The Ultimate Reel Buying Guide


Buying a proper fishing reel can make a difference between a successful and stressful fishing trip. That’s why it is good to learn everything you possibly can about buying one. In this article, we’ll show you how to choose a fishing reel.

Types Of Fishing Reels

The basic types of fishing reels are baitcasting reels, spinning reels, and spincast reels. All of them are great for different purposes, so before buying one you should learn how it works and see if it fits your needs.

Baitcasting Reels

Recommended for and popular among experienced anglers, baitcasting reels use the weight of the bait or lure to pull on the line and turn the spool. These are great bass fishing reels.

Spinning Reels

Easy to use, simple to install or remove from the spinning rod, these are a great option for novice fishermen. They are not suited for larger fish, and spinning reels have the anti-reverse mechanism included to keep the line from spooling off, so your spinning reel fishing line doesn’t get tangled.

Spincast Reels

Spincast reels have the line coming off the top of the spool when you cast. The cast is parallel with the rod stays surrounded by a cover with a featured port, at the place where the end of the fishing line leaves the reel. The spool is motionless until you press the thumb button to start casting. With releasing that button, bait or lure will push the line. Simple to use, they are a favorite among beginners.

Fly Fishing Reels

There are also many different options for fly fishing reels, and you can check our best fly fishing reels suggestions.

Finding A Perfect Reel

There are many things you should take into consideration that will make a final reel buying decision relatively easy.

Saltwater Or Freshwater

Start by thinking about your plans and figuring out whether you’ll be fishing in saltwater or freshwater more often. For saltwater, you’ll need a high-quality reel, while for freshwater fishing basically, any will do just fine.

For saltwater fishing make sure your reel is corrosion resistant and should be strong enough to endure any possible stress, even if they have to deal with some underwater monsters.

What’s Your Target?

Think about your targeted fish species. For instance, if you’d be fishing for freshwater fish, you won’t have to think about corrosion but should concentrate on getting the best fishing line. It is recommended to gather all the information before you decide which reel you’ll need.

Money Means Quality, And You Want That

When it comes to reels, the quality is directly connected to price. Although it is possible to find a good deal, most often the more you play, the better and more durable the reel and its parts will be. Of course, if you don’t plan to go fishing few times per week during all year, you could do just fine with just about anything, but if you do it permanently, it is better to spend a few more bucks.

Lice Capacity

This is again directly correlated to a place you’ll be fishing in. If you’ll be going to a local lake, you probably won’t need anything too big. But, if you’re going to a place you’re not so familiar with, it is recommended to have a bigger reel that can house any line.

Fishing Habits

In theory, fishing is simple, but in reality, every angler does something different and has their own preferences, so you should consider this thing. For instance, if you love to fish from the shoreline, you’ll need a reel that could withstand the stress caused by fish trying to get away, while if you prefer fishing from a boat and have more mobility, you won’t need an as strong a reel.

Think About Weight

Fishing may take hours and hours so basically, after some time every ounce will be felt. To avoid any extra weight that could lead to wrist fatigue and injuries, find the lightest fishing reel you possibly can. This way you’ll feel comfortable even after a few hours of casting and reeling.

Speed Or Power – Gear Ratio

This is quite simple to understand – the faster your reel goes, the weaker it will be, and vice versa – if your reel is slower, it is most likely quite strong. When buying a reel, check its gear ratio. This describes the number of times a spool turns when you make a full circle of a handle.

Match It With Your Rod

It’s not just about the color. Not all fishing reels will work with any fishing rods, so when at the shop, check their specifications. Many rod manufacturers provide suggestions about which reels will work best and which you should avoid combining. Check out our best fishing rod and reel suggestions.

Corrosion, Corrosion, Corrosion…


If you don’t want to change your rod every year, it is essential to make sure it is made of a material that won’t corrode during the time. This is even more important if you’ll be fishing in a saltwater area. You could also get a fishing reel that has a protective coating and sealed internal components.

Spool Size And Shape

If you’re looking for a spinning reel, the size and shape of the spool could vary, so pay special attention to it. The way the spool is configured could have an impact on line capacity and how far your cast will go.

Opting or a deeper spool means your casting distance will increase, while if you go with a wider spool, there will be more space for the fishing line.

Reel Size

Although mostly about comfort, the reel size could have a big influence on your fishing success. For instance, if you plan to fish in freshwater or to go after bass or smaller trout, you won’t need a large reel, but if you’ll be going on an ocean fishing trip where you could end up fighting with some kind of real sea monster, like tuna, the size of the reel most often means the difference between catching it and failure.

Comfort Is Important

If you’ve found the best possible reel, with only one, smaller flaw – it feels awkward in your hand, skip it and continue to look forward. Remember, fish can put on a fight that may last long, so to avoid possible injuries, get one that feels good when you hold it. After a long day, you’ll be thankful for this advice.

Reel Handle Quality

There are not many things that are more annoying compared to a situation where you’ve almost caught your fish after a good 15-minute fight, and just as you’re getting ready to break it, your handle malfunctions. This is one of the biggest problems for many fishing reels. What you could do is to try it out and see – if you feel the handle like your arm’s extension, go with it.

Make sure you check it from time to time just to make sure everything is OK, to avoid any possible misfortune. Also, take care of your handle knob and screws that are holding the handle. The knob could become slippery, and the screws could wear off, thanks to all the stress.

Go The Distance

It is understandable that you probably won’t get the most expensive reel out there because you’re still learning, but even as a beginner you should go with the best reel you could afford. Many novice anglers quit when they lose a few catches. To avoid that, try to go with the best equipment. On a long-distance, it will pay off. Firstly, you’ll get a quality part that will make your overall experience much better, and secondly, it will last much longer and the chances it will malfunction sooner rather than later are minimal.

Think in advance – if fishing is something you’d love to dedicate your time to, then don’t be afraid to spend more. It will be worth it.


This system serves to provide friction to the spool, which will make the casting and fighting the bigger fish easier.

Statistics say that most anglers can deal with 15 to 18 pounds of drag pressure without losing their power. Don’t overestimate yourself, get a reel with drag you find comfortable. In case you decide to ignore this, you could end up getting fatigued, which could not only lead to exhaustion, but you could end up injuring yourself.

There are a few different types of drag systems.

Drag Systems

When looking for a drag system, you can choose between the spring and pawl system, disc drag system, and caliper system. Also, there are older, adjustable drag systems.

  • Spring and pawl is a system that has a spring used to push the pawl into a gear on the reel spool, this way producing friction. It is mostly used for freshwater fishing.
  • Disc drag system uses a large pad to push against the spool’s braking surface. It provides direct pressure so the control and efficiency are at the maximum. They could use cork or synthetic materials. Go with these if you’ll be fishing at the sea.
  • The caliper drag system is a combination of the two. It uses a pad to push against the spool’s braking surface, this way slowing the reel spoon spins.

Globo Surf Overview

Finding the best fishing reel is important as it will significantly affect your whole experience. It may sound complicated, but with the help of this how to buy a fishing reel guide it should be way easier. Combine it with your other fishing gear, get ready, and go – the water adventures are waiting!

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!