Learn How to Use a Spinning Reel Correctly!

How to Use Spinning reel

Choosing the right fishing reel and learning how to use it may seem complicated.

There are different types of reels on the market, and there are differences between models of the same type.

If you are a beginner, or you have limited experience, you probably decided to use spinning reel for your fishing adventures.

Here we are going to explain how spinning reels work, how to use spinning reel, how to put new line on a fishing reel, how to choose the best one, and a lot more useful information that a new angler needs.

So, read more in the following chapters ...



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How Does a Fishing Reel Work? [+Diagram]

In order to find out how to use spinning reel, first we need to know how it works and what are the main parts of a spinning reel.

Spinning reels are fixed-spool reels. They are usually attached below the fishing rod. They have an open face, unlike spincast reels. Spinning reels are also more precise and you can cast further away.

Line capacity is one of the biggest advantages for this type of reels.

Fixed spool enables the fishing line to run freely during casting. The line is simply unwrapping from the spool. That option is very good for small lures and baits. It is more suitable for anglers who already have some experience with spincasting reels, but a skillful beginner can also learn how to use spinning reel.

Using heavy lines on spinning reels is not advisable, so that is a downside of this type of reel.

How to Use a Spinning Reel - Diagram

How Most Important Parts of Spinning Reels Works?

There are 5 main and most important parts of spinning reels and every one has a specific function:


Drag system is a part of spinning reels that sets tension on your fishing line. You can set it as you wish.

There is a knob on the spool that regulates friction plates. By operating that knob you are adjusting the drag (friction). The looser it is, the more control fish has, but also there will be lighter tension on your line. If you set it up to be tight, fish can’t do much, but you will have a lot of tension on the line.


Spool is a part of the reel that stores the fishing line. Spools are different and they depend on a reel type. As we already said, on the spinning reel the spool is fixed. Also, line capacity is different for different spools.


Firstly, the bail is there to guide your line while it rolls on and off the spool. It prevents knots and tangles. Another function is while casting. You must open it to cast and flip the bail back to retrieve.


When it comes to fishing, the reel handle is a crucial component for anglers. That part describes itself. By rotating the reel handle you retrieve the line. It also allows to easily turn the handle and reel in their catch.

Depending on the kind of reel, the handle may be designed for different functions. Having a smooth and comfortable handle allows for better control and efficiency while fishing. 


The anti-reverse feature on a fishing reel prevents the handle from turning backward when a fish is on the line. This is especially important for preventing the line from tangling or the fish from getting away.

It is particularly beneficial for beginners as it provides additional control over the reel. This feature is common on most spinning reels, making it a valuable tool for anglers of all skill levels.

How to Use a Spinning Reel for Beginners?

For beginners it is really important to know how to use spinning reel, together with your rod.

Pairing a rod with a reel is important because not all reels are suitable for all rods. But let’s assume you have a good combination. Casting with spinning reels is fairly easy and accurate.

By practicing you are developing the skill that is essential to gain some experience that will enable you to use baitcaster reels later on.

For Best Casting, Follow These Steps:

STEP #1: The rod should be held in front of you, at waist level. Reel should be positioned directly below the rod. Your lure should be hanging about 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 centimeters) below the tip of the rod. Having too much or too little length here will compromise your casting accuracy and distance.

STEP #2: Hold the line with forefinger. Open the bail with your other hand (that is easier for beginners). Remain holding the line through this process.

STEP #3: Pull the rod to the upright position. Tip should be over your shoulder.

STEP #4: Move it forward rapidly. Try to point the top towards your designated location. When the rod comes in front during this rapid movement, release the line. The lure will pull the line off the reel.

STEP #5: When your lure lands, close the bail.

Tips and Tricks for Better Reel Use:

TIP #1: Foot of the reel should be between your middle and ring finger. If from some reason this position does not feel good, feel free to adjust.

TIP #2: Line roller should be positioned directly under your finger when you set your lure on the desired hanging distance from the top.

TIP #3: Your movements should be smooth. Both moving the rod to vertical position and moving forward. Try practicing just that movement without twitching

TIP #4: The front movement should be controlled by your elbow not your shoulder

TIP #5: The hardest part is to find the right moment to move your finger and release the line. It will take some time to do it perfectly. If you see your lure flying high into the air but not gaining distance it means you released too early. If it falls too early without gaining distance, you released too late.

TIP #6: Make sure you don’t put too much or too little line on your reel. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions; otherwise your casting won’t be precise.

TIP #7: While practicing, you can use a bit heavier lure to feel it better. If it is windy, try to adjust the direction of casting accordingly. Wind will carry your lure sideways so it may not end up at a desired location. If you are having troubles don’t give up. Practice as much as you can. Adjust whatever you think is necessary when learning how to cast to master this skill.

How to Connect New Spinning Rod and Reel?

When connecting a new spinnin reel to the rod, it's important to ensure that the reel is attached securely to the rod to prevent any accidents while fishing.

Start by placing the reel into the holder on the rod, making sure it aligns properly with the grip.

Then, tighten the reel seat by turning the screw or nut until the reel feels stable and secure. It's crucial to double-check that the reel is attached tightly to the rod, as a loose connection can lead to the reel coming off while casting or reeling in a fish. 

Ensuring the reel is correctly connected to the rod not only enhances the ease of use while fishing, but also prevents any potential mishaps that could occur with a faulty connection.

Checking the connection before each fishing trip is a good practice to maintain the safety and effectiveness of your fishing equipment. 

How to Use a Spinning Reel - Connect

How to Spool the Reel With New Line?

While thinking about how to use spinning reel, you are probably wondering how to put a new line on it.

That can be a bit complicated, but when you try it a couple of times you will see it is not that hard. Unlike baitcasters, spinning reels are more likely to get your lines twisted and tangled. If you are a beginner, maybe you should try this with braided lines. They tangle less than monofilament.

As already mentioned, check the length of the line, which goes onto your spinning reel. About 0,3 centimeters of space should be left between the rim and the line.

To put the new line on reel follow the next steps:

STEP #1: Determine the way that the reel turns to see the way that line should be spooled.

STEP #2: Open the bail and remove the old line.

STEP #3: String the line through the guides and close the bail.

STEP #4: Crank the reel, make sure you carefully avoid an twists.

STEP #5: Fill the spool with the new line.

STEP #6: Cut it and secure the line.

>> For detailed instructions how to do it step by step, click here <<

Learning how to do this is as important ...

As a beginner, you are more likely to break your lines, damage them, or loose parts of them together with hooks. If you know how to put a new line on the reel, you can do it wherever you are and loose less than 10 minutes of your fishing time.

How to Correctly Use Spinning reel - Guide - Put new Line on Fishing Reel

How to Use and Set the Drag on Spinning Reel? [Front and Rear]

To set the drag on a spinning reel, start by locating the drag adjustment knob on the reel. 

To adjust the drag, tighten or loosen the knob to the desired setting. Tightening the knob will increase the drag, while loosening it will decrease the drag.

It's important to set the drag properly to ensure that you have the right amount of resistance when reeling in a fish, preventing line breakage or lost catches

There are two different drag types of reels:


If your reel has a front drag system, this knob will be located at the top of the reel.

It is more widely used. Front drag is better to be set before and not to adjust it while playing the fish. Front drag systems are generally smoother. High-end, more expensive fishing reels usually have front drag.


If it has a rear drag system, the knob will be located at the rear.

It has an advantage that it is easier to set drag while playing the fish. Changing spools is also a bit less complicated.

How to Correctly Use Spinning reel - Guide - Bearings Ratio

Best Bait and Lure for Spinning Reel to Choose

When it comes to choosing the best bait and lure for a spinning reel, it's important to consider the characteristics of the reel itself.

Spinning reels are ideal for light to medium weight lures and baits, making them the perfect choice for fishing with smaller crankbaits, soft plastics, and finesse techniques.

The spinning reel's open-faced design and smooth casting ability also make it a great option for using live bait such as worms, minnows, or insects. Additionally, the ease of use and versatility of a spinning reel make it well-suited for beginners and experienced anglers alike.

Whether you're fishing in freshwater for bass, pike, or panfish, or casting into saltwater for snook, redfish, or tarpon, a spinning reel is a reliable choice for a wide range of bait and lure options.

Should You Use Spinning Reel to Catch Bass, Pike, Carp and Bluegill?

For some fish species spinning reels are a good choice, and for some are not. So, keep on reading ...

Spinning Reel For Bass

Depending of a bass size, we can use smaller spinning reel models. They can also be used for other fish of similar size. Considering the size, they all have some advantages and disadvantages.

The smallest ones (1000) should be avoided because they are too small with very limited line capacity. The only advantage is the weight. Model used for bass should be between 2000 and 3500.

The most popular size is 2500. Not too big, but big enough to accommodate longer lines on spool which is wide enough not to tangle a lot. This reel size is the most versatile one and can be used for a variety of fish species.

Spinning Reel For Pike

You can use spinning reels for pike fishing. But many anglers will tell that baitcaster is better for this purpose. It is a matter of personal choice and experience. Advantage of baitcaster here is greater maneuverability.

The best gear ratio for pike fishing is medium one. Size of the reel should be 3000 or 4000. They can accommodate enough line and are big enough to do the job.

If you are a beginner, you should use spinning reel for pike fishing (or catfishing). After you gain some experience you can try baitcasting, and compare the two.

Spinning Reel For Carp

Carps can be very big and strong. Unlike previously mentioned pike and bass, carps require larger reels. A lot of anglers fishing for carp, prefer baitcasting reels over spinning. Also, baitcasters are preferred for larger specimens.

Carp species are different in size so it depends which one you are fishing for. Larger specimens require larger reels, usually 7000 to 10 000 size. Some anglers use even bigger ones.

Gear ratio recommended is also medium one, if you are using spinning reel. It is assumed that you will use the same reel for some other large fish too, so it is good for the reel to be versatile.

Spinning Reel For Bluegill

When fishing for bluegill, a spinning reel can be extremely useful for casting light lures and managing the fight of these feisty panfish.

Look for a spinning reel with a smooth drag system and a lightweight design to make handling small bluegill easier.

A quality spinning reel will also allow for precise casting, making it easier to target specific spots where bluegill are known to feed. With the right spinning reel, you'll have a better chance of reeling in those prized bluegill.

How to Use a Spinning Reel - Fish


Spinning reels are a part of every anglers fishing gear. They are easy to use, suitable for beginners and can be used in various situations.

Unlike baitcasters which are specialized for larger fish, spinning reels, depending of their size, can be used for almost everything. It is easy to learn how to use spinning reel properly, how to cast and maintain it.

They have some disadvantages but their advantages are much greater. There is a huge selection of spinning reels available on the market, some of them are very affordable, and you will easily find the best one for your needs. Spinning reels make fishing accessible to everyone. 

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us


I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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