Conventional reels, sometimes referred to as “trolling reels,” are typically designed for use in trolling and off shore applications. They come in two types of drag systems, lever drag and star drag. Conventional reels generally come with a bait clicker alarm allowing the angler to easily notice when something is pulling the line. Conventional reels require the angler to continuously position the line evenly over the spool while reeling in unless equipped with a level wind. A level wind is a small mechanism attached to the reels gear box allowing the line to spool up more evenly than what is typically accomplished manually. Conventional reels also have the option for a line counter. A line counter can be extremely helpful when fishing to specific depths or when fishing with multiple lines out on a single boat. For example: a boat trolling for salmon can have 4 lines out, two straight out the back at 120 yards and two rods out the sides at 100 yards. This will greatly reduce the risk of line entanglement. Conventional reels come in both graphite and metal frames. A metal frame is expensive and typically suited for someone who fishes often and needs reliability. Metal frames allow for higher drag weight per frame size number. Graphite frames are less expensive and flex more than metal frames. Graphite frames will have a lower drag weight per frame size number. Both frame options can hold braided line or monofilament as long as they come with a metal spool. Conventional reels also have the option for single speed or 2 speed gear boxes the latter being more expensive. A 2-speed reel can be extremely helpful when needing to quickly pull in line when using the high gear and having the torque to pull in a giant catch when in low gear.
Pros and Cons of Lever Drag and Star Drag reels:
Pros: Quickly allows for adjustment of drag from a strike setting to a full drag. Much more effective with circle hooks. Easy to adjust during a fight. Better for experienced anglers
Cons: Expensive, Possible to bump the drag from lock to free spool
Pros: Cheaper, less likely to bump to free spool, better for less experienced anglers
Cons: difficult to adjust drag during a fight.