Ice Fishing: Inline vs. Spinning Reel

January 24, 2017

Ice Fishing: Inline vs. Spinning Reel

There is a large debate about whether to use an inline reel or a spinning reel for ice fishing. While both reels have advantages and disadvantages, there are several key factors to consider when selecting your next ice fishing reel.

Jigging vs. Deadstick: This is the biggest factor when it comes to choosing between an inline reel or spinning reel. Typically, inline reels shine brightest when jigged. These reels allow the line to lay on the spool without twisting, which, in turn, allows the bait to be jigged without spinning over and over again. Spinning reels, with their easy drag adjustments and thousands of model options, are the best choice for using live bait.

Size of Fish: Inline reels keep getting better and better. However, they do not work as well for large fish and the drag adjustments on a spinning reel are much better than on an inline reel. Inline reels are at their best when fishing shallow water for smaller fish, like panfish and small walleye. Most inline reels can be used with small jigs and present baits perfectly every time.

Price: While inline reels will do everything most panfish anglers want, they can be quite costly. The best advice for this is to invest in one or two inline reels that are high quality that will act as your main setup. Spinning reels can be found at cheaper price-points to have a backup.

Skill Level: If you are just getting started, a spinning reel will do everything you want and need. Inline reels can become frustrating, trying to get the adjustments just right. Learn to ice fish with a spinning reel and gradually move into using an inline reel once you are well acquainted.

Inline Reel with Crappie

Versatility: If you are looking for a reel that can be used in most situations, then spinning reels are for you. They can be used in just about any situation while ice fishing. While the inline reel does present baits better, the spinning reel will work for any ice fishing techniques.

Endurance: This is not determining which combo will last longer as far as years, but which one will last longer on each trip. From experience, inline reels do not lock up as easily from water getting in them as the gearing is not as close together. They are also much easier to thaw compared to a spinning reel. Holding an inline reel a few feet from a heater or breathing on the gears can get it back to fish-ability in seconds, while a spinning reel will, more than likely, take a few minutes.

Related Products

13 Fishing Black Betty 6061 Inline Ice Reel
13 Fishing Black Betty 6061 Inline ...
2 Models available
The 13 Fishing Black Betty 6061 Inline Ice Reel features a CNC machined 6061 aluminum construction for toughness and durability. The incredible frame design allows anglers to fish a "pistol" or "pencil" grip style without rubbing the rim of the spool. This multiplier fly style reel eliminates line twist so that you can delicately and naturally present small or light baits. With an internal gear cover, smooth carbon drag, anti-reverse, and much more, Black Betty 6061 Ice Reel gives ice anglers th...
13 Fishing Hybrid Comfort Grip Ice Spinning Combo - 2018 Model
13 Fishing Hybrid Comfort Grip Ice ...
The 13 Fishing Hybrid Comfort Grip Ice Spinning Combo combines high-end, lightweight components to create an ultra-light rod. This rod features a comfort grip for those extra long days on the ice. The combo begins with a solid fiberglass blank outfitted with steel guides and polished inserts so your line doesn't fray. The reel features three ball bearings and instant anti-reverse for solid hooksets. The Evolve hybrid comfort grip handle reduces fatigue and provides all-day comfort.
13 Fishing Wicked Ice Rod
13 Fishing Wicked Ice Rod
The 13 Fishing Wicked Ice Rod combines high end materials to create a premium quality ice rod. Featuring solid Toray blanks and Evolve Performance guides, these rods are sure to feel every bite. It is outfitted with an Evolve reel seat with a white, soft-touch finish.
Berkley FireLine Micro Ice Superline
Berkley FireLine Micro Ice Superline
Berkley FireLine Micro Ice Superline is the smallest, strongest, most sensitive fishing line ever! This premium "super line" is small enough to work the tiniest micro fly, supple enough to handle the coldest weather, and strong enough to land a big walleye or trout. If you want to ice fish with a super line, you'll love FireLine Micro Ice Line! We stock Berkley FireLine Micro Ice Superline in 50 yd. spools. Berkley FireLine Micro Ice Superline is made in the U.S.A.
Berkley Trilene Cold Weather Monofilament Line
Berkley Trilene Cold Weather Monofi...
Electric BlueKlondike Gold
Berkley Trilene Cold Weather Monofilament Line is ideal monofilament for tip-ups, ice reels, or any other cold water fishing situation. This line features extraordinary flexibility with a low memory design that resists twisting and tangling. The improved formula is as flexible at 32°F as regular mono is at 70°F. The vibrant line color provides maximum visibility against ice and snow. We stock Berkley Trilene Cold Weather Line in 110 yd. spools. Berkley Trilene Cold Weather Line is made in the U....
$2.99 - $3.79
Daiwa Crossfire Spinning Reel
Daiwa Crossfire Spinning Reel
5 Models available
The Daiwa Crossfire Spinning Reel combines power, performance, and style with a low price tag. Featuring a sleek, double anodized ABS aluminum spool with a machined aluminum handle, this reel is lightweight and provide all day comfort. The innovative Digigear digital gear design and infinite anti-reverse offer a smooth feel and less tangles in your line. Offering plenty of great features along with a stylish design, you won't believe how affordable Daiwa Crossfire Spinning Reels are!
$29.99 - $44.99
Frabill Straight Line 371 Ice Reel
Frabill Straight Line 371 Ice Reel
The Frabill Straight Line 371 Ice Reel offers precision performance and comes with a long and short stem. The long stem is to accommodate wearing larger gloves and the short stem is for anglers that prefer a more compact feel and like to palm the reel.
Sufix 832 Advanced Ice Braid
Sufix 832 Advanced Ice Braid
Sufix 832 Advanced Ice Braid is hands-down the strongest and most durable small diameter ice braid around. This line combines GORE Performance Fibers and high-modulus polyethylene (HMPE) fibers into 32 weaves per inch. The GORE Performance Fibers provide remarkable fray and abrasion resistance for unwavering durability. HMPE Fibers generate high strength and sensitivity, plus hydrophobic water-repellant protection to reduce freezing.
Sufix Performance Ice Braid
Sufix Performance Ice Braid
Glacier Blue
Sufix Performance Ice Braid is superior to the other ice braids because it utilizes Digital Y6 Braiding. The super strong and ultra quiet braid sheds water, resists freezing, and will stay flexible under intensely cold conditions.
Sunline FC Premium Ice Fluorocarbon Line
Sunline FC Premium Ice Fluorocarbon...
Sunline FC Premium Ice Fluorocarbon Line is designed with high abrasion resistance and low-memory. This line provides greater bite detection, even in extremely cold conditions. Sunline FC Ice line is made of strong, 100% fluorocarbon.