Read on if you want to get to know the basics of fishing reels and the different types of reel available on the market. Alternatively for some great offers on fishing reels head to the sales page or check out our specific pages on reels Big Pit Reels and baitrunner reels

Read » Top 5 Big Pit Reels | Top 5 Baitrunner Reels

The Different Types of Fishing Reels Explained

Fishing reels are constantly evolving and improving, particularly in terms of performance and construction. With new materials and technology always being developed, the industry has taken huge steps forward over the last few decades resulting in a range of different types of reel on the market. Here is a brief introduction to the different fishing reel types:

Free Spool / Baitrunner Fishing Reels

Baitrunner Fishing Reels
Size/Weight: Medium/Large
Use: Carp/Specimen fishing, effective with self hooking and anti-eject methods (hair rigs)
Price Range: £10 – £800

The term baitrunner owes its origins to Shimano, however more recently ‘baitrunner’ has become generally used to describe reels with a freespool function.
Shimano’s original freespool fishing reel, The Aero Baitrunner, was released in the 1980’s quickly establishing itself as a firm favourite. Consequently the baitrunner design has been inherited and refined by many other manufacturers.

The purpose of a baitrunner (or freespool) fishing reel is to provide another drag system which can be manually engaged/disengaged with a simple switch. Switching it on while the bait is in the water allows a fish to hook itself and swim away freely, by allowing line to be released/dragged out from the spool, avoiding the rod from being pulled into the water! Switching off the baitrunner function then allows you to strike and play the fish on the standard drag system (which is present on the majority of fishing reels).

We’ve tested, rated and shorlisted the best baitrunners in our Top Five Baitrunner Reels article.

Big Pit Fishing Reels

Big Pit Fishing Reels
Size/Weight: Large
Use: Larger Venues, Larger Fish, Spodding, Marker Float
Price Range: £30 – £800

The origins of big pit fishing reels lead back to sea fishing, where angling from the beach required huge distance casting to get the bait out into the right place. Since then they have become very popular in coarse fishing for a number of reasons…
The extra power that these fishing reels hold makes them ideal specimen reels for big fish such as carp, pike and catfish with improved playing power, gear ratio, and distance casting.
Often they have a freespool function too which further improves their usability. These attributes also mean big pits are fantastic reels for larger venues and are extremely effective for spodding and marker float work with fast retrieve and casting potential.
Their popularity continues to grow and many manufacturers have looked to expand their big pit fishing reels range over the last few years.

We’ve looked at and shorlisted the best models in our Top Big Pit Reels guide.

Match/Feeder Fishing Reels
Match Fishing Reels
Size/Weight: Small/Medium
Use: Float, Feeder, Spinning
Price Range: From £9.99

There is a huge choice of match fishing reels available on the market from a wide range of manufacturers. Daiwa and Shimano offer some of more reknown match reels with a range to fit all budgets, however there are many more superb match reels offered by other manufacturers.

Match Fishing Reels are generally used for short to medium distances and offer great control for float fishing, spinning, and as feeder reels.

Centrepin Fishing Reels
CentrePin Fishing Reels
Size / Weight: Averagely 11.5 CM in diameter with varying weight.
Use: Float fishing particularly trotting, Flys
Price Range: NA

Centrepin reels are commonly referred to as fly reels and being widely used in fly fishing.
The body and drum of these fishing reels revolves around a central pin aptly giving the centrepin its title. An initial insight to the quality of centrepin reels can be gained by studying the length and smoothness of the drum rotation when spun.

Their design allows line to leave the spool more easily then other types of fishing reels enhancing their ability for trotting floats down rivers, particularly where the current is strong-flowing. Coarse fishing centrepins are averagely about 4.5 inches in diameter and vary in weight. They require a certain level of mastery to use efficiently, but once you get to grips with centrepin reels, they can be great fun and highly effective.