Selecting a Fishing ReelLearn More
Is a spinning reel a good choice for you?
Spinning reels (aka “open faced” reels) are popular with many anglers because they are versatile and easy to use. The key difference from conventional reels is that the spool is mounted parallel to the rod on the underside of the rod. When casting, the spool remains stationary and the line is taken off the fixed spool by the lure or bait as it flies through the air. When taking the line in, an arched, rotating pick up mechanism or bail lays down the line on the spool. Gear ratios are most often 4:1 and 6:1. With a spinning reel, beginners can learn to cast in a fraction of the time it takes to master casting with a baitcasting or conventional reel.
While spinning reels are most often associated with freshwater or inshore ocean fishing, they are now being used for offshore fishing when targeting big game fish. For example, where large fish like marlin were normally caught with the use of a conventional reel and a fighting chair, anglers like Scott Walker of the fishing TV show “Into the Blue” eschew the use of fighting chairs for all but the biggest of fish. When it comes to catching marlin and his choice of reels, as Scott explains in an interview with West Marine, “It’s standup with spinning tackle. We can use conventional, but given our choice, with the great new innovations from Shimano, standup with a spinning rod is about as good as it gets.” For the complete interview, see Into the Blue: Tips, tricks and insights from Steve Rodger and Scott Walker.
West Marine offers a large number of spinning reels, from small models suitable for trout to big brawny reels suitable for heavy surf or offshore fishing. Brands represented include Daiwa, Pflueger, Penn, Shimano and more.