Man invented the fishing hook during the Stone Age, during a span that started 650,000 years ago and ended about 800 B.C. The fishing reel, by contrast, is a relative baby. Angling historians have long been frustrated in trying to trace the history of the fishing reel. It wasn't until 1651 that the fishing reel was mentioned in the West, in "The Art of Angling" written by Thomas Barker. "The Art of Angling" reported a "wind", installed within two feet of the lower end of the rod. This is usually accepted as the earliest known reference to a reel. However, there are examples of Oriental paintings that depict Chinese fishermen using reels of various sizes that date to the twelfth century. One of these paintings, c1195, illustrated the earliest known depiction of a reel.

Until the 1800's the reel was little more than a storage place for excess line. However in the 19th century we had rapid development of the multiplying reel. The British, probably justifiably, claim to be the originators of the multiplying reel, but the reels of George Snyder, of Paris, Kentucky, have become the most famous 19th century multipliers. Snyder's reels were developed in the 1820s, and became the origin of the "Kentucky Reels".

During the middle of the 19th century multiplying reels were also developing into a style of their own in New York City. The "New York" reel was usually a ball handled multiplier made of brass or nickel silver. Famous makers of this style of reel were the vom Hofes, Conroy, Krider, Shipley, Malleson, Crook and many others. Whereas the Kentucky reels were handmade by one person, the reelsmiths of New York, Newark, NJ and Philadelphia mass produced quality products in a factory.

Multipliers were not the only reels being developed to a high art by American craftsmen at this time. We had wonderful inventions and improvements by Orvis, Leonard, the vom Hofes, Hendryx, Malleson and others. In the late 1800s there were developments in reels used for Tarpon and other big game fish. Many new companies sprung up and flourished for a period only to disappear as the tastes of American anglers changed.


Baitcasting is a method of fishing distinguished by the use of a revolving-spool reel. Originally intended by its 19th-century creators as a means of casting live baitfish, baitcasting tackle today is used to present all sorts of offerings- from worms and minnows to spoons and huge jointed plugs- to gamefish in both fresh and salt water. this method is also known as plugcasting.

Before the advent of spinning gear, baitcasting was the universally accepted tackle for presenting bait or lure. Even today many anglers, especially those who grew up with a baitcasting outfit in their hands, prefer this method, even though the revolving-spool reel is more difficult to use than fixed-spook spinning and spincasting reels.

Spinning Reel
Spinning became popular in America in the late 1940s. It is unique because the reel is mounted on the underside of the rod rather than on top, as in other methods, and because the reel spool remains stationary (does not revolve) when the angler is casting and retrieving.

In operation, the weight and momentum of the lure being cast uncoils the line (usually monofilament) from the reel spool. Unlike conventional revolving-spool reels, in which the momentum of the turning spool can cause backlashes, the spinning-reel user has no such problem, for the line stops uncoiling at the end of the cast. The beginner can learn to use spinning gear much faster than he can master conventional tackle. Still another advantage of spinning gear is that it permits the use of much lighter lines and smaller, lighter lures than can be cast with conventional equipment.

All reels have the same function, holding line with the ability to retrieve it. When selecting a reel you should pick the reel you feel most comfortable with and one that suits your type of fishing.
Some thought before and after the sale will save headaches on the water.
  • Select the size reel you'll need for the type of fishing you'll be doing the most.
  • Use the correct pound test line to work in concert with the selected reel. This should be designated on the reel box.
  • Check the drag setting carefully. It should adjust easily while still keeping the appropriate pressure on the fish while not breaking the line.
  • Check the retrieve ratio. A high gear ratio lets more line be pulled in with each turn of the handle. Lower ratios are preferred for some types of fishing, such as deep diving or "crankbait" fishing, to achieve the utmost lure action.


Run line through the line guides and the level-wind device on the reel. Attach the line to the reel using the Arbor Knot. To prepare for feeding line onto the reel, attach the spool to a commercial line-winding device or hang the spool vertically on a nail.

Fishing Reel & Fishing Line Tips Black Lake, NY Your Fishing Location for Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Perch, & Crappie. Black Lake is a Freshwater Fishermans Paradise located in Upstate, New YorkIf you have a helper, insert a pencil through the hole in the center of the line spool and have your helper hold the pencil so as the line comes off the top of the line spool and onto the reel. Your helper can create line tension and thereby ensure smooth, tight wraps by using his/her hands to put very light pressure on the sides of the line spool while you are turning the reel handle.

Your helper should not, however, put heavy pressure on the side of the spool as this could later damage the reel when the line expands causing additional pressure on the reel.

Adequate tension can also be obtained when winding the reel by first placing the line lengthwise in the center of a large book, with the rod and reel on one side and the line spool on the other. You can also add tension by squeezing the line between your thumb and forefinger as you wind the reel.
For best castability, wind line to within 1/8" of the reel spool's lip. Also, when winding the line, cant the reel slightly to the left when line is on the left side of the line spool and slightly to the right when it's on the right side. Otherwise hold the reel level. Such positioning ensures that the line will not stack on either side or create a bulge in the middle of the spool.


Since the reel spool does not rotate on these types of reels, the line spool should not turn either. Lay the line spool flat on the floor with the label side pointing up. Uncoil line from the line spool and run it through the rod guides and tie it with an Arbor Knot {see Fishing Knots}.Fishing Reel & Fishing Line Tips Black Lake, NY Your Fishing Location for Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Perch, & Crappie. Black Lake is a Freshwater Fishermans Paradise located in Upstate, New York Add slight tension to the line with the thumb and for finger as you wind it onto the reel. {Or run the line through a book as described under Baitcasting Reels above.}

After 10 or 15 turns of the reel handle, lower the rod tip to give slack to the line. If the line lays in relative neat coils, continue filling the reel. If it twists or knots, turn the line spool over and wind line on the reel. Fill reel to within 1/8" of its spool lip. Given their preferences, most fishermen would rather be putting fish in the livewell than coming back with another story about "the one that got away."

At the heart of many of those stories is a fishing line that breaks unexpectedly in the middle of the fight. By taking the time to follow a few simple steps, you can put more fish into the livewell instead of telling stories about "the one that got away".
  • Store line in a dry, dark place under moderate temperatures where it won't be in direct sunlight. Sunlight and battery acid are about the only things that can damage monofilament or cofilament line. Exposure to gas, oil, insect repellent, sunscreen lotion, rust inhibitors and detergents may cause the line to smell.

  • Do not expose line to harsh chemicals, such as gasoline, etc.

  • When reeling in a fish, try not to drag the line against a rock, jetty or the side of the boat or dock. Scraping and rubbing line will put nicks and abrasions on the line.

  • Continually check your line, especially when fishing heavy cover or catching fish. The easiest way is to run the last foot or so of line between your thumb and forefinger before you drop the hook in the water and then every 10 to 15 minutes as you're reeling in. Sections of line with nicks or abrasions should be cut off and the lure retied.

  • Check the rod to make certain the line guides are smooth. Use a cotton swab on them and if you see any snags, file away the rough edges.

  • When line becomes stretched, it is weakened. So when you get snagged on the bottom and have to stretch the line to get it loose, it is a good idea to cut off all the line from the lure to the spool.

  • If a knot forms in your line, clip off the line on the reel side and discard.

  • It is recommended that anglers who fish only a few times a year change their line at least twice, once preferably before the start of the season and then around mid-summer. Anglers who fish regularly are better advised to change their line every few weeks.

  • Buy line in bulk spools to avoid wasted excess line left on filler spools.

  • Properly dispose of old line. DO NOT throw it in the water or on the shore. DO NOT let it lay loose in the boat as it may blow out while you are underway. Most bait & tackle stores will take old line for recycling.

By following these simple tips you will put more fish into the livewell and telling less stories of "the one that got away".

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