Bail and Spool
The spinning reel has what anglers refer to as a "bail," which goes around the reel gathering line around the spool as you turn the handle. The handle turns a "skirted spool," to which the bail attaches. The bail is a thin but sturdy wire-like device that you can flip to an open and closed position, depending on whether you wish to cast out your line or reel it in. When you flip the bail down, or close it, you gather line as you reel; flipping it up lets the line come off the reel unhindered. The arbor holds the fishing line and in most modern reels is either from graphite or from anodized aluminum. The arbor fits inside the skirted spool on the reel and as the bail spins about, it winds the fishing line around it.
Mechanical Reel Features
The drag system on a spinning reel involves a set of washers. The drag is on the top of the reel or on the bottom and allows you to let line out slowly to a fighting fish so that your line does not snap under the strain. The anti-reverse mechanism stops the reel from turning backward, which comes in handy when you go to set the hook in a biting fish, allowing no backward play that would give the fish a chance to avoid your hookset. The gear housing contains the gears that cause the spinning reel to turn. Reels come with varied gear ratios, which tell you how many times the bail spins for each turn of the handle. For example, a ratio of 4 to 1 means that when you turn your handle, the bail goes around the spool four times.
Starting at the bottom of a fishing rod you will see a handle, where you hold the rod. The handle is often cork, cork tape or made from composition cork. The reel seat is where the spinning reel attaches to the rod. The "foot" of a spinning reel fits into a slot on the handle of the rod, where you can typically secure it by turning a set of grooved rings to hold it in place. The shaft of the rod, typically graphite or fiberglass, extends the rest of the length of the fishing pole. The shaft will be thicker toward the handle end and taper off as you go up. On it are a series of rod guides, circular metal loops that are larger the farther down you go on the rod. Their function is to keep the fishing line away from the rod and to allow the line to come off the reel and down the length of the pole.