What is a Conventional Reel Used For ( And Are they Hard to Use)

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A conventional reel is a must-have for every angler. Whether you are surfing, trolling, bottom fishing, or jigging, you can be assured of the impeccable performance of these reel. Additionally, you will be confident to deal with the largest species due to their powerful drag.

Most people are more accustomed to using baitcasting reels and spinning reels. For anyone who has not used a conventional reel before, this article will help you decide how to use it.

Conventional Reel for Surf Fishing

Surf fishing involves catching fish while standing on the shoreline or wading into the surf. For this technique, you need to have the right gear. Your main worry should be consistent casting and accuracy. For years, conventional reels have been surf casters’ favorite reels because they cast far and also due to their ability to hold more lines. However, you need an educated thumb to feel the tension on the spool as it revolves to avoid backlash and bird nests. Beginners might have a hard time with conventional reels. but don’t worry, after a few fishing trips, you will be handling big fish like big stripers and sharks.

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Conventional Reel for Trolling

While trolling, you are not limited to any gear. However, to ensure maximum success, I would recommend using conventional gear. Conventional reels are powerful, have a strong drag, and hold more lines than other reels making them the perfect reel for trolling. If you are trolling in freshwaters, you can consider using smaller conventional reels, and if you are eying the biggest catch, conventional saltwater reels will get the work done. Additionally, conventional reels outdo themselves in trolling. Most of them come with two speeds, so you can use fast-speed retrieval when dealing with fast-moving fish. Alternatively, you can use the low gear setting where high torque is required.

Conventional Reels for Bottom Fishing

Bottom fishing is one of the most recommended techniques when eying saltwater species like halibut, flounder, red snapper, or groupers. However, you cannot get the bait deep down and pull back your fish with the wrong tackle. When bottom fishing, conventional reels will not disappoint. Firstly, they hold plenty of line, letting you fish deep wrecks and reefs. In this technique, you will encounter the biggest species in the deep reefs, so; there is no better reel than the conventional reel. Better yet, the two speeds make it easy to deal with different species; you will not be limited to the high-speed retrieval or slow-speed retrieval species.

Conventional Reel for Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing can sometimes prove futile due to the instability of the kayaks. Most kayaks will not let you stand up when fishing, so you will have to engage in your techniques seated. Therefore, you need an accurate reel with a high line capacity. Conventional reels will give more accuracy and help you cast far even when seated on your kayak. Additionally, you can explore saltwater and freshwater without worrying about the size of fish to expect since the conventional reels will handle all the difficult work.

Conventional Reel for Pier Fishing

Pier fishing is an ideal technique for beginners. Having the right tackle, you might end up with no catch. Unlike fishing from the harbor or surf fishing, you are very high above the water, and you need to pull your fish up to the pier without breaking your line. Conventional reels for starters are perfect for this application. When dealing with large species, you will have nothing to worry about. The increased line capacity will ensure that you do not run short of line. However, I would not recommend the most powerful gear. Your offshore or inshore conventional reels will get the work done.

Conventional Reel for Jigging

Conventional reels are undoubtedly the best reels for jigging. They excel in the different jigging techniques and handle the weights perfectly, even the heavier ones. Conventional reels with two speeds make jigging easier as you can engage in slow jigging and fast jigging. Conventional reels will transfer every movement to the angler even when fishing under heavy cover. Additionally, you can use the rail as leverage when fighting fish. However, when choosing your conventional reel, make sure it has a taller and narrow spool as it gives a more consistent retrieve rate.

 What Types of Fish Can You Target with Conventional Reels?

As we have seen previously, conventional reels are the most powerful of the three main classifications of fishing reels. Therefore, they are made for the biggest and most powerful fish species. In freshwater, you can target fish like the bass, great northern pike and trout. Saltwater species are usually larger, so you will have a wide range of species you can choose from; they include Marlin, Swordfish, Bluefin, Large Sharks, Tuna, Big Dorado, Wahoo, and Large Tuna.

Conventional Reel for Stripped Bass

Striped bass is migratory fish, and they move a lot. Hunting them can be difficult, and therefore, you need to find the right gear to ensure your success. Since you will find them in both freshwater and saltwater, you need a reel that can handle all conditions and their different sizes. Conventional reels are mostly built for the harshest conditions so, they will thrive perfectly well in saltwater and freshwater applications. Although some people still recommend using baitcasting reels and spinning reels, I recommend that you use conventional reels due to their powerful drag, strong build, and great torque.

Conventional Reel for Tarpon

Tarpon is one of the most sought-after species, and it’s also very hard to catch. Your fishing location and application will determine the best tackle to use. However, due to their large size, conventional reels are perfect. You can choose to use beach fishing techniques, boat fishing, or fishing from the pier. The secret to a successful fishing experience will be in the combination of your tackle. Combining your conventional reel with an 8-foot rod or longer and braid line will ensure you are boasting your Tarpon at the end of the day.

Conventional Reel for Catfish

When getting a reel for catfish, you need to understand their different sizes. Today you might end up with a 20-pound flathead, and the next day you might encounter a 3-pound fish. For a conventional reel, you do not need the biggest reel. However, you need to ensure it is super sensitive and smooth and powerful drag. Also, you need to ensure that it has great torque to deal with even the biggest catfish. A 4000 to 6500 size conventional reel will be a perfect companion.

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Conventional Reel for Fluke

Catching species like fluke can be challenging, especially for first-time anglers. One way you can go about it is by bottom fishing. Having the ideal tackle will save you time and energy. Conventional reels, for starters, will give you the confidence to explore all conditions and get your fluke. You will enjoy high line capacity so you can explore the deepest waters. Although you do not need the biggest conventional reel, you need powerful and will deal with even grown flukes. A size 5500 to 6500 will be ideal for this application; better yet, you can use it for many other techniques.

Are Conventional Reels hard To Use

Conventional reels work under the same principle as baitcasting reels. It’s the easiest reel to use if you are not looking to cast far. After understanding the reels, even beginners will perfect their art in just a few days. Those with level wind systems will not require you to use the thumb frequently. However, the reels without the level wind system need to know the educated thumb. While most people find it challenging to use the thumb to reduce the tension of the line while spooling with a bit of practice, the art comes automatically.

Do Conventional Reels cast Farther?

Conventional reels are not the go-to reels when looking for far casting reels. However, since they are light, if you match them with the right gear, you will be able to cast far. However, they might feel a little difficult for beginners.

Can you Flip Conventional Reel Handles?

One disadvantage of using conventional reels is that you cannot switch their handles. Unlike baitcasting reels and spinning reels where you can switch the handle to match your hand orientation, conventional reels limit you. This, however, is not always a bad thing since the handle has lesser chances of getting ruined.

Final Verdict

Do not let your reels limit you anymore. You can confidently explore even the harshest environments, deal with the largest species, and not miss a catch. Conventional reels are made for anglers looking for a challenge. Boast the biggest Tarpon, Catfish, Grouper, Flounder, Fluke, and all other saltwater species without impacting your reel with the conventional reel.


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