Remember to always do your homework before spending your hard-earned money on anything, including fishing reels. There are hundreds to choose from, so it takes some diligence to spend your money wisely.
Below you’ll find 7 important factors that you need to consider when shopping for a new reel. I hope they’ll help you find a great deal on the best reel for your angling needs.
1 – Price
The first and most obvious consideration for most anglers when they shop for a new reel is the price of the reel. Most people have a budget they have to work within or a price in mind, before they even start looking for a new reel. This is understandable and makes sense, regardless of your income level.
Buying the cheapest reel available shouldn’t be an option unless you absolutely can’t afford anything more. As with most other things you buy, you get what you pay for when buying a new reel. This obviously doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive reel in its class either. That’s just foolish spending and does nothing but give you an empty wallet!
Decide ahead of time how much you’re willing or able to spend and then shop for reels within that price range. Don’t let fancy advertisements for more expensive reels convince you to buy something that you can’t afford or don’t need.
Once you’ve decided on a price range, spend some time shopping around, comparing prices between the different retailers. You’d be surprised how much you can save by spending 30 minutes or less doing price comparisons online.
You can also check local retailers for sale prices. Many retailers will match or beat competing store’s prices, so be sure to check this option.
Either way, be sure you get what you need, but not more or less.
2 – Level of Angling Expertise
Buying a new reel doesn’t mean buying the same reel that the pros use, just because they use it or endorse it. Remember… this is marketing at its finest and their goal is to convince you that you steel bite pro need this reel because so and so uses it and catches big bass and wins tournaments.
If you’re a beginning angler, it makes no sense to spend $200 on a reel, unless of course you have more money than you know what to do with. Even then, it still makes no sense to buy the most expensive, just because you can afford to.
Anglers who fish only a few times per year can get by with a beginner level reel and never skip a beat, but this still doesn’t mean you should buy the cheapest reel available. If you’re a beginner, buy a good beginner reel and it will last you several years and you’ll be happy with what you bought.
Intermediate anglers will obviously need and want a reel that’s geared more toward being used a couple of times per month, or more. This means spending a bit more money.
The same goes for more advanced anglers. But what will suit your use. You’ll be glad you did.
3 – Intended Use
What do you intend to use your reel for?
Will you be stream fishing for small trout? Will you be catching panfish? Will you be chasing bass on large bodies of water?
All of these things will influence your buying decision and should be taken into account when deciding which reel to buy.
If you’re a casual angler who fishes for anything that’ll bite, and you only fish a few times per year, you obviously don’t need to spend $100 – $200 on a reel. In fact, you don’t even need to spend $75 on a reel. A combo in the $50 price range will suit you fine for many years.
If, however, you fish several times per month or more, you’ll want to invest the money in a reel that will last you more than a few months. In this case, spending $100 or more on a reel is a better bet. You obviously don’t need to spend that much, but you’ll usually get a better reel if you spend a little more money on it.
4 – Smoothness of Operation
A reel should operate smoothly. It shouldn’t be noisy or rough when you’re using it.
This is directly affected by the components used to build the reel.
Cheaper reels will typically use more plastic parts internally, which give the reel a rougher feel and action when in use. It also shortens the life span of the reel, as these plastic parts will wear out more quickly.
On the other hand, reels that use metal internal parts will operate more smoothly. Some reels will use brass, while others will use aluminum. Stainless steel is also used frequently in higher quality reels.
Keep this in mind and read the reel’s specifications to find out more.
5 – Weight
A reel’s weight is more important than most people realize. If a reel is too heavy, it’ll be uncomfortable to fish with and will cause you to become fatigued over several hours of fishing.
A reel that’s too heavy will also cause you to use it less. This means you’ve wasted your money on something that ends up collecting dust on a shelf instead of being used for what it was intended.
Read a reel’s description and specifications to see how much they weigh before making a buying decision.
6 – Number of Ball Bearings
This is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when looking for a new reel. The more ball bearings a reel has, the smoother it will typically operate. There are exceptions to this, but it’s a good rule of thumb to follow.