Anti-Reverse on Spinning Reels


Name: Thomas C
Subject: anti-reverse

Message: Great show Tom. My question is about the anti reverse switch on spinning reels. Should I use it or not?

(Sent via Saltwater Experience TV Blog)


Hey Thomas,

Thanks for your question.  It is a good one.

Anti-Reverse on a spinning reel is a feature that prevents the reel from turning backwards and engages the drag.  Some reels come with an Anti Reverse switch that allows the angler to choose whether it is engaged or not.  This feature has helped people "back-reel" rather than allowing the drag to fight the fish.  This is an old school technique which can be very effective on smaller fish.  One notable fishing celebrity who advocated back reeling was Jerry McKinnis of The Fishin Hole (one of the greatest fishing shows of all time and one of my favorites).  Jerry loved to fish for Smallmouth from a canoe and often advocated this technique.

While it may be a great technique for a 3 pound smallmouth, it is not a good idea for a tarpon or any other fish capable of pulling some serious drag.  I DO NOT advocate back reeling for any saltwater fish rather than using the drag.

There may be other advantages to having an anti reverse switch on a spinning reel, but I don't see it.  In fact, the switch in itself seems to be a weakness to me.  Many of my reels, over the years, have functioned perfectly until salt gets into the Anti-Reverse switch and the reel soon fails.

Daiwa Saltist sans Anti Reverse switch

Daiwa Saltist sans Anti Reverse switch

Daiwa also noticed that the Anti Reverse was a weakness and simply eliminated it from most of their high end saltwater reels.  The end result is that the reels are better and far more durable in my opinion.

If anyone knows of an advantage to the anti reverse, please post a comment and lets discuss.

My opinion, Thomas, is that it is unnecessary for all of my own applications.

I hope that helps.

All the best,

Tom Rowland