The reel deal

This article gives a comprehensive beginners guide to the three basic reel types and their variations commonly used in coarse fishing today.

There are three different types of real which a commonly used for course fishing, and all have their individual uses.

Fixed Spool Reels

The most popular by far is the fixed spool reel, first patented in 1905 by Alfred Illingworth. The way in which the fixed spool reel works is relatively simple.

The fishing mono line or braid is loaded onto the reels spool, which is then in a direct line with the eyes or rod rings once properly positioned. The line itself sits behind a small metal arm known as the bail arm. On the side of the bail arm where the line is running is usually a small wheel, this helps to stop the line from grating and becoming damaged. When casting with a fixed spool reel it is simply a case of clicking the bail arm over, placing your index finger on the spool, (to stop the line peeling off) placing the rod at a 45 degree angel behind you and simultaneously flick the rod forwards whilst releasing your finger from the spool. Of course with a fixed spool reel comes all the added extras to such as, anti reverse, drag/clutch control, bait running mechanism, line clip (which insures that the cast is the same distance every time). With this reel you nearly always get two different depth spools, which enables you to load the shallow spool with say 3lbs breaking strain and the deeper one with 8-10lbs. When the clutch is set on the fixed spool reel, it is set up in such a way that if a dangerous amount of strain is placed upon it from a fish, the clutch will slip before the line breaks. The bait runner feature allows you to cast your bait out, set the bait runner to the desired setting and relax, safe in the knowledge that when a large fish runs with it, the line will peel off freely. The bait runner status is achieved by the reel being put into a slip gear, this allows the spool to spin at a rate so that the line does not become a tangled mess. With just a quarter or half turn of the reel handle the bait runner mode is cancelled and the normal gearing status is resumed. Fixed spool reel are available in many different retrieval ratios, making them suitable for every possible kind of fishing.

Closed Face Reels

The closed face reel was invented to make life a lot easier and generally simplify the fixed spool design. Anglers would often complain of tangles and lack of line control over distance when trotting.

Even though the closed face is a relative of the fixed spool, the opinion held by anglers tend to differ as to which is the better reel. With the closed face, instead of having a bail arm it has a metal pin, which is situated inside a cap, which fits over the spool. Once the cap is in place, a metal drum fits over the top to ensure that line doesn’t pass it. The metal cap rotates when the reel handle is turned and with the help of the pin or bail arm, lays the line evenly across the spool. The casting operation is much the same as that with the fixed spool. With the closed face however, all you have to do is depress the button on the front of the reel. This releases the metal pin and allows the line to peel off, much better for speed waggler fishing. The closed face has some of the same features as the fixed spool such as clutch control and anti reverse. I feel that the closed face reel has a real place in angling, however with the majority of fishing these days being predominantly carp, the fixed spool is a tougher option all round, but that’s just my opinion.

Centre Pin/Trotting Reels

The centre pin reel has a superb balance and superior control with its free running spool. Although not everyone’s cup of tea, this type of real is loved by many, especially tv celebrity angler John Wilson.

A Centre pin reel is ideal used for trotting, but they are not just restricted to that, they are also popular for fishing close in on lakes or ponds. Because of the fine balance and smooth running of the reel, they far out class the fixed spool and closed face reels for trotting. The one drawback with a centrepin of course is that you can’t really cast any distance, and it has no additional features like its relatives. I think it is safe to say that this real doesn’t try to be anything else, it is just great at what it does do, and that’s give you total, direct control with no compensating or forgiving gadgetry.