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Choosing the right carp reel

Choosing the right carp reel

There are so many different Carp Reels out there to choose from it can make selecting the right reel for you very difficult. You have Large and small Bait Runner Reels to Compact and Big Pits reel, and the price of some can break the bank, so which do you choose?

Does the price really matter?

Let's get a couple of things straight from the start. You don’t need to break the bank to get a very good reel. Also, just because someone has spent £600 on one reel and you’ve spent £150 on three reels, there won't really do much more than yours. Just think about it, you can go and spend a lot of money on Shimano Aero Technium Magnesium Reels and still blank, and you can spend £65.00 on a Daiwa Black Widow 500A reel and catch the biggest carp in the UK with it because, at the end of the day, they are fishing reels designed to do exactly the same thing, reel in a fish!

I understand that if you spend a lot of money on a reel, you are paying for higher quality parts inside the reel, also lighter materials that it is made from but would you really know and benefit from it? The main problem is that carp fishing has become more of a fashion with people wanting to buy the most expensive gear you can to look good on the bank and they seem to be happy if they don’t catch because they look good. Here’s one for you, I took my eldest son fishing in France a few years ago and he was fishing with Nash Pursuit 12ft rods and Shimano 10000 ST Bait Runners. I was using Free Spirit Hi’s I’ve 13ft and Shimano Black Mag reels. My first fish was 35lb his first fish was a massive 54lb. He played it like a pro and his reels more than coped so just because you don’t pay the earth for your reels doesn't mean they aren’t good enough.

What to look for in a Carp Fishing Reel?

When looking for a reel for carp fishing, think of what YOU want it to do and where you are mostly going to use it. It’s no good buying a small bait runner reel hoping to cast to the moon on a vast gravel pit. Just like it’s pointless buying a huge big pit reel if you mainly fish on small pools or canals. Just like when I had a customer come in and say he needed more powerful Carp rods because he couldn't cast across to the other side of a lake he was fishing. There was no fishing on the opposite side and a lot of the carp would hold up over there. It was about 90-100 yards, but he kept falling short with his cast. I asked him what reel he was using, and he said he was using a 6000 bait runner reel. I suggested he got bigger reels and not more powerful rods. I lent him a reel to try; it was a Daiwa Emblem Big Pit reel and within an hour, he was back buying three of them because he could now cast on to the field over the other side of the lake as he found out on his first cast.

If you are mainly fishing bigger waters where you are needing to cast further to find the fish, then a big pit reel or big pit bait runner reel would make it easier than a smaller spooled reel. This is mainly due to the diameter of the spool and the line being able to flow off it better with a larger spool. If you use a smaller narrow spool, say like on the Daiwa Black Widow 4000 free spool reel, when the line is reeled on it will compact in on itself especially if you’ve caught fish and the line has gone back on under pressure. The line can get compacted and when you cast it won't be as smooth and free. Also all the reeling in from distance can be time consuming and a pain winding a small handle compared to cranking around a larger handle. The retrieve rate on a lot of big pit reels is around; one full turn of the handle will wind in about one meter of line.
On the other hand, if you are fishing intricate waters, small to large pools, canals and rivers where you don’t need the distance or you're not reeling in yards and yards of line the smaller bait runner and compact pit reels are ideal. Just because they are smaller doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of landing your quarry. I’ve caught some very big fish on smaller reels and with all reels it’s how you use them that's the key.

Another point when choosing a reel, don’t go for an unknown brand and do your research because some shops may sell three reels for a tenner or twenty quid and I’ve heard of horror stories of people buying these type of reels, getting a screaming run and the reel has ceased up and rod, reel, pod and alarms have all ended up in the pool! Also forums can be a great place but also they can be full of people who haven’t a clue about the product and will slate it just because it doesn't cost the earth or they don’t like the manufacturer that makes them so be prepared to read between the lines. To start you won’t go to wrong with a Daiwa or Shimano reel as this is the main thing they do, make fishing reels and very good ones at that. Also look at your named brands like Nash, Fox, Avid and there’s lots of other companies out there but stick to the well known brands with a team of carp anglers behind them using and testing their products as some of the smaller companies may just be buying the real cheap reels and making a quick profit on them and when the reel lets you down it’s never their fault. Also ask what the companies are like for spare parts because a lot of the reel you buy are classed as just a disposable product and they won’t have any spares, but companies that make them like Shimano and Daiwa will be able to help.

So how much should you spend on a reel? 

Well, my opinion would be to buy wisely and to spend only what you can afford but don’t buy cheaply. Only buy the reel you know would suit you the best for the size of your rod you are using and the waters you will be fishing. Don’t worry what everyone else is using because it only matters to you but just remember if you do choose a company that makes the reels like Shimano and Daiwa you should always be able to get them fixed ( at a cost) if the break down out of warranty and this could be far cheaper than buying a new reel or set of reels.

Check out our full range of carp reels, or shop our carp reel sale to grab a great deal!


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