All At Sea – Then Let This Teach About How To Choose The Best Spinning Reel


So there I was fresh back from an overseas assignment in Southeast Asia, moved back to the coast and wanting to get some fishing in which didn’t involve acres of Mangrove swamp or spending the weekend watching screaming kids explore the ‘pristine’ sands of the ‘island paradise’ resorts.

Fishing with Spinning ReelJust some nice, simple fishing with my 10 year old daughter. Something light on the seashore – maybe a spinning rod – nothing fancy – able to cast a lure or bait just about far enough to excite the interest of some small predators beyond the breakers where I was absolutely certain of a channel.

After 20+ years of fly fishing and deep water grinding I was fairly confident I could pick up a nice all in one kit for both my daughter and myself which would allow us a morning casting and maybe a couple of hookups.

Off to the seaside tackle and hobby shop.


Needless to say I was aghast at the quality of the tackle (although it may have been because my accent was slightly altered by my time overseas – ‘mate’, an Australian colloquialism had become part of my daily speech) I was told in no uncertain terms that they had just what I was after.

A bright pink fiberglass rod for my daughter and a matching one in green for me, both with Chinese spinning gear made (it seemed to me) of plastic.


I asked for a quick test cast. Although the owner was a bit reluctant he obviously didn’t want to deal with someone who apparently wrestled Kangaroo before breakfast and agreed.

The result – a broken rod and a reel which had literally burst apart at the first attempt to get the line back. With a laugh I left his establishment and removed myself and my daughter to a proper fishing establishment.


So if you’re in the market for a spinning rod and reel for use in the surf here are some hints:

#1 Plastic Is Not Fantastic.

Examine your reel carefully, especially screws and fastenings. If these are plastic ditch it. Under any stress they will break. Go for stainless steel.

#2 Look Under The Hood.

Ask if you can take the reel apart look at the finishing – once again any plastic parts are going to perish and break. Although stainless steel also takes a hammering in the salt with good care it can last for decades – plastic doesn’t.

#3 Take A look At The Drag.

As a beginner you won’t be fighting huge and powerful fish – but drag is still important. The drag adjustment should be smooth – and once again – choose stainless steel over plastic.

#4 The Body.

There are a number of spinning reels that boast an alloy body ALWAYS choose these over other products and look for the guarantee. If the product has a lifetime guarantee you’re on to a winner.

You need not spend a fortune on your spinning reel – but make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. Ask around prior to buying. Regular fisher folk will always have the best advice.