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A baitcasting reel can be a good addition to your fishing gear, as it can let you try out different techniques that may not work as well with spinning gear.
But with all the different reels out there, you’re probably wondering what to look for when you want to choose one. We have put together some information that might help you if you’re in the market for one, as well as a quick guide to some of our favorite reels.
9 Best Baitcasting Reels
1: Abu Garcia Revo MG Xtreme Low Profile Reel
- Weight: 4.5 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 8.0:1
- Drag: 12 pounds
The Abu Garcia Revo MG Xtreme is a low profile baitcasting reel that comes in either right handed or left handed versions.
It features an aluminum spool, carbon fiber drag system and 11 hybrid ceramic bearings for lightweight and smooth performance. There is also a double cork handle which can add comfort and grip, and it helps to minimize the weight of the reel, making it comfortable for all day fishing.
The braided line capacity of the spool is 155 yards of 20 pound line, suitable for long casts. It has a high speed gear ratio of 8.0:1, making it suitable for faster presentations, such as topwater fishing during the summer.
2: Shimano Metanium DC Baitcasting Reel
- Weight: 6.9 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 8.5:1
- Drag: 11 pounds
The Shimano Metanium DC is a low profile baitcasting reel with a high speed gear ratio of 8.5:1 and a line retrieve rate of 36 inches per turn. It features a 10 bearing drag system with a max drag of 11 pounds and comes in both right handed and left handed options.
This lightweight reel has a digital control braking system which features a microcomputer and is designed to control spool speed, improve casting distance and minimize backlash as it can apply measured pressure as you cast. This could make it a little easier to cast, especially if you’re new to baitcasters.
This Shimano reel has a line capacity of 120 yards of 20 pound braided line.
- Weight: 10.9 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 6.4:1
- Drag: 25 pounds
This Okuma Komodo SS is a low profile baitcasting reel that features a large capacity spool that can hold 250 yards of 12 pound monofilament line.
It is a medium speed reel,with a gear ratio of 6.4:1, which can be good all-round speed and ideal for a variety of fishing techniques. It is made with durable and corrosion resistant stainless steel gears and has a lightweight aluminum frame and spool.
It features 7 bearings and benefits from a Carbonite drag system and a 6 pin Velocity Cast Control system which is designed to prevent backlash and offer improved casting.
- Weight: 5.8 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 7.5:1
- Drag: 20 pounds
This Lew’s Fishing Custom Pro Speed reel is a low profile, compact freshwater baitcasting reel that is lightweight and engineered for high performance. It has a 4 pin, 27 position centrifugal braking system and a line capacity of 110 yards of 12 pound line.
The frame is crafted from one piece of aluminum and features a double anodized 32mm Duralumin U-spool for added durability. It also features 11 shielded stainless steel bearings and a carbon fiber drag system with a max drag of 20 pounds.
Another handy feature of this Custom Pro Speed reel is the built-in hook keeper to keep your hook from scratching the rest of your gear. It also benefits from Zirconia line guides for durability.
5: Shimano Chronarch G SW Baitcasting Fishing Reel
- Weight: 6.5 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 7.1:1
- Drag: 11 pounds
This Shimano Chronarch G SW reel is a baitcasting reel that is designed for both freshwater and saltwater, giving you more versatility over where you can use it.
It is a moderate speed reel with a gear ratio of 7.1:1 and a line retrieval rate of 30 inches per turn of the handle, which could make it an ideal reel for a range of fishing presentations. It is a right handed reel but also comes in a left handed version.
It features a cross carbon drag system which enables a higher range of drag settings. The maximum drag of the reel is 11 pounds, so it can be ideal for smaller inshore species.
It also features a MicroModule gear system which is designed to give a smooth retrieve due to the smaller and more numerous teeth in the gears.
The reel has a braided line capacity of 120 yards of 10 pound line.
6: 13 Fishing Concept A3 Fishing Reel
- Weight: 9.9 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 8.1:1
- Drag: 30 pounds
This 13 Fishing Concept A3 reel is right handed low profile baitcasting reel that is built for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. It is also available in a left handed version.
It features a high speed gear ratio of 8.1:1, with a line retrieval rate of 37 inches per handle turn, making it great for fast presentations and targeting active fish.
The reel has Japanese Hamai precision H.A.M gears that are made from durable brass which can help to create a smooth and stable drag. It features 7 corrosion resistant bearings and has a 6 way centrifugal braking system to help improve casting. The Arrowhead Casting system is also built to improve casting accuracy and distance.
7: Shimano Caenan 150A Low Profile Baitcasting Reel
- Weight: 6.5 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 6.3:1
- Drag: 11 pounds
The Shimano Caenan 150A is a low profile baitcasting reel that is designed for freshwater fishing. It has a max drag of 11 pounds and has a line capacity of 150 yards of 20 pound braided line.
It features a total of 5 bearings and has a diecast aluminum spool for lightweight durability. The reel is made from a composite XT7 material and features a Variable Brake System, which is a centrifugal braking system that is designed to maximize long distance casting and generate a more consistent spool speed when casting.
It is a medium speed reel that could work well for a range of presentations that require both slow and moderate retrieval speeds. The gear ratio is 6.3:1 and it has a line retrieval rate of 26 inches per turn of the handle.
8: KastKing Speed Demon 9.3:1 Baitcasting Reel
- Weight: 8.3 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 9.3:1
- Drag: 13.2 pounds
This KastKing Speed Demon reel is a high speed baitcasting reel with a line retrieval rate of 37.4 inches per turn and a high gear ratio of 9.3:1, making this an ideal rod for summer fishing and for faster moving lures.
It features 12+1 shielded, corrosion resistant ball bearings and a 3 disc carbon fiber drag system with a maximum drag power of 13.2 pounds, making it ideal for targeting bass.
The reel has an easily adjustable magnetic braking system to allow for easier and more accurate casting. It also benefits from having precision matched brass gears and a stainless steel main shaft for added durability and strength.
It has a large capacity spool with a braided line capacity of 160 yards of 50 pound line and features a magnetic braking system for easier casting.
- Weight: 11.3 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 5.9:1
- Drag: 33 pounds
This Piscifun Alijos 300 reel is a low profile baitcasting reel that can be used for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. It is designed for slow to medium speed presentations, with a slow to moderate gear ratio of 5.9:1 and a line retrieval rate of 26.8 inches per turn, so it could be a good option for targeting bass in deep water or in colder conditions.
It features 8+1 shielded ball bearings that are built for corrosion resistance. It also features Japanese Hami but brass gears for durability and improved performance.
The reel has a large capacity spool with a braided line capacity of 205 yards of 40 pound test line.
What Is A Baitcasting Reel Used For?
Baitcasting reels are generally used for fishing with heavier line and heavier lures compared to spinning reels. They are known for their ability to cast long distances, meaning they can be great for fishing in open water.
Baitcaster reels can also allow you to cast more accurately because you can control the line on the spool by using your thumb to stop the line feeding out.
These types of reels can be ideal for fishing with topwater lures, crankbaits, jigs and also Texas rigged worms, meaning a baitcasting reel can be used for a lot of bass techniques. You can also spool a baitcaster with all types of fishing line, giving you more choice over the presentation of your lure.
However, these types of reels can take a bit of getting used to if you’re a beginner, as they can involve learning a new casting technique.
Another thing that you’ll probably notice with baitcasting reels is that they tend to offer higher gear ratios compared to spinning reels, which can let you reel in your lure faster. Faster presentations can often be great for fishing when bass are active and natural prey tends to be more active, such as during the summer with topwater baits, such as mice and frogs.
What Features To Look For When Choosing A Baitcasting Reel?
One of the most important features of a baitcasting reel is often the gear ratio. This is the speed at which you can retrieve your line. A slow speed reel will tend to have a lower gear ratio and a fast speed one will have a higher gear ratio. For example, a 5.4:1 will be a slower retrieval rate than a 7.1:1.
The numbers correspond to how many times the spool can rotate with each turn of the reel handle. So, for instance, on a 7.1:1 reel the spool will turn 7.1 times for every 1 turn of your handle.
If you want to use fast moving lures, such as topwater lures or jigs, you may want to opt for a higher speed gear ratio, for example, 7.1:1. However, a slower speed gear ratio may be more suitable for fishing with crankbaits in deep water.
A medium speed reel might be a good option if you’re looking to try out different techniques with the one reel and can be a good choice if you’re looking to purchase your first baitcaster.
Drag can be important on a baitcasting reel because it can help to prevent your line from snapping when you’re trying to reel in your catch. Drag can usually be adjusted and set by using a dial at the side of the reel.
In many cases, it can be a good idea to set your drag to around 20 percent of the weight capacity of your line.
Video: Setting Your Reel’s Drag Correctly
Most baitcasting reels will have either centrifugal brakes or magnetic brakes, but some may have a combination of the two, known as hybrid brakes. Centrifugal brakes use weights on the side plate that can be adjusted inside the reel.
Magnetic brakes use magnets and can usually be adjusted on the outside of the reel to either increase or decrease the level of braking.
The brakes can help with casting, preventing line from running off your line after you’ve cast.
Ball bearings are generally there to help your reel operate smoothly and to reduce friction. The higher number of ball bearings doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better reel, as it can be more important to look at the quality of bearings.
Most ball bearings in reels tend to be either stainless steel or ceramic. Ceramic bearings are often more expensive but can be more resistant to corrosion, lighter and longer lasting.
However, some stainless steel bearings will often be sealed or shielded to help with durability and performance.
Quality components can be a good thing to look for in a baitcasting reel, as this is what can help your reel to perform well over time.
Many reels are made from aluminum or graphite and often have aluminum spools.
What Are The Top Baitcaster Brands?
Shimano is a Japanese brand started by Shozaburo Shimano in 1921 in Kensai, Japan. It is known for its quality rods and reels that use precision engineering to create high performance gear for a range of budgets.
Okuma is a fishing tackle brand based in Taiwan that focuses on quality and affordability. They manufacture fishing rods and reels for both freshwater and saltwater and began back in 1986.
Abu Garcia brand began back in 1921 with the founding of AB Urfabriken company in Sweden, which made precision engineered watches and timers. Twenty years later, the focus shifted to making precision engineered fishing reels and later got the Swedish royal seal of approval for quality fishing reels.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind Of Line Should I Use?
This will usually depend on what type of fishing you want to do, as baitcasting reels can handle monofilament, braided and fluorocarbon line. If you’re flipping topwater lures into thick cover, braided line can be a good choice.
How Do You Spool A Baitcaster Reel?
Put your line through the first guide of your rod and then through the guide on the reel. Tie the line to the spool and then carefully (after cutting off the tag end) turn the reel handle to load the line onto your spool while keeping your line tight. Decent fishing pliers can help with the process.
How Do You Clean A Baitcaster?
Rinse it thoroughly in clean water after use and allow it to dry properly before putting it away. You can disassemble it for further cleaning and you can also oil it occasionally for maintenance.
Video: How To Clean A Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Is It Easy To Cast Baitcasting Rods/Reels?
You may need to practice a little before you find it easy, as your thumb is what generally controls the line. So when you cast your lure out, you need to stop it with your thumb when the lure hits the water, otherwise your line could end up continuing to run off your spool.
Should I Get A Spinning Or Baitcasting Reel?
This probably depends on the type of fishing you want to do and your skill level. If you want to use heavier lures and heavier line, a baitcaster could be useful. However, if you think you’re more likely to use light lures and line then a spinning reel might be more suitable, depending on the techniques you want to try.
Our Final Words
While a baitcasting reel can be a little tricky to use at first, it can be a useful tool to help you catch bass using different techniques than you might be used to. You may find you need to practice a few times before you get the hang of casting but a baitcasting reel can let you work with heavier lines and lures, compared to spinning gear.
These reels come in a range of speeds but they can be particularly good for high speed presentations because of the often higher gear ratios that you can get compared to spinning reels.
Before you choose a reel, remember to think about the techniques that you may be more likely to try and whether you’ll need a slower speed reel or a higher speed one. A medium speed can be ideal for a range of presentations and can be a good one to choose if it’s your first time using a baitcaster.
What are your favorite techniques for using a baitcasting reel? Tell us about it and remember to share this to help out other anglers.