With the best baitcaster, you’ll discover that you can not only enjoy better accuracy, but you’ll also have a greater range than you would with a regular spinning reel.
If you’re ready to progress to a baitcaster, you’re going to need to find the best baitcasting reel to use.
Baitcasters are traditionally only used by the most experienced anglers since there’s quite a steep learning curve involved in working out how best to use them.
Their free-spinning spool makes them challenging to master, however once you’ve developed the necessary skills you’ll find that you’ll reap the benefits of this new, more accurate piece of angling equipment.
If you’re using a heavy lure or line, you’ll also find a baitcaster reel a better choice. So, what should you be looking for in a high quality baitcasting reel?
When it comes to finding a baitcaster that suits your needs, you need to consider several elements. These include the material that it’s made of, the gear ratio, the number of ball bearings and even the conditions that you’re planning to fish in.
All of these need to be borne in mind when it comes to choosing the perfect baitcaster reel to meet your requirements.
If you’re ready to buy one of these reels, you could probably benefit from some expert tips to help you make the right choice.
So, read on and discover some of the very best products on the market today and find our guide to making the best value purchase so you can get even more pleasure and success from your angling experience.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Choosing the Perfect Baitcaster Reel: A Buyer’s Guide
If you’re ready to find the very best baitcasting reel, it’s important to know not only which features you should be looking for, but also what you’re looking for from your own angling experience.
Here, we take a look at some of the different aspects of choosing the right baitcaster reel to suit your specific requirements so that you can make an informed decision.
Why Should I use a Baitcaster Reel in the First Place?
If you’re wondering whether one of these reels is really the right choice for you, you should be aware of the situations in which baitcasters are the best reel choice for any angler.
- Control – they give you more control than a spinner reel since you can use your thumb to vary the speed and distance of your lure for greater accuracy.
- Higher reel strength – they have the handle directly connected inline to the reel frame while the spool and handle are in line. This enables you to use extra force to reel in large fish since there’s no arm which could flex as there would be when using a spinning reel.
- Weight of the fishing line – the design allows a direct feed of the line straight into the rod guides. As a result, you can cast with heavier lures and lines and catch larger fish.
Baitcaster or spinning reel? We compare the two in our latest post.
The Importance of Gear Ratios
The gear ratio of your baitcaster reel will impact on two major elements of your angling experience.
Firstly, it will determine how rapidly the reel retrieves the line.
Secondly, it will determine how easy you’ll find it to haul in a heavy catch.
When you’re looking at gear ratios, you’ll see them listed in the following format: 6:4:1. The first figure, in this case 6, is the spool revolutions.
The second number, in this case, 4, is the number of times the handle will turn. In this case, the spool spins 6.4 times every time you turn the handle (the single handle turn being represented by the final figure, 1).
The higher the numbers in the ratio, the speedier the line will be retrieved. With a lower number, the spool will retrieve more slowly, although the ease of hauling in a heavier load will be greater.
It’s important to look closely at the gear ratio when you’re choosing a baitcaster reel for particular bait types.
Do you need a higher speed retrieval so your bait can move quickly, or do you need extra torque to catch a heavier fish?
Integrated Braking Systems
A good baitcaster reel will come equipped with its own braking system to slow the cast down. This prevents backlash and bird nesting from being a major problem.
Backlash occurs when the spool carries on unwinding even after the bait has made contact with the water. The result is a large pile of line which remains unspooled. The best way of preventing birds’ nests from occurring is by having spool brakes on your baitcaster reel.
Two main brakes types can be found on baitcaster reels. Magnetic brakes may be more costly but are adjustable in the same way as mechanical brakes. Mechanical brakes have a pin system to create friction and thus slow the spool down.
It’s important to understand which braking system your reel has so that you can fine-tune the adjustments properly and achieve the best results.
The Line Capacity
It’s important to think about which kind of fish you’ll be catching when deciding on the line capacity you need. In general, spool capacity won’t be an issue unless you plan big-species or deep-water fishing.
If you’ll be targeting large fish or fishing in saltwater, you’ll need a spool that has a lot of casting distance capacity. However, for the average angler, a baitcasting reel with a low profile will have sufficient line capacity to cope with most fish.
Left Handed and Right Handed Reels
The good news is that there are reel and rod setups designed for use specifically by right-handed and left-handed users.
When you’re baitcasting, you need a reel and rod which are both ergonomically designed for your needs.
Many anglers like to set up their equipment with a right-hand reel and left-hand rod so you can work the crank with your dominant hand without having to switch over the rod.
A baitcaster reel with more bearings gives smoother retrieval and casting. Choose a reel with quality stainless steel bearings or ceramic bearings as both these varieties are durable and are corrosion resistant.
The Handle and Frame
The lighter the better when it comes to a baitcaster frame, so choose a magnesium, aluminum or carbon composite model which will be light yet strong and will resist corrosion effectively.
You should choose a handle that’s the right size for the fish you’ll be targeting. A larger or longer handle allows greater cranking force so you can catch bigger fish. A shorter handle, meanwhile, gives extra control.
Tension and Spool
If you use a deeper spool, this will enable you to either use more line or use a heavier, thicker line. As an added advantage, a large spool means better control since there’ll be fewer turns of the line on your reel. When it comes to tension, this will vary depending on how heavy the lure you’re using is.
Braided or Mono Lines
Many anglers prefer to use a braided line when using a baitcaster reel. Usually, this will be paired with a fluoro or mono leader measuring around 10’.
If you use a braided line, there’ll be less stretch. This means the hook sets will be firmer so you’re able to feel the lure and hits better even with a longer line. Nevertheless, braid sets so quickly you could rip your lure straight out of your catch, so some practice will be necessary to get it right.
If you’re topwater fishing, you can tie braid right onto the lure, although if the braided line is too visible, the fish may not bite. You may therefore need a clear mono leader.
The Best Baitcaster Reels on the Market
Choosing the perfect reel is easier said than done, and that’s why we’ve brought you reviews of five of our favorites. One of these options is sure to be the right one for your needs and preferences.
Check them out in the comparison table below before reading the reviews of each that follow.
Our Top Pick
Abu Garcia REVO
- 7 stainless steel HPCR bearings + 1 roller bearing
- High gear baitcast spinning fishing reel
- Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag (UTD) with 13.2 lbs Drag Max
Lews Fishing Tournament
- Premium 10 double shielded stainless steel bearing system (9+1)
- Reinforced CNC brass gear
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Abu Garcia REVO *** Our Top Pick ***
The Abu Garcia REVO Low Profile Reel has a low gear ratio of 5:4:1. This ensures impressive cranking power for catching even the heaviest fish. It’s the perfect choice for you if you’re planning on fishing with large spinnerbaits, diving crankbaits or any other kind of high resistance lure.
The best thing about this reel is that it makes luring in a large bait a breeze without becoming too fatigued. Its Carbon Matrix Drag system has been designed to withstand even the most extreme drag pressure and meanwhile, the Infini brake system can offer virtually unlimited adjustability.
This reel also has a bent and extended handle as well as an X2-Craftic frame made from corrosion resistant alloys. It features 8 ball bearings made from robust and durable stainless steel and the gears are made from brass for extra strength.
The reel has a lower overall weight thanks to the carbon palm side plate, and the aluminum handle side plate also adds additional durability and strength. You can choose either a right or left handed set up to suit your preferences and requirements and there are even oversized EVA knobs to the handle so you’ve got a better grip when you’re battling a larger fish.
If you’re looking for a reliable name in the angling industry, look no further than Shimano. Their baitcasting reels have been popular for generations and for good reason. Their gear products are exceptional quality and the Curado won’t disappoint.
With its silver and grey finish, this low-profile reel comes in a choice of three ratios – 7.2, 5.3 and 5,5, so you can fish in whichever style you prefer. It also boasts a number of excellent features without having too high a price tag, which puts this model within easy reach of even anglers on a budget.
This reel features a 5 + 1 ball bearing system and this ensures that the reel is pretty smooth when casting and retrieving. The recovery is between 23 inches and 30 inches per turn depending on which ratio is best suited to your requirements.
The maximum drag is 12 pounds while the reel weighs just more than 7 oz, so this gives you versatility for freshwater fishing in a surprisingly lightweight and convenient package. All of this adds up to a great value option for any angler who wants flexibility on hand.
The Tatula from Daiwa is a well-designed baitcaster reel which comes from one of the biggest and best known tackle companies anywhere in the world. The company has been in existence since the 1960s and today it is known for the quality and innovation of its product line.
The Tatula is, as you might expect from a reel made by one of the top brands in the industry, made from the very best quality components to ensure robustness, durability and a long lifespan. For the purchaser’s peace of mind, it has also been fully tested to ensure that it can handle rigorous handling.
A popular choice with professional anglers around the glove, the Daiwa Tatula features UTD or Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag with a Drag Max of 13.2lbs – enough to satisfy the needs of even the most demanding fisherman. This model also features Magforce-Z cast control giving the user even greater accuracy when casting.
Not only does this reel feature seven ball bearings, it also has a roller bearing for even better durability and smoothness while the gear ratio is 8:1:1. With its hyper speed right hand function, this is a great choice of baitcaster reel for anyone who is serious about their angling hobby.
Lews Fishing Tournament
There’s a lot to like about the Lews Fishing Tournament baitcaster reel and if you’re looking for a reel which is well designed, strong and durable and packed with features, you’ll find it difficult to get a better deal than the Lews.
It features a highly adjustable brake with multiple settings as well as a ten bearing crank for extra smoothness in casting and retrieving. It also has a redesigned slimmer profile so it’s easier and more comfortable to use. Even better, it has a magnetic and centrifugal combined brake system which is a pretty impressive feature considering the affordable price tag.
The whole reel, without its line, weight just less than 7oz, and this makes it a perfect choice for all day use. You won’t feel fatigued at all, even if you’re reeling and casting for hours. You’ll also benefit from plenty of control over braking thanks to the four-pin internal centrifugal brake which features an external dial to allow you to conveniently adjust the magnetic brake.
The gear ratios ranges between 5.6 and 8.3, and with other options in between, your preferences are sure to be well catered for. From poppers to spinners, there’s a reel ratio to suit everything, and this makes it a brilliant choice for value for money.
Piscifun Torrent * Budget Choice *
When you’re looking for an affordable baitcaster reel that offers a surprisingly good level of performance, the Piscifun Torrent is a great choice. With its advanced four washer design, this low profile reel has sufficient power with its 18 pound carbon fiber drag to cope with even the biggest fish that you want to catch.
This model is also very durable too, made with Japanese Hami cut climate-resistant 3604 brass gears which are of the highest quality to ensure strength and robustness. The gear ratio is 7:1:1 and this is the perfect ratio for the most versatile anglers who demand extra flexibility from their experience. Not only is the reel high speed, it’s also super silent, so you’ll enjoy speedier fishing tactics as well as the ability to get your catch rapidly out of cover.
This baitcaster reel also features a unique oil port on the side plate to allow for easier maintenance. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you won’t find it difficult to maximize the performance and lifespan of your baitcast reel. Meanwhile, the strong double wind shafts are paired with 0-10 dial in magnetic settings to completely eliminate the all too common problem of backlash.
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Reeling in the Best Option For You
When it comes to choosing the right baitcaster reel for you, you can see from these reviews that there is no shortage of great options.
Baitcasters may be challenging to get to grips with, but with plenty of practice and the right reel, you’ll find that mastering the technique of casting and retrieving isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Since reels give you more efficiency, accuracy and control when compared to a traditional spinning reel, it’s well worth making the investment. So check out our buyer’s guide and determine which is the right choice for you before making your final purchasing decision.
Although all of the models that we’ve suggested here are a great choice, we think that if we had to recommend just one we’d opt for the Abu Garcia REVO. If you’re keen to catch heavier fish, you won’t be disappointed with this model. On the other hand, if you’re looking for best value for money, the Daiwa Tatula is hard to beat.
Do you have any experience with these reels? Let the community know about your experience by commenting down below. We'd love to hear from you!