Best Open Face Reels

A reel is a fishing tool that is used to cast and retrieve. It can be made of metal or plastic and typically consist of a line on a spool with a handle, used to “cast” the line, and a mechanism such as a clicker device, crank or ratchet to “retrieve” the line. An open-face reel features a frame that is visible throughout use and offers improved feedback and control while reeling in compared to using a closed-face reel. 

An open-faced reel is one of the most common types of fishing reels and is also known as the spinning reel. The spool is open, and the moving parts are exposed. The line is stored on the spool, then when you cast the line, the bail closes and stops uncoiling. 

Beginning anglers favor an open reel fishing rod setup because it’s easy to learn yet has plenty of advancement. If you’re new to fishing, you will learn more about open-face reels, some helpful tips on using them like a pro, and things to consider in getting the best one. 

Tips on How to Use an Open Face Reel

 Here are some helpful tips on how to use them like a pro.

Choose your size

You’ll want to choose a reel that fits your needs. There are many different sizes available, from small to large. Small reels are suitable for beginners who don’t have much experience casting. Large reels are great for experienced anglers who need more capacity.

Know what type of bait you plan on using

Bait choice depends on the fish you hope to catch. Some baits work better than others, depending on the species. For example, minnows work well with bass but not trout.

Properly load the bait

Drag the line through the center hole until the hook is set to load the bait into the reel. Then release the tension by pulling back on the line.

Manually close the bail

You pull the bail back until it clicks into place. This prevents unwanted twists and tangles in the line and protects your reel from damages. 

Look for an Anti-Reverse Handle

This is to prevent the handle from spinning in a backward direction. Having an anti-reserve handle makes the hook sets accurate and powerful!

Keep the line tight

Tighten the line, so it doesn’t get tangled up. You may even want to tie a knot at the end of the line. Also, it’s essential to use the right amount of line. As you start, use only enough lines to cover the entire length of the reel’s spool. As you become more comfortable with the equipment, you can increase the amount of line you use.

Practice and be patient

Before heading out for the day, practice casting, this way, you won’t waste time figuring out which direction the line should go. Learning how to cast takes time. As you gain experience, you’ll become a master caster.

Our Top Recommendations for the Best Open Face Reels

To further help you choose the best open face reel, we have compiled our top recommendations, each with different features that may best suit your specific needs:

1. Penn Battle II & III

Penn Battle Spinning Fishing Reel

If your aim is to catch big saltwater fish, then this spinning reel works best for you. With its high range and durable material, you can expect this spinning reel to endure fish of different weights. Its body, side plate, and rotor are all full metal and its bail wire is made out of aluminum to give you remarkable durability. Because of its HT 100 carbon fiber drag system, you can expect a powerful drag while still maintaining smoothness in casting.

Also, there is no need to worry about fluid cranking, as this spinning reel has five sealed ball bearings made of stainless steel and an instant anti-reverse bearing. What’s even greater about this spinning reel is that its spool needs no backing, aside from its braid being ready and its line capacity rings that could range from 1/3 to full capacity.


  • Gearing is useful for fast retrieval
  • Good for catching big fish
  • Exceptional Retrieval


  • There can be too much heavy grease

2. Shimano Sedona Fl

Shimano Sedona Fi Spinning Reel

Even with its low price, you can get everything you generally need for a spinning reel. By incorporating its flagship HAGANE gearing, this spinning reel boasts its durability, strength, and long-lasting performance. It’s so flexible and can be used in both inshore and offshore fishing. Its spools are specially designed to have an increased line capacity and at the same time, maintain a compact body.

It is also designed to allow fishers to cast longer while trying to prevent the formation of bird nests, backlashes, and wind knots. This has a maximum drag power of 7 pounds and a gear ratio of 5.0:1.


  • Allows long-distance casting
  • Increased line capacity
  • Remarkable drag power


  • May be difficult to reel when it gets extremely wet

3. Okuma Inspira

Okuma Inspira Carbon Frame Lightweight Spinning Reel

What’s exceptional about this spinning reel is its lightweight characteristic. Its long-lasting performance is ensured by its carbon fiber construction, and its rigid rear yoke that helps reduce twists and flex. Its drag power could reach up to 13 lbs while still maintaining smooth casting. You don’t need to worry when this spinning reel gets wet as it provides a mechanism through strong airflow to minimize water corrosion and intrusion.

Its carbon fiber framing makes your fishing worthwhile as it is stronger than graphite reel frames but is lighter, making it easy to handle. To maintain the stability of the fishing reel, it features a centrifugal disc bail that is perfectly balanced and weighted.


  • Can minimize water intrusion
  • Fiber framing makes the fishing reel lighter
  • Maintains alignment of internal parts in the long term


  • Might not be best for catching heavy-weight fish

4. Pflueger President

Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel

One of the highlights of this fishing reel is its corrosion-resistant 7 bearing system. The stainless steel ball bearings inside make sure that the spinning wheel is durable and could last longer. To make it lightweight, it features a body and rotor made of graphite, with a braid that can directly be tied to the spool. Because of its sealed drag system, you can make sure that this reel is always lubricated and maintains a smooth operation.

This fishing reel also decreases line twists because of its slow oscillation gearing.


  • Prevents line twists
  • 7 bearing system prevents corrosion
  • Ultra-light reel for comfortable use


  • Not suitable for big fish

5. Daiwa BG

Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

Like the previous fishing reels, this product is braided line-ready, so you do not need to worry about the hassle. Additionally, its waterproof drag system makes it durable and long-lasting. Because it is made out of aluminum housing, this spinning reel does not only look elegant but can also be used over time without breaking. It has an infinite anti-reverse and an infinite dual anti-reverse system depending on the size of your choice.

Only weighing 8.5 oz, this is good for those who are just starting to fish. For its affordable price, it’s already very sufficient for your basic fishing needs.


  • Reel is lightweight yet solid
  • Very affordable and exceptional drag system
  • Braided line-ready, infinite anti-reverse system


  • Bail roller may corrode easily

Things to Consider in Choosing the Best Open Face Reel

You have to be a smart buyer in choosing the best open face reel. Before heading to your nearest shops or checking on online stores, read this buying guide first as we listed down the certain things that you should consider before buying your very own open face reel.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio describes the number of times the ball rotates around the spool. It is considered a vital feature for a good open face reel, for the greater the gear ratio means faster-retrieving speed.

An open face reel with a 4:1 gear ratio has a slow-speed retrieve, while a 6:1 gear ratio is considered fast. Selecting a spinning reel with a high, low, or medium retrieve speed depends on your preferred style of fishing, but for a good all-around spinning reel, you may choose a model with a 5:1 gear ratio.

Ball Bearings

Apart from the gear ratio, consider the number of ball bearings for your open face reel. Keep in mind that the smoothness of the retrieve also depends on the number of ball bearings your spinning reel has.

A minimum of five ball bearings is an ideal number for the best open face reel, already giving you a lot of smoothness for only an affordable price.

You may decide to purchase an open face reel with more ball bearings, but many fishing enthusiasts have attested that they cannot find a huge difference between five bearings and have even more.

Anti-Reverse Handle

In looking for the best open face reel in the market, checking for an anti-reverse handle is necessary. Its primary purpose is to prevent the handle from spinning in a backward direction. Having an anti-reserve handle makes the hook sets accurate and powerful!

And while we are discussing handles, you should consider looking for a comfortable handle that allows a firmer grip.

Reel Material and Weight

Most of the open face reels out there can be made from either aluminum or graphite, giving longer durability and strength under pressure. 

Take note, however, that open face reels made from aluminum are heavier compared to relatively lighter graphite. It is important to consider the weight of the equipment, especially when you are spending plenty of time fishing, because the heavier the spinning reel, the more chance it could cause strain on the wrist and forearm of the angler.

Drag System

If you also want to have greater success in your next fishing trip and reduce the risk of broken lines on your open face reel, you must ensure having a smooth, high-quality, non-constrictive drag in your open face reel. 

The drag system of an open face reel basically points to where the location of the drag controls. There are two types of drag systems available: front-drag and rear-drag systems, one that offers increased durability and performance and one that is easier to access.

Spools on an Open Face Reel

Spools serve an important role in holding the line and the casting distance during fishing. Best look for a “long cast” feature of an open face reel’s spool as it allows for less line friction and increases the casting distance for an angler, covering a huge area of fishable water. 

There are plenty of open face reels under $100 with a good spool made from aluminum, not graphite which would often crack.

Line Spool

Please do not buy a cheaper open face reel with shims for it could cause changes in the orientation of the spool. When you load them on the open face reel, fishing lines should lie flat and level with no humps. Casting with a level line is important to increase the distance as it leaves smoothly without being snagged.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re just beginning or not, your fishing reel plays a huge role in your fishing activity. It is then very important to choose the fishing reel that fits your needs and could best aid you in fishing. An exceptional open face reel, however, does not always mean the expensive one. There are a lot of spinning reels that do not cost a lot but work just as well. 

Leave a Comment