Freshwater Fishing Made Easy – Part 1, The Rod and Reel

November 20, 2019

Freshwater Fishing Made Easy – Part 1, The Rod and Reel

There are three types of reels that are commonly used for freshwater fishing: spincast, spinning, and casting reels. Spincast and casting reels are used with casting rods, which commonly feature a trigger reel seat and have the guides placed on top of the rod.  A spinning reel is used with a spinning rod, which has no reel seat trigger and guide placement is on the bottom side of the rod.

Let’s focus on reels first.  A spincast reel, sometimes called a button reel, is an excellent choice for a beginner fishing pole.  This is a closed face reel, which means that the line passes through a small hole on the front cover of the reel, and the spool of line is completely enclosed.  To cast your bait, you depress the button with your thumb, give the fishing rod a quick flick backward then forward, and release the thumb button on the forward movement.  While depressed, the button locks the line in place. When you release the button, it releases the line allowing you to cast, or throw, your bait.  It is really easy to learn to cast and catch fish with a spincast reel.

A spinning reel is an excellent choice for anglers of all experience and skill levels, and because it is trouble free and reliable, it is our recommended choice.  The spool is exposed which makes it very easy for line to come off when casting the bait. It also enables tangles or knots to be easily resolved. Spinning reels are cast by holding the line with your finger, opening the bail (the part that rotates around the spool to wind line on when the handle is cranked), make a quick flick of the fishing rod backward then forward and release the line on the forward motion.  Crank the handle and the bail springs closed to capture the line and wrap it around the spool.  A spinning reel is a little more difficult to use than a spincast reel, but with a little practice everyone from kids to adults can use one. We designed our RODgeeks RG-42 travel fishing rod as a spinning rod, and we include an excellent spinning reel with the combo or complete kit.

A casting reel is an excellent choice for someone who wants very strong gearing to fish heavy baits in heavy structure.  When the reel is cranked the line is fed directly onto the spool and this winch-like setup gives the angler a lot of mechanical power and control. To cast this reel, you depress a spool release lever, hold the spool with your thumb, (typically) use a two-handed cast to flick the fishing rod backward then forward, and release the spool by lifting your thumb on the forward cast. But there is an additional step required with a casting reel – you must clamp down on the spool with your thumb as soon as the bait hits the surface of the water. This is necessary because the bait decorates quickly when it hits the water but the spool will have momentum from the cast and continue to rotate after the bait slows down. Since the cast bait is no longer pulling line from the spool, the excess line coming off of the rotting spool accumulates in the reel and causes a big, knotted up mess called a backlash. This often is referred to as a bird’s nest, and it can take a long time to clear. Using a casting reel takes a fair amount of proficiency and is not recommended for a beginner.

Whatever rod and reel you choose, try to avoid buying the least expensive option. This is a product where quality and performance differences improve dramatically as you step up to higher priced options. Of course, the sky is the limit when choosing fishing equipment and tackle, but consider just one step above entry level and you will find some excellent options that will give you good performance and excellent value.


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