Carp fishing Reels, fixed spool or baitrunner which is best?

As well as carp fishing rodscarp reels are a very important part of your tackle that you will need to get right. You will find two types of carp reel that anglers use when they go fishing. One is the fixed spool one clutch reel and the other is the baitrunner two clutch reel. Both carp reels have their supporters and critics, but they both in essence do a similar job.

Fixed Spool Reel

The fixed spool reel is normally setup with the clutch set just under the breaking strain of the line however it does have potential problems. If a big carp was to take your bait and make a run for it then there will be a very good chance of one of two things occurring.

The first thing that will probably happen is that the run would be so fierce that it would break your line before you were able to get to the rod and release the clutch some more.  The other thing that would probably happen if the line didn’t break is that the rod would be pulled from it’s rest and the next you know is your rod and reel will be seen sailing across the lake after the carp. 

Really the only time that this kind of carp reel is really any good is if you happen to be sat right next to it and saw the initial indication of the bite and was prepared for when the carp made it’s big run.  You could leave the bail arm off instead of setting the clutch but try that during a windy day and you will end up with all your line over the floor in a terrible mess.

Baitrunner Reel

This two clutch carp reel is the most commonly used one when fishing for carp nowadays.   Your normal (first) clutch is set up to match the breaking strain of the fishing line. With this clutch engaged you cast you bait out and set your rod up on a rod rest or pod. Once you are happy with the position of the bait, you then engage the lighter (second) clutch called the baitrunner.

Similar to the first clutch you will also be able to adjust the tension of the second clutch so if you are fishing in windy conditions or moving water you would increase the tension of the clutch, in still conditions you will have the clutch tension on a lighter setting. With your clutch set up correctly a fish could take the bait, bolt and would take line from your spool without it getting tangled or dragging your rod and reel into the water.

To engage the second clutch is as easy as picking up your rod and turning the handle of your carp reel. The turn of the handle instantly engages the first clutch that is set up to match your fishing line weight.

Carp reels should really therefore be of the baitrunner type, and although a little dearer than the normal fixed spool carp reel, the added cost could mean the difference between landing that large specimen or losing your rod and reel altogether.


With all the carp fishing equipment out there it is a good idea to get some knowledge before parting with your money. If you would like to know more then visit