From freshwater to saltwater, there are a lot of great baitcasting reels hitting the market now, and they come in two main styles – round and low-profile oval – and a broad price range. We will take look at some low-profile and round reels here, and cover prices and features at the high, middle, and value price points. Check out our reviews of some of the best bait casting reels and get ready to up your casting game.
Gear Ratio: The ratio is given as a number such as 7.4:1. This number tells you that the spool goes through 7.4 revolutions per one complete turn of the reel handle. Baitcasters are built for more aggressive retrieval techniques, so you will mostly see gear ratios higher than you will find on spinning reels. Most baitcasters will have gear ratios on average around 6.5:1.
The brake is located on the left side of your reel (always on the opposite side of where your reel handle is placed). The purpose of the brake is to slow down your spool when releasing line in the casting situation. When tuned correctly, your brake will keep your spool from spinning at a greater rate than your bait is traveling, minimizing the risk of getting backlashes.
You will have to pay a high price for the accuracy offered by a baitcast reel, although you can get some very nice ones under $100. To increase accuracy, you will have to be focused and stay extremely patient. Frustrations are common for anglers using this reel, but the price is worth every little nuisance. Experienced anglers may not suffer much, because they will have figured out that you must halt the spool as soon as you drop the bait.
Overall, the Chronarch MGL can be the versatile workhorse baitcasting reel that you need. It is well suited for anything from finesse lures and weightless plastics, all the way up to your flipping and pitching needs. The fact that you can get this performance in a lightweight carbon frame reel, without the price tag of a Japanese import is a bonus.
Congratulations! Your spool tension is now set. Now, remember, the spool tensions needs adjusting as soon as you change bait with a different weight. Step 1-5 is a method you will be using a lot as a baitcaster, especially if you like to switch baits often! Bear in mind, that the above-mentioned setting, where the bait is slowly dropping towards the surface is a beginners setting. As you get more experienced, you will want to gradually loosen up the tension spool, which will enable you to do longer distance casts.
For strength, durability, comfort, and performance, this low profile reel is made up of a high strength and anti-corrosion nylon body, 8 stainless steel bearings plus two Japan NMB bearing, instant anti-reverse, CNC machined double-anodized aluminum alloy spool, precision matched brass gears, precision made magnetic brake system, ceramic line guide insert and an ergonomic stainless steel handle with smooth and comfortable natural cork knobs that feel good in the hand.
This bestselling baitcasting reel by KastKing is outstanding in every way: long lasting quality, power, silky smoothness, affordability, and versatility. KastKing has a reputation as a provider of high-quality and high-performance fishing equipment at a great value. The brand is all about making fishing fun. With its pocket-friendly price, durable quality and excellent performance, this reel is definitely fun to fish with.
You will find the most common ratio being 6.4:1, which allows an angler to make both slow-moving presentations, as well as fast ones. Certain applications will, however, require you to use lower gear ratios or very high gear ratios. For instance, when you decide to use a buzz bait, you will need a reel with a ratio of 7.1:1. Crankbaits on the other hand, are more effective with slower gear ratios like 5.4:1.
This is a feature to organize your line evenly. Without Levelwind, you end up using the thumb of the rod to lay the line on the spool. If line piles up too much at either side, the spool gets stuck against the reel creating a huge mess of a line. But thanks to the slow yet even line distribution of this system which allows the line to stay organized after every retrieve.
The reel is small enough to be palmed and feels great in your hand, with a thick, cold-forged handle that is perfectly curved to clear the star drag wheel as it turns the 5.6:1 gear ratio and gives you exacting control over retrieve speed. A stainless steel knob lets you adjust the 20-point cast-control system for precision with any lure or in any condition. The anti-reverse uses a one-way roller bearing that eliminates all back-play to give instant hook setting power.
The Curado also has an aluminum alloy body and aluminum, ported spool for durability. The side plates are a decent carbon composite that is used to cut down on weight. This design is optimized to cut down on body flex and loss of power when trying to work fish. Even though there is quite a bit of aluminum employed on these reels, they are still lightweight and easy to handle while on the water.
The Baitcasting reels are a bit confusing things to choose from a thousand from the market. From the beginning of fishing, saltwater reels were just made of brass and other materials. But the problem is, saltwater puts a quite heavy effect on metals as the rate of oxidation gets high. This is exactly why wise brands decided to make reels for saltwater.
Setting up the baitcaster’s anti-backlash system is next. “On a general setup I would pull out at least three of the centrifugal brake pins,” says Ponds. “On the right hand side of most reels is an anti-backlash dial. I would set that up by tying my plug on and back off that dial until the lure barely starts to drop and then turn it up just a little bit from there. As you progress you can loosen it up and also mash in one of the brakes.” Even though he is a seasoned veteran with a baitcaster Ponds always keeps one brake pin engaged.
More Control– Baitcasting reel combos provide a high degree of casting control compared to spinning gear because you can control the distance and speed of your lure by thumbing the spool during the cast. Once you become proficient in their use, you can achieve pinpoint accuracy with your casts, allowing you to place your lure exactly where the fish are.
Eleven ball bearings make for flawlessly smooth casting and retrieval. The centrifugal braking system features 27 adjustable positions, while the carbon fiber handle comes with two custom EVA foam cork knobs. The reel has a high gear ratio of 6.8:1. Patented Lew’s innovations include the Speed Dial line indicator (to keep track of what line type and weight has been spooled) and a retractable hook keeper.
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A great spool is lightweight for speed but can handle the elements as well. Typical material for spools is aluminum because it’s so light. A forged aluminum spool is best as it’s a tougher metal and doesn’t get damaged or scratched as easily. Manufacturers are drilling holes into their spools for that lighter weight and quicker spin (air dynamics & weight).
Reel overview: Lews has introduced their speed spool LFS Baitcasting reel to compete in the budget bracket. From performance to build quality, it delivers outstanding reliability and lightweight construction. Something regular anglers like me appreciate, especially in a long session. The combination of features complemented by an irresistible price tag, this one is possibly the best lews Baitcaster for the money.
These are all valid questions, and the truth is that improper baitcasting will not increase your efficiency. However, if you use it properly, a baitcaster will take your fishing game to the next level. That’s why I felt it was so important to create this guide. If you want to improve your angling abilities and avoid misuse, check out this guide on how to use a baitcaster.
Heavier Line– On a baitcasting reel, the spool’s axis of rotation is perpendicular to the rod guides, meaning the line comes off directly through the line guide and straight through the rod guides. This makes it easier to use heavier lines, from 10-20lb test on average, and heavier lures. A good baitcasting setup can easily cast lures from 1/4 to 1oz, and more.
Fishing with baitcasting reels can be very annoying for the first time. There are some things you are required to put in mind before trying to fish with one of these fishing reels. However, once you learn them, you will see why they become so popular. Baitcasting reels were in the first used in saltwater fishing. There larger fish were caught like a marlin. However, anglers started using them in freshwater lakes, especially for largemouth bass and other big game fish.
A baitcaster works well with all three line types: monofilament, fluorocarbon and braid. I use a baitcaster with monofilament for topwater baits such as Zara Spooks, twitching suspended stickbaits and cranking in the shallows or at mid-depths. A baitcaster with fluorocarbon is my choice for jig fishing, Texas-rigged soft plastics and deep cranking. I rely on a baitcaster filled with braid for buzz baits, plastic frogs and topwater chuggers.
There are a variety of different gear ratios to choose from – from 5.4:1 to 7.1:1 and 8.1:1. While these numbers might look complicated, they are actually describing a very simple event. Let’s take a reel with an 8.1:1 gear ratio. What that number means is that for every single crank of the handle, the reel will spin 8 times. However, that doesn’t mean that a higher gear ratio is better than a lower gear ratio. For certain techniques, such as working a crankbait, a lower ratio is preferred, while applications such as using a spinnerbait are best used with a reel that has a higher ratio. Most anglers buy several of these reels, all in different ratios, so they have a variety of options available to them while fishing.
When deciding on the break, there are two types you can choose from; the centrifugal and the magnetic breaking system. The centrifugal breaking system depends on the friction and centrifugal force and uses pins inside the side plate of the reel to function. The pins extend out when there is increased speed of the spool’s rotation. Therefore, to apply the break in this system, you will have to push the pins to the outside. For magnetic breaking system, its mechanism of work is rather quite different all though depends on the magnet and spool to function.
A: There are a few quick-tips and basic knowledges that will help you out. First off, don’t overfill the spool and correct your casting motion. Make sure not to overextend your arm or keep it too straight, keep the strength in your flicking motion. This prevents future injuries and makes your cast count. Some other basics involve using plenty of line when you cast – ensuring that you’re getting distance at all.
Baitcasting reels that are designed to be compact and lightweight are your best bets. You need something that will not tire you out easily when you go out fishing. You are supposed to be having fun and not working. Also, look for something that has a comfortable grip, but still gives you accuracy every time you cast. It is also advisable to purchase from an outdoor shop instead of online, so you can try out several brands and makes. This way you can really get a feel for what you are buying.
I hope this guide was helpful for you to choosing a baitcasting reel and providing additional information on these reels. I love studying baitcasters and looking for new technologies and improvements. If there is a reel I didn’t include that you use and love, I’d love to hear from you. Additionally, I’m happy to take any questions/comments on this guide, for all these things please leave a comment below. Tight lines! Jesse
Being called one of the most popular baitcasters year after year, the Revo SX has shown to impress myself with its durability and ultimate control while fishing. I have reeled in so many bass with this fishing reel. Combined with the sturdy Vendetta rod, this combo can be sick! Buy both the rod and reel and you will have a nice setup for years to come. You are getting a very good combo for the money. This rod and reel is for both beginners and more advanced fisherman. They are both super lightweight with the alloy and carbon reel coming in at only 6.6 oz. It has 10 bearings with a 7.1:1 gear ratio and comes in both a right and left hand model. There are multiple generations of these reel and I'm amazed how they continue to reduce the weight each year.
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The Dartanium II drag washers provide one of the smoothest drag systems around. You can simply adjust it with a flick of your finger while fighting a fish. The SVS Infinity breaking system is one of the best out there. There is an external dial as well as 4 internal brakes that are adjusted by opening the side plate and engaging 1 to 4 of the brakes.
Braking systems are another feature that often confuses inexperienced anglers who use this type of reel. Basically, the braking system prevents your line from continuing forward after the lure has finished its movement. There are two different type of braking systems out there, although some reels now use a hybrid of the two. These two braking systems are centrifugal brakes and magnetic brakes. Centrifugal brakes use friction to slow down the line and can be adjusted using pins. Magnetic brakes use magnets to slow down spool speed and are adjustable as well. There’s not much difference between the two except for this: centrifugal braking systems are usually easier to set and don’t have to be adjusted as much as magnetic braking systems.
Centrifugal baitcasters use a braking system similar to a car. They will be located underneath the side plates. They are adjusted by adjusting the interior pins, which can be engaged and disengaged. Pins can be engaged and disengaged by pushing them either towards or away from the center. I find centrifugal braking systems to be the far superior system. I suggest starting with a FishDrops 17+1 BB baitcasting reel from Bass Smashers. This model’s interior pins are designed like levers, which make it a baitcaster that is especially accessible for beginners.
Spool Tension Knob: The spool tension knob is like a smaller braking system kept inside the main braking system. You can think of this part as the gears on a bicycle. Where the braking system slows down the overall movement of the whole bike, a spool tension knob adjusts the cadence of the pedaling. Another way to describe it, more directly perhaps, is that a spool tension knob determines spool speed. A braking system keeps you from casting too much line, a tension knob controls how fast that line comes out. This is one of the more challenging parts of a baitcasting reel for beginners to pick up, but boosts performance quite a lot.
Our thoughts: Do I think this is the best Abu Garcia Baitcasting reel? Absolutely not. But do I think this is one of the best baitcasting reels for the money? Then yes I do. It offers nifty features at a reasonable price. You can practice different bait style with ease. Not a lot of manufacturer offers cheap Baitcasting reels for the performance like Abu Garcia.
The sophisticated braking systems and anti-backlash mechanisms on today’s baitcasters make it easy for anyone to learn how to cast these reels without worrying about line overruns. Some reels have a brake dial for adjusting the centrifugal brake system while others, such as the Ardent baitcasters Ponds uses, have internal centrifugal brake pins that need to be pulled out to engage the brakes. With plenty of practice in the right settings, any beginner can head out on the water with the confidence of having a backlash-free day.
With its D2 Gear design and fuel-efficient X-Craftic amalgam contour. The reel offers sufficient equipment quality and toughness to withstand even the most stringent conditions. With its carbon matrix braking system, this bait-casting reel provides luxurious air drag throughout the entire length of the train. So you get the precision and power you need to choke hard-pulling fish.
It has a low profile design that’s also light thanks to its graphite side plate and one-piece frame. It also has reliable operation thanks to its four stainless steel ball bearings and its one roller bearing. This model also has very nice castability and nice drag thanks to its Power Disk drag system and its MagTrax brake system. Its bent handle and recessed reel foot also make it a very ergonomic choice for both the amateur and professional fisherman alike.
Additionally, this model is fitted with machined brass gear that boasts 7.0:1 gear ratio. This is a great ratio for anglers who love high-speed casting. Being made from bass makes the reel strong and resilient especially when used in extreme saltwater conditions. Weighing around 7.09 ounces, it is lightweight just in case you will be fishing all day.
Robert is a professional fisherman and his hobby is fishing! He has been fishing for last 6+ years and he loves using fishing accessories outing as well. Based on his experiences with different types of accessories; He is sharing his opinion about various fishing accessories So that the beginner can get started right away. Find him on here. Happy reading!
Hey Steve, thanks for the comment and glad it helped, I love Abu Garcia reels! As for your question, you’re likely just fine with the 5601 model vs. 6601. The big difference is line capacity holding monofilament 240 yards of 12# (5601) vs. 320 yards of 12# (6601). What type of fishing are you looking to use this reel for? E.g. River drift fishing, Ocean fishing, etc. If you’re looking for a salt water reel the bigger reel capacity is more important, but if you’re drift fishing rivers the 5601 should be more than fine for those big runs. Let me know!
Just like the other KastKing fishing reel, this reel is also very versatile as its usefulness extends to both freshwater and saltwater fishing. This is because it is corrosion resistant. It is suitable for virtually every fishing technique including flipping, casting, pitching and more. It can also be used for bass fishing, ice fishing, kayak fishing, trout fishing, and lots more.
Fishermen looking for a good trolling or bottom-fishing reel can not go wrong with the time-tested Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3. It’s a classic and one of the best-selling reels of all time. With a 320 yard 12lb mono line capacity and 6.3:1 gearing, this winch of a reel is made for pulling big fish up out of deep water. The C3 comes in smaller sizes but we tested the big boy and loved the business-like look and feel of this reel.
As you can see, there’s much more that goes into learning how to use a baitcaster than meets the eye. Start with the fundamentals of casting and retrieving, but be aware of a baitcaster’s finer nuances. The mechanical systems of a baitcaster also determine how they perform. The best bet for a beginner is to go with a cast control system. It’ll make learning how to use a baitcaster so much easier, taking time away from frustration and using it to learn the other systems.
This is a great case where the specifications of a reel can be a bit deceptive. A lot of low quality reels might boast a whole lot of bearings, but if they aren’t of high quality you might be better off with half the amount of extremely well made ones. These are especially vital to allow for smooth casting, increasing your accuracy and decreasing your chances of a messy backlash.
This is a fitting example of a consistent quality reel across the board for a reasonable price. The lightweight (yet tough) aluminum body and side plate will hold up against a lot of abuse. The Tatula has an interesting rotor (side component that works in parallel with the spool) in which mimics the spool with holes drilled/cut out for a lighter and more air dynamic component. Daiwa’s fancy name for it Air Rotor system.
If you’re well acquainted with baitcaster reels and try the Luna, one of the first things you’ll notice is the ease and extra distance when casting. This is the free floating spool structure that removes the spool pinion from the gear train (reduced friction). This allows the spool to spin quicker and longer for those long bomb casts. Additionally, the casting speed is easily adjusted by pressing and turning the sideplate. Most reels will have a separate knob for this functionality; to me the sideplate adjustment is more intuitive.
I teamed it up with 50 lb spider wire handled it perfect. I bought 125 years and there was quite a lot still on the spool. This is a perfect reel for the lighter musky stuff how will it handle a musky, we will see. How will it hold up? We will see. It is user friendly. My big musky reels and rods take there toll on my arms. If this reel holds up for one season fishing once a week 11 hours a day, I will be happy. If I get 2 years I will be in pardise. The pic below is one my grandson caugh 6/8/17 Here in Wv 41.5 17" rubber swimbait