Different Types Of Fishing Reels: The Complete Guide

 It’s appropriate to know which reel is perfect for salty or freshwater.

Also, your fishing skills matter when choosing a reel, as some are meant for beginners while others are suitable for experts.

The type of fish you catch and the fishing mode preference also determines the type of fishing reel to buy.

Below are the most common, durable, and top-quality fishing reels you can buy.

The Spincast Fishing Reel

Spinacast fishing reels are excellent for beginners and angle fishers. Here’s why. Though once in a while, it may twist or tangle, this happens rarely. Besides, there is no backlash when operating a spincast fishing reel.

All vital components are enclosed within the reel to seal them from damage when operating it. At the back of the reel is a button that you press when casting forward. On pressing it, the line pushes out. Whenever you want the line to stop, release the button.  The fishing line comes out through a hole in the cover.

As a beginner, accuracy may be a vocabulary that you’re still getting acquainted to. Thanks to spincast fishing reel. It helps in fishing accuracy. Moreover, it is incredibly cheap.

This reel provides decent casting accuracy. When fishing, most times, the mind and eyes are entirely focused on the fish you’re trying to catch. In the process, the reel gets tangled. No need to fret! Spincast fishing reel is exceptionally easy to untangle.

However, spincast is not a perfect deal for fishers who target big fishes. It works better with small fishes.  Also, it is small. So, you cannot use it when casting too far away.


  • Minimal tangles
  • Easy to use; hence good for beginners
  •  Affordable as they’re not expensive
  • Suitable for anglers


  • It May not last long if water gets inside the enclosed parts
  • Not so accurate
  • Don’t cast far as they’re limited

The Spinning Fishing Reel

The spinning reel obtained its name from its mode of operation. While the reel is spinning, the line gets retrieved. The reel has a simple setup that makes it easy to use even with beginners.

Fishing beginners who consider themselves quick learners and have a higher budget can start off with the spinning fishing reel. It’s amazingly easy to use it. Its line flows freely after casting because it has a fixed spool, hence making it a good match for light lures as well as live fish baits.

To give you a balanced experience during fishing; its reel hangs beneath its rod. One primary advantage of using a spinning fishing reel as a beginner is that they are more accurate than the spin-cast fishing reels. Besides, they cast fast and far.

Thankfully, it’s possible to use a relatively weighty line on it since it has the capacity to hold it. Non-casual anglers who diversify often may also use this reel.


  • Offers excellent balance when casting
  • Easy to use even with beginners
  • Great for lighter weight lures as well as baits
  • They’re accurate
  • Cast far
  • Cast fast


  • Non-suitable for weight lures or baits

Fly Fishing Reels

The most durable reels in the market are fly fishing reels. They’re the best to buy if you have a high budget and plan to make a long-term investment. Don’t be surprised; some fly fishing models have a record of lasting for half a century.

That’s not the best part of it. This reel is simple and straightforward to use.

But how do fly reels work? You ask. The backing and the fly line are often held by the fly reel. After a successful catch, you control the line by applying pressure on the line to drag it closer to you.  The braking system is responsible for the dragging process.

They offer the best accuracy when fishing and a high retrieval speed.


  • Durable
  • Can work in salty and freshwater
  • Retrieval speed is high
  • High accuracy


  • They’re pricy as they last long

Centerpin Reels

Commonly used for coarse fishing, centrepin reels run freely on their axle. This reel was initially used in England by anglers in the 1950s to 1960s. To control the fish; fishers use the angler’s thumb. Centrepins are suitable for fishing large fishes with a moderately light tackle.

These reels are also excellent for long-distance casting. Amazingly, centrepin reels can either be drag-free or free-spooling reels.

On dragging, the line pays out. The current, on the other hand, pulls a float downstream. The fish, therefore, sees something that is more natural and gets closer to the floating rod.


  • Easy to control the catch with just a flip of the thumb
  • Great for fishing large fish
  • Perfect for coarse angle fishing


  • Only suitable for large but moderately light fish

SideCast Reel

Emulating the centrepin designs; side cast reels are commonly used by anglers. Thankfully, they work well with both salty and fresh water. Unlike the centrepin reels, these have a bracket that makes the rotation of the reel up to 90 degrees to the rod possible when casting.

To retrieve the line, you simply return it to its original position. Most fishes use them for beach fishing (surfcasting) and off the rocks fishing. To work in such an environment, the spool should have a large diameter of about 6 to 7 inches and pair it up with a 12 to 16-foot surfcasting fishing rod. When casting, the spool takes a perpendicular position to the fishing rod. That opens the face of the reel. Consequently, the casting line runs off the spool’s side.   


  •  Works well with every type of water
  • They’re easy to learn and use
  • Best for angle fishing
  • Brackets ease rotation when casting
  •  Easy to retrieve the casting line


  • Has a high price tags as they catch heavy fish

Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting reels are most excellent for professional anglers. So, anyone who uses them must have the skill to operate them as they’re more advanced.

Of interest is that they offer accurate casting lines. They also allow you to control the casting line better than other reels would do.

You can buy a heavy reel or a lighter one. Heavy baitcasting reels are suitable for hard-fighting fishes that are big and weighty. The light reels are ideal for small fishes. So, you choose the reel depending on the type of fish you’re targeting.

Due to their ability to do heavy-duty fishing, baitcasting reels are pricy but durable. Besides, they’re superb in distance fishing, too.

Even so, if you don’t use your thumb to control the feeding-out line excellently, then the reel tangles or recoils.


  • Anglers have more control over the casting line
  • They’re more accurate
  • Ideal for weighty fish
  • They allow fast casting
  • Exceedingly easy to stop the cast or slow the lure by flicking the thumb


  • They need professionals
  • Have a high price tag due to their high features
  • Are prone to tangles and backlashes
  • Not excellent for light lures


Depending on the type of water you do fishing in, the type of species you prefer, and the size of your catch, it’s easy to decide which fishing reel to buy.

Also, depending on the budget at hand and the investment (long term or short term) you want to make, there’s always a reel for you. However, remember to buy a reel that will pass the test of time when considering its quality.

Read also: How To Put a Fishing Line on a Reel: 8 Simple Steps [For Begginers]

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