Best Spinning Reels Compared – Buying Guide

The Gear Matters

Spinning reels are easy to learn and limitless in their uses for catching fish of nearly any type. Fishing is a fabulous sport, and a great way to enjoy beautiful natural settings. It is a passion that often lasts a lifetime. Enjoying fishing means having the right equipment, and the best spinning reel is an ideal choice.

Skills, knowledge and great equipment add to the enjoyment of fishing. This article describes the types of reels, the features that make the best fishing reels and a step-by-step approach to selecting the best spinning reel. This article provides facts and information for new or experienced buyers complete with a total spinning reel review. We have gathered the essential information to help buyers make the best selections for their budgets and sporting goals.

Our Top 3 Picks

Shimano Spinning Reel Clam
  • Shimano Spinning Reel Clam
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight Graphite
  • Price: See Here
Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel
  • Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Well Designed
  • Price: See Here
Okuma Avenger ABF Feeder Reel
  • Okuma Avenger ABF Feeder Reel
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Versatile Reel
  • Price: See Here

What is the Best Spinning Reel?

PENN Spinfisher V Spinning, SSV3500 Spinning Reels - SSV3500
Penn Spinfisher V

The best spinning reel would be a matter of the type of fishing one wishes to do and the amount one wishes to invest in getting a high-quality fishing rod and reel combination.

Although experts consider some brands to be the best fishing spinning reels, they may not have the desired value and budget range for a given angler’s situation. Further, although high-quality and well-made, some top reels are not advisable for all conditions or every type of fishing.

The best value spinning reel is one that offers a full set of features, strong construction and high-quality materials at a price that fits the particular angler’s budget.

The model that provides lasting value and excellent performance from season to season is the best spinning reel for the money.

One excellent candidate for the best spinning reel is the Penn Spinfisher V.  This remarkable spinning reel is completely at home in the saltwater environment. It can be used equally well in large lakes, rivers, and local streams and ponds. The Penn Spinfisher V is versatile and flexible.

One can replace the spool and keep various weights of the line at the ready. It adapts well to different kinds of fishing. With a slow speed retrieve, one can take advantage of the opportunity to make baits swim enticingly. One can use it for any medium or large freshwater species like muskies, striped bass and migrating salmon.
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What is a spinning reel?

Photograph of a fishing rod equipped with a spinning reel and ready to goThe spinning reel was introduced into the markets in about 1948 by the Mitchell Company. It consists of an outer case called a housing, a spool for holding a line, a metal bail for laying the line on the spool, and a handle that turns for retrieving line. The spinning reel has an open face in that the spool that holds the line has no cover. When casting a bait or lure, the spinning reel spool does not turn, and the line flows off of the spool carried by the weight of the tackle and the motion of the angler moving the pole in the direction of the water.

A spinning reel is an ideal fishing tool, and one can learn the basics in a few minutes. It works very well with a wide range of baits, lures, and tackle. Anglers can use it for nearly every kind of fishing, fish species, and weather and water conditions. Spinning reels come in a range of sizes. For example, a spinning reel for panfish would fit in one’s palm and hold 120 yards of thin line. The best spinning reel for surf fishing would be much bigger, and it might hold 300 yards of number 14 braided line. The differences between the spinning reel and other types are its easy use and flexibility.

The other major types of fishing reels are the spin cast reel and casting reel. The spin cast reel has a covered spool. The line comes out of a hole in the cover. The angler must press and hold a button on the back or the reel to prepare to cast, and release the button as he or she throws the bait or lure. The bait cast or casting reel has a spool connected to the handle, and perpendicular to it. The spool turns when casting and the line flies out over the water. The angler must learn to control the rotation speed of the spool when casting so that the line comes off the spool exactly at the same rate as the turn of the spool.

When line and spool are not in sync, the line will tangle into a ball as too much line comes off the spool. Called a “ bird’s nest,” this situation can ruin an angler’s day.

Best Spinning Reels Reviews

1. Shimano Spin Reel Clam

1. Shimano Spin Reel Clam
The Shimano Spinning Reel Clam is a lightweight graphite medium spinning reel It has ball bearings and features a large capacity skirted spool. It has a 4.1:1 gear ratio and a foldable handle for easier storage and transportation.
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Made to go perfectly with a Shimano medium action six to seven foot two piece rod, it is a versatile spinning reel that will hold up to pan fish and medium weight fish species very well. It is useful as a ultra-light in saltwater locations and a medium to light freshwater combo.
  • Durable
  • Sturdy
  • Smooth reel
  • Excellent quality overall
  • Not the best design

2. Okuma Trio High Speed

2. Okuma Trio High Speed
The Okuma Trio Hybrid High speed spinning reel is a moderately priced all-around fishing reel. It is well-designed for medium and small saltwater fish.
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The crossover design features an aluminum arbor and a skirted spool with a graphite tip. This unique mix of metal and composite materials combines the strength of metal with a lightweight composite material. It has features found in high-end models like advanced materials and a nine ball bearing system to reduce friction.

Product Details (specifications)

The Okuma Trio, the Spinning Reel, features an advanced spool design; it combines a graphite arbor and aluminum lip. The Precision Dual Force Drag System (DFD) brings both surfaces of the spool into the process. It maximizes drag pressure, reduces heat build-up, and provides an overall smoothness. With nine ball bearings and one roller bearing, the reel offers quiet and powerful cranking action. It has an effective quick-set anti-reverse with a roller bearing for smooth operation.


The Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel has a lot of value in a modestly priced package. The drag system offers a smooth process for controlling fish while landing from a boat of on shore. The dual force system utilizes top and bottom surfaces to generate stopping power. With nine ball bearings, every movement of the internal gearing has protection against excess heat and wear.
  • Excellent quality
  • Smooth retrieving
  • Great price value
  • The knob seems somewhat fragile

3. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite

3. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite
The Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel offers an alternative to metal alloy reels with this strong, lightweight composite machine. This versatile reel is at home in many saltwater environments and for medium to small species.
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The lightweight material does not sacrifice strength. The shaft and gearing are traditional designs and quite strong. The bait feed function allows the fish to take the bait and swim away with it before the hook set. The bait feed function requires a reel that can release line and then go into a delayed anti-reverse mode. The final shift to anti-reverse causes a firm hook set.

Product Details (specifications)

The Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel has smooth operations from six ball bearings and an additional roller bearing. Made from brass, the precision machine cut pinion gear gives it a solid long wearing drive. It has a powerful retrieve with a 4.5:1 gear ratio. The excellent line capacity rating of 290 yards for ten pound test is impressive. The unit weighs 16.3 ounces.


The bait feeder fills a role when seeking species that take baits and run with them. This reel is excellent for that function and it has strong construction to handle large fish.
  • The "baitfeeder" feature is fantastic
  • Very smooth retrieve
  • It feels very sturdy
  • The second "spare" spool is not metal, but plastic

4. Daiwa DF100A Giant

4. Daiwa DF100A Giant
The Daiwa Giant Spinning Fishing Reel is a large form spinning reel made for saltwater and freshwater use. Daiwa built this model to handle heavy line and big fish, and it is a budget-conscious reel.
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For those who do not fish heavily and regularly, it is an excellent way to fish for medium and large species. The reel is strong; it has a stainless steel main shaft, metal gears, and an aluminum spool. It is designed to withstand the effects of saltwater with anodized metal housing and throughout. This large reel pairs well with long surf casting rods or heavy in shore rod.

Product Details (specifications)

It has a stainless steel main shaft and metal gears; it uses a single stainless steel ball bearing. The aluminum spool has a 370 line capacity for 40-pound test monofilament. The retrieve has a powerful gear ratio of 3.4:1. Multi-disc front drag, and left hand only retrieve.


The Daiwa DF100A Giant Spinning Fishing Reel is a large reel designed to handle medium and large fish. It has a generous spool capacity for a heavy line. The Daiwa DF100A Giant Spinning Fishing Reel is an ideal selection for the budget conscious angler who seeks to handle an occasional big fish adventure. The single ball bearing, stainless steel shaft has metal gears. With a multi-disc front drag, the system provides smooth operation under a load. It has a long handle and convenient knob for comfort. The reel has Daiwa’s ergonomic structure for hand comfort.
  • Sturdy
  • Great price value
  • Smooth reel
  • It's quite large

5. Pflueger President

5. Pflueger President
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel is a lightweight graphite spinning reel. It provides solid performance in a lightweight graphite package.
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The ball bearings operate with the main shaft to provide smooth operation and powerful retrieves. It has a soft touch knob, aluminum handle, and a thick aluminum bail.

Product Details (specifications)

This lightweight graphite spinning reel uses ten corrosion resistant ball bearings. The reel comes with a spool ready for braided line, and one can tie it directly without backing. The graphite body and rotor provide a light weight reel that will not tire its user on long days of fishing. The reel uses computer-guided stainless steel shafts inside for precision, and it uses an oil-felt drag system for consistent drag pressure.


There is a place in the angler’s collection of fishing tools for a strong, lightweight saltwater reel. Combined with a large number of ball bearings and a stainless steel shaft, the Pflueger President Spinning Reel holds its own against higher priced reels.
  • Reliable
  • Smooth
  • Great price value
  • Salty water may damage the chrome

6. KastKing Sharky

6. KastKing Sharky
KastKing Sharky Spinning Fishing Reel Ultra-Light Weight spinning reel comes in freshwater and saltwater variations. They are all professional grade reels with features normally found only in high-end equipment from great manufacturers like Shimano and Daiwa.
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Ranging from freshwater ultra-light to saltwater sizes 6000 through 10000, these KastKing Sharky reels can handle nearly any species. They have extensive sets of ball bearings, precision balanced gear designs and one roller bearing for the anti-reverse.

Product Details (specifications)

KastKing® Sharky spinning reels have precision machined brass gears that work with a solid metal main shaft. It has a computer balanced rotor, and the entire line has a standard design of 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings for smooth casting and retrieve. The entire line features continuous anti-reverse, with a one-way clutch to provide quick and solid hook sets. The front drag system uses carbon fiber washers, and the precision, the heat-dissipating system delivers smooth, strong, and consistent fish fighting pressure throughout its entire range. The machined aluminum spool has a carbon fiber skirt on most models. The model 1500 weighs 7.5 ounces, and the light weight trend continues up to 23.4 ounces for the model 10000. The models 6000 through 10000 are saltwater approved reels.


The KastKing Sharky is the reel to have at an affordable price; the all graphite, corrosion resistant body is lightweight, strong and durable. This spinning reel delivers a powerful retrieve and smooth operation under a load. The line covers the spectrum from freshwater panfish to top saltwater predators. For every fishing environment, there is a KastKing® Sharky that will put the angler in control. They can be matched with a KastKing pole to create balanced spinning fishing rod and reel combos. Sharky's KastKing® Sharky, with a range of fresh and saltwater models, can handle offshore, inshore, trolling and blue water fishing.
  • Solid
  • The reel is quiet and retrieves well
  • Great price value
  •  Mounting leg is cheaply made 

7. Shimano Sienna

7. Shimano Sienna
The budget friendly reel has graphite side plates, with graphite rotor and spool. It has the Quick Fire II one-handed release and casting system. It offers convenient Lightweight Rear Drag.
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The Line Capacity at 8 pounds test is 240 yards, 200 yards at 10 pounds test, and 160 yards at the 12-pound test. The max drag is 15 pounds. The gear ratio is 4.1:1, and the unit weighs a manageable 11.4 ounces.

Shimano offers quality reels for every budget, environment and type of fishing. These are basic spinning reels but they have all of the features needed for an effortless day of fishing for nearly any small to medium species.

Product Details (specifications)

This lightweight reel has a convenient rear-drag. It features Quick Fire II for one handed casting, and the Graphite housing and Rotor provide a solid feel. The large graphite spool works well with Monofilament, Fluorocarbon and PowerPro lines.


The Shimano spinning reel is ideal for starters because of price, value and versatility. It goes well with a matched pole for a light medium combo. The operation is smooth despite the lack of extensive use of ball bearings. The reel works well with a variety of baits an lures.
  • Smooth
  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Hard to engage the spool

8. Shimano Sedona FD

8. Shimano Sedona FD
The Shimano Sedona FD Spinning Reels offer size and capacities scaled to meet the targeted range of species. The reels will work well in combos aimed at small, medium, and large fish.
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The construction is simple and strong. Shimano employed metal alloys throughout the reel and housing. The systems will resist saltwater corrosion and provide seasons of reliable performance.

Product Details (specifications)

Shimano Sedona FD Spinning Reel uses an exclusive propulsion line management system. This line management technique enables extra-long casts. The smooth operation comes from four shielded stainless steel ball bearings, and the anti-reverse system has a separate bearing. The anti-wobble design features balanced rotors for the cold forged aluminum spool. The gear ratio is 4.7:1; the lowest size model offers line capacities of 190 yards for two-pound test line, and 100 yards of four-pound test line.


The Shimano Sedona FD Spinning Reel has features that offer superior strength and casting distance. With a total of five ball bearings, the reel operates smoothly as one would expect from Shimano.
  • Very smooth
  • Easy to cast great distances
  • Great price value
  • None

9. KastKing Triton

9. KastKing Triton
The KastKing Triton Spinning Fishing Reel Double Bearing has a carbon frame that resists saltwater corrosion.
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Product Details (specifications)

The reel offers ten stainless steel, shielded bearings, plus one instant stop anti-reverse roller bearing. The drag uses a triple-disc, carbon fiber washer system. The operation provides an endless and smooth release under load and certain stopping power. It has a computer guided machined aluminum handle.


This modestly priced reel has many features found on high-end fishing equipment. It has metal alloy construction and instant anti-reverse. Its ten ball bearings, like the high-end fishing reels, make for longer casts and a smoother retrieve.
  • Handles the big heavy fish
  • Changes speeds
  • Smooth
  • Large and heavy

10. Penn Fierce

10. Penn Fierce
Made with full metal housing and side plate, the reel keeps its precise shaft and gear alignment under heavy loads. The shielded ball bearings provide smooth operation.
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It is a fully featured reel with functional details including line capacity rings, and a soft knob handle. The stainless steel shaft, oil-felt drag, and aluminum bail keep up with the most difficult conditions. The balance in the design of the rotor and well-placed ball bearings provide smooth retrieves.

Product Details (specifications)

The Penn Fierce Spinning Reel is a well-known fishing reel, and professionals worldwide have selected and used it. The reel is popular because the manufacturer uses only the high-quality components. The manufacturer has tested over the years for quality and durability, and the Penn Fierce Spinning Reel is a popular choice among anglers of various levels of experience.

The simple and clean design uses four ball bearings and one roller bearing. The Penn Fierce Spinning Reel has a high-speed retrieve with a gear ratio of 6.2:1. It has a very effective line capacity of 170 yards of eight-pound test. The unit weighs a manageable 11.7 ounces


The Penn Fierce Spinning Reel is a leading product from a global leader in fishing equipment.The fierce lives up to its reputation as a leader in price, performance, and value.
  • They require very little maintenance
  • Sturdy
  • Great price value
  • Reel is heavy

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Spinning Reel

The Water factor

Daiwa Saltist Black Gold Conventional Reel - STT20H/30H/40H
Daiwa Saltist

Saltwater fishing differs from freshwater for the corrosion effects that salt water has on metals and other surfaces. Saltwater species are different than freshwater types, and some of the largest fish on the planet are saltwater species. The oceans are vast and deep and offer many types of fish environments not found in freshwaters such as coral reefs and thermal vents. The salty or brackish water affects fishing equipment and fishing reels in particular. Fishing reels must be strong to handle severe shocks and strong forces from powerful fish.

They must operate with precision gears and prove durable for many years of reliable service. Metals work best for these conditions, and manufacturers must protect the metals from the effects of salt water and salt spray. The most important comment in saltwater spinning reels reviews tells whether it holds up to large fish and heavy use. The best saltwater spinning reel offers lasting value and reliable performance with the angler’s budget.

Two excellent choices for the best saltwater spinning reels are the mid-price range Daiwa Saltist and one of the most advanced selections available anywhere, the Shimano Stella SW. The Saltist is an excellent all-purpose saltwater reel. It has a high-speed retrieve with a 6.1:1 gear ratio. It has all metal construction, corrosion resistance, and large lie capacity. It has five ball bearings for smooth retrieves.

The Shimano Stella SW has a drag range of 28-55 pounds, 14 bearings plus a roller bearing anti-reverse, and flawlessly smooth operations. It is an excellent all-around saltwater reel. The heavyweight, all-metal construction resists salt and corrosion. The advanced features include x-ship with ball bearings at both ends of the pinion gears.
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Targeted Species

The Best Trout Reel

Dolly Varden Trout
Selecting the best trout reel is not an easy chore; freshwater trout vary in size from a few pounds for brown and golden trout to lake trout in the range of 15 to 40 pounds. Saltwater or Steelhead Trout range from a few pounds to upward of 50 pounds. To pick one reel as the best spinning reel for trout would have to be a medium to heavy reel with a large line capacity to accommodate tough line in the range or 14 to 20 pounds test. The reel would be a saltwater rated reel to find trout in estuaries and ocean shore areas.

Shimano American Corporation SY4000FLC Symetre Aluminum Clam Spinning Reel
Shimano Symetre 4000

The best approach for spinning reels for trout would be to have more than one combo. A light to medium reel and rod combo would be an excellent choice for smaller trout species such as brown trout, rainbow trout, and golden trout. Anglers pursue these species in small rivers and streams.

In the Western US in places like Montana and Colorado, major rivers are legendary for holding large trout, and they would test the power of light to medium rod and reel combos.

Okuma Avenger "B Series"
Okuma Avenger “B Series”

A medium combo would be the best selection for large steelhead and lake trout. These lunkers can hold in deep cool waters and provide a thrilling fight for the angler using medium weight tackle.

Some excellent choices for trout spinning reels include Shimano Symmetre 4000 and the Okuma Avenger “B Series” Spinning Reel. They are strong and flexible reels that are well designed for fresh or saltwater conditions.

They have medium (Shimano) and high speed (Avenger) ratios and are flexible and versatile for bait, jugs, or lures.

The Best Reel for Freshwater Bass Fishing

The best reel for bass fishing would be a high-speed retrieve with a full complement of ball bearings. It must have a powerful hook set and an instant anti-reverse.

For the budget conscious angler, the Mitchell Pro 300 is an ideal selection. It has a 5.8:1 gear ratio and ten ball bearings for smooth operation and one roller bearing for quick anti-reverse. It holds a tough line for all conditions such as 180 yards of 12-pound test. It has a composite body for light weight balance on a medium rod.

Fishing reel by ShimanoFor those with a larger budget, the Shimano Stradic model ST4000XGFK is an ideal selection for bass fishing in freshwater. It has a 6.2:1 gear ratio for a full range of retrieve speeds. The line capacity at the mid-range ten-pound test is 200 yards. It can handle 14-pound test line. It offers reversible handle settings.

The Best Fly Reels

Photograph of a man flyfishingThe best fly fishing reels are those that can match the top rated poles. In fly fishing, the poles are just as important as the reels that hold line and tippets. Fly reels keep the line in order for casting and organize it during the retrieve. After a strike, the reel plays a vital role in letting the fish run then landing the fish after the fight.

In saltwater environments like the flats, fly reels have an important role for drag, letting fish run, retrieving with a smooth operation, and keeping the line in order. When casting the reel releases line. After casting, the angler moves the bait by reeling, and moving the tip of the pole to swim the fly or bait. After a strike, the angler moves line by stripping it down the pole and into a pile at his or her feet. The reel must pick up this pile and keep it neat and ready for the next cast.

Example products that are the best in the section, and why they are the best in the Fly reel category. Orvis Access Mid-Arbor Reels / Extra Spool and Ross Evolution Fly Fishing Reel LT are excellent examples of high-quality, versatile fly reels. They match well with the leading fly rods. Both are large capacity reels that work well with stripping retrieves and palming techniques. They have excellent drag controls for fighting and landing medium to large fish.

Construction of The Reel

Spinning reel attached to a fishing rodSpinning reels must be strong enough to handle heavy loads and strong shocks. In some large saltwater and freshwater species, fish weigh more than 100 pounds. Bluewater species like Marlin run above 500 pounds.

Fishing reels must withstand the sudden shocks of the strike on the baits and then handle the load of landing the large fish. The average species are much smaller, and the reels are sized to the lower weight ranges. The spinning reels must handle the loads and forces the small and medium fish exert.

The strength of a spinning reel comes from the metal shaft and gears inside the housing. These precision metal pieces fit together exactly and move in unison to pull the line in towards the angler and land the fish. The case or housing keeps the shaft and gears in the perfect alignment so that the shaft and gears turn and pull the line back onto the spool.

The important construction values are high-strength materials, precision engineering, corrosion resistance, internal seals, and high-quality components.

Fishing reel with bail mechanism

The bail is a thin curved wire part that sits on top of the rotor. As the rotor moves with the turn of the handle, the bail goes round and round near the top of the spool. The bail does three things: it stops the line from moving off the spool, it lets line off the spool, and guides the line back on the spool.

The bail operates in one of two positions. The open position lets line come off the spool, and the bail does not turn. The closed position lets line off the spool if the anti-reverse is not locked. The closed position keeps the line from going off the spool when the anti-reverse is locked, and the rotor and bail will not spin.

Gear Ratio
Fisherman using a spinning reel

The gear ratio is an important piece of information when selecting and comparing spinning reels. It is so essential that manufacturers print it on the sides of their reels. The fishing reel gear ratio for a spinning reel is the number of times the bail spins for each full turn of the handle. Most manufacturers rate a ratio of 4:1 as slow, 5:1 as medium, and 6:1 as fast.

The importance of the gear ratio when fishing with a spinning reel is in the speed of the retrieve. The higher the ratio, the faster the line goes back onto the spool. When fishing with lures, this ratio is quite important. As one turns the handle, a 6:1 ratio brings the lure back much faster than a 4:1 ratio.

With exactly the same effort, the higher ratio reel imparts a much faster lure speed through the water. Selecting a reel with a slow speed ratio limits the usefulness of the rod and reel combo. The higher ratio reels can more easily adjust downward than speeding up a slow retrieve reel. If the ratio is slow, then the angler must rush the retrieve to get the proper action on the lure, and this will prove tiresome over the course of a day on the water.

Photograph of stationed fishing rods on a boat

Manufacturers design Spinning reels to help catch fish; they try to avoid situations where a fish pulls and snaps the line. The built-in solution is called a drag. The drag is a system of large washers inside the housing that allows more fishing line to release under pressure. This release under pressure keeps the fish on the hook and keeps the line intact. Spinning reels come with two types of drag; front and rear drag designs.

The main difference is the location of the controls, and they can be more convenient in the back than front. Front drags have sets of large washers, and they give longer life, more durability, and better performance than rear systems. Rear drag systems are easier to adjust while fishing and they sacrifice durability and strength. Big fish and demanding condition cause wear.

As with conventional reels, the smoothness and precision of a spinning reel drag system is extremely important. Whether front or rear drag models. The drag must be tightened bit by bit. In a properly functioning drag, the pressure to pull the line should be constant. When the line can release with less pressure than called for, the fish can throw the hook or take advantage of slack to break the line. A malfunctioning drag device can ruin a fight and disrupt an attempt to land a big fish.

Line Capacity
A few fish hooked up on a line

Capacity is the amount or length of fishing line that a spinning reel holds. The determining factors are the size of the spool and the weight or thickness of the line. The manufacturers print the middle range of the line capacity on the housing of the reel.

For example, the information on a small spinning reel might state 120 yards of number 6 pound test. This notation indicates that the reel will hold 120 yards of number six, and if using a heavier line like number 8, the reel would hold less line. Similarly, a step down to number four would add more capacity because the line would be thinner. Line capacity depends on the diameter of the line. Line strength depends more on the composition of the line.

Braided lines are stronger than monofilament but sometimes much thinner. Some lines have particular qualities designed for fishing environments. For example, bass fishing in and around structures and matted aquatic plants requires superior abrasion resistance. In low light conditions, anglers use a visible line but one that will not weaken and break from contact with underwater structures.

Matching Rods
Fishing rod matching the reel

The rod should match the reel in some important ways. Manufacturers rate rods for weight holding capacity. They print the information on the rod usually near the handle. For example, a rod might be marked: medium action, 6 to 10-pound test. This notation indicates that the rod will bend from about the two-thirds mark from the end, and will work well with line rated 6- 10 pounds test.

The action of the rod indicates how much it bends under pressure. They are called fast tips if they are stiff and only bend close to the tip. Medium if the bed easier and about at the one-half mark, and slow if the flex easier still and bend at about the one-third point from the handle. The action is important when setting the hook after a strike.

Fast tips impart the setting action of the anglers tug quickly. This is ideal for most types of fishing with lures. Medium action is great for baits with treble hooks ad for species that carry baits rather than strike fiercely. Slow action provides the fish with some room before setting the hook. These are good for situations where casting is important, and the fish will swim with the baits before hooking them.


Photograph of stationed fishing equipmentManufacturers design Fishing gear to get the most from the fishing experience. Some do far more to make the operation of the reel convenient for the angler. One frequent issue of convenience is the position of the drag control. Most fishing movements suggest that a rear drag is more convenient than a front drag. The front drag requires a downward glance and an awkward reach to the front of the spool skirt to adjust the drag.

One must remember the direction and the last setting to make an effective adjustment on the fly. One can reach the read drag position without looking down because it is a knob at the back of the reel. The adjustment is an intuitive clockwise movement. Front drag is more effective and durable than rear mounted drag, and in this way convenience has a price.

Surf fishing provides another example of convenience. Easy maintenance is an important factor when selecting the best reel for surf fishing. Surf fishing involves salt spray, salt water, the wind, dirt, and sand. The rod butt end will be planted in soft sand, and the reel will often get immersed in or thoroughly sprayed by saltwater.

Weight – The Weight of a Spinning Combo

Photograph of a caught bassThe weight of a spinning combo has two meanings, and they can be confusing. The physical weight in pounds and ounces describes how heavy the combo is and how much weight one carries around when using it. The other and more important definition has to do with the action of the combo and the amount of weight it can hold in forces from the fish.

In this regard, ultralight combos are small, thin poles and small reels meant to take small fish like panfish or for fishing where the combo must be extremely sensitive. This phrase tells the angler what to expect from the fish.

For largemouth or smallmouth bass that can go easily from 6 to 12 pounds depending on the region, one needs a light or medium light combo. Some tournament anglers would use heavy combos for working in weeds and around dense structures. These weight classes will allow for the force of a strike, which can be quite strong and the fight to pull the fish out of the water or in some cases water and thick mats of foliage.

The best light spinning reel offers strength, power, and durability in a package that is easy on the hands and arms. Fishing when done with lures, imitation baits, and live baits requires a lot of repetitive motion. For example when fishing for largemouth bass in an area not known to the angler, the best practice is to cover the water. This involves a lure such as a spinner bait that one can cast long or short distances and retrieve rapidly. Using this technique one can discover where fish are holding and the nature of the underwater environment such as structure and fallen logs.

The weight of a rod and reel combination can add an enjoyable dimension to fishing the and the best ultralight fishing combo can transform a fishing experience. By selecting an ultralight spinning reel combo, the angler creates a balance between the targeted species and the power of the equipment. For example, a technique like using live minnows to catch crappie, the lightest rod and spinning reel allows the angler to sense the motion of the bait and the precise moment of the strike.

Fishing reel with a fishing rod

One can consider the fishing reel sizes in several ways: the weight in ounces and pounds, the physical dimensions of length and width, and the capacity to hold a line. The weight matters when matching with a pole.

One should be able to balance the rod and reel combo at a point very close to the handle. This is a rule of thumb measure, but it holds true in practice. The combo feels balanced when the center of gravity is near the handle. The angler usually holds the combo near the handle when fishing. One needs big spinning reels to balance thick fishing rods, and the longer rods used for trolling and surf casting.

The physical dimensions of the reel are another measure of size. This has more to do with comfort that technical balance with the rod. The handle should be large so that one needs fewer turns to bring in the line. The reel should look like a match for the rod, but that is purely subjective.

Capacity is a more important function of size. A large reel offers space for a large and long spool. Some applications like Surf Casting require long pieces of line. The extra-long surf casting rods act like a big catapult and anglers can toss baits well out into the surf. Many shore areas have protective barriers such as sand bars and reefs. Surf casting success may depend on getting the baits away from shore and into deep water.

Best spinning reel brands

The top brands for spinning reels include the following distinguished manufacturers: Okuma, Shimano, Daiwa, Penn, Pflueger, Abu Garcia, Mitchell. These products are widely available including online leading retailers like Below are small descriptions of the manufacturers and the qualities that have established them as premier makers of spinning reels for saltwater and freshwater environments.


One does not have to look far to find expressions of praise and satisfaction in Okuma reels reviews. The brand has quickly become a leader in using advanced materials and combining them in unique ways. An excellent example is in a typical Okuma Cedros spinning reel review. The professional grade performance leaves an impression of quality and value that far exceeds the price.


One can enjoy reading Shimano spinning reel reviews because they are almost completely positive and enthusiastic. Shimano has mastered the art of matching price and value. While the best Shimano spinning reel for saltwater fishing might be an elusive item for most buyers, Shimano provides feature rich models in every price range. Shimano is a leader in innovation and use of advanced materials in fishing equipment.


The total and enthusiastic praise in the tournament quality top of the line Daiwa Saltist spinning reel review is impressive. While experts rate it as the best Daiwa spinning reels of all-time, the price tag on this item is among the highest for a spinning reel anywhere. It is more difficult to give unqualified positives when the cost so far beyond the reach of the average fishing fan. Daiwa spinning reels reviews usually balance features, materials, and construction against price to get an idea of value. The Daiwa Exceler spinning reel review showed that users can accept limitations in some features when the overall package has excellent performance and value.


The best Penn spinning reels are tournament grade reels that provide year after year of hard-wearing performance. Penn has earned a reputation among fishing enthusiasts for consistent performance and durability over many years of use. Many anglers proudly keep and display vintage Penn reels that still handle the stress and knocks of saltwater action. The best Penn reel for surf fishing has large spools and extra line capacity for a heavy line. They have anodized metal and composite bodies designed to handle shocks, heavy loads, and the corrosive effects of salt water and salt spray.

The Battle II is a popular choice for medium saltwater action and gets high praise from users in Penn spinning reels reviews. The most mentioned feature in the average Penn Torque spinning reel review cites its full metal body and one-piece frame. Penn fishing reels reviews frequently come back to the idea of strength and power. Penn reels give the user as much control as needed to handle fights with strong, large fish.


The popular Pflueger President series is an example of the high regard fishing enthusiasts have for these high-quality reels. They enthusiastically express in appreciation for solid construction and advanced features in Pflueger spinning reels reviews. President Limited edition and President Limited edition are two of the mid-range spinning reels that have attracted buyers seeking high -end features and materials at mod-range prices.

The idea the Pflueger gives great value for the price is a widely shared view among users. In enthusiastic comments users of the Pflueger Patriarch Spinning Reel review its extremely useful features. The Pflueger Trion review is also enthusiastic about the strength and solid feel of the reel when under load.

Abu Garcia S

For every kind of fishing, anglers appreciate the quality and performance of Abu Garcia spinning reels. Price and value are frequent themes expressed by users when providing an Abu Garcia spinning reel review. Anglers regard Abu Garcia fishing reels as superior in design, materials, and durability. It is one thing to have a new reel perform well, and it is quite another thing to have it maintain that level over many years of heavy use in saltwater environments.


Mitchell spinning reels have legendary reputations for toughness, quality, and performance. The Mitchell 300 and the Mitchell 300 Pro have advanced the state of the art of smooth operation under heavy or light load. They use a unique hybrid carbon material for the drag system. Durability is one of the most mentioned product characteristics in Mitchell fishing reels reviews.

How to use a spinning reel

Photograph of girls fishingThe spinning reel is simple and easy to learn. With as few outings, one can master the basics and cast with confidence. One can memorize this line: reach back, aim, throw and let go. Assuming the reel has properly threaded fishing line through the pole guides and a lure or bait, the task is to launch the bait out into the water and catch fish.

The first step is to hold the pole and reel correctly. If right-handed, hold the pole with left hand on the lower handle and right hand above on the pole. The stem of the reel should be between the middle and ring fingers of the right hand. Put the index finger of the right hand on the line curling it in the joint of the fingertip.

Then use the left hand to open the bail so that the line sits across the index finger. Return the left hand to the handle. Looking out over the water to the area where the bait should land, one must reach back, aim, throw and let go of the string.

The bait will fly out over the water and plop into the surface and sink. Holding the pole in the right hand, one should immediately turn the handle of the reel and tighten the line. This motion will start the bait moving toward the pole. The retrieve gives action to the lure. If bait fishing, one must tighten the line and wait for a strike. Fishing with lures tends to be more active and interesting than the bait and wait routine. The lure engages the angler in a match of wits with the fish to entice a strike. The art of fishing with lures involves making the lure move in a way that triggers the fish to strike it. Most of the time that means making the lure swim like something the fish recognizes as food or prey.

Spinning Reel Maintenance

Spinning reel in medicre conditionSeveral points on how to maintain spinning reels and why it is important.

Regular maintenance is important for spinning reel care; it is important for long life and for top performance. The inner workings of a spinning reel involve metal and composite parts that must work in close contact and in connections.

These moving parts build up heat from friction. Heat from friction can damage parts if not protected by oils and lubricants. Dirt can build up in the parts form the fishing environments which involve vegetation, mud, sand, and salt water.

After every use one should inspect the rel for signs of excessive dirt, sand, or foreign material from the day of fishing and traveling. One can wipe the reel down with clear water to remove surface grime. In the off season, one should follow the directions for the reel and disassemble it for a thorough cleaning and oiling of all recommended areas.

This related video is a good example of detailed steps to take to clean and maintain a spinning reel. These steps should be followed with small periodic cleanings in the season and a complete breakdown at least once per season.

Ready, Set, Decision Time

Photograph of a fisherman in camo jacketThis set of information provides the basic information about fishing and some detailed information about spinning reels.

Having read through this, a consumer should be well-prepared to compare the benefits, value, and features of spinning reels. While somethings may not be totally clear until practiced on the water or at the water’s edge, the knowledge base provided here covers the essentials and a good deal more.

There are worlds of fishing adventures and fun waiting for the new and experienced angler. With these tools, one can compare the specifications of many reels and select one that suits the fishing environment, style, and species that one wishes to find. offers spinning reels for every fishing environment and target species. They have great values and selections in reels and equipment for every budget. Don’t delay, visit and get into some great fishing action today!

Spinning Reel Fishing Techniques

Hitting the waters with a spinning reel offers you a variation of fishing techniques, depending on what you are fishing for, where you are fishing, and what equipment you have. The most commonly used spinning reel fishing techniques are discussed below, with information on how to use them most effectively when putting them to use.

Still Fishing

fishing techniques

As evident in its name, still fishing is a simple spinning reel fishing technique. It is the most basic, requiring the least amount of skill and tactics, yet requiring the most patience. If you are not well known for your patience, you may find yourself enjoying another technique better.

Still fishing, as it describes, is absent of much movement and manipulation and is great for beginners or kids. Once your line is in the water, ninety-five percent of the work is complete. The preplanning and preparation is the most difficult aspect of this technique. Setting up your line correctly, which you can learn more about here, will be the most sophisticated endeavor you undergo using this technique.

Once you prepare your line, you simply cast your line out to where you want it, let it sit, and wait for the fish to find it. No additional work is necessary.

While being the simplest, still fishing can also be the most versatile. You can adequately fish using this technique in most scenarios, including from a boat or on land. You can fish at all levels in the water by simply adjusting the height of your float. Once your line is in the water, monitor your float for underwater action indicators. A small bob or wobble, you may have a bite playing with your line, or a small fish already hooked. A large tug and pull, you likely have something medium to large on your hook. It is time to set the hook by giving your rod a slight lift upwards.

Cast and Retrieve


Cast and retrieve fishing is more interactive and requires much less patience; however, it does require constant reeling and casting. To use this technique, simply cast out your line, but instead of letting it sink to the bottom and sit, allow it to settle to the desired depth you want to fish, and start to retrieve.

When retrieving, it is important to go at a speed where your lure is mimicking a swimming fish. This may involve changing speeds constantly.

Once your line has been fully retrieved, wait a moment and cast it back out, starting the process over again.

This technique allows you to fish off the bottom of the water, while exploring for locations of fish, with less risk of snagging or losing your gear to debris on the bottom.

Bottom Bouncing


More difficult than still fishing is another alternative spinning reel fishing technique called Bottom Bouncing. As the name suggests, this technique involves allowing your “jig” or bait to bounce across the bottom of the water body. In doing so, the disturbance caused by the lure as it contacts the ground acts as an attractant for the fish’s attention.
Depending upon what type of water body you are fishing, you may be required to manually drag the lure across the bottom, as in a lake or pond. However, where there is a current, the water movement will likely do all the work for you.

This technique is beneficial to locate where the fish may be currently active. Once you have obtained multiple strikes while bottom bouncing, it is likely you found the location of a school. This would be a great time to change to still fishing, placing your bait directly in the area where the strikes occurred.

There are some risks to bottom bouncing. Moving your lure across the bottom of any body of water increases the chances that you will snag your hook on either rocks, limbs, grass, or other debris that has fallen to the bottom. Be prepared to salvage your line should it start to get hooked on something, but also be ready to replace your gear should the snag prove to be too much and you lose your setup.

Here is a picture of what your line is doing at the bottom during bottom bouncing (Photo from Wawangresort):




Jigging is similar to bottom bouncing with the exception that you are instigating the movement of the lure manually by controlling your rod. The goal of jigging is to get an up and down movement to your lure using your wrist. Simply lifting up the rod tip and then lowering it back down will create the ideal movement of your lure.

After casting out your lure, allow it to settle to the bottom of the water, usually done only in a few seconds. Oftentimes, you will physically feel the lure, or spoon, strike the bottom. Once on the bottom, simply snap your wrist up just slightly, lifting the lure off the ground, then letting the lure settle back down. You simply repeat as you slowly retrieve your lure towards you, keeping your line tight so that you can respond to a bite if needed.

Jigging can be done in different directions, including up and down, as described as above. However, alternatives to this method are side to side motions and a combination of up/down and to a side.

Walking the Dog

Visualize taking the dog for a walk on a city sidewalk. Three feet of space from edge to edge. Now, unless it is a well-behaved dog, it is likely that it’s nose will lead the dog from side to side, capturing all the smells to be had. This is exactly how the Walking the Dog technique should look: Like a dog going back and forth, from edge to edge, with little progression forward.

To use the Walking the Dog technique, which can be a difficult spinning reel technique to master, simply cast the line out and prepare for a slow retrieval. Instead of bringing the line in, as you would in a cast and retrieve, or jigging, give your rod a gentle twitch down and to the side and pause. This pause allows the lure to continue to move in the direction of the twitch. This movement will allow slack to develop in your line.

As the slack develops, twitch your rod to the other side. Allow the same sequence to occur. Throughout the retrieval, occasionally stop all movement and let the lure sit idle… then start again. Resume the same pattern of motions as you continue to retrieve your line.

This spinning reel fishing technique works best when there is a rhythm developed in the motions. The back-and-forth motion should be as seamless as possible. It is also important that, if done correctly, the lure is actually moving side to side more than it is moving towards the rod tip.

Here is a video on how to perform the Walking the Dog technique: Walking the Dog

And finally, here is a picture that provides an overview on the Walking the Dog technique (Photo from Caperlan):


Take one or all of these spinning reel fishing techniques and incorporate them into your game. Test them and see which one brings you the most success. Try different techniques in different water bodies, water conditions, and in the quest for different species of fish. Find which one works for you and perfect it.