There are many articles reviewing the best reel you can buy. What are the criteria they are using to arrive at the conclusion? Furthermore what is best for one person may not likely be good for someone else. Quality is a concern along with price, but there are many factors that determine what is best for you. It is time to break down what features are available and how to choose the best spinning reel for you.
Answer these questions about your next purchase.
What species of fish will the reel be used for primarily? Is it for trout or catfish?
What is the power of the rod it will be used on to match the reel and rod for balanced performance?
What Size is the Best Spinning Reel
Using the wrong-sized reel will take the joy out of fishing. A reel too small will not handle larger fish. A reel too big will be heavy and likely not allow the fish any chance of giving a good fight. The size should match the rod, therefore, rod and reel strength is working together. The balance of the rod and reel will feel much better also during use.
The size of the reel is indicated by a number system. The 100 or 1000 sizes being the smallest lightest reels. The 300 or 3000 series are typical sizes for an average angler fishing for fun. The 5000 or above size is inshore saltwater or large freshwater fishing equipment.
How to choose the size of a spinning reel for how you fish.
Size 1000; Ultra Light to light tackle good for freshwater trout and panfish.
Size 2000; Light tackle used for fish up to 15-18 inches and a few pounds.
Size 3000 Medium tackle used for all-around fishing and bass fishing primarily.
Size 4000; Medium tackle used for slightly heavier fishing applications such as catfish, larger lures, or working fish out of heavy cover.
Size 5000 or above is a heavier tackle for saltwater, pike, musky, and other large gamefish.
When paired with the correct rod, a reel will perform better leading to more fish being caught.
What kind of line are you using? A braided line will slip on the spool unless it has a monofilament backing or a braid-ready spool. The reel manufacturers are starting to make braid-compatible spools on many models. As a result, you may want to check if this is included with the reel you select.
Choosing a Quality Reel
You get what you pay for holds true for fishing reels most of the time. That is to say, a reel under 50-60 dollars is a fishing reel equivalent of a bic lighter. They are disposable items made to last a year or maybe two with light use. The 50-100 range is the best for a beginner or novice angler on a budget. Likewise, serious anglers will be spending 100 dollars and up on a reel as they will have better bearings and other components. You have to decide your needs in a fishing reel to get what quality is best.
An indicator of quality will be the bearings. In general, the more bearings the better to a point. A reel with 10 low-quality bearings will not be better than one with 7-8 higher-quality bearings. The bearings should include roller bearings and other types based on the purpose they serve. A reel should have at least 6-7 bearings if built to last for more than a couple of years. As a result, the bearings make the reel smoother if good quality and the proper amount.
The reel materials determine quality also. What are the gears made of inside the reel? The lower cost reels use plastic gears and better reels use metal gears. In addition, stainless steel or anodized aluminum components prevent corrosion and rust. Plastic gears will wear out faster and possibly strip under heaving fishing pressure. There will be plastic parts on a reel so look where they are and is it an area receiving stress. The stress area should have metal components, think about the gears, handle, spool, and bail parts.
The drag on the reel is one of the most important features. Since a poor drag is a leading cause of lost fish. Choose a spinning reel with a smooth drag that is easily adjustable. The drag needs to be of sufficient rating for the size of a reel. A small reel is okay using a light drag of 10 lbs or less, a medium-size reel should be 11-15 lbs of drag, and larger reels 18 or more lbs. of drag, or you will likely have problems. The majority of reel sizes will have an appropriate drag rating, but some will not so look at this feature carefully.
Gear Ratios of Reels
The ratio will affect performance based on your style of fishing. Fishing reels have different ratios for different styles of fishing ranging from around 5 to 1 to as high as 8 to 1 or higher. The ratio will be denoted by 5.6:1 meaning 5.6 revolutions of the bail or spool to one of the cranking handle. in conclusion, what does this mean to you? Live bait or slowly retrieved lures use a lower ratio, which also is easier to turn. The faster retrieves use a higher ratio. Use a high ratio with buzzbaits, spinners, and other fast-moving presentations.
A reel in the range of 5.6 to 6.2 will be a general use reel. You can crank slower or faster to affect different speeds. This is best for someone using lures sometimes and fishing live bait most of the time. If you plan on using heavy lures or going after big fish go with the lower ratio reel to prevent fatigue in your hand and arm. There is not one ratio that fits all types of fishing so choose the best ratio on your style of fishing.
Winding it All Up
You will now have an idea of what your needs are in a reel. The next step is to choose the spinning reel you like based on features, cost, quality, and appearance. Manufacturers have loaded the market. Therefore, it comes down to personal preferences with anglers based on cost and appearance, and loyalty to the brand. I suggest reviewing several or all and making a choice.
This article for individuals newer to the sport to assist in choosing a new spinning reel. If you are an experienced angler the chance is you have what you need or know what you need and are merely looking for some options.
Keeping fishing simple for tight lines and bragging rights.