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There are essentially two categories of fishing reels: conventional and fixed-spool. The first ones have revolving spools and are used in saltwater fishing. The second ones have immobile spools.
Within these two categories of reels, there are three types of reels: baitcasting, spincasting and spinning.
We have to add that another reel’s type exists: the centrepin, used for fly fishing, so we send back to the appropriate page for more details about.
Let’s see a brief description of these ones.

SPINNING REEL

SPINNING REEL

SPINNING REEL

It is the most commonly-used nowadays.
Originally developed for artificial flies (too light in weight to be cast by baitcasting reel), it consists in  a fixed-spool reel wherein the housing around the stationary spool (parallel to the rod’s axis), spins around it at a turn of the handle. Accordingly, the use of a spinning reel will produce a casting technique called “spinning”.
One of the problem of this kind of reel is that, though it do not suffer from backlash, the line can be trapped underneath itself on the spool or even detach from the reel in loose loops of line. Various oscillating spool mechanisms have been introduced over the years to solve this drawback. Most anglers, in order to minimize line twist, manually reposition the bail after each cast.
Most spinning reels operate best with fairly limp, flexible fishing lines.
Spinning reels are available from ultralight to medium heavy sizes.

BAITCASTING REEL

BAITCASTING REEL

BAITCASTING REEL

It is a conventionally  small reel, so small that it fits easily to the angler’s hand. It is used for small saltwater fish and bigger freshwater ones.
It consists in a mechanism in which line is stored on a bearing supported revolving spool. It is mounted above the rod, hence it is also named overhead reel. Many of today’s bait casting reels are constructed using aluminum, stainless steel, and/or synthetic composite materials. On most modern ones, spool tension can be adjusted with a sort of centrifugal brake (or a magnetic cast control), in order to reduce possible backlash tangles (aka bird’s nest) during casting.
This type of reel is good for its sensitivity to movement at the fishing line’s end. However it is inaccessible in ultralight line sizes and normally requires heavier lures than other types of reels. Learning how to cast with this kind of reel could be quite difficult.
A variation of this reel is named “big game reel”. It is a very large and strong fishing reel, designed for heavy saltwater species (marlin, tuna, sailfish and sharks). Normally it is used for trolling or fishing set bait and lure on the open Ocean.

SPINCASTING REEL

SPINCASTING REEL

SPINCASTING REEL

It is a sort of combination of a conventional and a stationary reel. Normally it is very angler-friendly and recommended for children and beginners. It is also named as pushbutton reel, because at a push of a button, it is already operative.
We have to point out that, among the three types of reels, spincasting ones are the least sensitive and the movement at the end of the fishing line is involved. More, you cannot totally control the lure or the fish.
With this kind of reel they tried to solve the problem of backlash affecting the bait cast designs, reducing line twist and snare complaints typical of spinning reel designs.
It can be used with relatively light lures and baits and traditionally mounted above the rod. Like other types of reels, this one is often fitted with both anti-reverse mechanisms and friction drags, and sometimes has oscillating spool mechanisms

CENTERPIN REEL

For this kind of reel please refer to the appropriate section.