As with the freshwater rods, freshwater reels are also very diverse in their selection. Each serves its own purpose and can be broken down into four main categories; this is how I am going to approach them.
It is far less common to find freshwater anglers using multiplier reels in Ireland than saltwater anglers. This trend is slowly starting to change as more and more realise the benefits of the multiplier, especially the predator anglers using lures. The multipliers I favour for freshwater Irish lure fishing are small ABU baitcasters, loaded with 30lb braid.
A more common choice for the Irish freshwater angler, fixed-spool reels come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I favour those produced by Shimano and I think a drag on the front of the reel is far more responsive to those with rear end drag. I own a range of fixed-spool reels and lines on them vary from 2lb/1kg breaking strain monofilament to 15lb/7kg, depending on what type of fishing I am using them for.
A very traditional style reel but one that is enjoying resurgence in popularity. If you like float fishing at close range or trotting then there really is no finer reel to use for the method than a centrepin, particularly for trotting. The line control that a reel of this type gives when trotting is unparalleled. I was more than fortunate to receive an Adcock Stanton reel as a gift and it is one of my most treasured possessions. It is loaded with light monofilament line.
A lot of anglers are of the opinion that a fly reel is the least important part of a fly fishing setup and I would be inclined to agree with them. I pull all the line off and leave it out for casting and I play nearly all fish by hand so all the reel really does is hold the line when not in use! For this reason I opted for cheaper Leeda reels that utilise a cassette type spool. This allows me to carry a range of lines that are easily interchangeable from floating lines right down to the ultra fast sinkers. When fishing in Ireland it is important to make sure that all your reels have plenty of good quality backing on them – you never know what is going to take your fly next!