What Are the Parts of a Spinning Reel?

What Are Spinning Reels?

Spinning reels are only the most commonly used fishing reels in the whole world. They came after spin-cast reels, so they’re a little bit more advanced; yet, still straight to the point and easy to use.

The thing about the spinning reels is that they enjoy a half-open design for their framing, allowing anglers access to the drag system, the spool, and the bail. Everything is in front of you to see, and more importantly, clean! 

Moreover, spinning reels are variable, customizable, available, and affordable, a quadfecta that can’t go unnoticed. What about the parts of the spinning reel? What if one of them is, for any reason, messed up? What exactly won’t be operating in your reel?

Parts of a Spinning Reel

We’ll try to keep this as simple as possible. Hence, we’ll divide the parts of the spinning reel into internal and external.



The housing, frame, cover, all of these are different terms for the body that holds all of the internal and external parts of the reel together. Logically, we can’t stress how important the quality of this body is.

If you’ve a flimsy body, the quality of whatever that’s inside of it won’t really matter, as everything will be exposed to the elements. Plus, if the reel suffers any accidents, it’ll break, spilling everything inside it and simply falling apart.

In general, this body is made either out of metal such as aluminum and stainless steel or composite materials such as graphite.


According to the reel’s design, the spool may be exposed or covered, although the majority of spinning reels have exposed spools. To be honest, a spool is an essential part of the spinning reel.

It holds the line that you’re trying to cast. If it’s not of top-notch quality, you’ll find your line slipping around, creating knots and tangles even before it leaves your possession, which isn’t something any angler wishes to deal with.

Furthermore, you can totally use braided lines with the spinning reel. However, if that is your intention, you’ve to look for a braid-ready spool, as they’ve specific indentations to hold the line better and have it appropriately arranged at all times.

More often than not, the spool is made from the same material as the reel’s body. So, if you‘re a saltwater angler, try to keep to the composite materials, as they’ve a better relationship with saltwater.


The bail really started its journey from .0. The beginnings of the bail were actually a piece of foil that was rolled around and inserted over the spool. 

Now it’s made of metal, and it comes in various designs. Some are automatic, some are manual, while others are semi-automatic, as in you’ve to open them, but they close on their own.

Still, what is the job of the bail? It stands over the spool, regulating the line as it leaves the reel and comes back, preventing it from forming nests and twisting. Plus, it directs the line where you push it to go while casting.

Line Roller

The line roller is an optional addition to spinning reels. Although advanced models all have it, you can go on without it if you’re well-versed in the art of arranging the fishing lines as they go out and come back.

The line roller keeps going over the spool, back-and-forth, making sure that the fishing lines aren’t being collected in one spot or tangling in one way or the other. Plus, if things get so bad, it will let you know that you need to interfere manually.

Drag Adjustment Knob

We’ll speak about the drag system later on, as it’s present inside the reel, so it’s one of the internal components. Nonetheless, if you wish to tailor it, you’re not going to pry open the reel. 

You’ll have a knob or a button hanging outside close to the handle so that you can easily access it and set the drag according to your immediate needs.


The foot of the reel is its connection with the rod. So, if the reel itself is five times strong, the foot has to be ten times stronger because it’s holding two structures together. Furthermore, when you’re purchasing any reel, you’ve to make sure that its foot fits nicely in the hollow place designated for it on your rod. Otherwise, you’ll be risking the integrity of your entire setup.

Handle and Anti-reverse Lever

Last but certainly not least, we’ve the handle of the reel, and this is what lets you do all of your work by operating it. It might seem way too simple, but if the handle is bothering you, you won’t enjoy your fishing experience at all. 

That is why manufacturers are racing to make ergonomic handles that entice fishers to buy them. They’re padded, double padded, and large in size so that you can maneuver them however you wish.

Plus, most handles are ambidextrous nowadays so that you can move them from one side to the other, allowing you to use your dominant hand no matter which one it is. 

With the handle, you’ll find a flap, a button, or a lever at the front that you’ll need a lot of the time. This anti-reverse option prevents the handle from going back once it has hooked on something.

The anti-reverse, along with the drag adjustment, work on keeping the line taut without breaking it. That way, we’re still putting on a fight, but you’re not stressing the line too much or letting it fall limp.


Drag System 

Now it’s time to talk about the drag system and what it’s. Simply, it’s a group of washers that operate at a certain level according to the knob adjustment to increase or release the power you’re using to pull your catch. 

Larger species of fish can effortlessly put on quite the fight. So, if you pull too hard while it’s trying to escape from you, your line might break. Subsequently, you must moderate your line using the drag knob. It needn’t be 100% stiff; no, a little softness will win the race slow and steady.


The gearbox is precisely what the title suggests, a number of gears inter-leasing, allowing you to roll the handle and let the line out or in. Simply, if these gears are flimsy, you’d find yourself replacing the entire reel every now.

Hence, you need gears that are high-quality stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, or even ceramic. The last two options are present in the market today for people who prefer luxurious options.

Ball Bearings 

Ball bearings create smoothness inside of the reel. If they weren’t here, we’d hear everything rattling and crowding against each other inside. 

What ball bearings do is that they allow the gears and other elements to work while still separating them, kind of like the same idea of a Lazy Susan. Nevertheless, that is precisely why they’ve to be of excellent quality.

Just like the gears, we can see steel, aluminum, and even ceramic and titanium ball bearings, which tend to have incredibly long life spans.


As we’ve seen throughout the article, a spinning reel comes with many parts in tow; yet, these parts each carry out an essential job. It’s not way too complicated to understand, while they all operate as a unit. 

You Can Also Check:

What Are the Different Types of Fishing Reels?

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