Types of Fishing Reels (2022 Complete Guide)

This is a complete guide on the various types of fishing reels and how to cast them.

With different types of fishing reels to choose from, do you know what type is the best for you?

Find out everything you need to know about the numerous types of reels, their key points, and how to cast them!

Let’s get started.

types of fishing reels
There are several types of fishing reels. Source Jason Boldero

Spincast Reels

Spincast Reel

The spincast reel is known as the simplest type to use. Learning spincast fishing will have you reeling in the best catch of the day.

Key Points

  • Spincasting reels are easy to use, beginner-friendly
  • Budget-friendly
  • Includes a button that allows its user to use fixed spool or free-spool
  • Closed face or open face reel


Casting the spincast reel can be really easy. Just press the spool button, swing, then release. After you release the button, your line will swing to where you’re pointing your rod tip at.

Once you’re ready to stop, press the button again.

Before going spincast fishing, make sure you’ve equipped yourself with the best spincast reels and the best fishing line for spincast reels.

Spinning Reels

spinning reel

The most common type of fishing item you can find is spinning reels. Both experienced anglers and beginners use this reel type and swear by it. Find out why.

Key Points

  • Complements lightweight setups
  • Open face fishing reel
  • Includes an anti-reverse switch that allows you to back-reel


Spinning reels offer more versatility than spin casting reels. Reel spinning is also easy. Many anglers and beginners can adapt to it quickly.

Always use your free hand to flip the reel’s bail upwards and then throw it forward in a throwing motion. The key to this is to release the line with your index fingers when your arm is 45 degrees. You may also close the bail manually on a spinning reel.

Which Is the Best Penn Spinning Reel?

Depending on where you’re going to use your spinning reels, it’s easy to find the best spinning reels for surf fishing or the best spinning reels for bass fishing online.

Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting Reel

The baitcasting reel is one of the advanced reel types. Professional anglers and experts often use it since it has a lot of moving parts.

It can be hard to learn how to use it, but it will definitely up your fishing level.

Key Points

  • There are two styles: Low-profile baitcaster (for bass fishing, heavy cover) and Full-size baitcaster (for offshore fishing, deep saltwater fishing)
  • Low-profile: Smaller pool, more compact
  • Full-size: Heavy drag systems can hold a heavy pound test line


The baitcasting reel is designed for trolling a larger fish. Therefore, they are heavy duty. Another thing to keep in mind when learning how to cast a baitcaster is the different types of lures requirement.

Such different settings for their braking system and tension will matter. That’s why anglers need to adjust settings every time they change them.

Conventional/Trolling Reels

Conventional Reel

Trolling or Conventional reels are great for a wide variety of techniques and are available in various sizes. Anglers can use this type offshore, inshore, and for freshwater fishing.

Key Points

  • Utilizes a straightforward design that works great for deep sea-dwelling and large fish
  • Features large reel that can hold a high line capacity for the big game fish
  • Lower gear ratios, slow crank but excellent torque
  • Small reel types are great for catching small fish


When using a conventional reel, the angler should put the reel in free spooling prior to casting or dropping the bait down. Use your thumb to add pressure to keep it from dropping, then use your other thumb to slow it down.

Fly Fishing Reels

Fly Fishing Reel

The fly fishing reel is used to troll using a lightweight artificial fly lure. It can be tricky to use this reel, but it works best if you know how to utilize them properly.

Key Points

  • Best used with a weightless lure
  • Great for brook trout, salmon, and saltwater fly fishing (check out our list of the best saltwater fly fishing reels)
  • Made to cast a thick fly fishing line effectively


To use a fly reel with an almost weightless lure effectively, you should utilize the weight of the fishing line. Fly reels are designed to be thick and sturdy like a slender rope.

Fishing in Barcelona: Fly Fishing Tips from a Master Fishing Guide

Reel Specialties

Surf Fishing Reels

Surf fishing reels are just a variation of the two types used for surf fishing. The surf casting reel or saltwater casting reel is either a spinning reel or a baitcaster designed for long-distance.

Key Points

  • Can be made of graphite, designed for tough conditions
  • Comes in anodized aluminum as well
  • Large round spool for a long line


The disc drag on the reel should be tight enough, wherein the reel should not spin. You should set lines at various distances so that you can find where most of the fishes are.

Offshore Reels

The Offshore or Saltwater reel are these extra-large spinning reels designed for heavy applications.

Key Points

  • High-capacity spools
  • Low gear ratios
  • Some have two sets of gears for fast retrieval or a lower ratio


Put your thumb onto the spool as soon as your bait hits the water. This will prevent a line twist from occurring.

Which Type of Fishing Reel is Best for You?

How to Pick a Fishing Reel | Baitcaster vs Spinning vs Conventional

The options may appear unending when it comes to buying reels. It can be overwhelming. Choosing the best reel will depend on where and what you want to catch.

Anglers have a different style of fishing, so the reel you should get should be based on your style and rod. Your reel should match your rod. You can’t catch a big fish when you have flimsy fly rods with a great reel.


Once you know the fishing reel you want, practice out and see if it really works for you. It’s essential to learn how to utilize each type of reel since these have their own distinct features.

Hoped this article helped you out in choosing the best type of reel for you. Check out our recent posts to learn more about the type of fishing rod and reel that works best.

The Anglers Behind This Article:

Johanes Godoy

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