Choosing a baitcasting reel, especially the best one around, can be overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like it’s a challenge for the average angler to find the best baitcasting reels. There’s a never-ending array of features that need to be taken into careful consideration prior to making a purchase.
The options which include different braking systems, spool designs, certain kind and number of ball bearings, and gear ratios are what make the choice extremely difficult.
Fortunately, you have us to help you find the top baitcasting reels!
Top Bait Casting Reels
In this baitcasting reel review, we’ve listed the top models available on the market! These models have been chosen because of their ease of use, efficacy, and design specifications.
We know you’re excited to see which ones are the best baitcaster reels! Check them out below!
1. SHIMANO Tranx Baitcast Reel
The SHIMANO Tranx is our number one choice as it has excellent features necessary for heavy baits, large fish, and lures. It boasts of the Hagane body, which has high rigidity that helps prevent flex during fights while maintaining great balance. This means hand fatigue is kept at the absolute minimum even after long days cranking huge baits and fish.
The majority of gears are cut during the manufacturing process, leaving room for variances. The Hagane consists of the much-preferred 3D modeling process that’s then cold forged with precision, resulting in oversized HEG gearing which provides a smooth retrieve experience.
The X-Ship is what most pro anglers love about this model. It’s a combination of the essential features of baitcaster reels that work together in creating greater efficiency. X-Ship stands for extra, smooth, and high power.
By positioning the reel’s pinion gear near the centerline of a larger diameter drive gear, a lot more power is going to be transferred to the spool from the handle. Two Shimano A-RB roller-type bearings support the pinion gear. This increases the reel’s efficiency and adds durability over the real’s entire lifetime.
The braking system of the Shimano is the centrifugal type rather than magnetic for managing the way lines. During an initial cast, that’s when the reel spins the fastest. Individual brake weights are flung outside within the reel’s housing, causing just the right amount of friction to prevent a backlash in most situations.
What’s great about this feature is that it addresses a common problem which most anglers have as they start using baitcasting reels – backlash. As for the Shimano’s Cross Carbon drag, it has a drag power of up to 22 lbs. This translates to a smooth drag that doesn’t get sloppy or jumpy under heavy loads.
2. Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel
There are a lot of specs that make the Piscifun one of the best baitcaster reels.
It has CNC-machined brass gearing that ensures a strong and reliable drag system with a durability that’s built to last. Its gear ratio is 7:1:1, allowing for a fast and powerful retrieving and the ultimate performance.
Its precise gears are paired with a 3-layer high-grade carbon-fiber drag washer, providing an ultra-strong drag system. It has the power to handle big fish which you may be after. Its 4.33-inch extended crank handle made of aluminum gives any angler the power and leverage necessary in pulling even the biggest fish out of thick cover.
The premium gears are equipped with corrosion resistance. As for the 0-10 magnetic brake of this model, it’s both effective and accurate.
You can expect on-the-fly, tournament-ready adjustments. The double line winding shafts also increase durability and winding stability. The company has been around since 2013 and they are known amongst anglers as producers of high-quality products.
3. Lew’s Team Lew’s HyperMag Speed Spool Baitcast Reel
There aren’t many baitcasting reels out there that favor people who like to reel with the left hand. Fortunately, there’s the Lew’s HyperMag that’s more than enough to fit the bill.
This is an SLP reel. And, that is short for “Super Low Profile.” Not only does this reel feature a super low profile, but it also features a very slick design.
It features an 11-bearing casting system and comes with a double-shielded ball bearing that’s made of stainless steel. On top of that, there’s a 1-way clutch bearing and a centrifugal braking system that can be externally controlled. All in all, this provides a smooth feel and precision when casting your lures.
The HyperMag has plenty to offer in terms of bells and whistles. Perhaps, the most notable ones are the Speed Keeper and Speed Dial. The Speed Keeper is especially helpful if you like to hang your baits on the reel. If you like to use spinnerbait, then you will fall in love with this feature.
If there’s one glaring downside is the price. It’s priced a bit higher compared to the average. However, it’s still a nicely designed reel, and you’ll feel as if you’re getting your money’s worth if you choose to purchase this reel.
4. Daiwa Lexa 400 HD Casting Reel
The Daiwa Lexa 400 is geared towards anglers aiming to haul in massive fishes, especially for the inshore ones. You’ll be able to cast around 50 to 60 yards, and it features a custom knob. The painting and finishing are excellent. However, it’s best to keep in mind that it’s not anodized. Hence, extra care may be needed if you don’t want nicks and scratches.
Perhaps the greatest strength of the Daiwa Lexa 400 is the cast control system. The reel makes use of a special technology known as the Magforce Z. As you cast your line and once it almost reaches your desired range, a magnetic brake will apply automatically. This will slow down the line until it stops. Another great benefit of this feature is that it prevents back spooling.
There’s also the UTD which stands for Ultimate Tournament Drag. The term can get technical, but its purpose is to distribute the pressure evenly on the spool. This is mostly achieved with the use of oversized drag washers placed on the side of the spool.
The Daiwa Lexa 400 has plenty of bearings to give you a smooth and effortless feel during operation. Most importantly, the bearings are made from special stainless steel, which is estimated to last 12 times longer compared to the regular ones.
There are a few potential issues with the Daiwa Lexa 400. For one, it’s a reel that is a bit on the heavier side. However, some people like a heavier feel, so this won’t be a disadvantage for those people.
Right off the box, the Daiwa Lexa 400 may not have enough grease. Thankfully, this one is easy to solve. While it may have potential issues, none can be considered as a “deal-breaker.”
5. Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel
The Abu Garcia Revo SX belongs to the Abu Garcia Revo line. It’s one of the latest designs and offers plenty of improvement compared to its predecessors. Historically, the Revo line has always been an excellent candidate for people looking for a beefy reel but don’t want to shell out serious cash.
The Abu Garcia Revo SX features 9 stainless steel ball bearings and an additional single roller bearing. As a result, it provides a very smooth feel when operating.
With the use of C6 carbon side plates, there’s a very noticeable reduction of weight without sacrificing durability too much. The frame makes use of the X2-Craftic alloy, which allows this baitcasting reel to be corrosive-resistant.
The Abu Garcia Revo SX features a unique drag system, which mainly uses a stack carbon matrix. As a result, it offers extreme drag pressures. With the use of brass gear for the dragger, you can expect the gears to work longer.
The downsides of the Abu Garcia Revo SX are mostly in the realm of subjectivity. For example, it’s lightweight, which might sound good on paper, but others might not like it. For some, a heavier reel would give them that powerful feel when fishing.
Another potential issue is the thumb paddles. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it performs well. However, some people find the design to be a bit on the tackier side.
6. Lew’s Fishing Tournament Pro Speed Spool LFS Series
One of the first noticeable improvements with the Lew’s Fishing Tournament Pro Speed Spool LFS Series is the new design. Apart from the new aesthetics, there are plenty of upgrades regarding what’s under the hood.
The reel comes in a one-piece design and is shaped like a spearhead. The reel packs a 27-point braking system, carbon fiber handle, 20 pounds of drag, and 11 ball bearings. You also have three options when it comes to the gear ratios, which include 8.3:1, 7.5:1, and 6.8:1.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is the pinion gear and speed gears. As a result, the internal alignment is much more precise and cohesive.
The overall design of this reel allows for great and reliable casting. You can use a wide variety of baits, and still, the reel will perform nicely. It’s known that using lighter baits will cause plenty of “wind issues.” Thankfully, this reel dramatically helps in overcoming such problems.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is the size. It may not be the smallest reel out there, but it’s small enough to fit nicely in the palm of your hands. Furthermore, it has a solid feel without being heavy and bulky.
This is an excellently designed baitcasting reel that you have to dig deeper to find possible flaws with it. Perhaps the thing that might annoy some anglers is that it does not have a 5:1 gear ratio.
7. Shimano SLX XT Series Casting Reel
The Shimano SLX is already an excellent product. However, with the Shimano SLX XT, the company upped the notch. It seems the goal with this reel is to increase the performance as much as possible while keeping everything light and durable.
To achieve this, the company makes extensive use of the Hagane body, allowing the reel to be very durable despite being light. When it comes to increasing performance, the magic is in the braking system.
The Shimano SLX XT enjoys an upgraded braking system known as SVS Infinity. The feature allows the angler to perform slight adjustments by the conveniently placed external dials. Such a feature also allows you to cast further with the flexibility of using any kind of lure.
The braking system also features internal brake weights, which then provide the needed friction against the raceway. Also, the braking system greatly helps in providing the right amount of braking force and consistency when it comes to the spool control.
Another notable feature is the S3D spool technology. This allows for smoother casting while also significantly reducing spool vibrations. The Shimano SLX XT is engineered well so that you’ll be able to cast with precision even if you’re using lighter lures.
As mentioned above, the braking technology that’s built into the Shimano SLX XT is advanced. On the downside, new anglers may find the system complex.
8. Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool LFS Baitcast Reel
Lew’s offers plenty of choices when it comes to its line of products. And yet, the Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool LFS is among the ones that need to be seriously considered.
One aspect that’s very notable is the uniqueness of the LFS platform. In practical terms, the design allows it to have a small size. Ultimately, this would mean it’s more portable and has better handling.
This fishing reel also features magnetic cast control and centrifugal brakes. When these two features are working together, it allows you to cast smoothly while giving you the maximum control possible. The platform also paves the way for an excellent dragging to help you tire out even the larger fishes.
If you’re a left-hander, then you’d love this fishing reel as it’s designed in favor of the lefties. You can also have the peace of mind that the durability is top-notch as it’s made from high-quality materials. Hence, this allows a better return for your money as you use it more often.
Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool LFS is also very flexible, and you have the option of adjusting it to suit your needs. However, this flexibility also comes with a downside.
This also means that you may have to configure it properly before you can use it.
What is a Baitcasting Reel?
A bait caster reel is one that sits above a rod, making the spool parallel to a rod. Bass bait caster reels and other types of the best baitcasting reels work well with fluorocarbon, monofilament, and the braid line types.
Lines on the best baitcaster for the money come off a spool that’s directly in line with a rod as opposed to a spinning reel where the line is let off from a rod.
There are several different fishing situations and techniques which only the best baitcaster reels can handle. This includes tossing heavy, deep-diving crankbaits, power fishing spinnerbaits, and pitching and flipping creature baits.
All these require a smooth casting, powerful bait caster. The situations where you’ll need the quality reels are as follows:
Needing More Power
Fishing certain baits will require a powerful bait caster that has good drag with a slower gear ration in winching fish out.
A reel that has excellent power can allow you to fish heavier baits with heavy cover, while still being strong enough in dragging fish up.
So, if you ask what is the best baitcasting reel, it’s one that can provide enough power for such applications.
More Casting Control
Lure presentation is crucial in maximizing catch rate, most especially with bass fishing. The ability in presenting a lure within a tight spot e.g. overhangs or under docks will greatly improve days on the water.
Baitcaster reels will give you unmatched accuracy and control when you’re skipping jigs or casting to more specific targets.
Using a Heavier Line
When you’re fishing in open water or in heavy cover, you’ll need a heavy line and a baitcasting reel for flipping.
The reels are made specifically for heavy pound tests. They give you smooth, effortless casts.
How to Pick the Best Baitcasting Reels
There are a couple of factors, as mentioned earlier, that need to be taken into consideration prior to making a purchase.
The most important ones are explored in more detail below.
Selecting the correct hand configuration is necessary when using the best baitcasting reels as you won’t be able to swap out on them just like with spinner reels.
So, if you’re right-handed, you’ll most probably want to get the right-handed model. With this configuration, you’ll cast with the right hand and you will also use the right hand on the handle.
There are various gear ratios that you can choose from: 5.4:1, 7.1:1 to 8.1:1. We admit the numbers can look complicated. However, they’re actually very simple.
For a reel that has a gear ratio of 8:1:1, every crank of the reel handle will result in the reel spinning 8 times. But, that doesn’t mean a high gear ratio is the better option compared to the lower gear ratios.
For certain techniques like working a crankbait, the lower ratio is what most anglers prefer. For applications like using a spinnerbait, the best is one with a higher ratio.
The majority of anglers purchase several reels in different ratios as this allows them in having various options while fishing.
Braking systems are often very confusing for inexperienced anglers that use one of the best baitcaster reels. The braking system, basically, is what prevents the line from continuing after a lure has finished moving.
There are two primary types of braking systems although some models use a mix of the two. The first is the centrifugal brake. It uses friction in slowing down a line and it’s adjusted using pins. The second is the magnetic brake. It makes use of magnets in slowing spool speed down.
It’s also adjustable. There’s not much difference between the two; however, the centrifugal braking system is often much easier to set. It doesn’t need adjusting as much compared to the magnetic braking system.
Spool-tension adjustment is also one that you can find quite often added on baitcasting reels. For this kind of braking system, it helps slow down the spool and stop eventually.
The braking isn’t a substitute for either magnetic and centrifugal braking. Although you can find it a pain just to take off the cover of your reel in adjusting the centrifugal brake, it’s critical as overusing a spoon-tension adjustment will cause a reel to sustain permanent damage.
While expert anglers say there’s quite a number of factors to consider when choosing the frame construction, we’re going to keep things simple for you. Two things that you should consider are material and whether it’s a low or round profile.
A round reel can hold more line. It’s capable of carrying a much heavier line. As for the low-profile reels, they’re more ergonomic. They also allow better ‘wristing’ for the line.
For the material, the best baitcasting reels are often made of either graphite or aluminum. Aluminum is a much stronger material and it’s often found in high-end reels.
Because of its durability, this material is also much more expensive, plus it is heavier. Graphite, on the other hand, is cheaper and lighter. It’s not often the best choice if the baitcasting reel takes lots of abuse.
Bearings in baitcasting reels help keep the rotating parts operate smoothly. The bearings will be confusing to figure out as there’s this ‘rule of thumb’ which causes confusion among anglers.
This rule of thumb basically suggests that the more bearings baitcaster reels have, the greater the performance that they offer. This is true when you assume the bearings were made of quality materials.
You can find reels that have twelve bearings that are made of low-end materials. They perform worse compared to reels with just five bearings but have high-quality materials.
There are several different types of bearings like sealed, double-shielded, and shielded bearings. It’s best to seek the help of experts when you’re trying to evaluate reels as they usually need to be analyzed on a rather case-by-case basis.
If you buy the cheapest baitcasting reels out there, you’ll just find yourself often frustrated with their performance.
They also won’t last long. If you’ll be fishing for more than 35 days each year, then look at spending a couple of hundred dollars for the best bait caster reel.
It will give high performance plus it will be equipped with the right number as ball bearings. It’s also more likely to last a long time should you take proper care of it.
Now that you know the best baitcasting reels available and the features that you should look out for, you’re set to making an informed decision on what to get!
Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert, the best option is the SHIMANO Tranx Baitcast Reel, especially if you want to win epic battles.
It’s a tank of a baitcasting reel, specifically built for huge fish and bait. It’s strong enough to subdue just about anything that swims.
Still, the best baitcaster reels will depend on your personal preferences. Let us know what you like best by commenting below!