Different Types of Fishing Reels for Fresh and Saltwater


Fishing is a fantastic hobby for many adults as well as kids. But for good fishing, one should know how to use a fishing rod and reels. Different types of fishing reels are available for freshwater, saltwater, and surf fishing. To always get your lure, you should know which type of fishing reel is best for the occasion.

That’s why we will take you through a detailed guide on types of fishing reels for fresh or saltwater so you can always get your target and enjoy successful fishing. So sit right and read the article to find the best fishing reels.

What is the Purpose of Fishing Reels?

A fishing reel is a spool you place on the axle of the rod to throw a line properly. A fishing reel helps you to control the speed and distance covered by the line. Along with that, it also helps you to pull the line easily once you capture your fish.

If you want to capture a fish, you obviously can’t do it by hand. Secondly, most fishes live in deep water, and it can be hard to catch them manually—that’s where fishing reels come in handy.

A fishing reel helps you reach an adequate depth of the sea, river, or pond with bait. So you can lure a fish with bait, and once the fish gets stuck, you can pull it out by pulling the reel line.

It makes catching all sorts of fish easier, whether lake or sea fishing. Also, they come in various fishing reels that fit the situation and your lure requirement.

What are the Different Types of Fishing Reel and Their Uses?

Most people know about three types of fishing reels. These reels start for beginners to experts. Following are four different types of reels

  1. Spincast reel
  2. Spinning reel
  3. Baitcasting reel
  4. Conventional reel

Spincast Reel

People who are amateur fishers or want to teach their kids about it start with a spincast fishing reel. It is one of the straightforward yet effective fishing reels for beginners.

A spincast reel consists of a round metal cone that encloses the reel. There’s a crank to lock and pull the line back on its side. On its backside, there’s a push button to release and stop the release of the line.

To cast it, you must push the back button and throw your line to your target. Once it reaches, you can crank the lever back to lock the line from further moving forward. You can pull the line back with its handle once you’ve lured your target.

Uses: it’s an ideal reel for beginners and freshwater fishing. It can easily handle small to medium-sized species like trout or bass in ponds or lakes.

Spinning Reel

Unlike spincast reel, it fits below the rod. Moreover, it has an open reel design with a drag adjuster on its top and a metal bail to lock the line. It is the most popular fishing reel because of its powerful yet straightforward usage.

Although it’s a bit tricky for beginners, once you learn to use it, there’s no turning back. It is the most popular fishing reel among fishers. However, it gets tangled and twists quickly in the line, so it’s better to practice before using it.

Open the bail and put the index finger on the line for casting. With a 45° angle, throw your line and cast until you get your lure.

Uses: You can use it fresh as well as in saltwater fishing. It can capture both big and small fishes in inshore fishing. But it would help if you practiced casting it before using it.

Baitcasting Reel

It is an advanced fishing reel with a significantly modified design and additional features. It is heavier and sturdier than spinning or spincast reel. They also sit on the top of the rod to provide accuracy in throwing the line.

Even though they are more advanced reels, they do not contain bail. Therefore, you need to use your thumb to stop the line. Other than that, they contain a tension knob and brakes to adjust the line’s speed and improve accuracy. Also, they prevent the twisting and tangling of the line.

To cast it, adjust your magnetic knob to zero, tighten your tension spool initially, and slowly lose to drop your bait and line. Then adjust the magnets to maximum and drop your bait before it touches water.

Uses: It is perfect for fresh and saltwater fishing, especially near weeds and shorelines. It is advised for fishers of adequate experience as using it requires lots of practice.

Conventional Reels

These reels are the most robust of all and are made of graphite or high-grade aluminum. Like baitcaster, they have a semi-open style. However, they have oversized handles for cranking big fishes.

They have a lever drag feature with different speed settings to allow maximum control over your lines. Also, they have an audible clicker which helps to determine how fast your fish is running with your bait. Its casting is similar to baitcaster.

Uses: Conventional reels are great for catching big fishes like tuna or Mahi Mahi in offshore deep-water fishing. However, you need immense experience to use them.

How to Choose Fishing Reels for Your Rod?

There are different types of rods available for a variety of fishing. To match your reel perfectly with your rod, consider the place of fishing and the fish you plan to capture.

For lake fishing, there are generally small fishes like trout. Therefore, in this scenario, you can have a six to seven feet flexible and small diameter rod. You can pair it with a spinning or spincast reel as they are great for freshwater fishing. If you are experienced, you can also use a baitcasting reel.

For small fishes, a thin and flexible rod is the best choice as you can feel the fish’s movement and capture.

For larger baits like tuna, or seawater fishing, we recommend getting at least a seven-foot rod thicker and sturdier than a rod for a lake. You can pair this rod with a conventional baitcasting reel. Because of this combination, you can easily trap and pull out heavy fish without damaging the rod or line.

The average rod size lies between six to twelve feet. For beginners, we recommend getting a seven feet fishing rod of either fiberglass, bamboo, or much stronger graphite.

If you are going for freshwater fishing, spinning and spincast reels are excellent. However, a baitcasting reel for medium fishes and a conventional reel for big fishes is an absolute choice for saltwater fishing.

Some Quick Tips to Care for Your Fishing Reels

Just like any other helpful equipment, fishing reels also require maintenance. Freshwater reels can be forgiving and don’t require a lot of maintenance. But if you are using reels for saltwater, you must maintain and clean them to prolong their life.

All you need to

  • Tighten the reel
  • Wash it with a fast water jet. Make sure it is not under high pressure.
  • Clean the drag and loosen it to let it dry.
  • Along with that, take a rag and clean your fishing reel. You can also use a cleaning solvent. Lubricate with WD40 or any other fishing oil.
  • Oil the bail.
  • Remove the reel handle and reel body, and you’ll see bearings. Wipe those bearings and lubricate them.
  • Make sure to remove any gunk, debris, and dirt from all the crevices of the reel body. Lubricate all its joints and reassemble them.
  • In the end, take reel oil on a cloth, and lubricate the entire reel body with it.

Make sure that you loosened the drag after spraying it with water. If you don’t do so, your reel will develop molds and gunk inside, affecting its functioning. You can re-tighten it once it’s completely dry.


What’s meant by the size of the fishing reel

The size of the fishing reel denotes its weight and size capacity. The higher the number of fishing reels, the stronger and heavier the reel gets. The reel size starts from 500 and can reach up to 30000.

For example, a 3000 reel weighs 22 pounds and has a line capacity of 220 yards. A 4000 reel weighs 26 pounds and has a line capacity of 250 yards. In short, a 4000 reel is stronger than a 3000.

How to match your reel to your rod?

You can match your reel with your rod by assessing the conditions. You can pair up a spinning or spincast reel with a thin and flexible rod for freshwater fishing of small fishes. In contrast, you can match a more robust conventional reel with a thicker and longer fishing rod for heavy fishing.

For heavier fishes, pair heavier rods with the most robust reels. Also, pair light and flexible rods with simple-to-use reels for smaller fishes. It gives you more proprioception to catch the prey.

What is the most popular type of fishing reel, and why?

A spinning reel is the most popular reel among anglers. It is because of two reasons:

  1. It has a simple design that is very easy to use.
  2. It can capture various fishes because of its sturdy build. So fishermen prefer it because it can work on fresh and saltwater and easily capture various fish species.
  3. It is pretty affordable than standard reels.

What is the most accessible type of fishing reel that beginners can use?

Spincast is the most straightforward reel to use, especially for beginners. It has a simple knob-like structure that holds the line. With a button press, you can cast your line and lock, and you’ll get it back with the handle.

So its simple design and usage make it the best choice for those new to fishing. Also, the spincast reel is cheap, so one can practice on it as much as they want.

Is the saltwater fishing reel the same for freshwater fishing?

No. Saltwater reels tend to corrode under the harsh saltwater situation, and that’s why they are anodized. This method prevents corrosion and enhances its durability.

However, freshwater reels are not anodized. That’s why they can corrode easily in saltwater. Therefore, freshwater reels are available separately from saltwater reels.

Also, saltwater reels have more strength and line capacity as they are designed to capture big fishes. In contrast, freshwater reels have less line capacity.


In today’s edit, we discussed different types of fishing reels for saltwater and freshwater fishing. These reels include spinning, spincast, baitcasting, and conventional reels. Anyone can use these reels, starting from beginner to expert fishermen.

We also talked about the methods to maintain your reel as it can collect gunk in by frequent usage. Cleaning it once a few four to five fishing sessions is essential. Moreover, we also shared a brief guide to matching your reel to your rod for perfect fishing.

So, if this article was insightful, don’t forget to share it with your fishing partners.