Fishing Reels

Fishing reel is an integral part of your fishing setup. It is the device that allows you to release and retrieve line. A reel is usually used with a fishing rod (exception is the hand reel).

There are many types and sizes of fishing reels used depending upon the type of fish you are targeting and the type of environment you are fishing in.

Kayakfishing is hard on gear, and especially hard on reels. Constant contact with corrosive saltwater can take its toll. Limited desk/storage space means that reels are also called on to serve more than one purpose.

Types of Fishing Reels

Spinning reels Edit

Spinning reels are the most versatile reel that can be used for all types of fishing and is the most popular used by many people fishing from land or water craft (like a Kayak). Spinning reels are used for types of fishing; casting, trolling, and bait fishing. This type of reel is the easiest to master of all reel types.

A Spinning reel consists of a spool and aligned on a shaft parallel to the fishing rod with a bail arm.

Spinning reels come in various size depending upon you fishing target. Small spinning reels are ideal to very light lures or unweighted baits when matched with a very light line (under 6lb) and matching rod. In this area spinning reels are the choice of all reel types.

As the size of the reel increases, line capacity and power handing increases.

Spinning reels have many moving parts and are not well suited (but still can be used if cared for) in places where sand or dirt can penetrate into the reel.

When choosing an spinning reel things to consider are:

  • Line type and breakage strain used
  • Line capacity of the spool
  • The smoothness drag (ability to fight larger fish)
  • Rod to match the reel and line
  • The maintenance requirement for the reel
  • Cheaper reels may cost you more in the long run due to limited longevity

Budget Edit

The Okuma it-30 is a cheap and cheerful reel at approximately $50, that responds reasonably well to salt water fishing.

Midrange Edit

Shimano Sedona RangeEdit

Many AKFF members recommend the Shimano Sedona 2500/4000 as a reasonable salt-water tolerant reel. You should be able to pick one up for under $100.

Shimano Spheros RangeEdit

Spooled1 wrote this review about his Shimano Spheros:

About 4 months ago I bought my first Shimano Spheros 14000FA for chasing big pelagics off the yak and a mates stink boat. This reel is always loaded with 50lb braid and more often than not, sits on close to full drag when locked up on a fish.

From the very first fish, I knew this reel was special. The first proper run I ever had was a marlin that tail danced in front of me during a double hookup. It threw the hook but who cares. This has hooked marlin, wahoo, cobes, big kings, tuna and sharks and only ever get rinsed off.

Up this way, fishing reels get a hammering and on the yak they also get saltwater immersion. With the fish up here a crap reel will never go the distance.

As soon as the reel arrived I did the $39 drag upgrade through Dumphy Sports. This is 3 x carbon fibre washers that replace the cotton fibre drag washers and a 2808 bearing that replaces a handle bushing. The install is fiddly but really simple once you've done it. (Call Dumphy service department with your assembly questions or wait a few months till I post a step by step guide) Apparently it increases the drag pressure to 13kg but I think it makes it more like 20kg. The handle bearing also makes winding big fish heaps smoother.

At the time of upgrading I fully went nuts on ther Inox grease all over and around the mechanicals to deal with salt water immersion.

So, here we are four months on and today I just did the first full service. A bit of salt got into the drag assembly but not enough to cause problems. This was all wiped away, heavily relubed and reassembled.

When I opened the drive assembly, one thing became clear - NO salt entered the assembly or if it did, the heavy lube job and waterproof rubber seals protected it.

I have a rockfishing mate with a 14000FA and his bail arm is stuffed. Maybe if he lubed it regularly, and gave it a rinse after every trip, it would be OK.

In terms of fighting fish, the biggest capacity Spheros is a brilliant $230 saltwater spin reel. Tough, smooth and built properly. Heaps better than the Stradic and its cheaper.

Upgrade Instructions for Shimano Spheros 14000FA

Shimano Symetre RangeEdit

kraley's Symetre 4000

If one is looking for what many consider to be the entry level for serious saltwater reels offered by Shimano, the Symetre line offers good mechanics and in a decently saltwater-proof setup for less money than the Japanese made (and slightly more expensive) Stradic line. Smooth action and a decent drag let's this reel handle most fish that one would encounter in the Sydney area. I keep mine loaded with 8 kilo fireline. -kraley

Pflueger President RangeEdit

The pflueger President range can be a little harder to find but offers an excellent alternative from some of the well known brand name reels. Pfleugers in the past had an excellent name with fly fisho's and have come into the market with an atrifical bait series of rods and reels.

The President range on pfluegers website should retail for $130 for the 6725 and 30 up to $170 for the 6760. In the shops Akff members have purchased reels like the 6730 for $89 equaling excellent value for money on a good quality reel without going to the high price ranges. The reels aslo come with a Five year warranty

Premium Edit

The big difference with big priced and top of the range tackle of not normally noticed on the your standard fish. Sure there are differences with the smooth winding etc but these reels really come into their own when you manage to hook the fish of a life time. That is when the smooth drag and precision machining are noticed.

Remember these reels cost a bit more but should last a long long long time. Some members of the Kayak fishing fraternity have had some reels for 14 years, with a few services (bought in 1993 for $350, had for 14 years means this reel has cost $25 a year..........BARGAIN)

For example Gatesy hooked and landed a 5 kilo Striped Tuna on a 3kg rex hunt combo and the reel, despite landing the fish, was ruined from the blistering first run of the fish which killed the drag.

The new breed of spinning reels are capable of some incredible drag pressures as well due to the all metal body construction. This advance in technology is allow anglers to target larger fish with heavier line from smaller reels - looks great in the photos too

Premium Spinning Reels include the top of the range Daiwa and Shimano brands.

Daiwa - Exist, Certate, Saltiga, Kix and Luvius

Shimano - Stella, Twinpower, Stradic and Sustain

Penn - Spinfisher Metal SS

A Certate 2500 R Custom

( A 2500 sized reel capable of 7kg of drag )

A Caldia Kix 3500

( Spooled with 20lb Crystal Fireline, 20lb Penn leader )

A Caldia Kix 2500

( Poor man's Certate - also features a 7kg drag. Made in Thailand )

The ultimate Penn Spinfisher 750 SS Metal

(Original and still the best, made in the U.S.A)

Not as premium as the Certate but still high end reels. TD Sol y TD Advantage.

Real Four - Real Engine, Real Control, Real Endurance, Real Custom – the jewel of Daiwa Technology is the future direction from Daiwa in the design of spinning reels

Smooth little reels with lots of drag to boot.

Baitcasting Reels Edit

Budget Edit

Midrange Edit

Premium Edit

a nice Team Daiwa Advantage 153HST ( Super tuned, Free floating spool with 8 + 1 bearings )

Overhead Reels Edit

Budget Edit

Midrange Edit

Premium Edit

Side Casters Reels Edit

Budget Edit

Midrange Edit

Premium Edit

Fly Reels Edit

Budget Edit

Midrange Edit

Premium Edit

Gatesy laughs at my Tibor Riptide reel, but the amount of jealous rage behind the laughter is a bit disconcerting. I think he might be plotting to kill me over it.

Seriously - if you are fishing for biggies in the salt this reel will never let you down.

It's expensive. It works. It can hold lots and lots and lots of backing. It is light. The drag is made in heaven. Made of high grade stainless, if girls were turned on by flyreels (they aren't) they would be turned on by this reel. Designed by some guy named Lefty Kreh who some people think knows a bit about flyfishin'.



A good post on how to maintain a reel can be found here with instructions of what to do from people who work in the industry

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