Spinning Reels are without a doubt the most popular fishing reel for experienced anglers. They are easy to switch out line on and while not as easy as a spincast reel, they are pretty easy to master. The big reason so many like these reels is that the manufacturing industry has really come together and given us such a wide selection of seriously high quality equipment. It used to be a new fishing reel would set you back some money but now you can go almost anywhere and get a decent fishing reel that will last for years to come.
Spinning Reels also have one seriously attractive side to them when you have the option to fish salt water and brackish water. In those environments fish are much stronger because they need to fight tides and currents as well as weather and other things. A fish pulled from a lake will require much less hard core gear than a fish pulled from the ocean. That is where a spinning Reel shines. You can quickly swap spools on them to a heavy or light weight line and they are dead simple easy to recover from a spool error and tangle. They rig fast and if you keep them oiled and in good repair they will move your line back in so fast you want even be able to tell how long you were fighting with that fish.
The Spinning reel also has the advantage of being the easiest reel I have ever had to service. They can be stripped down and oiled up really fast giving you the chance to get your gear in to the sweet spots much easier. They are also as forgiving as a rod can be. In an open water situation you can put your line out deep and bring it back in slowly with quick jerks to the line to target some of the more fun fish you like to catch. They tend to work better with live bait for me as well because a spinning reel gets in and out of the water much more often giving your live bait the freedom it needs to bring more fish in. Release the bail with a good live fish on the end and watch as your bait puts you where you want to be to get that action.
Spinning reels are also much easier to deal with snags and cut lines. With one hand lightly holding the broken line you can reel in and keep yourself from getting all tangled up but lets be honest, that wont always work no matter who you are.
It wont matter if you are using a floater or using a gulf rig, a spinning reel will make sure you have the freedom and control you need to land a big fish and yes, they offer a serious amount of fun when reeling in a big one because of the way you can belly lock the rod and really let the rods action go to work for you leaning back then reeling in when moving forward then leaning back again pulling the line in with your body and again reeling in the slack as you move forward. I just find this sensation to be a lot more rewarding than with other fishing reel types.
Another serious benefit to these fishing reels is the ability to control tension very easily without giving up thumb control. Using your thumb to spin a wheel is not as easy as it sounds when your hooked up and the fish as at risk of straightening the hook. That is when your left or right hand comes in to play reaching over the top of the reel and tightening or loosening the reel tension.
There is also the added benefit on a spinning reel that lets you turn off the the reverse stop. I know, why would you want to do this? Because it is fun! Say you have a fish on there and it is giving you a run for your money and you want to get an edge. Flip that switch and slowly reel backwards! This gives the fish a firm run that is 100% under your control. It also helps in preventing tangles and line snags as sometimes releasing the bail is the absolute last thing you would want to do.
Every serious angler out there has a Spinning reel in the collection and if you are like me you have one for each weight rod and water type. They are easy to pick up at garage sales and pawn shops and they last for years. If you are lucky you will have one of the more aggressive higher end models with carbon fiber and titanium parts but even if you are using a mostly plastic light duty reel you are probably having a lot of fun spending most of your time playing the reel in game with the fish you are trying to catch that day.