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Gary Korsghaden

Reader wants help picking out a new spinning reel

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outdoors Park Rapids,Minnesota 56470
Reader wants help picking out a new spinning reel
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

By Gary Korsgaden / Forht eh Enterprise

Joe Burns from Eureka, Ill., writes,via Facebook:

Gary, would you help me pick out a spinning reel for a rod I just purchased? 


The rod is a Loomis GLX 6’3” medium power fast action rod and I am looking forward to using it on pan fish and walleyes, when we vacation in the Park Rapids area later this summer.

Joe, like the fishing rod, it is all about personal choice, what feels good to you and how you will use it, staying away from brand specific choices. I’ll instead share some tips to help your decision.

Features for my spinning reel choices are light in weight, manual bail opening and closing and for casting, wide diameter skirted spools. Spinning reels, eight ounces or less, are the best match for today’s graphite spinning rods. Manually opening the bail to cast and closing it on the retrieve reduces line twists.

Wide diameter skirted spools allow for longer distance casting and reduces coiling when the line leaves the spool. If your fishing style isn’t a lot of casting, a 1000 series reel with a narrow diameter spool is adequate.

Popular spinning reels come in three basic sizes and series, starting with the 1000 and ending with the 2500 having the largest spool diameter and weight. At the store I ask to see all the spinning reels that weigh eight ounces or less.

Watch for a reel that has the largest spool diameter and is still under the eight ounce threshold and has a manual bail opening and closure. Put each reel on the rod, turn the reel handle and feel for smooth, fluid motion. The more ball bearings the better, to a degree but after four or five ball bearings, it’s overkill.

Before you head out the door with that new reel, look at getting a neoprene reel cover. A reel cover protects the reel from getting scratched in storage, keeps the reel clean and, most importantly, will protect the line from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Today’s reels feature excellent drag systems. Casting, I will use the drag, live bait rigging, tighten down the drag and back reel. In order for the drag to function properly, steps must be taken to set it correctly.

Line guides and rod tips cause “resistance points,” setting the drag from the front of the reel, without the line going through the line guides and causes a tight drag setting. To properly set the drag, place the reel on the rod, run your line through all the guides and tip, then loosen the drag until the line plays out easily. Tighten the drag until the rod reaches it maximum bend, then back off slightly. Loosen the drag when reels are stored for long periods of time.

My personal choices are live bait rigging 700 to 1000 series spinning reels weighing 6.9 ounces, casting applications 2500 series spinning reels weighing 6.7 ounces with price range $90 to $500.