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Catfish Reels - Reviews & Guides For 2024

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Catfish Reels buying guide

It has always been a classic struggle between a catfish and a fisherman. If you don't want to bow down against the monster fish, then you need the right gear for it. You cannot just bring a knife to a gunfight.

Catfish reels allow you to catch these bad boys quickly. A suitable rod matching your style with this incredible reel will aid you in reeling in your favorite fish in no time.

However, selecting a suitable reel can be a challenging task. You have to deem about different aspects and also evaluate the pros and cons of various factors.

A proper buying guide covers all the essential factors that are necessary to look into to make the right purchase. Also, you save a lot of time as you receive all the crucial information under one roof.

Let us first start by looking into the product.

What are Catfish Reels? Why should you use them?

Catfish Reels are rods that are used to bring the fish in. They are practical and efficient, especially in terms of catching a big catfish. They can quickly bring the fish near you and are a great option to target large fishes.

A Catfish Reel is a must to have. They help hold and bring heavy and large fishes out from the water.

The chances of you losing a fish and the bait decrease once you choose to buy catfish reels. They are very competitive and affordable, as well. Moreover, they are very versatile and can work with any catfish of any species.

You get the benefits of better gear ratios, more massive builds, line capacity, and better drag system. The product choices are also available in huge varieties. A catfish reel indeed enhances the fishing experience and makes it more accessible.

With so many options, buying the catfish reel can be a little tricky. We have prepared the ultimate catfish reels buying guide to help you with your purchase.

Why should you read a proper buying guide before selecting a suitable reel?

Want to improve your fishing technique? Are you looking for the best catfish reel for your rod but don't know how to choose one? Don't sweat anymore. A comprehensive guide with all the crucial details on the product awaits you.

Here in this buying guide, you will get all the necessary information on different characteristics of the product. Moreover, you will get the correct answers to your queries and questions.

Let us dive into the massive pool of knowledge about the product.

Types of Catfish Reels

There are three different types of catfish reels available. All of them are very effective and are unique in different ways. They are further explained with the help of the points

and the description is given below :

  1. Spincast Reels

The very first and most common type is the spincast reel. They are perfect companions for beginners and can help in learning fishing. Their navigation is super easy as you only have to press a button, cast, and reel.

They are more effective in targeting smaller species of catfishes. However, they have limited techniques and weak drag systems.

  1. Spinning reels

Another type of catfish reels is spinning reel. If you are not comfortable cast with the baitcast fishing reel, this type of catfish reel is perfect for you.

Spinning reels are more compatible with targeting smaller species of catfishes under light saltwater fishing circumstances and possess a sound drag system. However, one problem with them is that they limit the section of fishing rods.

  1. Bait cast reel

Bait cast reels are comparatively the most effective type and the most popular choice as well. They are compatible with both small and large species of catfish and do not restrict techniques.

They can hold large amounts of heavy fishing line, have a sound drag system and gear ratios, along with many other excellent features.

Things to deem about while selecting an appropriate Catfish Reels

  1. Construction

Catfishes always tend to put up a fight when you try to catch them. They are one of the most aggressive species of fishes which makes catching them a bit tough.

Therefore, you must look after the construction of the product that you are deciding to buy. Make sure it is strong enough to keep up with the catfish and successfully hold it. It is best to purchase reels made of aluminum and avoid graphite or composite reels.

Ensure that it has a heavy-duty body, stout handle, and metal gears as these components express the strength of the product.

  1. Gear Ratio

A good gear ratio is significant and crucial to look for when purchasing a catfish reel. They are a vital element in defining the quality of the reel.

This ratio will tell about the amount of line that will return to the reel every time you turn its handle. A fast gear ratio is needed when targeting large fishes like catfish to hold them to the net as they are swift to swim away. It is best to purchase a reel with the gear ratio in 5:1 or 6:5:1 range.

  1. Drag System

The drag system is another crucial element for fishing. It allows you to control the line and its reaction when the targeted fish tries to run away and goes deeper into the water. It helps the catfish reels to function correctly and smoothly.

A sound drag system works on the line when the railing starts in it. So, a fish can pull freely on the line, and you can easily catch a big one. It doesn't matter what species you are looking after, and whether the type is small or large, a drag system must always be considered.

Moreover, a sound drag system will keep your catfish reel safe from spooling the line caused by a running fish. However, if you don't have a sound drag system, then the line snapping chances are high.

Therefore, you must always select the best track system possible for both efficiency and safety. It will be better to choose one with carbon washers as they are the most eligible and best in quality.

Manufacturers these days make reels that come with a star drag system. Those are an even better option as they allow you to make adjustments quickly.

  1. Line capacity

Another element that is critical to consider is the line capacity of the catfish reels. A right line capacity will help you to target fishes even in deep water.

Large lines tend to take up more space and are comparatively more massive. Also these lines fill the reel swiftly. Heavy fishing lines take up more space on the reel than the lighter ones. They are even more durable.

The chances of snapping are higher with light fishing lines. The chances are that you will be busy replacing the line all the time when fishing with a low profile light fishing reel.

Therefore, it is indeed a better choice to choose a firm line. It will help you to fish deeper and send your bait to the right locations, eventually trapping more fishes. It also enables access to handle larger diameter and holds enough off the line for numerous techniques.

  1. Length

The length of the catfish reels must be considered before making a final purchase. The higher the length will be the deeper access you will be allowed or enabled.

Also, if the catfishing reel has a more extensive line capacity, than the product will be larger overall, you must consider the environment you will use it before finalizing a product.

Going deeper into the waters is one major element that every person who goes fishing looks for. After all, the best fishes are usually hiding deeper inside the water. With a longer length of the catfish reel, you will be able to send your bait further down to the best locations and target more fishes.

So make sure that the catfish reel you get is long enough for fishing. In case you are making a purchase online, then always ensure to cross-check the reviews and the description for not only the features but also the quality of the product.

  1. Level Wind

Level wind is a tool that can make fishing more comfortable and better. The machine has efficient mechanism to move to and fro across the reel. Moreover, it also ensures even distribution of the line on the spool on retrieving.

If the catfish reel does not have the level wind function, you will need your thumb to release the line back on the spool when retrieving. Therefore, we can easily state that the work gets more comfortable when choosing a catfish reel with a level wind feature or function.

The reels that don't have the level wind function are generally used for more massive saltwater fishing or surf fishing. So, you need to consider what type of environment you will be fishing in and the fish species you want.

Reels with level wind features are better for targeting catfish. So you better get a level wind reel if your purpose is to trap and catch catfishes.

  1. Handles

Handles are another essential component that defines an enjoyable fishing experience. They are necessary to consider not only for effectiveness but for comfort as well. There are two main options in handles. They are the standard handles and the power handles.

The standard handle is the more traditional type with two knobs. On the contrary, the power handles are the bulky ones with one large knob and counterbalance.

Deciding on which one to choose is based on your preference and your requirements.

The power handles are larger and more comfortable and help in catching the trophy catfish with its practical and efficient working. The standard handles are more desirable for catching the monster catfish types.

Therefore, you need to choose which one will be more suitable for you and your catching type. Then you can easily make a purchase accordingly.

  1. Bearings and Bushings

Suitable quality bearings are essential for fishing purposes as they allow you to cast further in the water with more ease.

The highest quality of bearings will allow the smoothest reel operations and a more profound ability to cast. So, the bearings must possess high quality.

However, it is preferable to invest in better quality bearings rather than spending in more numbers of bearings as they are more durable and practical.

Some of the catfish reels do not have bearings. Instead, they have bushings. A bushing is an alternative but not as good as bearings as they limit the casting ability.

This restriction is not very desirable. Therefore, if possible, then always choose for bearings rather than bushings when buying a catfish reel.

  1. Size

Size is a crucial element that people usually forget to consider and then later end up regretting. So, give importance to the size if you don't want to end with regrets later.

The size is related to the line capacity of a catfishing reel model. Smaller sized reels have smaller line capacities while larger size reels have large line capacities.

Here the size is calculated in thousands, and the first available size is 1000. It is recommended to purchase a 4000 to 5000 size catfish reel as these options most efficient ones.

  1. Counterbalance

Catfish is considered a good and reliable one if it has the perfect counterbalance with your catfish rod. The reel needs to sit comfortably on the rod.

The weight should be perfectly balanced. Neither too much weight should be put forward or backward on the rod. The line capacity of the reel has an impact on the weight, so you must consider it to make conclusions regarding the counterbalance of the rod.

A perfectly balanced rod is crucial for fishing. An unbalanced rod can be very exhausting and annoying at times. You will not be able to concentrate on fishing with an unstable rod. Because of such reasons, considering the counterbalance is very important.

  1. Brakes

The catfishing reel is even better to purchase if it has the feature of a break in it. Many manufacturers have started considering and enabling the break feature in their products.

This allows us to slow down the speed when the spool turns. It can also be used to stop the turning of the spool entirely. This feature can help and in a backlash situation.

It can be beneficial in a scenario where the speed of the line spins faster than the school as you cast. Therefore, a brake is an essential feature and should be present in the catfish reels.

  1. Spool

Spool plays a crucial role in determining the catfish reels as it holds the line. It is needed for turning when you reel in a catch.

A good spool is the one that turns smoothly and remains free from the unwanted loops. Also, a spool should enable you to cast further through a large line capacity. The more you will be able to cast, the better fishing you will be able to enjoy.

The weight of the line also affects the spool. You will be able to turn the spool faster with more load on the line and vice versa. You will face difficulty with casting with a decreased weight.

Therefore, keeping everything in perfect balance is essential, and so is considering the spool. Ensure that every factor is suitable for your fishing needs and then only finalize a purchase, or else you may not have the best product.

  1. Bait clickers

Bait clickers are also known as line alarms. They are accommodating in terms of fishing. They allow the spool to operate freely and create an alarming noise when the fish starts swimming away, stealing your bait.

You will never lose your bait without catching a fish with this bait clicker feature. You can easily cast the bait into the desired location, turn the bait clicker alarm on and set the spool free.

In case a fish comes, takes a bite, and decides to leave, then the alarming noise will be created, and you will be alerted about it.

Bait clickers are not necessary, especially if you are using circle hooks, but having them is always a better option as they are useful in a variety of techniques, including rounded hook.

Therefore, a catfishing reel is more desirable if it has a bait clicker or line alarm feature along with the other necessary elements.

Steps To Store Catfish Reels

Storing a catfish reel is not a difficult task at all. All you need to do is follow some necessary steps, and you are done. These steps are further explained in the following points :

  1. Old and used line

The first thing you will need to do is cut off the old and used line. The old and used line is not of use anymore and, therefore, is not necessary to store. So, it is better to remove it rather than taking up space.

  1. Cleaning

The second important step is to clean the reels that were used. You can use hot, soapy water to wash them and clean them thoroughly. It will remove all the dirt from it, preventing the risk of any damage. Once you are done with cleaning, you can follow the next step.

  1. Dry

After cleaning, you need to dry the reels. You can use a dry clean cloth for the purpose or simply leave the rules to dry up on their own. Make sure that they are adequately dried before getting on to the next step.

  1. Moving parts

If you store the catfishing reel for a long time, you need to lubricate all the moving parts of the reel. You can use a special lubricant for the purpose or conventional oil. Both of them will work just fine.

  1. Grease

It is essential to Greece all the small moving parts of the reel. You can use Vaseline for this purpose and apply it thoroughly. Make sure to turn the handle to work the Vaseline in all the parts and then wipe off the excess Vaseline.


1. At what time should you catch a catfish?

A catfish is known to be nocturnal. However, it is not true for all the species of catfish. Thus, it is recommended to go for fishing a catfish at the post-sunset time. From Post-sunset till early morning, you can easily find a plethora of catfish in the water. Note: This is the average time to catch almost all types of catfish species.

2. Which type of reels is the best for catfish fishing?

Baitcasting reels are said to be the most suited for catfish fishing owing to their robust control and superior power capabilities. You can easily use it to grab a big catfish using it. However, if you are after small catfish, a spin cast reel will also do the job efficiently.

3. What is the apt gear ratio to catch a catfish?

The ideal gear ratio to catch a catfish is 5:1 - 6.5:1. It helps in swift action of the reel so that you don't lose the fish once it gets caught.

4. Will the fishing environment have any impact on the type of reels?

Yes, the fishing environment primarily affects the reel type you may use. For instance, if you are going to go fishing in a river, the water is fast flowing making it necessary to have a reel that is highly durable and strong to withstand bumps. In the same way, if you go to the coast, the water tends to be very briny and, thus, corrosive. Therefore, you require an entirely corrosion-resistant reel.

Final Verdict

With a suitable catfish reel, you are all set to enter the arena with the monster fish. You just need to find the right product for your rod to win the battle.

In this guide, we have collected all the vital details about the product. Go through it and evaluate all the factors with your selection criteria and select an elite product for your expidition. / - © Copyright 2020