Being a good walleye angler requires knowledge and experience. as well as the right gear...
These elusive, tasty fish can be difficult to locate and even harder to catch. But once on the line, they put up a tremendous fight. One key piece of equipment that you will find helpful in your quest for this northern favorite will be a good spinning reel.
Jigging, rigging, casting, there are many different facets to open water walleye fishing. And most can be done simply with a quality spinning reel. However, there are a few attributes you need to look for when selecting the workhorse you will need to successfully land your dream walleye.
The main thing to look for is a great drag system. Something robust, smooth and reliable. A quality drag is key, due to the numerous techniques that require, or at the very least perform better, when using lighter lines.
After all, this is the main reason for using a spinning reel when walleye fishing. Subtle presentations. With these fish measuring up to 30 inches and weighing as much as 20 pounds, you’ll want a drag that can regulate tension while fighting a strong fish without breaking the line.
If you are lucky enough or have a good enough excuse to be missing all day, you will spend a lot of time with a reel in your hand. This brings me to the next attribute of a quality spinning reel. Weight. Rod technology has come a long way and the sticks we are using these days can be extremely light. A lightweight reel will not only prevent fatigue throughout the course of a long day but will also balance better with modern rod while allowing for more efficient casting or jigging.
Not to be outdone by their featherlight counterparts, modern spinning reels have had their fair share of technological advancements. Not the least of which is being able to handle braided superlines. Having zero stretch, it is crucial that the spool of the reel be designed in such a way that the line will not dig into itself when under stress. The lip of the spool also needs to be buttery smooth as the slightest imperfection can hamper casting distance or even damage your line.
There are some great options on the market today that would probably get the job done. Personally, I feel the new Revo® SX from Abu Garcia® is hard to beat. Redesigned from the ground up, the Revo SX spinning reel provides optimal weight and balance while still delivering the necessary smoothness and cranking power you expect.
Remember how I stressed the importance of the spool design? The V-Rotor design and Rocket Line Management system of the Revo SX allows for flawless function of mono, braid, and even fluorocarbon. The 30 size seems ideal for this endeavor as it allows for plenty of line on the spool for when you find yourself in a battle, while also allowing for easy casting with light bait.
So, whether you are tracking down walleye for the thrill of the fight or to fill a freezer, remember the key factors mentioned above. Regardless of the reel you end up choosing, you want a robust, reliable drag system and the ability to cast small bait efficiently. Keep that in mind and you’ll be having a blast on the water in no time!
Shawn Smith is a native of Northwest Georgia and a graduate of the University of Georgia. An avid outdoorsman, he was introduced to fishing as a child and has spent the better part of the last 25 years with a rod in hand while venturing throughout the United States. As the Ecommerce Marketing Manager for Pure Fishing, Shawn is able to put his passion into practice while sharing his knowledge and love for the sport with others.
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