8 Essential Parts Of A Spinning Reel (A Newbie Guide)

Spinning reels are one of the significant fishing equipment. They are responsible for stowing and winding lines to guarantee a smooth and compelling cast. Thus, a reel can affect fishing and angler performance.

However, their complex structure makes it challenging for the angler to shop for a good one. No worries. This post is what you need. Read until the end to get hold of the 8 main parts of a spinning reel.

8 Most Important Parts Of A Spinning Reel


The reel foot is the connecting point of the reel with the fishing rod made from graphite or aluminum. The normal one is rectangular to accommodate the rod’s location. 

It’s critical to keep the foot snugly fit with the reel body. Thus, these two components can remain stable during the cast and vibration of a fighting fish. 

You might know that reels and rods are not always compatible. So it’s better to read the product specs and buy these two simultaneously.


When you use a reel, the handle is the component for anglers to hold. You will retrieve the fishing line by rotating it. The reel handle may come with a rubber grip to prevent slipping out of wet hands.

Most reels are available in both right and left-hand versions, allowing them to be used by anyone. However, anglers usually use their dominant hand to hold the rod and their non-dominant to spin the reel handle.


The reel spool is placed next to the handle. Its primary purpose is to hold the fishing lines. Moreover, the spool is a graphite or aluminum-based reel part.  Spools can accommodate more or fewer line lengths depending on their specific depth and diameter. These specs are available on the spinning reel.

Excellent spools are smooth and do not add to the friction while retrieving. Yet, if the angler uses an over-rigid spool, it will easily cause the line to break.


The reel body is the reel center part and the focal point to hold all other components together. Graphite, aluminum, or plastic are often used for a reel. Aluminum is more durable and stronger than graphite, but graphite is lighter. If you are a novice, lighter reels are recommended because they’re easy to grip for an extended time. Yet, anglers shouldn’t use plastic-based reels due to their short-lasting.

If you fish in saltwater, a corrosion-resistant body is required. Graphite is an excellent choice due to its corrosion resistance.

Bail arm

The bail arm is a thin-metal semicircular shape, placed next to the reel spool. This part is a helpful support for the casting action, which helps the fishing line move on and off the spool evenly. 

Anglers control the bail by flipping it up and down to ensure they can release the line at the desired speed from the spool.

Drag adjustment knob

The drag adjustment knob is usually situated on the spool top and looks like a metal dial. It can decrease or increase a line’s friction (or drag).

The line’s breaking strength is the determining factor of the appropriate knob setting. This spec is labeled on the line packaging to assist you in making customizations. The general tip is that the friction should be about a quarter of your line-breaking strength.

It will provide anglers the power to fight with a fish that drags the line down as it tries to escape. 

Sound drag systems are simple to control, and the line can go out evenly and smoothly without twisting or twitching.

Line roller

A line roller is a small, circular component placed on the bail end. Rough surfaces or uneven margins cause a lot of undesired friction. The roller’s purpose is to decrease friction and guide the line movement softly to prevent the line from getting weaker or broken. 

A line roller also aids in the line elimination of the twist by driving possible twists toward the line’s working end.

Anti-reverse switch

An anti-reverse function engages the drag and stops it from turning backward. When anglers turn off the anti-reverse switch, they can reel in reverse instead of using your drag system to maintain line tension. It can work well when fighting with small fish. 

3 Internal Parts of A Spinning Reel

Ball bearings

Ball bearings are an internal part of a spinning reel placed in the reel body. They feature reduced rotational friction and guarantee the reel can run smoothly.

Many respectable manufacturers will provide excellent parts, including at least four ball bearings. However, keep in mind to avoid low-cost and entry-level reels with too many ball bearings because the quality is likely to be poor.

Drag system

The drag system allows you to modulate line pressure on a fighting fish. To achieve that, it creates more friction among itself to slow down the spool. Composite or carbon fiber are two common materials to make it. A shoddy drag system might make a fishing line get stuck and brake, or it could release the line too fast.

Related post: How To Set Drag On A Spinning Reel


Gears are usually overlooked, yet they play a critical role in smoothing out the movement and preventing line breakage. Gears are circular-metal components that sit inside the reel body. Moreover, they are commonly made of zinc, brass, or aluminum.

Related post: How To Use A Spinning Reel

What Is The Lever On The Bottom Of A Spinning Reel?

The lever on the bottom of a spinning reel is the anti-reverse switch mentioned above. Anglers can set the switch in the On (enable) or Off (unable) to adjust the anti-reverse function.

What Is The Anti-Reverse On A Spinning Reel?

We have briefly described the anti-reverse system in the previous section. In short, instead of depending on the drag system, the anti-reverse allows you to back reel.

This feature goes well with small fish but is useless when anglers need to fight a big one.

However, backward-forced lines can result in tangles, breakage, and snags. Furthermore, an anti-reverse switch is a weak point for water or dirt into the reel. That’s why most pro anglers prefer to use the drag mechanism.

How To Maintain A Spinning Reel Correctly


Before lubrication, this cleaning step is critical. Here are some quick steps:


  • Spray your reel with water.
  • Use a soft cloth or a towel to wipe away any dirt or salt deposits on the surface. A damp cloth (freshwater) will be better for a spinning reel used in saltwater. You can disassemble the inside parts to clean them carefully.
  • Then, let it dry.

Related post: How to Cast Farther with a Spinning Reel


You must lubricate some reel parts to maintain smooth operation, especially ball bearings and metal bushings. These parts accumulate water and salt, which will cause seizure and corrosion without lubrication. Remember to use the high-quality oils advised by the manufacturer. Depending on your use frequency, you can do this once a year or more frequently if necessary.


Always keep the reel in a dry, room-temperature environment. Prevent direct sunshine and extremes in temperature. You should also avoid knocking or putting heavy objects on it, as this will cause your items to distort or break.


Understanding the fundamentals of spinning reel parts is highly beneficial before hunting for a new one. Thus, you will know what you need from this fishing equipment to pick the most suitable one. To conclude, our article has provided you with a spinning reel’s external and internal parts. So I hope you will have adequate fishing time!

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