When it comes to shopping for a solid spinning reel that you can use and rely on without having to spend a significant amount of money, there are a few main factors that you should pay attention to in order to ensure that you’re getting a decent product and the right fishing gear for the job.
Ball Bearing Systems
As we’ve already noted, the ball bearing system is one of the most important—and misunderstood elements of a spinning reel than anything else. In most cases, novice and beginner anglers will see a higher number of ball bearings and likely assume that the more bearings a reel has, the better it will perform.
This is not always true as the quality and precision with which the ball bearings are made play a much larger role in the overall performance of a spinning reel as it relates to casting and retrieving.
Spool Size and Line Capacity
Anglers must understand what each type of spinning reel is capable of delivering in terms of performance. In order to have a more firm grasp on this, it’s key to have a working knowledge of the spool size and line capacity that a particular spinning reel offers. Most spinning reels come in three or four main sizes that vary in their overall line capacity.
Most brands will offer an estimate as to how much line a reel is capable of holding depending on the specific type of fishing line being used, as well as the pound test rating of the line. As you might already be aware, a spool will be able to hold much more line if you happen to spool it with a lighter pound test line than if you opt for using a heavier rated line.
Some reel models will also be able to allow anglers to tie braided line directly to the spool, or will typically note whether a ‘backing’ line is needed to first be spooled on.
It’s usually a good idea to select a reel that can hold at least 150 to 200 yards of line for bass fishing.
The drag system is easily one of the most important parts of any fishing reel as it will likely be the make-or-break factor that determines whether it can stack up against the kind of fish you’re after. Make sure the reel offers a quality front drag, as well as rear drag.
Too often, anglers select a fishing reel that might be more in line with their budget, but is also one that might have a less powerful drag system that simply won’t hold up against a hard-pulling fish when the time comes.
The drag system is really something that anglers need to pay close attention to if they intend to purchase a larger spinning reel that will be used to catch the bigger saltwater species of game fish that are notorious for burning up a drag and even stripping one out on occasion.
Be sure to look for a drag that is able to give a bit and allow your hook to be pulled when a fish strikes your bait.
Adjustability of the Drag
Another very important characteristic you need to have in your spinning reel is the ability to adjust the drag to a setting that will be more suitable depending on the size and power level that you’re expecting to get from the fish you’re after.
If your drag is too tight, you’re likely to have a fish break the line
or strip the drag system out and damage the reel’s internal components beyond repair. A drag that’s too light will cause you to lose any fight you have with a fish as your line will simply continue being pulled out without leaving you the chance to wind it back and gain some ground on your catch.
It’s very important to make sure the spinning reel you’re looking at purchasing will allow you to adjust the drag either before you cast, or even on the fly while you’re in the middle of a fight with a fish. Being able to adjust your drag as you’re fighting the fish is crucial as you’ll be able to have a better gauge of the power level of the fish and can adjust your drag accordingly.