Best Fishing Reels

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 21, 2018
Fishing is a real man's pastime and it's not always just you sitting on the shore with a basic wooden rod. Those that want to go out in saltwater use fishing reels that can help catch huge fishes without much effort. Here are our top 5 reel picks for a big catch. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Mono Capacity YD/LB
Bearings
Gear Ratio
Max Drag
Material
Extras
Warranty
 
PROS

The HT-100 Versa-Drag system uses carbon discs and special lubrication to ensure durability, smooth drag, and necessary friction.

CONS

The reel is quite heavy and might end up cumbersome.

OUR VERDICT

If you're always looking for that big catch, ready to struggle against nature and pull out the largest fish, this is the perfect reel for you. It has enhanced drag properties and helps battle even the most stubborn fish. The material choice makes it extremely durable, a trusty companion to any fisherman that wants a legendary catch.

detailed parameters
Type

Spinning

Mono Capacity YD/LB

200/8; 165/10; 120/12

Bearings

5 + 1

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Max Drag

15 lbs

Material

Body, sideplate, rotor: metal

Bail Wire: aluminium

Extras

HT-100™ carbon fiber drag system, Superline Spool, Line Capacity Rings

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The reel has 12 MaxiDur bearings that spread out the load evenly to make dragging the fish out easier.

CONS

The loose line might get caught in the sides of the spool.

OUR VERDICT

If fishing is something you do to relax, this reel is a great choice. It makes the drag smoother and winds the line back faster than most other models. The process becomes easier and the fishing ends up being more pleasant. Do note that it's intended for baitcasting so make sure you've got your tackle box stocked.

detailed parameters
Type

Baitcasting

Mono Capacity YD/LB

200/10; 165/12; 120/14

Bearings

11 + 1 shielded MaxiDur corrosion resistant ball bearings

Gear Ratio

7.0:1

Max Drag

17.5 lbs

Material

Main Shaft: stainless steel

Spool: aluminum

Gears: brass

Extras

Dual centrifugal and magnetic brake system

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The spool can hold up to 310 yards on this model, perfect for fishing out in the open and casting the line far.

CONS

The drag isn't always consistent.

OUR VERDICT

If you mostly fish out on the sea or the ocean and want to cast your line farther away from the boat, choose this model. It supports huge spools and offers pretty smooth drag so it can be used even if you have little experience. Plus, it's pretty affordable, a good start to your journey into fishing.

detailed parameters
Type

Spinning

Mono Capacity YD/LB

310/6; 235/8

Bearings

9 + 1 shielded MaxiDur corrosion resistant ball bearings

Gear Ratio

5.2:1

Max Drag

12 lbs

Material

Main shaft: metal

Spool: aluminum

Gears: metal

Extras

Spinning reel's Superior Drag System

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The quick oil port design makes lubrication easy. You just unscrew one bolt, drip some mix into the aperture, and you're done!

CONS

The spool tension knob is extremely sensitive and thus difficult to adjust.

OUR VERDICT

If you want the kind of reel that you can adjust to the finest point, this is the optimal choice. The reel requires minimal maintenance and even lubricating the gears is easy and fast. Perfect if you want to just focus on the craft of fishing and get a big catch.

detailed parameters
Type

Baitcasting

Mono Capacity YD/LB

120/10; 100/12

Bearings

5+1 shielded corrosion resistant bearings

Gear Ratio

7.1:1

Max Drag

18 lbs

Material

Main Shaft: stainless steel

Spool: aluminum

Gears: brass

Extras

Double line winding shafts, quick oil port design

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The MagTrax system is great specifically for casting baits that weigh very little and prevents the line from getting tangled.

CONS

The lubrication process takes a while.

OUR VERDICT

The Abu Garcia BMAX3 is well-rounded and good for any fisherman but it's especially useful for newbies. This reel keeps your line from getting tangled, doesn't weigh much, and winds the line back quickly, all great for a less experienced buyer. A budget-friendly choice that's great for baitcasting, especially if you prefer lighter bait types.

detailed parameters
Type

Baitcasting

Mono Capacity YD/LB

145/12; 80/14

Bearings

4+1 shielded corrosion resistant bearings

Gear Ratio

6.4:1

Max Drag

18 lbs

Material

Main Shaft: steel

Spool: aluminum

Gears: Duragear™ brass

Extras

Power Disk™ drag system, MagTrax™ brake system

Warranty

1 year

Penn 1338218 Battle II

Technology on Your Side

Ever had that one fish that you tried to drag out, sweating and cursing, but it got away in the end by sheer willpower? That’s not going to happen if you’ve got the Penn 1338218 Battle II on your side! This reel uses the modern HT-100 Versa-Drag system to make dragging your catch ashore easier. The system is self-lubricating and the 6 bearings inside the reel ensure that the drag will feel smooth and, thus, much less physically taxing. Plus, this part of the product is made of carbon, extra damage-resistant and durable. Though we have to admit that it’s not the most lightweight material choice, it’s worth it for the quality.

This model also has pretty high mono capacity, absolutely vital if you plan to go out on the open seas. Besides, the 6.2:1 gear ratio means your line will be winded faster so the potential catch has less time to get away. Just be careful not to strain the reel’s parts as the aluminium bail wire might snap if the fish is particularly large. However, the 15 lb max drag does mean that you have plenty of wiggle room and should have no issues catching most ocean dwellers.

While there are plenty of freshwater fishing reels, catching bass and salmon isn’t all there is to the hobby. And if you want to test your strength and go out into the deep waters, the Penn 1338218 is a perfect choice. It’s reliable, helps reel in your catch, and will certainly up your skills.

Review of Penn 1338218 Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

KastKing Royale Legend/Whitemax Low Profile Baitcasting

A Living Legend

A skilled fisherman could be woken up in the middle of the night and name five of his favorite bait types. If you see something of yourself in that archetype, you could surely use the KastKing Royale Legend.

Living up to its boastful name, the model offers some of the smoothest reeling we’ve seen. This may be thanks to the 12 MaxiDur corrosion-resistant bearings, spreading the load evenly between them and lessening friction. So whether you’re battling against a huge trout or looking for reels suitable for ice fishing, the KastKing Royale has got you covered.

But smooth reeling isn’t everything so let’s see what else is on offer. The mono capacity is pretty good though we do have to warn you against leaving even small pieces of the line loose as they tend to get caught in the sides of the spool. Besides, you might snag it when you frantically spin the gear, reeling in your catch. You won’t have to put too much force into that, by the way, owing to the excellent 7:1 gear ratio.

It also goes without saying that the materials chosen for this model are pretty top notch with a stainless steel shaft and brass gears for maximum durability. That does leave you with a pretty weighty reel but it’s going to net you even bigger fish!

All things considered, we just can’t refuse the KastKing Royale’s pull. Though the baitcasting fishing type may not be for everyone and this model does have its flaws, it’s tough to deny that it’s one of the best on the market.

Review of KastKing Royale Legend/Whitemax Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

KastKing Summer and Centron

Perfect Place to Start

Tired of your hook plunking down in front of the boat and showing everyone that you’re not that experienced yet? Looking for a tool that will help you become a more skilled fisherman? We recommend the KastKing Summer and Centron, an open face fishing reel that’ll widen your reach.

You can put up to 310 yds of spool onto this reel, perfect for fishing out on the ocean. And since the reel itself is quite lightweight, it’ll be much easier to cast the line farther than usual. However, the low weight doesn’t mean the reel is made of cheap materials. It’s actually mostly stainless metal, great for weathering the salty breeze when you’re out on a fishing trip.

Although we’ve heard reports that the drag of this model isn’t consistent, the 12 lbs maximum shouldn’t be an issue at all. A less experienced fisherman doesn’t need heavy-duty gear and we’d say that the level offered by the KastKing Summer is just what the doctor ordered. After all, the line reels back quite smoothly thanks to the 10 shielded corrosion-resistant bearings, spreading out the weight evenly. That way, if you do get lucky and catch a large snapper or bass, dragging it out of the water will be a bit easier.

All in all, we’d definitely call this a good option for beginners and those looking to relax and fish in the summer. While the company’s other models may be more suitable for ice fishing and such, this one won us over with low weight, high mono capacity, and excellent material choices.

Review of KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Piscifun 18LB Carbon Fiber Drag

An Instrument for the Skilled

Are you an experienced fisherman looking for a reel that you can fine-tune like some kind of a musical instrument? The kind of gear that will be flexible enough to cater to your current demand but also sturdy enough to serve you for years? Well, the Piscifun 18LB Carbon fits that description to a tee.

We’ll admit right away that newbies might find this reel a bit too much to handle and definitely won’t be able to appreciate all the intricacies it offers. However, if you’re not too experienced but want to dive headfirst into fishing, it’s certainly not a bad choice. For example, the spool tension knob on this model is extra sensitive and has to be adjusted carefully. This may be annoying to those that don’t care much about the inner workings of the mechanism but a skilled fisherman can tell you how important tension can be when it comes to wrestling your catch out of the water.

Conversely, the oil port is designed to make the reel lubrication process as easy as possible. Some models do offer automatic lubrication but, as we always say, if you want something done properly do it yourself. Besides, the 6 bearings will definitely serve you longer if you take good care of them.

We also noticed that the Piscifun 18LB was made with modern design trends in mind and yet uses the classic materials. For example, the gears are brass and the shaft is stainless steel, pretty much the most reliable picks out there. An astute choice yet again, why mess with perfection?

Though it might be pricey and too complicated for some, we feel that the Piscifun 18LB will earn a spot in any seasoned fisherman’s arsenal. It’s reliable, well-made, and adjustable to fit any circumstance.

Review of Piscifun 18LB Carbon Fiber Drag Torrent Baitcasting Fishing Reel

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Abu Garcia BMAX3 Max Low-Profile Baitcast

A Baitcasting Budget-Friendly Choice

Need a budget-friendly reel that’ll be suitable for light fishing? If you said yes, we recommend the Abu Garcia BMAX3. This model has very low weight and extra sensitive controls so you can use it to cast your line with ease and precision. It doesn’t have the highest mono capacity, though, specifically because it’s intended for fishing in calmer waters and baitcasting.

This reel uses the MagTrax brake system that prevents the spool from getting tangled, great for newbies that still struggle with that issue. Though the inner gears of the reel have to be lubricated regularly and the aperture placement makes it a bit difficult, we still advise doing so diligently. You don’t want the five bearings and the drag and brake systems to get worn out, especially since that little bit of maintenance will save you plenty of time in the long run.

Other than that, the Abu Garcia BMAX3 offers all the standard perks of a good fishing reel - high gear ratio, steel shaft, brass gears (classic!), and a time-tested open-face design.

Although it may not be suitable for all purposes, the Abu Garcia BMAX3 has found its niche and rules it, offering great quality on a budget. While it won’t be the top choice for everybody, we recommend it to all fishermen that prefer baitcasting and aren’t afraid of spending time on proper reel maintenance.

Review of Abu Garcia BMAX3 Max Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel

 

What Is a Fishing Reel?

Although it might seem like the fishing is the be-all and end-all of the gear you need for a trip out to the sea, we’d actually say that fishing reels are, by far, a more vital choice. Depending on the type of reel you’ve got you could be looking at a bigger catch, an easier time pulling the fish out of the water, and longer service. While a reel might not look like much, each of them actually has a slew of characteristics that define the quality of the end-product. If you want to catch the biggest fish you’re gonna have to get the best reel possible.

In addition to the standard characteristics, you should always look out for the details. For example, not everybody uses their right hand to fish and left-handed fishermen know how uncomfortable the wrong reel could be. That’s why you’ll have to take a bit of extra time and browse the specially designed left-handed fishing reels.

While you’re out there on the water, a big catch matters most and, instead of wasting your time on empty areas, we recommend using a fishfinder to spot schools of bass or tuna floating by. Also, a good fisherman keeps his equipment organized so head on to our review of fly boxes and pick one out!

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Publish Date: 2018-08-20 14:33:18