All Parts Of A Spinning Reel Every Angler Should Know

9 External Parts Of A Spinning Reel

Do you know all parts of a spinning reel contribute significantly to how effectively the rod works? Indeed, each component plays a vital role in the operation of your rod and might affect the whole performance of your fishing.

Thus, it’s essential to learn about them and their role in the reel mechanism. If that’s also what you’re looking for, dig into our post for more information.

9 External Parts Of A Spinning Reel

spinning reel parts


The body is the most noticeable thing on a spinning reel, and its primary objective is to safeguard and keep everything intact.

Most of the time, bass fishers prefer metal-bodied reels, often constructed of graphite, aluminum, or plastics since they are more enduring in the long run. 

While susceptible to oxidation, the higher cost of metal versus plastic is typically worthwhile since the reel is less likely to distort, deform, or break apart with repeated usage.


The reel foot refers to the upper component that links to the rod. The materials utilized for this component are similar to those utilized for the body.

As a result, in most cases, people regard the foot as an appendage of the body. A critical characteristic of a good reel foot is sturdiness. This component should endure all of the force and shocks that occur while fishing without falling apart. 


The section of the rod where the reel foot often rests is known as the reel seat.

This seat is usually an emptying on the rod body itself, although it might also be delineated as a metal attachment meant to keep the foot in its position. Because reel seat layout differs from brand to brand, each will typically possess a unique polish.


The spool is the component that holds the string. In most cases, this part is constructed of graphite or aluminum. Also, a spool may carry a longer or shorter string depending on its diameter and depth. 

When inspecting a reel, you should quickly gather details regarding string length and other crucial indexes. Decent spools work seamlessly and do not cause resistance to the retrieval process.

Bail and bail arm

The bail is a distinctive element that aids in the launching operation of your reel. The bail resides anterior to the spool on the housing and may be turned up and down manually. 

The bail arm, which comes intended to assist in moving the string on and off the spool. Moreover, it eliminates the rebound concern observed on different reel models (such as the baitcaster) by guaranteeing the string never moves uncontrollably off the spool when the bail arm is in place.

Advanced bail arms, initially made of wires, comprise thin metal parts attached to the housing. Bail arms on top-notch reels should be simple to release and retract strings, have little friction, and be sturdy enough to endure repeated usage.

String roller 

The roller enhances the whole experience of your fishing experience by acting as the string’s contacting surfaces when it is pulled back from a throw. All fishermen seek to reduce the resistance force caused by rough surfaces, notably if they don’t want the string to be degraded or snapped off.

A roller that allows the string to run efficiently without clinging is beneficial. Experts recommend testing this with a toothpick.

The key concept is to place one against your roller and see if it runs quickly.

A roller also aids in the elimination of string twists by pushing unwanted twists forward and toward the functioning tip of the string. Rollers that aren’t appropriately kept might worsen the situation and make twisting a more common occurrence. part-of-a-spinning-reel-thum1


The handle is the component that you grip when using the spinning reel. When you turn it, the string will get retrieved. A good handle must work smoothly and comfortably when used and may also feature a rubber grip to prevent potential slippages.

Modern reels usually offer choices for both left-handed and right-handed anglers, allowing them to suit anybody. Conventional reel handles are typically manufactured from similar materials to the body, graphite or aluminum, as these materials sustain spinning pressure well.

Drag adjustment knob 

Another of the spinning reel’s external components is the drag adjustment knob. 

A drag adjustment knob that is straightforward to locate makes it much simpler for inexperienced anglers to operate with. For this reason, the knob tends to reside near the handle. Thanks to this position, it allows users to make quick modifications when throwing and retrieving.

This component also helps the fisherman enhance or reduce drag (resistance) on the string by adjusting it, which helps battle a fish that drags the string under the water as it tries to escape. The optimal setting of the knob also depends on the snapping power of the string.

This might appear on the string’s package to guide and assist you in making changes. As a general guideline, the drag should be about 1/4 of the snapping power of the string.

Anti-reverse switch

A reel’s anti-reverse function locks the pull and stops it from getting reversed. This is especially crucial when the reels are used for bass fishing since the bass are likely to struggle and yank the string. When a string gets pushed backward, it can generate many problems with tangles, breakage, and clogs.

Spinning reels often incorporate a switch allowing the angler to activate or deactivate this function according to their preferences.  Once the function is deactivated, back reeling could simulate a drag mechanism, thus enabling the string to come back to the fish, easing pressure. This allows the fisherman greater freedom, enabling them to adjust their strategy depending on experience.

3 Internal Components Of A Spinning Reel

Ball bearings 

When purchasing a reel, you will always notice a figure indicating the number of ball bearings included within it. As the word implies, those ball-shaped bearings are used to minimize resistance and guarantee seamless reel performance. They reside between a set axel inside the center and also an external moving wheel.

Drag mechanism 

Internal drag mechanism components are washers or discs attached to the spool. They cause resistance amongst themselves, decelerating the spool. As a result, the drag mechanism allows users to control the string strain on a fish when fishing by adjusting the string spool’s tension. 

Lacking this powerful and efficient drag mechanism can cause many troubles releasing the string during the struggle. Indeed, either the pull might get jammed, leading to a split string, or it discharges the string too quickly, making it difficult to land the hook if a fish bites the bait.


Gears are among those things that most anglers overlook, yet they are still crucial. These circular metal components are often constructed of brass, aluminum, stainless steel, or even zinc.

Companies utilize various production procedures to create them, and those that are thicker and tougher are typically better suited for capturing bigger and stronger species.

Stainless steel is among the most outstanding and expensive options to manufacture this part.

Thicker gears result in sturdier gear systems, allowing the weight to be distributed over a wider surface. That’s worth noting while battling fish like largemouth, which could range significantly in size. 

Vice versa, slim, thin gears may not provide the strength to reel in the large fish that some fishermen want. Thus, consider this factor too when buying a spinning reel.

5 Factors That Affect The Performance Of A Spinning Reel

Ball bearings

Gear ratio

Unlike baitcasting reels, which possess a rotating spool that spins as you move the grip, spinning models feature a stationary spool with its bail rotating around the spool whenever you crank the grip. And the gear ratio calculates how many rounds the bail spins in one grip turn.

A reel with a 7:1 gear ratio, for example, indicates that the bail revolves 7 times around the spool per each grip turn. A 4:1 measurement is deemed slow pace because only a limited string length gets rolled onto the spool for one grip turn. However, this might give you an edge while combating huge fish since it gives you additional strength.

An 8:1 rate, on the flip side, is substantially faster, which is ideal for quick bait recovery. Your ratio selection depends on how you intend to utilize your spinning reel.

Due to its moderate pace, a 5:1 gear ratio is a good choice for those looking for a product that can handle all fishing demands. If you want to purchase more than 1 spinning reel for various purposes, select either slow-speed or high-speed versions to meet all of your requirements.

Relate: What Is the Best Gear Ratio for a Baitcaster?

Ball bearings

What matters concerning ball bearings is their quality. The more bearings one possesses, the better – of course, this saying is only valid for those of comparable grade. Thus, it is frequently preferable to acquire a few excellent ones than a lot of poor-quality ones. Trustworthy companies will offer high-quality components, including at least 4 ball bearings. Also, it’s advisable not to select inferior, entry-level products with a significant quantity of them as their quality is poor.

Spool materials

The layout and substance of the spool are also crucial factors in spinning reel efficacy. Spools, similar to the reel housing, are often composed of graphite or aluminum. 

Aluminum spools are sturdier and much more solid, whereas graphite spools are the winners when it comes to lightweight. Spooling movement is also simpler when using a graphite spool as the string does not slip as much. Another consideration is whether the spool comes pre-braided, as those with braided strings will provide extra ease of use.

Drag system

Because a low-quality drag mechanism raises the risk of losing fish, this is a highly crucial factor to consider when selecting a reel. In addition, the drag should be simple to modify, and you should be able to release the string seamlessly without jerks. Moreover, as stated above, this mechanism would usually result in resistance when fishing.

This resistance generates a considerable amount of heat, and thus, it requires appropriate materials for better heat dissipation and overheating prevention. Those materials include composites or carbon fiber; however, carbon fiber is always the superior pick.

Reel handle

Aim at a reel with a reasonably big knob, allowing for a tighter grasp on the grip, reducing slippage, and improving reel control. Furthermore, remember that an extended grip provides greater leverage while hauling in the string than a shorter one.

Bass fishers desire a grip that can withstand all environmental conditions and turn the spool with minimum work.

A few handles also feature rubber grips to avoid slipping, but most are constructed of graphite, aluminum, or another metal intended to endure incredible force and bending.

Reel Specifications

Typically, when buying a spinning reel, you could quickly spot a few specifications presented by the manufacturers. These indexes include the rod weight, gear ratio (as explained above), string capacity (braid and mono capacity), max drag, and inches per turn.


Spinning reel sizes might be a bit perplexing since there are 2 distinct size categorization systems in use. A few reel makers categorize their spinning reel size as 10, 20, 30, and so forth, whereas others identify them as 1000, 2000, 3000, etc.

However, there’s no need to be worried because the 2 methods are mostly equivalent.

For example, a reel value 10 equates to a reel value 1000, a reel value 25 correlates to a reel value of 2500, etc.

String capacity

A reel’s string capacity is the greatest length of string that the spool could handle without getting overloaded. Because the diameter of the fishing string grows with its durability, a better test string requires more area on the reel.

A reel that can handle 160 yards of 30-lbs test monofilament may carry just 120 yards of the 40-lbs test or 100 yards of the 50-lb test.

Reel companies often list string capacity for both mono and braided strings. The braided string has a larger capacity than mono.

This is because the braided one is constructed from components like Dacron and Spectra fiber, which could also reach greater tests in narrower diameters than nylon. Compare the size of the fish you intend to catch to the string capacity correspondingly for the best result.

See also: Can braided line be used on a spinning reel?

Max drag

Once the drag gets secured, this is the maximum amount of force required to tear the string. Anything more than that, and you’ll risk damaging the string.

Inches per turn

The diameter of your spool will determine how much string it retrieves every full turn of the grip. It is often known as inches-per-turn (IPT). The greater this index is, the bigger the spool diameter. The lower this index is, the narrower the spool diameter.


Hopefully, now you know how many parts of a spinning wheel there are and how they impact the unit’s performance. Although their contribution to the entire mechanism differs, each of them is indispensable. Off we go!

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