7 Best Baitcasting Reels For 2018 Reviewed

7 Best Baitcasting Reels For 2018 Reviewed

Best Baitcasting Reel

Top 7 Quick Stats

  WeightGear RatioMax Drag
Shimano 200IHG Curado RH 4Shimano Curado IGH7.4 oz.7.1. 6.312lbs.
Piscifun Torrent8.0 oz.7.1:118 lbs.
Shimano Caenan6.5 oz.7.2:111 lbs.
Daiwa TatulaDaiwa Tatula R100XS7.4 oz.6.3, 7.3, 8.113.2 lbs.
abu-garcia-revo-stx-3Abu Garcia Revo STX6.35 oz.8.020 lbs.
KastKing Rover Round 40R11.7 oz.3.611 lbs.
abu-garcia-revo-rocket-low-profile-5Abu Garcia Revo Rocket6.75 oz.9.020 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.

Increased Power

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.

Braking System

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

If you're throwing lures over 1/8 ounce and need heavier line, a baitcaster is most likely your best bet.

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:

  • They can cold more line.
  • They're usually all metal.

 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:

  • Lighter weight.
  • Can be palmed in your hand.
  • Come in many varieties to fit your needs.

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.

Ball Bearings and Gears

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 micromudule gears with very short distances between teeth. This leads to a smoother and more powerful feeling retrieve.

When it comes to ball bearings, a larger number of bearings is not necessarily better. The key is that the bearings be of high quality.

You may also want to look for bearings that are sealed and protected against water intrusion.

Spool Tension

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.

Weight

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.

Gear Ratio

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.

Brake System

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.

Centrifugal 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.

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 to 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.

1. Shimano 200IHG Curado Baitcast Reel

Shimano started as an iron works company almost a century ago. Today, they produce some of the finest fishing reels around.

The Curado series maintains this standard. With X-Ship gearing which adds ball bearings to both ends of the pinion gear. The result is improved alignment and durability. Gears stay put even under heavy loads. Additionally, friction between the gear and spool shaft is reduced which improves casting distance.

The Curado also uses the SVS infinity braking system. Brake weights use friction against the spool's inner raceway. This helps improve precision when casting lighter lures.

The Curado 200IHG is now available with a hagane body. This is a cold forged, high rigidity metal body.  The improved stiffness and impact resistance greatly reduces body flexing and helps transfer cranking power efficiently.

It holds 180 yds. of 8 lb., 155 yds of 10 lb. or 110yds of 14 lb. test mono.  If you prefer power pro braid, it will hold 190 yds. of 30 lb, 120 yds of 50 lb, and 65 yds or 80 lb braid.

Shimano 200IHG Curado Baitcasting Reel

The HG in the name is for High Gear which means it will retrieve 30 inches of line per crank with it's 7.2 : 1 gear ratio.  It weighs 7.4 oz. and has a max drag force of 12 lbs. If you don't wan the 7.2 gear ration of the Shimano 200IHG Curado you can get the I version which has a 6.3:1 ratio.

Best Baitcaster Under $50

2. Piscifun Torrent

The Piscifun Torrent is a great choice if you're looking for a good baitcasting reel for less than $50. It weighs 8.0 oz.

It has a max drag of 18 lbs and a gear ration of 7.1:1. This high gear ration allows it to bring in 30 inches of line per handle turn.

These are respectable stats, especially for this price point. The reel features a machined, aluminum spool that can hold 120 yards of 10 lb mono or 120 yards of 30 lb braid.

The Torrent features a side plate oil port. This allows you to lubricate the reel without having to disassemble it.

The only drawbacks I see are that it only has a magnetic brake system.

This might not be ideal for beginners unless you are willing to train your thumb to prevent backlashes. It also weighs 8 ounces which is a bit on the heavy side. 

Best Baitcaster Under $100

3. Shimano Caenan

Featuring the VBS braking system that uses centrifugal brakes instead of magnetic.

Centrifugal brakes are considered to be more effective at reducing backlash than magnetic brakes. 

Additionally, HEG technology provides a larger drive gear and pinion gear to increase power.

The Caenan comes with 5 bearings, and an 11 lb drag. 

The 150A model has a gear ration of 6.3:1 and cranks 26 inches of line per handle turn.

It will hold 105 yards of 10 lb. mono and 150 yards of 20 lb. braid.

The 150AHG has a 7.2:1 gear ratio and brings in 30 inches of line per handle turn.

This reel get praised for having a solid build as well as being very smooth

4. Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel TATULA-R100XS

Daiwa’s product features, designs, and materials have helped make it an industry standard since 1966. Their Tatula model has brought in waves of positive baitcasting reel reviews, with professional and amateurs alike raving about the precision and quality of this baitcasting reel. 

With each handle turn bringing in 33.9”, 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 patentented T-Wing system changes the design of the line guide, nearly eliminating friction and obstruction while casting. 

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.

Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel TATULA R100XS

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 allows for maximized fish catching ability while out on the water.

For anglers looking for a professional grade baitcasting reel at an affordable price, the Daiwa Tatula R100XS is a perfect choice.

daiwa-tatula-r100xs_2

Daiwa’s R-Type TATULA reel series is designated to meet the performance and durability standards set forth by professional anglers. The R100XS comes with a gear ration of 8.1:1 which is particularly fast in terms of retrievals but, surprisingly, it’s also bringing in serious cranking power. This is due to the comprehensive and high-quality bearing system.


The R100XS model comes with 8 ball bearings, two of which are corrosion resistant, five are regular and one is roller bearing. This allows high-end movement of the reel and a smoother appeal for an extraordinary casting potential. 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 allows splendid casting capabilities, the overall housing of the reel is what impresses the most. The frame and side plate are made out of rugged yet highly extruded lightweight aluminum which brings durability and comfort. The TWS system is also complimented by the comprehensive Magforce-Z cast control as well as the infinite anti-reverse feature, offering precision and casting distance beyond comprehension.

Up front, you should expect a unique and hybrid levelwind design which combines the proven durability of a standardized levelwind with the high-end casting performance of the T-Wing aperture characteristic for Daiwa’s reels.

The clutch mechanism, alongside the ball bearing system is also corrosion resistant, ensuring longevity and durability. The large swept power handle, measuring a total of 90 mm comes with cutouts in order to reduce the overall weight of the reel without compromising its performance and durability one bit. This is a significant improvement over Daiwa’s previous models which included certain plastic components in order to reduce the weight.

5. Abu Garcia Revo STX Right Hand

With its compact design and innovative materials, this model from Abu Garcia is an incredibly competitive baitcasting reel. At only 6.35 ounces, this model is 29% lighter than its predecessor, making for a baitcasting reel designed for prolonged use and comfort. Its lightweight nature comes from the C6 carbon sideplates, which allow for less weight without lowering durability standards.

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 incredible speed, turning 33” in a single turn of the handle.

Abu Garcia uses a D2 gear design system for their baitcasting reels, resulting in superior efficiency and durability. Ten stainless steel ball bearings and one additional roller bearing ensure smooth operation of the baitcasting reel.

Abu Garcia Revo STX Baitcast Reel

The magnetic braking system allows for nearly limitless adjustability to adapt and handle every fishing situation. Baitcasting reel reviews praise this reel’s ability to distribute control and increase precision, both when casting and when retrieving.

Abu Garcia Revo STX boasts a total of 11 ball bearings. Now, the ball bearing system is pretty much the most integral component which defines the smoothness of the movement of the reel. The more bearings there are, the better it runs. 10 of those are made out of high-quality stainless steel while the last one is a roller bearing designated to enhance the operation.

abu-garcia-revo-stx-3

The entire reel is made out of X2-Craftic alloy frame which is going to increase the resistance to corrosion of the unit, ensuring that you’ll be using it for more than just a couple of seasons. The reel is incredibly convenient thanks to the C6 Carbon sideplates which are designated to significantly reduce the overall weight without sacrificing durability, strength and performance.

Furthermore, the reel comes with a Carbon Matrix drag system which will provide you with consistent drag pressure throughout the entire range. 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 with serious convenience and ultimate comfort. This is reflected in the reel through its compact bent handle and star which are designated to secure an ergonomic design for increased convenience. At the same time, there is a TI coated line guide which is intended to improve the durability of the reel through reducing the friction when casting. It’s a well-rounded baitcaster with all the specifications you may actually need.

6. KastKing Rover Round

The KastKing is one of the most affordable baitcasting reels that manage to provide a high level of value without draining your budget. The stainless steel ball bearings and shaft protect against corrosion, making the KastKing Rover Round suitable for saltwater and freshwater use. Trolling and bottom fishing can easily be accomplished with this round baitcasting fishing reel.

The carbon fiber drag system delivers powerful performance that outmatches all similar baitcasting reels. The non-slip handles help ensure that control and power will remain, even in the most soaked situations.

Baitcasting reel reviews love that the KastKing comes with a bait clicker to help alert fishermen to baits and runs. Another attractive feature is the impressive stopping power that comes with the centrifugal brake system. For an affordable baitcasting reel that doesn’t sacrifice value, the KastKing Rover Round baitcasting reel is a phenomenal option.

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

This KastKing Rover Round reel saw a major improvement back in 2016. This particular baitcaster comes with anodized side plates as well as a spool which is made out of reinforced aluminum, brass gear which is tailored to perfection with precision machining, and alloy levelwind. Obviously, the company has put a lot of effort into making the product particularly durable, convenient and yet comfortable enough. The materials do not add up a lot of weight which is something absolutely essential.

kastking-rover-round-reel-1

However, it doesn’t really end with the construction. The carbon fiber drag system ensures splendid drag. You can put up to 9 kg of pressure and you will see that the reel responds splendidly. To compliment the convenience and to reduce the fatigue, there is an oversized EVA grip as well as easy to access thumb bar for the spool release.

We are saving the best for last. One of the most integral characteristic of a baitcasting reel is its ball bearing system. This one comes with 12 ball bearings. 7 of them are regular ball bearings on 40-60 while 5 of them are on 70-90. This will bring smooth operation and an unparalleled appeal.

The reel is great for a range of different techniques which are conveniently used in both salt and fresh water. At the same time, it’s comparatively affordable and it’s a conventional reel that a lot of anglers would love to add to their baitcasting reel collections.

The one thing which you should consider is that these high-quality reels are built to last. They are functional, they come with flawless design, performance and power and all of that is available at a price point far less than what you’d have to pay for any of the branded counterparts.

7. Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Low Profile

For fishermen who want increased speed with increased performance, Abu Garcia has provided the perfect solution. The Revo Rocket is one of the quickest baitcasting reels available, and with a gear ratio of 9.0:1, 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, with metal alloy frame and sideplates to protect against corrosion. A winning combination of the Infini spool design and the Infini brake system ensure that casts are extended, durable, and precise.

Fishermen who want maximum speed and precision in their casts and their retrieves will find that the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket is ideally suited for both.

Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Baitcast Fishing Reels

Starting off, the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Reel comes with 10-piece bearing system, consisted of 9 HPCR stainless steel bearings and 1 RB, all of which are conveniently featured to provide you with smooth movement of the reel and increased corrosion resistance.

abu-garcia-revo-rocket-4

The patented AMGearing system is going to bring high-end precision machined gears. This is designated to bring unparalleled durability and smoothness to the reel. The gear design is computer-optimized in an attempt to make it as efficient as it is possible. What is more, the gear ratio will provide you with rocket-fast line retrieve, hence the name of the reel.

If you are the kind of fishermen who prefers its reel a little bit more powerful in terms of cranking power, rest assured that the rocket line management system will provide you with flawless control as well as the powerful capabilities you are looking for. Paired with the Rocket Spool Lip Design, you will have additional comfort of the line which comes off your spool.

Another thing which excels in this reel is the Carbon Matrix drag system. Even though it is characteristic for other baitcasting reels in the series, it’s just a fact that it would offer smooth as well as consistent drag pressure throughout the entire range. The C6 Carbon rotor, on the other hand is going to bring some serious reduction to the weight. While you might be worried that this is going to reduce the durability and the strength of the reel, precision machining of the IM-C6 body design proves you wrong.

Top top it all out, there is a compact bent carbon handle which is the perfectly ergonomic finish to a design which is already flawless enough. However, it’s worth noting that the flat EVA knob also plays its part when it comes to comfort and durability.

The overall composition of this baitcasting reel is designated to bring a lot of value to fishermen who use techniques where you need to deliver the bait fast and to pick up a serious amount of slack line when it’s needed.

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Conclusion

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.

7 Best Baitcasting Reels For 2018 Reviewed
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