20 Best Baitcasting Reels (2019): Buyer’s Guide and Unbiased Reviews | Saltwater & Freshwater

Are you on a quest to find the best baitcasting reels?

Then you’re in the right place. Because I have done the hard work for you and have reviewed dozens of products to bring you the best baitcasting reels.

In addition, I will introduce the following related topics.

  • Product Details (Including advantages and disadvantages) 
  • Buyer’s Guide
  • Benefits of Baitcasting Reels
  • Top Baitcaster Brands
  • Differences Between Round and Low Profile Reels
  • Gear Ratio

I will also answer some common questions.

  • How to use a baitcasting reel?
  • Should I use a braided or mono line on a baitcaster?
  • What information do I need to know regarding the differences between reels that are made for saltwater and those that are made for freshwater?

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Chief Editor

Brian

Hi! I’m Brian, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science at University of Houston. I used to be an editor of a sports magazine. Currently, I work as a part-time editor at OutsideHow.com. I like to read sports and recreation magazines, such as Outdoor Life, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and Runner’s World. I hope that this article can be helpful to you.
Brian

31
Hours Researching

60+
Products Evaluated

1200+
Reviews Considered

21
Researched Sources

Top 3 Picks ( In a Hurry? Here are the winners )

Product
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Professional's Choice
Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
Best Value
Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel...
Image
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel...
Price
from $39.98
from $490.00
from $29.99
Prime
-
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Product
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Image
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Price
from $39.98
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Product
Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
Image
Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
Price
from $490.00
Prime
-
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Product
Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel...
Image
Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel...
Price
from $29.99
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Best Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting reels are perhaps one of the most popular reels that are chosen by modern anglers. They’re ideal as a choice for anyone who is seeking a heavier gear or who are fishing for larger gamefish targets.

1. KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel – Editor’s Choice & Best Seller

Sale
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
  • PERFORMANCE - Low profile design bait caster with a super silent high...
  • UNMATCHED - Precision cut brass gear structure and carbon fiber drag...
  • PROVEN - 11 + 1 shielded MaxiDur corrosion resistant ball bearings for...
  • TOURNAMENT READY - The new Royal legend bait caster has state of the...
  • DYNAMIC - Two color anodized aluminum forged multi-ported...

At first glance, it’s obvious that this is a reel that is created and designed to perfection.

With a sleek design that is low-profile, it’s very strong and comfortable in the hands. When you consider the weight of this little beauty you’ll be amazed at the durability and the strength that it carries.

The grip of this reel isn’t just comfortable, it’s also so lightweight that you can use it all day without getting weary. Equipped with a dual braking system, you’ll find that there are many great benefits to the magnetic as well as the centrifugal force braking system.

In addition, the reel is shielded and has anti-corrosion ball bearings. It works well in all environments regardless of whether it’s fresh water or salt water. The drag is very good and consistent as well as smooth on this reel.

The only downside is that it can be a bit noisy even if it’s brand new and recently oiled. If you can ignore that you’re going to find that you have an excellent reel that is good quality and well priced.

Pros
  • This reel is very affordable.
  • This reel is comprised of high-quality materials.
  • Very lightweight.
  • This reel boasts excellent braking as well as drag system.
  • Ball bearings are shielded.
Cons
  • Very noisy even if oiled or brand new.

2. Piscifun Torrent Left Handed 7.1:1 Baitcasting Reel

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Piscifun Torrent Left Handed 7.1:1 Baitcasting Reel 18LB Carbon Fiber Drag Low Profile Baitcaster Fishing Reel...
  • POWERFUL- Advanced, 4-washer, gives the low profile baitcasting reel...
  • DURABLE - Industrial durable-strength, climate-resistant Japanese Hami...
  • PERFORMANCE - Low profile design bait caster featuring 7.1:1 gear...
  • UNIQUE - Unique side-plate oil port for prolonged maintenance for...
  • UNPARALLELED - Strong double wind shafts and backlash-eliminating 0-10...

This Piscifun baitcasting reel is nearly perfect.

It offers incredibly precise gears and components and thus, offers unprecedented performance for anglers of all levels.

One of the best things I liked about this reel is the design that can withstand nearly an environmental hazard that can present itself. Even if the reel is plunged into the sand, used in saltwater or even in freshwater, it offers a long-standing beauty that will withstand the tests of time and still remain beautiful and durable. It’s easy to oil up and offers easy maintenance.

When all is said and done this is going to stand the test of time.

Another great feature is the magnetic brake on this reel. With five magnets, you’re assured that you won’t have to suffer any backlash regardless of the size of fish on the other end of your line.

Of course, you’ll want to take the time to learn how to properly use the braking system. For a beginner, this may take some time so be sure to practice a lot until you get the hang of it.

Pros
  • This reel has an excellent design and is well-constructed.
  • Very durable.
  • Very easy to maintain.
Cons
  • You’re going to want to take the time to learn the braking system.

3. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

Sale
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Reel,Rover50
  • BULLET PROOF - All NEW and improved for 2019! The hot Rover reel just...
  • MORE POWERFUL - You will love the stronger, more powerful KastKing...
  • SUPER SMOOTH - KastKing Rover reels have premium MaxiDur double...
  • VERSATILE - KastKing Rover is a perfect conventional reel for...
  • FISH INTO THE FUTURE - KastKing Rover conventional reels are built...

This KastKing is fully equipped with stainless steel ball bearings. It offers smooth and consistent results at all times. With an anti-reverse, it has a smooth movement which makes it one of the best reels under $100.

With a unique T handle, it reduces fatigue and offers up a 3:6:1 ratio for the gears which gives excellent control. A star Drag System allows for stopping power of 20 pound/9kg. The centrifugal brake system offers steady pressure and stopping power. Fortified aluminum makes up the side plates for a sturdy reel.

KastKing has been approved for saltwater use and the parts won’t corrode. With quality aluminum making up the spool the rest of the components were precision machines for an excellent performance.

Comparable to Shimano baitcasting reels when it comes to performance, the users appreciate the solid spool and it’s received excellent feedback for the all-metal assembly.

The steel ball bearings are also a favorite of anglers who state that it’s ideal for reeling in catfish as well as other fish. Many have even switched over to this from other brands thanks to the stellar performance.

Pros
  • Offers high-quality gears.
  • Very easy to cast out.
  • Reduces fatigue.
Cons
  • Somewhat heavy.
  • The drag adjustment will need to maintain the line.

4. Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel

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Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26" Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max...
  • Lightweight design with one-piece graphite frame and side plates
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Power Disk system
  • MagTrax brake system boosts range and accuracy of casts
  • Compact bent handle and recessed reel provide an ergonomic grip

If you’re seeking to find an Abu Garcia Black Max you’ll be pleased to find that this is a reasonably priced reel. With a compact lightweight ratio of 6.4:1 you’ll love how reliable and durable this performs. Ideal for all beginners, or as a backup reel for all anglers.

With 4 ball bearings, this reel offers a smooth and crisp feel that is sensitive yet durable. It can spool up to 130 yards of 30-pound braid or it can spool 12 pounds of mono. The magnetic cast control allows for beginners to get the hang of it without any backlash or tangling. The star drag is ideal for operating and features a smooth Power Disk drag which lays 18 pounds of fighting power.

Black Max is designed around a Duragear brass gear train. It offers an extended lifespan and is one of the more expensive reels in the Abu Garcia line. WIth a graphite frame and graphite side plates, it weighs in at just 7.3 ounces which is very impressive considering the drag and the line capacity.

With a beefy handle, it’s impressive that you can get it at a bargain market price for a baitcasting reel. Should you require a great backup reel or wish to set up a few rods for the kids, this is the reel for you.

Pros
  • All day comfortable use.
  • Not flimsy yet lightweight.
  • Very strong drag for a smaller sized reel.
  • Very affordable.
Cons
  • Resistant to corrosion is highly questionable.
  • The gears can be loud on heavy loads.

5. Daiwa Tatula Type R 6.3:1 Gear ratio M/L ACT TATULA-R100H

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Daiwa Tatula Type R 6.3:1 Gear ratio M/L ACT TATULA-R100H
  • Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag (UTD) with 13.2 lbs Drag Max
  • Magforce-Z cast control
  • 7 ball bearings plus roller bearing
  • 6.3:1 gear ratio
  • High Speed Right Hand

Built for durability and high-performance, the Tatula reel is versatile enough for professional anglers. One of the most ideal baitcasting reels for bass, it offers a durable frame that withstands heavy-duty use under variable conditions.

Rugged gear train offers full support for an aluminum housing. The level wind design offers extra strength and is fully complemented by the Tatula T-Wing aperture.

Offering up a smooth feel, the reel is lightweight enough for beginners yet durable enough for the professionals. Corrosion resistant so all you have to think about, is fishing.

One thing we did notice on the Tatula, were the cutouts on the handle. This design feature reduces the weight which helps keep this as a lightweight reel.

Many state that the drag is comparable to the best saltwater baitcasting reels. Others state that it’s the ideal weight and won’t tire you out.

Pros
  • Can handle up to 20 pounders.
  • The entire reel is made up of aluminum.
  • It’s very well-balanced when you are holding it or casting your line out.
Cons
  • The thumb bar design needs a bit of improvement.
  • It rates only average for casting control and could use some serious improvement.

6. Abu Garcia Revo SX Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel

Sale
Abu Garcia Revo SX Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel, Standard Speed, Right Hand
  • Ultra-lightweight design with X2-Craftic alloy frame and C6 carbon...
  • MagTrax brake system and wide Infiniti II spool design for accurate...
  • Carbon Matrix drag system provides smooth and consistent drag
  • D2 Gear Design provides efficiency while Duragear gear system and...
  • Extended bent cranking handles and power knob offer added torque for...

If you are looking for something friendlier and more affordable than the Revo Tero, you can opt for the Abu Garcia Revo SX-HS. This particular baitcasting reel falls in the mid-price range category and offers the type of performance that most mid-price baitcasting reels offer.

This reel has an amazing design and comes with a wide range of excellent extra features alongside the main features you can expect from the Revo series like lightweight construction. The alloy frame is resistant to corrosion while the carbon side plates make the product very lightweight. The weight of the specific model we reviewed was a mere 6.7 ounces which is amazing to say the least. Its compact nature makes it comfortable and easy to use, and you can easily make good use of this baitcasting reel for an entire day with ease.

10 stainless steel bearings enable this baitcasting reel to operate smoothly and efficiently. To minimize friction, the reel makes use of a specially crafted titanium line guide. a curved power handle gives you more when doing a fast retrieval. The aluminium spool can handle heavy-duty lines and heavy loads as well. We are talking up to 20lbs of brake dragging force which is quite adequate. As with other related reels, this product comes with the Magforce-X magnetic casting brake that greatly enhances accuracy in distance casting.

Whether you fish crankbaits, spinnerbaits or topwater lures, there is a Revo SX made specifically for you.

Pros
  • Smooth spooling
  • Easy to use due to its magnetic braking
  • Has powerful brake dragging for a small reel
  • Compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to carry around
Cons
  • Large gear box
  • Not suitable for use in salt water

7. Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG – Professional’s Choice

Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
  • High gear baitcast spinning fishing reel, Gear ratio: 7.2:1, Retrieve:...
  • Mono line capacity (lbs/yds): 8/180,10/155,14/110
  • PowerPro line capacity (lbs/yds): 30/190,50/120,65/80
  • Line retrieve per crank: 30 inch
  • Weight: 7.40 ounce, max. dragforce: 12 lbs, bearings: 5 S ARB

Shimon is a fishing equipment maker that has been around for more than a century. This should already give you an idea of what to expect from this pioneer baitcasting reel manufacturer. The company’s main objective has always been to make the very best equipment for fishing. Their line of reels is nothing short of impressive. There may some better products out there but most consumers still prefer buying Shimano because of its long and successful legacy.

High quality products have to be made from high quality materials. The graphite, steel and aluminium used to make this reel have been thoroughly tested to ensure quality and durability. Shimano reels are simply built to last. You can spend an entire lifetime with one of their reels.

The aluminium handle is made up of 2 sizeable knobs for maximum grip and links up with the spool through a single piece of aluminium frame. The external structure is made from Hagane for extra strength and the spool is balanced and anodized to make it immune to vibrations. To summarize it all, these features make this reel very light and simply amazing to fish with.

A key feature of this Shimano reel is its 5 bearing race that ensures smooth retrieval when fishing. As for speed, you can expect excellent ratings due to its 7.2 to 1 gearing. Speed will definitely come in handy when you are fishing using a 190-yard line. The reel has a wide range settings that you can adjust for maximum comfort and efficiency. You can easily adjust various settings to arrive at a perfect spot that suitable for your lure weight, line and rod. This is a balanced reel that you can depend on to work flawlessly every time. The reel also features a brake drag that can be set up to 12 pounds. This may seem like a low rating but it works just fine, even when handling larger catches.

This Shimano reel weighs only 7.5 ounces which is great for performance and portability. You can expect a long product lifespan from this reel courtesy of Shimano’s Super Free Spool and X-ship technology. You can also expect a no friction cast that has no backlash and offers plenty of control.

Pros
  • Very durable
  • Excellent line capacity
  • Smooth and fast retrieval
  • High quality components
  • Very reliable
Cons
  • Low drag power

8. Abu Garcia PMAX3 Pro Max Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel

Sale
Abu Garcia PMAX3 Pro Max Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel
  • One-piece graphite frame and graphite siteplates
  • 7 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing
  • Power Disk drag system
  • Duragear brass gear
  • MagTrax brake system

The amazing thing about this reel it that it assist you to improve your casting accuracy as well as distance.

You are able to customize your casting so that your lure and line end up exactly where you want them. A huge part of this can be attributed to the reel’s MagTrax braking system. The braking system ensures that there is continuous and consistent braking pressure being applied on the reel throughout the entire casting process.

It goes without saying that this reel is pretty enjoyable to work with. It is properly crafted so that it increases durability and lifespan while still maintaining a lightweight and compact design. The compact design makes the reel easy to use and comfortable in the hand.

What I personally enjoyed about this reel is its ease of use which makes it perfect for beginners. If you are a beginner who is still learning the ropes, this reel can definitely come in handy as it makes learning easy. The reel will also serve you long after your beginner days. You can take it on fishing trips regardless of whether you are a beginner or pro.

Although, some professionals may dismiss this reel because of lacking some advanced features. But, this is still an amazing reel to own.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Good casting accuracy and distance
  • Comfortable
  • Well-built
Cons
  • Lacks a couple of advanced features

9. Lews Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel

Sale
Lews Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel
  • FISHING REEL: Reel constructed from a one-piece aluminum frame with a...
  • CASTING REEL: Features Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing, a...
  • BAITCASTING REELS: Built with a double anodized aluminum spool tension...
  • BAITCASTING REEL: Features a bowed, lightweight, aluminum reel handle...
  • LEW'S FISHING GEAR: Compare our baitcasting reels, spinning reels and...

Lews may not be one of the big fishing equipment manufacturers out there today but this does not mean that it’s not among the best baitcasting reel makers in the world. Many professionals swear that Lews reels are the best. The company has perfected the art of making reels over many decades and they are undoubtedly among the best at what they do.

One of the key features of any Lews reel is amazing build-quality and construction. This can be attributed to use of high-quality materials. The most notable components of the reel are its double anodized spool and its single aluminium frame. Other components that make up this reel include a hardened steel and aluminium drive and bearing system and graphite side plates that keep the reel’s weight very low.

These components together with a dual centrifugal/magnetic brake system and a zero reverse one-way clutch enable the reel to function smoothly and efficiently. The reel also includes the Lews multi-setting breaking feature or MBS that helps avoid lines snapping back or tangling out of control.

The carbon fiber drag system on this reel has proven to be both durable and effective in getting the job done. Total brake drag for this reel is 20 pounds and can be set using the set-up drag star.

The reel has a line length of 120 yards at 12 pounds which is gives you an adequate distance for fish to run. It also has a 5.6 to 1 gear ratio which comes in handy when its time to bring the fish in. The reel weighs in at just under half a pound and you enjoy exceptional durability and performance at an affordable price.

To conclude, this is one of the best reel you can find out there in the open market. It features a small and compact design that is perfect for a wide range of users. Both casting and retrieval are smooth and effortless. You cannot go wrong with this reel.

Pros
  • Excellent line capacity
  • Good drag pressure
  • Smooth, tangle-free casting
  • Excellent design and finish
Cons
  • Can sometimes be slow

10. Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel – Best Value

Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel...
  • Starts with high density titanium alloy composite body and side...
  • CNC machined aluminum spool with large line capacity; Bigger and...
  • High speed 6.3:1 gear ratio; 10 stainless steel ball bearings plus 1...
  • Reliable Magnetic Braking System with a convenient external adjustable...
  • Balanced double aluminum handles with over-sized comfortable nonslip...

When you look at the price of this reel, you will immediately realize that it has a lot to offer.

Firs and foremost, it looks good considering its on the low budget side. It is made to function smoothly and with great precision so that fishing is effortless and enjoyable. The manufacturer uses relatively durable materials that can withstand normal wear and tear. You can expect to keep this reel for many years with proper maintenance.

The reel also features a good amount of drag which is adequate for people who catch smaller fish. If you want to catch larger fish, then all you have to do is make some slight adjustments and you are good to go. This reel only needs frequent care and maintenance to get the most out of it.

Pros
  • Good drag
  • Strong
  • Fairly good construction
  • Really affordable
Cons
  • Poor grease protection

More Products (Our Rating: 4 Stars)

11. Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel
Sale
Abu Garcia RVO3 ROCKET Revo Rocket Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel
  • Low-profile baitcast fishing reel delivers exceptional casting...
  • 10 stainless steel HPCR bearings and 1 roller bearing offer...
  • Rocket gear ratio delivers ultrafast line retrieve ideal for technical...
  • Infini brake Infinibrake system and wide Infiniti II spool design for...
  • D2 gear design and X-Craftic alloy frame endure tough saltwater...
12. SHIMANO Curado K Baitcast Reel
Sale
Shimano Curado 200 XG K, Right Hand Baitcast Fishing Reel, CU200XGK
  • Gear Ratio: 8.5:1, Weight: 7.80 ounce, Retrieve: Right Hand
  • Mono Line Capacity (lbs/yds): 8/180, 10/155, 14/110
  • PowerPro Line Capacity (lbs/yds): 30/190, 50/120, 65/80
  • Line Retrieve per Crank: 36 inch
  • Max Drag Force: 11 lbs, Bearings: 4 S ARB and 2 Rollerbearings
13. Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel
Abu Garcia 1430427 Revo SX Low Profile Baitcasting Reel, 6.75: 1 Gear Ratio, 27" Retrieve Rate, 24 lb Max...
  • 9 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing provides smooth...
  • C6 carbon sideplates provide significant weight reduction without...
  • Duragear brass gear for extended gear life
14. 13 Fishing Concept C Baitcast Fishing Reel, Right and Left Hand
13 Fishing Concept C 6.6:1 Gear Ratio Right Hand Saltwater Reel
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: weighs only 6.2 oz - the lightest reel in its class
  • DURABLE: Airfoil Carbon side-plates, aluminum frame, and double...
  • EXTREMELY SMOOTH: ensures a very smooth retrieval, even when it's...
  • 24 lb BULLDOG DRAG SYSTEM: makes sure the reel will not slip or...
15. Daiwa Tatula CT Type-R Baitcast Fishing Reels
Daiwa TACT-R100H TATULA CT Baitcast Reel, Black
  • Rugged, lightweight aluminum frame and side plate
  • Ultimate Tournament carbon drag UTD
  • Corrosion resistant clutch mechanism
  • Ultimate Tournament carbon drag
  • MagForce-z cast Control
16. Daiwa Tatula SV TW Baitcast Fishing Reels
Daiwa Tatula TASV103HL Baitcasting Fishing Reel
  • Fishing Reel
  • Versatile top of the line
  • Another quality product
17. Okuma Komodo SS Large Capacity Low Profile Baitcaster
Okuma Komodo SS Large Capacity Low Profile Baitcaster
  • Stainless steel main gear for ultimate power and strength
  • Heavy duty stainless steel drive and spool shafts
  • Multi-disc high output carbonite drag System
  • 450 size: 7hpb+1rb corrosion resistant stainless steel bearings, 30...
  • Komodo SS reels are Backed by a 3-year limited Warranty
18. Lew's Fishing Team Lew's Hyper Mag Speed Spool SLP Reels
Sale
Lew's Fishing Team Lew's Hyper Mag Speed Spool SLP TLH1XH Reels
  • FISHING REEL: Reel constructed from one-piece magnesium frame with...
  • CASTING REEL: Features a premium 11-bearing system with...
  • BAITCASTING REELS: Includes a double anodized aluminum spool tension...
  • BAITCASTING REEL: Features a double anodized bowed aluminum drag star...
  • BAITCASTER: Includes exclusive patented Speed Dial line indicator,...
19. Okuma Citrix 350 Baitcast Reel Rh 7+1BB 6.4:1 14Lb/230yd
Sale
Okuma Citrix 350 Baitcast Reel Rh 7+1BB 6.4:1 14Lb/230yd
  • Made of highest quality material
  • Manufacturer: Okuma
  • Okuma Citrix 350 Baitcast reel RH 7+1bb 6.4:1 14lb/230yd
  • Multi-disc Carbonite drag system with 25-lbs max drag
  • ALC: Rigid die cast aluminum frame and side plates
20. SHIMANO Metanium MGL 6.2:1 Casting Reel METMGL150
Sale
SHIMANO Metanium MGL METMGL150 Baitcasting Fishing Reel, Gear Ratio: 6.2:1, Retrieve: Right Hand
  • GEAR RATIO - 6.2:1; WEIGHT - 6.2 oz
  • LINE RETRIEVE - 26; MAX DRAG - 11
  • MONO LINE CAPACITY - 10/120, 12/110, 14/90; PowerPRO LINE CAPACITY -...
  • BEARINGS - 10+1
  • REEL HANDLE POSITION - Right

Benefits of Baitcasting Reels

We strongly believe that anglers should be using high-quality baitcasting reels and spinning reels in order to become versatile anglers. However, there are a variety of lures and techniques that are used best when it comes to baitcasting combos.

1. Heavier Line

On the baitcasting reels, the axis-of-rotation on the spool will be perpendicular to a rod guide, which means the line directly comes off through a line guide and then directly through a rod guide. This feature makes it an easier task to use the heavier lines from 10 to 20lbs and the heavier lures. The best baitcasting setups are easily able to cast a lure from ¼ to 1oz or more.

2. Decrease In Line Twists

The spinning reels are well-known for line twists, and this is the downfall when it comes to good casting. The baitcasters will spool a line in a perpendicular angle from the axis of the spool, which usually means that the line twists that are imparted on the line will only come from the lure, which is common when fishing using soft plastics.

3. Longer Casts

When combined with the correct rod, the baitcasters can easily outcast any spinning gear. The line comes off your spool directly from your rod guides, rather than the uncoiling action of the spinning outfits. When it comes to bombing hard jigs and baits, nothing compares to the baitcaster.

4. Increased Power

The baitcasters have more power when compared to the spinning reels due to the spool design and layout. The spool will be in-line with each gear and the handle, which makes it possible for the reel to apply more torque and power. In addition, the handle is directly mounted on the reel-frame which means there are no lever arms that cause a flex when you are reeling very hard on your fish.

5. Increased Control

The baitcasting reel combinations offer an increased level when it comes to casting control in comparison to standard spinning gears as you have more control over the speed and distance of the lures you are using in the way of thumbing your spool when you cast. Once you become more proficient on how to use one of these combos, it becomes easier to achieve exact accuracy with all your casts, which will allow you to position your lures at the exact location of the fish.

Top Baitcaster Brands

Certain manufacturers that produce the baitcasting reels only do so in order to complete their overall product lines. Yet there are companies that specialize in this reel type and produce a variety of different models.

Here is a list of the 4 most popular manufacturers to help you gain an understanding of the different tendencies associated with each brand.

Shimano

This is a Japanese manufacturer that is well-known for focusing on cutting-edge technology and materials, which is often precipitated from their lines of spinning reels.

With innovative and signature products that include X-Ship, the Hagane metal body, and the Dartanium Drag technology, Shimano has gone onto develop a few of the fastest, smoothest, and strongest reels currently available.

Even though the advanced technology and innovative designs that Shimano has incorporated into each model, many users who continue to increase have made complaints that the latest models do not resist corrosion very well.

Many anglers, including a few that have used the previous models of Shimano reels, have stated that the bodies of the low-profile models will often collect rust and salt if they are not immediately cleaned after use.

Abu Garcia

Abu Garcia is a Swedish company, well-known as one of the leaders for both the more traditional round-reels like their low-profile designs and their signature Ambassadeur series. These ranges come in various price points and sizes, which makes it easier to find the type that matches your needs and your budget.

Abu Garcia usually uses components that are resistant to corrosion, high bearing-counts, and lightweight materials, which results in reels that are the ideal choice for saltwater and freshwater use.

Many users enjoy the extensive options made available through this reputable manufacturer. The high-end models are also still competitively priced, and this company enjoys an extremely loyal following.

However, there more economically priced products are often tarnished with complaints in regards to poor quality components, more particularly the metal which is used in the gears.

Lew’s

The founder of this company Lew Childre was an avid lifelong angler, that converted his passion and love for this profession into producing bamboo handmade rods and at a later stage started adding reels to this collection. He is even responsible for the development of the pistol-grip which is now very common on just about all the baitcasting rods.

This company mainly produces the low-profile reels, which is the style that Lew Childre is credited with for introducing. The small range of the round reels this company provides is much smaller in their sizes when compared to most of the competitors. These round reels are designed for targeting the smaller species of freshwater fish.

The Lew reels are well-known for their compact, sleek, and high-speed gear ratio designs. Unfortunately, it is these features which attract a higher price tag, and even the budget models are far more expensive when compared to the premium offerings from many competitors.

The angles who are lefthanded will find these selections limited, yet there are a couple of models to choose from.

Daiwa

Daiwa is another Japanese company that is also a popular brand that produces various models of fishing gear and equipment which include a number of versatile baitcasting reels. These reels come with a very well-deserved reputation as they are both well-engineered and affordable.

Even though the primary target audience happens to be for the casual and economic-minded anglers, this company also makes a number of premium versions that comes with impressive high-speed gear ratios.

The majority of anglers find that the Daiwas are suited well for both saltwater and freshwater, although a few of the models do not feature a good anti-corrosion protection level which is a requirement for saltwater use.

Most anglers find that the baitcasting reels from Daiwa are able to perform just as well as the options that are more expensive, although the Daiwas usually do not last very long.

Baitcasting Reels Buyer’s Guide

We’re going to examine the features and components of the baitcasting reels and determine whether or not the design and the components will place it on the level with our top baitcaster reels.

Round and Low Profile Reels

The lower profile round baitcaster reels is quite similar with only the size being the difference. The low profile means that the actual reel itself is smaller and much lighter. Those that are heavier are much larger and rounder.

What Are The Differences?

Weight

A low profile reel is much smaller and much lighter and many anglers prefer this thanks to less fatigue and that they are much easier on the wrist. This means that they are easier to operate and it’s important to understand that the round reels may be as much as twice as big as the low profile reels which makes them much heavier.

Gear Ratio

Lower profile reels typically have a higher gear ratio due to their smaller size.

Line Capacity

The round profile will win out easily. It can carry a larger weight and the amount of line so when a fish decides to go for it, you’ll have plenty of line to compensate for it.

Drag

Low profiles are ideal for their size, but, they don’t offer the same drag that the round baitcaster can offer. The round profile is more able to deal with a larger fish and offer up a higher rate of drag system.

Fish Targets

Low profiles are ideal for medium size fish that are about 0 to 14 pounds. The round profile is better for fish that are 121 pounds or more.

Materials

There are just two materials that should be used in body and frame for a quality reel. These are high-grade aluminum or graphite. The graphite is far lighter than the aluminum however, it’s not as resistant and flexible and won’t offer you as much cranking power. If you’re seeking a baitcaster for an ultralight for creek bass or to use for panfish, graphite will be a much better option. If you wish to hook gamefish or a larger bass, it’s strongly recommended that you opt for an aluminum body that will offer more strength. Should you plan to fish in salt water, aluminum is also the better option to go with.

Many reels have a mixture of aluminum and graphite parts. It’s important that these are pieced together well and will allow for plenty of body flex as well as bending which can occur when fishing. It’s important that the reel be able to withstand the various functions that require flexibility.

Spool Size

Larger deeper spools can be very beneficial should you prefer to fish with a stiff and heavy line such as a 20-pound fluorocarbon. Larger spools create smaller coils which are much easier to manage. Smaller and shallower spools are ideal for short line applications such as flipping and pitching.

Handle Size

The low profile options of bass fishing reels have a variety of handle sizes that are available. Many of the more compact reels utilize shorter handles. Which is ideal for many applications, however, they’re not ideal for large crankbaits or for swimbaits. Larger, longer handles will create far more torque that will help to winch fish out of a heavy cover such as grass matting.

Bearings and Materials

Always seek a quality ceramic or a stainless-steel ball bearings for baitcasting reels. Generally speaking, the more bearings the reel has, the more likely it is to cast and retrieve smoothly. Seek reels that are both lightweight as well as utilize stronger materials such as an aluminum or magnesium material or even a carbon composite. This will give you stronger and more durable materials which will improve durability as well as performance.

Gear Ratio

A gear ratio shows how many times a spool will turn in one revolution of the handle. Higher gear ratios will allow for more line to be retrieved with every turn of the handle. Common gear ratios for top baitcasting reels are the 5.3:1, the6.4:1, and the 7.1:1.

The 6.4:1 ratio is an excellent all-around choice. You can choose any type of bait or any kind of fishing technique. This includes worms and jigs, topwater and shallow cranking, and offers excellent performance. Other ratios are far more detailed and specialized. You’ll want to know what you’re planning to fish for and the type of bait to choose the proper gear ratio.

Lower ratios are ideal for baits that will pull harder such as a deep diving crankbait. Larger swimbaits and even the slow rolling heavier spinner baits. Lower gear ratios will help you to reel your bait in slower which will keep your line in the strike zone far longer. The higher torque output will make this a nice option for flipping and moving the fish out of cover.

High gear ratios are ideal for taking up the slack, burning bait into the boat and more. Should you fish topwater frogs and toads, you’ll want to use the 7.1:1 baitcasting reel as your optimal choice. These will also excel in helping you to pitch jigs and plastics. They take the slack up quickly and offer an excellent hookset.

You’ll find a more detailed explanation here:

Drag System

This is important as it puts the resistance on the spool line as it’s being pulled by a fish trying to escape. As a key aspect, this will help to determine the drag on the reel and the amount of pressure allowed before the line would break. This is the maximum amount of drag pressure and it’s vital to the max drag for larger fish as many reels aren’t able to handle enough of the pressure to stop the escape of the fish as it pulls the line off of the reel as it plays out.

It’s vital to have the right drag pressure to adjust from the lowest to the highest amount. It’s important to fine tune the drag across the range as it gives more control when you’re fighting the fish and it will help you to land them more quickly.

Also of equal importance, the drag with a lower start of inertia will employ it evenly and seamlessly. Should the drag be jerky you’ll be at a higher risk of a line break, especially if the drag isn’t properly set.

Brake System

Rotating spools will help the casting distance to use a heavier line and lure. It will also mean that there is more risk of backlash and headache. Braking systems will counter this by fixating the speed of the spool as it’s cast out. There are two kinds of braking systems. These are magnetic and centrifugal or friction braking systems. Typically, the reels have one or two different types of brakes and a few will have both kinds. There are arguments for and against each kind however, it really boils down to a personal choice.

It’s also critical with the braking system to use the proper thumb spool and control the spool as you speed the cast. The more proficient you are with it, the better and the more control you’ll have over your reel and cast.

Line Capacity

Always consider what sort of fish you’re going after before you choose your line capacity. In general use, you’ll want to choose what is comfortable yet durable. unless it’s a bigger species, you should be able to choose a lighter weight.

Saltwater fishing brings its own concerns. You’ll want plenty of distance when you cast for those longer runs.

Many anglers prefer a lower profile baitcasting reel that allows for plenty of line to handle both bass and pickerel. Salmon, steelhead, and others will mean you need to opt for something heavier.

Weight

While it’s not quite as vital to the other factors, always consider the weight should you be fishing for longer periods of time. Many low profile baitcasters offer a range of 14w g to 284 g. With a few exceptions, the numbers are the most commonly used.

Tension Adjustment

This puts physical pressure on the spool and it allows for the adjustability of the spin. There are many issues that angler have to deal with such as not overcorrecting and the spool tension as they change the weights of the lures. Tension should always be matched to the spin of the spool as well as the size of the lure with which you’re fishing. Tension isn’t meant to become the braking system and you’ll wear the reel down quickly if you do this too much. It does have some wear and tear on the internal components. You’ll need the proper tension and casting distance as it will greatly improve the accuracy.

Switch

The main purpose of the switch is to re-engage the spool. Many switches work to be engaged via the time that it’s being used. You may find a switch that allows for pushing down the thumb-bar and then releasing it as well.

Brand

There are many brands and the one you choose will matter a great deal. Choose one that offers you the features that you’re seeking and find ones that you’re comfortable with. depending on the particular size and style of fish you’re angling for you’ll have many great options.

Right or Left Handed Reels

Most right-handers go with a right-handed rod and reel. With baitcasting, it’s vital to have something that is ergonomic and works well for both the rod and the reel.

Set up the equipment for what you’re most comfortable with. Typically, if you cast right handed, you’ll want to then move the rod to your left hand and work the crank with the right hand.

Many anglers will switch things up and use the alternate hand. It’s all what you’re most comfortable with.

With a bit of practice, you’ll quickly become comfortable with either hand.

There won’t be any need to switch hands to reel something in. This will greatly improve your speed and ability to reel something in when it strikes.

Anti Reverse

This is a feature that will allow you to reverse the spinning as a fish strikes your lure and takes off with your line.

Many reels have an anti-reverse setup and lower profile reels typically use a one-way bearing. This way you don’t have to stress over the anti-reverse.

Regardless, you’ll want to consider all of your options.

How to Use a Baitcasting Reel?

Baitcasting reels can be more complicated to use than traditional spinning gear but it is a great way for experienced fishers to cast quicker in a more versatile way. Regardless of your level of expertise, if you have been used to casting in the traditional way, get ready for a learning curve when you use this spinning reel. While you are trying to get the hang of it, there are a whole lot of systems and moving parts that can cause issues, one of the worst of these being backlashes. Learning how to cast with a baitcasting reel can be likened to learning how to use a stick in a manual car when you have only ever driven an automatic. Baitcasting incorrectly will prevent you from becoming more proficient, however, if you learn to do it correctly you will progress to a whole new level. In this guide on how to use a baitcasting reel correctly, we hope you will learn how to improve your casting abilities and avoid misuse.

Basic Equipment Needed for Baitcasting

Baitcaster

One of the most important things you can do is choose the perfect baitcaster for you personally, and this is what this article sets out to help you do. Generally, there are two basic types to choose from: magnetic or centrifugal.

A magnetic baitcaster has an adjustable knob on the outside that makes it look easy to manoeuver but don’t be fooled. They are actually more prone to backlashing which is something you need to keep in mind when deciding which one to purchase.

A centrifugal baitcaster is similar in a way to the braking system on a car. They have pins located outside and adjustable interior pins that can be engaged and disengaged. This makes the system easier to use because the levers work in much the same way as other mechanical tools you own or work with. This feature makes a centrifugal baitcaster a more viable option for beginners.

Line

The line will always depend on the type of rig setup you decide to use. Most fishers recommend a braided line for baitcasting.

Rods

Rods are one of the first things you get when deciding to fish. If you are an experienced fisher you already own rods but are may be looking for a more advanced way to fish. Choosing a new rod is a big decision and you should make sure that you have done your research in order to find the best one for you.

Bait

Bait will mostly depend on two things: personal preference and setup. The most common method is to use bright neon lights to attract the fish.

Steps for Using a Baitcasting Reel

Step 1 – Locating The Braking System

The purpose of a braking system is to slow down the rotation of the spool when casting the bait in order to prevent a backlash that can occur from a spool that spins faster than the dispersing line. You can locate the braking system on a centrifugal baitcaster by removing the side plate on the reel. On a magnetic baitcaster the braking system can be located by adjusting the outside knob. It is a good idea to watch the video on where to locate the braking system on your baitcaster or by following the instructions supplied.

Step 2 – Adjusting The Braking System

You can adjust the braking system in one of two simple ways: engaging or disengaging. The braking system can be engaged by pushing the interior levers and disengaged by pushing the brake levers. Disengagement is used for longer casts that have a greater risk of backlash. If you are new to baitcasting it is a good idea to rely heavily on the braking system in the beginning. If you implement this in the beginning, your casts will be shorter but you will learn better control. Once you have learned how to prevent backlashes with shorter castings, you will be able to loosen up on the brakes somewhat.

Step 3 – Adjusting The Tension Knobs

The tension knobs can be located on the same side as the handle. The tension should be adjusted according to the weight of your baitcaster. The knob can be turned clockwise to tighten the tension or counter-clockwise to loosen it. These tension knobs are useful at the end of your cast.

Step 4 – Testing The Tension

A vital part of baitcasting is testing the tension. You can do this by holding the rod at the tip while disengaging the spool release button located at the bottom. Keep adjusting the tension until the bait is allowed to fall without backlash.

Step 5 – Gripping The Baitcaster

Gripping your baitcaster is similar to the way in which you would grip the steering wheel of your car or the firm grip required to aim a gun. Learning early on how to grip your baitcaster correctly is important as the way you do it will make a huge difference to your baitcasting. The correct way is to mold your hand around the rod handle of the reel in a firm but controlled grip.

Step 6 – Releasing The Line

One of the most important parts of fishing is releasing the line. Getting a good cast and releasing the proper amount of line is, however, just as important. A good tip is, before casting, to let a length of 8 – 12 inches hang and then measure the line. This can be done by drawing the line from the rod tip to the bait.

Step 7 – Releasing The Spool And Casting

The proper way is to release the spool and then using your thumb to prevent it from running. When it comes to casting, however, to find the technique that is most comfortable for you is a really a personal choice. If you are a beginner keep in mind the tip to use heavy braking at first! This also means not casting too hard and making shorter casts until you have learned how to reduce potential backlash.

Step 8 – Practice Casting

The best thing you can do to become more proficient at using your baitcasting reel is to practice as much as you can, especially if you are a beginner. When practicing casting, concentrate on swinging with your whole arm, like swinging a bat, and avoid using your wrist. When you experience backlashes, don’t become discouraged. With practice, you will soon achieve more accuracy and distance. Try out a variety of casting techniques until you find your favorite one. Using a baitcasting reel is a great way to improve your fishing experience, especially if you would like to become more proficient at your hobby.

Should I Use a Braided or Mono Line on a Baitcaster?

These days I believe most people use braided line on their baitcaster. This is often paired with a flouro or mono leader of around 10 feet.

However, there is no reason that you can’t have your baitcasting setup in whatever way you like the best. If you decide to use braid and a leader together, then you can use this video to learn how to set it up.

When you use braided line it results in less stretch so your hook will set firmer and also you will be able to feel your lure as it bumps along the structure (and also feel hits) much better when you use a long line. However, be careful, since braid can set so quickly that you could end up ripping the lures directly out of the fish. Therefore, it might take some time to get used to this.

or a majority of topwater uses, usually, I just tie the brain directly to my lure. However, one of the drawbacks to this is the braided line might be visible to some picky fish. So try to use a clear mono leader for your float, if the bite is difficult.

What Information Do I Need to Know Regarding the Differences Between Reels that are Made for Saltwater and Those that are Made for Freshwater?

To begin with, salt is deadly on all metals. That is why it makes sense that fishing reels that are designed to be used in saltwater are made out of non-corrosive, stainless steel as well as other non-corroding components.

When a reel comes into contact with saltwater that is designed to only be used in freshwater it will corrode and probably be damage. Rinsing your reel after you use it is one solution. Be sure to get a reel that has been designed to use in saltwater.

Keep in mind that saltwater reels are designed to catch much bigger fish. This is why they have much larger line capacities when compared with freshwater reels. That is also the reason why they are usually more expensive.

Conclusion

No matter what style of fishing you use, it is important to have the right equipment in order to enjoy a pleasurable and successful fishing experience. The right equipment to use for casting heavier lines and lures and going after big fish are baitcasting reels. It does take patience and time to select the right baitcast reel and then become proficient in using it. However, it is well worth the effort since a baitcaster reel will provide you with more accuracy, speed, power, and control.

Once you are able to locate the right baitcaster for you, make sure you pair it with a baitcasting rod that is compatible so that you are using a well-balanced baitcaster combination that will perform in a flawless manner. It will take some patience and practice to learn how to properly set up your reel and to thumb the spool the way a professional does. However, once you learn this, you will be all set to get after large fish and reap the benefits of using this very powerful kind of fishing reel. You will probably find yourself shopping for and yet another baitcasting reel to further add to your overall fishing arsenal.

References

Best Baitcasting Reels ( Top 3 Picks )

Product
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Professional's Choice
Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
Best Value
Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel...
Image
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel...
Price
from $39.98
from $490.00
from $29.99
Prime
-
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Product
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Image
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Price
from $39.98
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Product
Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
Image
Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
Price
from $490.00
Prime
-
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Product
Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel...
Image
Entsport Saltwater Casting Reel Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Baitcast Reel...
Price
from $29.99
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Last update on 2019-08-15 / Rating by Author / Affiliate links, Images, Descriptions & Price from Amazon Product Advertising API

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