How do you choose Fishing Reels? Spinning Reels or Baitcasters
There are heaps of different fishing reels available these days, so how do you choose the one that’s right for the fishing you want to do?
WHEN you’ve been fishing for a while, it’s easy to become complacent about things that newcomers to the sport find quite complex and difficult to understand. One such issue that I often hear come up is reel choice. I’m not necessarily talking about brands, although that can become particularly important in terms of affordability versus dependability, but more along the lines of which style of reel should a novice angler buy when starting out? Understanding how different reels work and why they’re designed a certain way is the key to ensuring that your choice will be the right one.
I’m going to talk about two different types of reel in this column: threadlines (aka eggbeaters or spin reels) and baitcasters (overheads). There are other types of reel available including sidecasts, game reels (which are like giant baitcasters), centrepins and closed face reels, but these are usually for very basic or quite specialised ends of the market.
Spinning Reels or Threadlines are the most popular style of reel in Australia and probably the world. If you’re a relative newcomer to fishing, then my vote definitely goes to threadline reels for you. This is because they are readily available in virtually any budget range, come in a wide range of sizes to suit just about all applications and are simple to use (once you learn properly).
Most anglers can work out how to cast a threadline reel quite quickly. In fact, even with pretty poor casting technique, you can still catch fish with these reels. However, once you learn how to cast one properly, they can be an extremely effective casting tool.
Threadlines, however, are not just for novices. They come into their own when it comes to casting really small or light finesse presentations because the line comes off the reel with very little resistance. Their design has been around for decades but more recently threadline reels have gone through a design revolution. Huge improvements in threadline reel designs have resulted in vastly increased drag capabilities, in turn allowing for heavier lines and beefed-up engineering and construction to ensure the reel can tolerate these pressures. This has resulted in modern threadline reels being the preferred choice for serious sport and gamefishing, which was a domain once reserved for overhead reels.
There aren’t really too many downsides when considering a threadline reel, provided that you get a good quality one. You’ll need to ensure that your reel is balanced to the overall outfit you use and that your line capacity is not too full or empty. Too little line on the reel reduces casting capability. Too much line can result in multiple coils coming off at once and creating tangles.
Baitcasters are more specialised than threadlines. The big advantage of baitcasters is that they are, arguably, more effective for casting accurately. This is because the caster is in constant control of the line coming off the spool, allowing he/sheto manually slow down or even stop the lure or bait quite precisely. Baitcasters have a revolving drum for a spool and to cast one requires a disengagement of the gears so that the spool can spin freely.
The management of the line coming off the reel needs to be controlled by the caster to ensure the spool spins at the same speed as the line coming off it. If the spool spins too fast then the line bunches up, causing a tangle referred to as a bird’s nest. This propensity to tangle is the main reason why people are put off baitcasters.
Additionally, even the very best baitcasters are limited in how light a casting weight they can cast. This is because a light lure will come off the rod tip very quickly but will also slow down very quickly. This, again, can cause bird’s nests. Casting into the wind can do the same.
Regardless of which style or brand of reel you end up getting- always shop around, buy the best you can afford and purchase your new reel from a reputable fishing tackle specialist. Sometimes a few extra bucks for quality advice can save you a fortune down the track.