Fishing is an incredibly ancient sport. It was once a means of sustenance and has now become more of a recreational activity. In fact, it is a pretty popular hobby nowadays. Many people like to head out to their nearest water body to spend a day with their favorite fishing rod in their hands. The fishing rod is a fisherman’s main weapon, and a fishing reel is what holds the ammunition for this weapon. Today, we are going to talk about the best spinning reel models out in the market. Spinning reels have been gaining popularity for quite some time now and for a good reason.

These reels are quite versatile, reliable, and easy to use. They come in a wide range of designs and are liked by beginners and experienced fishers alike. If you’re a serious fisher then having at least one spinning reel in your arsenal is a must. However, buying one isn’t as simple as you might think. There are a lot of factors that you need to take into consideration before you buy a spinning reel. They’re a lot more complex than they look, meaning that every reel behaves a bit differently.

To make the most out of a spinning reel, you need to pick one that suits you. It must suit your fishing style, the kind of line that you use, the kind of fish that you catch, and the environment that you fish in.

Let’s take a look at how these reels work and why are they so great.

What Makes Spinning Reels So Great?

These reels are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. Fishers use them in finesse presentations as well as in live bait fishing. They’re quite popular amongst walleye, panfish, and bass anglers. For freshwater fishing, spinning reels can easily cope with six to ten pound test lines. They can also accept a variety of lures, including crankbaits, spinners, and small jigs.

The biggest plus of a spinning reel is that it makes casting light lures and lines easy. These rods come with a fixed/open spool system. This allows the line to be cast off of the reel more fluidly, reducing the chances of tangles or backlashes messing up your line.

Spinning reels are also suitable for a range of skill levels. Using a spinning reel is quite simple; you open the bail, place a finger on your line, and cast your lure. Beginners can buy simpler versions and practice with them. As your skill level increases, you can switch over to better models with more features.

The Anatomy of a Spinning Reel

Knowing how something works is the best way to utilize its fullest potential. A better understanding of a spinning reel will also help you pick one that is right for you. A spinning reel’s anatomy can be broken down into two; the external body and its internal mechanics.

External Body

Spool

A spinning reel’s spool is where the line is wound and stored. Unlike other reels, a spinning reel’s spool doesn’t rotate. Instead, it slightly moves up and down as the reel’s handle is cranked, this ensures that the line wraps around the spool in an even manner. The spool begins turning backward when the line becomes tenser than your reel’s drag setting. This lets the line unwind and makes sure that your line doesn’t get damaged.

Your reel’s spool determines how well you will be able to cast. A spool that lets go of your line faster will let you cast farther. Some spinning reels come with spools designed to let the line off of them as fast as possible.

The build quality of your spools is important since it’s one of the core components of your reel. A quality spool is usually made from graphite or aluminum. The former being lighter while the latter being more durable. The kind of material that you want depends on whether you want a reel that can take damage or one that weighs less.

Some spools are also designed to house braided lines. A braid-ready spool will give you the option to tie a braided line onto the spool itself.

Reel Body

The body of a reel is the foundation of your spinning reel. The rest of its components will connect to the body, and it also provides you with a place to hold onto your reel. A decent reel body must be tough, have a stable build, and it should feel comfortable to hold.

There isn’t much to consider when looking at a reel’s body. It should be sturdy and lightweight. Reel bodies come in aluminum and graphite. And just like with the spool, aluminum offers strength while graphite offers lesser weight.

The body of a reel will also have the Reel foot built into it. The reel foot is what secures a reel to your rod. They’re usually made of the same material as the reel body. Nowadays most fishing rods are built to standard so a majority of reels can be attached to any rod.

Reel Handle

The reel handle lets you reel in your fishing line. The handle is made of an angled arm that you spin using a free spinning handle on the arm’s end. Reel handles are made using either graphite, aluminum, or plastic. The handle doesn’t come under a lot of pressure, so most people prefer to go for one made from a lighter material rather than a stronger material.

The grip and size of a reel handle, however, is important. You should take your time with this and go for a grip that “feels right” in your hands. It should be large enough to hold and rotate comfortably.

Remember that comfort is a big factor when it comes to fishing. An average fishing session is at least a couple of hours long. So you need to make sure that you have equipment that doesn’t wear you out.

Bail

The bail of a spinning reel is the U-shaped wire that is connected to its front. Its purpose is to let the line fall off the spool freely when set in an “open” position. When set to a “closed” position, the bail acts as a guide that helps the line wrap around the spool as it gets reeled in. A bail should have a smooth polished body to reduce friction as your line rubs against it. Some reels have bails designed to be easily operated. They make the process of closing a bail simpler once you cast your reel.

You can also find some spinning reels without a bail, however, having a bail is usually better than not having one.

Power Roller

The power roller is a small guide that is set on top of the bail. It provides the line with a path to follow as it gets reeled in once you have closed your bail. Low-end rollers don’t roll; they just provide a smooth surface for your line to move across. Mid-range to high-end reels have spinning rollers that offer lesser friction and smoother reeling.

A roller can be made of graphite, aluminum, gold, or brass. Its material should be polished and hard enough not to be eroded by your line. Braided lines are prone to cutting into softer rollers, so make sure that you pick a reel with a decent roller.

Drag Adjustment

The drag adjustment of a reel determines how much force is needed to pull the line off of the spool when your bail is closed. The purpose of this setting is to make sure that your line doesn’t snap or your reel doesn’t get damaged when it is being pulled on. When the tension on your line exceeds your set drag force, the spool begins spinning backward.

Spinning reels have drag adjustment knobs either on their front or on their back. While knobs on the back are easier to use during a fish fight, their working is more complex. This makes them harder to maintain, so front knobs are usually given more preference.

Internal Mechanics

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of a reel determines how many times its bail arm rotates per one handle turn. It is usually written in a ratio form. For example; a 4:1 gear ratio would mean that every time you turn the handle, the bail arm will spin four times.

The gear ratio of a reel can be used to determine its speed, the higher the ratio, the faster a spinning reel becomes.

Bearings

A spinning reel depends heavily on its bearings. These reels have a number of bearings in them that minimize friction as the reel is operated. Bearings are either made with steel or ceramic, the latter being of higher quality. Low end spinning reels tend to pack more low-quality bearings. They tend to wear out faster and significantly affect the performance of your reel. A high-end reel will usually have ceramic bearings that produce minimal friction.

Ceramic bearings also last longer (especially in saltwater) as they aren’t prone to rust. A fisher should settle for stainless steel bearings at the very least. And if your budget allows it, you should give ceramic bearings a go.

Things to Consider When Buying a Spinning Reel

Apart from the construction of the reel itself, there are other factors that you should think about as well — these factors being whether you fish in freshwater or saltwater. Freshwater fishing means that you’ll be capturing fish that aren’t as big. It also means that the water will be less corrosive. Typically, any reel can be used to fish in freshwater. However, if you fish in the sea, then you will need to get a reel that has great build quality and doesn’t rust as easily.

The species of fish matter as well. For people who want to go after smaller fish such as crappie and panfish, lighter reels work just fine. However, for bigger fish, you’d need a heavier reel that can take more punishment.

A spinning reel’s line capacity should be taken into account. If you’re fishing in freshwater and are going after smaller fish, then a smaller line capacity will be fine. For larger water bodies or species that make larger runs, you’d want a longer line.

Lastly, you want to make sure that your rod and reel are compatible. Spinning reels perform best when they’re paired with spinning rods. Unlike other rods, spinning rods have larger guides that are designed to match the casting and reeling style of spinning reels. Other specifications include the weight of the rod, the amount of pressure it can take, etc.

Now that we’ve learned enough about spinning reels, it’s time to take a look at some of the best spinning reel models out in the market.

The Best Spinning Reel Models

  • Shimano Stella FJ 2500
  • Penn Clash CLA2500
  • Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500
  • 13 Fishing Creed GT 2000
  • Daiwa BG 3000
  • Okuma Avenger ABF40b
  • Shimano Spirex 4000 RG
  • KastKing Sharky III 1000
  • Pflueger President PRESSP30X
  • Daiwa Crossfire 2500

Shimano Stella FJ 2500

shimano stella fj reviewFeatures:

  • Made with Japanese precision, this reel is designed for performance. Its body is coated in an X-Protect finish that gives it a superb look. It also makes the reel five times more resistant to corrosion.
  • Its body has seven ball bearings in it. Every part of the reel is set in place with machine precision.
  • Comes in gear ratios ranging from 5.1:1 to 6.2:1. It can reel in the line at 25 to 40 inches per every crank turn.
  • Has a line capacity of 100 yards.

Pros:

  • Has a ridiculously smooth and silent operation.
  • Its drag system is very precise and sensitive.
  • Its sleek body and stunning finish make the reel look like a work of art.
  • Perfect for long-distance casting.

Cons:

  • Has a very big price tag, even for a high-end reel.
  • Its drag adjustment knob is small on its lightweight version. It can be hard to use during fishing.

Penn Clash CLA2500

best spinning reelFeatures:

  • An all metal, medium weight reel made primarily for freshwater fishing. But can also be used in saltwater.
  • It is designed to be durable; even the bail line is thicker than usual. It has eight stainless steel bearings, and its drag washers are made of carbon fiber. Every part of the reel is CNC milled, ensuring that everything sits together perfectly.
  • Designed for use in heavier fishing sessions. Its body has an ergonomic grip as well.

Pros:

  • Has a sturdy bail that will last for quite some time.
  • Is compatible with braid lines.
  • The handle and grip of the reel are ergonomic. The handle is especially well-designed, making the reel great for long fishing trips.

Cons:

  • The drag adjustment knob is small.
  • The reel’s body tends to flex when put under pressure.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500

shimano stradic ci4+Features:

  • A lightweight reel that focuses on maximizing effortless casting and reeling.
  • Its body has six bearings, and the body is built with great precision. The reel has a very smooth operation.
  • It has a line capacity of 100 yards. The reel’s body is made of carbon fiber, making it lightweight and robust.
  • Designed for long range light fishing.

Pros:

  • Has a great build quality. The reel feels robust despite its lightweight.
  • The crank handle has an extra-large handle to increase ergonomics.
  • Offers the same effortless cranking experience that comes with every Shimano product.

Cons:

  • Your fishing line can get stuck in its spool sometimes.
  • Very pricey.

13 Fishing Creed GT 2000

13 fishing creed gt reviewFeatures:

  • Made using carbon fiber to provide a great combination of strength and lesser weight. The reel has a compact body to reduce its weight further.
  • Its body consists of 10 ball bearings, and it has a gear ratio of 6.2:1. Despite being compact, it has a sturdy and thick bail wire.

Pros:

  • Its drag system makes use of carbon components to minimize friction and maximize smooth operation.
  • The bail wire is incredibly robust at this reel’s weight and price range.
  • The reel has a sleek and modern look to it. All of its parts are made using the latest technology.

Cons:

  • The reel body has plenty of cutaways that provide space for dirt and gunk to gather. This makes the reel hard to keep clean.
  • It manages to tangle lightweight lines easily.

Daiwa BG 3000

daiwa bg 3000 reviewFeatures:

  • A mid-weight reel made for use in fresh and saltwater. The aluminum body is designed to be extra tough and corrosion resistant.
  • The reel has six bearings in it, and it can be used with braided lines as well as normal lines.
  • The reel has a beefy looking body thanks to its emphasis on durability.

Pros:

  • Offers superb sturdiness, the body and the bail wire are very strong.
  • Works great with heavy single lines. This combined with its strength makes it a great saltwater reel.
  • Its reeling action feels smooth and very responsive.

Cons:

  • The reel is heavier than most due to its beefy body.

Okuma Avenger ABF40b

okuma avengerFeatures:

  • This reel uses a combination of aluminum and graphite in its design. The body is made of graphite to reduce weight, and the handle and spool are aluminum.
  • It has six bearings in it and offers reasonably good performance.
  • The reel’s handle and drag knob are large enough to make using them comfortable.
  • The reel’s reeling action is very sensitive. This makes it a great option for bait feeding in freshwater areas.

Pros:

  • The reel’s controls are large and easy to interact with.
  • The reel has a durable feel to it, especially its handle.
  • The reeling action feels smooth and offers great sensitivity.

Cons:

  • It accepts braid lines, but you need to backline them first.
  • The reel foot places it slightly closer to the fishing rod. This makes the reel feel awkward to use at times.

Shimano Spirex 4000 RG

shimano spirex 4000 rg reviewFeatures:

  • A mid-range Shimano quality reel that is designed for freshwater use. Everything sits together tightly in this reel’s body.
  • It has a rear drag adjustment system and an easy close bail wire. These two make the reel very easy to use.
  • Its cranking handle has no angle to it and features two handles. This makes it great for finesse based reeling action.
  • The reel’s body is made of lightweight graphite while the spool is made of aluminum.

Pros:

  • Simple and intuitive to use.
  • Its drag system is quite sensitive.

Cons:

  • The reel has a thinner bail wire than normal.
  • The crank handle is fixed to the body and cannot be replaced.

KastKing Sharky III 1000

kastking sharky 3 reviewFeatures:

  • A medium power, heavy-duty reel designed to be used in salt and freshwater. It features single and braided line compatibility.
  • Its gear system consists of ten stainless steel bearings. The entire gear system is sealed and connected to the main shaft of the reel.
  • The reel’s build quality is quite impressive. Everything is assembled with precision, and there are plenty of features that make it practical.

Pros:

  • Its spool is designed to house braided lines.
  • The casting operation is smooth and effortless.
  • The reel offers a variety of features at a great price level.

Cons:

  • The reel starts making noises when put under pressure.
  • It tends to twist lines as it casts and reels.

Pflueger President PRESSP30X

Pflueger President reviewFeatures:

  • Has a sturdily built body that consists of 9 stainless steel bearings. Most of the body is made with graphite, and everything has a solid feel to it.
  • The spool can house single and braided lines. The reel makes long distance casting feel effortless.
  • Comes in five different sizes.

Pros:

  • The reel has a simple and sleek look to it. Its functioning is quite simple as well.
  • The drag system has a very smooth feel to it.
  • Doesn’t run into any trouble with braided lines. Its spool is designed for housing braided

Cons:

  • The gear system isn’t silent.
  • The reel body has a smaller leg, making it sit closer to the rod. This makes the reel harder to use for people with bigger hands.

Daiwa Crossfire 2500

Daiwa Crossfire 2500 reviewFeatures:

  • The reel features a compact body and a spool designed to aid in casting. The spool has a tapered form that allows the line to cast off of it quickly. The tapering also reduces memory curl.
  • The reel has a metal body and an aluminum crank that make it feel solid despite its size.

Pros:

  • A great choice for beginners thanks to its entry-level price and great design.
  • The reel has a large handle that increases its ergonomics
  • Its gear system is relatively quiet and operates smoothly.

Cons:

  • Isn’t compatible with braided lines.
  • The drag system becomes grippy when set to its highest setting.

These were the best spinning reel models that you can find in the market. You are now more than ready to head out into the market and purchase a decent reel for yourself. Remember to keep three things in mind; ergonomics, build quality, and a reel’s combination with your rod. As long as you pick a reel with these three factors in mind, you are bound to spend your money on something great.