Robert Nelson, February 28th, 2013
The fishing reels of today are more specialized than the reels you may have used years ago. With literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of different reels on the market, choosing the correct reel can be extremely difficult. The selection process can be made easier if the buyer takes a few major features into consideration.
When looking for a reel, an angler must consider the fishing situations in which he/she will be using the reel. The most often considered is what type of fish they will be trying to catch. This is very important, but this may not be the most important thing to consider. Experienced anglers will often consider the line size that they will be using as their first consideration. This will help a buyer to select the size of the reel that is needed even before they look into the other features of the reel.
Most inexperienced anglers will be more comfortable with a spinning reel rather than a conventional reel (bait-casting). The use of these reels is far easier than that of the conventional reel. Also, the spinning reel allows for the casting of lighter baits and for the use of lighter lines.
A conventional reel will allow an experienced angler the opportunity to maximize casting distance of the bait. Also, conventional reels allow the angler to use heavier lines when needed. These reels, which were once considered extremely difficult to master, are now much easier to use due to the addition of spool tension knobs and magnetic spool controls. Ultimately, the decision of what type of reel to use is one of preference by the angler.
A reel's drag system is an important feature to all fishermen. A drag system allows the angler to adjust the spool's resistance to turning as he/she fights a fish. Most drag systems on conventional reels are controlled by a star drag on the side of the reel.
Spinning reels are controlled by a drag system that can be either on the back of the reel (rear drag) or on the front of the spool (front drag). Either system will suit an angler fine. Front drag systems usually have larger, multiple-disc washers that offer more durability and a higher level of performance. Rear drag systems are easy to use, but some anglers feel that they do not hold up as well as the front drag systems.
A drag should be able to be adjusted in small increments. When testing a drag, an angler will pull the line off the reel. A properly working drag should allow the line to come off with even and consistent pressure.
Ball bearings in a reel are placed there to help the reel operate smoothly and for the stability of the reel. Spinning reels also include a roller bearing in the line roller. Frequently, anglers look for a reel with sealed bearings. Sealed bearings help prevent the elements from getting in to the reel. The more ball bearings in the reel, the smoother the reel will feel when it is used. High-end reels have up to 12 ball bearings that are usually made from stainless steel. Some reels are now using ceramic ball bearings. Ceramic ball bearings are smoother and more durable than traditional ball bearings.
The gear ratio of the reel is very important to all anglers. Gear ratio is the number of revolutions the spool makes with each turn of the reel handle. The higher a reel's gear ratio, the faster a bait can be retrieved by an angler. High-speed retrieves are helpful not only to move a lure quickly, but also to help an angler when a fish moves quickly toward the angler. This way an angler can "catch up" and gain control of slack line when this occurs.
Lower gear ratio reels are often chosen because they are known to have more cranking power. Some heavier-duty conventional reels offer two speeds. This type of reel allows the angler to have either a high- or low-speed reel with the flip of a switch. This option is usually found in saltwater reels.
Reel frames are usually made from either aluminum or graphite. Aluminum reels are usually stronger and heavier than their graphite counterparts. Graphite bodies offer anglers a lighter reel and less possibility for corrosion, but they do not offer the same strength or durability as do aluminum frame reels.
When choosing a reel, whether it be spinning or conventional, it should feel balanced and smooth when turning the handle. If the reel "wobbles", it means that the rotor may not be properly balanced. Anti-reverse is another important feature when selecting a reel. This mechanism helps to eliminate "play" in the reel handle. This is very important during hook sets.
Spool design must be considered when choosing a reel. Spinning reels usually have an anodized aluminum spool or a graphite spool. The anodized aluminum spool allows greater durability and strength than graphite spools.
Conventional reels may be chrome, bronze or stainless steel. These metal spools are best for heavy lines and used during heavy-duty applications. The spool size must be considered to accommodate a sufficient amount of line, whatever test line you choose. Some spools are longer in length, which may help to make longer casts.
Choosing a reel can be very difficult, but with the help of a local tackle shop, you can make an educated decision.
Source : Nelson, R. (2013, February 28). There are lots of choices when it comes time to pick a new fishing reel. Greenwich Time, Retrieved from http://www.greenwichtime.com/sports/article/There-are-lots-of-choices-when-it-comes-time-to-4318897.php