How to Choose the Best Fishing Reel [Ultimate Guide]

Fishing is a common hobby in different parts of the world. Not only is it loved by children and teenagers but also a great activity for adults.

After a long and stressful day of work, you can relax your mind by going out for fishing. It is a great way to eliminate fatigue and get refreshed. Apart from having fun and relieving stress, there are other benefits that you will get from fishing. Some of them include;

  • Trains your mind to focus
  • Helps you exercise your patience
  • Provides you with memorable moments
  • Social bonding and recreation
  • Boosts the economy
  • Provides food among other benefits

In order for you to get the best from fishing, you need to have the best fishing reel. Whether you are fishing in freshwater or saltwater, looking for the best fishing reel is essential.

For new anglers, choosing the best fishing can be problematic if you are not familiar with some of the things that make up a good fishing reel. To make your work easier, I have provided you with this comprehensive guide that will help you select the best fishing reel for fun fishing moments.

Table of Contents

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fishing Reel

You need to be very selective when you are purchasing a fishing reel. This will help get the best reel that will allow you to have fun while on the waters. Here are some of the things you need to consider before purchasing a fishing reel. If you take into account the factors listed below, you will truly enjoy fishing.


In order to be successful in your fishing experience, it is important to have the right type of fishing reels that will handle different types of fish in either saltwater or freshwater.

For instance, if you are a novice angler, a spin casting reel will be good for you. This is a very stable reel with a strong construction that makes it durable. This type of fishing reel is also available at low prices, so you can carry some for backup when you are going for fishing.

Another type of reel that you can take with you when going out for fishing is the spinning reel. This is a common reel among many anglers because of its ease of use.

This fishing reel works perfectly well with a 14-pound test line or a line lighter than that. In addition, the spool of the reel is immovable and the handle can be switched suiting left and right-hand users. You can also go for a baitcasting reel that features a streamlined housing. The reels are available in different sizes and can be used in freshwater and saltwater.

They feature sturdy metal construction for durability. Anglers who fish large fish that weigh up to 80 pounds will enjoy using this fishing reel. Other benefits that come with baitcasting reels are that they have multiple bearings, anti-reverse and variable gearing.

Lastly, you can go for fly fishing reels, which feature a large spool and the grip is attached to the outside of the spool. Fly fishing reels are light and long-lasting making them easy to use. The reels do not have a handle, and you can get some with automatic winding.

Type of Water

This is another important thing that you should think of before buying a fishing reel. What types of water are you going to be fishing? For instance, you may have a reel that works great in freshwater, but it cannot handle saltwater fishing.

If you are going to fish in saltwater bodies, you should equip yourself with the right saltwater fishing reel that can withstand that environment.

Additionally, some of the reels are designed to rust resistant ball bearings that make it easy to use in saltwater without carrion and rusting.

Line Capacity

Spinning reels are the most used fishing reels because the line capacity is of less significance. When you are fishing small fish like whiting, bass, golden perch, and bream, a spinning reel can effectively handle that work because they can handle weight as low as two pounds.

Other types of large fishing reels can be used when you are fishing large species with a heavyweight. All the fishing reels feature a line capacity indication that helps you get the right reel to meet your needs.

Another thing that you should ensure when you are deciding the right line capacity is compatibility. The line should match with the rods capability. For example, lighter weight reels provide a better casting distance and performance as compared to heavyweight reels.


Some of the fishing reels you find can be very irritating to use, especially on a long day of fishing. A reel that produces a lot of noise and vibration can make your fishing moments boring.

One thing that makes a fishing reel a quality tool is the bearing. A quality spinning reel should provide you with a very smooth performance. It is advisable to choose a fishing reel with more bearings in order to get a smooth performance with reduced noise and vibrations.

If you are carrying your fishing in saltwater, a fishing reel with quality ball bearing is a must-have. For this reason, you can consider buying a reel with 5 quality ball bearing than 10 poor ball bearings.

Reel Body

The reel body is the main housing of the reel. There are different materials that are used to make fishing reels. You can find them in aluminum, graphite, a combination of aluminum and graphite or plastic body.

Fishing reels with an aluminum body are stronger and provide less flex. On the other hand, reels that feature graphite bodies are lighter. If you are choosing a fishing reel for saltwater use, it is advisable to go for one with an aluminum body. For freshwater fishing, reels with the graphite body will be great.


The handle is the place that is used to roll the fishing line onto the spool. For some of the fishing reels, the handle can be transferred from right to left making it easy for right and left-handed people to operate with ease.

Handles can have one or two grips and in some single-grip reels, they can be hinged. Moreover, there are different materials that are used to make handles. Depending on your personal preference, you can choose between a wooden, metal or synthetic grips.


The spool is an important part of any fishing reel. It is the part that is used to hold the fishing line. The spools are also made from different materials like plastic, polished graphite, cast aluminum and in some cases stainless steel. You can select the right material depending on what you love.

Spools come in different sizes to hold different line lengths. In simple terms, if the information listed on the reel is 12/200, this means that the spool can hold up to 200 yards of the 12-pound test line.


Drags in a fishing reel allow the line to play around with less resistance. When you are fishing small species like perch, you need to tighten the drag down to prevent the line from slipping.

There are two main things that separate drags in different types of fishing reel, front and rear adjustment. If you are targeting large species, front drags are effective.


The bails are made different depending on the type of fishing reel that you have, but they serve the same purpose. The main function of a bail-in a reel is to prevent the line from spooling out. In a baitcasting reel, this can be done by depressing the button or flipping the manual bailout.


The gears connect the handle, spool, roll, and line to the spool. For inexpensive fishing reels, the gears feature a plastic construction. It is not worth buying plastic gears no matter how cheap they are, in the long run, you will be losing. Look for quality gears with durable construction and you will get the best fishing results.

Cases happen where the fish takes the bait and the gear strip. In such a scenario, there is nothing you can do apart from watch the fish swim away, and you end up losing the line too.

Final Words:

Selecting the right fishing reel for different species and environments is the first step that you can take to make your fishing experience awesome. You need to determine the target species and the type of water you are planning to carry out fishing and then look for the best fishing reels.

Apart from getting the best fishing reel, it is equally important to ensure that the rod and the fishing line match perfectly well to the reel. If you are purchasing a reel for a beginner, consider trying a spin casting reel because it is very easy to use. For experienced anglers, they can perfectly handle any type of fishing reel and still get the best results.