A few months back we took a look at choosing the best saltwater fishing reel, so it’s time to take a closer look at choosing a spinning reel, in specific. Many anglers prefer spinning gear over conventional tackle especially because it’s easier to cast, and when you hit the tackle shop you’ll have dozens and dozens to choose from. Which spinning reel is best? Here are the most important factors to consider.
Weight is an important consideration, but recognize it also represents a trade-off. The lighter a reel is the more comfortable it will be to use for hours on end. But light weight is often accomplished through the use of plastics or space-age materials like carbon fiber. Plastics won’t last as long as metal, and while advanced composites are great, they’re also expensive. The bottom line? You need to find your own personal middle-ground taking weight, longevity, and cost into consideration.
Drag and crank smoothness are also also paramount. We’re lumping the two together here because as a general rule of thumb, the better a reel is engineered and built the smoother it will be in both regards; it’s rare to find a reel that has a nice smooth drag, but doesn’t crank just as nicely. And as one might expect, the big trade-off here is cost. You can bet that the soother the reel is, the more it will cost.
Handle shape and size is an often overlooked factor. That’s a shame, because how well the handle fits your hand will make a big difference is how comfortable you find the reel after hours and hours of fishing. Before purchasing any reel you should always wrap your hand around the grip and crank for a while, as you try to notice how well it fits your palm, if you feel it tugging at your skin, or if the edges seem to dig in.
Size is obviously another thing you’ll need to consider. In this regard, it’s usually best to go by the manufacturer’s recommendations and choose size according to the line size and lure weight you’ll be using.
Longevity should be an over-riding factor, when looking at reels that will be used in saltwater. Buy a $30 spinning reel, and you can expect every piece of metal in it to melt into a ball of orange crud the very first season. Spend $100, and it will last a while. But if you want a reel that will still be in action in a decade or more, you should plan on hitting or coming close to the $200 mark.