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Types of Reels: The advantages & drawbacks

With so many reel options available, how can you possibly make an informed decision? The first step is knowing the types of reels that are available:

Types of Reels


Spincast Reel:

The Spincast is a great introductory fishing reel that is easy to use. Its mechanics are super simple and require little effort. With a push of the button and flick of the wrist, your lure is in the water and ready to attract fish! This is a great reel to start with for children, a newbie, and the casual angler.  Not to mention, prices are relatively low, so losing a reel won’t break the bank.

Spincast Diagram

Benefits of a Spincast Reel

This is an introductory reel that is easy use and inexpensive. 

Drawbacks of a Spincast Reel

Because it is a beginner’s reel, the spool inside is typically shallow, allowing for lighter and less test line. The Reel is aimed for targeting small panfish and bass, much larger fish can cause damage. Parts are not as durable and accuracy is lacking. Additionally, the gears are either cast metal or white plastic, and prone to break over prolonged use.

Notable Spincast Reel Selections:


Daiwa Goldcast Reel: $50 - $100  Daiwa Silvercast Reel: Under $50
 Daiwa Goldcast Reel Daiwa Silvercast Reel



Spinning Reel:

A spinning reel, or open faced reel, is probably the most popular type of fishing rod among anglers. This is a great selection if you are fishing small to medium-sized fish like bass, redfish, and crappie. This reel is situated on the bottom of the rod, or blank, whereas the spincast reel and others sit on top. You can tell a spinning reel rod by the larger sized guides. 

Spinning Reel Diagram

Benefits of a Spinning Reel

All around versatility is the biggest reason people choose spinning reels. They can be used to cast many different types of tackle, including artificial lures and live bait. Because they only need to pull the weight of the fishing line, spinning reels are especially useful for light tackle and bait. Also, spinning reels gives you a more solid construction than the spincast reel, while also giving you more options for line to use. This reel is ideal for ice fishing, panfishing, and other small fish species. They are also constructed to be used in the open ocean, tackling trophy striped bass, mahi mahi, and other medium sized ocean fish. 

Drawbacks of a Spinning Reel

While spinning reels are great for casting practically everything in your tackle box, they don’t always provide the best effectiveness for heavy lures. They are also not as accurate as baitcaster. If you are just getting started in fishing, a versatile and easy-to use spinning reel is your best option.

Notable Spinning Reel Selections:


 Shimano Socorro SW   Daiwa Ballistic EX  Penn Clash
 Shimano Socorro SW Spinning Reel  Daiwa Ballistic Ex Spinning Reel  Penn Clash
 Price range $100 - $200  Price Range $100 -$400  Price Range $200 - $400


Baitcaster Reels:

Baitcasters, also known as the conventional reel, are advanced reels for more experienced anglers who want better control and accuracy. Proficient anglers can specifically target bigger, stronger, fish because of its unparalleled strength, durability, and cast accuracy. With a baitcaster, the spool rotates as you cast. These types of reels require experience and skill, often requiring a full season’s worth or practice before they can be used effectively.

Baitcaster Reel Diagram

Benefits of a Baitcaster

Advantages of a baitcasting reels are control and accuracy.  Baitcasting reels can handle much heavier, much stronger forms of line. This is necessary when you fish thick cover or are targeting monster fish.

Drawbacks of a Baitcaster

You need patience to use a baitcaster effectively. Operating a baitcaster is difficult as you control the release of the line with your thumb. Making casting a very manual process, anglers must master how much pressure to apply on the spool or they will face backlash on the spool which almost always ends with nasty knots that will need to be untied. They are also used for lures alone, so they don’t have the versatility of other reels. A baitcaster is the preferred reel of professional bass anglers, so their equipment reflects an increased price point.

Notable Baitcaster Reels:


 Daiwa FUEGO 100 Series  Shimano Chronarch CI4+  Shimano Metanium Low Profile
Daiwa Fuego 100 Series  Shimano Chronarch ci4+  Shimano metanium low Profile Reel
 Price Range: $100 - $200  Price Range: $200 - $400  Price Range: $300 - $400


 Trolling Reel:

Similar in design to baitcasting reels, trolling reels take on a more rounded profile allowing more room for line but are not meant for casting.Trolling reels are designed for big freshwater fish, like large lake trout, catfish, walleye, musky, salmon as well as saltwater giants like marlin.

Trolling Reel Diagram

Benefits of a Baitcaster

Allows you to fish a larger area quickly and at various depths to find the strike zone for large freshwater fish and big game fish.

Drawbacks of a Baitcaster

Like baitcasting reels, this is for more experience Anglers with an increased price point.