Baitcasting reels, often referred to as conventional reels, are great for providing anglers the most direct connection to the fish. The line comes straight off the spool of your baitcasting reel and enters the guides on your fishing rod without twisting your line the way spinning reels do.
Baitcasting reels have a series of gears that multiply the effect of each turn of the handle. The Shimano Calcutta's gear ratio of 5 to 1 makes the line spool spin five times every time you turn the handle.
The freespool feature of baitcasting reels is similar to neutral on a transmission. Freespool allows the reel to spin freely in reverse when casting. To put the reel back in gear, simply turn the handle.
The anti-reverse system prevents the reel handle from spinning backward when it's in gear. Without anti-reverse, your knuckles would get smashed when you connect with a big fish.
Think of your drag system as the brake for your reel. Without a drag system, your line would brake if a fish pulled to hard on it. The drag system allows the line spool of your baitcasting reel to turn backward under pressure. You determine the amount of pressure required to take line from the reel.
Without a levelwind, anglers use the thumb of the rod hand to lay a line on the spool. If too much line piles up on either side, the spool jams against the reel frame. The levelwind is a guide for your line that slowly moves back and forth, distributing your line evenly as it is retrieved.
Article Written By Stephen Byrne
Stephen Byrne is a freelance writer with published articles in "Nor'East Saltwater," "Sportfishing" magazine, "Pacific Coast Sportfishing" and "Salt Water Sportsman." As a fishing charter captain, he was also interviewed for a feature in "Field and Stream." Byrne studied environmental science at the State University of New York at Delhi.