Types of Fishing Reels Spinning Vs Baitcasting Vs Spincaster Vs Trolling Reels (with Pros and Cons)


Whether fishing is only a hobby or passion, a good fishing reel is a must. An active fishing reel will not only allow you to fish in deep waters, but it will also enable you to entice your prey more effectively and catch larger fishes.

I have been fishing for over ten years now, and I have slowly moved from one fishing reel to another, allowing me the time to gauge the benefits of different types of fishing reels.

Even with the best fishing line, rod or hook from the market, your fishing attempts won't work with a wrong reel.

Whether you are an angler with much experience or a learner who is just starting, you need to choose the right reel to make your fishing success.

There are many various types of fishing reels available in the market right now from beginners to experts, and there is a fishing reel for everyone. 

This post has covered everything you need to know about the main types of fishing reels and where they are best used. 

I will discuss in detail the various kinds of fishing reels. I will not only go over their features, but I will also be elaborating on their advantages and disadvantages of each of these fishing reels.

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Main Types Of Fishing Reels

Here's hoping that by the time you finish this article, you will be in a better position to buy a fishing reel.

1. Spinning Reels are the most popular

Also referred to as the Opened Face Reel, the spinning reel is one of the most popular choices among seasoned fishers.

Just as the name suggests, a spinning reel is a reel mounted on a rod that spins. It features a rotor guide that revolves around a stationary spool located under the spinning rod.

Also, it has a face that is closed, hiding all the parts inside. One of the things I find fascinating about this reel is the fact that, its spool is fixed and incapable of overrunning.

Unlike the one that rotates, a fixed spool reduces the chances of backlash. Most anglers are used to it because it doesn’t require a particular skill to get things done.

Just click on the button located at its back while casting forward and everything will be okay. Also, it is a perfect type for a light line and lure.

The best part about the spinning reel is that it offers more line and an extended casting distance. Since these reels come with a fixed spool, users do not have to worry about a backlash.

While choosing a spinning reel, you must remember to choose a reel that is both light and durable at the same time.

One drawback of using a spinning reel is, it will not work with heavy lines. They also won’t perform with heavy lures.

As a result, a spinning reel won’t serve you well when planning to catch a large fish. But, yet, it can work well for small and medium sized fish.

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  • They work efficiently with light lures as well as light lines.
  • They are more efficient than baitcasting reels when you are casting into the wind.
  • While using this, one can move the reel's handle both clockwise as well as anti-clockwise.


  • They work well only with light lines. They fail miserably when used with heavier lines.
  • Likewise, the spinning reels work best only with light lures.
  • Though one does not have to worry about a backlash when using these, there is always some probability of experiencing a line twist.

2. Baitcasting Reel is for experts

Unlike a spinning reel, a Baitcasting Reel features a spinning spool that has a trigger handle and is located on top of the rod.

In short, it is the opposite of a spinning reel. Compared to other types of reels, it is quite advanced.

It is also sturdier, most durable and precise that other types of fishing reels on the market. Baitcasting reels are meant for anglers that are targeting larger and stronger fish.

If you have been doing fishing all your life and are quite well-versed with every other type of the fishery reel, the baitcasting reel is for you.

The best part about this fishing reel is that it offers high strength and accuracy - you will be able to go after bigger catches with this fishing reel in your hand. However, handling the baitcasting reel is a bit tricky.

You will not find amateur anglers using this reel because it is hard to use. You have to control the line release using your thumb; something many beginner anglers haven’t learned yet.

To use it effectively, you must have mastered the amount of pressure you need to use on the spool. If not, there are high chances a backlash will occur.

Because they are intended for heavy bait, it is important that you avoid using light tackle to increase your casting range.

A Baitcasting reel is designed for bass anglers with more experience, not amateurs.

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  • The Baitcasting reel is quite strong and thus, can be used to catch bigger fishes.
  • They offer great accuracy.
  • They are quite durable and will last a lifetime if handled with care.


  • They are difficult to cast and there is always the fear of a backlash.
  • They work efficiently only when used with strong lures.
  • They are slightly expensive too.

3. Spincast Reel is quite easy to use

Just like a Baitcasting Reel, a Spincast reel is mounted on top of a fishing rod. They also have a fixed spool that works almost the same way as that of a spinning reel.

As you can see, the inventor of this reel decided to combine the features of a Baitcasting and a spinning reel to eliminate some issues. They added the features to reduce line twists as well as backlash.

This reel is perfect for kids and beginners since it is simple and easy to use.

What you are required to do is, push the button on the reel’s back to disengage the line and launch the lure into the air and then push the button to retrieve it.

A spincast reel is similar to a casting reel in that it comes with a fixed spool. 

5 Types of Fishing Reels

However, compared to the two, it is less accurate and less convenient for pro anglers who want more than just fun fishing. They also have less line capacity that limits the casting range you can make.


  • It is easy to use and easy to handle.
  • You won't have to worry about a backlash.
  • It is quite affordable and makes an excellent fishing reel for beginners.


  • The spincast reel comes with a shallow spool and thus, offers a relatively lighter test line.
  • This fishing reel does not provide high dragging capacities.
  • This fishing reel lacks considerably in accuracy.
  • Last, it's not very durable.

4. Underspin Reels

Underspin reel also called a trigger spin, an Underspin reel shares a lot of similarities with a Spincast reel as well as a spinning reel.

Their face is closed and is located at the bottom of the rod just like spinning reels. One advantage of using this reel is that they are already spooled with a line, leaving you with no work, but catching your fish.

Underspin Reels for Beginners

Just like a spinning reel, they use a lighter line below 20 pounds that are less resistant. They are also smoother to cast compared to the heavy line of a Baitcasting reel.

Like many types of reels on the market, they feature both the right and the left handle retrieves including a single grip, a soft touch, a double grip and more.

One thing that might discourage you from buying this reel is that they won’t perform with a heavy lure or line. They are also not designed to catch heavy fish. However, they can be used to challenge a big game fish.

 Underspin reel is perfect for kids and beginners looking forward to having fun. It might also work well for you if you are not after the big fish in the sea.

5. Trolling Reels are for bigger catches

Trolling reels are defined by three features that include a line breaking system on the handle, a line-out alarm, and a release lever.

One excellent feature I admire is a counter that allows you to get more line to increase your chances of catching a fish.

Trolling reels are much more similar to Baitcasting reels but aren’t intended for casting.

Unlike other types of fishing reels, they are much rounded to offer more room for a fishing line.

Unlike spinning or Underspin reel, they are intended for large fish such as marlin, catfish, and more.. 

The trolling reel does not come equipped with a cast button. Instead, these reels have a lever which can be used to release the line. These reels can also be doubled up as magnetic gears.

With these fishing reels, you will be able to cast up to 400 yards and even more. The trolling reels work best when used to catch bigger preys that demand more strength and power.

While buying a trolling reel, remember to choose a reel that has aluminum construction and that comes equipped with the Level Wind feature.

Compared to spinning reels, trolling reels work best for experienced professional anglers targeting the largest fish in the sea.

It is also a perfect choice for saltwater fishing. One downside of this reel is that it is much complicated than other types of reels on the market.

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  • The trolling reel is powerful enough to be used for heavier fishes.
  • This fishing reel is quite sturdy and will last a lifetime.


  • The trolling reel may be used for fishing. However, this type of fishing reels is made more specifically for trolling.
  • They are slightly difficult to use.

6. Fly Reels will allow you enjoy fly fishing

The kind of fly reel you buy will depend largely on the type of water in which you are going fishing. Since freshwater fly reels are usually used to catch small fishes, they are made from relatively less durable material and hence, are less expensive.

On the contrary, saltwater fly reels are made from stronger materials and hence, are slightly more costly.

While using a modern fly reel, a user will have to learn to use both the hands - while one hand will be occupied in casting the rod, the other will be used to strip line off the reel.

While most people prefer to buy a manual fly reel, there are some who choose to go with the automatic options.


  • The fly reel can be used to cast over long distances.
  • Since fly reels use light lures and flies, they can be used to catch a prey without scaring them.


  • Using fly reel requires more expertise and experience. On the contrary, using a simpler reel like the spinning or baitcasting reel is much easier.
  • Fly reels do not work well if you are fishing in deep waters.

In Summary

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before buying a fishing reel. The same goes for other fishing gears.

Before choosing your fishing reel, it is important to understand what you are up against. Keep in mind that the size of fish you can catch depends on the type of reel you choose.

If you are after some big fish, then the only types of reels that will serve you well are baitcasting and trolling reels.

If you are targeting the small fish species in the sea, you can always benefit from spinning, Spincast or Underspin reels.

Lastly, look for a reel that you can easily use depending on your skills and experience. Besides, you won’t try fishing for the largest fish in the sea if you’ve never fished before.

I hope you have fully understood the difference between the types of fishing reels available for you on the market. If you have a question or any thoughts about this topic, just share it with us below

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