The Fishing Reel: Types of Fishing Reels

Posted by nick under Fishing Beginners Guide

The next important part of your fishing outfit is your reel. There are two categories of reels; spinning reels and fly reels. Fly reels are for fly fishing, and fly fishing is a different animal altogether. For now, lets stick to spinning reels.

There are 3 types of reels:

Spincast: This type of reel has a closed face. All the important parts are kept inside, under the nose cone. The line comes out of a little hole in the cover. You see a lot outfits designed for children sporting this type of reel, because it is the easiest to use. To use a spincast reel, you press the button on the back of the reel during your forward cast. The line peels out, and you let go of the button the line stops. Its very easy to get the hang of this reel, but you sacrifice some accuracy and distance.

spincasting reel

Baitcasting: This is the probably the most difficult to master, because the spool turns when you cast. The spool must be kept under control so as not to turn into a nasty nest of line. It works great with heavier lines and lures, and is considered very accurate. But, because it can take a while to master casting with this type of real, they tend to be used only by experienced anglers.

baitcasting reel

Spinning: This is the most popular reel, it has an open faced design, it is easier to use than a baitcasting reel and more accurate than a spincast. It’s versatile. It has great line capacity (can put a good amount of line on it) and you can usually buy one with an extra spool, making it easy to change out your line while your on the water. Though it doesn’t perform as well when heavier line (20 pounds +) is required.

spinning reel

There is one more term you are going to run into around reels that you absolutely need to understand, and that is:

Drag: This is the mechanism that allows you to set how much resistance a fish feels when it pulls on the line. The tighter you set the drag, the more resistance the fish feels. You want to set the resistance tight enough that it tires out your fish, but not so tight that the line gets over stressed or breaks.

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50 Responses to “The Fishing Reel: Types of Fishing Reels”

  1. andrea Says:

    The only reel I’ve ever had or used is a spincast reel. It’s always worked well for me, as I’ve caught numerous fish with this kind of reel.

  2. Best Fishing Tips for Little Kids Says:

    […] just a very basic rod with a unadorned spincast reel. Th&#1110&#1109 type of reel has the line enclosed […]

  3. Best Fishing Tips for Little Kids | MONTAUK SUN AND SURF Says:

    […] necessarily need a kid’s fishing rod, either. What they need is just a very basic rod with a simple spincast reel. This type of reel has the line enclosed in a compartment and releases with the push of a button. […]

  4. Aron Says:

    I tried a spinning reel few couples of weeks back, drag was set exactly to 25% of the line resistance. But, while fighting fish I realized that i could not reel in, though my reel handle was rotating in 360 degree motion and even Whenever fish resisted it took off the line but simultaneously when i reeled in it did not worked. Actually, the strength of fish drag was more than my reel in. Could you please help how should i overcome these problem?

  5. nick Says:

    Hmmm. Unless something is wrong with your reel, it sounds like you need to tighten the drag further. The drag needs to be just loose enough to not break your line when the fish runs, but still allow you to pump the fish in, when it stops running.
    To read more about how to play the fish, you can go over this post:


  6. rick Says:

    You shoud make a blog on how to spear fish. its pretty fun to do.

  7. Pescatore Says:

    The other type of reel is a side cast such as Alvey. Ive had one for years and it makes a great combination with a 12 foot beach rod. There are few moving parts so the salt doesn’t effect them like other fishing reels.

  8. Bill Vento Says:

    I have been told to tie the line around a chair leg and set the drag to where you start to feel resistance and the chair is hard to move.

  9. pablo Says:


  10. pablo Says:


  11. pablo Says:

    hello gordmonnig

  12. pablo Says:

    hola buen dia queria saber si para lanzar una caña con reel frontal hay que aflojar el freno o hay que jarlo frenado?

  13. Anonymous Says:

    I’m awesome, cool, smart, @ amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Anonymous Says:

    i’m so cool

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Underspins not here

  16. I.P Freely Says:

    your fly rods are like butter from heaven and sausages from GOD’S KITCHEN

  17. Marcus Says:

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  18. Anonymous Says:

    This site is nuts

  19. steve Says:

    My spinning reel keeps back lashing and i have a tangled mess.
    What am i doing wrong?

  20. jim Says:


  21. Logan Says:

    Maybe the line you have on it is to heavy, try putting a lighter line on it.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Wat about conventional reels

  23. angel Says:

    Aron: your problem might not be your drag, you should remember that what lands the fish is your rod, the reel is just to get your line back, when you are fighting the fish you should pull your rod towards you and when you push it back down you spool line back into the reel, it might take a while till the fish gets tired and it gets easier to land it, so dont tighten your drag to much or otherwise is gonna break very often

  24. Fishing Pike Lake | guns and camo Says:

    […] reel I use is nothing special, a simple spinning rod and reel combo that was purchased while on sale at Canadian Tire.  I use 6-10 lb test […]

  25. Saul Says:

    I’ve used All of the reels and find the spin cast reel as an good all around reel and the bait caster best for drifting and the spinning reel best for cast and retreat

  26. james Says:

    Saul you could not be more wrong

  27. Jim N Says:

    Can you tell me anything about what was called a crappie reel. It looks like the handle of a reel or possibly a butt cap. It is plastic and has a small spindle inside of the handle with fishing line. below there is a 1″ pencil shaped insert with a wire attached and on the side is some sort of lever. I havent seen anything like it before. It is about 4″long and at its widest part it might be 1.5 inches thick. It is made of plastic. The top appears to screw on a rod/pole.


  28. boy Says:


  29. Best-fishingtackle Says:

    great guide for beginners to choose the right fishing reels they need

  30. gaigebuss Says:

    im 14 what type of real should i use

  31. MinnowMike Says:

    @gaigebuss. I would probably start off with a spincast reel if you are new to fishing. They are easy to use and a rod n reel can be purchased for pretty cheap at walmart, academy, basspro etc. if you end up really enjoying fishing you can always expand into the different reels. I would say get a spinning reel next and baitcast last.

  32. T Says:

    I bought two spinning reels, and after we cast, and reel back in, they too much line pops off the reel, and it becomes a tangled mess. Will tightening the drag stop this?

  33. pat Says:

    The main reel I’ve had or utilized is a spincast reel. It’s constantly functioned admirably for me, as I’ve gotten various fish with this sort of reel.

  34. Mark Telga Says:

    Hello are you doing?
    My Name is Mark Telga from Mark & Co Ltd and I would like to know if you have a fishing reel from your company and i will really
    appreciate if you email me with the ones in stock with prices and if
    available for prompt sale and also let me know your methods of payment.

    Thank You and have a nice day
    Kind Regards,
    Mark & Co Ltd

  35. rokaia Says:

    i love you you love me

  36. Top 7 Best Spinning Reels for Under $100 - Spinning Reel Guide Says:

    […] are two basic spool types: skirted or internal. Internal spools were mostly used in older reels and have been almost entirely […]

  37. Dave Says:

    For spool tangles for T

    It sounds to me like your spinning reel spool is overfilled. Try cutting off 20 or 30 yards of line(it could take as much as 50) and see if it gets better.

  38. Brian B Says:

    First of all, your first fishing rod&reel should be the one you can afford. They all catch fish. I would recommend that you purchase a combo rod/reel to start with. I would also recommend a spinning reel for ease of use and the quickest learning curve. Get yourself a couple of jigs and some plastic worms and that will get you started at the cheapest method to start catching all types of freshwater fish.

  39. shawrov Says:

    Hello. there mainly three types of fishing reel and they are spinning, baitcaster and fly fishing reel. if you are an experience angler then you should get a baitcaster. spinning reel is better choice for the beginner. i personally use spinning reel for fishing. For more information you can check this.

  40. Spinning Reel Buyer's Guide - Line & Sight Says:

    […] Spinning reels are mounted on the underside of the rod. They’re characterized by an open-faced spool on the front of the reel. […]

  41. Pat Kerr Says:

    still have my original ugly stik over 8 yrs. old and used most wkends. the reel sucks, I use abu garcia reels, never a problem.?

  42. Ron Patric Says:

    Its a great resource.. adding fly fishing reels will also help..

  43. Jacqueline Taylor Says:

    This is an awesome post for know about reel.Its really helpful for me.

  44. harry Says:

    Amazing articles

    Soo many good pics and stories!

  45. mike Says:

    Good article!
    It complements another guide to fishing reels. I learned the basics of different types of fishing reels here:
    Different types of fishing reels

  46. William Says:

    Hi great article by the way,

    My questions is my spinning reel has a kind of bounce or kick to it every time I reel it in is that normal and if not how can i fix that because it is quite annoying.

  47. Best Spinning Reel Under 100 dollar- To start your fishing journey Says:

    […] maybe in your knowledge that are many types of fishing reel like baitcasting, spincast, surf, spinning fishing reel and much more. However, the […]

  48. pat kerr Says:

    Reels come in three basic styles: casting, spinning and fly fishing. Whether you’re after a largemouth bass or a scrappy trout, you should understand the way your fishing reel works. Baitcasting & Conventional Reels: These reels work with the weight of your bait or lure as it pulls on the line and turns the spool.
    The program can bring your to an end of sure have a look here:

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  50. Masood Rayan Says:

    I have a question. In ‘Baitcasting” section you said that only experienced angler can properly use this.

    But what if someone new wants to use this? How will they start with this… Any suggestion or idea??

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