Best Baitcasting Reels | 2021 Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
Baitcasting reels are a must-have for anglers looking to bring in bigger fish. They also allow anglers to utilise more advanced techniques that are simply not possible when using conventional spinning reels. The best baitcasting reels will provide you with exceptional levels of control of the lure at all times, while also allowing you to cast and place your lures accurately. They also provide you with the power you need to reel in big fish from extreme depths without straining yourself too much. Our guide will bring up to speed with all the key spec you need to know when selecting the best baitcasting reels for your angling needs.
Gear Ratios Explained
The gear ratio of a reel indicates how many times the spool will turn in a single rotation of the handle. The higher a gear ratio, the more line you can expect to retrieve with a single turn of the reel handle. One of the most commonly encountered gear ratios is 6.4:1. If you are unsure of what gear ratio spec to go for, this is probably the best option for you. With this gear ratio, you can use all manner of angling techniques.
Lower gear ratios are a good option if you are using bait that moves around more on the line. With a low gear ratio, you can reel in spinnerbaits more slowly. This allows you to keep your bait in the strike zone for longer, keeping bass and larger fish engaged for as long as possible. High gear ratios are advised if you need to reel in fish more quickly.
Tensioning & Brake Systems
Baitcasting reels will include a tension knob that lets you control the line when you cast. This type of reel will also include a brake system for line control come the end of casting. If you are casting a line in windy conditions, a reliable brake system is very important. Reliable tension and brake systems are a must if you intend to cast long. They also allow you to use a variety of different lures, without you having to sacrifice control of the line.
You should be thinking about spool size when purchasing baitcaster reels. A larger spool is a good option if you prefer to use line with more rigidity. Line made from fluorocarbon material will definitely benefit from a larger spool. A more substantial spool size results in finer coils. This makes the line easier to handle, causing less issues when it comes to retrieving. If you are using less line and want to utilise flipping techniques, you should be fine with a smaller spool size.
The best baitcasting reels will include ball bearings made from stainless steel or ceramic. These materials are very hard-wearing and will resist corrosion. If you want the smoothest possible results when casting and retrieving your line, go for a reel with as many bearings as possible.
Materials & Maintenance
Although some anglers do not mind a heavier reel, lightweight materials will improve your overall experience. High-grade materials like anodized aluminium are a good option, combining lightweight convenience with durability. Graphite is another good option. If you plan to regularly fish in saltwater, your reel should be made from materials that will cope with exposure to it. You also want a reel that requires as little maintenance as possible. Durable materials and construction will help with this, but you should also consider reels that include side ports so you can regularly oil the bearings to ensure smooth line casting and retrieval. Discharge ports are also good to have, allowing you to get rid of any water that might have found its way into the interior of your reel housing.
Best Baitcasting Reels | Reviews
Planning on upgrading to a new baitcaster reel? There is a huge number of premium models currently on the market. Below, you will find our selection of some of the finest baitcasting reels your money can buy.
The DAIWA 17 LEOBRITZ 200J-L baitcasting reel is a good option if you are looking to go electric. As with most baitcasting reels, this model is fairly heavy, coming in around 460 grams. However, this more substantial weight will provide essential for your rod and most anglers will have no trouble wielding it. Compared to other electric reels available, the LEOBRTIZ 200J-L is one of the lighter options around.
This reel is also very easy to operate. You can easily make adjustments to essential operations with one hand, allowing to make minor reconfigurations as you fish. The enhanced BRITZ motor will also provide you with substantial power, performance and speed. An automated drag system is also included as a standard feature. This drag system will ensure smooth operation at all times, ensuring you never run into any issues when it comes to reeling in catches. The onboard display is also large enough that you can keep an eye on essential data, even in low light.
If you are looking for a baitcasting reel for use in saltwater environments, the Shimano Calcutta Conquest 201 is a good option. This reel is relatively discreet in dimensions and lightweight enough that it will impede your angling performance. It also allows for one-handed operation, meaning you can make quick adjustments with little effort. There are also a considerable amount of ball bearings used in the design of this, making it one of the most smooth-running choices around.
The rigid frame of this reel also makes it a very durable choice. Forged material makes it very hard-wearing and designed to cope with intensive use. The Calcutta Conquest also boasts a drive centre that is equipped with the X-SHIP, as well as micro module gear to improve performance. All of the essential gears are incredibly durable, while rotation is incredibly smooth. You can also expect less noise from the gears when they are in action. Perfect if you are looking for a reel that is less likely to distract you from your angling adventures.
The Shimano Bantam MGL is a flagship design from one of the best brands in the angling business. With plenty of industry-leading expertise behind its design, this is definitely one of the best baitcasting reel options out there. This reel has a low profile design that makes it ideal for use when fishing on freshwater. The compact design is also surprisingly durable, with high-performance components ensuring it will deliver for years to come. The Bantam MGL will respond to even the slightest of touches. This is achieved by the core solid construction, which integrates handle elements on either side of the reel. Wind guards are also fully integrated into the reel design, with a one-piece aluminium frame made from hard-wearing aluminium making it exceptionally robust.
This reel will fit comfortably in the hands of all anglers. You can look forward to good levels of rigidity, while the rounded design delivers enhanced ergonomics and easy handling. If you want to fish throughout the day, this reel is a good option as it will relieve the feeling of fatigue often experienced with many reels. The lightweight spool also makes this a smooth performer. The MGL spool design means you have reduced inertia at the moment of start-up, while you can also expect increased casting distance. Flipping is also made easy thanks to the superior design of this high-quality reel.
This Shamino TRANX baitcasting fish reel is a good choice if you are looking to land big fish. The low profile design and ergonomic shaping of this high-end reel make it a good option for those looking for smooth casting on inshore bodies of waster. However, the corrosion resistant build also makes it suitable for use in saltwater. Water resistant technology provides advanced durability, with this reel bound to last you for a long time. Stainless steel ball bearings are also included to provide you with smooth cast action. The outer construction of this metal reel provides you with exceptional performance and good levels of rigidity. The heavy-duty build also provides you with essential impact resistance. If you are looking to land big catches like catfish, you will definitely need a reel that can cope with being dropped and dragged across the floor of your watercraft.
X-SHIP and heg technologies are also included as standard here. This first-rate reel tech provides you with incredible levels of cranking power and allows for a smooth cast and easy retrieve. This makes it suitable for bass fishing and tackling larger species. A quality bearing system and brake system makes this a solid performer, while an impressive gear ratio and line capacity makes this a very versatile option for those looking to upgrade to a premium baitcaster.
The Daiwa Lexa 400 HD baitcaster is a premium choice of reel that will really up your angling game. This high-end reel is made from the best materials, with a combination of stainless steel drive gears and pinion gears providing you with incredible performance. Despite the heavy-duty materials used to produce it, this baitcaster is relatively lightweight. A seven bearing system is also included as standard here, allowing for smooth line casting and retrieval, every time you use it.
This is also a good baitcasting reel option for those looking for a more comfortable experience when fishing. The EVA custom handle knob is incredibly easy to use and will allow for easier retrieval of your lines should you land a catch. This reel also offers extra line capacity when compare to other baitcaster models, especially if you are planning on using stronger lines to catch fiercer fish species. If you are looking for a low profile baitcasting reel, this model is hard to bear at this affordable price point.
This 13 Fishing Concept Z3 baitcaster reel is a good choice for those after lightweight design, smooth casting ability and user-friendly design. Made from graphite, this reel is both lightweight and durable. It is well suited to saltwater fishing and is heavy-duty enough that it will cope with significant impacts and rigorous use. The Concept Zero bearing technology also makes this baitcaster reel a more desirable option when compared to basic models. Oceana Armour 2 technology is also on hand to strengthen the integrity of this reel. You can use it regularly and expose it to saltwater conditions, without the worry of salinity leading to corrosion.
An aluminium frame shaves even more weight off the overall bulk of this reel. Anodized aluminium has also been used in the construction of the gear side plates. One of the more efficient reels out there, this model provides you with a max drag of 30 pounds. However, it will cope with slightly more drag if you need to push it to its limits. One thing to remember is that this baitcaster reel has been designed with left-handed uses in mind. If you are looking for one that offers right hand operation, this is not the reel for you.
This Shimano Scorpion XT1001 is another high speed choice of baitcast reel for left-handed users. Shimano are well known for their premium baitcasting and spinning reels and the Scorpion XT1001 is no different. You can expect desirable gearing here, with a gearing ratio of 6.4:1, as well as superior design throughout. No less than seven bearings have been used in the construction of this reel, with six conventional ball bearings and a single roller bearing on offer to allow for smooth casting and line retrieval.
This reel also boasts a reliable braking system, allowing you to stop the line at just the right length. The aesthetics of this reel will also satisfy the more discerning of angler. The bronze and black exterior is very stylish, while clear markings and incremental readings make it easy to operate. If you are a right-handed user, bear in mind that the configuration of this reel will not work for your needs.
This Daiwa Coastal SV TW 150 casting reel is a good option for those after durability, rigidity and ease of use. The high-strength gearing material of this premium reel make it well suited to rigorous use and a good fit for saltwater fishing. This reel also boasts Magforce-Z cast control, providing you with magnetic braking functionality that will improve your performance.
Although designed to cope with heavy-duty use, a lot of thought has gone into the construction of this baitcaster to eliminate excess weight from the design. The swept handles include cut-out sections that get rid of extra weight, without impacting the balance and feel of the reel. This is also a very comfortable baitcaster reel to handle. The EVA custom knob is easy to use, with the ergonomic design ensuring minimal discomfort when it comes to reeling in a big fish.
KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels, New Low Profile Design Fishing Reel, Magnet Braking System, 17.6 Lbs Carbon Fiber Drag, 5+1 Shielded Stainless Steel Bearings
The KastKing Royale Legend GT is one of the best baitcaster reels you can buy at a reasonable price. This quality reel includes precision brass gears providing you with smooth operation, as well as ensuring your reel lasts for a long time. The micro click spool tension knob also allows you to make quick adjustments. You can make these adjustments in micro increments, with an audible to click to let you know you have made the right adjustments without having to visually refer to your reel body.
This first class reel also features a ceramic line guide. The oval line guide not only protects your line when it comes to retrieving a heavy catch, it also allows for smoother casting and lets you cover greater distances. If you are hoping to fish at sea or in larger bodies of inshore water, this casting distance and smooth operation is definitely going to appeal. A magnetic brake system also comes as standard, while mono and braid line capacities are generous for a brake in this price bracket.
Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel 18LB Carbon Fiber Drag Baitcasters Unequaled Affordable High-tech Innovation Baitcast Fishing Reels
The Piscifun Torrent is a powerful beast and a real contender for top of our list of best baitcasting reels. This is a reel that will hold up well to the most demanding of situations. The advanced build and multiple washer construction makes this low profile reel a firm opponent for reluctant fish. The build quality of this reel is very impressive, with industrial-strength materials and brass gears used to ensure little chance of premature wear and tear. It will also cope with regular exposure to salinity, making it ideal for saltwater fishing. The aluminium build also makes this a fairly lightweight option, while the high-grade material is resistant to temperature extremes, making it suitable for use in all weathers.
The low profile reel design features 7.1:1 gear rations that have been designed for broad use with anglers of all skill levels. This gear ration is ideal for those who want to retrieve fish more quickly from the water, making it perfect for speed fishing and competition angling. This baitcaster also features a side plate oil port. This makes it easy to keep on top of reel maintenance, prolonging its operational life considerably.
Piscifun Spark Pro Baitcasting Reel – Low Profile Baitcaster Fishing Reel, Super Compact 16.5 LB Carbon Fiber Drag, 11 + 1 Shielded Ball Bearings Magnetic Brake System
The Piscifun Spark Pro has plenty of amazing features that makes this a definite contender for your next reel purchase. This baitcasting reel has a double shaft supported line wind which makes a good option if you are looking to maintain enhanced stability. It also makes the reel far more durable and significantly improves the usability of it. High precision machined gears are also standard here. High-grade aluminium has been used to produce a hard-wearing reel that is also lightweight. You do not have to make any sacrifices when it comes to durability and strength here. The worm gear has also been manufactured from anodized aluminium, the same material used in the manufacture of aircraft. This gives you an idea of the extreme levels of strength on offer here. This is a reel that is designed to withstand significant stresses on a regular basis.
Despite the strength credentials of this reel, it is fairly compact in size. The ergonomic frame makes it very comfortable to handle. The knobs are also strategically positioned near to the centreline of your rod, minimising the amount of wobble created as you crank. This baitcaster also boasts a magnetic braking system with eight individual disks, allowing for quick adjustments and minimal chance of backlash. The oversized design of these disks provides you with consistent performance and a smooth result when it comes to stopping power. If you are looking to land big fish on a regular basis, this is the perfect reel for you.
The KastKing Zephyr Bait Finesse is another premium reel from one of the best manufacturers in the business. A carbon frame and side cover makes this one of the lightest baitcaster reel models around. In total, this casting reel weighs only 5.6 ounces. The aluminium handle also adds to the lightweight advantage of this reel. However, this does not compromise your cranking power and reel functionality. EVA paddles are incorporated into the handle design to improve ergonomics, making the reel incredibly comfortable to use. Fingertip Star Drag technology is also included in the design of this reel. This allows you to make quick and accurate adjustments to the disk drag washers, providing you with incredibly smooth drag power at all times.
Precision machined manufacturing has also been used to ensure you get the best in performance from this baitcaster reel. The main drive gear is made from precision milled aluminium, while the pinion gear has been made from brass. This makes for consistently solid operation, as well as a durable reel that will cope well with saltwater exposure and extreme conditions. The high-speed bearings also allow for incredible spool speeds. This allows you to be far more accurate when it comes to placing your bait in the water. The tensioning knob also deserves a mention. This micro-click tensioning knob allows you to make minor adjustments to your spool with little effort, with an audible click letting you know you have adjusted in a full increment without having to visually refer to your reel housing.
The Abu Garcia Pro Max is a good option for those looking for a low profile baitcasting reel that delivers when it comes to smooth operation and powerful performance. The one piece construction and graphite frame of this reel makes it a very durable option. Graphite has also been used to manufacture the side plates, making it a heavy-duty option in every respect. You can also expect a superior ball bearing system here, with seven conventional ball bearings and a single roller bearing.
This reel also features a Power Disk drag system to ensure max drag performance. A Duragear brass gear is also included as standard, making this reel suited to saltwater fishing and rigorous use. A MagTrax brake system is also included, making this reel a good choice for those looking for magnetic braking functionality. The anodized aluminium spool has also been precision milled, allowing for smooth line casting and retrieval. This is also an ergonomic option, with high-density EVA foam knobs making it comfortable to operate at all times.
KastKing Spartacus I & II Baitcasting Fishing Reel Ultra Smooth 17.6 LB Carbon Fiber Drag, 6.3:1/7.2:1 Gear Ratio, Palm Perfect Lower Profile Design
The KastKing Spartacus I the way to go if you are looking for a baitcast reel that is more powerful than the competition. The Spartacus II is has been inspired by the historic warriors from who it takes its name, with plenty of superior features and design details you will not find elsewhere. This baitcaster reel has a magnetic braking system that is incredibly efficient when compared to systems found with other reels. A double tapered control chute line guide is also included, minimising the amount of line friction you experience. This also helps to improve your line control. Carbon fibre drag is also on hand to provide you with essential stopping power.
This reel is also a smooth operator. The casting reel has a total of eight ball bearings, along with an anodized aluminium spool with powerful launch capabilities. This makes smooth casting a breeze. The precision machined gears make this reel a dream to handle and, provided you maintain it properly, it will continue to perform efficiently for years. The versatile gear ratio also makes this reel a suitable choice for all kinds of fishing scenarios. You can use it for everyday angling on freshwater or out on choppier waters, as well as in competitions.
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Perfect Conventional Reel for Catfish, Salmon/Steelhead, Striper Bass and Inshore Saltwater Fishing – No.1 Highest Rated Conventional Reel, Reinforced Metal Body
The KastKing Rover Round offers some superior technology that gives it a real edge over other baitcast reels on the market. This baitcast reel offers an advanced carbon fibre drag that provides you with maximum power at all times. The thick outside shell also makes this a hard-wearing option. The anodized material of the side plates, along with the machined brass shaft, make this a durable option for fishing in even the most adverse conditions. This reel also features a 3.6:1 gear ratio, along with an oversized T-handle that allows for easy gripping and handling in wet conditions. Although robust, this is a lightweight reel that will not impede your angling ability.
If you want smooth performance, the KastKing Rover Round will definitely satisfy your needs. This baitcaster features stainless steel ball bearings that have been precisely manufactured for smooth operation. The stainless steel worm shaft also makes this a hardy option for angling in saltwater. You will not have to worry about corrosion damaging those important components, while the stainless steel elements also give this reel some added power. Finally, this reel features a clicker line out alarm. Combined with a centrifugal braking system, you can enjoy even and consistent pressure every time you cast.
The Lew’s Mach I Speed Spool reel will impress with its advanced angling technology and user-friendly features. With its one piece construction and lightweight graphite frame, this is a heavy-duty option that will not had excess weight to your rod. There are also three drain ports included at the sides, allowing you to ensure that water does not get a foothold in the interior of your baitcaster, making maintenance incredibly simple. This reel also delivers zero reverse functionality, with a shielded ball bearing system allowing for one-way clutch. If you are looking for a high-speed option, this is definitely a reel you want to consider. The high-strength brass gears have been precision milled to provide you with incredibly smooth operation that will facilitate far swifter and smoother casting.
A multi-setting brake is also included. This external control system is simple to adjust, with an audible click letting you know you have made an incremental adjustment. You will also find four disk-mounted brakes that function on centrifugal force. It might not look like the most comfortable reel to handle, but the Mach I Speed Spool is surprisingly ergonomic. The lightweight build and compact size ensure it will be a welcome addition to any rod, while the low profile thumb bars include textured grips for easy handling in wet conditions.
Although all of the baitcasting reels we have reviewed are worth your time, a few of them definitely stand out from the crowd. The KastKing Royale Legend GT is an obvious choice for anglers looking for high-end design and performance, without a sky-high price tag. The 9-level magnetic brake system is a particular draw of this baitcast reel, while superior build quality and precision machined elements make it a heavy-duty choice. The micro click tensioning system also allows for effortless spool adjustment. The ceramic line guide is another big plus, effectively protecting your lines when reeling in those heavier fish.
Piscifun is one brand worth investigating if you want maximum performance and superior control from your baitcasting reel. The Shark Pro is a definite standout. Compact and easy to use, this baitcast reel operates incredibly smoothly. It is also a good choice for those looking to maintain maximum stability when reeling in bass and bigger fish. This quality baitcast reel also boasts a very powerful brake system. The Torrent is another worthwhile option from Piscifun. This inexpensive baitcast reel is a powerful angling accessory that provides you with exceptional drag and durability. The low profile design also makes it a versatile reel for those looking to pull their catches out of deep water quickly.