As the fishing industry becomes more and more advanced, finding the best baitcasting reel for the money and fishing needs is becoming increasingly difficult.
Baitcasters are a must especially for bass fishing or anytime you need a powerful reel that is easy to handle, lightweight and casts accurately with ease.
That may sound like a lot but the right baitcast reel can do that for you and much more by helping you be as productive and efficient on the water as possible.
Here’s a quick look at the winners:
- Lews BB1 Speed Spool – Best Baitcasting Reel For The Money
- KastKing Royale Legend – Best Baitcasting Reel Under $100
- Shimano Curado 200I – Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200
- Abu Garcia Black Max 3 – Best Baitcasting Reel For Beginners
- Docooler DMX – Best Budget Baitcasting Reel
Best Baitcasting Reel For The Money
These are 3 of the top reels we think are a cut above the rest in terms of price, weight and features. To see more top baitcasters click here.
Abu Garcia Revo SX
The Abu Garcia Revo SX is designed with high-quality performance abilities. The design has been recently updated to lower its weight by 25% making handling easier and less tiring on your hands and arms. This reel is for a dedicated fisherman seeing as it can run anywhere between $84 and $120 – not for the casual, couple times of year fishing trip, you take with grandpa.
This baitcasting reel is made with an alloy frame for corrosion resistance and a carbon handle side plate created for durability. Even if you have an aggressive fighting fish on the end of your line, this reel will ensure a smooth drag pressure so you don’t feel like you are winning a losing battle.
The Daiwa Tatula 100hs is an incredible piece of equipment that is truly designed to reel in those big fish who rarely crack the surface of the water. It is extremely durable and only weighs 7.9 ounces. It has just over a 13-pound drag power which will ensure that you get the fish into the boat instead of losing it before you can net it. Priced at $150, this reel is not for the faint of heart.
You have to know what you’re doing on the water if you want to have this baitcast reel attached to your rod. It is a smooth and reliable reel that can hold its own against that lake monster. Its precision design mixed with a level wind system for longer casts and stainless steel ball bearings creates a balanced system that allows for accuracy and easy handling all around.
Lew’s BB1 Speed Spool
The Lew’s BB1 Speed Spool reel will guarantee you’ll be the envy of your fishing buddies. This baitcast reel is the mother of all reels at a whopping $160. It is known for its casting distance, comfort level, and complete durability even during the toughest battles on the water. With some modernized updates, it is bigger and better than it has ever been before.
It was created with a carbon fiber aluminum star drag system with a 14-pound drag power limit and a solid aluminum frame for easy cleaning and upkeep. Every aspect of this reel is the real deal and will have you bringing fish into the boat, cast after cast.
Best Baitcasting Reel Under $100
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to settle for a “cheesy” reel because there are many baitcasting reels under $100 that have many of the same features as their pricey big brothers.
Abu Garcia PMAX3 Pro Max
The Abu Garcia baitcast reel is an incredible piece of fishing equipment. The ergonomic reel design was created for efficient casting control. It is built with graphite side plates and brass gear on the inside to ensure you get the longest use out of it. Usually, this bad boy can run anywhere from $60-$80 depending on where you get it from but the price is well worth the piece due to its engineering.
It is a light and compact reel that allows for easy use and a smooth drag performance. When that 10 pound largemouth comes biting, you won’t have to worry about your line snapping because this reel comes equipped with double aluminum spools to give extra strength to your line.
KastKing Royale Legend
Another incredible baitcast reel that you can show off to your friends is the KastKing Royale Legend. This reel is designed for high performance at a low cost of between $40 and $50. In comparison to other’s this reel is priced lower but has the same mechanics as more expensive ones. It comes prepared with 12 pounds of drag, twin grips for easier handling and is available for right handers or left handers.
It is a sharp looking piece with a sleek black design and red accents to make it pop. This is a go-to baitcasting reel for saltwater and freshwater fishing. It is lightweight and allows for easy use and big fish, catching.
Lew’s Speed Spool LFS Baitcast Reel
Last, but certainly not least, is the Lew’s Speed Spool reel. The most expensive of these reels, at between $90-$100, it is built for top notch performance and accuracy. It weighs only 7 ounces and is designed with a high quality, magnetic brake system.
The side plates are removable graphite for easy cleaning and maintenance. It has a newly designed frame platform called LFS which is why the reel itself is so light and compact. Every fisherman wants this type of baitcast reel in their fishing arsenal.
Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200
Here we’ve listed our top 3 baitcasting reels under $200. Shimano, Lew’s and Abu Garcia are arguably the best, most respected names in the fishing industry so it’s no wonder their reels made our list. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar you can’t go wrong with any of these three.
They are not entry level but they are not too pricey either. Many tournament pros use these reels everyday so if they depend on them surely you can too.
Best Baitcasting Reel For Beginners
Just starting out using a baitcaster can be a challenge, so you need a reel that is easy to cast, easy to setup and easy on the wallet. We think these all fit that bill.
Best Budget Baitcasting Reel
This one pretty much comes down to what you view is value and what is fluff in a budget baitcaster. This reel is similar to ones in the above price ranges but offers plenty of features with a very small price. It is the Docooler DMK. I know its not a household name but if you’re looking for a budget reel with plenty of features like 10 ball bearings, an aluminum spool and a 6.3:1 gear ratio. Check it out below and we think you’ll agree.
Advantages Of Using Baitcast Reels
There are many fishing techniques and situations that only a good baitcasting reel can handle. Tossing heavy deep diving crankbaits, flipping and pitching jigs or creature baits and power fishing spinnerbaits all require a strong, smooth casting baitcaster. Other benefits include:Needing More Power
Fishing certain baits requires a powerful baitcaster with a good drag and a slower gear ratio to winch fish out of cover. A reel with good power will allow you to fish heavier baits in heavy cover and still be strong enough to drag fish up and out of it. A spinning reel will not and cannot provide enough power for these applications.Using Heavier Line
Anytime you are fishing in heavy cover or are fishing for big fish in open water, you need to use heavy line. Although some off-shore spinning reels can handle big line, baitcasters are made for heavy pound test. The in-line setup of the spool through the rods guides lets the line peel off easier giving you effortless, smooth casts even with lines over 25 pound test.More Casting Control
Lure presentation is vital to maximizing your catch rate especially for bass fishing. Being able to present a lure in a tight spot like under docks or overhangs will greatly improve your day on the water. Baitcasting reels give you unmatched control and accuracy when skipping jigs under docks or casting to specific targets.
When you learn to set up your reel correctly and feather your spool, you’ll have the option to place your lure quietly and with pinpoint accuracy to virtually any place a fish could hide.
How To Choose The Best Baitcaster For You
My final advice in picking out the best baitcasting reel for you and your fishing style is really simple. It basically comes down to 3 criteria to sort through and when you find the reel that meets all these standards you should have the right baitcaster. They are as follows:Weight
Finding a baitcasting reel that is light and easy to handle will make your day on the water a much more enjoyable one. Trust me, you don’t want to be casting a heavy reel all day, especially when fishing is slow. The arm and wrist fatigue will have you calling it a day early.
I would look for a reel that weighs in under 7 ounces. There are plenty of reels now that fit that bill with some even under 6 ounces, although they are more high-end models.Gear Ratio
The gear ratio of a reel determines how fast you can retrieve a lure or how much line is picked up per handle turn. For instance, a 7:1 gear ratio means that for every 1 handle turn the spool spins 7 times. This equates to a lot of line being picked up at one turn (for 7:1 this is usually about 30 inches per handle turn).
For fishing soft plastics, flipping or pitchin and generally fast moving baits a 7:1 gear ratio is what I usually go with. For deep diving crankbaits you need to think more along the lines of a 5:1 or 5.4:1 ratio so the bait won’t wear you out after a few minutes of casting.
The best overall gear ratio if you only had one reel for every technique would definitely be a 6.4:1 ratio. It combines both power and speed so it can handle pretty much any situation you could encounter on the water.Price
With technology so advanced today, you can find a great reel even at cheaper price points. There are nice reels under $100 that meet the criteria above as far as gear ratio and lightweight frames.
Once you’ve narrowed down the gear ratio you need for your style of fishing, next just determine how much you want to spend and find the lightest reel in that price range.
That should be a great starting point for you and as you get used to your new baitcaster, you’ll get a feel for what you need and what features matter most to you and your next reel purchase will be even easier.
No matter what type of baitcast reel you are considering getting, all of these types would be a great addition for you. If price is your deciding factor, it won’t affect the quality reel that you purchase. These innovative and high-quality reels will up your fishing game and be sure to give you friends something to be jealous of.
Do your research, figure out what fits your style and technique the best and go get your baitcast reel sooner rather than later. The fishing season only lasts so long and you don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity.
I’ve used baitcasters since I was young but even now when I make a new purchase I still use these tips as a general rule. When you compare all the features and your style of fishing, it still comes down to determining what is the best baitcasting reel for the money.
A baitcasting reel is an important device to any angler. The method provides you with many benefits such as giving you more control of your casts. You also have more control over the motion of your lures. For you to reap these benefits, you need to be cautious of the unit that you purchase. To help you out here are the factors that you should consider when buying a baitcasting reel:
The reel frame
Just like in any other unit, the frame is the foundation of the baitcasting reel. A low-quality frame means that the device will break soon and you will be required to replace it after a short while. To be on the safe side, you should invest in a high-quality aluminum reel. There are plenty of graphite reels in the market that goes at a lower cost, but they aren’t worth your money.
Whether they are composite reinforced, graphite, reinforced graphite or any other graphite related materials, you should avoid them. Studies show that these units not only break easily, they also have a problem hooking large long running fish.
The gear ratio is the number of times that the spool turns when you rotate the handle once. It’s easy to tell the gear ratio as the ratio is usually written on the reel’s body. Most of the reels have one of these gear ratios: 4:1, 5:1, and 6:1. 4:1 is said to be slow, 5:1 is average while 6:1 is fast. Studies show that most beginners don’t know how the gear ratios work. If you see a gear ratio of 5:1 it means that the spool turns five times when you rotate the handle once. As you must have guessed, the higher the rotation ratio, the faster the retrieve and the less you get tired.
For you to settle on the right gear ratio, you need to consider the type of lures that you will be using. If you are using diving crankbaits and large spinnerbaits, you should go for a unit with a slow gear ratio. On the other hand, if you will be using jigs, soft plastics, Texas rigs and other units you should go for a reel with a higher gear ratio. In some cases, you may need reels with ultra high gear ratios. This is often when you are using buzz baits, spinnerbaits and other lures that require fast action.
The spindle size solely depends on the size of fish that you are pursuing. If interested in a large fish it means that you will need a heavier line. Thus you need more space on the spool. In such a case you should go with a reel with a nice thick spool that can hold all the line that you need. If pursuing a small fish, you need a lighter line thus you need a small spool.
To have an easy time casting the reels you need to have a unit with a good braking system. Most of the units in the market have two main types of braking systems: centrifugal and magnetic. There are a few of the modern units that have a dual braking system. The centrifugal braking system is made up of 4-6 brakes that you can turn on and off depending on your needs. The brakes work during the first part of the cast and prevent your spool from over spinning thus reducing the chances of having an over-run.
The magnetic braking system, on the other hand, works at the back end of the cast and slows the spools thus ensuring that the over-runs are at the end of the cast. To buy the right unit, you should work with a professional to guide you on buying the right unit with the right braking system.
These are the factors that you should consider when buying a baitcasting reel. Remember that comfort is of great importance for smooth casting. As rule of thumb ensure that the device you are buying has rubber handles and other features that make it as comfortable as possible.
The Benefits of Baitcasting Reels
Admittedly, a lot of people are hesitant when it comes to buying or using baitcasting reels (also called overhead reels.) Some are citing the expensive price tags attached to this fishing implement. Others are saying that these feel “heavy” and problematic to use. And then there are others still who are saying that these reels are by far, harder to use or master or get comfortable with… especially if you compare these to the other fishing reels currently available in the market. There are grains of truth to these claims, but there are also certain facts that you ought to know also.
1.These reels will always “feel” heavier, simply because these are most suited for heavier lines and bait. Although this seems like the most common complaint of first-time users, many people eventually learn how to use that weighty feel to their advantage.
Three: baiting reels are not really for novices. If you want to learn how to fish, then you are better off with easier-to-handle reels that you can use as your training tool. But, if you want to get to fish like a pro, then eventually you will have to gravitate towards learning how to use baitcasting reels.
Of course, you can learn how to fish professionally without ever using this kind of reel, but you might want to consider the fact that: many professional anglers and deep-sea fishers use such implements because these provide more control when it comes to handling the larger game. Very often, you will see this kind of reel when anglers go out to catch tuna, sailfish, and marlin in choppy waters. Naturally enough, when you are after such game, you would need a larger and more robust overhead reel that can handle the dark line, the bulky bait, and the subsequent drag that both line and bait provide when these are trolling in the water.
Good control also means that you can exhaust the game on your line easily. The Large game can put up an excellent fight, and the last thing you need is for the fish to make a break for it. Good control on the line also makes the fish easier to haul out of the water. This is essential if you want to avoid injury to yourself, your crew (if you have one) or the game.
Lastly, if you are after smaller game, overhead reels also provide lesser line twists. This means that you do not expend too much energy when you cast out a line, and you sacrifice little effort when you retrieve the line back. This feature is also quite convenient if you are on a roll and catching one fish after the other.
How to Use a Baitcasting Reel
Fishing with baitcasting reels can be very aggravating for the first time. There are some things that you will need to know before attempting to fish with one of these reels. However, once you learn them, you will see why they are becoming so popular. Baitcasting reels were initially used in salt water fishing. There designed for catching bigger fish like a marlin; but anglers started to use them in the freshwater lakes, especially, for largemouth bass and other big game fish.
The first thing you need to know is, bait casters work better with the heavier line — I wouldn’t even attempt any line under 12-pound test. And when you fill your spool with fishing line, don’t fill it to the brim, leave at least 1/8 of an inch from the top. Just these few tips alone will save you a boat-load of problems.
Casting is more critical with bait casters. Don’t jerk your rod are whip it; this will cause your lure to travel slower than your line off the spool and leads to the dreadful ” Backlash.” If you don’t know what backlash is, it is simply when your spool over feeds and your line becomes a tangled mess. This is a common occurrence with bait casters and the biggest complaint. With the proper technique, you can avoid these most of the time. Your thumb is used as your brake against the spool when casting. You just press the lever down with your thumb and keep your thumb on the spool to keep your lure from free falling. Then with a nice smooth motion, cast, and when your bait hits the water, press your thumb against the spool again to prevent backlash or overfeeding. You might even try pressing your thumb against the spool before your lure even hits the water.
You have to set your brake to your lure. This is the knob on the same side as your handle right next to the star– the star is your drag. You will want to press the casting lever on your reel and let your lure free fall, once the lure hits the water or ground, the spool should stop spinning, if it doesn’t, tighten your break.
The baitcasting reel also known as the revolving spool consists of a line fixed on a revolving spool which is supported by ball-bearings. The reel is designed in such a way that when you crank the handle, the spool revolves several times. To help you understand this device, it is important to take a look into the history of the reel.Here is a brief background of baitcast reels.
The earliest known record of a baitcasting reel is contained in a painting known as the Angler on Wintry Lake. The painting is credited to Ma Yuan (1127-1279) and depicts a man fishing from a sampan boat using a revolving reel. There is also a painting done by the renowned Wu Zhen between 1280 and 1354 portraying an image of a man trying to catch fish using a device resembling a baitfishing reel. These are the earliest records indicating that baitfishing reels have been around for years.
Initially, the reels were made using gears made from brass or iron with hard rubber or German silver spools or casings. The reels had several gears ranging from 2:1 to 4:1. Unlike modern reels, these devices did not have drag mechanisms. So ,to achieve resistance, users had to press their thumbs firmly on the spools.
During the 1870s, some manufacturers started using bearings to mount spools since free-spinning spools often caused backlash and exerted a strong pull on the lines. They also incorporated a clicking pawl to slow down or stop overrunning spools.
With time, anglers started realizing that unlike other reels, they could leave the rods and reels in their holders and relax as they waited for the fish to take the bait. Why? The sound produced by the pawl alerted them when the fish swallowed the bait.
The background of baitcast reels cannot be complete without explaining how to operate them. To use the reel, you have to turn it on its side, engage the free spool and place your thumb on the spool to keep the lure in position. When it is time to cast it, you have to snap the rod to the two o’clock position and smoothly cast it forward carefully. This move enables the lure to pull the line.
To make contact with the line, slow down the lure and regulate the spool’s rotation, anglers have to master how to use their thumbs effectively. Though modern reels use centrifugal systems and magnetic braking for controlling backlash, the devices can only achieve maximum effects if the fisherman has gained sufficient knowledge, practice and finesse in maneuvering it.
Now that you understand the background of baitcast reels and how they are operated, it is time to find out what to look for when buying a revolving reel.
This feature tells you how many times the spool turns in a single revolution. The higher the ratio, the more the line is retrieved every time the handle turns. Common gear ratios are 7.1:11, 6.4:1 and 5.3:1.
Brakes and tension system
The tension knob is responsible for controlling the line at the start of the cast while the brake system regulates the line at the end of the cast. The brakes comes in handy when casting into the wind since there is a tendency for the spool to spin faster compared to the bait since it is slowed down by the wind.
A bigger spool is always handy for anglers who love to fish using heavy lines such as the 20lb fluorocarbon. A large spool creates smaller coils of line that are easier to manage while smaller spools are better for short line applications such as pitching and flipping.
Basically, the more bearings a reel has, the smoother it will cast and retrieve. Always look out for quality stainless steel or ceramic ball bearing in your reels since these are the best in the industry.
So, which are the highest-rated baitcasting reels? Consider the following:
Abu Garcia Revo SX
The Abu Garcia Revo SX is considered one of the best reels you can get today. And there is a good reason for that: it is easy to palm, come in 2 different gear ratios and is very light.
The reel features 10+1 ball bearing, 6.4/7.1 gear ratios and weighs 6.78 oz. This not only makes the reel great for a wide swath of angling techniques, it also combines a handy workhorse and a multi-purpose device in one reel. So, if you are looking for performance, versatility and a constant fishing companion without denting the wallet, look no further.
The Daiwa R-100 XS is designed for angler looking for performance, power and durability, all rolled into one. It features 7+1 corrosion resistant ball bearing, unique T-Wing casting system, 8.1:1 gear ratios and an infinite Anti-Reverse system. In addition, it has 13.2 lbs Tested Max Drag and weigh 7.6 oz.
One of the unique features of the reel is the T-Wing Casting System that is only found on all Daiwa Tatula casting series. This unique system gives it an edge over other devices and allows you to cast it much further. And do not worry if you are left handed, Daiwa has a specific model for you.
Shimano Curado 1
The Shimano Curado reels are renowned the world over for being among the best devices of all time. You only need to glance at the boat of any angler around and you are likely to see a couple of Curados on the deck.
The Curado 1 has a reputation for durability, reliability and performance. In some instances, all you need is to clean the reel thoroughly, give it some new bearings and you end up with a Curado looking as good as new.
The Curado 1 features 5+1 S-A RB ball bearings, 5.6/6.3/7.2 gear ratios and weighs 7.4 oz.
The background of baitcast reels, features and the top brands stipulated above are aimed at helping you make an informed choice when looking for the best angler reels in the market. Ultimately, making an informed decision about your preferred fishing reel is one of the most important steps you will ever take in your fishing expedition.