Crappie is one of the most valued targets of anglers because of their great taste. They’re also easy to catch, making them a favorite among beginners. Just make sure you have the right spinning reel, possibly one of the best crappie reels, to match with your rod to raise your chances of landing the species.
Best Reel for Crappie Fishing
We’ve tested some of the most popular spinning reels suitable for crappie fishing, and we’ve found these to be the best for their durability, performance, and ease of use:
1. KastKing Summer 500 Spinning Reel
The KastKing Summer 500 is a lightweight crappie fishing reel with a narrow frame made of graphite. It’s one of the best crappie reels as it’s able to turn anyone into an angling professional. This reel makes an excellent gift to a loved one who loves fishing. The 500-size spinning reel can match perfectly with an ice rod to make a reliable ice combo.
Its superior drag system offers an outstanding stopping power of up to 17 and a half lbs. Its main shaft is made of hardened metal and it has a precision-machined pinion gear and top-notch mesh drive gear for the ultimate fish fighting power. It’s essentially a fishing reel that’s going to be an essential part of the tackle collection. The 10-bearing system, unique components, and sturdy drag washer with a stainless-steel construction allow this spinning reel to offer the best value for your money as it stands up to rough use.
On top of all that, it comes with a brilliant finish with a 2-color anodized aluminum spool, too. This reel is exactly what you’re looking for if you love crappie fishing and angling in freshwater. It’s priced very reasonably, and it offers exceptional performance.
The smooth execution when angling and reeling is a convenience you’ll soon find to be hard to go without. With the anti-corrosion characteristics of this reel, you can bet it’s going to last you several years and countless fishing trips. Replacing the reel is going to be the least out of your crappie or freshwater fishing concerns.
2. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
The balance of a fishing reel determines how it may be used in various weather conditions. The Pflueger President’s strength is exactly its balance. Its metal body and carbon enamel washers don’t only provide the reel with a distinctive look, they also make this spinning reel among the most well-performing and balanced reels on the market today.
The bent handle on the Pflueger President has a lightweight aluminum center coated with soft rubber-like fibers for the most comfortable prolonged use. In a large freshwater lake, it can cast approximately 185 years ”“ yes, even when the weather is bad. But, this crappie fishing reel isn’t designed to be used with big species as the drag’s weight limit is 8 lbs.
The President features an extremely smooth gear functioning. The reel also sports an excellent reverse functionality and the roller bearing helps with the anti-reversing. These are the features that are present in most reels that professionals prefer. The Pflueger President is built with that in mind, hence its instant stopping ability.
When it comes to its weight, it’s like the KastKing Summer 500. Both units are some of the lightest spinning reels on the market today. It weighs just over 8 oz. You’ll be able to feel the difference instantly. This reel also features ten bearing functions with the bearings perfectly aligned for a smoother operation. The high-quality bearing system has been housed in a steel casing in order to protect it from water.
3. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel
Third on our list is Okuma Ceymar, which has an oversized line roller and a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire for long-term, solid performance.
This reel has Okuma’s smart RESII computer balancing, which enables this reel to spin even at higher speeds without wobbling the rod.
Users of this spinning reel can use the reel comfortably from its EVA foam handle knob while the aluminum handle provides more control with the drag.
The reel’s body is sleek and compact, reducing its overall size without sacrificing power. It’s built to hold an exceptional amount of fishing line that’s small in diameter. It’s also capable of providing long-distance casts. The Okuma Ceymar works efficiently for catching small to medium size species.
4. Cadence CS8 Spinning Reel
With only 6.3 ounces in weight, the Cadence CS8 spinning fishing reel is ideal for ultralight to light fishing. It has a high line capacity and a powerful drag despite its compact size.
You can enjoy close to 30 lbs of drag and a tremendous yard per pound line capacity which offers more support in handling bigger species than crappie. It’s strong enough with its magnesium metal frame and it includes an impressive carbon composite rotor.
The Cadence CS8 spinning fishing reel is built with nine fully shielded, corrosion-resistant ball bearings which are equally great for freshwater and saltwater fishing.
The only issue we found with this unit is it’s not as smooth as other models in its price range. Still, it’s a solid choice for crappie fishing.
5. Abu Garcia Revo X Fishing Reel
The latest addition to Abu Garcia’s Revo series, the Revo X spinning reel offers performance and reliability which anglers have already come to expect with the innovative reels of the brand.
It has a compact IM-C6 carbon body design and a 6 stainless steel bearing system with a roller bearing for smooth performance even in tournaments.
Abu Garcia’s Revo X maximizes casting distance while minimizing frustration from its trademarked line management system. Anglers can fish braid, mono, and fluorocarbon with this spinning reel and have enhanced efficiency.
From the braid-ready spool made of aluminum to the graphite rotor, you can expect the Revo X reel to provide you with the quality and performance similar to that of other reels from Abu Garcia’s popular Revo series. You can count on its maximum resilience, most especially if you’ll be using it specifically for crappie fishing.
6. PENN Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel
This reel is one of the best crappie reels as it’s perfect for beginner and experienced anglers alike. It offers some of the most thrilling and memorable performances possible without exerting too much effort.
It’s a great choice if you’re on the lookout for a spinning reel that’s both built to last and is reliable in catching crappie and other species. The Battle II reel is known for its longevity and durability, which can be attributed to its sturdy, well-crafted side plate and reel body.
Although the full metal structure of this reel adds quite a bit of weight, the resilience and performance that can be achieved with it make for a worthwhile sacrifice.
It also has HT100 carbon fiber washers, which are designed to support over a hundred miles of fishing line running off without wear and tear onto the washers themselves. This is awesome for those that go out to fish more frequently.
7. Goture Spinning Reel
If you’re an experienced angler, you know very well that a reel’s machinery is extremely important. This is exactly where Goture Spinning Reel has proven it’s unmatched.
The reel has a solid stainless-steel shaft, plus a solid round bearing to avoid constant roadblocks while it’s used. It’s also corrosion-resistant, which you’ll find necessary for a spinning reel as it’s going to be in constant contact with moisture and water.
It looks sleek with its two-tone finish, but that’s simply a bonus. Its machinery was crafted to perfection and it offers ample room for 150 yards of line. The strong drag made of carbon fiber keeps it tight to tire out fish and makes them easier to catch.
8. Tempo Apex Spinning Fishing Reel
The Tempo Apex is the last on our list. It’s lightweight from its magnesium frame, but it’s also stiff, strong, and lasts longer due to its material construction.
Most anglers are curious to try the 10+1 ball bearing system of the spinning fishing reel. We’ve tried it ourselves and we can definitely say it offers maximum smoothness during retrieves.
In addition, it offers a very efficient drag system, which can bear the pressure of up to 40 lbs of drag force. The drag system of the Tempo Apex Spinning Fishing Reel is also sealed to resist water from seeping into the inner parts of the reel.
The aluminum shaft and carbon composite rotor add to the worth of this product. It also has a soft, comfortable rubber knob for an easy grip. It’s definitely a plus in preventing the reel from slipping.
How to Pick the Best Crappie Reels
Crappie fishing isn’t a hard task at all. As a matter of fact, it’s so easy you’ll be able to catch several from your first crappie fishing trip. But, you’ll need the right reel and other crappie fishing equipment.
Here are some points you need to take into consideration as you choose from the best crappie reels available today.
Size of the Reel
What size reel for crappie fishing is best? Remember that the reel size is crucial when you decide on a certain model as it will determine how much fish you’ll be able to yield from a fishing trip.
Because crappies are small size freshwater species, a small reel size e.g. 500 to 3000 will be ideal. Massive crappies don’t exist, so bigger reels aren’t going to be any good for this particular fishing application.
500-1000 Reel Size
This is the smallest reel size. Reels with a reel size of 500 to 1000 are all small and lightweight, hence they are the easiest to handle.
They’re perfect for light and ultralight fishing tactics, and they’re compatible with lower-diameter fishing lines. They have a light-breaking strain.
2500 Reel Size
Although it’s slightly larger than the 1000 reel size, it still works for light and ultralight fishing tactics. Spinning reels of this size can be used for drop-shotting, spinning, and jigging.
The one difference between the 1000 and 2500 sizes is the latter has a larger line capacity and spool size.
3000 Reel Size
This is the size for most spinning reels. It’s neither too small that it won’t allow you to catch some serious game nor too big to carry around on a casual fishing trip.
The 3000-sized crappie reels have a higher breaking strain from their larger line capacity. Their drag systems are also more robust, but they’re not too bulky or heavy.
5000 Reel Size
This is overkill for crappie fishing. It’s only used to catch massive salmon in flowing waters. It makes a vast reel, plus it has an incredibly high breaking strain.
A 5000-size reel can catch species like barracuda, GT, and all other strong, hard-fighting species.
For freshwater crappie fishing trips, there’s no need to have the highest quality metal reel. Any of the small graphite spinning reels will suffice.
Moreover, crappies are small and lightweight so they don’t require top-of-the-line metal-bodied reels. But, if you want to get more use out of a spinning reel, we suggest you invest more in reels made of strong materials.
Aluminum is rigid and it’s an excellent choice for crappie fishing. Although graphite is lighter, you’ll notice a slight increase in the flex which some consider a deal-breaker.
The reels we chose as the best are all built to last. Their manufacturers used high-quality materials which are appropriate for freshwater use.
If you’ll be using the crappie reel for various applications, choose one with a protective coating as it’s specifically designed to withstand saltwater’s corrosive effects.
Always check the crappie reel’s weight before you get one as you may experience fatigue from extensive use. You may regret your decision even when the reel works perfectly.
Lightweight reels are best to use with crappie fishing. Most small-size reels don’t weigh a lot; however, it would still be great to choose one that’s less than 8 or 10 oz in weight.
The gear ratio of a crappie spinning reel is the number of rotations of the bail arm per turn of the reel handle. The gear ratio has an influence on the speed and efficiency of the spool.
Let’s discuss different gear ratios below, including their compatibility:
- 5:1 to 5.4:1 Ratio: The common range for spinning reel gear ratios, it’s excellent in providing a more balanced fishing line retrieval rate. But, it also creates heavy drag in the water.
- 6:1 to 6.2:1 Ratio: For this gear ratio range, it’s quite rapid and makes the slowest fishing lines faster and more efficient. If you like using your rod in creating a high impact on the lure, then use a reel that’s within this particular gear ratio range.
Line capacity is the capability of a spool to hold a specific length of fishing line. A reel’s line capacity will depend on the fishing purposes and fishing line’s diameter.
If you like using low-diameter lines, then you can use the shallow spool. But, if you plan on using thick diameter lines, then use a deep spool. We recommend getting any of the crappie fishing reels with a shallow spool as you won’t be putting up many fights with strong fish.
If you’ll be targeting strong fish that fight back, get a reel that has a deeper spool. You’ll also need to use a fishing line with a thicker diameter as the more viscous a fishing line is, the fewer chances of it breaking.
There are only two kinds of handles for spinning reels for crappie fishing ”“ the single and the double handle systems.
- Single Handle: A single handle system would prove to be the more practical choice for crappie fishing from its paddle size and weight. The paddle will be large enough that it can provide a more comfortable and better grip. But, this system doesn’t offer the right balance. It also involves a greater learning curve.
- Double Handle: This is perfect to counterbalance motion within a reel. A double handle leads to less wobbling, but it is not practical for crappie fishing as it’s not too comfortable from its heavy weight. It also has small paddle handles.
When choosing between any of the best crappie spinning reels, get one that has an anti-reverse handle. This handle ensures no backward motion, which allows for better fishing accuracy and a better hook set.
The bearing system of a reel has a slight but significant impact on the longevity and performance of a model.
Experienced anglers are going to tell you that a larger number of reel ball bearings will offer a smoother function. But, it’s not just the number, but the quality of the bearings as well. The quality of the bearing system will influence a spinning reel’s smooth functioning.
It’s important to note that the reel’s price will influence the number and quality of the ball bearings that are used.
With a higher-priced crappie spinning reel, you will get higher-quality components. Economical reels, even when they’re given a greater number for the bearings, can’t promise a smoother functioning when they’re made of inferior parts.
If you’ll only be using a spinning reel for crappie fishing, then you don’t have to get one made of the highest quality materials and components.
The reel won’t be forced to endure the effects of saltwater. Freshwater reels aren’t exactly of lesser quality, but they are not required to be heavy-duty, unlike saltwater reels.
If you’ll use crappie spinning reels on both saltwater and freshwater, then they need to be corrosion-resistant and made of stainless steel.
A saltwater reel can sustain freshwater use. But, using a freshwater reel in saltwater won’t be good for the longevity of the unit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the components of the best crappie reels?
While it’s important to know exactly how to choose the best reel for you, you also need to learn the different components that make up spinning reels for crappie fishing.
- Body: It’s the casing of a reel where the components are held together. A reel’s body material will dictate its overall durability and weight.
- Handle: A reel handle is what allows an angler to make adjustments on the rotating side as the fish is controlled on the line.
- Gear Box: With every handle rotation, the gearbox of a reel will rotate the spindles. The gear ratio of the gearbox influences how quickly the line can be retrieved.
- Bail: A bail’s purpose is for releasing the fishing line into the sea without tangles. The bail lets the fishing line become wrapped around a spool properly to ensure it’s kept from breaking and knotting.
- Drag Knob: This adjusts the friction that’s offered to a fishing line. It, therefore, affects how quickly the spool rotates when it’s set free.
- Spool: A reel’s spool is the medium that connects the line and the reel. The line rests on the spool that’s attached to the reel spindle. This means every single time the spindles rotate, the spool does as well and the length of the line changes.
What’s the best temperature to go crappie fishing?
For crappie fishing, the water temperature must be approximately 68 degrees to have the best yield.
Experienced anglers wait for the right temperature as it will be hard to catch the species at the wrong water temperatures.
Is it easy to tie a fishing line to a crappie reel?
You must follow these steps in tying a fishing line to any of the best crappie spinning reels effectively:
Step 1: Connect the rod and the spinning reel for better support when tying the fishing line. Place the foot of the reel on the reel seat of the rod, then screw the reel until it’s tightly fastened.
Step 2: Slowly slide the tip of the fishing line through the first guide of the fishing rod.
Step 3: Start opening the bail arm, then use either the arbor knot or the uni knot to secure the fishing into the reel. An overhand knot can also be used, but the arbor knot and the uni knot are recommended to use with monofilament and fluorocarbon lines.
Step 4: Seal or close the bail as soon as the fishing line has been tied to the spinning reel.
Step 5: Take the line and pull it through the full length of the reel. Leave about an eighth of an inch between the line and the spool.
How do crappie reels work?
You already know the components that make up the best crappie spinning reels, which means it’s easier for you to understand their working mechanism.
The safeguard wheel of the spool discharges the line when you try prompting it to cast from the water surface.
As you’re rotating the handles, you’ll feel the movement of the spindle which will either extend or wrap the spool line. You’ll hear a sound that comes from the spool when there’s fish getting stuck on your line.
This sound is from the line that is being pulled from the spool because of the target’s fight. Adjust your drag strength in determining the speed of how the line will wind from the spool.
Crappie fishing is possible with just about any spinning reel available, but it won’t be as easy and enjoyable compared to when you have the fishing reel built specifically for crappie.
The best among the rest, the KastKing Summer 500 Spinning Reel, offers a definite advantage. It allows anglers to tackle the resistance that crappie has to offer.
But, any of the reels we mentioned above can fulfill your need or desire in having a successful fishing day alone or with family and friends. Don’t forget to pair your reel with one of the best crappie rods!