There are many parts to a fishing reel and knowing, and it will help you when trying to decide what fishing reel to use to know the different fishing reel parts. Once you are basically familiar with all the parts and how the reel operates, you can find out what kind of reel will give you the best performance for the type of fishing you want to do.
- Housing (Reel Bodies). Fishing reels may be made out of graphite or aluminum or both. If you spend a lot of time fishing you may want to use a lighter reel, which is usually aluminum, to save wear and tear on your joints. If you are fishing in saltwater, graphite is less likely to corrode and holds up better. Aluminum is less flexible but stronger than graphite. Make sure the parts are not loose or flimsy, and work smoothly with no play back.
- Size of Reel. The size of the fishing reel should be determined by the test line you are going to use. On a spinning reel, the test line should not be over ten pounds. This does not apply to saltwater fishing. If you’re fishing for walleye or smallmouth bass you should use a medium sized reel with a six, eight or ten pound line. There is a spot on the spool of the reel that shows the line capacity.
- Ratio of Gears. Spinning reels have fixed spools whereas casting reels have a rotating spool. The gear ratio on a spinning wheel refers to how many times the bail goes around the spool with one turn of the handle. Line recovery measures the inches of line that are wound on the reel with each turn of the handle. If the gear ratio is four to one, it means the bail goes around the spool four times for every one turn the handle makes. A four to one ratio is considered slow and a six to one ratio is considered fast. If you can only afford one reel, the best choice would be a five to one.
- Drag System. The amount of pressure on a hooked fish and the line let out during the fight is controlled by the drag system. The drag system must operate smoothly or you will lose the fight or break the line. Make sure the drag system is water sealed for endurance, and not constrictive. It should pull out without hesitation at any tension. There is a front drag system or a rear drag system. The front one is more durable and performs better. Rear drag systems give you easier access to fight the fish, but they don’t work as well as the front systems with large fish that fight hard.
- Ball Bearings (Bushings). Bearings are the most important part for keeping the reel running smoothly. The more ball bearings the reel has the smoother it will perform. Stainless steel bearings allow you to have more control and make the reel more durable. This is not a part of the reel you want to skimp on.
- Spools. Spools come in both aluminum and graphite. While graphite is lighter, the aluminum is stronger. There are two main types of spools, internal and skirted. Internal spools sometimes allow the line into the housing of the reel too easily, so most people prefer the skirted spool which corrects this problem. The long cast spool, which is a version of the skirted spool, is elongated and allows for less friction and increases casting distance. An even newer innovation is the Mag spool which is wider and flatter and allows for faster retrieves, less line twisting, increased line pickup, and longer casts. It also reduces line binding which occurs when using super lines.
- Anti-Reverse Handles. Make sure your reel has an anti-reverse handle to prevent the reel from spinning backward. This will make your hook sets accurate and powerful. Also, make sure it has a knob and arm that are large enough so you can find the handle and get a better grip, especially in wet weather.