At a Glance: Casting Reels
Casting reels, or baitcaster reels, are fishing reels mounted to the top of casting rods and feature revolving spools that feed line off and wind it back on straight from the rod guides. The straight feed avoids any line twist inherent with spinning reels and allows for greater casting distances for moderate to heavy baits. Internal gears determine the speed at which the spool retrieves line and typically features a levelwind system to lay the line onto the spool evenly. A wide variety of gear ratios are available, dependent on how fast of a lure retrieve is desired. Baitcasting reels feature a braking system that controls the speed at which the spool feeds line off. When set correctly, the brake will give the angler line control during the cast to avoid the spool from spinning too quickly, creating the “bird’s nest” that so many anglers fear, and will take valuable fishing time to untangle. Drag systems tend to be smooth as a result of the revolving spool and can be affected by the quality of the bearings. The number of bearings included in baitcast fishing reels does not always determine the performance, as the quality of the bearings is more important. Casting reels are well suited for heavy fishing lines as well as for throwing heavy baits, due to the revolving spool. Improvements in technology have allowed casting reels to become better for use with light lines and lightweight terminal tackle, much like spinning tackle has been. Casting reels are very popular with bass, musky and striper anglers. When set up well, these reels can be adapted to many tactics and species, for both freshwater and saltwater.