The innovation of spincast reels was a successful attempt to capture the design strengths of baitcasting and spinning reels, while eliminating their weaknesses. They are widely known as being one of the most user-friendly, no-hassle options around. For a starter or beginner reel, this is a great option.
- 1 Spincast Reel Features and Limitations: the Best Beginner Reel?
- 2 Check out our recommended spincast reels below:
Spincast Reel Features and Limitations: the Best Beginner Reel?
As a young boy, I still remember my first set of fishing tackle – an old fibre-glass rod by Shakespeare and a spincast reel whose manufacturer sadly escapes me. If memory serves, I used this setup from the age of 5. When I was 12 I was lucky enough to land two very large (at the time!) common carp on floating crust – the first 25lbs, the second 23.5lbs. Both fish were landed on the rod and reel mentioned above, in two consecutive casts, and on 5-pound line. Much to my amazement, the fish won me Shakespeare’s ‘Master Angler of the Year’ award (my dad wrote a letter to Shakespeare to tell them about the catch and to thank them for helping make his son the happiest boy alive. He didn’t know about the prize!). It’s something I will never forget, but also shows what spincast reels can do. They’re a great beginnner’s reel, but don’t think that they are only for small fish.
Easy Casting Reels
The design of spincast reels allows for trouble-free casting, even with lightweight tackle, because there is little line resistance. At the same time, spincast reels avoid both the backlashing and line twisting issues that are common complaints of baitcasting and spinning reel users. It is arguably the best of both worlds.
User Friendly Reels
These reels are just downright easy-to-use; just the push of a button opens the line for effortless casting. Then, a single crank of the handle initiates smooth line retrieval with multiplying ratios similar to baitcasters/spinning reels. All of this makes easy and accurate casting and line retrieval a cinch. In fact, nearly all the features of spincast reels are easy to identify and operate – even for the novice angler.
Spincast Reel Limitations
There is a catch, however. Due to their enclosed design, spincast reel spools usually end up being quite small, which limits line capacity. In turn, this reduces your casting distance, makes it hard to fish effectively at depth, and severely hampers your ability to go after large species that are capable of making long runs (perhaps the biggest surprise with the two carp mentioned above, was the fact that neither of them ran far enough to exhaust the line on the spool. I never thought of it at the time, but if the line had broken, my heart would have broken with it. I hate to think how close I came!).
Making the spool larger isn’t realistic because the overall size of the reel gets too large and too tall for practical purposes. Additionally, neither the drag system nor the reel itself is particularly durable.
Spincasting reels have found their place in the fishing world: primarily being used by beginners and coarse fisherman. Some experienced anglers favour them too, but as a durable, all-around, easy-to-use option where deep water, long casts or long-runs are a consideration, you’re probably better off with a spinning reel.
- Easy adjust drag system. Whether a star wheel or thumb wheel, spincasting reels have arguably the easiest to adjust drag system around. They are not ideal for strong, long running fish.
- No Backlash. Hassle-free casting and line retrieval is a clear advantage of spincasting reels.
- Inexpensive and low maintenance. Spincasters rarely backlash and rarely breakdown. They require little to no maintenance; as long as they are used and stored properly, they should last for years to come.
Check out our recommended spincast reels below:
Best Value Spincast Reels
Pflueger Trion Spincast Reel
Are you new to fishing? Are you trying to get your kids rigged up for your weekend camping trip? The Pflueger Trion is ideal. For us, among the many entry-level spincast reels this one stands out. Unlike some other models, this reel is made from quality components: machined aluminum front cone, aluminium handle, titanium pick-up pins and heavy-duty metal gears. Despite costing the same as a decent lunch, this reel is designed to last a lifetime. Pflueger definitely has a knack of making cheaper reels durable. Nevertheless, we advise treating this reel it a bit delicately. Don’t expect it to be a performance powerhouse. It is a basic, beginner level reel.
So why buy it, you may be wondering?
Well, because it is a brilliant little beginner reel. It is easy and uncomplicated to operate – great for the novice angler. It protects its user against the tangles they may experience with a fixed-spool reel. So theoretically it should make for a more enjoyable fishing experience. (This is a great feature if you are taking several kids fishing. You don’t want to be unraveling bird nests all day!)
The price is very easy on the wallet. And, if you treat this reel right, you could get in years of hassle-free fishing excursions out of it. Perfect for testing the waters (so to speak) before deciding to step up into higher priced options, such as the one below.
Overall Best Spincast Reels
Zebco Omega ZO3PRO Spincast Fishing Reel
As far as spincasters go, this one is pretty high on the price point. However, in this case it’s true that you get what you pay for. It may not offer Ferrari performance compared to the spinning reels we’ve featured, but compared to other spincast reels, it’s a class act. It’s a pretty reel too, not to mention well-made and durable. Some fisherman have reported it still working well after years of continuous use, under various fishing conditions. That’s pretty rare in the spincast category.
Durability isn’t the only good thing about this reel. It has probably the smoothest cast and retrieval action in its class. The “first-of-its-kind” 7th bearing may actually live up to the marketing hype in this instance.
One minor complaint is the “power” crank handle. Zebco make a big deal out of it, but as far as we can tell it’s no more than a slightly larger crank handle than the ZO3, and it’s not particularly high-quality in feel. Not a total turn off, but also maybe not quite as good as advertised either. If you want to save a little coin, try the Omega ZO3 (not PRO). It’s basically the same reel minus the power crank handle for about 10% less. You can find that one here.