Being a good Walleye angler means knowing how to catch them in a wide variety of conditions. That calls for having a wide variety of tackle to effectively handle all the tactics one that can use to catch these elusive fish. However, there’s one piece of gear I rely on more than any other and that’s my spinning reels.
Whether it’s jigging, rigging or casting, I want a quality, reliable work-horse of a spinning reel I can depend on. That doesn’t mean it has to be the latest and greatest out there or be the most expensive, but it does need to have some key features and attributes before I would consider adding it to my arsenal.
The very first thing I look for in a good spinning reel for walleye fishing is a really good drag. The drag must be smooth and reliable. After all, the biggest reason to use spinning gear is because in walleye fishing, we use so many techniques utilizing light line, often 10 pound test and under. When you’re fighting a strong fish on light line, you need your reel’s drag to regulate tension on the line so you can land the fish without breaking the line.
Another characteristic of a good spinning reel is light weight. When you’re fishing long days, you will quickly understand how a heavy reel can fatigue your arm and hand. A light reel also balances well with the feather light rods being produced these days, and a well balanced combo will simply function better whether you are jigging or casting.
One attribute for spinning that has become very important to walleye fishing in the modern era is being constructed to handle “super-lines”. These lines have small diameters and very little if any stretch and therefore can be problematic, especially if the reel is not designed to lay the line on the spool in such a way that it doesn’t “cut into itself” and get bound up on the spool. It’s also important that the spool lip be built so that its lip is very smooth; the slightest imperfection on the spool lip can catch braided or fiber lines diminishing casting distance and even damaging the integrity of the line itself.
There are a few good reels on the market that meet these criteria, but for my money, the Abu Garcia Revo STX Spinning Reel fits the bill perfectly. For its price (around $200) it’s got features and performance of much pricier reels. Even if you don’t spend as much time fishing as I do, investing in a reel that is built to last and work right when you need it to - is important. In my many hours of experience with these reels, in a ton of different conditions I can attest that they are virtually ,“bullet-proof”.
My number one STX model is the Revo STX 30. It has the ideal size spool which allows me to not only hold plenty of line , (180 feet of 10 pound braid) but the spool design allows me to cast small/light weight baits with a greater distance. It weighs in at a mere 7.6 ounces and most importantly, it has the smoothest and most dependable drag of any spinning reel that I have ever used.
No matter what spinning reel you choose, make sure that it’s got a really good drag, that it can cast light line and baits smoothly and also stand up to the rigors of fishing day in and day out. This will ensure you are using a reel that will enhance your fishing experience, because none of us want to lose that big one at the net, because our reel didn’t perform the way it should.