Modern humans have been catching and eating seafood for over 164,000 years. Early methods of catching seafood included hanging baskets in water, men feeding fish by rocks till enough fish gathered to catch them and to actually using poison from the Cyclamen root to drive the fish into nets waiting by. Primitive but effective.
Thankfully, our fishing methods have been updated since then with many different types of reels available to anglers.
At first, there seem as many types of ways to fish as there are fish in the sea! But rest assured, there is not.
From Baitcasting to Spinning and all the way to Trolling reels, it’s normal to be a bit overwhelmed with all the choices you have. Not to mention trying to figure out which is the best tool for you.
Types of Fishing Reels
Let’s take a look at the most popular choices of reels, where/when they are used and how they can help you no matter what experience you have as an angler.
Spincast reels are considered the easiest to use when being introduced to the world of fishing. The mechanics of the spincast reels are relatively simple to master and suitable for children and newbie anglers.
The beauty of the spincast reel is its simplicity. To use a spincast all you need to is press using your thumb on the push button mechanism and flick your wrist to cast the line towards the water.
Pros and Cons:
What makes spincast reels so interesting for beginners is their low cost and ease of use. They typically cost much less than other reels and remove from the equation some of the nastier sides that anglers experience with other reels such as backlash and tangled lines.
Due to Spincast’s smaller size, which reduces the amount of line available to cast and their less sturdy construction, they don’t usually last as long as other reels. However, this goes back to the point of this reel being perfect for children and beginners who eventually will upgrade to more advanced reels as their experience and interests in angling mature.
Fish and Types of Lures:
Due to its size and limited strength, look to use the Spincast reel with smaller fish like lake Trout, Arctic Grayling and Northern Pike.
Typical lures used with the Spincast Reel would be rooster tails, spoons and spinners, and light plastic bobbers
Spincast’s have limitations due to their simple design and manufacturing. You shouldn’t expect to start catching big fish with his reel. However, this makes for a perfect, economical way to get experience and figure out if fishing is right for you.
Most anglers cut their teeth with Spincast Reels and eventually upgrade to Spinning Reels. Although more difficult to use than a Spincast, the Spinning Reel opens you up to a new world of fishing with its abilities and strengths.
Spinning Reels are great for all types of anglers, from beginners to advanced. These reels allow for more finesse when it comes to fishing techniques. Combined with a medium light rod, Spinning reel’s versatility lays in its ability to use many different types of lures such as Skipping Tubes, Shaky Heads and Drop Shot Rigs to attract the desired fish These also allow the Angler to catch different fish in different environments (i.e. cloudier waters, different seasons). Versatility is a key attribute of the Spinning Reel.
Pros and Cons:
Spinning Reels enjoy a reputation for ease of use and a flexibility that other reels don’t have. They can be enjoyed by beginners (with a bit of know-how) and intermediate anglers who like the ability to finesse fish. They are economical like Spincast’s and more durable.
Spinning Reels are particularly useful when using live bait that is light and with soft plastic lures. They launch off the spool with very little drag and that allows the line to go very far. Unlike Baitcaster Reels, they do not have issues with drag, which if you ask any angler, it’s the dreaded part of fishing.
Some concerns brought about using a Spinning Reel are that they tend not to be as accurate as Baitcasters when using heavier lures and don’t have the necessary power to haul in larger fish. Also, the spinning reel is inherently not as easy to control as a baitcaster due to the design of the reel.
Fish and Types of Lures:
The Spinning Reel is best suited for fish such as Bass, Redfish and Crappie. It can be used for salt and freshwater sources. As mentioned above, typical lures used with a Spinning reel would be live bait and soft plastic lures.
Spinning Reels are one of the most popular reels out on the market due to their ease of use and smaller learning curve compared to the Baitcaster reel. The Spinning Reel will perform perfectly well for the beginner or intermediate angler.
From Spincast to Spinners, Many anglers once they have gotten a feel for fishing, prefer to use Baitcast reels because of the amazing degree of precision and control that these reels can provide.
Baitcasters demand a level of skill to generate just the right amount of touch and release needed to move the rotating spool. Typically, even experienced anglers must have a lot of practice to get to a level of mastery that makes Baitcast fishing so rewarding and fun.
Once experienced with using a Baitcaster, you can specifically target much larger, stronger fish because of the unparalleled strength, durability and sheer accuracy that this type of reel provides for you.
Unlike Spincast and Spinner Reels which boast a simple, straightforward operation, Baitcasters require an angler to really take control. A great equation would be like driving an automatic car (Spincast Reel) compared to a stick shift (Baitcaster Reel). It’s a much more involved process in casting the line and the dreaded “backlash” of the line is a real possibility if not done properly.
Pros and Cons:
To be a successful angler you need great accuracy. Baitcasters offer this. You should select a reel that will help guide the bait in the preferred place in the water and to reduce the chance and avoid hitting something with your lure.
Fishing requires a lot of accuracy, and that is what a Baitcaster Reel will offer you. You could go home without any fish if you make a slight error with this reel. You need a reel that will help you place bait at the perfect place and avoid any complications with your lure
Some areas where Baitcasters excel are:
- Line casting – They handle thicker line much better than Spincasters or Spinning Reels.
- Weight- Baitcasters tend to be physically lighter than other reels which leads to better sensitivity and rod balance.
- Drag- Drag refers to the how much resistance the fish feels when its caught- basically, this means Baitcasters can handle much bigger fish VS other reels, without the rod snapping. Due to the durability and strength of the reels, Baitcasters can catch most any fish you desire.
- Distance- You can launch a lure further because the line flows directly off the spool of the Baitcaster reel and not in a circular motion as you like to perform with a spinning reel.
We cannot talk about Baitcasters without the dreaded word “Backlash” popping up. Sometimes called a “Bird’s nest” due to the mess that occurs when this happens. Backlash occurs when the bait or lure hits the water and stops, but the line doesn’t and it continues to become unspooled. The line then gets into a tangled mess that is very time consuming and difficult to undo.
Backlash typically occurs with anglers that don’t have the required expertise needed to operate the Baitcaster. This all can be avoided with some patience and allowing yourself the time needed to get the experience required to operate this reel properly.
Beginners may not like having to use a baitcaster because it is critical to know how to use your thumb when it comes to the speed of the line and controlling it. If the speed is not controlled, a backlash will most likely happen, causing the line to tangle into a “birds’ nest” if it moves too fast or with not casting the line correctly.
Also, Baitcasters are quite a bit more money than a Spincast/Spinreel. The higher price does come with increased accuracy and the ability to catch bigger fish but you will have to be focused, willing to invest in learning and stay extremely patient. Frustrations are common for anglers using this reel, but most seasoned anglers consider the higher price worth it and also experienced anglers after trial and error, will not come across backlash very often.
Fish and Types of Lures:
Since baitcasters are much more durable and considered heavy duty, they are essential when wanting to catch big fish such as Pike, Catfish and Loudmouth Bass. Anglers appreciate that they can catch pretty much any fish they want with a Baitcaster due to its precision and ability to combat any sized fish.
Lures typically used with a Baitcaster are jigs, spinner baits, and crankbaits. The type of lure used really depends on what type of fish you want and what type of waters you are in.
For Angling aficionados, there are many ways to complement their fishing experience. Like all hobbies and sports, the more experience you get under your belt the more you start to play around with different tools to customize and enhances the experience. Baitcaster combos are generally a combination of different rods and reels, all depending on the angler’s preference
Choosing a Baitcaster combo usually comes down to 3 criteria when selecting the best fit for yourself:
- What budget do you have in mind?
- The frequency/ how often you fish?
- Do you fish for recreation or is it more something you do professionally?
Keeping these 3 things in mind will help narrow down the list of the different rods and reels that are right for you.
4. Trolling Reels
Trolling Reels are yet another type of Reels/Rods that are purpose driven more than a description of a unique design. The term “trolling” refers to a style of fishing that anglers perform. With this reel, the angler drags a line with hook-rigged lures behind a boat in order to provoke and entice fish.
While somewhat similar in design to Baitcasting reels, trolling reels have a bit of more rounded profile which allows more room for the line but not suitable for casting.
Trolling reels resemble Baitcasters because they both have reels that are mounted above the rod. However, the spool line capacity on the Troll reel has more than the capacity than what you can find on a baitcasting reel. This allows for heavier, multiple fishing lines that are common in the trolling technique of fishing.
Three basic characteristics for trolling reels:
- Star drag: a release lever and a line out alarm.
- Trolling reels offer versatility that is common with other reels, in that the amount of fishing lines they can accommodate. A multitude of fishing lines can be used on them depending on the fish and the total amount you want to catch.
- Troll reel fishing is a very productive way to fish because of the multiple lures and bait that can be used and the total amount of water that can be covered. Work smart, not hard!
Pros and Cons
- Trolling Reels Allows you to fish a larger area quickly and at various depths to find the right area zone for large freshwater fish and big game fish. By covering much more water area, the chances of catching the prized big fish becomes that much better.
- Similar to Baitcasting reels, Trolling reels are for more experience Anglers. They require a certain mastery of the technique and not suitable for children or beginners.
- Another shared commonality with baitcasters is their higher price point. Look to spend to spend $100+ on these reels.
Types of Lures and Fish
- Trolling reels are optimally used for big freshwater fish, like catfish, large lake trout, walleye, musky, salmon and including saltwater giants like marlin.
- Trolling has the added ability to use multiple lures on multiple lines which allows an angler to catch different type of fish in one sitting.
- Surface lures, swimbait, and spoons work very well with Troll fishing.
Fly Reel Vs Surf Fishing vs Ice Fishing Reel
Fishing reels usually fall into 2 types- Spinners and Baitcasters. Variations of reels exist that add on to the fundamentals (strength, spool size, mechanism) such as a Fly, Surf and Ice fishing reels. Briefly listed below are some attributes and reasons why anglers choose these reels based on where and why they are fishing.
- Is any sort of fishing in which the weight of the line is used to cast a fly so as to lure a fish.
- Fly fishing, in a nutshell, is that the angler is trying to is to fool the fish with any artificial insect looking bait such as a fly or other animal pieces, including feathers and hair.
- Uses real or artificial flies – anything that a fish would eat in nature, Is used to entice them onto the lure.
- Done in salty and fresh water sources but typically done in moving waters.
- Used to catch many different types of fish such as bass, perch, bluegill, walleye, pike, carp.
Surf Fishing Reel:
- Surf fishing is using a reel to catch fish standing on the shoreline, wading in the water from a pier or even a rocky coast
- It’s also known as Beach casting
- Anglers who surf reel fish often need to cast a good distance to target the fish they are after. Fish caught this way are usually very strong and in order to deal with these types of fish you need a long, strong Surf reel that is between 10 and 12 feet
- Quality Surf reels are made of either anodized aluminum or graphite
- Live bait is typically used for these types of reels and they are able to catch some of the largest fish out there due to their strength.
Ice Fishing Reel
- Ice Anglers that consider themselves purists, see ice fishing as basic as making a hole, setting up a line and sitting on a stool waiting for the fish to bite.
- These reels are typically reinforced to handle the sometimes -30 degree weather that ice anglers subject them too. Some reels even have an antifreeze option.
- There are 3 types that are used Inline, Spinners and Baitcaster.
- Inline reels are popular with ice anglers because they don’t twist the line and are less fussy. They are usually used for smaller fish.
- Spinning reels are a more sophisticated option then Inline and provide more versatility than other ice fishing reels.
- Lures used with ice reels are typically spoons, Williams ice jig, and Eagle claws.
Fishing Lines: Where and How to Use Them
Simply put, fishing line is a cord used for angling. If only it was that simple!
Like fishing reels, lines used by anglers vary depending on the reel, castability, the type of fish they want to catch and the water environment that they are in.
Unlike in the past, modern lines that are used for Spinning, Spincast, or Baitcasting are almost always made from a substance that is artificial. This allows for a multitude of different types of fishing lines with characteristics such as UV resistance and increased strength.
Let’s take a look at some of the more common lines and where and how to use them.
Monofilament is made from nylon consisting of one long filament. It can be used in a variety of fishing applications and is engineered easily for specific fishing conditions
Monofilament lines are created by mixing different heated polymers and then extruded through a die with tiny holes that form strands.
Monofilament lines are extremely versatile and can be used with any type of fishing.
They are used in Troll Fishing, Kite Fishing, and general fishing.
Due to its strength and resistance to abrasion, they can be used for fishing around piers, structures, and rocky shores.
Monofilament’s strength is displayed when anglers fish big game species due to its natural shock absorbing qualities. The benefits of this are it reduces the pull when large fish pull back or accelerate and it can reduce the movement of the hook in the fish’s mouth that would lower the risk of major damage to the fish.
Monofilament can be used with Spinning and Baitcasters.
- Very castable.
- Harder for fish to see- best used in clear waters.
- High stretchability.
- “Memory”- monofilament lines tend to hold the shape of the spool which limits re-use.
- Absorbs water – changes physical properties more than other lines.
- Exposure to UV (sunlight) destroys the line.
Braided lines have been around for a long time. One of the earliest types of fishing line used were typically made from natural fibers. They are very popular due to their high knot strength; UV resistance and they don’t change properties in the water.
Braided lines have very little stretch, making them very sensitive to fish bites. This is important when you fish for species that have a gentle bite. Due to the flexibility of Braided lines, they can be cast very long distances.
Braids are good for fishing when there is a lot of vegetation in the water such as lily pads, or water hyacinths. The braided line can cut through the plant stems preventing the fish from tangling things up.
Braided lines can be used with Spinning and Baitcasters
- Braid lines are typically twice as strong as monofilament, sinks faster and casts farther and trolls deeper than other lines. Braid lines have no memory and can be reused more than mono.
- No UV damage- can be used over and over.
- Lack of stretch makes for a very “tactile” fishing experience.
- Hard to knot due to being slippery
- Due to the strength of the material, hard to cut
- Not transparent like Monofilament, so means fish can see it
- Lack of stretch means there is no “give” when a fish strikes
Fluorocarbon is often used as a “leader” material for lines. Its invisible underwater and has a high abrasion threshold. Fluorocarbon compliments and assists with braid lines in what they lack.
Fluorocarbon typically is not used on the whole spool due to being “wirier” than other lines. This line really shines in clear water fishing and its low stretch and durability make it a favorite for hard hook sets and fishing in cover.
- Extremely low visibility in the water
- Denser than water so it sinks and has low stretch
- Abrasion-resistant- versatile use in different waters
- Does not change its physical properties whether dry or wet.
- Higher costs than other lines
- Tends to be stiffer than other lines, especially in higher strengths
- High sink ability of line not helpful in all fishing scenarios
Fishing Gear: Where and How to Use Them
One of the key fishing equipment that often gets overlooked when you need them is a good set of fishing pliers. Unless you have hooked a fish with multiple hooks, and need to change a hook on your lure or cut a fishing line, you won’t know precisely why fishing pliers are essential.
The necessity to cut a hook can arise anytime when fishing. You need a good plier that will exert enough leverage force to cut the hook — an excellent choice for those tasks would be a pair of split ring pliers. Fishing pliers can be used to cut a fishing line when you need a clean even cut.
To get a hook out of a fish’s mouth is a challenging task, but with a good pair of long nose pliers, you can easily remove the hook no matter how deep it is. Fishing pliers also come in handy when crimping rigs. This is the fastest and most reliable method of making joints in monofilament and cable.
Modern Fishing backpacks are an incredible improvement from the standard pack. They allow you to organize all your fishing gear and provide easier carriage. The backpack is designed to make your fishing experienced more enjoyable and comfortable. You can use the bag to carry everything you need – hands-free.
It’s a storage system that saves you a whole amount of time. Going fishing without a fishing backpack can be tiresome with your reel in one hand and tackle box in the other. And that is even tougher to manage presuming you didn’t forget to pack your cooler!
The best backpack should be water and salt resistant; comfortable to carry- easy on your back, and shouldn’t slide on slick and wet surfaces. Be sure that the backpack you buy has room for multiple Plano trays.