Open vs Closed Fishing Reel

Last Updated on August 24, 2023

Today, we embark on a journey to explore two of the most common fishing reel types: open-face reels, also known as spinning reels, and closed-face reels, or spin-cast reels.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a curious beginner, this comprehensive comparison will be your compass to navigate the world of open vs. closed fishing reels. We’ll delve into casting ease, accuracy, durability, versatility, and even pricing to ensure you find the perfect reel match for your fishing escapades.

Let’s dive in and unlock the secrets behind these two fishing reel wonders, so you can make the most of your fishing experience like never before!

Understanding Open-Face Fishing Reels

When it comes to versatility and popularity among anglers, open-face fishing reels, also known as spinning reel, reign supreme. These reels are easily recognizable by their open design, where the spool and moving parts are exposed rather than concealed by a spool cover.

Understanding Open-Face Fishing Reels

As you pick up an open-face reel, you’ll notice that the reel is mounted below the rod, and the handle locks to prevent the line from spinning backward and coming off the spool.

One of the distinctive features of open-face reels is their wire bail, which aids in distance casting and line management. The fishing line is stored on the spool, and when you’re ready to cast, closing the bail arm stops the line from uncoiling.

Pros of Open-Face Reels:

  1. Casting Versatility: Once you’ve mastered the casting technique, you can achieve impressive accuracy and casting distances.
  2. Line Capacity: With their open spool design, open-face reels can store more fishing lines, enabling longer casts and better handling of larger fish.
  3. Lightweight and Compact: These reels are generally lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry and comfortable to use during extended fishing sessions.
  4. Better Lure Control: Anglers appreciate open-face reels for their improved lure control during casting, allowing for precise placement and lure presentation.

Cons of Open-Face Reels:

  1. Learning Curve: Using an open-face reel requires some practice and finesse, especially for beginners. Controlling the line with your finger during casting takes time to master.
  2. Backlash Potential: Backlash, or the infamous “bird’s nest,” can occur when using open-face reels, particularly when casting into the wind or with lighter lures. While it’s fixable, it can be frustrating for novice anglers.
  3. Not Ideal for Beginners: While open-face reels offer great performance, they might not be the best choice for absolute beginners due to the initial learning curve.

Unveiling Closed Face Fishing Reels

Closed face fishing reels, also known as spin cast reels, offer a straightforward, user-friendly design that caters to anglers of all experience levels.

Unlike open face reels, the closed face models have an enclosed spool, housed within the nose cone of the reel, with a hole that allows the fishing line to pass through during casting.

One of the notable differences between closed face and open face reels is the placement of the reel.

Closed Face Fishing Reels

Closed face reels are often popular for beginners and children due to their simplicity and ease of use. Their intuitive casting mechanism makes them accessible to anyone, making them an excellent entry point for aspiring anglers.

Casting with Closed Face Reels:

The beauty of closed face reels lies in their effortless casting process. Using a spincast reel involves pressing a button that releases the fishing line, eliminating the need for manual line control with your finger during casting.

Suitable User Groups for Closed Face Reels:

  1. Beginners: The user-friendly casting mechanism eliminates the learning curve associated with open face reels, allowing newcomers to focus on enjoying the fishing experience.
  2. Children: The simplicity of casting with a spincast reel makes fishing more enjoyable and less frustrating for children, fostering a positive fishing experience from an early age.
  3. Casual Anglers: Anglers who fish occasionally or as a leisure activity often find closed face reels a practical option. The ease of use and affordability make them a convenient choice for recreational fishing trips.
  4. Fishing with Light Lures: Closed face reels work well with light lures and baits, making them suitable for fishing in scenarios where precision casting is not the primary concern.

Open vs. Closed Face Fishing Reels – Head-to-Head Comparison

Ease of Casting: Closed face reels, with their simple push-button casting mechanism, offer unparalleled ease of use.

On the other hand, open face reels require a bit more finesse in line control during casting, making them better suited for intermediate and experienced anglers.

Maximum Casting Distances: Open face reels take the lead in this category. Their open design allows for more line capacity on the spool, enabling anglers to cast over greater distances.

The ability to store more line on the spool is a crucial advantage for targeting bigger fish in various fishing environments.

Accuracy Showdown

Precision and Control: Open face reels shine when it comes to precision and control. Once anglers master the technique, spinning reels allow for a higher degree of accuracy in casting.

While novice anglers may require some practice, intermediate and advanced fishers can achieve excellent accuracy with open face reels, making them a preferred choice for anglers who prioritize accuracy in their fishing endeavors.

Addressing the Backlash Dilemma

Understanding Backlash: Backlash, also known as “bird’s nest,” is a common issue anglers face when the spool keeps moving after casting, resulting in a tangled fishing line.

While backlash typically occurs more in baitcasting reels, it can also happen with open face spinning reels, especially during windy conditions or when using a lure that’s too light.

Handling Backlash: Backlash is generally easier to encounter when using an open face reel. However, with practice and refining casting techniques, anglers can minimize the occurrence of backlash.

Avoiding overloading the spool with excessive line and improving casting skills can help prevent bird nests from ruining the fishing experience.

On the other hand, closed face models, particularly spincast reels, are less prone to backlash. However, users may encounter knots and tangles within the spool housing, which can be addressed with careful handling and maintenance.

Versatility Assessment

Adaptability and Performance: In terms of versatility, open face fishing reels have the upper hand. The ability to store more line on the spool allows them to adapt to various fishing scenarios, making them suitable for a wide range of fishing techniques and locations.

On the contrary, closed face reels, due to their smaller spools and limited line capacity, are better suited for specific fishing scenarios and smaller fish species.

Which type of fishing reel is most accurate?

Baitcasting Reel. The bait caster is the most sophisticated sort of fishing reel. This reel is frequently used by seasoned fishermen and fishing pros since it is unrivaled in terms of power and precision.

Price Considerations

Cost-Effectiveness: Closed face reels, especially spincast models, are typically more budget-friendly. Their simpler construction and smaller size contribute to their lower price range.

This affordability makes them an attractive option for beginners and occasional anglers. On the other hand, open face reels may come with a higher price tag, but their enhanced performance, durability, and versatility justify the extra cost for anglers seeking long-term value and exceptional fishing experiences.


Both open face and closed face reels offer unique benefits that cater to different fishing styles and preferences. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and the ideal choice varies from angler to angler. The key lies in recognizing what suits your fishing style best and aligns with your fishing goals.

In the end, the fishing reel you choose should be a reflection of your angling spirit. So, equip yourself with the reel that resonates with your heart, and embark on a fishing journey filled with excitement, exploration, and the thrill of landing the perfect catch. Happy fishing!

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