Author: Brent aka "Sundrop"

We have covered the “closed face” or spin-cast reel. One of the most common and least expensive reels available, although it has its limitations. Now we will look at a much more versatile and reliable reel design. The “Spinning Reel”. A spinning reel is easily identified because of its unique design. It has an open spool in the front of the reel and the reel hangs below the rod, where other designs are mounted “over” or “on top of” the rod. The open spool means the line is always visible so that the amount and condition of the line is always in view. The line is wound by a wire-like arm called the “bail”. This bail is manually opened to cast the line and then returned into “retrieve mode” by a slight turn of the crank or by hand. Most “spinners” have the drag adjustment placed on the front of the spool, but many new designs use a knob on the rear of the spool for drag adjustment. Opinions vary as to which is best. I feel direct pressure on the spool from a front adjustment is more reliable and easier to maintain since it requires fewer parts but that is my opinion.. As with Spincast reels, price and quality vary greatly as well as size and line diameter and distance of spooling. One advantage of spinning reels is the ability to easily remove the spool so you can buy additional spools and have various line types available on hand for changing fishing conditions/species.. Reels also cast farther and retrieve smoother than closed faced reels and have less line twist. Line twist is one setback of spinning reels, but can be controlled by using a swivel to connect lures/rigs/hooks in most applications. They can also “backlash” much like a bait caster reel but with less severity and frequency especially for the inexperienced

** As a footnote. All reels vary in retrieve ratio. Ratio is shown for example as 3.5:1 This is retrieve distance in inches (based on spool diameter full of line) calculated by one revolution of the handle..
Diameter (of spool) X Pi X Ratio = Retrieve Distance (per revolution)
(Pi = 3.14 in case you don't remember your high school math) So, if your spool diameter is 2 1/8 full and ratio is 3.5:1
2-1/8 X 3.14 X 3.5 = 23-3/8 inches of line retrieved per revolution…


Ratio becomes more important as you get more experience and need to manage retrieval speed for lure presentation such as crankbait depths or fighting fish in close cover where you need to be able to pull fish away from snags or cut offs quickly such as around docks/piers.

Back to the topic…….

Spinning reels unique design of mounting below the rod requires rods made specifically for this purpose because rods have to have the guides underneath as well. They also have a larger guide near the reel to allow for smother “spooling” action and distance when casting.

To cast a spinning reel you flip the bail over to the opposite side of the spool while holding the line taught with the index finger of the hand you hold the rod in. As you make the forward swing to cast you release the line from the finger allowing the line to spool out as you cast. Some will use the two hand method of holding the line in one hand while holding the rod in the other until the get used to the “feel”.. As with any reel, practice practice!!!!!!

That’s about it!!!! I love the spinner design and versatility and it is my favorite all around reel. Bait-casters are better for distance and line care (no twist) but are hard for some to master and high quality reels that perform best can be very expensive. $ for $ a cheap spinner will outlast/out perform a cheap bait-caster any day in my opinion.

We will go in-depth on the bait-cast design and its pros and cons in…….. Part 3 of…” THE REEL DEAL!!!” “Captains or Castaways”.

About Me: My name is Brent, I'm 41 yrs young, or "old goat with an old boat" !!
City: "little" Washington
Interests: FISHING! tinkering on anything that burns gas...
Occupation: Health Care
Home Waters - Areas Fished Most: Pamlico river/ Tar river.. Coastal piers..Falls lake when I visit the folks!