You might forget everything your father did for you, but you will never forget the best fishing memories you had together. The first time he taught you how a traditional baitcasting reel worked and how you practiced mastering the art of fishing using the baitcaster.
One thing is for certain no matter how experienced you are. If you have been using baitcasting reels long enough, you can remember countless backlashes! Oh, the fun of picking at that line all wrapped up, right?!
Over the years, of course, the baitcast reel has become much easier to use and even the preferred choice of many fishermen.
Our Top 10 Choices of Baitcast Reels
In this review, we will focus on the 10 Best Baitcasting Reels you can bank on for your next fishing trip. We have gone through the options currently available on the market to get you the ten best.
Some of the key things we considered were the line capacity, gear ratio, number of bearings on each type, drag, and weight, among other features. Perhaps the most important feature is the style, round vs low profile. We have put together the top 5 from each for your convenience.
Now, let’s quit wasting time and dive in so you can find your new favorite baitcasting reel.
It’s super fast courtesy of the gear ratio and bearings
X-Ship technology for smoothness and durability
It is costly even if the quality is amazing
Serious anglers are now using this workhorse to get amazing fishing outcomes. The SHIMANO Metanium DC Baitcasting Reels is popular.
The performance is smooth courtesy of Shimano’s ultra-high-performance features like the digitally controlled operation never found in other competitors.
The new, more ergonomic, and low-profile baitcasting reel design allows you to have a fun fishing experience since you will never struggle with irregular types with funny body designs that end up inflicting injuries or exhausting you.
It cis made from high-quality materials, which add up as lightweight (6.7oz) hence easy to transport with you for your fishing trips. These quality materials also assure you of durability. Therefore, you can buy the reel with confidence.
There is a smooth Digital Control braking system that utilizes a microcomputer to monitor the speed of the spool. This results in increased casting distance since the backlash is completely eliminated.
The 9+1 bearing system offers the best and smooth movement when combined with the MicroModule Gearing system with a gear ratio of 7.4:1, which is super fast. This means that you will fish and outrun the speedy predators in the water, which have an appetite for your fish.
This reel features a max drag of 11lbs, which is sufficient under most fishing conditions.
We loved the line capacity of 10/110, which extends well into the water to reach the deepest parts where you get the best catch.
This is a quality reel you can bank on during your fishing trips. It never lags but lifts even the biggest of all your catch. However, the prices are high, but this shouldn’t scare you from buying as the quality is also the best for the price.
If you are looking for a low profile baitcasting reel, then get the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel. Abu Garcia is famous for producing quality spinning and baitcasting reels on the market. This is why we have it featured in our review because the quality is unmatched.
It crafts from the X2-Craftic alloy frame and side plate so that you can use it for extended periods. The 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings have the right quality for durability. The number is high, making it speedy.
When the bearings combine with the powerful gears with a ratio of 10.1:1, you get the smooth fishing experience since the friction is eliminated, resulting in better performance.
The externally adjustable 18lbs MagTrax casting brake is also a great addition to this tool. You get full control of the baitcasting reel while fishing using the high-density EVA handles.
The lightweight model weighs 7.34oz and hence portable to meet your fishing requirements without straining or causing fatigue after fishing.
Additionally, the powerful drag system is also useful when you catch the big fish. It overworks the struggle and pulls made by the fish.
We also liked the mono line capacity of 175lb/10yds, 145lb/12yds, 100lb/17yds, which reaches further distance when you release it for your fishing. It is also super-efficient when retrieving since the gear system is impressive.
If you have been looking for a high-quality bait casting fishing reel, then your search ends here. The Shimano CURADO DC, LowProfile Baitcasting Freshwater Fishing Reel, comes with all the suitable features you would want for a fantastic fishing experience.
This reel is an excellent addition to your fishing accessories, and that’s why it gets the best ranking and popularity in the baitcasting category on the market. When compared with the former designs, this one is light, compact, and easier to the palm, making it an adaptable model for excellent fishing.
The 11lbs cross carbon drag works well, delivering a super-smooth operation and effortless handling of the reel when fishing. This means that when you catch a large fish, you won’t put much stress on your rod as the maximum drag is enough to pull the fish towards the baitcast.
This reel constructs from a rigid, aluminum frame, which gives it durability and strength to handle the internal structure of the reel correctly. This extends the life of your reel.
The Intelligent Digital Control braking system comes with four settings with an adjustable brake dial so that you can fish in varieties of alures and different conditions. Besides, the reel has a line capacity of 10/120, 12/110, 14/90.
The 6+1 bearings available make the reel to run smooth and at excellent speeds. This means that you get the reel line back swiftly. This saves time and also prevents exhaustion when fishing.
You will love the Micro Module Gear System with a gear ratio of 6.2:1, which works perfectly with the bearings for speedy fishing. This also reduces the friction when fishing as all the movable parts are working correctly.
Finally, it weighs 7.8oz, which makes it easily portable and fatigue-free after use.
Looking for a baitcasting suitable reel for all-weather conditions? Get the Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel. Its among the top-rated reels on the market and a darling to all anglers who prefer efficiency.
The reel comes from excellent C6 carbon side plates that provide significant weight reduction, and that’s why it’s lightweight and durable. You will carry it effortlessly to all your fishing trips.
This reel comes equipped with a Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System that allows smooth operation. The overall drag is 24 lbs, which is so powerful to meet your fishing requirements. When you get a big catch, never worry as the drag system will still pull it easily towards you without sacrificing the functionality of the line.
The performance receives a boost by the gear ratios of 6.6:1 and 7.3:1, and this means that the gears are so fast to enable you to pull the reel line towards you more quickly than the standard competitors in the same category. This makes the entire experience fun and gives you the momentum to fish for more.
We also have the dual brake system, which ensures you get the ultra-smooth casting, precise throwing, and lower friction while fishing. Besides, the 9+1 shielded stainless steel bearings are resistant to rust and work correctly with gears to deliver the smooth operation of your baitcasting reel.
This baitcasting comes with a line capacity of 175/10 145/12 100/15 so that you can cast further. It’s ideal for both left-handed and right-handed users, allowing you to buy with confidence.
This lightweight reel weighs 7.83oz, which allows you to carry it effortlessly whenever you have a fishing trip.
One-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing prevents back play
Soft-touch knob for comfort
Magnetic braking system
Aircraft grade aluminum handle
Gear durability may be an issue
Pflueger is famous for quality products, and that’s why the Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel made it to the list. It is a super quiet type that will never scare away your fish but will give you a relaxing fishing experience with the ease of casting your bait for fishing.
The reel crafts from excellent quality aircraft-grade aluminum, which is an assurance of durability. This means that you will expect it to take you through decades of use. The reel is a true definition of value for money.
The construction materials used result in 6.8oz weight of your reel, and this means that you will carry it to your fishing points without straining. Besides, the quality means that you will have a durable baitcasting reel for long-lasting use.
This baitcasting reel is also easy to use and comes with a magnetic braking system so that you can have full control of the spool rotation and backlash. You will, therefore, have the control of how the baitcasting reel works.
The excellent nine gears craft from quality carbon, making them durable and rust-free. They feature a high ratio of 7:3:1 for speedy baitcasting and retrieval.
The 12lbs max drag allows you to pull even the heaviest catch without affecting the performance of your reel. This makes it a suitable reel to have for your 2020 fishing trips in case you intend to conquer big fish.
The line capacity is 145/12 125/14 100/17, which means you can cast it even further while you maintain a great distance between the reel and the line. This allows you to get your ideal points even if they are hard to reach.
Made from quality materials hence strong and durable
Maximum casting distance with free-floating spool
Magforce-Z automatic magnetic anti-backlash control
Large overall size
With a gear ratio of 5.1:1, you will never doubt the power that comes from this reel. It is therefore super fast and a suitable reel that all anglers who value efficiency must have. You will have this once you get your Daiwa Round Profile Baitcast Left Hand Fishing Reel.
It features a magnetic braking system so that you can have full control of your baitcasting as you fish. You will determine the length of the line to release and how fast you will retrieve the line once you get the catch.
The bearing system is fantastic and favorable. As usual, the high number of bearings means that you will have less friction and hence efficiency when casting the bait and also retrieving it. For this model, the bearings feature 5+1 quantity so that you match it with the amazing gears to enhance a smooth baitcasting when in use. The bearings feature fantastic quality and hence no rusting or corroding.
Light and strong is what defines the quality of this baitcasting reel. It crafts from quality aluminum, and apart from durability, you will carry the lightweight reel to all your fishing points without sweating. This is because it weighs only 9.8 oz.
The line capacity is also incredible. It measures 12/210, 14/18 so that you can even cast it further and retrieve it quickly once you have your catch on your bait.
Lastly, the baitcasting reel will calmly deal with massive fish since it features a maximum drag of 10lbs. It adjusts seamlessly and doesn’t turn easily unless you get it the right control you want.
When you are looking for a baitcasting reel that has excellent style features and unmatched performance, then get the SHIMANO Calcutta D Reels. It is functional and straightforward such that you forget the problems you encountered with standard reels on the market.
This reel has a 4+1 bearing system so that you get the quick adjustment without sacrificing the strength of your reel. The bearings run smoothly with the 5.7:1 gear ratio to get you the unmatched performance you yearn. This makes your reel the best accessory you’ll ever have for fishing.
With a line capacity of 8/210, 10/190, 14/120, you will still throw your line in the water and still control it using the best handles on this reel. Once you catch the big fish, never worry about the reel breaking or losing shape because of the pull and push that comes with a huge catch. This is because the powerful 11lbs drag makes the entire pulling a breeze.
Since the reel comes from Cold forged one-piece aluminum frame and side-piece materials, you will love its durability. Besides, you will enjoy how it feels when carrying from place to place due to the low weight of 9.35oz.
Finally, the S Compact body feels terrific in your palms and won’t strain you when fishing. This palming comfort is what makes this reel to stand out when compared with other competitors.
Fishermen would rather go for expensive reels that guarantee them results and efficiency. However, we have low costing reels like Abu Garcia 6500C3 Ambassadeur C3 Baitcast Round Reel, which works outstandingly. This is why it made on our list.
This round reel is a right-hand retrieve baitcasting with a free spool baitcasting design so that you can have better control of this reel. At no point will you experience a backlash.
This reel is smooth and looks attractive. It features a gear ratio of 5.3:1, which combines with the 3+1 bearing balls to give you a seamless fishing experience. You will never know what friction is once you begin using this reel. Additionally, you will have the fastest speeds when retrieving the reel line courtesy of the gear ratio.
The entire reel crafts from quality aluminum and carbon, which means that you invest in a quality product designed to last you for ages. Moreover, you will love the lightweight nature (11.3oz) brought about by choice of construction materials. This enables you to travel from place to place with your reel so that you get the required fun and amazing catch while fishing.
You will get the best performance when it comes to retrieving the heavy fish from the water. The 15 lbs Ultra-smooth Carbon Matrix drag system is so powerful and efficient. You will love the way it directs the fish towards you.
The line capacity is 14 pounds/245 yards so that you can cast your bait further for you to reach the areas that other anglers who use standard reels never achieve.
A baitcasting reel that brings all the fishermen together is what all the anglers want. The Shimano Cardiff Baitcasting Reel is what you are looking for since it has the best features to transform the way you fish.
The 5.8:1 gear ratio works well with the 4+1 ball bearing system to give you a smooth and excellent performance. When you think of friction problems, this reel gives you a solution. Again, when you worry about speeds, you get the fast speeds courtesy of the gear ratios available on this reel.
The line capacity is 12/330;14/250;17/220;20/165 so that you cast further and reach the hard to reach areas when fishing. This will be possible since you have a powerful drag system that delivers a dragging power of 11lbs. At no time will you fear the big catch since your reel remains stable while you retrieve the fish from the water.
You will also love the magnetic braking system that allows you to have full control of the speeds you want for casting.
Since it crafts from high-quality materials, you will love its durability and efficiency. Besides, the lightweight nature(11.9oz) will allow you to carry it effortlessly when on your fishing trips.
Honestly, we cannot call this a complete review without mentioning the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S Round Baitcast Fishing Reel It’s one of the best reels you can bank on for better services. Without breaking your bank, you can get the reel and appreciate the outcomes.
I speak as a proud fisherman since I started using this reel, I bet no other competitor beats it in the water game. With a high gear ratio of 5.1:1 and amazing quality 2+1 stainless steel ball bearings, you will get the smooth and friction-free baitcasting. In addition to this, you will love the superfast speeds that other standard baitcasting units have never reached.
Once you catch the big fish, never mind about the fish dragging your unit away since it comes with a powerful 11lbs star drag system so that you achieve great performance at lowered efforts. With this, you will be able to fish even more since you never get exhausted.
Fun is all that you get since the lightweight reel (10.5 oz) crafts from quality materials for durability. You will love the way it feels comfortable when in use, allowing you to extend the duration you had planned to fish.
Finally, the line capacity is so amazing. No straining while looking for a lengthy line as the Line Cap Mono 230/14 is just enough for your casting distance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Well, this depends on your desired speeds. If you are a fisherman who prefers slow fishing routines, then you need a reel with low gear ratios. However, if you value speeds, then a high gear ratio is the best for you.
You are probably looking for specifications for the ideal reel. Well, most of the reels have specified for you the type of handle position, and this makes your selection easy. For others, you can use either side. Contact the manufacturer for more information on the type of handle.
Reels come in full sizes or low sizes. Most of the common ones are low casting reels, and these are lightweight and sit closer to the rod. The full-size ones are big and sit at the top of the rod (round style).
Nothing is quite like that first cast into the unknown depths of the waters below, the thrill of the hunt and the chance to land that hog of a bigmouth bass on the other end of the line.
But before you go getting too far ahead of yourself, you’ll need to get some basics down with regards to that new baitcasting reel setup you’ve been dying to try out.
The Reel We Either Love or Hate
There are many anglers who grow up using spinning reels for most of their fishing. A lot of people ignore baitcasters, either due to the learning curve, lack of experience or intimidation factor.
Yet the rich mix of freshwater fishing, Gulf Coast inshore fishing and topwater-plug fishing have shown everyone that revolving-spool and star-drag reels can be very fun to use once you get the hang of them.
To use a baitcaster, you need to have a good sense of touch and feel when fishing. A skill that isn’t needed when you use other kinds of reels. Once you overcome that small learning curve, you’ll see that levelwind baitcasters are a great option when it comes to lure-casting distance, accuracy with lighter offerings, and lure retrievals that require jerking actions.
Small Feature Differences – Big Impact
When we discuss bait casting reels there are 2 different styles to choose from: low-profile or round. Each has its own place in your arsenal depending on what your day will entail.
Round Style Baitcaster
In general, if you are hunting for the biggest game or using a very heavy bait, you will want the round style baitcast reel. They are much larger and can hold more line, even the modern smaller style of round reel for casting all day. Another key feature is the “clicker” which allows a fish to grab the bait and run while making a clicking sound indicating a strike.
Another type of round style baitcaster is for trolling. These larger reels more often than not have a counter which helps fisherman know how far back or down their line is at all times. This makes it much easier to fish at different levels until finding fish and then moving all lines to match what is working.
Compact baitcasting reels have some key features that differentiate them from spinners. These include levelwinds, lighter drags, spool-tension knobs, and braking systems. Right-handed people — or righties — tend to cast baitcasters with their right hand and then switch the rod to their left hand then proceed to crank using their right hand (not me though!).
We understand that this may sound like far too many motions after casting, but after even just a day of fishing, you should be able to perfect the actions needed to perform this sequence seamlessly. Also, these reels have high gear ratios meaning that they reel up a lot of line with every crank. You can really get a bait moving in a hurry!
Fine-tune Your Baitcaster
Reel manufacturers have made it easier than ever before to avoid the most feared aspect of baitcasters — the backlash. That said, anglers should still be familiar with the two main parts of the reel — the brake and spool-tension knob — to be able to efficiently fine-tune and adjust their casts.
The spool tension knob helps avoid overruns by applying pressure on both sides of the spool. Some anglers set the tension control by tightening the knob to the right point so that the lure falls slowly to the ground during free-spool. Casting lighter lures made out of soft plastics using a baitcast reel needs delicate handling and should be left to more experienced anglers.
The brakes of the reel have an even greater effect on cast control. The two most common braking systems for baitcasters are centrifugal and magnetic systems. Both of them behave in slightly different ways but ultimately, the two serve the same purpose. Centrifugal brakes rely on weights whereas magnetic brakes use electromagnetic force to function.
Regardless of which brake system you use, be it magnetic or centrifugal, one thing holds true — the faster your spool turns, the more pressure you’ll need to apply with the brakes to slow it down.
Now that you’ve got an idea of the basic principles when it comes to baitcasters, have a look at some of the different casts you will have to learn to master the reel.
Casting your Baitcaster Like a Pro
When it comes to casting a baitcast style reel there are a handful of options. Each will have its own level of practice required to master the technique.
Arguably the most common and useful type of cast you can make, overhead casting is generally employed when you need to hit a greater distance and have ample space overhead to swing the rod.
Energy-efficient, this technique involves minimal hand movement and rather a flick of the wrist.
Helpful when in a tight spot where the only space from which to cast is opposite the casting hand in question. When mastered, this technique is energy efficient and quite easy.
One of the lesser-used casting methods in your arsenal, the flip is an underhand toss that utilizes a pendulum effect with the rod to propel your bait/lure forward. All of this takes place by using your second hand on the line to determine distance and eliminating reeling altogether.
More often utilized, this technique is best suited for somewhat short ranges but can be one of the most accurate. This method is generally recommended for single hook applications vs trebled lures where the risk of actually hooking your hand is high and involves literally holding the lure. This type of cast also lands in the water softer than any other type of cast except the flip.
Basic Baitcasting Method
Step 1: Set the cast control brake
The cast control brake lets you fine-tune the reel’s performance to each individual lure. Once your lure has been secured to the end of your line, position it close to the rod tip. Hold the rod just slightly more inclined than horizontal to the ground and press down on the “thumb bar” allowing the lure to free fall to the ground.
If the brake is set properly, the lure will drop in a controlled manner with the spool ceasing to feed out additional line the very moment the lure hits the ground. If this does not happen, repeat the procedure, adjusting the brake until satisfied.
This calibration will need to be done for each lure you switch to.
Step 2: Friction Cast Control
This mechanism sets a variable amount of “load” on the spool during your cast. Generally, those just getting started with baitcasters should set this to “maximum”.
The higher the setting, the greater the reduction in cast distance…however, higher settings also reduce the risk of spool overrun and the dreaded “rats nest” (backlash) of tangled line.
Step 3: Casting (finally)
Press down on the “thumb bar” and “thumb” the spool line as you get readied for the cast
The starting point for a basic cast should begin with the rod back over your shoulder, at about the 2-O’clock position. The entirety of the “action” should take place from the elbow to the wrist in a short and snappy motion.
The release point (i.e. the point at which you remove your thumb from holding the spool line in place) should take place at about the 10-O’clock point, allowing for an ached cast. Presuming proper brake settings, you should not have to “feather” or “thumb” the line as it propels forward.
When your bait/lure makes initial contact with the water, place your thumb over the spool line in order to prevent “over-run”. Next, crank the reel’s handle in order to engage the retrieval mechanics.
And that’s it! Not too hard right? It’s truly amazing the advances that have been made in baitcasting technology. I mean, could you imagine trying to fish the way we do today with the reels of old? No thanks!
Maintaining your Baitcaster
Before you clean your baitcaster, start by getting all the supplies ready so that you don’t have to break your focus every few minutes when you need to grab something from your garage.
We recommend that you use oil that is designed for our baitcasting model specifically. You can find the right type of oil for your model by reading the instruction manual. Some manufacturers include oil with the actual units.
Don’t use WD-40 oil, machine oil, olive oil, 3-in-1 oils, or any oils that are too thick/thin. If you don’t know what type of oil is designed for your baitcaster, just use the oil that is suitable for similar reel models.
While grease isn’t used as often as oil, it’s just as important. Grease is used for cleaning the internal gears. Be frugal with your grease usage and avoid putting too much on the main gear.
Alcohol (not the fun kind)
Rubbing alcohol — while not as fun as beer, whiskey, or tequila — is very useful for cleaning your reels.
Before applying it to your baitcaster, mix it with warm water to reduce the potency of the solution. You can apply it using a spray bottle or by pouring the alcohol on a cloth and wiping the reel with it.
Alcohol helps remove residue and stains as it is a powerful solvent. These are the main supplies that you’ll need when maintaining your baitcasting reel.
Other tools include towels, brushes, spray bottles, and q tips. Once you have everything you need, you can begin the maintenance process below.
Start by disassembling the entire reel and removing all the parts of your baitcaster. To pull out the side plate, remove the screw and release the spool. This is how to gain access to every part in the reel.
Always wipe your reel with a clean and soft cloth. Pour the diluted alcohol on the cloth then wipe each part carefully. You can also use the other method that we mentioned above which is using a spray bottle to spray the alcohol onto your reel and then wipe it off.
Take your preferred oil and get a small amount of it on a q tip. Rub the q tip on the brake, spool, housing, lines, and other parts of the reel. Once you’ve oiled it up, apply grease. You can start with either side of the reel and then move on to the next after applying a dab of grease.
Be sure to put grease on every slot. To spread the grease, you can crank the reel. Be sure to oil and wipe the tension knob as well.
You’ll find that your baitcaster will perform far better after cleaning. To increase performance and ensure longevity, conduct periodic maintenance
Our Closing Thoughts on the Best Baitcaster Reels
With an abundance of high-quality baitcasters on the market and a newfound love in the angler community, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be trying these reels out. The battle of spinning reels vs baitcasters will always be a hot debate, but trying out these amazing reels is an experience that you shouldn’t shy away from.
One of the greatest things about fishing is the fact that there are so many different ways to do it. You can switch around your reels and rods, hunt for different types of fish, and change up your techniques. However you fish and whatever you use, one thing’s for sure, the world of fishing will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
Take your time and see the type that matches your requirements. Once you purchase it, line it up and get on the water for some practice. As always, happy fishing!