Importance of choosing the right reel

Last week I wrote about choosing the right rod for different angling situations, this week I’m moving onto reels, which are equally important and need to match the rod and the method you are using.

For carp fishing, every serious angler has a couple (or more) of free-spool reels in their armoury.

The free-spool or ‘baitrunner’ enables you to fish bolt-rig methods without the danger of having your rod and reel dragged into the water by a big fish. Although even using baitrunners, I’ve experienced rods dragged off the pod during savage takes, only being retained by tight fitting back grips. The free-spool reel opened up a whole new method of fishing and lots of manufacturers are producing excellent reels at very reasonable prices.

I personally prefer the double handled baitrunner; I feel they are more balanced, but always check out an intended purchase in the tackle shop very carefully. Check the bail arm closes nicely, no sticking half way, check out the main line clutch, it needs to be silky smooth without any jerkiness and finally the freespool lever and clutch.

A faulty reel could lead to a lost rod, something you don’t need during an all night carp session!

But there are other considerations you need to ask yourself when buying a new reel. How much line will be loaded, does the reel’s handle fit your hand, does it balance and fit your rods? Over time, a rod and reel become an extension of your hand and arm – so they need to be well chosen.

Serious river anglers swear by their centrepin reels for trotting a float good distances down the flow. These reels appear to be the most basic of construction, but strangely, some of the most expensive and collectable.

Extremely high machine tolerances and hi-tec lightweight alloys, all adding to manufacturers costs.

But the majority of reels in use today are the fixed spools, which are adaptable for float or feeder fishing.

They all vary in size – the smaller ‘match’ types have shallow spools to accommodate fine lines, while the big fixed spools have the strength and capacity for sea fishing. Choose wisely and they should last you a lifetime.