Baitcasting reels are necessary fishing equipment for any serious angler as light line-oriented spinning reels won’t do the trick in certain cases, especially when fighting against hard-pulling, big fish.
This type of reel is usually built with sturdier materials, feels stronger, and offers enough control to let you choose the weight of the lure you want to use, or apply a specific fishing technique that only heavy fishing lines will allow.
A great baitcasting reel might make you spend some of your time mastering some systems like the brake technology, but the advantages over spinning reels are many, making it a must for those who like to fish big species.
To help you out on your search, we’ve hand-picked the top 9 baitcasting reels you can buy online as well as a compilation of features and characteristics that you should look for in a high-quality baitcasting reel so you can acquire a model that will perform smoothly for a fair price.
Best Baitcasters Reviewed
Here are the nine best baitcasting reels we chose:
This highly technological “Shimano Curado I” Reel comes in grey and is perfectly sized to fit your hand securely and give you maximum control when fishing. Its design makes it saltwater-ready, and it can drag up to 12 lbs.
This baitcasting reel by Shimano has a Metal Hagane body that reduces flexing and gives more cranking power when fishing. Its material makes it impact resistant and super rigid, offering a durable and strong reel.
It features a low-profile Shimano Stable Spool Design (S3D) that lowers overall vibration and makes it smoother when casting and retrieving. It’s a steady reel that gives you a lot of brake control with light lures, and it has a 5 + 1 bearings system with shields that protect from salt and sand.
Fishing medium and small-sized baits with steadiness, both in freshwater and saltwater. It performs nicely and casts smoothly and with little friction.
Pros & Cons
- It has a nice size and fits the palm comfortably
- Its brake system is a great addition, and it’s quite useful
- A super smooth baitcasting reel
- Casting might be a bit difficult to master
This Japanese manufacturer created a rugged, sturdy, and lightweight baitcasting reel that is sufficiently resistant to corrosion and can drag up to 13.2 lbs of weight. With its 8.1:1 gear ratio, it’s ideal for those who like fast retrieval of the fishing line.
The Daiwa Tatula is a rugged yet lightweight reel that uses aluminum for both the body and the side plates. It’s a small tool that features an Ultimate Tournament carbon drag for extra power and a smooth air rotation design.
Similarly, it comes with a rather large handle that can be swept around easily and that comes with cutouts to reduce the overall weight of the reel. It has Magforce-Z cast control for better performance, and it brings seven ball bearings and one roller bearing.
Its original hybrid-design level will allow you to cast with strength, length, and control, making it perfect for those who’ve just started to fish or pro anglers alike.
Pros & Cons
- It’s easy to handle and as light as it needs to be
- Super-fast retrieve
- No backlash when dialed
- Some types of line are not so compatible with it
This is an incredible reel that has a super light but durable construction, an ergonomic feel, and a low-friction drag, making it one of the top baitcasting reels out there.
The Revo SX by Abu Garcia is one of the most lightweight baitcasting reels you’ll find on the market. It has an X2-Craftic alloy body with C6 carbon side plates for protection and 25% of total weight reduction.
Likewise, its MagTrax drag system offers consistency and power, and the D2 Gear design enhances the reel’s performance. It has its guideline coated with titanium for maximum durability and a 9 + 1 ball bearing against roller bearing operation.
This is a durable and sturdy reel with an X2-Craftif frame that makes sit corrosion-resistant. It is the perfect reel to catch a 20-pound price when dialed correctly, even in saltwater.
Pros & Cons
- It’s an ultra-light baitcasting reel with a hard construction that makes it long-lasting
- Drag system can hold up to 20 pounds of pressure
- It might not hold enough line for some anglers
Another excellent baitcast reel is the MB by Lew’s, which weighs only 6.7 ounces and mixes balance with sturdiness to create a powerful reel that you’ll be able to rely on.
The Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB is a small-profiled baitcasting reel that’s been built from an advanced LFS 1 piece of aluminum for the frame, and a removable graphite palming sideplate. Among its best features is the Multi-Setting Brake system for enhanced control, and its 9 + 1 stainless steel ball bearings technology.
It has a magnetic cast control on the exterior and internal centrifugal brakes. Moreover, it can drag up to 14 lbs. and its lightweight aluminum handle gives the angler more control, accuracy, and comfort, all at the same time.
This is a powerful baitcast reel that performs great when casting long. Its ergonomic design makes it comfortable to use, and it can be used by those anglers who might suffer from wrist snapping as its technology delivers consistent, no-snap casts.
Pros & Cons
- It has a smooth casting combined with a powerful drag system
- Multi-setting brakes are easy to adjust
- The spinnerbait may vibrate when the rod is held closely
This incredibly powerful baitcast reel will amaze you in construction, design, and comfort. It’s been built with outstanding technology that makes it stand out among similar products, and below you’ll know exactly why.
Piscifun’s Perseus is a low profile reel that brings precise brass gears and 3 Premium carbon fiber drag washers that allow you to catch and drag up to 18.5 lbs. in weight. It comes with a dynamic 6-pin centrifugal brake system that, combined with magnetic brakes, give anglers the possibility of fishing like a pro.
It has a firm crank handle that fits the hand ergonomically, and its materials are all resistant to corrosion. The bearing system is a 5 + 1, which perform with superior smoothness when baitcasting. Finally, its design brings a screwed oil hole on the side that lets you take care of your reel on your own.
This is a strong reel that baits accurately and its features makes it an excellent option for spinnerbaits, swimjigs, Carolina rigging, Texas rigging, and similar rig techniques.
Pros & Cons
- The 6-pin adjustable centrifugal brakes perform with excellence
- Incredible drag power of up to 18.5 lbs.
- The most affordable option on the list
- It might create birdnests, and it can be hard to thread the line for some
The KastKing Royale Legend is a high-tech reel that combines maximum smoothness with a stable performance that makes it a great, cheap yet reliable fishing tool. For what is worth, the Royale is an excellent investment that you’ll definitely enjoy fishing with.
One of the baitcasting reel best sellers for a while now, this is an 11 + 1 ball bearings reel that comes with four discs, carbon fiber drag that can help you catch 17.5 lbs. fish or smaller in size. It’s a silent reel with precision brass gears and a dual-brake technology that makes it easy to use for every kind of angler.
Its low profile design has a retrieve ratio of 7.0:1, and it also features a two-color anodized aluminum construction that is built to reduce weight but provide strength at the same time. A great tool with precision cut brass gears inside.
The Royale Legend is a multi-functional reel that can be used for different fishing techniques such as pitching and flipping. It’s perfect to catch bass, trout, and even take it on the kayak with you in saltwater.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent retrieve ratio offers fast line retrieve
- Non-slip EVA padded foams secure the hand grip
- Very cheap for the quality it presents
- The handle might be a bit hard to maneuver for those with big hands
The Elf II is an affordable baitcasting reel that is tournament ready and has a bunch of features that make it a great option if you are looking for a reel that will give you stability, casting precision, and fast line rolling.
This reel has a 4-disc carbon fiber drag that lets you catch fat fish as heavy as 16.5 lbs. thanks to its high power. The gear ration has been designed for speed, and the 7.2:1 model will offer the fastest of line retrieval you’ve seen in similar tools so far.
It has a 13 + 1 bearing system that provides accuracy and precision, and its C45 carbon fiber frame, side plate, and handle sum up to a great, sturdy construction. It also has a polyporous design that reduces the weight of the reel, and its seven levels of centrifugal and ten levels of magnetic brakes make it a fantastic baitcasting reel.
Its powerful drag makes it ideal for fishing medium-sized to big fish, and its dual brake system lets anglers fight hard for their prizes, allowing them to retrieve smoothly and rapidly.
Pros & Cons
- Brake system is sensitive enough to make you adjust perfectly according to your lure weight
- The EVA knob is anti-slip and comfortable to handle
- Incredibly fast line retrieval
- There’s a learning curve that needs to be mastered when casting
This original-looking baitcasting reel by Entsport is a low-profile tool that works smoothly and professionally, and it can be used by both pro anglers or beginners as it’s very simple to use and adjust.
The reel is made of a high-density Titanium Alloy composite body and side plates, which are durable and tough, and make it a long-lasting fishing companion. Its aluminum handle is extra-long for better grip and it features a non-slip Eva foam that lets you grab it comfortably all day long.
Likewise, its magnetic braking system is adapted from European technology and has been equipped with an adjustable, multi-level cast control that lets you send the line accurately without removing the side covers. The Unicorn is most reliable when dragging, as it offers a lot of stopping power, so you don’t lose the fish.
Lastly, it has a 10 + 1 ball bearing system, and a CNC machined aluminum spool with an extensive line capacity and a gear ratio of 6.3:1. The reel is fashionable and functional at the same time.
Fishing in saltwater as it stands against salt damage. It’s a well-built reel that is comfortable to handle, making it perfect for long fishing days.
Pros & Cons
- Smooth, accurate casting
- Non-slip knob, big enough to secure the grip
- It doesn’t hold as much line as other reels
- The brakes system requires some time to understand
The last baitcasting reel on our list is the Sougayiland model with magnetic tuned brakes, which will offer affordability and performance for all those who choose it. It can be easily bought for right or left-handed anglers, and it has a sleek design.
This Sougayilang reel features a drag with a maximum capacity of 12 lbs., and a smooth CNC machined aluminum spool that provides consistency and sturdiness. The gear ratio is 7.0.1, making it a fast reel when retrieving the line, and its ball bearings systems present 9 + 1, all corrosion resistant.
The Magnetic Brake technology gives the angler more control and pressure when casting, and it comes with an adjustable button on the surface that lets you choose chose the settings you need, depending on your circumstances.
It’s a light and strong reel that’s been designed to reduce birdnests and provide stability, which makes it an excellent choice for novice anglers who are looking for an easy-to-use baitcasting reel.
Pros & Cons
- Great casting distances
- Smooth drag
- Excellent gear ratio allows many fishing methods
- Occasional birdnests might occur
Best Baitcasting Reel Brands
Baitcasting reel’s manufacturers are many but because some have earned their popularity with the implementation of technology and quality on their products, here are the top 6 baitcast reels sellers:
Shimano is a Japanese multinational manufacturer that focuses on selling sports-oriented products for cycling, rowing, and fishing. Their fishing production is known for showing quality, sturdiness, and durability.
They sell different types of reels, rods, nets, and all an angler might need in the wilderness. Their products provide stability, control, and a smoothness that cannot be found in most similar products as this is a top brand among competitors.
Daiwa was the first company ever to manufacture open-faced reels which, back in 1958, was a great surprise for anglers who wanted to wind extra line smoothly. Nowadays, they keep creating products that show precision and quality.
This is a popular brand that constantly integrates innovation in reels, offering challenge and uniqueness with each model. Their products are also resistant to water and dust, making them perfect for saltwater fishing.
3. Abu Garcia
Since 1921, Abu Garcia’s founder began to sell pocket watches and taxi meters, but because they decreased in popularity after WWII, the Swedish man decided to focus on manufacturing high-quality, precise fishing reels that everyone could enjoy.
The influence Abu Garcia’s reels, including its baitcasting models, has had on the fishing community is incredible as many of their products have been awarded distinctions and prizes for exceeding usual standards of craftsmanship.
Lew’s was founded by Lew Childre who, back in the 40s, decided to license a line of products that would become well-known in the fishing world. The contributions Lew’s had made in recreational sport fishing are big, and some of them would not have been achieved without it.
Light, fast, and strong are the adjectives usually used for the Lew’s reels, making them a recognized brand among baitcasting reels on the market.
Piscifun began to sell fishing gear in 2013 from the hands of a couple of friends who decided to invest in a brand that would manufacture the reels they so much wanted. Like this, they now supply quality products all over the world, known for being both reliable and fashionable.
All their equipment, but mostly their reels, are created with affordability in mind allowing anglers with low budgets to get valuable fishing tools for a high price.
KastKing is a relatively new brand, founded in 2012 by a group of MBA students at Syracuse University who, after graduation, decided to improve and upgrade the fishing reels they already knew so well.
This is how the company was formed and why it’s among the most technological manufacturers out there, mixing comfort with design and ergonomics, all in search of the perfect, irreplaceable reel that all their products try to aim for.
How to Choose the Best Baitcasting Reel?
Baitcasting reels are known for sitting on top of the casting rods and both a revolving spool and a trigger handle that lets you hold it tightly. Although it doesn’t sound too hard to find a nice baitcast reels, it’s not an easy task to stumble upon one that will give you reliability and performance for a fair price.
For this, we’ve put together a list of all the aspects you should keep an eye on when browsing for a baitcasting reel. Whether it’s your first one or a replacement of an old reel, you should always pay attention to these elements:
While this might not be the most critical feature on a spinning reel, baitcasting reels need to offer a high gear ratio that will let you retrieve fast and steadily. This measurement allows you to know how many times does the spool turn in one full round of the handle.
For example, a 6.3:1 gear ratio means that the spool goes around 6.3 times for each revolution of your hand, which lets you use any kind of bait and fishing techniques such as topwater, shallow cranking, and others.
The lower the gear ratio, the harder the pull of the reel so if you feel like catching big fish, measurements like 5.3:1 are the ones you should be looking for.
Body or Frame
The frames of the reels are usually made of graphite or aluminum. The latter is much stronger than the former so an aluminum reel will last longer and be more resistant than other baitcasting reels.
However, aluminum is also a heavier material, meaning that these reels usually weight more than others. The perfect body construction will depend on what’s your priority: corrosion resistant-properties and durability, or lightweight.
The size of the spool will define what kind of fishing line you can use with it. Big spools allow you to fish with heavy lines while smaller, shallow spools are much better when used for short-line uses such as pitching.
As with other kinds of reels, the bearing rule is that the more you have, the smoother and more accurate will the casting be. A 7 + 1 is an excellent choice; however, if you feel like getting an even more precise reel, an outstanding 9 + 1 should be your aim. Stainless steel ball bearings or ceramic ones are the best materials used for these parts.
How comfortable a baitcasting reel will feel will be established by different factors such as the handle size and the overall design. An ergonomic model will fit your hand perfectly thus allowing you to deal with the reel for a long time without feeling discomfort or pain.
Likewise, the handle size will determine what kind of bait you’ll be able to use as short, compact ones are right for worms or jigs, but if you want to deal with crankbaits, a longer handle is needed.
The drag system is what releases pressure on the fishing line when a fish is hooked and fighting back. A high-quality drag will prevent the line from breaking, ensuring that you get your fish.
The smoothness of the system is essential, and so is the drag capacity as this measurement lets you know how much weight a reel can handle. For sailfishing, a reel with a max drag of 12 lbs. is good enough; nevertheless, if you want a tool that will help you bottomfish, you need it to hold up to 20lbs of weight.
The brakes in your baitcasting reel are vital as it is the only technology that will let you appropriately cast when the wind is strong. These brakes can be magnetic or centrifugal, although many models present both of them.
The centrifugal brakes are pro-oriented while the magnetic ones can be used even by beginners. A good brake system will give you the opportunity to cast at long distances and with different types of lure weights, which can be adjusted in most of the cases.
We believe that this guide is enough to help you make sound decisions while buying a baitcaster but we’d also suggest you check our guide on spinning versus baitcasting reels.
Also, for fishing gears other than baitcasters check our homepage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I choose a baitcasting reel over a spinning reel?
While no style is better than the other, the best reel will depend on your uses and how you fish. Among the baitcasting reel advantages, you’ll notice that it can cast correctly with heavier and larger lures, that it comes with adjustable break systems, and that the power handle offers more control than the knob handles on spinning reels.
What gear ratio should I get?
Gear ratios in baitcasting reels range from 5.3:1 to 7.1:1 or even higher. Lower gear ratios are best for pulling hard like big swimbaits and slow rolling heavy spinnerbaits. Higher gear ratios let you use other fishing techniques like catching topwater frogs.
Are the brake systems hard to handle?
Baitcasting reels feature two types of brakes: magnetic and centrifugal. While they are not as easy to use as spinning reels, these brakes are much more effective against strong winds, and they can typically be adjusted easily. The more you use your reel, the more you’ll master its particular learning curve.
Can I use a heavy line on my reel?
The size of your reel’s spool will regulate this. A bigger spool will let you use stiff, heavy line while smaller ones are best when used for short line fishing. That being said, most baitcasting reels can handle heavy line without a problem.
Are baitcasting reels cheaper than spinning reels?
Although this highly depends on brands and models, we have to admit that you can get a high-quality baitcasting reel for a reasonable and fair price. In general, baitcasting reels are usually sold for less than its spinning counterparts.
While all of the brands and models mentioned above are excellent, some of them stand out for featuring technologies that cannot be beaten in combination with their performance.
For professional anglers who want to acquire a high-quality baitcasting reel, the Daiwa Tatula is a great choice as it’s ultra-small, lightweight, it has a 7 + 1 ball bearings system, and an 8.1:1 gear ratio that will let you cast and retrieve the fishing line quickly.
The SeaKnight Elf II reel is wonderful as well: it’s precise and smooth thanks to its 13 + 1 ball bearings system, and it has seven centrifugal brake levels combined with ten magnetic brake levels for maximum accuracy and control.
Lastly, if you are on a budget but still want the best you can get for less than $50, the KastKing Royale Legend will definitely do the trick. It’s a technological baitcasting reel that will silently retrieve your line with a gear ratio of 7.0:1 and a max drag of 17.5 lbs, making it ideal for heavy and light lures alike.