What sort of fishing reel should I get?
Overhead or spin reels?
There are two basic types of fishing reels spinning, that hangs under the rod and looks like an egg beater, and overhead (or conventional) reels that sit on top of the rod. Spin reels are better for casting lures. Because the cast/retrieve cycle for lures can be repetitive, spin give fewer tangles and trouble. Spin can have more drag than overhead in larger sizes, but are not well suited to heavy, deep work because there are issues if you get a big hook up on the drop, line twist and cranking on a big fish under load is ergonomically difficult. They are the best choice for topwater work with poppers and stickbaits. Shimano Baitrunner models are great for stray-lining (fishing with a floating bait). Overhead reels are better for fishing the bottom water column -- in-gear, out-of-gear fishing like bait; jigging and inchiku-style fishing. Lever drag (LD) and star drag variations abound. Lever drags tend to bind at high drag settings, and have trouble free spooling if the bearings get tired. LD reel levers are set in neutral to drop a bait or lure and the lever must then be pushed up to get some "stop on". Star drags have a neutral switch, leaving your reel at a preset, known drag setting. Star drags are the most reliable style of reel (brand issues aside). Some of the world distance casting records are on overhead reels, but a well trained thumb for casting is the only thing between a projectile cast and a bird's nest of line. So is there a reel that will do everything? If you had to choose one for a desert island it should be spin, because you can cast it, fish it with an open bail to let a fish run, jig with it. Although it's a compromise, it's the one.