The origin of the fishing pole is quite humble. All that was originally required was a section of fishing line tied to the end of a long pole or stick. This simple start has spawned a whole industry of high tech fishing rods and fishing reels. While each manufacturer has their own look and feel, four basic types of fishing reels are available. These include the spin casting reel, spinning reel, bait casting reel, and fly-fishing reel. The first two, spin casting and bait casting reels, usually sit on top of the rod. The second two, spinning reels and fly-fishing reels, hang below the rod. Right handed and left handed models are available and most can be adjusted to accomodate either hand.

You can select your reel by several methods. One way is to choose according to the type of fishing line they are meant to handle. Larger fish require stronger, thicker line and certin reels can handle this thicker line better than others. Another method is to decide based how much line it can handle. Reels have a capacity which will determine the maximum line you can have out in the water for deep sea fishing.

The Spin Casting Reel

Spin casting reels are the best choice for beginner fishermen. They are inexpensive and relatively easy to use. Spin casting reels, are simple in their design. They give the fisherman more control when casting and when reeling in a fish. The only downside is the tendency for spin casting reels to become tangled and "bird nest". The bird nest is the term given to when the reeled in line becomes tangled and knotted due to improper gathering of the line on the reel. This condition requires the spin casting reel to be taken apart in order to correct the malfunction

The Spinning Reel

Spinning reels are more expensive and can cast lines and lures farther than a bait casting reel. A spinning reel has a fixed spool that doesn't turn during the cast or as the line is reeled in. Instead, line is retrieved through a mechanism that rotates around the spool. This rotating mechanism is called the bail and helps minimize the occurance of bird nesting. A spinning reel is a good alternative to the spin casting reel if you want to avoid the bird nest mentioned earlier. However, a spinning reel can be tricky for children and beginning anglers. The spool is also more accessible should you need to correct a line problem on the reel.

The Bait Casting Reel

Bait casting reels have small revolving spool reels which have level wind mechanisms to ensure the line is evenly spooled. Bait casting reels are often considered the best all around choice because they offer a combination of free-spool casting and adjustable drags. They can also be quite expensive for top end reels. Some bait casting reels even offer an anti-reverse feature. This feature allows the handle to rotate backward. The point of this is to allow small amounts of line to be let off the fishing reel by cranking backward. Off shore fisherman use these robust reels due to their strength (they can have multiple bearings) and ability to handle large amount of line.

The Fly Reel

Traditional fly reels are single action which means that they have no gears. The spool goes around one time every time the crank is turned by hand. Another type is the automatic fly reel. These reels have no crank handle and use a spring mechanism for winding the line. Fly reels are not typically used for off shore fishing. Specialized line is also used in fly reels due to the specialized and delicate nature of the fly fisherman's cast.