In part 1, we discussed why items 1 through 5 were important characteristics of a quality spinning reel. In Part 2, we pick up with item 6 – the handle knob – an important, yet overlooked feature.

11 Things To Consider When Buying A Spinning Reel (Part 2) 1

Again, here are all the factors to consider:

  1. Spool design – long cast or traditional
  2. Line on spool – level and even; no shims required
  3. Spool material – aluminum vs graphite
  4. Braid grip design on spool
  5. More bearings for smooth retrieve
  6. Handle knob material and rotation on handle
  7. Gear ratio
  8. Reeling function – no wobble
  9. Instant anti-reverse
  10. Frame construction
  11. Carbon fiber drag system

Handle Knob: Look for a very comfortable handle. EVA material is much more comfortable than hard rubber or plastic – something you will appreciate after a full day on the water. Check the grip. Does it feel comfortable? It is critical for the grip to spin smoothly on the handle. Any perceptible friction will cause fatigue. You should not have to push the handle. It should just spin freely.

Gear Ratio: For most applications, you want a fast gear ratio. A fast gear ratio allows for rapid retrieval of the lure when you want to skitter it across the top, take out a wind loop or deal with a fish charging towards you. The gear ratio consists of two numbers like “6.2:1.” The first number (6.2) tells how many times the spool will turn with one (1) crank of the handle. Most spinning reels have gear ratios of 5.2:1 up to 6.2:1 with a few clocking in at 7.0:1.

Reeling Wobble: Pick up the reel and work it. Observe the spool closely to see if there is any wobble as the bail moves up and down the spool. If there is a wobble, the retrieve will create lumps that impact casting distance and contribute to the creation of bird’s nests. Of all the criteria discussed, this is one with no tradeoff. If you detect wobble, move on to a different spinning reel.

Instant Anti-reverse: Anti-reverse works with the drag by preventing the handle from spinning backward. When a fish hits, you want the drag to engage instantly. The anti-reverse feature transfers management of the fight from the handle to the drag and avoids the situation where a locked handle with no give could cause the line to snap.

Frame Construction: Most spinning reels are either aluminum or graphite. Aluminum frames are stronger and more durable than graphite, but graphite is lighter and more resistant to corrosion. A better choice is magnesium since it combines the best features of the other materials. Magnesium is both light and resists corrosion. Don’t forget to check the bail to ensure it is made from a corrosion resistant material such as aluminum.

11 Things To Consider When Buying A Spinning Reel (Part 2) 2

Drag System: Most good modern reels come with a carbon fiber drag system (or a similar proprietary material).  A carbon fiber drag is infinitely adjustable, very easy to maintain, will not slip and rarely gets flat spots that cause slip.

Armed with these 11 criteria, you are ready to shop for a spinning reel! Look for spinning reels that discuss each factor. If you cannot find mention of the factor in the product description, beware!

How our Cadence Fishing spinning reels stack up against the criteria:

Criteria CS10 CS8 CS7 CS6
Long Cast Spool Design YES YES YES YES
Level Line on Spool YES YES YES YES
Aluminum Spool/Bail YES YES YES YES
Braid Grips on Spool YES YES YES YES
Number of Bearings 10+1 9+1 9+2 7+1
EVA Handle Material YES YES YES YES
Gear Ratio – 1000 Series 5.2:1 5.2:1 5.2:2 5.2:1
Gear Ratio – 2000 Series 6.2:1 6.2:1 6.2:1 6.2:1
Gear Ratio – 3000 Series 6.2:1 6.2:1 6.2:1 6.2:1
Gear Ratio – 4000 Series 6.2:1 6.2:1 6.2:1 6.2:1
No Wobble; Tuned Retrieve YES YES YES YES
Instant Anti-Reverse YES YES YES YES
Frame Construction Magnesium Magnesium Aluminum Aluminum
Carbon Fiber Drag System YES YES YES NO
Cost $99.99 $79.99 $69.99 $59.99

11 Things To Consider When Buying A Spinning Reel (Part 2) 3


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