Best Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting Reels - Reviews & Guides For 2021

Our Top Baitcasting Reels

Need Help Choosing Baitcasting Reels?

Baitcasting Reels Buyers Guide

Baitcasting reels are a great choice if you use artificial lures. They are equally useful for using baits, as well. If you want to get into the big game of the fishing league, you would have to use a baitcasting reel eventually. Almost every experienced angler has used it, even if they switched back to spin casting.

Thus, it becomes paramount for you to learn how to choose the best baitcasting reel. Whether you're a beginner or a veteran, it's always a daunting task to make the right choice. The fishing gear doesn't have too many things, but each piece of equipment requires diligence and careful examination.

This guide is ready to simplify the selection process of choosing the right baitcasting reels for you. It is a full-fledged guide that covers every aspect. Thus, by the end of it, you will be a pro at choosing the baitcasting reels. So, brace yourself for a reading trip for expertise!

Things to consider when buying baitcasting reels

As mentioned above, it is a full-fledged guide. Thus, you will get a complete range of considerations from the body and material to the performance. More importantly, we aim to cover every significant aspect. Thus, there won't be any irrelevant information. Similarly, you might find some helpful tips on how to choose the right baitcasting reels as you move along with the guide.

Let's start by simplifying the selection process:

Type of baitcasting reel

Modern technology brings you two different options in baitcasting for you to choose from. Both of these are popular options and have some perks and drawbacks. If you're having trouble deciding which one to choose, here's a quick overview:

Round reel

A rounded baitcasting reel is also known as the 'full-fledged' or 'standard baitcasting reel.' It brings you the convenience of using a heavier line. You can use larger or heavier lures and baits with ease. More importantly, if you are fishing for stubborn species, it would benefit you in the fight or struggle. Generally, it is an excellent choice for fishes like salmon and muskie.

Many anglers also prefer round reel for an authentic appeal of the baitcasting reel. If you want to practice or hone your skills into baitcasting reels, it would be a better choice. In the long run, it is a great way to become a better angler.

Low-profile reel

If you look at the low profile reel, it seems to have a smaller or more compact build than the baitcasting reel. Do you like to hold your line and practice 'palming' while fishing? Then this is the type of baitcasting reel you should get. It brings you more comfort for the wrist, and it is highly flexible.

Low-profile, despite the name, would seem to be more ergonomic and efficient than a rounded reel. However, it considerably sacrifices compatibility with denser lines for use. These are also cheaper than the round reel.

Looking at the spool

The spool takes up a significant part of your reel. It is an integral aspect that would impact control, compatibility, and sturdiness. The compatibility of your reel to use different lines depends on the spoon. Thus, it becomes pivotal to consider the right factors of the spool.

Size

The size of your spool will determine how much of the line it can hold. It will also determine your gear ratio. If you are going for denser or thicker lines, you might want a wider spool. Similarly, you might want a larger spoon for longer lines to efficiently support its weight and range.

The right size for spool often comes with the ease of rolling the lines. If you don't want the shopkeepers to roll the line for you, you might want to consider the right spool compatibility.

Material

Apart from the size, the material of your spool will significantly impact its durability. It will correlate to the material of your line. Similarly, the rolling (reeling) of the line and releasing (casting) would depend on the spool's smoothness. Smoother means more effortless.

What you're looking for is a frictionless choice. Aluminum is standard and cheaper and comes with a frictionless design. However, if you want more smoothness and don't mind compromising durability, graphite would be ideal.

You can test your line to see if it rolls smoothly. Extreme smoothness would be a problem, too, as it won't hold the line efficiently. Modern lines come with a coating, especially epoxy, that could be slippery on graphite but sturdy on aluminum. So, choose according to the features of your line.

Gear ratio

Perhaps this is the most integral aspect of the spool. However, it comes without size and material so that you wouldn't compromise on those aspects. You will often see numbers on the reels when you buy them. They are usually in ratio (or fraction) form. For example - 6:1.

It is the ratio of how many times the spool will spin or roll the line for each complete movement (round) of the handle. Here, 6:1 means the spool can spin six times with a single handle roll. The gear ratio plays a significant role in your fishing style. If you want fast retrieval, you might want to go with 6:1 or 7:1. The ratio of four or five is considered a slower version. For a versatile or well-versed choice, 6:1 is perfect. It would depend on the type of lure you're using.

If you use the crankbait type, then slow action is better, while spinnerbaits and others require fast action. You might also want to consider the kind of fish and the level of fight it will put up.

Looking at the handle

It goes without saying, but the handle of your reel is as vital as the spool. While the spool holds your line, the handle controls it. If you want impeccable command over your line, the handle is a vital aspect of your baitcasting reel.

Material

The base material of the handle might be similar to the base material of your reel's body. Some manufacturers replace the material entirely. Aluminum and graphite is the most common and durable option available.

These would reduce any wear and tear, cracks, or torsion. You don't have to worry about aluminum bending as you won't be trying to catch that heavy of a fish. However, for sudden impacts, torsion resistance is a priority which these materials could offer.

Graphite is cheaper, while aluminum is more pricey. If you genuinely want more durability, aluminum is the way to go. Wooden handles used to be very popular, but they are more prone to damage from water and often break easily. Thus, the other two options are the most popular.

Grip

Apart from the material of your handle, the grip will always matter. You might want to look for a rubber layer for anti-slip holds. It would also help the handle absorb any sudden shock from your hand as you move it.

You might be in complete control, but sudden hits or shocks are unavoidable. There are countless reasons for it. Some people prefer texturing on the handle for added grip. While it is cost-effective, rubber coating or layering would be optimum for performance.

Length and weight

If you have bigger hands, you might want to choose a more extended handle to hold it conveniently. However, many anglers use their fingers instead of the palm. That's more suitable for lighter fish. The length of your handle will also impact the weight of your handle.

If you choose a heavier weight for the handle, it would be easier for you to hold the line. You will have more stability. Shorter handles enable you to have more responses. However, in the end, it comes down to your fishing style and preference. If you use fingers for the handle, go for shorter. If you use a palm, always go for a longer handle.

The direction of the handle

For baitcasting, you have to use your dominant hand for the handle and casting, both. Thus, you would want to consider which hand is your dominant. If it's the left hand, get the handle on the left side and vice-versa. Don't compromise the direction of the handle, as it will impact your overall performance.

You're fighting against heavier fishes or using heavier lines. Thus, you would need to rely upon the efficiency of your strong hand. Your comfort, convenience, control, everything will depend on your hand. Therefore, make sure to choose the right direction for the handle. If the shop doesn't have a handle for your side of the hand, change the shop and browse.

Looking at the body

The body of your reel is the entire construct, and you are paying for this. You can choose any color, design, or other aesthetic integration. However, those are not relevant if you want value for money. Thus, it is indispensable to consider the following factors:

Material

The material of your baitcasting reels will determine its longevity and performance. If you want a versatile baitcasting reel, you might want to consider metal reels. Wooden reels outdated, while graphite reels are getting replaced by metal.

Graphite won't withstand sudden shocks, struggles, wear and tear as strong as metal. Aluminum would be the best choice. However, if you're willing to go at a higher-end, you can even get a carbon body that would bring you impeccable durability.

Graphite is the cheapest. Aluminum is generally a high value for money, and carbon is suitable for regular anglers. If you're not a frequent angler, graphite will do the job. However, if you are under budget and can't afford carbon but fish more often, choose a metal or aluminum body.

Durability and longevity

This aspect directly relates to the material of the body. However, to help you realize, you have to look for a more durable body than anything else. Believe it. You have to prioritize durability over anything else for the body of your reel.

Can you maintain it freely? What are the cleaning options? Does it have extra coating like anti-UV or require lubrication? Consider these aspects as you get the reel. Similar to the spool, your reel's body can help you roll the line better.

Waterproofing

Of course, it goes without saying but always check for waterproofing. Don't just assume that if it is a fishing tool, it will be waterproof. Some manufacturers claim that their product is water-resistant, which is different from waterproofing.

Waterproof means it is not affected by the water, and water-resistant means that the water will have a significant impact. These factors become vital when you go saltwater fishing. Corrosion would take a massive toll on the body of your reel. Thus, it is indispensable for you to get a waterproof coating, layer, or some form of aspect related to that.

Seating brackets

Of course, your reel needs to be compatible with the rod you plan on using it with. Thus, whenever you visit a shop, make sure to take your rod with you. The seat or foot of your reel is the part that connects with your rod. It needs to be firm and exact in length for proper fitting. You can't risk it coming off or getting loose when you're fishing.

Firmness

Check for the mounting option. What does it use? It is a locking system, screw, or nails? The screw is usually better as you can take tools with you to tighten it. Nails can potentially damage your rod. Locking or 'flips and clips' are not that great. Some reels come with sliding mounts for ease, but that's suitable for smaller fishes. For heavy fish, you need a firm hold, and for that, you need screws.

Fitting

The fitting of the foot depends on the length and the placement of the opening. If you have a rod that doesn't come with any pre-existing holes and fitting, then you can choose almost any type of fitting for your reel. However, make sure that it won't hinder your movements or provide any inconvenience for your hands.

Sometimes, the foot is too bulky and slips down to the grip region. You might want to check how 'snug' the fitting is. Some reels have a foot that comes with a gaping between the rod and the reel, which could help hold the rod and provide more breathability for your hand.

Durability

Usually, the material of the foot is the same as the material of the reel's body. So you might want to choose wisely. However, some baitcasting reels come with more flexible footing to absorb the tension and prevent loosening. The most vital consideration here is the firmness and fitting, and the durability matters as much as the pressure the reel would be under.

Let's not forget that line, rod, and spool will be primarily the line of defense before your reel receives any tension. So you can somewhat neglect it.

The braking system

The most notable aspect of your baitcasting reels is the braking system. It helps you control the line better. Due to the braking system's added functions, you need to practice timing, control, and other aspects. This is what makes it challenging to learn baitcasting. Once you get a hold of the braking system, it will be a breeze. Let's not forget that there are three different types of braking available for reels.

The baitcasting reels' role is to help you slow down the spool's rotation or reeling of the line. If you don't like the backlash and want to eliminate it, you need proper braking. Backlash is when your line gets more knots or reels too fast to get stuck in a tangled mess.

Before you make braking considerations, remember that you can't entirely rely on this aspect. You have to learn how to thumb your spool at the right time. It's always a good idea to calibrate the braking system before you fish.

Tension knob

You will find it near the spool to twist and adjust the tension on the spool. It will impact the speed of your spool. Generally, it is located at the handle side of the baitcasting reel. For a stable or slow fall of the line, it is vital. The tension you provide will depend on the weight of the lure. A tension knob brings you the ease of general dropping and casting of the line.

Centrifugal brakes

Also known as a pin system, these are a great option to use if the fish is putting up a fight. It reduces the stress from your handle and hand. By using centrifugal brakes, you can make it more challenging for the fish to fight back. There are multiple pin systems available for this version. You usually have to push the pins outwards. A six-pin system for baitcasting reels is the best choice available.

Magnetic brakes

If you want more advanced control and ease of using brakes, magnetic brakes could be the right choice. They are less intense and make it easier for you to use the brakes. However, they don't provide as much stability as other brakes. For medium to lightweight fishes, magnetic brakes are better.

FAQs: Best Baitcasting Reels

Q: What's the difference between baitcasting and spin reels?

A: A baitcasting reel is placed on top of the rod and has a spool in the rod's direction, not perpendicular as found in spin casting reels. You need to gain certain experience, especially learn how to use the braking system to use baitcasting reels efficiently. Whereas spin reels are more beginner-friendly.

In baitcasting reels, you have to use the dominant hand to cast the line and then switch the hand to use the dominant hand to control the reel.

Q: What are the benefits of using a baitcasting reel?

A: Baitcasting reel is more durable. It can be lightweight if you choose a low-profile model. Significantly, it is compatible with heavier lines and usually has more space to hold the line. Thus, you can catch heavier fishes efficiently. You can easily cast in a long distance with precision, and it allows you to stop the bait mid-air. Dragging (or spooling) the reel is faster. You can use a wide range of lures with it.

Q: When should you use a baitcasting reel?

A: If you want to become a full-fledged angler, baitcasting reel becomes indispensable to learn. It enables you to catch heavier fish. If you're going to catch bigger fish, baitcasting is more effective. Spinner reels are cost-effective, while baitcasting will be more pricey. Thus, if you are serious about fishing, invest in baitcasting.

If the weather and water conditions are harsh, baitcasting would be better to use. More importantly, if you want a lightweight addition with more control over the line, baitcasting would be the one you might want to use.

Q: How to choose a reel's ball bearings?

A: For baitcasting reels, a higher number of a ball bearing isn't always good. It could mean that the quality was significantly compromised. Thus, even if you get ten or more ball bearings, it won't matter if the quality isn't up to the mark.

To get the best quality, you should get shielded or double shielded bearings. Some manufacturers use the term 'sealed bearings,' which means the same thing. So, whenever you select any reel by considering ball bearing, that's what you need to consider.

Conclusion

It takes time to get used to baitcasting reels. Once you get a hold of it, you will seldom use any other type of reel. If you seek well-versed control over the fishing line, a baitcasting reel would always be better.

While it can hold heavier lines, you can still use the lighter ones.

Now you can always make the best choice regarding the baitcasting reels. You have complete information that covers every aspect. From performance to quality, this is your one-stop guide. Everything you need to know about baitcasting reels is presented here in easy to understand terms. So, go ahead and buy yourself the best one possible.

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