Fishing 101: How to Cast a Spinning Reel

How to Cast a Spinning Reel

Learning how to cast a spinning reel is one of the most basic and most important skills to learn as an angler. If you’re starting your fishing journey with a spinning reel or you’ve recently upgraded to a spinning reel, here’s what you need to know about casting your fishing line:

What are the Benefits of Fishing with a Spinning Reel?

A spinning reel is a great option for anglers, but it’s especially advantageous when you are using fishing line that’s less than 10 lbs. It also works greater for lighter lures and limber rods that are flexible when a fish is on the hook. It can break if you’re dealing with a heavier line or bigger fish.

Other pros of spinning reels include:

  • Easy to learn
  • Less tangling
  • Affordable
  • Less jamming
  • Easy casting
  • Easy handling
  • Great for an inexperienced angles
  • Useful for most styles of fishing
  • No line digging

As great as a spinning reel is, it’s not perfect in every situation. For example, spinning reels:

  • Aren’t that accurate when using heavy lures
  • Offers only a small range of gear rations
  • Are hard to slow bait
  • Do not pitch or flip easily
  • Offer less control and accuracy
  • Do not handle well with strong, bigger fish
  • Tend to have line twist
  • Have less line capacity

As is the case with a lot of fishing equipment, the type of fish you’re catching and the type of fishing you plan to do are important considerations when choosing a reel. Experienced anglers choose spinning reels because of finesse, comfort, simplicity, and because they like using light tackle.

How to Cast a Spinning Reel

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Most new anglers opt for a spinning reel and rod because they are easy to set up and use. You can fish with a spinning reel in rivers and lakes. They offer plenty of versatility and are a great place to get started with fishing.

However, it’s still important to know the steps for casting a spinning reel in order to have any success. The steps are as follows:

1. Get a grip on the fishing rod with your dominant hand. Hold it at a horizontal angle and position the reel beneath the rod toward the ground.

2. Slowly reel in the line until there is about 6” to 12” of line hanging from the rod’s tip, then align the line roller with the rod.

3. Next, pull the line off of the roller using your index finger while holding it against the grip.

4. Keeping hold of the rod with your dominant hand, use the other hand to flip the reel’s bail up.

5. Bring the rod up behind your head, slightly beyond a vertical position, then snap it forward. Release the line with your index finger once your arm is at a 45 degree angle.

That’s it. You’ve casted and you just need to wait until you get a bite.

How Do You Choose the Best Spinning Reel?

If you decide a spinning reel is right for you, the first thing you’ll realize is that you have some options. Before you choose the one that is right for you, consider the following:

  • Are you saltwater or freshwater fishing? This is one of, if not the most important consideration when choosing your spinning reel. You need to know if you’ll be fishing in brackish water or saltwater because your reel reacts to what it’s exposed to and can become damaged quickly if it’s not suitable for the environment.
  • What species of fish are you targeting? Knowing whether you are after large fish, aggressive fish, or agile fish is another important consideration.
  • What is your budget? Make a decision about what you want to spend and try to stick within whatever that budget range is.
  • What is your method of fishing? Are you fishing from a boat? In a river? Off a pier? All matter when it comes to choosing your reel.
  • What line drag do you want? Knowing what you can handle is important when it comes to making a decision about a reel.
  • How long do you plan to fish for on most occasions? The longer you fish the heavier your rod and reel feel, so if you’re planning marathon fishing outings, you’ll want the lightest option available. Lighter is almost always better, but a lightweight reel might not stand up to a huge fish. Do your best to match your goals with the weight of your reel.
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  • Which is more important, speed or power? What matters more: line retrieval or cranking power?
  • Do you want a small, medium, or large reel? The size of your reel should be based on the size of the fish you plan to use it to catch. It’s possible to catch small fish with a large reel, but it’s not necessary. And if you’re after big, heavy fish, a small reel just isn’t going to cut it.
  • Do you already have a rod? Are you happy with the matching rod of the reel you’re favoring? Your reel needs to match up with your rod. If you’ve already invested in a rod, this is going to dictate and limit your choice of reels. But if you’re buying both pieces of equipment at the same time, you have a little bit more flexibility with what you choose.
  • What feels comfortable and what do you see yourself using long-term? The most important issue to consider is what makes you comfortable. If you don’t like how something feels, chances are you won’t use it over the long haul.

Understanding how to cast a spinning reel is only part of having a successful fishing trip. Before you even cast, you need to be sure you’ve invested in the best reel available based on your circumstances. And once you have the tools you need, you should learn how to operate those tools in order to make the most of your time spent fishing. It’s just one of many things to learn when you’ve decided to embrace fishing as a hobby.

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Roy Ericson

Roy Ericson started fishing when he was just a boy, like many of us did. He spent far too much time on the piers not being able to catch anything, until his uncle brought him deep sea fishing, out to the lakes of Michigan, where he lived, and to the various ponds in neighboring states. He’s been all over, caught over 400 different species of fish, and doesn’t believe you should embellish your stories. He’s just here to teach you about his absolute favorite thing in the world: fishing.