Now, let’s take a look at what you need to look for when shopping for a new baitcasting reel. If you found the perfect baitcaster reel for you among the best baitcasters reviewed above and have a great baitcasting rod to create a well-balanced baitcaster combo, you’re all set up to catch some trophy fish. If you’re finding it hard to decide which one you should spend your money on, here’s a guide to help you select the best for you. 
Designed especially with inshore anglers in mind, the Daiwa Coastal-TWS 200 baitcasting reel is made to withstand exposure to saltwater with eight corrosion-resistant ball bearings. These last approximately 12 times longer than standard stainless steel ball bearings and combine with the reel’s high-strength gears to increase its overall longevity. The reel has a maximum drag of 15.4 pounds and a fast 7.3:1 gear ratio.
You will undoubtedly experience tangles caused by spool over runs while practicing how to use your baitcasting reel. But, this is how you are going to learn what the spool feels like under your thumb while an over run is occurring so that you can learn how to avoid it. Some of these tangles will be fairly easy to remedy while others, really bad backlashes, will prove much more difficult or even impossible to get out.
The gear ratio quickly summed up is the speed of your reel. The ratio is represented by x:1, and the x represents how many times the spool rotates for each single crank of the handle. For example, a gear ratio of 6.2:1 means the spool will rotate 6.2 times for each handle crank. Depending on the type of fishing you’re doing a higher gear ratio is typically more advantageous. For example, when covering a bunch of water, you’ll want to do a lot of casting and that means quick retrieval to get your lure back to the boat and out for another cast. A higher gear ratio speeds this process up to ensure you’re getting the most line in for each crank of the handle.

    This reel is one of the biggest Bait Casting reel for casting. It is best purpose to cast very big lures.  I personaly use casting weight from 25g~ up to 200g.   Very strong Brake of 10kg. This is PROREX XR 300 is big brother of LEXA 300. This two reel is the Strongest Bait Casting reel from Daiwa today. It is Big size reel. But, Thanks to this low profile form of the body. I can cast & fish with out fatigue.

Some of the features built into the Abu Garcia Revo SX include an efficient D2 gear design, a power knob that gives you greater torque when hand-pulling fish, a smooth drag thanks to its Carbon Matrix drag system and Magtrax brake system to help cast heavy loads more accurately. All packaged together with a titanium-coated line guide that increases this reel’s durability.
The rule of thumb I follow is to use spinning reels when I need to fish with light line (8-pound test or less) and switch to a baitcaster for fishing with heavy line (10-pound test or more). I do have some exceptions to the rule such as I fill my baitcaster with 8-pound monofilament when I fish suspended stickbaits for wintertime bass. Using lighter line helps my stickbaits dive deeper and I prefer the higher gear ratio of a baitcaster because I like to let my stickbaits sit still on a slack line and the baitcaster allows me to reel in line quicker to set the hook after I detect a strike.
You just need to identify a reel that works just right for you. For maximum balance and result, you should opt for a reel which is the opposite of your dominant hand. As an example, left-handed anglers should go for right-handed baitcaster and right-handed should do the opposite. This will make your casting more effective and less time-consuming. Always remember in this contest between men vs fish, a well balanced and comfortable equipment can make or break your goal.
Favored by tournament anglers as well as by serious fishermen going after bigger freshwater species, baitcasting reels are ideal for casting larger lures and baits great distances. They have the substance and smooth drags to stand up to gut-wrenching runs that big fish will make. Although they’re a little harder to master than spinning reels, baitcasting reels have become much easier to use thanks to modern technology. At TackleDirect, you’ll find hundreds of freshwater baitcasting reels from leading manufacturers like Shimano, Abu Garcia and Quantum. Because these reels can toss heavier lures and baits and handle bigger fish, many of them are also appropriate for inshore saltwater fishing. That means you can get even more out of these crossover reels, whether you’re fishing for largemouth in your local lake or for redfish, snook and seatrout in the mangroves.
Bearings: Don’t get too caught up in bearing numbers, a lot of cheap bearings are inferior to a few quality bearings. Just about any reel that you pick up and turn is going to feel extremely smooth. Quality bearings become evident when they are working under a heavy load and have a couple dozen trips under their belt. It’s difficult to tell if quality bearings are used just by the number and type listed. It’s not the most optimal situation, but you can be confident that more respected and unfortunately, more expensive reels have higher quality bearings. You also want to see sealed bearings and corrosion resistance. This is especially critical if you are using the reel in saltwater settings.
With its 7.0:1 gear ratio, 11+1 noise free Maximus bearing which is corrosion resistant, ceramic line guide (monofilament line and braided fishing line compatible), this reel delivers high-performance results that are unmatched. This gives you more cranking power and the ability to perform different forms of rigs, jigs, and baits and enjoy a lifetime of fishing the big games with this reel.
 Reputation: It’s no surprise that the Shimano Caenan series achieved 4.2 out of 5 stars. Angling community adored this classic compilation from Shimano. It may not offer an array of features and modern tweaks, but it performs well, and last a long time. Sometimes, simplicity outshines sophistication. I think budget anglers should get this best Shimano fishing reel.
Reel overview: Since 1958 Daiwa started their journey. They introduced the first ‘open-faced reel’ and made a mark in the angling community. The Daiwa Laguna Baitcasting reel brings the quality and commitment to epic performance. Perfectly crafted low profile Baitcasting reel is ready to conquer the saltwater adventure. Unlike KastKing, the Laguna series ensure performance for the price. Let’s see how each feature operates.

For casting precision, the baitcaster reels dominate this space. It accomplishes this by being able to slow or stop the spool with your thumb when casting. This gives the angler complete control of how much line is being released off the spool. For example, if you’re looking to cast or skip a lure/bait into a small section while trying to avoiding branches, logs, docks, etc. the baitcaster reel rises above the spinning reel.
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.
Even more important than the number of bearings is the quality of the bearings. A reel with fewer but high-quality bearings will perform better and last longer than a reel with plenty of poor quality bearings. Respected reels such as Daiwa casting reels and Shimano baitcasting reels feature higher quality bearings but also carry a higher price tag.
Having explained the biggest differences, one question remains; when do you choose for a rod with a spinning reel, and when are you better off with a baitcaster set? It is actually mostly a matter of taste and personal preference of the individual angler. Well, there is one condition that does require a baitcaster (in this kind of fishing it is called a reel) because of its strength, which is the heavy big-game fishing.

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.
Where I see the biggest advantage is when using the flipping or pitching technique. This is when we are fishing at close range and putting the lure into the thickest, heaviest shoreline cover. I like to use 25 lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon when flipping. You may think this is too heavy of a line, but when you hook a big bass in real heavy grass or in the middle of a tree, you need that strength to be able to pull that fish out. Otherwise, the fish can wrap around the cover and break you off.
CT stands for compact tatula. A remodel of the original but is more compact and ergonomic. Made from a new aluminum frame which is stronger, more durable, and lighter weighing only 7.2oz (approximately half an ounce lighter than the original). The Type R is a suped-up version of the Tatula CT. It comes with an additional 2 CRBB bearings, and a lighter spool making it lighter than the CT.

Baitcasting reels are by far the stronger of the two major classes of reel. They allow for heavier lines and lures to be used, and you’ll be quite pleased to know that as a general rule they are quite durable and powerful. They’re perfect for prolonged fights with bigger fish, which makes them a great reel for a number of purposes. You’ll find that a lot of fishermen greatly prefer them for functions as diverse as going for catfish and trolling the open ocean.

You know what else? KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Fishing Reel has two color multi-ported whiffle style spool that is made from anodized aluminum for durability without adding any weight to the reel. What’s more, its line is braided making it ideal for bass fishing, kayak fishing and even trout fishing. Besides, it features stainless steel handle that is fitted with non-slip foam grips for maximum comfort when fishing for long periods.
Spool Size: Your decision on spool size should be directly related to the type of fishing you have in mind. Any reel that you are looking at will have the amount of a specific line test that the spool can be fitted with. Of course, the diameter and type of line can vary between companies, so keep in mind that the reel might be able to hold a little more or a little less than what is listed.
The reel frame and side plates are machined aluminum and they give superior strength and help keep the weight down to a light 7.3 ounces. They also make the reel look very handsome. Ten stainless steel bearings and a 6.3:1 gear ratio give smooth, fast retrieves while still providing enough torque for the size of fish the reel is designed to handle. The carbon fiber drag can apply 15lbs of pressure, and it has a very smooth action.
You may be wondering what a gear ratio is. Well, it refers to the number of times the spool rolls over when you rotate the reel’s handle once. For you to choose the right baitcasting reel, first is to look for the right gear ratio which is very important. This is because the gear ratio affects the speed at which your lure is pulled back. At times, you may find the gear ratio on some reels and at times not.
Spinning reels are engineered for casting light baits ( which is not the case for every spinning reel), but with a baitcaster, the possibilities are endless. You can do Deep crankbaits, Big swimbait, Deepwater swimbaits, squarebill crankbaits, shallow spinnerbaits, Texas Rigs, Carolina Rigs, jerk baits, topwater etc with a baitcaster. (Note, specific bait presentation requires specific gear ratio).
To adjust your braking system, either engage your brakes by pushing the interior levers towards, or disengage them by pushing the braking levers away from the center. Disengaging brakes allows for longer casts but have a higher chance of backlashing. For a video guide on how to engage and disengage centrifugal braking systems, you can check out this video below.
Hey Brett, thanks for the note! I’m assuming you’re looking for a starter setup for fishing rivers for Steelhead/Salmon? That said, I’d recommend the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur reel I’ve recommended on this page. Typically for Steelhead/Salmon you’ll want a larger baitcaster for long drifts and big runs. The low profile baitcasters are better suited for Bass and smaller trout/salmon (so really depends on what you’re using it for). The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur is the lowest priced reel on this guide, with high quality components that will last many years (over the past 4 years I’ve used this reel in all my Salmon/Steelhead videos on YouTube).
After getting comfortable with casting the heavier casting weight you should go back to casting with the 1/2oz casting weight again and then move on to an even lighter casting weight. You will find that it is a bit more difficult to cast the lighter weight sinkers than it is the heavier ones. This is why many anglers will rely on spinning reels to handle their lighter weight lures. For example, in the world of freshwater bass fishing, most seasoned anglers will choose to throw lures weighing more than 1/4oz on their baitcasting gear while leaving all the lightweight, finesse presentations for their spinning gear.
The gear ratio quickly summed up is the speed of your reel. The ratio is represented by x:1, and the x represents how many times the spool rotates for each single crank of the handle. For example, a gear ratio of 6.2:1 means the spool will rotate 6.2 times for each handle crank. Depending on the type of fishing you’re doing a higher gear ratio is typically more advantageous. For example, when covering a bunch of water, you’ll want to do a lot of casting and that means quick retrieval to get your lure back to the boat and out for another cast. A higher gear ratio speeds this process up to ensure you’re getting the most line in for each crank of the handle.
Having explained the biggest differences, one question remains; when do you choose for a rod with a spinning reel, and when are you better off with a baitcaster set? It is actually mostly a matter of taste and personal preference of the individual angler. Well, there is one condition that does require a baitcaster (in this kind of fishing it is called a reel) because of its strength, which is the heavy big-game fishing.
Baitcasting reels are my favorite fishing reels. They take a little more practice to master than a spinning reel but once you put your time in they’ll provide unique features to make you a better angler. In this guide, I want to outline those unique features, detail the key components in a great reel, differentiate between the several types of baitcasters (low profile vs. round profile) and recommend my favorite reels in each of these categories. If you already have a good understanding of these reels you may want to skip the initial educational details and jump to the reel reviews toward the bottom of the page.
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.

Stick a pencil through the hole in the filler spool and have someone hold it, or place it between your feet. Have the person holding the spool put some pressure on the spool, or let it rub on the floor as line comes off to keep it from spinning too fast. If the line is winding onto the reel spool over the top, make sure it's coming off the filler spool from the top, too. Wind the line on until the spool is filled to one-eighth of an inch from the top.
The Shimano Curado E is a reel that’s designed to tackle big freshwater and saltwater fish. It has a sleek, low-profile aluminum frame with lightweight graphite side plates. It also has a titanium-coated IP line guide, an aluminum spool, high-efficiency gearing and a variable braking system. Other features of this model include 5 SUS ball bearings, 1 roller bearing and a gear ratio of 6.2:1. These design specifications make the Curado E a reliable reel that casts easily and provides smooth reeling. They also give this reel to take on some of the larger fish that the angler may come across.
This reel is built to last, with brass gears, a corrosion-resistant X2-Craftic alloy frame and eight stainless steel ball bearings. The palm side plate is made of carbon to reduce the reel’s overall weight, while the aluminum handle side plate adds strength and durability. Available with a left or right-handed setup, the reel also includes large EVA knobs on the handle for improved grip when fighting larger fish. 
If you have a very tight budget but still want to own a decent baitcasting reel, you should probably try this model by KastKing. The reel features 11+1 MaxiDur ball bearings that allow easy control over the reel and smooth long-range casting. But the best part is that the bearings are shielded and are corrosion resistant to withstand hardcore fishing. 
The Ardent Apex Elite Fishing Reel is one type baitcasting reel with great and exciting features. It features a high strength aluminum frame; carbon fiver swept back handle with EVA grips and externally adjustable 270-degree magnetic brake system. It has the dimension of 4 x 4 x 3 inches and weighs 6.1 ounces. It comes with both the left- and right-hand retrieve and available in 6.5:1 and 7.3:1 gear ratios.
What I noticed to be remarkably majestic, that the baitcasting reel, in fact, comes in equipped with a multimode braking system. When casting and revolving take place, it utilizes both the centrifugal braking and magnetic cast control. So, if you manage to hook a fish that fights back, just relax and don’t worry. Cause the line won’t snap off easily.
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