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To figure that out, the first question you need to ask yourself is “What fish am I targeting?” If you can answer that, you have already cut down the list significantly.
I have spent a lot of time living in the top end of Australia, so my target species in the rivers and creeks have been barramundi and mangrove jacks. These might not be what you a targeting, but if their feeding habits are similar, these reels will work just as well for you as they have for me.
When talking about the best baitcasting reels, you will always be referencing the top brands. Okuma, Abu Garcia, Shimano, and, Penn just to name a few. But the big names aren’t always the best choice.
- Abu Garcia Revo SX Low-Profile
- Daiwa Tatula
- Shimano Curado I
- Piscifun Torrent
- KastKing Royale Legend II Baitcasting Reel
- Piscifun Phantom
- Mono Capacity = 145 yards/12 pounds
- Braid Capacity = 140 yards/30 pounds
- Gear Ratio for the RVO3 SX = 6:4:1
- Gear Ratio for the RVO3 SX-HS and Left-Handed Model = 7:1:1
- Max Drag = 20 pounds
- Weight = 6.65 ounces
- Dimensions = 6.3” x 4.7” x 3”
- Nine stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing
This one is at the top of the list for a reason, you will struggle to find better. Even for a beginner, this is a great reel as it’s very forgiving. Abu Garcia has been around a long time now, and their reels just get better and better.
When picking up this reel, the first thing I noticed (besides the great look) is just how light it is. At just 6.65 ounces, it’s one of the lightest on the market and is one reason why it’s also good for beginners.
With Wide Infiniti II spool design and MagTrax brake system provides a very smooth and accurate cast, even with heavier loads. This, combined with the Carbon Matrix drag system, provides a consistent drag under pressure. Hence this reel is worthy of the top spot my the list.
- Super lightweight at 6.6 oz.
- Right and left-hand models
- Very smooth cast
- Easy to use for beginners
- Wide Infiniti II spool design
- MagTrax brake system
- Pricier than some brands
- Gear ratios not as high as would expect for the price
Pairing – Abu Garcia vengeance
- Multiple gear ratios available, ranging from 6:3:1 to 8:1:1
- Features a maximum drag of 13.2 pounds
- Seven ball bearings plus one roller bearing
- Available to both right and left-handed anglers
- I-shape handle knob
- 90mm swept power handle
- Mono Line capacity ranges from 14/120 to 14/165
- Line per handle turn ranges from 22.9” to 33.9.”
- Measures 5.4” x 4.2” x 2.8.”
- Weighs approximately 7.5 ounces
Daiwa has been making reels since 1955, so one could say, they know what they are doing. The first thing that stands out with this series of reels is the range of gear ratios you have to choose from, as well as the choice in line per handle turn. This coupled with the infinite anti-reverse braking system means you will have no problem pulling in those big fish.
Another great feature is the ultimate tournament carbon drag design, providing 13.2 pounds of maximum drag, enough to stop most fish. The Magforce-Z cast control allows for maximum precision and accuracy when casting.
- 9 Ball bearings
- Unbelievably smooth
- TWS casting system
- Fairly expensive
- Meant for freshwater
- Saltwater can build up online
- Handle a little awkward
- Not for beginners
Pairing – DAIWA TATULA XT
- A Mono Line capacity of 8/180, 10/155, 14/110
- PowerPro line capacity of 30/190, 50/120, 65/80
- The product weighs approximately 7.4 ounces
- Five ARB ball bearings
- Max drag of 12 pounds
- Measures 3” x 3” x 2.”
- MICROMODULE gear system
- X-SHIP gear durability
- HAGANE hardened body
- CROSS CARBON DRAG
- I-DC4-Intelligent Digital Control braking system
If you know anything about fishing, or even if you don’t, you have probably heard the name Shimano. They started off making bike parts, but now they are one of the most recognized names in fishing.
This reel, just like everything they make, is of the highest quality. Though it only weighs 7.4 ounces, it’s incredibly impacted resistance. This is due to its rigid metal hagane body, while still also being very compact.
The features that come on this reel are amazing. From the Micromodule gear system that provides a smooth retrieve, X-ship for stronger gears, a strong, Hagane hardened body that resists flexing, I-DC4-Intelligent Digital Control braking system, and acrossRight-Handed carbon drag system that provides a wide range of drag options. That they could fit all this into one reel is amazing.
This reel features Super-Free Spool technology, which lessens friction on the spool and pinion. Add on to this their stable spool design which reduces vibration, you get a reel that has incredible control. furthermore, the SVS Infinity technology which will increase line control. You will also find brake weights throughout the reel that adds power and speed.
- Lightweight at 7.4 oz.
- Right and left-handed options
- Smooth cast in high wind
- 30-inch crank
- For both freshwater and saltwater fishing
- More expensive than most reels
- Only 12-pound max drag
- Not for bigger fish
- Gear Ratio = 7.1:1
- Retriever Per Turn = 30.”
- Max Drag = 18 pounds
- Braid Capacity = 30/120
- Mono Capacity = 10/120
- 5+1 Shield Bearings
- Weight = 8 ounces
- Handle = 4.33”
- Available for both right and left-handed anglers
Piscifun is a very new brand to the fishing scene, only been established in 2013. Their goal is to provide quality fishing equipment at an affordable price. The Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel is no exception. Customers can purchase this product for around $40, which is way below what it should be selling for.
One thing that Piscifun worked hard on with this reel is the gears. They have reinforced the main gear, which boosts both the performance and strength. The CNC brass gear system is precision-cut and features stainless-steel springs. This reinforcement protects the gear from water ingress, giving you peace of mind in fresh or saltwater conditions.
One feature that I love is the 60S Lubricant Design. No more taking the cover off to oil the gears, just use the oil port on the spool.
- Very inexpensive
- Corrosion-resistant system
- Smooth casts
- Large handle
- Magnetic braking system
- Oil port
- Great for beginners or experienced alike
- Available in left and right-handed
- Doesn’t come with oil
- Only 5+1 shield bearings
Pairing – Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod
- Gear ratio – 5.4:1-7.2:1
- Max drag – 17.64
- Ball bearings – 5+1
- Weight – 7.2oz
- Retriever per turn – 22.4″ – 29.8″
- Gears – Brass
- Material – Graphite
- Break system – Magnetic
Royale Legend II Baitcasting Reels have been redesigned of late to improve for comfort and performance. It’s a compact-size low-profile bait caster fishing reel combined with a concealed side cover release that makes the reel comfortable for a full day of fishing.
KastKing has implemented a double-bearing supported pinion gear technology, that is reported to deliver a 35% increase in smoothness to the original. It also has two gear ratios\. The 5.4:1 gear ratio model is perfect for crankbaits or slower presentations. While the 7.2:1 gear ratio model that quickly picks up the fishing line at 29.8” per turn is great for pitching jigs or burning baits at high speed.
This reel boasts a stopping power of 17.6 lbs, something that you will be hard-pressed to find in another reel of a similar price. It also includes a dynamic magnetic braking system with 8 magnetic buttons to avoid overrun and backlash.
- Very Inexpensive
- Magnetic brake system
- Available in left and right-handed
- great for fast and slow retrieves
- Graphite construction
- Not for really large fish
Pairing – KastKing Perigee II baitcasting rod
- Gear Ratio: 7.0:1
- Centrifugal Brake & Magnetic Brake
- Max Drag: 17lbs
- Reel Weight: 5.7oz
- Retrieve Per Turn: 30.3in
- Ball Bearings: 6+1 Shield bearings
- Mono Capacity: 10lb/120yds
- Braid Capacity: 30lb/120yds
- Oversized Titanium Line Guide
- Double Anodized Harden Main Gear
- Carbon Fiber Drag System
Forget about lightweight, and ultra-light, this reel is featherlight. At just 5.7 oz, it’s not just the lightest on the list, but the lightest I have heard of. But don’t be fooled, the lightweight nature of this reel does nothing to the strength and durability. Premium carbon fiber frame, side plates, and handle provide significant weight reduction without sacrificing strength and durability.
With a high-performance 7.0:1 gear ratio, you get long-distance, accurate casting an instant hook set. Furthermore, the 6 anti-corrosion stainless steel ball bearings plus 1 clutch bearing, all shield to extend the durability
Another great feature, the double hard-anodized Aircraft grade aluminum main gear and pinion gear paired with 4 disc carbon fiber drag washers deliver exceptional 17 lbs stopping power to fight your biggest fish
With high-quality precision gears and stainless steel bearings, the Piscifun Phantom reel will give you a super smooth cast and retrieve performance. You would be amazed at its casting distance when tuned to set the baitcasting reel.
- Oversize line guide
- Available in left and right hand
- Inexpensive for such a quality reel
- A bit noisy on cast
- Pair with
Serpent One Piece Casting Rod
To Wrap Up
Well, folks, there you have it, my top 5. All really good reels in their own right. You can go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a good reel, or, as you can see, you don’t have to spend that much to still get quality.
Although these are great reels, they aren’t much good to you without a good rod to pair them with. To check out a bit more about the pairing I have supplied, check out Best Baitcaster Rod: Top 5 Of 2021 Reviewed
These are my top five, if you don’t agree or have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. As always
Tony, creator of Get Reel Fishing