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A Simple Guide to Choosing Line Counter Reels

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Line counter reels simplify the process of measuring the amount of line you’ve cast by doing the measuring work for you when the reel is released. This type of precision allows the angler or fisherman to replicate a cast to an exact measurement, improving one’s accuracy.

Before the advent of line counter reels, fishermen were forced to measure their casts based on spool turns. A full move of the handle from one side to the other is called a level wind, and one would count the revolutions of the level wind to formulate how much line had been cast. So if a full revolution of the level wind for your particular spool was 10 feet of line, then you’d simply divide the total cast length you wanted to achieve by 10. For an 80 ft cast, you’d divide by 10 to get a result of 8 revolutions of the level wind. Once your 8 revolutions were up, then you knew you had reached your goal casting length.

Obviously this method was not quite as precise as a line counter reel, and it’s more prone to human error as well. Line counter reels take out all the math to do the counting and measuring for you! Line counters aren’t built into every reel, but the benefits of line counter reels are great for those who have sonar equipment to tell them how far a fish is from the fisherman and for those who do trolling.

With over 20,000 fishing items in our inventory, Outdoor Shopping has the most extensive lineup of fishing equipment online today! Shop our inventory of line counter reels at Outdoor Shopping.

Manual vs Electric

Line counter reels come in both manual and electric versions and are a major addition to trolling reels.

Type of Line Counter



Records the number of revolutions made by the spool; Preset calibrations compensate for variations of spool diameter as the line is paid out, using 12-pound test line as the standard. These are low on maintenance and high on dependability, but they’re slightly less precise than electric counterparts.


More sophisticated and can be calibrated to the exact line you’re using. Inherently more accurate, but you’ll need to remember to replace the batteries. Similarly, the display screens can become easily damaged or have an electrical fault, which can be annoying when you’re already out on the water.

Body Construction

There are three main materials that can comprise the body of your line counter reel, and different materials will bring with it different benefits:



Best for:


Lighter and cheaper but less durable than aluminum counterparts.

  • Beginner anglers/trollers

Cast Aluminum

While not quite as strong as machined aluminum, it is slightly more durable than graphite but also carries a slightly higher pricetag.

  • Medium-Sized Catches

Machined Aluminum

Machined from a solid block of aluminum and are more rigid, holding bearings and gears in precise alignment, which reduces wear, prevents premature failure, and gives you more torque for besting a bruiser.

  • Heavier catches with more fight

  • Large Catches


Your fishing line is as important as the line counter reel itself, and there are a few details to pay attention to when choosing your line:

  • Capacity: Understand the weights of the fish you aim to catch in order to purchase a line that is built to withstand the capacity of your catch. Line capacity is also relative to the pound test of the line you're using as well as the drag you have to work with.

  • Type: There are three main types of line to choose from:

Line Type


Best for:


Light strength but a thicker line, these lines tend to carry a cheaper pricetag but can get the job done on small-medium catch loads.

  • Small-Medium Catches

  • Light Weights

  • Short Line Requirements


Smaller diameter with less drag, braided lines have slightly more strength than monofilament counterparts.

  • Deeper casts with less line

  • Greater lengths of line with the same weight as monofilament

  • Smaller spools

Lead Core

Utilize an inner core of lead or other heavy metal that is surrounded by a braided shield. Larger diameters mean larger spool requirements for the same length of line.

  • Larger Spools

  • Larger Catches

Other Important Design Features

Drag: Multi-disc drags help to improve the control you have over a fighting catch, allowing the user to operate the reel smoothly, even when the catch makes a strong run for it. Star drag adjustments are located to the side of the handle and are convenient for anglers.

Clicker:The role of the clicker is to give an audible sign that your line is paying out, so a loud clicker that can be heard over a boat engine or light conversation is necessary for line casting.

Dual Speed: This option is available on some reels and allows the user more versatility to adapt to a variety of situations.

With over 20,000 fishing items in our inventory, Outdoor Shopping has the most extensive lineup of fishing equipment online today! Shop our inventory of line counter reels at Outdoor Shopping.