Full Guide on How to Choose a Fishing Reel

Nov 21, 2023
Joshua Fuld

CEO and Founder

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Embarking on the journey of fishing begins with choosing the right equipment, and the heart of this equipment is the fishing reel. With a plethora of options from renowned brands like Shimano, Penn, Daiwa, Van Staal, and Avet, J&H Tackle is your one-stop destination for all your fishing reel needs. This comprehensive guide is designed to walk you through the different types of fishing reels, helping you find the perfect match for your angling style and the environments you plan to explore.

Understanding Different Types of Fishing Reels

Each type of fishing reel offers unique benefits and is designed to meet specific fishing needs. You have to take into account many different factors before choosing a fishing reel. Let’s delve deeper into the characteristics and advantages of each type.

Spinning Reels

Spinning Reels at J&H Tackle Spinning reels are renowned for their user-friendly nature, making them a top choice for both beginners and experienced anglers. Their design allows for easy casting and retrieval, making them suitable for a wide range of fishing scenarios, from freshwater lakes, coastal waters to the blue oceans. Spinning reels are particularly effective when using lighter baits and lures. They offer excellent castability, reduced line twist, and versatile drag settings. Their wide range of sizes makes them suitable for everything from small trout fishing to battling larger saltwater game. Most anglers find spinning reels to be easy to fish and very comfortable. They reduce a little bit of the complexity of fishing so you can focus more on your bait presentation.

Conventional Reels

Conventional Reels at J&H Tackle Conventional reels, known for their robust construction, are the preferred choice for nearshore and serious offshore fishing. They excel in situations where strength and line capacity are paramount, such as deep-sea fishing, trolling, and big game hunting. These reels offer a variety of features like lever drags, star drags, and two-speed models, providing versatility and power. Don’t get overwhelmed by the choices. Most of these are personal preferences or will be decided based on the type of fishing you will be doing. Anglers targeting species like marlin, tuna, and sharks will find these reels indispensable for their superior line capacity and ability to handle heavy-duty fishing lines and lures.

Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting Reels at J&H Tackle Baitcasting reels are the choice for anglers seeking precision and control in their casting. Ideal for targeting specific spots and heavy cover areas, these reels offer superior accuracy and control. They are highly regarded for their strength and durability, making them suitable for catching larger freshwater species like bass, pike, and muskie, as well as inshore saltwater species. They are also excellent for shallow water jigging and light ocean fishing. Baitcasting reels come with various gear ratios to cater to different fishing techniques, from slow retrieves for crankbaits to fast retrieves for spinnerbaits.

Electric Reels

Electric Reels at J&H Tackle Electric reels represent the cutting edge of fishing technology, combining traditional reel design with electric power for ease of use. They are particularly favored in deep-water settings where retrieving large amounts of heavy line can be challenging. Ideal for deep dropping and targeting species dwelling in the depths, electric reels offer the convenience of effortless retrieval with the push of a button. While they are a significant investment, their efficiency and power make them a valuable tool for serious deep-sea anglers. Manufacturers continue to release more and more electric fishing reels giving customers a wide range of choices, which is great.

Additional Considerations in Choosing a Reel

When selecting a fishing reel, consider your specific fishing environment and target species. The right reel can significantly enhance your fishing experience.

Gear Ratio and Retrieve Speed

  • The gear ratio of a reel determines its retrieve speed. A high gear ratio reel retrieves line faster, which is ideal for techniques requiring quick line retrieval. Conversely, a lower gear ratio offers more cranking power for fighting larger fish.

Drag System

  • The drag system is crucial in managing the tension on your line during a fight with a fish. A smooth, reliable drag is essential for playing and landing fish effectively. Both front and rear drag systems have their advantages, and the choice often comes down to personal preference and fishing style.

Spool Size and Line Capacity

  • Spool size affects line capacity, which is particularly important when targeting larger fish that tend to make long runs. Larger spools also help reduce line memory and can contribute to longer casts.

Material and Durability

  • Reels made from high-quality materials like aluminum, graphite, or carbon composite offer a balance of strength, durability, and lightweight design. Saltwater reels require corrosion-resistant materials to withstand harsh marine environments.

Personal Stories and Customer Experiences

Stories from fellow anglers often provide valuable insights into reel performance in real-world scenarios. For instance, a customer recently shared their experience of landing a trophy striper using a Shimano spinning reel from J&H Tackle, highlighting its smooth drag and exceptional casting accuracy. Another angler recounted a memorable offshore trip where a Penn International conventional reel proved crucial in landing a sizable tuna, demonstrating its strength and reliability.


Choosing the ideal fishing reel is a blend of understanding your fishing preferences, the conditions you’ll be fishing in, and the type of fish you’re targeting. With our extensive selection at J&H Tackle, from versatile spinning reels to powerful conventional and innovative electric reels, we cater to every angler’s needs. We invite you to explore our collection, where quality, performance, and passion for fishing come together. Your next great catch starts with the right reel, and we’re here to help you find it.

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    By Copperstate on April 11, 2024

    Hey! Just finished reading your article on how to choose a fishing reel, and I must say, it’s incredibly informative! Your detailed explanation of the different factors to consider when selecting a reel really helped clarify things for me.
    Some time ago, I used a product from Copperstate Tacklebrand. They also have a large collection of products, and you will definitely find your product.



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