The best baitcasting reel on the market isn’t a tool only meant for anglers who have a lot of experience, but for anyone who wants to be more in control when fishing. Since the spool starts spinning immediately after casting, you do need a bit of patience and strength to stay on top of things, but the main advantage is achieving increased fishing accuracy.
However, you can’t do that unless you pick something that works for you, whether it’s a baitcaster or a spinning reel.
Both of these tools have different characteristics which basically depend on your purpose. So we’ll discuss them below, right before letting you know which our top 7 reel picks are.
Choosing The Right Reel
A baitcasting reel is a very useful instrument, as long as you know how to choose one that perfectly fits your needs.
Baitcaster or spinning reel?
You may find that some of the best spinning reels on the market work better for you than a baitcaster. This tool is comprised of a spinning coil that’s placed above a rod, and you’re able to use it with the help of its trigger handle. Basically, it’s a bit different than the spinning reel because this is placed below the rod.
Right or left?
You’ll find that baitcasters are also classified regarding their right or left handed use. While many people choose a right-handed casting reel because they’re right-handed themselves, you only use your dominant hand at first when making the cast. Cranking is done afterward with the left hand and you can’t change the handles.
Spinning reels may be considered better here because they allow for the swap to be made. So if you’re really not ambidextrous at all, choosing a spinning reel may be better.
Round or low?
A nice profile makes a lot of difference for people, and the same goes for fishing tools. Since a round-profile baitcaster has different uses than a low-profile one, they have different advantages and are used differently. Before considering which one to buy, you should first think about what sort of fish you’re after:
- Bigger fish like muskellunge, northern pike, salmon or trout: get a round
- Smaller fish like bass or crappie: get a low-profile one.
Since the round-profile baitcasting reel is more appropriate for catching bigger fish, its advantages relate to this size. Therefore it can employ more and heavier line for longer, as well as be used to throw a bigger bait. On the other hand, the low-profile baitcasting reel is more ergonomic, easier to use and somewhat more popular because it doesn’t hurt your hands.
Basically, if you’re out fishing larger fish for a lot of time and you’re used to doing this frequently, a round-profile baitcaster is a better pick.
Centrifugal or magnetic?
When it comes to the topic of brakes, there’s no way you can ignore the type of system you choose because it can make the difference between dealing with the hellish backlash or not. So if you don’t want the line to become all tangled up after the lure stopped because the reel keeps spinning, choose the system that seems easier to operate from your standpoint.
To adjust the speed with which the reel is revolving, you’ll find a big knob on its side that should be tightened properly. Once you do that and the reel disconnects, the lure falls down because the reel doesn’t revolve anymore. Of course, if you have a bigger lure, you need more tension and therefore a tighter seal of the knob.
- Work because of friction.
- Employ the pins located in the side plate to brake: push them out to make the reel stop spinning.
- Employ magnets to slow the reel from spinning.
- Are adjusted by the side tension knob.
It all sums up to fine tuning and how you can do it better: some believe that a centrifugal brake system allows you to get a better feel of the whole thing, while the magnetic system is less instinctive but applies constant pressure for a lower risk of backlash.
Crunching the numbers
You’ve probably noticed that all reels have three numbers written on their descriptions. This represents their gear ratio or overall speed. A high gear ratio means that you only push the handle once to retrieve more line because the reel spins at a higher speed.
For example, take a common ratio of 5:1. This means that the reel spins 5 times if you crank the handle once. However, this is a lower speed than 6:1 which adds one extra spin to the crank and spins the reel 6 times. This is even lower than the 7:1 speed, which spins the reel 7 times.
Choosing between a lower, medium and high speed should also depend on your purpose. While many fishermen prefer to go with the middle choice which can be used for fast and slow techniques alike, the bait you have will dictate the need for a higher or lower speed.
For instance, if you’re fishing in an area with a bigger strike zone and you’re using a crankbait, getting a 3:1 or 4:1 baitcaster is better because you don’t need to get the fish fast.
Throwing your cast in a smaller area with a buzz/ spinner bait requires a faster speed of probably 7:1 since you need to retrieve your game fast in order to make another cast rapidly.
Materials and manufacturing
Basically, the best materials are:
- Aluminum for the frame and the spool.
- Titanium for the line guides.
That’s because these are very resistant substances.
Of course, if you don’t plan on using your baitcaster for lots of fishing trips that last a lot, and you’re more a once-a-season type of angler, investing less money in a baitcaster is not such a bad deal.
Less costly materials are:
- Graphite for the frame.
- Die-cast metal for the reel.
- Ceramic for the line guides.
These too have some advantages, because they’re lighter and sometimes easier to hold and use. However, they can get damaged faster.
Also, look for higher quality ball bearings that are shielded or sealed. It’s better than having lots of easy to break ones. And if you’re interested in additional comfort, pick a rubber handle – it’s softer and thus gentler on your hands, but still allows for a firm grip.
Rockstar Reel Choices
After reviewing all the above criteria for choosing a good baitcaster, it’s still important to try some out especially if you’re new to this. The theory is one thing, but you definitely need to get the right feel in your hands and get acquainted with your tools to make sure they’re the right fit.
But we’ve done the research so you don’t have to, and below are some suggestions we’ve fished out so you can at least get a good starting point.
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Weight: 7.6 ounces
Dimensions: not specified
Specifications: low-profile; silent; 7.0:1 speed; brass gear structure; drag system made of carbon fiber; 17.5lbs drag; shielded MaxiDur bearings; dual brakes; anodized aluminum spool
Best Use: fishing in a smaller area
Description: Rated 4.4 stars and costing just $39.98 KastKing Royale Legend High Speed (7.0 :1) Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel is one of the high-quality baitcasters you can find. First off, it’s left-handed, but you can acquire the right-handed version for the same price if you don’t feel comfortable casting with your left hand.
It’s better used for fishing in small areas when you need a high speed to retrieve the fish and cast the line again, because its speed is pretty high at 7.0:1. Besides, it’s low-profile which means it’s intended for catching smaller fish that live in shallow waters. You won’t alert them either since this is one of the silent baitcasting reels on the market.
It’s also manufactured from good materials, like precision cut brass for its gear structure, and carbon fiber for its drag system so you can get approximately 17.5 pounds worth of drag.
The 11+1 ball bearings are shielded, and resistant to corrosion because they’re made from MaxiDur. That accounts for a smooth casting and retrieve, as well as increased durability. The spool is made from forged anodized aluminum which is yet another strong, but light material.
When it comes to its brakes, you don’t have to ponder the advantages of centrifugal versus magnetic, because this has them both, giving you better control of the reel.
Related: 7.0:1 Right-handed
Piscifun® Tuned Magnetic Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Weight: 7.27 ounces
Dimensions: not specified
Specifications: 13 stainless steel bearings; 1 roller bearing; 6.3:1 gear ratio; magnetic brakes; low-profile design; anodized CNC machined aluminum forged porous spool; 12Lbs-100Yds braid line capacity; 9 lbs max drag
Best Use: versatile fishing
Description: This 4.4 stars and $38.99 reel from Piscifun is another example of a good, ergonomic baitcaster. That’s because Piscifun® Tuned Magnetic Brake System Low Profile Baitcaster Baitcasting Fishing Reel has a low profile that works well for maximum comfort and for catching smaller fish.
It has a medium-high gear ratio of 6.3:1 which means you can use it for various purposes and in different areas that require either a faster or slower reeling speed.
Either way, you’ll be pleased with its performance also because it doesn’t make much noise so the fish won’t hear you cast the bait. This is a right-handed tool, meaning you’ll cast with the right and crank with the left, but you’re offered the option of getting the left-handed version for the same amount.
The materials themselves are very high quality. The 12 ball bearings and the roller bearing are all manufactured from stainless steel, which is a light, yet sturdy material. There are also 2 NMB bearings imported from Japan, which are made from a good material that renders them 4 times more pricey than the usual bearings. Basically, this will help you cast and retrieve in a sleek manner, for a long time.
The two color anodized aluminum forged porous spool is another component that accounts for this baitcaster’s strength and durability. As opposed to the previous item, the Piscifun reel only has a magnetic brake system, which applies constant pressure to brake, thus offering a mechanic accuracy to the braking system.
Related: 13+1BB Left Handed
Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile Baitcast Reel
Weight: 7.9 ounces
Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.9 x 6.7 inches
Specifications: Black Max low profile; 12 lbs/ 145 yds mono spool capacity; 30 lbs/ 130 yds braid spool capacity; 6.4:1 gear ratio; 4 stainless steel ball bearings; 1 roller bearing; one-piece graphite frame and sideplates; machined, double anodized, aluminum spool
Best Use: power fishing
Description: The 4.6 stars and $53.23 Abu Garcia baitcasting reel is another good example of a low profile, ergonomic tools.
With a 12 lbs/ 145 yds mono spool capacity and 30 lbs/ 130 yds braid spool capacity, Abu Garcia Left Hand Retrieve Black Max Low Profile Baitcast Reel was specially designed for power fishing and use of rather aggressive techniques.
It’s a left-handed tool, and you don’t have the option of buying the right-handed version so you’ll have to cast with the left and crank with the right. But since it has a pretty high 6.4:1 gear ratio, you’ll be able to crank pretty fast.
The materials used make it durable, lightweight and pretty sturdy. For instance, the ball bearings are made from quality stainless steel which accounts for a slick maneuvering. The Spool is manufactured from machined, double anodized aluminum, thus rendering it a strong tool able to withstand a more aggressive fishing style.
The frame and sideplates are forged from graphite, which is a lower quality material than aluminum, but still lightweight and well performing.
Plus, the brake system is magnetic, so you’ll be able to apply a constant pressure when you want to stop the spool from revolving.
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
Weight: not specified
Dimensions: not specified
Specifications: round baitcasting reel; reinforced hard side plates and spool from anodized aluminum; precision machined brass gears; 20 lbs drag; shielded stainless steel bearings; 2-pin centrifugal brake
Best Use: conventional reel for trolling/ bottom fishing
Description: This 4.5 stars baitcasting reel can be found in different sizes: 40L, 50L, and 60L which accounts for a price variation between $45.98 – $82.98. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel is the left-handed version, but if you’re not comfortable with throwing the cast with your left hand, you can get the right-handed option. Either way, it’s a good reel for bottom fishing or catching bigger fish, because it has a round profile.
Another reason why it’s good for this purpose is the strength and durability of the materials: the side plates and spool are manufactured from hard anodized aluminum, the gears are made of precision machined brass, while the worm, the shaft, and the ball bearings are forged from stainless steel. This will give it extra protection against corrosion, as well as more power.
The carbon fiber drag system also renders it a powerful tool, with a smooth drag of 20 pounds. The grips are manufactured from nonslip EVA that accounts for a reduced fatigue and an increased comfort, as does the thumb bar spool release to which anglers have easy access.
Besides, the brake system is centrifugal, meaning that you’ll be able to use your instincts when you brake and apply the line pressure however you feel is right.
Related: Rover 40-60 Right Handed with EVA Handle; Rover 70-90 Left Handed with Oversize T-Handle; Rover 70-90 Right Handed with Oversize T-Handle
KastKing® Orcas II All Metal Spinning Reel
Weight: 10-14 ounces depending on the model
Dimensions: not specified
Specifications: 10 + 1 shielded superior stainless steel bearings; main shaft made of stainless steel; precision meshes brass gears; gear ratio: 5.2:1; triple disc carbon fiber drag washers; 20-28.5 lbs max drag; 0.18-0.40 mm line capacity; 6-12 lbs monofilament capacity
Best Use: saltwater fishing
Description: The 4.7 stars KastKing Orcas come in different sizes which account for a small price variation between $55.98 – $59.98. The models are Orcas II 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000 each of them weighing between 10 to 14 ounces and with a gear ratio of 5.2:1.
That’s a medium speed which allows for versatile fishing, either in smaller or larger areas of water. However, the maximum drag varies between 20 to 28.5 pounds depending on the model, and so does the mono capacity which is situated in a range between 6 to 12 pounds.
Basically, you should choose the right model depending on how big the fish are in your area and how much you’re planning to fish. Either way, you’ll still get a pretty strong tool since the Orcas all have a flex-free solid aluminum body and rotor. The handle is also made from CNC aluminum and can be employed either with your left or right hand, unlike baitcasters.
But what makes the Orcas some of the best spinning reels on the market is their ability to cast farther and more accurately thanks to their improved line-lay spool and great power casting lip. The whole thing works pretty smoothly courtesy of the triple disc carbon fiber drag washers, along with the instant stop anti-reverse roller bearing.
Lew’s Speed Spool Baitcasting Reel SSG1SH
Weight: 7 ounces
Dimensions: not specified
Specifications: one-piece die-cast aluminum frame; removable palming graphite sideplates; 7.5:1 speed; 12 lbs/ 120 yards mono capacity
Best Use: aggressive fishing
Description: This 4.4 stars and $91.47 Lew’s Speed Spool Baitcasting Reel SSG1SH 7.5:1 is made from quality materials that allow you to use it for aggressive fishing techniques, but not very often. That’s because the spool is forged from a resistant drilled, machine forged and anodized aluminum, but the sideplates are manufactured from graphite. Though they’re easy to remove and allow for better palming, they’re not as resistant as aluminum.
On the other hand, there are other stronger materials which account for increased strength and solidity, such as the brass gearing and the stainless steel from which the 10 double shielded ball bearings are made. Even the clutch bearing is made from stainless steel, although it’s one-way with the zero-reverse type of clutch.
The reel handle itself is another part made from anodized bowed aluminum, while the handle knobs are ergonomic and comfortable since they’re manufactured with the trademarked custom SoftTouch by Lew’s. Also made from aluminum are the frame and the adjustment knob, which is used to activate the magnetic brake system.
This Lew’s Fishing baitcaster can be activated pretty fast considering it has a whooping gear ratio of 7.5:1, and its drag power is up to 10 pounds thanks to its Rulon drag system.
Noeby Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Weight: 6.98 ounces
Dimensions: not specified
Specifications: nylon plastic body; stainless steel bearing; CNC machined aluminum spool; brass gear; double handle with soft knobs; corrosion resistant ball bearings; 11 lbs max braking force; 12 lbs/ 100 yds line capacity; 6.3:1 speed
Best Use: competitive fishing
Description: This 4.4 stars and $34.99 Noeby Baitcasting Fishing Reel 10+1 Ball Bearings Casting Reel can be used for competitive fishing purposes, seeing as it has a medium to the high gear ratio of 6.3:1. This speed is also rather versatile, and you can use it even in bigger water areas when you don’t need speed as much as you need a decent line capacity and braking force.
That’s why this is a good tool to use in these situations too: its maximum braking force is 11 pounds, and the line capacity is 12 pounds.
A nice feat is that it have a side plate that can be removed fast thanks to its quick release system, and therefore you can change the spoil pretty fast. Speaking of which, this is made from CNC machined aluminum, a strong and high-quality material. Most materials the Noeby reel is manufactured with are quite decent and account for its long lifespan.
For instance, the body is made from nylon plastic, which is strong and durable. The 10 ball bearings and the one-way clutch bearing are made from stainless steel, which is resistant to corrosion, but also allows you to cast and retrieve smoothly.
The gear itself is made from brass, which is a resistant fabric, and the double handle has very soft knobs for increased comfort and an ergonomic feel.
The Angler’s Choice
Reviewing all these items has revealed they have one thing in common: they’re all durable and ergonomic, although they fit different purposes. So tell us where you like to fish and how often, as well as what your usual catch is.
We’re also interested to find out what your favorite fishing tools are, and if you’re using a good baitcasting or spinning reel, let us know which in the comments below.