Best Baitcasting Reel For The Money – A Comprehensive Review

Many anglers use baitcasting reels when they want to effectively fish larger lures and use certain fishing techniques where light spinning reels simply will not succeed. The best baitcasting reel gives you high levels of control over your lure allowing you to cast with accuracy and providing enough power to pull big fish out of the water.

This guide will help you understand what to look for when choosing baitcasting reels. I will also review quality and affordable reels that will help you use your favorite fishing techniques. If you are new to baitcasting, this guide will help you understand important specifications that you should look for in your baitcasting reel.

More...

*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Advantages Of Baitcasting Reels

close up Baitcasting reel

To enhance versatility, many anglers use both spinning and baitcasting reels. However, baitcasting reels allow you to use certain lures and techniques.

Baitcasting reels come with heavier lines. The rotation of a spool axis on a baitcasting reel is perpendicular to the rod guides. This means that your line will come off straight through the line guides and into the rod guides. This feature makes it extremely easy for you to use heavier lines ranging from 10 to 20 lbs tests. Quality baitcasting reels should easily cast heavier lures.

The spool layout and design of baitcasting reels give them greater power than spinning reels. The spool of these reels is in line with the handles and gears allowing them to apply more power and torque. In addition, the handles are mounted directly onto the reel frame and there is no lever arm, which may cause flex when reeling hard on a catch.

Baitcasting reels give you a higher degree of control when casting than spinning reels because it allows you to control the distance and speed of your lure using your thumb. You can achieve higher degrees of accuracy with time as you become more proficient in using the reel.

Nice catch pike fish caught using fishing rod and lure

How To Buy Baitcasting Reels

Not all baitcasting reels are created equal. One thing that distinguishes experienced anglers from newbies is the fact that experienced anglers take their time to choose baitcasting reels that are suitable for their technique and fishing conditions. However, newbies often tend to think that baitcasting reels are pretty much the same and may not take the time to choose good reels that are suitable for their fishing conditions.

There are several factors to consider when choosing baitcasting reels.

Gear Ratio

This refers to the number of times the spool can turn for every revolution of the handle. Common gear ratios include 6.4:1, 7.1:1, and 5.3 (or 5.2):1. A gear ratio of 6.4:1 is a popular option for everyday fishing conditions. This ratio offers exceptional performance and can be used for various types of bait and fishing techniques including top water and shallow cranking.

A higher gear ratio like a 7.1 allows you to pull back the bait to your boat much faster. A low gear ratio would be suitable for people with fishing baits that pull hard. A 5.3:1 ratio will work well for large swim baits, deep diving crank baits, and heavy spinner baits.

Low gear ratios allow you to reel in your bait more slowly, which give your bait a longer time in the target area. It also provides greater torque output so that you can flip and move your bait out of cover.

Spool Size

Spool sizes vary from small to big. The size of your spool is often determined by how you fish.

Bigger spools allow you to use heavier and longer lines. There are also smaller coils of line that you can manage more easily.

A smaller spool means that you have less weight to contend with, which makes them suitable for short line uses such as flipping and pitching.

Consider using a big, deep spool if you prefer to fish heavy lines such as 20lb fluorocarbons. Larger spools create manageable smaller coils of line.

Frame

baitcasting reel

In the old days, anglers had to choose between solid reels that were somewhat heavy and lightweight reels that are less durable. You can also find heavy reels that are seemingly solid but are actually flimsy when you use them.

However, it is important to choose reel materials that are both strong and lightweight including aluminum, magnesium, and composites.

Bearings

When it comes to bearings, the more the better. Reels with more bearings are more likely to cast and retrieve more smoothly and accurately. However, it is important to consider the quality of the bearings. Your best bet is premium ceramic or stainless steel ball bearings.

Brakes

It is important to have brakes on your baitcasting reel especially if you are casting on strong winds. The wind is likely to slow down your bait, which will cause your spool to spin faster. Good brakes on your baitcasting reel allow you to make long casts with different lure weights, which minimizes backlash.

There are two options for baitcasting brakes:

Centrifugal.

Magnetic.

Centrifugal brakes are suitable for experienced anglers. On the other hand, magnetic brakes are suitable for beginners because they work evenly at each step of the cast.

Handling and comfort

Low profile fishing reels come with different handle sizes. Compact reels often come with shorter handles. One of the best ways to buy baitcasting reels is by handling several options at a fishing tackle store and buying the reel that feels more comfortable online.

The fisherman with a baitcasting reel

Although most reel models available on the market come with features that enhance handling comfort, each person’s hands are different. However, be sure to check the return policy of your seller when buying online.

Anti-reverse

This feature keeps the reel from turning backward. This gives you greater control over the drag allowing you to better control your catch. Some reels come with a switch that allows you to activate or deactivate the anti-reverse.

Smooth drag and drag capacity

Nice catch pike fish caught using fishing rod and lure

The smoothness of a drag is an important consideration to make when buying baitcasting reels because a sticky drag can let fish get away. Of course, it is also important to ensure proper maintenance of your baitcasting reel so that the drag remains smooth.

In addition, consider the drag capacity of your baitcasting reel because it can help you with your fishing style. The drag capacity of your baitcasting reel is determined by the fish species you are targeting and the size of the line you use.

You only need about 12 pounds drag capacity for sailfishing. However, you may need about 20 pounds drag capacity for bottomfishing.

What is X-Ship Technology?

Baitcasting reel on fishing rods in sport shop

The pinion gear of most baitcasting reels is only supported on one end. However, with time, this often puts stress on the internal gears. The X-Ship technology supports the pinion gears on both ends providing more torque and power and makes your baitcasting reel last longer.

Another fishing reel technology that we cannot forget to mention is an S3D spool. This technology helps to create a perfectly balanced spool for a smoother and longer cast.


Top 5 Best Baitcasting Reels

Preview
Best Choise
Best Price
Title
Shimano Curado Baitcasting Reels (12/240, 14/190, 20/120, 6.9:1, 6 BB,......
13 Fishing 8:1:1 Gear Ratio 9BB Beetlewing Sideplate, Left...
Abu Garcia Revo Toro BeastLow Profile...
Abu Garcia RVO3 ROCKET Revo Rocket Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel...
Shimano Calcutta 700B Reel...
Customer Rating
Customer Reviews
77 Reviews
25 Reviews
38 Reviews
75 Reviews
54 Reviews
Prime Benefits
-
-
-
Preview
Title
Shimano Curado Baitcasting Reels (12/240, 14/190, 20/120, 6.9:1, 6 BB,......
Customer Rating
Customer Reviews
77 Reviews
Prime Benefits
-
Buy Now!
Preview
Title
13 Fishing 8:1:1 Gear Ratio 9BB Beetlewing Sideplate, Left...
Customer Rating
Customer Reviews
25 Reviews
Prime Benefits
Buy Now!
Best Choise
Preview
Title
Abu Garcia Revo Toro BeastLow Profile...
Customer Rating
Customer Reviews
38 Reviews
Prime Benefits
Buy Now!
Best Price
Preview
Title
Abu Garcia RVO3 ROCKET Revo Rocket Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel...
Customer Rating
Customer Reviews
75 Reviews
Prime Benefits
-
Buy Now!
Preview
Title
Shimano Calcutta 700B Reel...
Customer Rating
Customer Reviews
54 Reviews
Prime Benefits
-
Buy Now!

Last update on 2017-09-19 at 21:52 PST - Details

This is a high quality reel featuring an aluminum frame and spool. The spool even comes with a titanium line guide. One of the things I like about this reel is its five bearings. In addition, the reel has an anti-reverse feature. Although the most common gear ratio for the reel is 6.3, it is also available in a slower 5.5 to 1 gear for bigger baits and deep diving crankbaits.

You may choose the one with a 7.2:1 gear ratio if you are more into flipping and pitching. In addition, the fishing reel comes with both left and right handed models.

There are several unique features that can be seen in this fishing reel. One of them is the adjustable braking system that allows you to fine-tune the braking system to your desired specifications. The reel features brake pads that you can turn on or off. A small knob on the side plate allows you to control the level of the brakes on your line.

To increase the distance of your cast, reduce the brakes. In addition, you can increase the brakes to minimize backlashing. The reel features X-ship technology that makes the reel to last for years because it protects your gears. In most models, the pinion gear is supported at just one end. I once had a baitcasting reel with a similar setup. With time, I found out that the position of the pinion gears causes stress on the internal gears causing them to wear down. However, X-Ship technology gives the Shimano fishing reel support on both ends of the pinion gear. This makes the gears last longer and gives you greater power and torque.

Pros


  • Super lightweight.
  • Very well made and durable.
  • Available in a wide range of gear ratios.
  • Available in both left and right handed models.
  • Smooth drag and casting.
  • Adjustable top-of-the-line braking system to minimize backlash.

Cons


  • Some anglers are concerned about the few bearings.
  • Has a relatively smaller drag of just 12 pounds.

This fishing reel is available in different gear ratios including 6.3, 7.3, and 8.1 to 1. In addition, you can find both left and right-handed models. This fishing reel is made from aluminum making it both strong and lightweight. It features 8-corrosion resistant bearings, strong casting brakes and a smooth carbon drag system.

Its T-winged casting system consists of a line guide that is specifically designed to minimize friction and obstruction on your cast. This fishing reel allows you to keep an even level line during retrieval so that you can easily wind it on to your spool.

The line smoothly flips up into the casting position and then there is the T-shaped hole instead of a small hole for the line to go through your cast. The bigger T-shaped hole allows you to cast smoother and further because you do not have a small hole restricting the flow of the line. During retrieval, the T-winged hole flips down so that the line can lie on a narrow groove. This allows you to wind the line more evenly onto the spool.

Pros


  • Wide range of gear ratios allows you to choose the reel that matches your fishing methods and preferences.
  • Both right and left handed models are available.
  • Features magnetic brakes.
  • Corrosion-resistant brakes.
  • Smooth drag system and a drag of about 13lbs.
  • Lightweight.
  • T-winged design allows you to cast further and retrieve smoothly.

Cons


  • It may take some time to get used to the T-winged design.
  • ​There are not many options for low gear ratios.

This is a perfect example of how a relatively larger budget can give a superior reel. The fishing reel is a showcase of excellent design with great features to match. Abu Garcia used strong yet lightweight components for this reel with this model featuring carbon side plates.

This fishing reel is also surprisingly compact, ergonomic, and comfortable in your hands. It is also amazingly lightweight. Therefore, using this all day long is not much of a strain as the heavier reels. The design of this fishing reel features a bent power handle, which gives you the advantage you need for cranking without straining. The strong alloy frames of the reel are corrosion resistant and the spool is designed for handling heavy lines and loads. In addition, the reel has an anti-reverse feature.

I found the titanium coated line guides quite beneficial because they helped reduce friction on your casts. Another thing I like about this fishing reel is its smooth casting and drag thanks to its 10 bearings.

A friend of mine wanted to take up baitcasting and chose to give the Abu Garcia fishing line a try. One of the things that worked in his favor is the special magnetic braking system, which he found particularly beneficial because he was not familiar with centrifugal brakes.

He found that he could easily adjust the brakes by turning the knobs outside the reel. In addition, the reel allowed him to decide how close he wanted the brakes to the lines, which enabled him to control his casting distance and minimize backlashes. The reel features a 6.4:1 gear ratio, which provides all-around performance. It is suitable for use with top water lures, spinner baits, and crank baits.


Pros


  • Strong and yet extremely lightweight.
  • High drag that enables you to deal with aggressive fish.
  • Magnetic braking system that provides consistent pressure for slowing down the reel.
  • User-friendly.
  • Spool can handle heavy lines and loads.
  • Works smoothly.
  • Compact and easy to handle.

Cons


  • Does not come in a wide range of low gear ratios.

If the Abu Garcia Revo Toro model is too expensive for you, then the Revo Rocket Low Profile would work perfectly at a much lower cost. Like the Revo Tor Beast, the Revo Low Profile is compact, lightweight, and offers reliable performance. It is the classic baitcasting reel for newbies.

The fishing reel works smoothly despite the fact that it only has four stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing. One of the reasons for the smooth drag performance is its excellent drag system. In addition, the reel offers an instant anti-reverse feature.

Although the reel only comes with a 6.4:1 gear ration, many beginners find this sufficient for their needs. The fishing reel is quite lightweight at just 7.3 ounces thanks to its graphite frames and sideplates. In addition, the spool is made from machined aluminum, which adds strength to the reel without adding too much weight.

Pros


  • Ergonomic design that is comfortable to handle.
  • Lightweight, yet strong.
  • Superb brake system.
  • Quite affordable.

Cons


  • Features only five bearings.
  • Available in a single model with a 6.4:1 gear ratio.
  • No left-handed models.

This is one of the best selling reels of all time. This fishing reel is available in various spool sizes although it is only available in the 6.3:1 gear ratio for great all-around performance. This fishing reel is available in both right and left handed models. It is durable and quite efficient thanks to its carbon fiber drag material and aluminum spool respectively. This fishing reel is ergonomic and very comfortable on the hands.

Another beneficial feature of the Shimano Calcutta fishing reel is its super free spool. This gives your spool the perfect balance for smoother casting over great distances. The spool also eliminates friction on the spool shaft when you cast. In some baitcasting reels, pressing the clutch bar down frees the pinion gear.

This allows the pinion gear to drag on the spool shaft resulting in friction that may shorten the distance of your cast. With the super free spool, the pinion gears are supported by ball bearings causing the pinion gear and the spool shaft to be perfectly aligned when you want to cast. The perfect alignment helps to reduce friction to zero.

Pros


  • Extremely smooth and easy to cast.
  • Superb gear system and works well.
  • Well built and durable.
  • Comfortable to handle.

Cons


  • Relatively heavier than another model of the C4 line.
  • Uses a six pin centrifugal braking system, which may be challenging for newbies.

So What Is My Choice?

top pick

Abu Garcia Revo Toro

  94  

OVERALL

  90  

Quality

  85  

Value

  90  

Brand

  94  

OVERALL

  90  

Quality

  85  

Value

  90  

Brand

Why We Recommend It


  • It is compact: This fishing reel is tough and made from strong, quality materials. You will not have a problem dragging aggressive bass out of the water.
  • Comfortable to the handle: Abu Garcia Revo Toro is just so comfortable to the hands, you can carry it all day long without developing blisters.
  • Lightweight: This baitcasting reel is made from strong materials that do not add weight to the reel. It puts no strain on the shoulders.
  • Works smoothly all the way: Fishing with this reel is the easiest job. Everything about the reel works smoothly adding fun to your fishing experience.

Other Considerations


  • The fishing reel may not have a wide range of gear ratios.​​​​​

For those who are already aware of the thrill, this is one of the best fishing reels on the market. Once you get the hang of this reel, you will understand why so many people swear by it.

Conclusion

Although it may seem like a long list of factors to consider when choosing baitcasting reels, you should take some time to choose a baitcasting reel that will work for you. Quality baitcasting reels offer smooth performance and are sturdy and durable. Consider balancing affordability, effectiveness, and ease of use when purchasing baitcasting reels.

I hope you found this article useful.

Please share with fellow anglers on social media.

Lucas Bryant
 

Hi, I’m Lucas Bryant and fishing is one of the most important parts of my life. I usually go fishing with my friends and have many fishing competition. That why I like to research and create many tips to get more fishes to win a race. I hope my experience will be useful for you.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments