Baitcasting Reels 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Reel
Baitcasting reels are one of the most popular types of fishing reels used by anglers. They are versatile, accurate, and powerful, making them ideal for catching large fish in both freshwater and saltwater environments.
Unlike spinning reels, baitcasting reels require a bit more skill and practice to use effectively, but once mastered, they can provide an incredibly satisfying and rewarding fishing experience.
It might be time to switch to a baitcasting reel. Baitcasting reels offer a level of accuracy and power that spinning reels just can’t match.
Power and Performance: The 5 Best High-End Baitcasting Reels on the Market
So we got to the fishing reels, which are increasingly gaining popularity among fishermen. In skillful hands, this type of reel is capable of pulling the most resistant and heavy types of fish from great depths. The control level and the smooth operation of these reels are some of the best in fishing. Yes, in this article we’ll talk about baitcasting reels.
What’s A Baitcasting Reel?
Baitcasting reels are a type of fishing reel that is designed to provide precision and accuracy in casting. They are commonly used for catching larger fish species, such as bass, pike, and muskie. Baitcasting reels use a spool of fishing line that is attached to a revolving spool, which is turned by a handle. The spool is located on top of the reel, and the line is guided onto the spool by a level wind mechanism.
One of the main advantages of using a baitcasting reel is that it provides a high level of control and accuracy when casting. This is because the spool is free to spin, allowing the angler to adjust the speed and direction of the cast as needed.
Additionally, baitcasting reels are typically more powerful than other types of reels, allowing anglers to catch larger fish with greater ease. However, they can also be more difficult to use than other types of reels, as they require a certain level of skill and technique to master.
Best Baitcasting Reels Comparison Chart:
Quick Take – The Best Baitcasting Reels. Here is our selection of the best baitcasting reels:
- KastKing Royale Legend Low Profile
- Piscifun Baitcasting Reel 18LB Carbon Fiber Drag
- KastKing Speed Demon 9.3:1 Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Review Of The Best Baitcasting Reels. Let’s look at some baitcasting reels and find out about their features. These are the top picks from the huge variety available in the market.
🚩Reel Deal: Affordable Baitcasting Reels That Don’t Sacrifice Quality!
1# KastKing Royale Legend Whitemax Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Let’s start with the best representative on this list – KastKing Royale Legend. For its price of $40, it’s just brilliant. From elegant black packaging to a superbly adjustable drag system that almost never goes astray. But first things first. As I said, this reel comes to you in an elegant black box with a case, instructions, and everything adjacent. In addition, you get a $10 voucher for your next purchase from KastKing. The reel itself is low profile and durable. Made of graphite and resistant to saltwater. Therefore, it weighs so little – only 10 ounces. Even with a braided line inside, your hands won’t feel heavy.
On the side is a non-slip EVA handle that feels nice in the hands. Inside, there are 11+1 shielded corrosion-resistant bearings that provide the reel with a smooth and durable operation. Also, a dual brake system of a centrifuge and magnetic brake is installed in the reel. The gear ratio of 7.0:1 is quite fast, but even heavy fish you can control well. The drag system is made of carbon fiber. The maximum power it can achieve is 17.6 pounds. The reel comes with 3 levels of drag settings so you can tune the reel before casting and don’t worry about it.
In general, this is a very good option, which has been liked by thousands of users for its design and performance.
2# Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel 18LB Carbon Fiber Drag Low Profile Tournament
There are many things in the Piscifun Torrent that you may like. And the first point is the price. For a price tag of less than $40, you get a very productive and reliable fishing reel. The manufacturer has focused on the gears. So, they are not only waterproof now, but also the brass gear train with CNC has high precision and performance. Protection set not only on gears but also on bearings. The shields protect them from water, dust, saltwater, and more.
So you can not worry when using the reel in saltwater. Also, the Torrent is equipped with a magnetic brake and an aluminum spool, which gives the fisherman excellent accuracy and control. The reel comes with a spool tensioner. This avoids the formation of bird nests. The gear ratio is 7.1:1, which is pretty fast and at the same time enough to deal with large fish with good control. The drag system inside the reel is made of carbon fiber and can reach power up to 18 lbs.
Like the previous unit, this reel is very effective for a very low price.
3# KastKing Speed Demon 9.3:1 Baitcasting Fishing Reel Carbon Fiber Drag
Very interesting name and no less interesting features. In general, sometimes I don’t understand what the manufacturer is guided by when choosing a name for his product. But let’s not talk about that. Speed Demon is one of the fastest reels at KastKing. Moreover, it’s one of the fastest reels in the world. It is equipped with a gear ratio of 9.3:1, which makes the retrieval of the line incredibly fast. And so that this quick retrieval doesn’t feel so sharp, the manufacturer put here a 12 + 1 shielded ball bearing.
You can don’t worry about fighting with big fish – a three-disc drag system made of carbon fiber is installed here. The maximum drag is 13.2 lbs. On the side are the EVA handles, which are very comfortable in the hands. You can choose an option for the right or left hand. Also, in the Speed Demon, there is a three-sided magnetic brake, which is very easily adjustable, and an aluminum spool. The main shaft is made of stainless steel and is very durable. Although the spool should eliminate the backlash, if the reel is not tuned, then the backlash will still occur. Also, if the reel often suffers from sand, then over time the paint will be erased.
4# KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel Reinforced Metal Body
But if you need more control over the bait and fish, and the previous reels were really quick for you, then we also have a solution for this. This is KastKing Rover Round Reel. Rover has a reinforced aluminum body, six shielded aluminum ball bearings, corrosion-resistant, and a gear ratio of 5.3:1. The gear ratio is not too small and not too large. Just right for any type of fish and good bait control. Side plates and spool are made of anodized aluminum resistant to corrosion.
Therefore, the reel is a bit heavy. But it’s bulletproof and very durable, so the weight is compensated by the strength. The drag system is quite interesting, and it can withstand loads of up to 19.8 pounds, which is much more than most representatives of baitcasting reels. The reel has a simple and practical design. It is very easy to use and there is no inconvenience. For its price, this product is a pretty good workhorse. The only thing it does poorly with is big baits. Otherwise, it’s a very good reel.
5# Piscifun Perseus Low Profile Baitcasting Reel Double Brakes 18.5LB Carbon Fiber Drag
Perseus is also a very strong and powerful reel and is in no way inferior in characteristics to the others. The reel has a brass gear system with a gear ratio of 6.3:1. This value is suitable for almost any spinners and jigs. The maximum drag force is 18.5 lbs. Perseus has a dual braking system. One of which is a 6-pin centrifugal brake. And with a second magnetic, you can easily control casting.
The reel can hold 120 yards of a line weighing 10 pounds. It operates on 6 bearings, which provide it with sufficient smoothness. The bearings are fully shielded and protected against corrosion. At the same time, the reel doesn’t weigh so much – only 8 ounces. On the side are very comfortable rubber handles that don’t slip even in wet weather conditions. On the side plates, there is a lubrication hole that facilitates the lubrication of the reel. You don’t need to open the plates every time you want to lubricate the reel, unlike other reels.
Advantages of Baitcasting Reels
Spinning and baitcasting reels have their own characteristics and advantages. Therefore, I believe that it’s better to use two types of reels at once, depending on the conditions in which you are fishing. Many professional fishermen are engaged in fishing with the help of combo-baitcasting. But let’s talk about the main advantages of baitcasting reels.
Heavier Line. The baitcasting reels are so arranged that the axis of rotation of the reel is perpendicular to the rod guides. This means that the line will go straight through the guides of the rod, which will lighten the weight of the line and allow the use of a heavier line in the reel. On average, a baitcasting reel can hold 10 to 20 pounds of line and heavier lures. With a good setup, you can cast the bait from 0.25 ounces.
Less Line Twist. Spinning reels are well known for their line twist. And turning the line greatly interferes with a good cast. In baitcasting reels, the line is twisted only because of the lure, and then not always. This usually happens when catching soft plastic. In all other cases, baitcasting reels practically don’t allow the line to turn.
Longer Casts. The main advantage that baitcasting reels are chosen for is long and accurate casts. Paired with a good fishing rod and with the necessary experience, you can throw the line so that it flew straight out of the rod guides, rather than being unwound by a rotating projectile.
More Power. Baitcasting reels are much more powerful than spinning reels. The handle, spool, and bearings are on the same level, which allows you to create more power and torque. Moreover, since the handles are mounted directly on the frame of the reel, there is no lever that could bend when winding fish.
More Control. And of course, baitcasting reels give you much more control. You can control the casting distance and the lure with your thumb, unlike spinning reels, where you can’t do this. With sufficient experience, you can place the lure exactly where you think the fish is.
Key Features of Baitcasting Reels
When you choose a reel, no matter what type it is, everyone has key features that you need to pay attention to when buying.
Here are the main ones:
Gear Ratio. The gear ratio is the number of turns that the spool will make in 1 turn of the handle. The higher the gear ratio, the correspondingly higher will be the speed of retrieving the line. Choose a gear ratio according to your preference. If you want more control and lower retrieve speed, then take something close to 5.3:1. If on the contrary, you want the highest possible retrieve speed, then choose a gear ratio of 6 or higher.
Spool Size. If you want to use a thinner but larger line in the reel, then the reel should be larger and more capacious. Choose the size of the reel and spool depending on how big or small your line is. The smaller line reels are easier to manage on a larger spool, while smaller, shallow spools work well for short line applications like pitching and flipping.
Handle Size. Handles on baitcasting reels are much shorter than on spinning or other reels. But in any case, such handles are suitable for almost any type of bait except for swimbaits and crankbaits. Torque directly depends on the size of the handle. The larger it is, the greater the torque, and the easier it is to pull the fish out of a deep shelter.
Brakes and Tension. When casting, the line is controlled by a tension handle and brake system. Tension at the beginning of casting, and brakes at the end. Brakes are very useful when casting during the wind because the spool rotates faster than the bait because of the wind, which slows down the second. If you have a good braking and tensioning system, you can easily make long throws during the wind and the difference in weight of the bait.
Bearings and Materials. There are only two materials that work best in reels and handle rust. It’s stainless steel and ceramic. In principle, these two materials do not differ much from each other. But ceramics show themselves a little better and more durable. It is believed that the more bearings, the smoother the reel. And in most cases, it is. with the exception, for example, of Shimano reels, where there are only 2-3 bearings, but they work incredibly smoothly. But this is an isolated case. If we talk about the material of the reel, then a good choice would be a reel of magnesium or aluminum.
Types of Baitcasting Reels
Now we look at the different types of reels and what they are.
Round. Round reels are one of the most difficult, but they can hold a large line. Such reels are usually made of corrosion-resistant aluminum. So saltwater practically doesn’t harm them. Good for catching big fish. For example, salmon or pike.
Low Profile or Teardrop. This is a lighter type of reel, but not so durable because it is not made entirely of aluminum, but of a mixture of aluminum and graphite. These reels have an ergonomic design and the wrist does not get tired when working with them. Most suitable for freshwater fishing.
Drag Systems in Baitcasting Reels
Star Drag. The most common type of drag system is adjustable between the reel and the handle. Very easy to use for beginners. Great for jigging and fish up to 40 pounds.
Lever Drag. This drag system is harder to install and is adjustable at the top of the reel/handle. It gives more precise control over the drag system with the ability to preset the maximum drag. If you are going to fish for 40 pounds or more, you need this particular drag system.
Maintaining Your Investment: Tips for Properly Cleaning and Caring for Your Baitcasting Reel
Before cleaning the reel, collect everything you need for this. Take a bucket of hot water, a cleaner, oil for reels, and a little liquid (Ronsonol Lighter Fluid is great). Remove or at least fasten the line before disassembling the reel. Remove the side cover to begin disassembling the reel. Put all the parts so that none of them accidentally rolls anywhere and gets lost. I always lay them on a rubber mat.
If you’re not sure that you’ll assemble the reel back correctly, it’s better to number the details or write down the order of disassembly of the reel. When you take out the springs or clamps, it is better to use tweezers so as not to lose them. Wash the parts in a bucket and then clean them with a cleaner applied to the brush. Wash bearings with lighter fluid and make sure they rotate. Lubricate them with a toothpick and oil. At the very end, complete assembly and wipe with cleaning fluid.
How to Use a Baitcasting Reel
Using a baitcasting reel is not so difficult, but you need to understand how to use its components:
- Reel the line until your bait is at a distance of 6-12 inches from the end of the rod (this is approximately 15-30 cm). If you have a sinker or bobber, then it should also be at a distance of 6 to 12 inches to the end of the rod.
- Put your thumb on the reel and grab the handle. Loosen the drag until the line pulls out freely.
- Adjust the spool tension so that it becomes free enough for the cast. But don’t loosen it too much. When you want to remove your thumb from the reel and adjust other settings, set the brakes.
- Turn the rod so that the handles in the reel point up. But if you use the opposite hand to cast, then the arms should look down.
- Press the spool release button and start casting.
- Pull the fishing rod forward a little until it reaches the level of your eyes. In this case, you need to raise your thumb from the spool so that the bait pulls off the line in the same form in which it was installed.
- When the bait reaches the desired location, press the spool with your thumb to stop it.
Why Is The Choice of Baitcasting Reels Important?
A high-quality reel allows you to catch dinner for the whole family. If you fish in the sea or ocean, then don’t forget to choose a reel that is designed to work in seawater. Such reels are made of corrosion-resistant metal, designed to deal with large marine fish. Also, don’t forget about the gear ratio. Low gear reels give you more torque, which is good for large baits that load the line a lot. High gear ratios, on the contrary, are needed for quick retrieval and quick lifting of fish to the surface.
In conclusion, baitcasting reels are a vital tool for anglers who want to take their fishing skills to the next level. These reels are versatile and offer a range of advantages over other types of reels. They are highly accurate, can cast further, and offer better control when fishing. However, they require practice and skill to master, and it is important to choose the right reel for your needs.
When selecting a baitcasting reel, consider factors such as the gear ratio, braking system, drag system, and build quality. Research the different brands and models available and read reviews from other anglers to determine which one will work best for you. With the right baitcasting reel, you can improve your casting accuracy and overall fishing experience.
To use the baitcasting reels you need to gain experience, but it’s worth it: you’ll get incredible accuracy and throwing distance. When choosing a reel, consider the factors that we told you about. Do not be afraid to try something new for yourself in fishing. After all, this is an interesting and amazing experience for every fisherman. If this article was useful to you, then share it on social networks. Have good fishing!
Tags: #baitcasting reel / #best baitcasting reel / #baitcasting reel review / #how to put fishing line on a baitcasting reel / #best baitcasting reel under 100 / #best line for baitcasting reel / #best budget baitcasting reel
I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for the last 10+ years and share my daily fishing experiences on my website. Many years of personal experience as a fisherman and the vast experience of my friends allow me to write professionally on any fishing topics (from choosing a flashlight and equipment to deep-sea fishing).
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article on baitcasting reels. I found it very informative and helpful, providing a great deal of useful information on this type of reel and its many benefits. The author clearly has a great deal of knowledge and experience with this type of equipment, and their insights were invaluable. I particularly appreciated the real-world examples used to illustrate the points being made.
Overall, I would highly recommend this article to anyone considering using a baitcasting reel – it is an excellent resource that will no doubt be of great assistance in making a decision on which type of reel to use. Thank you for sharing your expertise!
The Fishreeler guide is an excellent resource for anglers of all skill levels who are looking to purchase a baitcasting reel. The guide covers all of the most important specifications to look for when choosing a reel and provides detailed information on each of the top 5 baitcasting reels on the market today.
As someone who has used baitcasting reels for many years, I can attest to the fact that they are an essential piece of equipment for any angler serious about fishing larger lures and techniques. The guide does an excellent job of explaining the benefits of using a baitcaster, and provides helpful tips on how to choose the right reel for your specific needs
I love braided lines from KastKing for their price and quality. I read your article and bought the KastKing Royale Legend. What a combination! King of the line and king of the fishing reel. The casting is distant and smooth. It’s like there’s no friction. Glides like silk. Got to grips with its construction pretty quickly. Beautiful.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge about baitcasters! As someone who’s relatively new to fishing, I’ve been trying to educate myself on the different types of reels available in the market, and your insights have been very helpful.
Based on your recommendations, I’m considering Shimano, Daiwa, 13fishing, Abu Garcia, and Okuma as my top choices for bait casters. It’s good to know that Shimano, Daiwa, and Megabass make their own reels, which I assume contributes to the quality of their products. Meanwhile, 13fishing and Abu Garcia are made in Korean factories, but their quality control is impressive enough to make them trustworthy brands.
I appreciate your emphasis on taking good care of these reels to make them last for a long time. I’ve heard that the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur round baitcasters made in Sweden are of exceptional quality, and can last for more than two decades with proper care. I’ll definitely keep this in mind when deciding which reel to purchase.
Overall, I’m leaning towards Shimano and Daiwa for my first baitcaster, since they seem to be the safer choices for a beginner like me. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience!
Thanks for sharing your personal experience with different baitcaster brands! It’s always helpful to hear from someone who’s actually used the reels in question.
I’m also a fan of Shimano, Abu Garcia, and Lew’s. I have several Abu Garcia reels myself, including two Ambassadeurs that I use for catfishing. I’ve found them to be reliable and effective. For bass fishing, I have a Pro Max and a Black Max, both low-profile reels, and they work well for me.
If you’re on a tighter budget, Lew’s is a great option. While some of their reels can be pricey, you can find affordable ones that work just as well as any other reel. My most trusted reel is actually a Lew’s SpeedSpool, and I’ve never had any issues with it.
I’ve heard good things about Daiwa as well, and they seem to be a popular choice for anglers who want an affordable but reliable baitcaster. While I don’t have any personal experience with them yet, I’m definitely considering getting one in the future.
It’s always helpful to get insights from someone who’s actually used the products in question!
You for sharing your insights on different baitcaster brands! It’s great to hear from someone who has experience working with reels and has seen their durability over time.
As someone who likes Shimano, I appreciate the recommendation to stick with them. I’ve been very happy with my Shimano reels so far. However, if I wanted to step up a bit from the Bass Pro Shops reels I currently have, the Lew’s Tournament Laser Classic for $130 at Academy seems like a decent option.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Lew’s Laser Pro Speed Spool. You can find them new for around $90-100, and in my opinion, they are a significant step up in quality compared to the Abu Black/Silver Max combos.
It’s interesting to hear that you’re a Quantum guy and that you’ve owned a reel repair shop for almost 15 years. Based on your experience, Quantum PT reels seem to be well-built and durable over the long term. I’ve heard that the ceramic pawl Quantum uses in their PT reels is particularly noteworthy, as it doesn’t seem to wear out like some other pawls in other reels. While Shimano and Daiwa don’t seem to have the same issue, you’ve had to replace pawls and work gears in Abu Garcia Revo reels.
The Shimano Curado DC is a great reel and a good alternative if you’re considering switching from Abu Garcia. I haven’t used Abu Garcia’s high-end reels, but I think the Curado DC’s brakes work well and as advertised.
As a Shimano fan, I recommend trying out different brands to avoid getting too loyal to one. Personally, I have my eye on the Daiwa Tatula, which I’ve heard good things about. However, I don’t have any affiliation with any brand, so I’m open to trying out different reels.
Another great option in that price range is the Diawa Tatula Elite. Although I’m not a big fan of DC reels due to their weight and because I don’t have issues with casting or backlashes with my non-DC baitcasting reels, I think it’s worth considering for those who prefer DC reels. I had a Curado DC, but I ended up selling it pretty quickly.
It’s interesting to hear how different people have different experiences with different brands of reels. Personally, I had a bad experience with the Curado and ended up switching to Abu Garcia. However, I know that some people swear by the Curado and consider Abu Garcia to be junk.
Me, I currently use Tatula SV TWS reels and have found them to be very versatile and require less brake maintenance compared to my older Curado K’s. I also recently purchased a Tatula Elite and a Curado DC to replace some older reels, and while the DC was initially exciting to have, the novelty quickly wore off and I found that the Elite handled straight FC much better and was noticeably lighter.
When it comes to close fishing, I prefer the older SV TWS with a slightly higher drag or the new SV TW which is better for palming since it’s smaller. For long casting, I opt for the Elite because it’s lighter, casts almost as far, and handles some lines better.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more money, the new Daiwa Zillion SV TW is about to be released and is getting great reviews from those who have purchased the JDM version. Even those who typically only use Shimano reels are raving about it.
It’s great to hear about your fishing setup! I mainly use my Legend X finesse swim jig rod for skipping, casting, and pitching 1/4 to 3/8ths skirted jigs, and it’s paired with the newer SV TWS. For my heavier pitching jig rigs, I use the older model SV TWS with a larger handle installed for a better grip.
I’ve tried various brands over the years, starting with Quantum when they were the industry leader. I even had a Quantum Energy 06 that was over 15 years old and still performed like it was brand new.
Then I moved on to Lews, Shimano when the Curado K was released, and now I have a lot of Daiwas. One thing I like about Daiwa is the ability to swap spools or parts between different reels, which some other brands don’t make as easy. However, I’m not brand loyal and will still consider other reels like the Antares DC or Steez SV TW if they match my requirements for a rig.
As an avid angler, I understand the importance of finding the right baitcasting reel that meets your specific needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a bait caster under $300, there are several options that can provide you with the balance and control you’re looking for.
One option is the Tatula SV TW 103, which is priced at $200. This reel is designed to make it easy to switch from small to larger lures without needing to adjust any settings. With this reel, you’ll have cast control and minimal backlashes, making it easy to use.
Daiwa has also released a “premium” baitcaster, the Zillion SV TW, which is priced at around $330. This reel features the latest technology and a tight frame, providing you with a balance between distance and control.
If you’re considering DCs, the Curado, and SLX are great options, but I personally don’t think the Curado justifies its higher price point compared to the SLX. Both reels feature IDC-4 braking, and the build quality between them is relatively similar.
However, there are two other options to consider: the 2017 Scorpion DC and the yet-to-be-released Scorpion DC. Both reels are priced at around $250 and need to be purchased from Japan, meaning you’ll lose your warranty. However, reels made in Japan are often of better quality than those made outside of Japan for various reasons. These reels use IDC-5 braking, which is Shimano’s second-best DC braking system outside of the $600+ Antares DC.
I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about the Black Max reel, and I wanted to share my own experience with it. I’ve found that it lasts about 3 years with semi-regular use before problems start to arise. Specifically, I’ve had issues with the worm gear pawl wearing down, the thumb bar plastic wearing down and jamming, and the pinion gear not aligning properly with the main gear.
These problems started around the 2-year mark and only got worse over time, with the thumb bar issue eventually rendering the reel completely non-functional.
Personally, my favorite reel for the money has been the Bass Pro Pro Qualifier. I can vouch for its performance and durability. While I haven’t tried the 2 versions yet, I don’t think there are many changes beyond making it lower profile. They’ve also recently released a new version called the Inshore Extreme, which is essentially the same reel but with 4 more pounds of drag and corrosion-resistant bearings.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Diawa Tatula TWS is an excellent choice. It’s built like a tank with a metal frame and thumb bar pieces, and it’s just overall very solid for the price. The only downside is that it’s quite large and has a funky TWS-level wind that some may find unnecessary.