Table of Contents
- The Best Baitcasting Reels Compared
- Quick Stats
- Advantages to Baitcasting Reels
- Heavier Lures and Lines
- Increased Power
- Braking System
- Reduced Line Twist
- Baitcasting Reels - Buyers Guide
- Spool Tension
- Gear Ratio
- Brake System
- Spool Size / Line Capacity
- What's A Flippin' Switch
- Big Game Saltwater Baitcasting Reels
- 1. Shimano Curado DC - Digital Baitcasting Reel
- Shimano Curado DC
- 2. Shimano 200K Curado Baitcast Reel
- Best Baitcaster Under $50
- 3. Piscifun Torrent
- Best Baitcaster Under $100
- 4. Shimano SLX
- 5. Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel TATULA-R100XS
- 6. Abu Garcia Revo STX Right Hand
- 7. Shimano Tranx Series Baitcasting Reels
- 8. Lew's Custom Inshore Speed Spool SLP
- 9. Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Low Profile
- 10. KastKing Rover Round
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The Best Baitcasting Reels Compared
This guide will help you find the best baitcasting reel for your fishing style.
We looked at features like weight, line capacity, gear ratio, and drag strength when researching this guide.
We also searched for reports on build quality and consistency.
|Weight||Gear Ratio||Max Drag|
|Shimano Curado DC||7.8 oz.||6.2:1, 7.4, 8.5||11 lbs.|
|Shimano Curado IGH||7.4 oz.||7.1. 6.3||12lbs.|
|Piscifun Torrent||8.0 oz.||7.1:1||18 lbs.|
|Shimano Caenan||6.5 oz.||7.2:1||11 lbs.|
|Daiwa Tatula R100XS||7.4 oz.||6.3, 7.3, 8.1||13.2 lbs.|
|Abu Garcia Revo STX||6.35 oz.||8.0||20 lbs.|
|Shimano Tranx||8.3 - 20 oz||4.6 - 7.6||12 - 25 lbs|
|Lews Speed Spool Custome Inshore SLP||6.6 oz.||7.5:1||20 lbs.|
|Abu Garcia Revo Rocket||6.75 oz.||9.0||20 lbs.|
|KastKing Rover Round 40R||11.7 oz.||3.6||11 lbs.|
While the art of using a baitcasting reel be seem daunting to beginners. Stick with it.
The advantages of baitcasters can really become evident after you get some practice.
The enhanced control, distance and power is well worth it.
After a few hours of backyard practice, you should be able to get the basics down.
Advantages to Baitcasting Reels
Heavier Lures and Lines
By nature, baitcasting lures are meant to cast heavier lures than spinning reels.
1/8th ounce lures are about as light as I've ever heard being cast from a baitcaster.
The revolving spool requires a certain amount of weight to get it spinning.
The spool layout and gear design in baitcasting reels also have greater power and torque than spinning reels.The spool lies directly in line alongside the handle and gears.
Spinning reels by contrast have a 90 degree turn from the crank to the rotor.
Most baitcasting reels come equipped with a braking system. These are usually centrifugal or magnetic. Some baitcasting reels have both.
Centrifugal braking systems use the spinning of the spool to push brakes against the spool raceway.
Magnetic brakes use small magnets. Some are on the side plate and others are on the spool.
You increase the braking force by turning a dial that moves the magnets on the side plate closer to the spool magnets.
Turn the dial in the opposite direction and the magnets move away from each other. This reduces braking action.
Reduced Line Twist
Baitcasting Reels - Buyers Guide
Baitcasting reels are also known as baitcasters or revolving spool reels.
There are a few key components in a baitcasting reel which are different from spinning reels.
Often times manufacturers may have additional features that only their reels have.
These can be anything from an oil port to a microchip for backlash control.
Here you'll find the basic types and functions of a baitcasting reel. If you learn the details below, you should be able to make an informed buying decision.
They type of fishing you're going after will also play a large role on your reel selection.
A very popular use for baitcasters is Largemouth Bass fishing.
You could say that the whole low profile baitcasting reel market was created for going after Largemouths.
Keep this in mind if you intend on using a baitcasting reel in saltwater. You'll need to pay close attention to maintenance after every use.
There are baitcasting reels designed for saltwater use. However, cleaning and corrosion prevention are still something you'll need to do.
Low-profile and Round Reels
Baitcasting reels started out a round reels that had no brakes. Back in the day, you have to prevent brake the spool with your thumb.
Round reels are still made today. They now come with advanced braking systems. But using your thumb to slow down or stop a lure is still something you should learn.
With this mind, some of the advantages of round reels are as follows:
Catfish anglers, salmon and saltwater anglers often opt for round reels. The extra line capacity can help deal with fish that make long runs. The all metal construction can also be a benefit in salty environments.
Low profile reels are a favorite with bass anglers. Here are some of the advantages of low profile reels:
Low profile baitcasting reels are extremely popular. They're usually made with graphite composite shells that help keep weight down.
Below, we'll look at some of the features that are common and what you should look for.
The gears in a baitcasting reel are commonly made out of brass. There are also reels with gears made out of duralumin.Duralumin is a lightweight alloy of aluminium and copper and other elements.
The distance between gear teeth can be a factor that impacts how smooth are reel operates. Shimano has introduced micromodule gears with very short distances between teeth. This leads to a smoother and more powerful feeling retrieve.
The spool tension knob is usually found on the side of the reel where the cranking handle is.
Turned clockwise, it is tightened and places tension on the spool. Turned counter-clockwise, it releases tension on the spool.
So, as you can see, it works kind of like a screw.But why would you want to apply tension to the spool. Well spool tension works with the braking system to prevent backlash.
A backlash happens when the spool spins more quickly than the lure leaving the reel requires.
The result is that the line keeps leaving the spool and piling up. Unfortunately instead of going out with the lure, the line stays in the reel and creates a backlash.
Some reels come with a clicker in the spool tension knob. This helps you get a good feel for how much tension you're putting on.
You want to set your spool tension when you tie a lure on and are getting ready to cast.
Click the spool release bar and let the lure drop. Be careful with a spool that has too little tension on it as it may backlash just from the weight of the lure.
If the lure drops too quickly, you want to add more spool tension by tightening the knob. Do this by turning it clockwise.
If the lure does not drop at all, you have too much spool tension on. You want to release some of it by turning the spool counter-clockwise.
Ideally, you want to have the tension set so that the lure drops slowly to the ground.
While it may not be all that important if you're fishing for a short while, you may want to think about weight if you're going to fish for long periods of time.
Most low profile baitcasters will range anywhere from 5 to 10 ounces. There may be some exceptions to this, but that is the general range for most freshwater and light inshore fishing.
The gear ratio measures how many times the spool revolves during one turn of the handle.
When you turn the handle on a baitcaster, you're turning a large gear. This large gear meshes with a smaller gear that is inline with the spool shaft.
When you turn the large handle gear once, the smaller shaft gear turns more than once. This ratio is what is known as the gear ratio.
Higher gear ratios mean that more line is retrieved in a shorter amount of time. Lower gear ratios are suitable for reeling bait in slowly, and they will produce more torque.
Conversely, higher gear ratios are all about speed. If you need to reduce slack and bring the line back quickly, you'll want to look for higher gear ratios.
A middle of the road gear ratio would be something like 5.5:1. That means that the spool turns 5.5 times for every 1 handle turn.
On the low end you'll find reels with ratios in the 3.x to 1 range. On the high end, you'll find ratios as high as 8 to 1.
Having an efficient brake system can drastically increase your ability to cast with precision. Brakes are especially useful when casting directly into the wind, as this causes the spool to spin faster than the bait.
The braking system on your reel will be key in preventing backlashes.
Reels usually come with a centrifugal or a magnetic braking system. Some reels come with both.
Centrifugal braking systems work by using the spinning of the spool to apply pressure on the raceway.
This means that as the spool accelerates, small blocks move outward. As they move they apply pressure on the inside of of the reel housing. This creates friction and helps prevent the spool from over spinning.
Anglers normally prefer centrifugal brakes to magnetic. Many report that that they're more effective at preventing backlash.
However, magnetic brakes have improved and many anglers use them.
Digitally Controlled Brakes
The latest braking technology introduced by Shimano. It uses a digitally microchip to control the activation of the braking system. What's really great about this system is that it's powered by the spinning of the spool. So, no batteries are required.
It makes one thousand corrections per second so it can really make a difference. I've noticed longer casts with digitally controlled baitcasting reels. Most users report the same.
These brakes are usually adjusted by opening the side plate on the reel. Once opened, there are often times 4 switches that you turn on or off.
You need to ensure that they're activated with the correct symmetry. This means that of you turn on the upper right switch, you should also turn on the lower left switch.
Magnetic brakes work with magnets on the side plate and on the spool.
There is a dial on the side plate that you turn to increase or decrease the magnetic force. This force slows down the spool to prevent backlash.
The dial on the side plate has numbers on it. This helps you remember the correct setting for the lure you're using.
Reels that have both types of brakes are adjusted by combining both techniques mentioned above.
Spool Size / Line Capacity
The size of a baitcaster's spool will determine how much line it can hold. But that's not all.
You see the larger a spool is, the heavier it will usually be. While manufacturers have lightened spools by drilling holes in them. All things being equal, a larger spool is a heavier spool.
So, if you're looking for a light tackle baitcasting reel, you'll want to consider this.
Lighter spools are much better for casting lighter baits. The reason for this is that you need more force to accelerate a heavier spool. This open results in the spool being late and also over spinning.
A lure that travels a very short distance and at the same time causes a backlash.
Companies make reels specifically for casting light lures. These are often called BFS or Baitcasting Finesse Systems reels.
The ball bearings in your baitcasting reel are there to help reduce friction on moving parts. This mainly pertains to the spool and handle.
Many anglers think that the more ball bearings your reel has the better. This is not necessarily the case. What really matters is the quality of the bearings.
A common way bearings are rated is called ABEC. This stands for the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee. You can learn more about it here.
Most anglers won't want to go into such a deep study of bearing quality. Just keep in mind that cheap reels will most likely not have highly rated bearings in them.
Another important aspect is corrosion resistance. If water gets into your bearings, It may be difficult for it to get out. This can lead to corrosion.
There are ceramic and stainless steel bearings on the market. These will greatly reduce the chance of corrosion. There are also manufacturers that protect the inside of their bearings with shielding. However, it's still important to occasionally disassemble your reel clean and lubricate it.
What's A Flippin' Switch
Any enthusiastic bass fisherman is going to relate to this particular feature. They are particularly productive but not all of them are made in the same way.
The main purpose of a Flippin’ Switch on a baitcaster is to conveniently re-engage the reel’s spool.
Some of these devices are designed to be on throughout the entire time once they are actually triggered. However, there are other types which enable you to simply push down the thumb-bar and release the spool conveniently.
Big Game Saltwater Baitcasting Reels
So, you want to be fishing in heavy, saltwater conditions. Maybe you're going after mahi mahi, sailfish or grouper and you want something you can cast long distances with.
There is a distinctive difference between regular baitcasting reels and big game reels.
Big game casting reels are not designed for quick and repeated casting. They are commonly set with specific lures which are used for open water.
They're usually made of metal and can be heavy. These types of casting reels are often used for casting heavy saltwater jigs.
Some companies do make low profile baitcasters designed for saltwater. We will include at least one of these in our review.
Surely, these are far from being the only details to consider. Right-handed reels are usually the preferred and, hence, most common configuration.
5. Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel TATULA-R100XS
Daiwa reels have a reputation for high quality. They've been an industry standard since 1966. The Tatula models are one of their most successful. Amateurs and professionals rave about the precision of this lineup. They feature high quality designs and materials and are renowned for castability.
Each handle turn brings in 33.9 inches of line. The Daiwa Tatula R100XS is efficient enough for professional and recreational use. The gear ratio of 8.1:1 brings precision and unmistakable quality with each spin of the handle.
The patented T-Wing system changes the design of the level wind. The line guide opens when you click the free spool button. This nearly eliminates friction and obstruction while casting.
The way this works is the T-Wings flip up during the cast and flip back in place while reeling in. Though it may take some getting used to, baitcasting reel reviews rave over the T-Wing design.
At 8.1 ounces, the Tatula R100XS is a bit heavier than other models. But, its aluminum frame ensures ultimate lasting durability.
Additionally, the increased line capacity lets you use heavier lines. This can be beneficial when going after larger species or fishing heavy cover.
For anglers looking for a professional grade baitcasting reel at an affordable price, the Daiwa Tatula is a perfect choice.
The R100XS is available with a gear ratio of 8.1:1.
Daiwa’s R-Type TATULA model comes with 8 ball bearings. Two are corrosion resistant, five are regular and one is roller bearing.
This allows for smooth cranking.
Of course, if you find the 8.1:1 ratio to be faster than you really need, you could always order the all-around 6.3:1 setup.
While the TWS System is great for long casts, the overall housing of the reel is what impresses the most.
The frame and side plate are made out of rugged yet lightweight aluminum which brings durability. The aluminum also has a great stiff feel to it.
The TWS system is also complimented by the comprehensive Magforce-Z cast control.
Of course, tatula reels come with an infinite anti reverse feature as well.
The clutch mechanism, alongside the ball bearing system is also corrosion resistant. This ensures longevity and durability.
The large swept power handle, measures 90 millimeters. It comes with cutouts to reduce the overall weight of the reel.
6. Abu Garcia Revo STX Right Hand
With a compact design and innovative materials, this model from Abu Garcia is very competitive.
At only 6.35 ounces, it's 29% lighter than its predecessor.
This makes for a baitcasting reel designed for prolonged use and comfort.
Its lightweight nature comes from the C6 carbon sideplates. This material is lightweight yet durable.
As far as the inner workings of a baitcasting reel are concerned, Abu Garcia has employed some impressive technology. The 8.0:1 gear ratio boasts great speed. It brings in 33 inches of line in a single turn of the handle.
Abu Garcia uses a D2 gear design system for their baitcasting reels. They also use a titanium coated line guide. This results in superior efficiency and durability.Ten stainless steel ball bearings and one additional roller bearing ensure smooth operation.
The magnetic braking system allows for nearly limitless adjustability. This will really help you handle various lure weights. Baitcasting reel reviews praise this reel’s ability to distribute power and increase precision. This applied to both casting and retrieving.
Abu Garcia Revo STX boasts a total of 11 ball bearings. The ball bearing system is critical for a smooth retrieve. The higher the quality of the bearings, the better it runs. Ten of them are made out of high-quality stainless steel. While the last one is a roller bearing designated to enhance the operation.
The entire reel is made out of an X2-Craftic alloy frame. This increases the corrosion resistance of the reel. This is definitely something to consider if you will be using it in saltwater. The C6 carbon side plates are also corrosion resistance and help keep the reel's weight down. The side plates are also stiff enough to help prevent flex.
Furthermore, the reel comes with a Carbon Matrix drag system. This system is mean to provide consistent drag pressure without drag skip. However, one of the most notable components is the Infini II spool design. This is going to provide you with tremendously extended castability, regardless of how extreme the load may be.
Abu Garcia is a company which is well-known for its efforts to provide anglers ergonomic reels. This is reflected in the reel through its compact handle and star drag.
The reel has a titanium coated line guide to reduce line friction while casting. It’s a well-rounded baitcaster with all the specifications you need.
7. Shimano Tranx Series Baitcasting Reels
Best Saltwater Baitcasting Reels.
The Shimano Tranx series is known for withstanding the harshest saltwater environments. One key reason is that they come equipped with core protect.
This is a Shimano technology that repels water. Parts are coated with a water repellent film. Rubber seals are used in locations where water is likely to get in. And the drag is completely sealed and waterproof.
The Tranx is built using the hagane cold forging process. This results in a stiffer metal that is less prone to flex.
The HG or High Gear models in the 300 and 400 series come with single handles and retrieve line at 7.6:1. This gear ration pulls in 40 inches of line per crank.
The non HG models run at 5.8:1 and pull in 30 inches of line per crank. They also feature a more standard looking double handle.
There are several sizes in the Tranx line. The come in 200, 300, 400 and 500. The smallest reel in the 200 series will hold 180 yards of 8lb. test mono, or 190 yards of 30 lb. braid.
At the other end of the spectrum, the 500 series will hold 160 yards of 30 lb. test mono or 210 yards of 80 lb test braid.
A powerful drag is essential when dealing with large saltwater species. If you're hauling in a huge snook, you're going to want some stopping power.
Drag capabilities range from 12 pounds on the 200 series to 25 pounds on the 500 series.
8. Lew's Custom Inshore Speed Spool SLP
One Of The Best Saltwater Baitcasting Reels.
Lew's has always been known for making excellent bass fishing baitcasters. The Custom Inshore lets you have that same Lew's quality when targeting inshore species.
What makes this reel ideal for saltwater use? Well, to start is features a one piece aluminum frame. The side plates are graphite and the handle is carbon.
It's the internals thought that matter when it comes to corrosion resistance. The Custom Inshore features 10 stainless steel corrosion resistant bearings. It also comes with a zero reverse one way clutch bearing.
As for the braking system i features as dual setup with both magnetic and centrifugal brakes. The centrifugal brakes are controlled by 4 independent switches.
The spool is a double anodized aluminum and holds 120 yards of 12 lb. monofilament. The spool tension knob is also anodized aluminum and has a clicker.
The reel has 20 pounds of drag. This is higher than most baitcasting reels. It should help when dealing with larger saltwater species such as redfish and snook.
To round it out the reel comes with an aluminum handle, aluminum drag star with clicker and a combat grip pad on the thumb bar.
With a 7.5:1 gear ratio, the reel will retrieve 30 inches of line per handle turn.
You'd think a reel this tough would be heavy, but it comes in at only 6.6 ounces.
9. Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Low Profile
For anglers needing a high speed reel, Abu Garcia may have your solution.
The Revo Rocket is one of the quickest baitcasting reels available, and with a gear ratio of 10.0:1, it isn’t hard to see why. For spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, or crankbaits, the Revo Rocket promises a lightning-fast retrieve.
The Revo Rocket is just as much designed for durability as it is for speed. This baitcasting reel is made with the highest quality components.
It features a metal alloy frame and side plates to protect against corrosion. The Infini spool design and the Infini brake system ensure that casts are extended and backlash avoided.
Anglers who want maximum speed in their retrieves will find that the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket is ideal.
Starting off, the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Reel comes with 10-piece bearing system.
This consists of 9 HPCR stainless steel bearings and 1 RB. HPCR stands for High Performance Corrosion Resistant.
The patented AMGearing system has high-end precision machined gears. This helps bring durability and smoothness to the reel. The gear design is computer-optimized in an attempt to make it as efficient as it is possible. The gear ratio will provide you with rocket-fast line retrieve, hence the name of the reel.
The reel will hold 145 yards of 12 pound test monofilament and 140 yards of 30 pound braid. This makes it ideal for bass fishing and light saltwater inshore fishing.
Another thing which excels in this reel is the Power Stack Carbon Matrix drag system. It can deliver 20 pounds of smooth as well as consistent drag pressure throughout the entire range.
The Revo Rocket also features an X-Craft allow frame. The spool is light enough to throw lighter lures as well.
The reel has a longer handle to get even more speed out of it. However, it’s worth noting that the flat EVA knob also plays its part when it comes to comfort and durability.
It's designed to bring a lot of value to anglers. If you need a fast reel for buzzbaits and other high speed lures, then this is a great choice.
10. KastKing Rover Round
The KastKing rover round is one of the most affordable baitcasting reels out there. The stainless steel ball bearings and shaft protect against corrosion. This makes the Rover Round suitable for saltwater and freshwater use.
This reel is also popular for trolling and bottom fishing as it can handle large amounts of line.
The rover line features carbon fiber drag. This helps ensure that large fish can pull line with a lower chance of line breakage.
It also has non-slip handles.
Reviewers love that the KastKing comes with a bait clicker to help alert anglers to strikes.
Another attractive feature is the centrifugal brake system that helps with castability.
Anglers also love the fact this it's an affordable option.
This KastKing Rover Round reel saw a major improvement back in 2016.
Anodized side plates help keep the reel looking good. An aluminum spool is both lightweight and durable. Brass gears and an alloy level wind help make it a complete package.
However, it doesn’t really end with the construction. The carbon fiber drag system is not just smooth. You can put up to 20lbs. drag pressure on.
This will help when targeting large catfish or going after saltwater species. Light reef work should be doable with this reel. However, I'd make sure to clean the real after every saltwater use.
One of the most important characteristics of a baitcasting reel is its ball bearing system.
Different models have differing numbers of bearings. The 40 thru 60 models come with 7 ball bearings. While the 70 thru 90 models come with 5.
Keep in mind that the number of bearings isn't always an indicator of a good reel. The quality of the bearings is what matters.
The reel is great for a range of different techniques which are used in both salt and fresh water.
At the same time, it’s comparatively affordable.
Keep in mind that these high-quality reels are built to last so long as you care for them.
It’s a conventional reel that a lot of anglers would love to add to their baitcasting reel collections.
Get Notified When We Release New Content.
Baitcasting reels are an invaluable tool for most anglers.
This is especially true when looking to manage heavier lines and heavier baits. When looking for a baitcasting reel, keep in mind the key characteristics of the best baitcasting reels, listed above.
Modern braking systems are very effective at reducing backlash.If you've been intimidated by baitcasters because you tried an old one many years ago. You should give on of the modern baitcasters a try.Learning how to use your thumb to help supplement the braking systems can seem daunting.
However, there are many videos available to help you learn. Remember though that nothing beats practice.So get a baitcaster and get out there.