Are you looking for the best catfish reels? Catfishing can be a lot of fun, but be prepared to fight a lot of catfish. They’re tough as nails and won’t back down from a battle.
Because of this, catching them is a blast, whether you’re fishing from a boat or the sand. Because there are numerous catfish species, each with its own personality traits and physical characteristics, the tackle and bait you choose will differ based on your objectives.
Among the many varieties of catfish, several stand out for their enormous size and tenacity in battle. If you want to enjoy catfishing even more, make sure you have the appropriate fishing gear.
When a critical piece of equipment fails just as you need it, there’s nothing more annoying.
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Table of Contents
Best Catfish Baitcast Reels
What is the best catfish reel? A good fishing reel, of course, is a must-have accessory. With the best catfish reel for the money, you can improve your fishing techniques and capture more fish.
Catfish baitcaster reels are ideal for fishing with thicker monofilament lines. You can also use the best catfish spinning reels to extend your range.
Whichever catfishing reel you select, it must be long-lasting and dependable. These reels give you the tools to target and capture different kinds of cat fish.
1. Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel
The Penn Spinfisher VI is great for saltwater and sandy settings because of its sturdy design and dependable performance.
Full metal body, side plate, and rotor protect this spinning reel against corrosives. A heavy-duty aluminum bail wire is used in the watertight and sturdy construction to ensure the safety and security of the line. The silky-smooth and friction-free sensation of the sealed HT-100 slammer drag system makes it ideal for further casting.
There are 5 protected stainless-steel ball bearings on this reel for smooth cranking, making it a great choice for catfish. With an anti-reverse bearing, you’ll never miss a catch again because you stumbled or got confused. The ability to stop quickly allows you to go after larger fish. A CNC gear system, on the other hand, has accurate alignment for better handling of big loads. This reel doesn’t require any kind of backing and is already braided, so you can be out on the lake quickly.
There are several sizes of this reel, the largest of which can handle quite a huge catfish. It’s made of stainless steel and includes 5+1 ball bearings for smooth operation. A well-balanced rotor delivers a smooth and accurate retrieval every time you pull the trigger.
The reel’s body is totally sealed, so no contaminants will get inside it no matter what conditions you use it in. In terms of features, the live liner system with four places may come in handy for you. It’s possible to boost rear drag by using these positions. You can disengage this mechanism with a single handle turn after you’ve made any adjustments with the included tool.
2. PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel
Trophy catfish fishermen will love Penn’s Squall Level Wind family of conventional reels. This reel is built to handle the force of giant fish, so you can rely on it when the catch of a lifetime finally tugs on your line. Because of its legendary status in the offshore fishing community, Penn’s Squall has earned numerous awards. It’s a monster reel built for big fights, with plenty of stiffness and muscle to spare.
The Squall’s drag system is regulated by a star-shaped knob located behind the crank. While 20 pounds may not seem like much, monofilament between 60 and 80 pounds grabs a hook-like iron! The Squall’s body is made of graphite, making it a large reel. A little less rigid than aluminum, but still able to withstand heavy use. Furthermore, by reducing weight, a level wind reel is able to appear on the scales as a comparatively trim item.
If weight is an issue for you, the Squall has shown that graphite can be used as body material for traditional reels in the real world. The aluminum spool and graphite body provide a lot of line for the weight they have.
With each crank, the sturdy brass gears offer steady torque. It’s been shown over and over again on the sea that its fangs can handle whatever a monster can dish out. In addition, the Squall LevelWind has a powerful and reliable instant anti-reverse bearing.
As the name implies, the Squall LevelWind includes one, which aids with the distribution of the line throughout the spool. This is a tremendous assist for fishermen that prefer to use mono, and you’ll notice a notable change with each cast. Overall, this is a superb reel for anglers that seek out record-breaking cats.
3. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
KastKing has updated and upgraded the Rover Round Baitcasting Catfish Reel so that you can fish into the future. As one of the best catfishing reels, the Rover Round is more powerful and suited for catching giant catfish.
Thanks to its carbon fiber drag system and a Cymbal Washer, the feel is extremely smooth. Catfish anglers will appreciate MaxiDur double-protected stainless steel ball bearings, which feature a smooth 30-pound operation and are great for catfish. You’ll never lose a bite thanks to the non-slip EVA grips and can start reeling right away.
Catfish baitcast reels and trolling reels can be used with this reel. Overall, it’s a sturdy and well-built product. All but a few parts are made of metal. The plates are composed of aluminum, while the gears are brass and include a stainless-steel worm gear.
One of the best features of this reel is that it’s dependable under stress. The drag, the handle, and the gears all work together to make it nearly impossible for a fish to get past you. The reel can hold a lot of line and retrieve it quickly.
The carbon fiber disc system provides a smooth and strong drag at 30 pounds of maximum pressure. Occasionally, the drag fails altogether, but this is usually the case with low-cost baitcasting reels. Whether you’re fishing freshwater or saltwater, this reel is ideal for a wide range of methods. The KastKing Rover is a reel that will become your go-to reel for any fishing trip.
4. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Pro Reel
With the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Reel, anglers get the best possible combination of throwing distance and battling power in a reel if they have a good catfish rod. Ball and roller bearings are included in the design. This is a function that has been added to the fishing reel to improve its smoothness.
Its Carbon Matrix drag technology, which allows fishermen to drag evenly and smoothly, is a feature of this reel. When needed, the reel’s centrifugal brake provides pressure, resulting in a precise and consistent cast.
The handle has a larger power knob, which is designed to increase torque for fish that are difficult to draw. In addition, they have longer bent crank handles. The reel measures 8 by 6 by 4 inches.
The product is 2 pounds in weight. Even though it is made of heavy-duty materials, the fishing reel is nevertheless lightweight, making it convenient for catfish fishermen to transport their gear wherever they go. It’s also capable of catching larger fish. Even with the tiniest of fishing lures, this device is capable of making precise casts.
In addition to the reel handle, it comes with an alert, or “bait alarm,” which is a clicker on the other side of the reel. This prevents accidental activation of the clicker. When it comes to the reel handle, it’s critical to remember that this product’s handle cannot be swapped to the left. However, you can still catch catfish and striped bass with this level wind reel.
5. Okuma Avenger ABF B Series Baitfeeder Reel
If you’re looking for good reels on the market, look no further than Okuma’s Avenger BaitFeeder Catfish reel. Using unique live line bait feeding technology, Okuma tournament-grade spinning reels guarantee ultra-smooth operation.
It allows fishermen to release the spool and let the bait flow freely. Fishermen may control their baits more precisely thanks to this micro-adjustment. Catfish are unaware of the reel’s drag, which induces them to go after the bait and set the hook.
Fishermen can rest assured that this catfish spinning reel’s corrosion-resistant design and high-quality materials will ensure they get the most out of it. The strength and lightness of a graphite body make it an excellent choice for transportation.
With six ball bearings and an anti-reverse bearing, you’ll be able to regulate and monitor your fishing line more effectively. In order to reel in an aggressive catfish, you need an aluminum handle made of die-casting. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that this reel comes with a quality guarantee and a one-year warranty from the manufacturer.
6. Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel
This one from Piscifun most emphatically lives up to the brand’s reputation. Fishermen throughout the world have relied on Piscifun for decades because of its reputation for producing high-quality fishing gear at a reasonable cost. With this model, you may get an ultralight reel for a low price.
For the price, this reel is extremely great. The red aluminum spool complements the matte black body. It’s a pleasure to hold because of its lightweight construction and eye-catching colors. Because of the large number of ball bearings, it provides a luxurious retrieve, while the drag offers you a remarkable amount of force.
This is an ultralight fishing reel that won’t break down in a matter of hours. It’s simple and streamlined, but powerful enough to be versatile and adaptable to different fishing conditions.
An adequate reel for children and beginners, but not likely to be found in a professional’s arsenal. Despite this, the reel is a good buy and could easily pass for a quality ultralight cheap reel.
7. Cadence Ultralight Carbon Frame Fishing Reel
In terms of the greatest fishing gear, this Cadence ultralight spinning reel is a no-brainer purchase. Cadence is a household name for high-quality fishing equipment and prides itself on offering goods with premium, high-performance characteristics at an unbelievable price.
The Cadence CS5 has a number of qualities that make it a worthwhile addition to your fishing gear. It’s constructed entirely of lightweight materials. It has a carbon composite frame. This makes it simple to maintain control of a good spinning reel whilst on extended fishing trips without feeling as if the world is pressing down on your shoulders.
The CS5 adds a touch of elegance to your fishing adventures. The ultra-smooth operation is made possible by the vehicle’s smooth body design and the vehicle’s unique torsion control system.
This spinning reel is not only lightweight but it’s also made to withstand any form of excursion, regardless of the weather or surroundings. There’s no excuse not to go fishing in your favorite area and reel in a monster!
The entire equipment is constructed to be sturdy and corrosion-resistant. Eight high-performance bearings that won’t corrode and one anti-reverse bearing make this reel ideal for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. This spinning reel is equipped with an advanced carbon-fiber drag system. This delivers an astounding amount of stopping force, allowing you to pull in large fish.
8. Daiwa BG8000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel
The Daiwa BG is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a spinning reel for catfish. In terms of value for money, this reel is an absolute beast.
If you intend to use your reel for some harder inshore work, a saltwater version called the Daiwa BG SW is also available.
The BG is an excellent match for any little to medium-sized catfish in size 4500. It can handle up to 280 yards of 17 lb monofilament and 340 yards of 40-pound braid, respectively. If you prefer a braided line, the BG’s spool is braid-ready, which makes spooling up easier.
The carbon drag system and dynamic cut ABS spool provide for a very smooth reel. The reel housing is anodized machined aluminum. There’s an unlimited dual anti-reverse mechanism with a manual return bail on sizes 4500 and higher.
They are equipped with six primary bearings and one reverse bearing. A maximum drag setting of 22 pounds on a carbon drag system is more than adequate for most catfish. A very sturdy spinning reel designed specifically for catfish!
How to Pick the Best Catfish Reels
Catfish species can reach considerable size. Therefore, it’s prudent to choose a reel capable of handling a large flathead catfish or channel catfish. You need to have the best big catfish reels for the best fishing experience.
Here are some key factors to consider:
Capacity of the Line
Your catfish reel’s line capacity determines what fishing line it can hold. It provides an estimate of the yardage, although it’s also dependent on weight.
As you are probably aware, catfish may grow to be enormous giants, and so your reel must be capable of holding sufficient line of the appropriate size.
There’s nothing worse than running out of lines and breaking the fish because you can’t keep up with the action.
Does the Reel Use Braid?
The majority of fishermen that wear fly fishing waders have switched from mono to braid on their reels. Putting braid on your reel might be a pain because it tends to fall off the spool.
Ascertain that your reel includes a braid-ready spool capable of biting into the braid. This simplifies reel filling and results in a neat, tight line lay.
How Much Weight is on the Reel?
All-day casting with a light reel is significantly more fun than with a hefty reel. Your arms won’t ache easily.
Consider a lightweight reel but don’t sacrifice quality; some reels are heavier because of their sturdy construction and high-grade materials.
Corrosion and Longevity
Good heavy duty catfish reels need to be well-maintained at all times to ensure their long-term viability.
While you’ll be catfishing in freshwater, the reel you’re using can most likely be utilized in saltwater as well.
When going after large fish such as catfish, your drag will perform all the work in bringing the fish in. To accomplish this, it must be properly constructed, sturdy, and smooth.
Ascertain if the maximum drag is sufficient and, if possible, test it. Ideally, the line should be firm and difficult to pull off but should also come off with ease after it’s done.
Ratio of Gears
The gear ratio of a reel indicates the amount of line that is reeled in with each handle rotation. Increased speed and power are possible with a high gear ratio.
With each handle turn, you’ll be able to put more line through the spool, but you’ll lose torque. While lower gear ratios provide greater power but less speed, higher gear ratios provide a lot of power but less speed.
However, what is the optimal gear ratio for catfishing? Catfish fishing reels should have a gear ratio of 5.3:1 to 6:1 if they are to catch catfish in the ocean successfully. In this case, you’ll have enough power on your reels while maintaining a good retrieve.
Spinning Reels vs. Baitcast Reels
When it comes to casting range and precision, baitcasters outperform spinning reels. Additionally, they feature a greater gear ratio than typical spinning reels, increasing your retrieve pace.
Catfish bait cast reels may also include another drag mechanism known as a bait runner. This technique allows your spool to spin freely, allowing the catfish to chase the bait.
However, baitcasting reels are significantly more difficult to operate than spinning reels and require considerable effort to become proficient.
As a beginner, you’ll experience several tangles and backlashes. If you’re fishing with your children, they can utilize spin-cast reels. This is the reel with which practically everyone learns to fish.
A nice baitcasting reel is going to cost you a lot more than a comparable spinning reel, so let’s be honest. However, above a certain price limit, each dollar spent doesn’t bring you a dollar’s worth of more performance.
If you’re a beginner to catfish fishing, choose from our selection of spinning reels. Once your skills have improved, you can get a baitcast reel. We’ve compiled a selection of mid-range reels that will save you money while still performing admirably.
However, we highly recommend the Penn Spinfisher VI as one of the best cheap catfish reels you can find today. It comes with all the features you need to catch large catfish and is available at a reasonable price.