Last Updated on April 25, 2021 by KayakPro
Even if you never get to hook a trout, your ability to cast well will make you look good when you out on the river. But, when it comes to fly fishing, you are only as good as the equipment you use, which means, if you want to cast like a Derby winner, you are going to need a good rod and casting reel.
Having said this, if you are considering a casting reel then here are a few options you can use to haul in your next catch.
What to Look for in a Baitcasting Reel?
If you are new to angling, a baitcasting reel is identified by the revolving spool that’s placed at the top of a casting rod. There are a few factors that you will need to consider before getting a baitcasting reel.
The manufacturer you choose will make a lot of difference when buying a baitcasting reel, which is why you will want to go with a well-known and reliable brand. While each manufacturer offers different features with their reels, you will need to choose one that matches your fishing style. Going for a well-known brand will get you additional features, better lifetime and a solid warranty.
Baitcasting reels come in two types, or profiles, the low profile and the round profile. Here are a few things you should know about both:
- Low-Profile – Those anglers who value comfort while they are out fishing usually gravitate towards the low profile feel for obvious reasons. What makes this reel more comfortable as compared to the round profile is its palm-able grip, which makes it easier to handle the reel while winding in your haul. In a way, the low-profile feel has been designed especially keeping the angler in mind. Its ergonomic design allows better wrist action, and its light weight ensures that you don’t tire too soon. The low profile baitcasting reel is a smart option for those who are out fishing bass.
- Round Profile – The baitcasting reel with a round profile is perfect for going after large fish. The round profile reel is normally gripped from the back, which is the reason for the improved torque it is able to generate. This makes it easy to accommodate larger baits and larger fish. The round profile reels are ideal for catching larger fish such as pike, steelhead, and salmon. This type of feel is also great for angling or trolling in deeper waters since it is capable of holding more line.
The next factor to consider is going to be the gear ratio. This is the number of revolutions the spool makes once the handle is turned. It has an impact on the speed at which lure anglers are able to retrieve. Certain numerals are given on baitcasting reels for instance, 6.4:1, which means the reel will turn 6.4 times with a single turn of the handle. A greater number of revolutions per turn means faster retrieval. When it comes to gear ratio, anything above 6.0:1 is considered fast, moderate, while a ratio below 5.9:1 is considered slow.
Cracking power isn’t everything when it comes to choosing a baitcasting reel. For instance, many anglers go for a lower gear ratio for diving crankbaits or large spinnerbaits, while a moderate gear ratio works best for soft plastics and jigs. It is advised to use the fastest gear ratio you can find if you are going to use buzz baits and fewer lures.
Choosing a spool size will depend on the line capacity you require. This is easily calculated by first figuring out the type of fishing you are planning and the sizes of fish you expect to haul. Trolling or going after larger fish will require a considerable amount of line, which means getting a larger spool size. However, if you are casting then the low-profile reel will do fine.
As the name implies, the braking system is responsible for bringing the reel’s rotations to a halt. The braking system can also be used to cut down the amount of backlash that’s experienced by the spool. A baitcasting reel that has a dependable braking system is every angler’s dream, simply because it will result in better casting. You can find two types of breaks in baitcasting reels:
- Centrifugal System – A centrifugal breaking system is basically a manual system which offers the fisher freedom to make necessary adjustments while dealing with strong gusts or other factors while fishing.
- Magnetic System – The magnetic system is considered to be the cheapest kind of breaking system that’s available in the market today. This is also the least efficient when it comes to making necessary adjustments while out fishing.
In fishing terminology, drag refers to the tension that’s placed on a spool. This determines how easily the line can be pulled off the spool when needed. This also helps manage the fish that’s dangling at the other end of your line, which is why it should be carefully considered. It is important that the drag systems you choose are made of carbon, graphite or ceramic because once the fish pulls out the line, it is the drag disc that’s going to heat up and expand. How much will depend on the speed and pressure that is placed on the line. It is important to note that if the pressure is too much, the line can snap. The key is to maintain constant pressure and speed while fishing so that the drag disc does not heat up too quickly.
Bearings are used to reduce the amount of friction between moving gears in the reel while hauling in a catch. Good bearings can also increase the lifespan of a fishing rod. Needless to say, choosing a reel that has more bearings will result in better casting. That being said, it is much better to choose a reel that has got five good quality bearings than one that has 15 poor quality ones. It is easy to determine the good bearings from the average ones because bearings are graded from 1 being the lowest, to 9 being the highest in terms of performance.
Material of Body Frame
If you are looking to get your hands on a high quality baitcasting reel then you will want to purchase one that is made of high grade graphite or aluminum. It is important here to note that while graphite is a good choice for a baitcasting reel and is much lighter as compared to the aluminum option, it is not as resistant to flexing and will not be able to produce the same level of cranking power as the aluminum reel.
Graphite baitcasting reels are the best option for bass fishing or catching panfish, while the aluminum variety should be used on saltwater. You can also find reels that are a mixture of both graphite and aluminum, getting you the best of both worlds.
Why Buy a Baitcasting Reel?
Baitcasting reels are the best thing to have happened for modern anglers. Whether you are in the wide open sea or running up and down a lake in search of trout, having a well-built baitcasting reel almost always leads to better results. Regardless of the type of fishing you are interested in, a baitcasting reel will enable you to fish better. It’s a great option for those who use heavier lines and are looking to handle heavier hauls.
The baitcasting reel is also designed for better performance while on the water since it leads to better control of the line. Much of the baitcasting reel’s efficiency is because of its inner machinery, and sadly, not all baitcasting reels are created equal. If you are contemplating going fishing in the not-so-distant future, and are looking for a reliable baitcasting reel, then not to worry. We have combed the internet to find the best baitcasting reels money can buy. These baitcasting reels are ideal for efficient hauling and landing larger game fish as well.
Top Rated Baitcasting Reels in 2021
The following are our top ten picks for the best baitcasting reels that are available in the market today. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Concept C by 13 Fishing
The Concept C baitcasting reel is an attractive looking reel from 13 Fishing. While the design and build quality of the Concept C is that of a high end (and expensive) brand, the good news is, the Concept C is surprisingly affordable for the high level of quality that it offers. The first thing that is noticeable with the Concept C baitcasting reel is its palm-friendly design which fits nicely in the hands. This comfortable design makes it easier to stand in the water for longer since you don’t have to deal with discomfort or hand fatigue.
The cork grip on this large 90mm handle is one of the most comfortable you will find in the market, which makes it a great choice for casting and retrievals. This also means that you get the most bang for your buck with the Concept C baitcasting reel.
Both the body and the spool of this reel is designed from aircraft grade aluminum so you know you are getting the best quality reel right off the bat. Its 8+1 bearing system means that it is able to perform smoothly on the water making each fishing trip a pleasure. Another reason why the Concept C is your best choice is because it allows you to make confident hook sets thanks to roller bearings that have no back play.
The Concept C uses a Bulldog drag system which offers constant and reliable drag pressure, delivering an impressive 22lbs of drag. The centrifugal breaking system on this rig makes it one of the best in the business, providing exceptional spool pressure for each cast. The only downside is that the break adjusters aren’t that easy to access.
- Ergonomic and attractive design
- Comfortable grip for better angling
- Offers accurate casting every time
- A bit expensive for starters
- Difficult to access brake system adjustments
This is another baitcasting reel that delivers high performance for its price point. The Shimano Curado is available in three different models, each of which have varying gear ratios, and cater to specific methods of fishing. Regardless of the gear ratios, all models have a 5+1 bearing system, which is low as compared to other baitcasting reels, but the high-quality bearings that have been used in its construction means that you will be experiencing smooth reel performance every time.
The Shimano Curado features a well-built aluminum body, and a ported spool for better durability. The carbon composite side plates are meant to reduce the weight, which makes it easier to maneuver the rod while angling. The reel of the Curado offers decent drag with a maximum drag output of a bit more than 11lbs, making it ideal for bass fishing. While the drag adjustments are easy to handle, you will experience some jerkiness during the drag at a higher end. The main selling points of the Shimano Curado is that there has been a lot of use of technology that has gone into designing this reel. But, one area that could use some improvement is the line capacity, which is not up to par with other baitcasters.
- Durable and sturdy design
- Smooth drag
- Better casting performance
- Spool capacity not up to par
- Low performing max drag
- Not many model options
While one complaint of the previous brand is that it doesn’t offer many models, that is certainly not the case with the DiawaTatula, which offers a myriad of different models that caters to various needs of the user. You also get Type R models which feature greater retrieval speeds.
Tatula baitcasting reels are a bit on the heavy side thanks to a full aluminum body, which could be difficult to maneuver. What sets these reels apart from the rest is that they offer unmatched corrosion resistance along with cranking power that the user is sure to appreciate. All models of the Tatula come with a 7+1 sealed bearing system, and the superior corrosion resistant design of this baitcaster makes it an easy choice when choosing an efficient reel.
Apart from the impressive gear ratio and retrieval speed, the Tatula also offers cracking power that maxes out at 13.2 lbs. The UTD drag system used in all Tatula baitcasters come with oversized carbon washers that offer constant drag support. The Magforce-Z magnetic breaking system makes sure you are able to keep control of the line going off the reel. The downside to getting a baitcasting reel with so many options and features is its price.
- Sturdy built, ergonomic design
- One of the best drag systems you can find
- Incredibly fast retrieval
- The price is a bit steep, especially for beginners
Abu Garcia Revo SX
Abu Garcia is responsible for some of the finest baitcasting reels available in the market today, and the Revo SX is no exception. Unlike the previous brand, this is a very affordable baitcaster, which is why it’s a favorite for beginners and fishing enthusiasts alike. But, don’t let the affordable price of this reel fool you. The Revo SX offers tremendous power and is definitely one of the best baitcasting reels out there. Apart from its affordability, the Revo SX has a lot going for it, from its sleek appearance to its lightweight design and sturdy body. With carbon composite side plates supported by a rugged aluminum alloy frame, this is one of the go-to choices for many anglers.
The SX offers 9+1 stainless steel ball bearings and features a whopping 7.1:1 gear ratio, which is simply incredible considering its low price point. With excessive mad drag reaching 20 lbs., the Revo SX offers just about enough power to land a fish. But, a bit of fine tuning the drag could ofresulted in better performance, especially towards the higher end of the drag range. The SX model features a magnetic breaking system that offers better line control. Another issue with the Revo SX is going to be the casting distance which is a lot shorter as compared to many other reels on this list.
- Ergonomic design
- Sensitive drag adjustments
- Not great as a distance caster
- Some back play in the handle
Team Lew’s Pro Magnesium Speed Spool
Team Lew’s Pro Mag packs quite a punch even though it’s feather light. This premium quality baitcaster is a great option for serious anglers who are on a budget. This baitcaster reel boasts of an ergonomic design that delivers all-day comfort. It is lightweight, fast and sturdy, with its one piece magnesium frame and C45 carbon side plates. Users shall experience a refined performance while fishing with Team Lew’s Pro magnesium Speed spool.
The double-shielded ball bearings mean better casting and a killer 27 point, adjustable centrifugal braking system that keeps it all in control. With a max of 7.5:1 gear ratio this is one heck of a baitcaster.
- Strong magnesium frame
- Light weight design
- Adjustable braking system
- Audible tension clicker
- Some anglers could find this baitcaster expensive
Daiwa Coastal TWS 200 Reel
Specially designed for inshore anglers the Daiwa Coastal TWS 200 Reel is a great option if you are looking for a reel that can withstand prolonged exposure to saltwater without getting corroded. In fact, the corrosion resistant ball bearing of the Daiwa Coastal TWS 200 Reel offers up to 12 times corrosion resistance as compared to other ball bearings this significantly increases the lifespan of the reel. You also get a max drag of 15.4 pounds and an impressive 7.3:1 gear ratio that does the trick for smooth casting. You will also get an aircraft grade aluminum spool that offers more line capacity as compared to the other freshwater reels in the Daiwa lineup.
Other impressive features of this baitcaster include the Magforce cast control and T-Wing aperture that helps reduce friction in the line. The large handles and magnetic brakes makes using this Daiwa reel silky smooth.
- Sturdy and durable design
- Non-slip EVA knobs
- Aircraft grade aluminum spool
- Perfect for inshore anglers
- Debris might enter the reel housing
- Only good for bass fishing
Shimano 200IHG Curado RH Baitcast Reel
The Shimano 200IHG Curado RH Baitcast Reel is considered to be one of the best baitcasting reels that are available in the market today. The high level of quality and care that has gone into the design of this baitcaster is evident from the first time you lay hands on it. The Shimano 200IHG Curado RH Baitcast Reel comes along with a lower vibration spool with its precision aluminum S3D spool along with a highly efficient SVS infinity braking system and a Shimano super free system that makes it easier to handle in the water. You also get durable PV power handle grips and a super charged X ship gearing system which ensures better handling of the Shimano every time.
The Shimano 200IHG Curado RH Baitcast Reel is by far the best over-all baitcasting reel that you can invest in. Its sturdy design and many features makes it a great choice for anglers. Overall, it is a great saltwater reel.
- Ergonomic design
- Fairly light design
- Smooth drag
- Build feels plasticky
KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel
The Royale Legend baitcasting reel from KastKing has been designed specifically for freshwater fishing enthusiasts. The baitcaster is the perfect choice for a silent but quick retrieval of all 31.5 inches per turn, which makes it quite an efficient baitcaster. This is one reel you will want to have if you are looking for fast action lures and using buzz baits. The gears of this reel are made of precision cut brass and a 11+1 corrosion resistant ball bearing that allows better casting and retrieval The lightweight anodized aluminum spool with a ceramic lining guiding is compatible with both braided and monofilament lines and offers silky smooth retrieval.
The best part about the KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel is that it’s available in both left and right hand configurations, and weighs just 7.5 ounces, which makes it easy to maneuver while angling. There’s also a dual magnetic and centrifugal braking system that results in better casting control.
- Sturdy design
- Padded foam grips
- Dual braking system
- Good for lighter musky fishing
Piscifun Thunder Baitcasting Reel
With graphite side plates and a carbon round drag system, it’s easy to see how the Piscifun Thunder Baitcasting reel made it to our top ten list. This baitcaster has been designed to offer reliable and smooth drag and a long lifespan, thanks to its quality build and sturdy design. This full size baitcasting reel is meant to haul in large fish and does it really well with its gear ratio of 7.1 with CNC machined high quality brass gears.
You also get up to 9 stainless ball bearings to keep the casting as smooth as possible. The magnetic braking and anti reverse system will keep those nasty bird nests at bay and is another great feature of this affordable baitcaster. You also get a screwed oil hole in the side-plate that allows you to lubricate the reel, adding to its lifespan. The only downside we could find with this reel is that there’s no clicker.
- Lightweight design
- Sturdy build
- CNC machined brass gear
- 6.5:1 gear ratio for better smooth reeling and casting
- No clicker
- No designed to be exposed to sun or salt water for long periods of time
Entsport Classic Casting Reel
And last but certainly not the least, the Entsport Classic Casting reel is a great choice for those on a budget. The most striking feature of this baitcaster is its sleek, ergonomic design which makes using it a breeze. You won’t be wrestling with this reel while your fishing with its two-toned CNC machined aluminum spool and 10 stainless steel ball bearings, with one super stopper anti reverse roller bearing. The magnetic braking is reliable and offers better control on the line.
There’s also an external adjustable multi-level cast control which makes it convenient to adjust. You also get a nifty push-button lock to avoid the side cover from getting loose. The only downside of using the Entsport Classic Casting reel that we could find is its grease protection that’s a bit inefficient as compared to the other models fatured on this list.
- Sturdy build
- Comfortable EVA foam soft touch grip
- Efficient drag
- Poor grease protection
So, here we have listed the ten best baitcasting reels that are available in the market and have discussed the important factors to keep in mind while choosing a baitcasting reel. It is important to note that choosing any one of these baitcasting reels is not going to result in huge hauls or make you a pro at angling.
While there is a learning curve for those who are just starting out fishing, the good news is having a dependable baitcasting reel will give you a smoother performance. You can rest assured that having a sturdy baitcasting reel will make your casting experience much more enjoyable.