casting performance with a low risk of backlash and line tangling.

Fishing is truly a marvelous experience that can be enhanced when using the appropriate fishing gear. Spinning and spincast fishing reels are the best choices for beginners, while baitcasting reels are best operated by experienced anglers. Don’t fret if you’re unable to use a baitcasting reel. Simply practice and soon, you’ll become a fishing legend!

Nathan Barker

My wife and I are huge adventure seekers! We've traveled and explored over 40 countries and want to share what we have learned on our journey. We'll be talking about everything from hiking and camping, to guides, reviews and tips that we're sure will help any avid adventurer no matter what walk of life. So relax, grab a cup of coffee and we hope you enjoy the read!