Best Baitcasting Reels For 2018 Reviewed – Ultimate Buyers Guide

By Nick Simpson | Reels

Baitcasting reels

Baitcasting reels are an essential tool for any fisherman, especially for angling. These reels are durable enough to handle heavier fishing line and lures and provide a greater degree of control for casting and reeling in. Their compact construction allows for increased control in the palm of your hand, making baitcasting reels incredibly valuable for beginners and professionals alike.

5 Best Baitcasting Reels Compared

To find the best baitcasting reels, a valuable tool is to use customer reviews as a source for inspiration and direction. Baitcasting reel reviews from current customers can help pinpoint which baitcasting reels are worth investing in, and which baitcasting reels are not. The following list is a compilation of the top-rated baitcasting reel reviews to help you pinpoint the best baitcasting reel for you.

  • Shimano 200IHG Curado RH
  • PV power handle grips
  • Shimano Stable Spool design
  • X-Ship gearing system
  • SVS Infinity braking system
  • Daiwa Tatula-R100XS
  • Durable, lightweight aluminum frame
  • 8 bearing system
  • Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag UTD
  • T-Wing system
  • Abu Garcia Revo STX
  • Aluminum and carbon fiber construction
  • 11 bearing system
  • Carbon Matrix Drag system
  • Magnetic braking system
  • KastKing Rover Round Reel
  • Stainless steel ball bearings
  • EVA grips
  • Carbon fiber drag system
  • Centrifugal brake system
  • Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Reel
  • Enhanced gear ratio of 9.0:1
  • D2 gear design
  • Carbon Matrix drag system
  • Infini II spool design

1. Shimano 200IHG Curado RH Baitcast Reel

Nearly a century ago, founder Shozaburo Shimano aimed to create the best fishing products first in Japan, hoping to spread throughout the entire world eventually. The Curado series by Shimano does just that. With the X-Ship gearing system, the Shimano 200IHG Curado boasts improved alignment and durability. Gears stay put and maintain precision, even under heavy loads.

For anglers after bigger fish, the Shimano 200IHG is a great option, as it is well-equipped to handle fish up to 12 lbs.The SVS Infinity braking system is perhaps the most impressive element of the Curado I series. The brake weights utilize internal friction to increase spool control and brake force.

This results in a seamless precisely controlled cast. When combined with the X-Ship gearing system, SVS Infinity braking provides an enhanced level of control over speed, distance, and weight that not many baitcasting reels can match.

Shimano 200IHG Curado Baitcasting Reel

Baitcasting reel reviews for the Shimano 200IHG Curado have been overwhelmingly positive. Customers report love being able to use this baitcasting reel in freshwater and saltwater. The 7.2:1 gear ratio allows for genuinely smooth casts and drags. Baitcasting reel reviews also praise the Shimano for its lightweight qualities, enabling anglers to comfortably fish all day without wearing their arms out.

A very impressive feature of the Shimano 200IHG Curado RH is that it offers you a range of different gear ratios, allowing you to conveniently control the speed of your retrievals. You can comprehensively increase your cranking power if you need to. At the same time, the singularity which is brought by these reels is that they are capable of performing equally good in both salt and fresh water conditions. The casting is also significantly smoother.

Shimano 200IHG Curado RH 3

What will stun you the most, however, is the cutting-edge design alongside the contemporary technology applied to offer an unparalleled fishing experience. It boasts a low-shape composition in order to snuggly fit in the palm of your hand while, at the same time, it’s only 210 grams, making it incredibly lightweight. Furthermore, this Stable Coil design is also going to minimize the vibration at the gathering process.

It doesn’t really take long for you to figure out that this particular reel is a serious improvement over the previous Curado versions when it comes to sheer distance and casting control. This is further complimented by the newly implemented Shimano SVS Infinity Brake System. In its essence, it’s a centrifugal system which increases the control over the spool speed while an external adjustment knob guarantees flawless accuracy as well as quick adjustments for the constantly changing conditions.

The drag system is also of high-end quality. Shimano calls it Cross Carbon drag and you could easily push it to drag as great as 6 kg to find out that it responds surprisingly well, given how small the reel actually is.

Five, high quality, metal shielded with double sided shields groove ball bearings allow flawless spinning sensation. Low friction grease is used for the lubrication to further improve the overall movements of the reel and to ensure an easy drag.

2. Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel TATULA-R100XS

Daiwa’s product features, designs, and materials have helped to form industry standards since 1966. Their Tatula model has brought in waves of positive baitcasting reel reviews, with professional and amateurs alike raving about the precision and unmistakable 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.Unique to Daiwa, the T-Wing system allows for casts to stretch up to a mile and a half with ease. This patented 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 one lb., 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’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.

3. 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.


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.

4. 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.


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.

5. 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.


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.

While the art of using a baitcasting reel may be initially difficult to master, professional anglers swear by the ability to use advanced techniques and increased precision through their baitcasting reels. By nature, baitcasters tend to offer enhanced control and precision when compared to other reels. With time and practice, it is entirely possible to control both speed and distance of a cast when using a baitcasting reel.

Advantages to Baitcasting Reels

Although baitcasting reels and spinning reels are important tools for any angler, there are some fundamental differences between the two. When compared to spinning reels, baitcasting reels offer unique benefits and advantages. There are three marked benefits to using baitcasting reels:

Heavier Lines and Heavier Lures

By nature, baitcasting reels are much more durable, and can manage a lot more weight. For that reason, heavier lines and lures are perfectly suited for use with a baitcasting reel.

Increased Power

As a result of their spool layout and gear design, baitcasting reels also have greater power and torque than spinning reels. The spool lies directly in line alongside the handle and gears, making reeling much easier.

Braking System

Most baitcasting reels come equipped with a braking handle right on the outside of the reel, allowing the rotation of the spool to be adjusted during a cast. Being able to brake the fishing line can be a great help, especially when dealing with larger fish.

Increased Control

Baitcasting reels allow for greater control when casting, allowing you to manage speed, distance, and accuracy.

Reduced Line Twist

The design of casting reels will naturally help any fisherman avoid the frustration of having a line twist and tangle.

Versatility requires using both spinning and baitcasting reels, although knowing when to use each reel can make a huge difference. For anglers looking for increased power, control, and durability through heavier weight, baitcasting reels are the best choice.

Baitcasting Reels - Buyers Guide

Right off the bat, there are a few key components in a baitcasting reel which are a bit different from regular spinning ones. Of course, this doesn’t really change the fact that there is an abundance of options on the market and going through them clueless of what to look for is an absolute hassle.

We’ve, therefore, taken the liberty of presenting you with a few quick tips that would hopefully help you find the reel you’re looking for without spending an entire day looking at specifications you don’t really understand.

As it is with any type of fishing gear, the location where you intend to use the baitcasting reel is a predominant factor just as it is the size of the species you want to lure. A common mistake is for people to opt in for reels with a larger number of ball bearings when they want to catch larger game, while in actuality, they should be looking at the quality of the material that the bearings are made out of. This is one of the specifications that we cover further below. Keep reading for a lot of convenient tips like this one.

Different Variations and Characteristics

If there’s one thing that you should remember about baitcasting reels is that there is little to no standardization. There is a tremendous variety of reels available and almost any given permutation which could be imagined has already been changed. There are so many attributes which are readily available on the market and would allow you to conveniently customize your reel based on the type of fish that you want to catch.

However, there are a few key-points which you’d have to be aware of in order to take advantage of that sheer variety, so let’s have a look.

Low-profile and Round Reels

These are the two general styles of baitcasting reels. Again, keep in mind that the fish you want to catch will determine the best fit. With this in mind, low-profile reels, for instance, are seriously preferred by fishermen who go on bass-fishing trips. These are also commonly referred to as tear-drop reels and allow the fishermen to palm the reel while he retrieves the line, hence providing him with additional stability.

On the other hand, round reels are capable of holding an increased amount of line because they are equipped with larger spools. This gives you a larger advance and makes it convenient for fish known to make significantly longer runs such as pike and salmon. The majority of the reel frames are made out of aluminum or graphite but that’s usually doesn’t introduce a dramatic difference.

Ball Bearings and Gears

The gears of the baitcasting reel are commonly made out of brass complimented with steel pinion gear. However, high-end reels are comprised out of duralumin – this is a lightweight yet particularly extruded and strong material. 

When it comes to the ball bearings, the general rule of thumb is that you should aim for fewer ball bearings which are made out shielded, sealed or even double-shielded material. Alternatively, if you don’t want to overspend, you can get ball bearings of lower quality steel but larger in volume.

Spool Tension

The spool tension is adjusted by a centrifugal or magnetic brake. There is a principal difference between both of these. A centrifugal brake system comes with pins which are used to adjust the tension of the spool. A magnetic brake system, on the other hand, will use metal, most commonly aluminum, to react to a set of magnets.

However, there are reels which come with braking system utilizing both mechanisms. In case you’re wondering how this helps you – adjusting the tension on your line will help you prevent overrunning your cast and having a backlash which is commonly referred to as having a birdie. The spool tension is conveniently adjusted with a simple knob located on the reel. When you’ve disengaged the spool, the tension should be set in a manner which will allow the lure to fall slowly towards the ground.


This may not be terribly important when looking to fish for shorter periods of time, but for anglers who plan on fishing for extended periods of time, weight will be a significant consideration. Baitcasting reels are typically going to be larger than other reels, and can potentially add a lot of weight. When looking for a baitcasting reel, make sure that the weight will not inhibit your ability to fish over an extended period of time.

Gear ratio

The gear ratio measures how many times the spool revolves during one spin of the handle. 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.

With all of the above being said, you should know that the majority of the baitcasting reels have standardized 4:1 gear ration. However, if you want to sacrifice power in exchange for quicker retrievals, you can go for higher gear rations such as 5.5:1 or even up to 7.1:1. Once again, the type of fish that you are luring will determine the gear ratio and you’d have to adjust it conveniently.

Brake system

Having an efficient brake system can drastically increase your ability to cast precise lines. Brakes are especially useful when casting directly into the wind, as this causes the spool to spin faster than the bait.

Big Game Reels

If you want to be fishing in heavy, saltwater conditions and you want to lure larger types of fish such as tuna, sharks or marlin, you should rely on the best saltwater baitcasting reels which are specifically designed for big game.

There is a distinctive difference between regular baitcasting reels and big game reels which lies within the fact that the latter are not designed for quick and repeated casting. They are commonly set with specific lures which are used only for open water. One of the key considerations is that the big game baitcasting reel is also placed a lot closer to the rod and it provides more leverage when you are attempting to bring a feisty fish in.

Surely, these are far from being the only details to consider. Right-handed reels are usually the preferred and, hence, most common configuration. In this case, you’d be holding the reel with your left hand and crank it with your right one. However, you can order the reel with the opposite arrangement, should you prefer to cast with your dominant hand and reel without having to switch it to your other hand.

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 bait caster is 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.


Baitcasting reels are an invaluable tool for any fisherman, especially 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.

Hopefully, we’ve managed to cast some light on the otherwise shady area. The most important thing to remember is that you can fully customize your reel in a manner which mostly suits the fishing trip and game that you want to go for.

However, doing so blindly is definitely not effective. When you customize your reel or when you purchase a brand new one, make sure to keep the aforementioned characteristics in mind. This is going to help you navigate through the variety and handle the composition a lot quicker.

Looking at baitcasting reviews can provide essential insight into the process of purchasing a baitcasting reel. Models that have the highest baitcasting reel reviews tend to excel in innovative approaches to weight, gear ratios, and braking systems.

By analyzing the top-rated baitcasting reel reviews and keeping the essential qualities of baitcasting reels in mind, any fisherman can find themselves with enough information to make an informed purchase.

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About the Author

Nick is the youngest member of the team and he's very passionate about angling. He is the member that spends most of the time fishing at different locations around the world. His main focus is to simplify the techniques as much as possible and break them down so young anglers can catch up quickly. Nick loves the great outdoors and he's a proud owner of a vast collection of customized fishing equipment.

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