Bottom-fishing is no piece of cake, most especially without the right fishing equipment. If you don’t have any of the best conventional reels for bottom fishing, it’ll take a miracle just for you to catch a single fish. But, with the right gear and techniques, you can easily become a professional.
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Best Bottom Fishing Reels
In this article, we’ll provide you with all the things you need to know about conventional reels suitable for bottom fishing. The products we have featured will ensure your success and enjoyment out on the water.
1. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
If you want an affordable yet reliable conventional reel for bottom fishing, the KastKing Rover Round Baitcaster is the best one for you. It holds 250 yards of 16 lb test mono line plus it features the ideal gear ratio of 5.3:1 for bottom fishing.
It has a star drag system that makes use of carbon fiber washers. Its centrifugal brake helps prevent backlashes. But, what we love most about this reel is the fact that the majority of its primary features are found on more expensive models.
The reel’s worm gear shaft has a machined brass material construction while the spool and side plates of the KastKing Rover are made of anodized aluminum. The rest of the reel, including the bearings and all the other internal components, were given a stainless-steel construction for corrosion resistance and longevity.
Every single component of this baitcaster/conventional reel is resistant to the negative effects of saltwater. It’s ready to perform as soon as it lands on your doorstep!
2. PENN Squall II Conventional Fishing Reel
Next on our list is the Penn Squall II, which we highly recommend for bottom fishing. It’s perfect for catching big game in various saltwater conditions.
The reel is also suited for beginners, hobbyists, and seasoned anglers alike. Its spool is made of machined aluminum to let you fish all day and concentrate on reeling in hard-hitting fish.
The frame and the side plates of the reel are both graphite, which means the reel is both lightweight and durable while offering superior performance. The 3+1 bearing system includes anti-reverse to eliminate back play and ensure instant hook-sets.
What surprised us with this reel is its unique adjustable handle. It lets you choose the length of your handle. It has line capacity rings as well so the spool will display how much line you still have.
3. Penn Jigmaster 500L Fishing Reel
Another reel that’s worth checking out is the Penn Jigmaster 500L. It’s designed with serious anglers’ needs in mind. The reel lets you change lines and spools quickly while you’re out on the water without any fumbling required. This is its unique feature.
Also, you can adjust your tackle easily based on how the fish is reacting to your bait. The reel has precision-machined gears and a spool made of machined aluminum. This reel prevents frame flex while providing leverage as you attempt at fighting fish that is giving you its full battle strength.
Its drag is smooth with the greased HT-100 VersaDrag system, Penn’s proprietary system which allows multiple drag settings. It doesn’t have any hitches or won’t kink up when you are trying to reel in fish.
As for its graphite frame, it’s an open-top, lightweight, and one-piece. It’s safe to say this reel can reel in massive stripes, king mackerel, cobia, and even small tuna.
4. Piscifun Salis X Trolling Reel
If you’re looking for something different, then check this one out. The Piscifun Salis X is a small reel and it’s also quite cheap for a quality reel.
It has a high gear ratio (6.2:1), which you’ll find suitable for small size fish from the higher retrieve rate for each crank. If you’ll be chasing monster species with this reel, make sure that you fish smarter.
What we like most about this reel is its line capacity. It’s able to hold over 500 yards of heavy 80 lb. test braided line. It also has a rather rigid graphite frame.
The main and pinion gears are oversized to provide you with a smoother retrieve motion. This reel is one of the best options for those who are on a strict budget. The reel’s max drag is set at 37b lbs. and its monoline capacity is 490 yards for the 30 lb. test.
5. Shimano Tekota 601 Line
Shimano Tekota 601 is a great compact level wind reel. It can fit into your hand comfortably while remaining sturdy and durable enough to take on big fish for hours.
It’s very smooth with its cross carbon drag and it’s designed to withstand harsh saltwater conditions. As it’s a product of Shimano, you can expect its Hagane metal body is lightweight and incredibly strong.
The reel has a line counter lens that doesn’t fog as guaranteed by the manufacturer. When we tested the reel ourselves, we hadn’t encountered any issues even when we felt like there was 150% humidity.
One thing which most definitely stands out with this reel is its craftsmanship. It works better than it actually looks and it already looks beautiful! The durable build will also remain water-resistant even with rough use over the years.
6. Shimano Trinidad Conventional Reel
If you’re ready to pay top dollar for a premium piece of fishing equipment, the Shimano Trinidad is one of your good options.
It’s one of the best conventional reels for bottom fishing from its quality parts, design experience, and advanced technological features. This includes the X-Ship, which is an exclusive Shimano technology that prevents the reel’s pinion gear from being rubbed on the spool when casting.
The frame and the spool of the Trinidad consist of anodized cold-forged aluminum that’s also given a corrosive-resistant treatment.
The treatment doubles this reel’s corrosive resistance and makes it smooth and flawless to the senses. It’s an impressive, versatile reel that you can rely on any day of the week.
7. SHIMANO SpeedMaster 2 Saltwater Fishing Reel
Shimano sure does produce some of the best conventional reels. This reel’s qualities and outstanding performance on saltwater will have you jaw-dropping as soon as you take it to the test.
With a 5.7:1/3.1:1 gear ratio, you are ensured of easy castability and a smoother feel when bottom fishing.
The four bearings made of anti-corrosion stainless steel enhance this reel’s strength. Its max drag is at 40 lbs.
As you’d expect, the SpeedMaster 2 is housed in a rigid Hagane body which prevents misalignment of the moving parts while under heavy loads.
8. Penn Rival Level Wind
The Penn Rival is last on our list of the best bottom fishing reels. It’s a level wind (star drag) conventional reel.
You may use it in salt water, but it’ll last longer when used for freshwater fishing. All the sizes that are available from the reel series have line counters.
They’re not just great for bottom fishing as they’re also suitable for trolling and flatline baits when you’re on anchor.
Features to love include bronze main gear HT-100 carbon drag washers, shielded stainless steel bearing system, and a durable and lightweight graphite body.
How to Pick the Best Conventional Reels for Bottom Fishing
Finding the best saltwater conventional reel for the money can be quite a challenge as the market offers a number of great options.
To help you be more confident in the selection process, consider these essential factors when making a choice:
Line counters on conventional reels allow you to drop your bait consistently at the same exact depth and stay within the strike zone.
This ultimately leads to a lot more catches. A conventional reel should feature line counters that are built-in as they can help when bottom fishing or trolling.
The first important consideration to take to find the best bottom fishing rod and reel setup is the gear ratio of the conventional reel.
A lower gear ratio offers more power, and this is essential when you’re fishing for a heavier bottom-dwelling species e.g. grouper.
With the lower gear ratio, you’ll have more power as the spool rotates less as you turn the handle. This translates to a lot more mechanical muscle required in reeling in large, heavy fish.
Regardless of whether you’re fishing offshore or inshore or on saltwater or freshwater, you’ll usually want the lower gear ratio in order to enjoy more durability and have more strength.
The best saltwater conventional reels that are designed specifically for bottom fishing will be rugged in order to withstand abuse.
They are usually made of heavy-duty materials. The bottom waters of the sea or ocean have a rather harsh topography. This means you’ll need more cranking power, a longer line, more torque, and heavy sinkers.
That being said, when you’re fishing for a heavy and larger species which weigh 15 pounds or more, you’d want the best reels that have a more durable and stronger build.
The best conventional reel for bottom fishing is one that’s able to withstand at least 25 lbs. of drag and 50 lbs. of fluorocarbon fishing line.
The weight of your conventional reel for bottom fishing will be determined mostly by the kind of fish that you’re going after.
A lighter reel is able to hold lighter fish while the opposite is true for heavier reels. Your personal preference must come into play whenever you need to decide on a reel’s weight.
There are anglers that prefer the more streamlined model while others also like the ones that have a rugged and bulky build.
In order for you to get your bait or lure down to where bottom fish like feeding, you’re going to require more line capacity than you’d usually have with a spinning reel or bait caster.
The best bottom fishing reels on our list all have significant line capacities. They will let you fish in much deeper water to catch large bottom-feeding species.
Fishing is an endeavor that can easily get expensive. When you have already spent money on various fishing gear, it’s likely that you’d want to save a couple of hundred dollars and just get the cheapest conventional reel you can use for bottom fishing.
We suggest you invest time to figure out the right budget for your conventional reel before you choose the cheapest one you can find.
Always remember that you’ll often get what you pay for, most especially when it comes to fishing equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are conventional bottom fishing reels?
The best conventional reels for bottom fishing are also referred to as big game reels, trolling reels, bottom fishing reels, and deep-sea fishing reels. They are the reels that can hold a lot of fishing line. They are also built to catch large fish.
There are reels that have a level wind that place the fishing line on a spool evenly. But, with reels specifically for big game, the force on a fishing line can bend then break the level wind. The 130, 80, and 50 class reels don’t have a level wind, which means anglers have to move lines back and forth manually.
An important feature of conventional reels is their type of drag. There’s the star drag and the lever drag. The lever drag is stronger and it’s known to be more consistent. There’s a new feature added on most conventional reels and that is the topless design.
It allows an angler to make force adjustments on the spool and do so manually whenever lures and jigs are sent out. This can be done by using your fingers to press on the spool.
Can I use the best conventional reels on saltwater?
Yes, they can be used on both freshwater and saltwater. They’re popular with amateur and professional angles alike and conventional reels are available in various reel sizes.
They’re incredibly versatile as they are suitable for a lot of fishing techniques such as casting jigs, pier fishing, kite fishing, trolling, and more.
What’s a star drag reel?
A star drag reel has drag that’s adjusted by a knob that takes on the shape of a star. The knob is right next to the reel handle. A drag system is very similar to a spinning reel drag.
Star drags work pretty well. However, they aren’t as precise in comparison to the lever drag system. Star drag reels have their advantages, which include a more affordable price tag.
What’s a lever drag reel?
A lever drag reel is another type of conventional reel that has a lever located at the right side which moves up to 90 degrees for adjusting the drag. Whenever its user pulls the lever down, the reel will be placed in a free spool.
The free spool setting lets the fishing line on a spool to let off a reel easily. When you turn on the clicker, there’ll be some resistance as the line is being let out from the spool. This helps prevent bird-nesting on the spool.
There’s a strike position, which is typically about three-quarters of the way the lever’s movement range. You can find a button on one side of your reel which will block the lever from moving forward. It’s the position where fish should be fought from initially and is about 25 to 30 percent line strength.
When the lever is placed forward, it’s the max drag. It shouldn’t be set at more than 50 percent line strength. What’s good about a lever drag is you’ll be able to adjust the drag so you know how much force has been added to a line.
A star drag adjustment is arbitrary. This means you can add too much drag which results in line breaking.
What’s a level wind reel?
A level wind reel is another kind of conventional reel. It has worm shaft gearing which moves the line guide as the handle turns. It places the line on the reel’s spool evenly on a conventional fishing reel.
It makes for a nice feature as the line doesn’t need to be moved manually using your hand. You’ll have a free hand that you can use to better grip the pole. You can also focus more on reeling in fish.
There’s a limit to the amount of force a level wind is able to handle. It’s advised to limit to 30 lbs. of drag on level wind reels. The risk is breaking the guide that’s in the worm gear or bending the level wind.
When you fight big game like tuna and marlin, it’s much better to have an open spool. When you use a braided line, make sure you wear gloves to move the line manually.
What are 2-speed reels for?
The best 2 speed reels for bottom fishing have low and high gear ratios. The different gear ratios can change the amount of line that’s retrieved for each crank of the reel handle. Low gear ratios bring less line for each crank of the reel handle.
As mentioned earlier, they have higher torque which means you can turn the handle with less force. Whenever you bring in heavier fish like large tuna or halibut, a lower gear ratio is an excellent choice. But, when you fight a fast species e.g. mahi-mahi, the high line retrieve rate will be the better option.
With 2 speed reels for bottom fishing, the gear ratio can be changed just by pressing a certain button. When you push the button, the reel will be placed on low gear from high gear. When you turn a knob, the reel will be placed back in the higher gear as the button is released.
Can I use conventional reels for bottom fishing inshore?
Most conventional reels are only able to cast short distances, so they don’t work best when you’re on the shore.
But, when you are fishing for sharks, large reels will be able to hold a lot of line which is needed with shark fishing. Rather than casting a line, it can be set with the current or wind.
There are anglers that even use drones in drop fishing lines as they fish from the beach. Generally, bait runner spinning reels are the best options for surf and shore fishing.
Are the best conventional reels for bottom fishing worth the investment?
The products on our list are heavy-duty. With proper maintenance and care, any of them will last for decades so they are definitely worth every penny.
If you choose a cheap reel, you won’t experience the same performance as the best conventional reels. There’s also a high probability of the reel breaking easily and allowing big fish to get away.
Once you get the hang of the different techniques of bottom fishing, you’ll find that it’s very addictive. But, choosing the right gear can be a challenge. Any of the ones we featured will provide you with relative success.
If you want to increase your chances and land a monster species, the KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel will help you do just that.
It’s the perfect conventional reel as it works great while helping you ensure you don’t overstretch your pocket.