A fishing reel is a round spool device mounted on an axle attached to a rod called a fishing rod. Its purpose is to deploy and retrieve the line for catching fish, plain and simple.
All reels will hold your line. A reel body can be made of plastic, aluminum, steel, or graphite. Which is better depend on the kind of fishing you want to do. Plastic is great for the beginner and children who want to get in on the enjoyment of catching fish, as far that goes. For the more experienced fisherman, aluminum is the way to go, because of its durability for rigorous fishing. You may be dropping your rod at times or maybe it will fall over, get bumped up against something, or something else could happen. You never know.
Secondly, lighter is better, so they say. Again, all reels are not made the same. What kind of fishing you will be doing will determine what you need. The reel with fewer parts, the better. Why, you might ask? Because you will have a lessened chance of a mechanical failure.
The drag rate, gear ratio and spool size also play an important part in reel selection. When I first purchased a fishing reel combo at a local store back in the 80’s I had no idea, back then, of the little things that can make a difference. I would see others casting their line way out there, and it seemed that mine did not cast as far. In the back of my mind, I often wondered why. Sure, I tried weights and so on, but it all starts with your fishing gear. Some reels are better than others. So keep that in mind before you purchase your first or next reel. Remember that you get what you pay for. Your reel should deploy your line smoothly, with ease.
One other thing you should know is that there are a few different types of reels out there that vary in size and purpose. There are Spinning reels, which are most popular in use today, for spincasting, which is great for children and the beginner. There is baitcasting used by anglers who want to cast larger baits and catch big fish. Of course, there are the Fly fishing reels that have fewer parts. There are also Specialized reels you see mounted on boats.
Finally the most important part of the fishing reel is the gears. It keep things smooth for you. The gears determine how many revolutions the spool makes. You know, when you hook a fish, you start to reel it in and pull back on your rod and reel in some more, that’s the drag system that’s applying the pull on your hooked fish.