Extreme Fishing Outfitters

Extreme Fishing Outfitters

Fishing reels and gear


Freshwater Fishing Reels

At Extreme Fishing Outfitters, we are avid fishers just like you. I’ve personally owned all of these brands over the years (I’m currently using a few different Shimano reels). For a great guide on selecting the proper reel, please scroll down the page.


Abu Garcia Freshwater Reels

Abu Garcia Freshwater Reels

Daiwa Saltwater Reels

Daiwa Freshwater Reels

Shimano Saltwater Reels

Shimano Freshwater Reels


The first American fishing reel was invented around 1820 but today fishing reels are more complex than ever and if you are a serious angler you’ll want a fishing reel that fits your purposes: specifically – what type of fish you are going after and what sort of environment you are fishing in. Better reels can hold heavier line, cast farther and generally last longer.

There are three basic types of reels to consider – the first is the Spinning Reel.  The spinning reel is the easiest to use and the most functional for freshwater fishing.  Spinning reels are a good choice for the beginning or casual angler.

The next type of reel is the Spin Cast Reel. Sometimes the line can get caught up or snag in the normal spinning reel and this problem is eliminated with the spin cast reel.  It also helps with backlash and is traditionally mounted above the rod.  This is a good choice for the fisherman who knows how to use the spin cast and fishes frequently, although it is easier for the novice fisherman to use this reel for general purpose fishing.

Another type of reel worth mentioning is the Fly Cast Reel.  The basic function of these types of reels are for storing line, since fly fishing doesn’t require mechanical assistance in playing the fish.

Now that we know the different basic types of reels that are available we can concentrate on more specific features.  There are literally thousands of different types of reels available, and choosing one can be a daunting task if you aren’t sure what to look for – or what questions to ask.

The first questions that you need to ask are questions that you ask yourself.  First, what type of fish are you going after – specifically what size fish.  The line you need to catch these type of fish needs to be supported by the reel that you are considering – so determine how many pounds test you need and find a reel to support that weight.  Also, you’ll need to consider what sort of fishing technique that you will be using – whether you’ll be casting lures or using bait for example.

The next feature you’ll want to consider is the reel’s drag system.  With spinning reels there are two basic categories: front drag and rear drag.  Rear drag spinning reels offer more convenience and are easier to use, but they have a hard time standing up to bigger fish.  While front drag systems will be able to support the heavier fish, you need to know what you are doing to use them.

The next decision you’ll need to make is whether or not to go with bushings or ball bearings. We recommend to choose a reel with ball bearings, and the more the reel has the smoother it will be to use.  Top of the line models have four to six ball bearings, but some spinning reel models can have up to twelve. 

Another consideration that is key in selecting a reel is the gear ratio.  The gear ratio is the number of revolutions that a spool makes with each turn of the handle.  This is part of what decided how quickly the line is retrieved as a person turns the handle.  All of the different types of reels can vary in gear ratio, ranging from slow retrievals around 2-1 to faster retrievals 5-1 to 6-1. 

The next thing to ask about is the reel’s balance and stability. Poorly balanced rotors can create a wobble in the line as you reel in the line.  You’ll also want to make sure  that you have a solid housing for your reel.  The least expensive reels have a simple plastic housing and can crack or break easily.  Choosing a reel with an aluminum or graphite casing will make your reel last many years longer.

An important factor to consider is casting controls.  Do you want more customization in your casting, or do you prefer to let the reel decide how your cast will go?  The casting controls included on reels are either centrifugal (uses gravity to determine cast speed) or magnetic.  Do some research and figure out which system you prefer.  Choosing the right casting control system and knowing how to use it, can prevent backlash and enable trouble free casts.

Knowing which factors to consider can help you ask the right questions from the experts at your local fishing supply store and guide them in helping you to choose the right reel.  Make sure you bring along some information on what type of rod you are planning to mount the reel on, or even the rod itself, as the marriage of rod and reel is what determines your success as an angler.