Dictionary of Ichthyology  

reel = winder consisting of a revolving spool with a handle, attached to a fishing rod; cylindrical device attached to a fishing rod to let out or wind up the line.

Detail of a Song Dynasty painting, Angler on a Wintry Lake, by Ma Yuan, showing the oldest known depiction of a fishing reel (1195 A.D.) from Wikimedia Commons: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Angler_on_a_Wintry_Lake%2C_by_Ma_Yuan%2C_1195.jpg.

Canadian Museum of Nature