Parts of a Spinning Reel Explained!

Precisely the parts of a spinning reel include its Frame or body which is embedded with a spool, drag knobs, reel foot, bail arm, and line roller. The handles are to control plus there is an anti-reverse switch that happens to be the most unique aspect of the spinning reel. As a beginner or someone with no idea how these components are even pronounced, let alone work, we are here to help.

Spinning reel parts

Below we have explained the entire spinning reel parts with their functions and locations. We are quite assured that the guide will definitely help you get an edge in understanding spinning reels to cast better and live your dream fishing life like a Roland Martin!

External Parts of a Spinning Reel


What you see as the outer part of the reel is its body or the frame. The frame covers all the components of the reel and is consist of three main parts;

  1. Gear housing
  2. Reel foot
  3. Support arm

Sometimes, there are more parts that come under the frame, as what the manufacturer like but all of it is constructed on the outside of the reel.

You may have your reel constructed from one of the four materials;

  1. Aluminum
  2. Magnesium
  3. Graphite
  4. Plastic

Aluminum reels are sturdy and friendly for saltwater, however, they can be a bit weighty sometimes. Upgrade to these reels are magnesium ones, that are lightweight but extremely expensive. Graphite is a good option for freshwater. Besides plastic are least sturdy among all.


The part where you’ll see the fishing line reeled is called the “spool”. It is responsible for line holding and its management. Suppose, the spool is sturdy and has friction control, the line will flow smoothly and work without breakage.

Though spool comes in various sizes from small to large so you also have to consider the reel for its spool size as it’ll define how much you can spool that will ultimately tell you about how much distance you are going to cover for a cast.  

Spinning reel Spool


Handles are crucial as these help you “handle” the reel. Unlike baitcasting reels, spinning reels are composed of a single handle and it is replaced either left or right depending on which hand you hold the rod.

The spinning reel handle is either in a T-shape or round plus there are rubber knobs on the handle that keeps your hand non-slippery on the reel. The material can be either graphite or aluminum (aluminum is more rigid as explained above while the graphite can bless you with a lightweight). 

Spinning reel handle knob

Well, the main function of a handle is to retrieve back the line when you are done with your cast. However, an anti-reverse switch works alongside it as we have explained below. 

Anti-Reverse Switch:

Anti-Reverse Switch

There’s a special on-off switch on a spinning reel called the anti-reverse switch. It is located at the bottom of the reel and prevents the line from reeling backward. Though, this is the switch that helps you keep the hook set sturdy under the water as it works with the drags as well. 

Speaking of that here’s another function of the anti-reverse switch and this is back reeling. Meaning that you won’t be in a need of drag unless you are retrieving a big game fish. 

Drag Adjustment:

As you go for a slightly heavier game fish, you’ll need drag pressure to land that on your boat. Now, what are drags? Look out on the reel and you’ll see a knob near the handles. That’s exactly the drags. Plus, they have more internal components, for example, the type of drags, their sealing, and holding power. 

However, the knobs on the outside help you adjust the drag as to how much pressure, you’ll need to retrieve a certain type of. The drag settings are crucial and one must have proper knowledge of how to set the drags on the reel. 

Reel Drag Adjustment

Bail Arm:

A bail arm is a bail wire or a thin metal that is connected to the rotor. It is situated over the spool and allows the line to flow through the spool and similarly, stops it when you close the bail. Have you ever wondered why the spinning reels don’t backlash?

Well, it’s the bail arm that takes the responsibility for that. The lien cannot freely move from the spool and thus, you don’t have to use your thumb which furthermore ensures an easier and non-frustrating cast

Spinning Reel Bail Arm

Line Roller:

Just at the end of the bail arm, there is a round component called the line roller. It is the part that helps in reducing the friction and line twists when the line flows through the bail arm.

Line Roller

Reel Foot:

The reel foot is the bottom part of a spinning reel with which you attach the reel to the rod. Though, the reel foot comes under the frame and thus, it is made up of the same material. Typically, it is rectangular in shape, however, you should always buy the rod that complements the size of your reel foot to get it installed perfectly.

Internal Parts Of Spinning Reel:

Apart from the components from the outside, there is a lot of mechanism and use of technologies that are there in the spinning reel. The two most important parts are the gears and ball bearings that are housed in the Gearbox. 

Gear Box:

Gearbox consists of gears made up of metals i.e aluminum, brass, or steel. These are the gears that are responsible for the reel performance, as it keeps the function running so the better the gears, the smoother will your reel perform.

One more thing that gear does is work out a ratio that defines the speed of the reel. It normally ranges between 4.1:1 – 7.5:1 which tells how many times the spool will rotate according to that ratio.

Other than that, ball bearings in spinning reels work alongside the gears by reducing the friction in a reel making the internal rotation work finely.

Wrap up:

That is pretty much everything about the parts of a spinning reel and we can sense your brain cells having a better understanding of spinning reels parts and their working. Though, a correct guide about what exactly are the components on your gear and how they work can definitely give you buckets of your favorite fish with ease and fun. It’ll also help you narrow down what type of spinning reel you want.

Clinton Shannon

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