Fishing Tips

Fishing With An Electric Fishing Reel vs. Manual Fishing Reel

Electric fishing reel
Written by Wilson Kanaday

If you are an avid fisherman (or woman), you realize how much energy and effort is put into reeling in your catch manually. The struggle of cranking the handle can come between you and your big catch, and who wants to risk that? Even the sport of fishing can be improved with the advancements in technology. With the introduction of the electric fishing reel, fishing has been even more enjoyable while still maintaining the novelty and competition of the sport.

Electric fishing reels have become wildly popular amongst the sport in recent years due to its easy operation and powerful reeling ability. Commonly found in 12, 24, and 110 volt options, electric reels from leading brands combine an electric motor with a manual override. If you have been fishing all day, and bringing in consistent catch rate, using a manual reel can be exhausting. However, with the use of an electric reel you can find the ease of switching from manual to electric seamless and automatic, allowing you to continue with your sport or hobby without having to retire early for the day.

As with manual fishing reels, the angler can initially set the drag on the electric reel, so the excitement and enjoyment of feeling the pull of the fish is still there. You will not lose any of the experience by deciding to use an electric reel. In fact, you may even save time with the easy-to-install feature typical with the lightweight and compact electric reel. Depending on the type of angling you prefer, whether deep sea or small pond, electric reels are customized to fit your chosen destination and targeted species. One of the benefits of an electric reel is that it functions exactly as a manual reel would and doesn’t require any prior skill or knowledge to operate.

Compared with manual reels, electric fishing reels offer a drag system that produces impressive stopping power in combination with automatic line handling. Using an electric reel as opposed to a manual one greatly diminishes how much energy is spent cranking in a catch, especially when spending long days on the open water. With the power and ability to handle added weight, particularly common in deep sea fishing, electric reels can enable bringing in your trophy fish easier and quicker. Some models have been known to fish in depths as much as 1,500 feet.

Electric reels makes fishing a breeze for those who have found themselves unable to physically handle the strains a manual reel can cause, such as arthritis. Even anglers with disabilities have discovered the benefits of fishing with an electric reel. With very little effort on their part, they are able to take part in a sport they may not have been able to enjoy for years due to their debilitating condition.

Whether you are a recreational angler or a sport angler, electric reels can assist your efforts in a myriad of ways. Not only do electric reels save on your physical energy and endurance, but they also allow for more fish to be caught in a faster timeframe. Why double the effort of fighting the fish and your reel as well, when the electric reel can make the process much more enjoyable? While the cost of electric fishing reels can seem steep (often hundreds of dollars), the benefits of saving time and energy is a worthy trade-off. Making the switch from a manual reel to an electric reel can mean the difference of landing the “big one” to coming home empty-handed.

What exactly is the point of electric fishing reels? Does it take the sport out of fishing? Is it really for the lazy man? I’ve heard many of these comments and everyone seems to have their own opinion on this topic. However, I think one must keep in mind, that electric fishing reels are truly for a small group of fisherman. An electric fishing reel would be beneficial for an individual with physical limitations. An electric reel can come in handy for certain styles of fishing.

Let’s be totally honest, the electric fishing reel will never outpace sales of your typical manual fishing reels anytime in the near future, if ever. Those that are naysayers of electric fishing reels probably have never even used or tried one. Furthermore, is there a bit of macho ego standing in the way?

So let’s cut to the chase. Electric fishing reels seem to be in more abundant use when it comes to deep drop fishing. Let’s say you’re fishing for halibut on the bottom at a depth of 600-ft. Do you really want to manually crank 600-ft of line with a 2-3 lb piece of lead on the other end, just to check your bait or to move to another location? If one doesn’t have the strength to reel up that line, wouldn’t it benefit this person’s fishing experience? I would have to say yes it would.

Do you want to catch more than one big game fish? How many of us can fight multiple big game fish?  How about if you’re a commercial fisherman? I think in certain instances, this is where an electric fishing reel finds its niche.

For all that I’ve heard about electric fishing reels, the one place that these reels seem to be accepted in, is when it comes to catching Sablefish. But, this is another example of fishing in very deep water. Kite fishing is another example of electric fishing reels being commonly used. The electric reels aren’t typically used to reel in game fish, but they are very often used to bring in the kites once a fish is hooked.

We could all sit around and debate this topic. I feel it’s completely up to each individual fisherman to determine what type of tackle to use. If, from an ethical standpoint, you feel electric fishing reels or power assist reels have no place in fishing, or you’re a fisherman that requires a little assistance, it really should be up to that person. Honestly, fishing should always be fun and if an electric fishing reel helps make it a pleasant experience, I say go for it!

About the author

Wilson Kanaday

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