Saltwater fishing reels are the most mechanically complex items of our treasured fishing equipment. When they fail it's likely to spell the end of that particular fishing trip. A day wasted and an opportunity lost.
So it's essential we choose one that's properly designed and manufactured, and fit for our intended purpose.
But clearly we can't expect one type of reel to meet all of our requirements, which is why some are designed primarily to cast long distances and be capable of rapid retrieve, while others need the capacity to hold large quantities of line together with powerful drag mechanisms to subdue hard-fighting ocean gamefish.
So let's take a look at them...
There are three basic designs of saltwater fishing reels:~
All three types of saltwater fishing reels are used for both shore fishing and boat fishing, but with differing degrees of success in certain applications.
In the UK we call all saltwater fishing reels of this type 'multipliers' whatever their size or application, but in the US the smaller versions designed for lure casting and surfcasting are known as baitcasting reels, whilst the term 'conventional reel' is normally reserved for larger models designed for boat fishing where casting is secondary to line capacity and winching power.
The point at which a baitcasting reel becomes a conventional reel is blurred, with various 'definitions' claiming to be the true one. But it seems to be less of an issue with saltwater anglers many of who seem to be happy with calling even level-wind surfcasting reels 'conventional' reels.
On the other hand, freshwater anglers are far more inclined to call reels of this type 'baitcaster' or 'baitcasting' reels.
Need more detailed information about conventional reels? Such as...
The spool on a spinning reel doesn't rotate during either the cast or the retrieve, which explains why it's also called a 'fixed-spool' reel.
During the cast the line slips over the rim of the spool, which is why spinning reels are unbeatable for casting light lures and float tackle.
The fixed spool does necessitate the added complication of a bale arm, to wrap the line around the spool and distribute it evenly through an oscillating mechanism.
Need more detailed information about spinning reels? Such as...
Gone are the days of the old wooden, knuckle bashing drum reels - they've been replaced by far more efficient and user-friendly models like the Alvey reel.
Try asking any fisherman to name Australian made fishing reels, and it's a safe bet that Alvey will be at the top of his list.
Alvey reels are powerful, robust and have an elegant simplicity of design. They come with a smooth and powerful star drag, or lever braking systems on some models, and are ideal as part of a wire line system.
Specialised surf-casting models are designed to be rotated through 90 degrees enabling a casting function, much in the way of a fixed spool reel. These are rightly popular with Aussie surfcasters in particular, the best of whom can achieve monumental distances.
And yes, you can mark me down as a fan of Alvey reels.
Saltwater Fishing reels of any kind will be the most mechanically complex item of fishing equipment in your tackle box. Like all items of saltwater fishing gear, it's advisable to buy the best you can afford.
But although there are plenty of cheap saltwater fishing reels out there, most will turn out not to be the bargain they first appear to be - so buy with care.
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