Choose the Reel
Now Figure Out How to Choose the Reel
The best thing you can do when purchasing a new reel is to go to an actual shop so you could sample the product for its weight, quality, balance of the rotor/spool, smoothness of the bearings, etc. Keep in mind that each reel is produced with a specific, unchangeable gear ratio, spool capacity, and maximum drag rating. When shopping for a new reel you will need to take into account the following properties.
It is typically printed on the body of the reel, or sometimes on the spool. Gear ratio can range from 5:1 to 8:1 and indicates how fast the particular reel picks up line and places it along the spool. A 5:1 gear ratio means that the spooling mechanism rotates five times per crank revolution. As you see, the higher the gear ratio, the faster you will retrieve line.
If you need to cast long distances with swimbaits or spinner baits, you will opt for a lower gear ratio, so that your lure gets maximum exposure in the water and can be retrieved in a manner most natural to the fish. Bass anglers had better get a high speed reel that will enable them to retrieve line fast and make more casts.
It refers to the maximum amount of line that can be held on the spool. Spool capacity is typically printed on the spool. Your choice of spool capacity will depend on the type of fish you are going to catch. The thicker the line, the less line you will be able to fill your spool with.
This property is often overlooked by inexperienced anglers, but it is still a very important one. The drag causes the resistance that the fish feels. The higher the drag, the more resistance the fish will feel and the faster it will tire out.
It is important to set your drag right. It should be neither too tight nor too loose. The principal rule is: the larger the reel, the higher the drag rating. Among other factors that matter are manufacturing tolerances, drag mechanism, construction material, etc.
Types of fishing reels
Spinning reels are the most popular and frequently used type of fishing reel today. They are quite easy to operate and maintain, however, because of the rather delicate bail mechanism, they can break down easily. As a rule spinning reels are used for light tackle, but can also be used for heavy tackle. It is easier to cast a light lure with a spinning reel than with a baitcasting reel. Also, most spinning reels feature the crank that can be moved from one side of the reel to the other.
Operation: When you cast the line, it should be held with your finger when you release the lure. Make sure the bail is opened, otherwise your lure won't fly. Once your lure has sunk, you should close the bail with your hand. Avoid turning the crank to close the bail to prevent tear.
The spool of a baitcasting reel is placed to rotate in the same direction as the cast. This type of reel is commonly used by bass fishermen, as their compact and efficient mechanism is perfect for casting.
Unlike spinning reels baitcasting reels enable the angler to regulate the speed. Just press your thumb to the line as it comes off the spool to help a lure enter the water softer and prevent from spooking the fish.
As the crank is permanently placed on just one side of the reel it is important to decide whether you want it left or right hand.
Drawbacks: When it comes to baitcasting reels the heavier the lure, the easier it is to cast. However, the angler may experience backlashes - the situation when the spool is letting off line too fast but can't stop rotating after the lure has entered the water. To eliminate this problem, manufacturers now equip their reels with a special braking system which requires adjustment every time a lure is changed. Still, experienced anglers recommend maintaining control with the thumb all the time. It will take some time to master this reel, plus every baitcasting reel has different braking mechanism, so make sure you try the reel before you actually make a purchase.
Operation: Before casting, consider checking whether your brakes are set right to avoid a backlash. You need to push the bail button first. If the lure falls too fast and hits the ground, you are going to get a minor backlash. Adjust your brake making it tighter, until you see that the lure falls about one foot per second.
Having adjusted your brake, push the bail button again, but this time you should hold the spool in place with your thumb. Then cast and release your thumb from the spool when the moment is right. Watch your lure as you will have to put your thumb back on the spool the moment the lure hits the water.
Spincasting reels are recommended for beginner anglers, as they are quite easy to operate. They feature the push button bail control of a baitcaster and the line release of a spinning reel. Using this type of reel you can cast practically any lure of any weight without fearing about backlashes. Such reels are popular among the kids as manufacturers often decorate them with cartoon characters.
Spincasting reels can be left or righthanded, however most manufacturers place the reel handles on the right.
Operation: Spincasting reels can be used only with baitcasting rods. All you need to do is just push and hold the bail button with your thumb and cast.