Finding a reel to go saltwater fishing starts with three basic considerations: your experience, your preferred way of fishing and the type of fish you're after. You then have a choice of several styles of reels to get the job done.
There are basically two types of reels to consider, each with advantages to weigh: baitcasting and spinning.
Baitcasting reels are typically preferred by more experienced anglers, especially when using heavier lures and lines designed for bigger fish
The reel works with the weight of the bait or lure as it pulls on the line and turns the spool to release more line. The heavier the lure, the longer the cast.
With practice, this style of reel also will allow you to cast more accurately
Many fishermen also prefer baitcasting for fighting bigger, stronger fish over an extended period, especially big game fish in saltwater. The line retrieves directly on the spool making the baitcasting reel equal to the challenge
Baitcasting reels are offered in one-piece designs, which lessens the corrosive effects of saltwater
Most baitcasting reels now incorporate a drag system designed to adjust the resistance--or drag--on the spool to control how much resistance is needed to pull the right amount of line off the spool
You can also select a baitcasting reel for your particular style of fishing. Offshore reels are designed to fight large fish from a boat
Trolling reels allow you to drag live bait or a lure as you troll in a boat
Jigging reels allow you to cast a lure near the bottom and then pull the lure in an up and down motions casting reels like the Shimano Calcutta te or the Penn High speed graphite casting reels give you the benefit of precision casts
Bottom reels, as their name sounds, allow you to fish from stationary boats and go down deep
Spinning reels are open-faced
Your line is released from a stationary spool by flipping a bail wire, a piece of metal wire across the spool called a bail
This stationary spool keeps the line in place and helps prevent snarls and tangles
The weight of your lure or bait propels the line forward
Spinning reels can handle smaller baits but today's spinning reels are designed for light fishing to heavier fish.
You also need to ensure that your reel is a left- or right-hand retrieve, or can be adapted for either hand
Spinning reels use an anti-reverse, a simple mechanism you set by letting go of the bail wire after casting. This keeps your line from spooling off once you get a strike from a fish.
In saltwater spinning reels, you may prefer a skirted spool
The skirted spool increases line capacity, allows longer casts and reduces tangles
It also protects the reel's inside workings from the saltwater and moisture. Good spinning reels from Penn are the SS series and the Penn slammer.
The spool is the part of the reel that holds the line
It is a detachable component of the reel
Spools are made of either graphite or aluminum
Graphite spools are designed to be lighter than aluminum spools
Aluminum spools generally cost more and some consider aluminum to be more durable; it's worthwhile to pay for anodized or machined bronze aluminum to fend off the corrosive effects of saltwater and moisture
Either material is designed to resist corrosion from the water
The frame is what gives the reel its shape
Frames can also be either made of graphite or aluminum
Once again, this is a question of weight and the price you are willing to pay for a reel
Line capacity is a key consideration in selecting a reel
Some reels can handle as much as 900 yards
The amount of line you'll need depends on your type of fishing
Gear ratio :
Gear ratio tells you how quickly a reel will retrieve line per revolution of your reel's crank
Lower ratios provide more power for bringing fish from deeper depths, while higher gear rations benefit when pulling fish from closer to the surface
Ball bearings :
Ball bearings are used to help reels work more smoothly by supporting the moving parts
Generally speaking, the more ball bearings, the smoother the reel works, especially under pressure
As more ball bearings are added to a reel, the cost goes up
Level winds :
A level wind makes it so that when you reel in your line it is distributed evenly over the spool
Level winds found on baitcasting reels will evenly guide the line back on to the spool after casting
How to buy combos
If you are new to fishing, combos are a great way to start. Manufacturers match the right reel with the right rod.
All you need to do is determine the type of fishing that you want to do and then find the combo that best suits your needs. In the case of beach fishing for striped bass here is an excellent combo, both for the money and its performance.
Like anything else, the more features in a combo, as well as the more quality components, the more you will pay. A good combo, though, can provide a lifetime of fun.