If you’re shopping for a new spinning reel, you know how saturated the market is with different brands and models. How do you sort them out and decide if a reel is right for your purposes? It’s hard to tell by looks alone, so look for these three features:
1. Stainless-steel ball bearings
Quality bearings are crucial because they will determine the smoothness of the reel when you crank it. Inferior bearings will wear down, impart resistance, and make noise during the crank. Not only is that annoying, it also decreases your sensory connection to the rod and line, limiting your ability to feel a fish take a lure during a retrieve.
2. A quality drag
A drag does two important things: It allows a fish to take line off of the reel before the fish’s weight or resistance overcomes the strength of the fishing line, breaking it. And it prevents a fish from taking too much line out, decreasing your control of the fish and your chances of landing it.
3. An even line lay
As you turn a spinning reel crank, the line is wrapped around the spool via a line roller on the bail as the spool simultaneously moves up and down on the main shaft, distributing line evenly. That’s how it’s supposed to work. If your reel doesn’t distribute line evenly, you’ll get a belly of line on the top or bottom of the spool, severely limiting casting distance and the amount of line the spool will hold.