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Best Baitcasting Reel 2020 – [Buyer’s Guide]

best baitcasting reel

If you are looking to get the most out of your lure fishing then choosing the best baitcasting reel paired with the right rod is the surest way to casting accurately and getting your lures to where the fish are.

Spinning reels are fine for very light work such as fishing with bait or other ultralight techniques, but when it comes to repeated casting all day long nothing is going to beat the perfect baitcaster setup.​

​Most anglers start out on a spinning setup and then over time progress to a baitcaster.

Whilst there is a steeper learning curve to using a baitcasting reel once you learn it there really is no turning back as the level of control that thumbing the spool gives you is far superior to any open face spinning reel.

​Round Baitcast Reels vs Low Profile

Older style round baitcast reels have fallen out of favor in recent years however the do still have a place in modern angling.

While low profile baitcasters are hugely popular in the bass fishing world, round style baitcasters are still used extensively for catfish, musky and when surf casting.

For most freshwater anglers the low profile baitcasting reel will be the reel of choice as they are perfectly suited to most forms of lure fishing.

From throwing frogs into deep cover to Texas Rigs and crankbaits they are the most versatile types of reel when using medium to heavy freshwater lures or bait rigs.

​Best Baitcasting Reels


​1. Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile


​2. Lews Fishing Tournament MB


​3. SHIMANO Chronarch MGL


​4. Daiwa Tatula


​5. 13 Fishing Concept A


​6. Lew's Fishing Tournament Speed


​7. Daiwa Coastal


​Baitcasting Reels

Regardless of whether you go with a round baitcaster reel vs low profile reel there are a number of common attributes that you should consider before buying a baitcasting reel.

I'm never a fan of cheap reels, I've broken many baitcasting rods but buying a high quality reel should be seen as a long term investment.

Look after your reel and have it serviced regularly should result in it lasting for many many years.

Rods will come and go and usually end up breaking at the tip even when you think you are being careful.

​Most reels break due to dirt, grit or salt water finding it's way into the reel housing and ultimately destroying the gears.

Look after them, service regularly, rinse after use in saltwater and try not to leave them down on the ground where dirt and mud can get at them.

How to Choose a Baitcaster

Choosing the right baitcasting reel for your setup depends on a number of different factors:

  • Type of fish​
  • Style of fishing
  • Location
  • Your experience level 

​Round style baitcasters are usually used by anglers targeting large species of fish such as musky, catfish, salmon/steelhead and any of the larger saltwater species.

​Bass fishermen love low profile casting reels

If you are fishing in saltwater on a pier on inshore then you need a reel that can handle the corrosive effects of saltwater.

Most cheaper freshwater reels won;t last too long when fishing in saltwater even if you rinse the reels religiously.

​All baitcasters share a number of features that they have in common:

  • Gearing
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Left vs right hand

​Gearing

​When we talk about the gear ratio on a baitcasting reel it means how many turns of the spool per one turn of the handle.

So for example a 6.5:1 gear ratio will result in 6.5 complete revolutions of the spool for every turn of the handle.

Normally most manufacturers will quote the number of turns of the spool first and the handle second.

A high gear ratio means that you can have a faster retrieval rate than a low gear ratio.

However, the higher gear ratio results in a lose of torque so the amount of power that you can put through the reel when hauling a big fish is reduced.

Frog lures and any other topwater technique that requires you to really burn line in quickly are usually used with a high speed baitcaster reel.

And vice versa a low gear ratio will be slower but will transmit more torque from the handle to the spool making it easier to pull heavier weights with your reel.

Big crankbaits and swimbaits create a lot of drag in the water so a low gearing is best.

​Anything in the 5's like a 5.3:1 is considered low gearing, 6's to mid-6's are in the middle and considered good for general use, reels with gearing in the high 6's to low 7's should be considered high speed reels.

Size

You need to match your reel to the line that you are using. The havier your line the less of it you will be able to spool onto your reel.

Always check the manufacturers specifications for your reel. You should be able to hold at least 110 yards of whatever breaking strain line you are using.

​Most reel brands will quote one number for monofilament and one for braid.

As a general rule braid is roughly half the diameter of mono so if you can get 100 yards of 10 lbs mono on a reel you should be able to fit 100 yards of 20 lbs braid.

Weight

A big heavy reel can end up unbalancing your setup. If you are looking to cast lures all day long then your rod, reel and line need to match up.

The lighter the better when it comes to all day casting but you still need a reel that is up to the job at hand and very small light weight reels can suffer from being a little bit weak and also not holding enough line.

Left vs Right Hand Baitcasters

Unlike a spinning setup where you dominant hand holds the rod and your weaker hands turns the reel handle with baitcasters that can feel a little unnatural.

​Some people prefer to switch sides when they use a baitcasting reel so you really should go with whatever feels the most natural when selecting the best baitasting reel for your needs.