Title: How to Pick the Best Bait Casting Reel for Your Angling Arsenal
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How to Pick the Best Bait Casting Reel for Your Angling Arsenal
As you acquire high-level proficiency in angling, you will most likely start searching for professional accessories that scale up your fishing experience. For that, bait casting reels offer you the chance to purchase the right set of gears for an enhanced angling style and hone your skills the right way.
Bait casting reels are recognized for many assets such as better control and high cast accuracy, both of which exceptionally increase your chances of successful catches.
To make the most out of your fishing experience with this type of gear, you need to pick the best bait casting reel, one that would work for both your level of expertise and your budget. That is why we have created a detailed guide to help you choose the best Bait casting Reel gear for you.
So, let’s skip the formalities and get into the list of our recommended products in this category:
Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel
Right off the bat is the most famous bait casting reel from the world-renowned Abu Garcia manufacturer. Despite its low price tag, the Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel offers impressive quality and performance, making it one of the best bait casting reels that you can get today. It’s lightweight, weighing around a single pound, it’s easy to palm, and it comes in two different gear ratios. How convenient is that?
What we really dig about the Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel is how smooth it is on the cast, all thanks to 9+1 ball bearings with the impressive Infini magnetic brake system on the side plate, which is one of the best in this price category, thus giving you a fantastic castability.
The Revo SX comes in tow ratios; the 6.6:1, which is excellent for an array of fishing techniques, and the 7.3:1, which is more suitable if you’re one to pitch and flip jogs or burn in topwater baits, making it capable of giving you more casts.
To add to the convenience, the Revo SX comes with a comfortable 90mm handle and large grips. The drag system offers smooth drag and gives an excellent max of around 24lbs, give or take a couple of pounds.
Overall, for a bait casting reel under the 200-buck price tag, the Revo SX is a perfectly-built low profile Fishing Reel that’s versatile enough to work for virtually any bait casting technique out there without costing an arm nor a leg. Furthermore, the REVO4 SX model, which is the newest version, comes with a better D2 Duragear and clutch, which makes this reel a must have for any bass bait caster.
- Fantastic braking system
- Pretty sleek, ergonomic design
- Versatile and suitable for different fishing techniques
- The side plate release button may seem misplaced for some anglers
Shimano 200IHG Curado RH Bait Casting Reel
Shimano, although not well-known as other big brands, has been in the business for more than a century now, and it has been providing nothing but high-quality products ever since it was created. The 7.5-ounce Shimano 200IHG Curado RH Bait cast Reel does live up to the brand’s reputation, and although it’s not the best bait casting reel out there, it offers an excellent balance between the price and the quality, which allows it to be a solid option to add to your arsenal.
The construction if the 200IHG is pretty solid, with a combination of steel, aluminum, and graphite, meaning that you can stake your life on this reel and you won’t be disappointed.
The housing of this reel is made of a lightweight Hagane, which adds to the strength and durability. The handle boasts an aluminum construction, and it features a couple of oversized knobs that allow for excellent traction. As for the spool, Shimano chose to make it out of anodized aluminum for an increased balance and resistance against vibration. All that to show that this reel is not only strong and robust, but it’s also quite lightweight, a combination that’s hard to achieve even in reels from bigger manufacturers.
If there’s something that truly sets the Shimano casting reel apart though it has got to be the speed. This is the best bait casting reel when it comes to fast and effortless retrieval, all thanks to the 5 bearing race that sits behind the reel. Furthermore, the magnetic breaking’s adjustability is virtually limitless, which means that you can cast efficiently no matter the rod, line, and lure weight. Add that to the drag that can be set for up to 12 pounds, and you’ve got yourself a perfectly balanced reel that works flawlessly for any fish.
Shimano’s X-ship and Super Free Spool technology are just the cherries on top, as they make this reel practically indestructible, which results in a fully-controlled, low-friction cast and increases its chances of being the best bait casting reel for you.
- Premium materials and solid construction
- Fast and seamless retrieve
- Far casting
- Somehow weak drag
Lew’s Pro Magnesium Bait Casting Reel
No matter how long you’ve been practicing fishing, you’ve surely come across or at least heard of Lew’s, the premium reel manufacturer, and you surely know that anything coming from this brand is of high-quality. The Pro Magnesium is no different, as it reflects Lew’s genius technology without weighing you down with too much heft. The good thing? Despite providing premium quality, this reel is well-priced even for those looking to save their bucks.
The construction of the Pro Magnesium Speed Spool is quite ergonomic, as the reel is designed to be fast, light, and durable. It’s made using a single-piece magnesium frame (thus the name) with C45 carbon-based side plates. The knobs and handle follow the same principle, as the first is made of carbon fiber while the latter is made of EVA composite. The design is equally ergonomic, as the spool features a V-shaped profile and is machined in aluminum to maintain tight roundness tolerance. If you’re serious about your bait casting skills, you really shouldn’t miss such a well-thought design.
As far as the performance itself goes, it turns out that it’s as good as the reel’s construction, which is to be expected from a Lew’s product. How couldn’t it be, considering that this bait casting reel features an audible tension clicker, a 27-point centrifugal braking system, and double shielded ball bearings.
All in all, the Pro Magnesium Speed Spool is a perfectly-built Bait casting Reel that’s designed to last, and that boasts an excellent sensitivity and all-day comfort for every angler to enjoy an unmatchable experience no matter your background as a bass fisherman.
- Adjustable internal braking system with 6 pins and 27 positions
- Magnesium frame and lightweight
- Great customer service
- Steep price, but the quality makes up for that.
SHIMANO Metanium MGL150
You know a brand is killing it if it gets featured twice in the same best bait casting reel list. No need to get into much details with this review, as the 11-pound Shimano Metanium MGL150 is pretty similar to the Curado reel reviewed above, but it’s more suitable for freshwater bait casting, and it comes in three gear ratios: 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and 8.5:1.
The body of this bait casting reel is made of Hagane, while the frame and handle use Aluminum as the base material. The spool, on the other hand, features Shimano’s new Magnumlite, which offers low startup inertia with up to 20% more casting distance, a combo that works wonders for any type of lure. In playing for both heavy lure and light lure crowds, this construction does come with a few compromises. Nothing major, but you may find it a bit tricky to get the brakes perfectly tuned to your liking.
Speaking of brakes. Do you know what my granddad, also an angler, used to say? He said, “Making brakes is one thing, but perfecting them is a different ballgame – and one that SHIMANO plays well.” I didn’t understand what he meant until I tried one of the Shimano’s reels, and boy oh boy! Aren’t they magnificent, smooth, and strong with their completely-sealed, modern magnetic system!
Now, addressing the big elephant in the room; how does this bait casting reel actually perform? It turns out, it performs pretty well, especially for the price you’re paying. Not only is it extremely fast, but it also boasts an excellent 11-pound drag system and fully sealed drive bearings, making it perfect for small and medium-sized fish.
To sum it up, this is a high-performing, durable, and fast bait casting reel that can bring in the majority of the inland species of the US, especially that it can hold plenty of line, precisely up to 120 yards of 10-pound mono. Sure, the price is steep compared to other products on our list, but with proper maintenance, this reel can really last for a lifetime, no matter how hardcore of an angler you are.
- Fast retrieve
- Sufficient line capacity
- Sleek design and durable construction
- A bit heavy compared to other bait casting reels
13 Fishing Concept A3 Fishing Reel
As opposed to what many people believe, there’s actually pure genius behind the smart marketing strategies of 13 Fishing, especially in high-end products such as the Concept A bait casting reel. Not only does it look sleek and elegant with a stylish matte black bait caster and sleek cork knobs, but it’s also quite smooth and casts pretty far.
13 Fishing Concept A3 comes in two models, each of which comes in two editions, one for left-handed people, and the other for right-handed anglers. The 6.3:1-ratio model gathers 28.8 IPC, while the 8:1:1 model takes up 37 inches of line per crank.
As for construction, this bait casting reel is composed of an aluminum frame along composite side plates, all with an elegant finish that would definitely make your bait casting arsenal look cool and neat.
As far as the fishing itself goes, the Concept A bait casting reel doesn’t disappoint, as it features an arrowhead guide along with a waffle spool that make casting smooth and seamless.
Another unique feature that we dig in this bait casting reel is the Concept Brake System, which facilitates casting of lightweight lures, even 3/16-ounce up to 1-ounce jigs and crankbaits. If you’re one to use different baits, this reel would probably suit you.
The cork knobs, besides looking stylish and elegant, are quite robust, and they ensure a comfortable and firm grip for you to cast all day long with ease.
- Smooth and far casting with a strong drag
- Comfortable and firm grip thanks to the cork knobs
- Features the Concept Brake System for lightweight lures
- No external access to the brake system
Okuma Citrix 300
Honestly, seeing this one was a fluke, but the specs impressed us, so we decided to put it on the review list with a few more expensive reels. How could anything this low-priced be worthwhile? It turns out; it could, and it did. Despite its low price, the low-end Okuma Citrix 300 performs far better than many more expensive reels, which is why it made it to our final list.
The construction of this bait casting reel isn’t that unique, with a full graphite body and an aluminum frame and handle. Nevertheless, it’s pretty stylish from the outside, and it’s soft to the touch, giving you a comfortable and firm grip for a seamless casting all day long. Sure, the parts used in this reel aren’t the best out there, but again, for the price you’re paying, there’s nothing to complain about.
There are many things to love in the Okuma Citrix 300, but what we genuinely dig is the 100% magnetic braking system, something that you rarely find in affordable bait casting reels. Although this system doesn’t have a fancy name like the ones integrated into the other bait casting reels on our list, it’s still pretty efficient and tuned for the smoothest cast every time. When it comes to low-end reels, this unit is simplicity itself to cast, and certainly all the reviews can attest to the nice and easy casting aspect to the Okuma Citrix 300.
This bait casting reel can hold 150 yards of a 20-pound braid and have a massive 25-pound multi-disc carbon drag system. Being on the heavy side of the spectrum, with a weight point of 11 ounces, the Okuma Citrix 300 can defiantly put up a good fight, especially that it offers 30 inches of retrieval per turn of the handle.
All in all, we would highly recommend this set to any angler who wants to quickly bolster their bait casting arsenal with an incredibly high-performing bait casting reel that won’t break the bank. It’s simple, it’s efficient, and it’s beautiful. If you’re on a budget, this is the best bait casting reel for you.
- Strong drag system
- Sufficient line capacity
- Seamless and fast casting
- A bit heavy
Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Bait Casting Reel
Although Lew’s are mainly known for high-end reels and angling equipment, they actually have many affordable products in their catalog, including the Fishing Tournament MB, which, although being pretty low-priced, is a solid candidate for the title of the best bait casting reel.
Don’t let the low price point of this reel fool you into thinking that it’s made of cheap materials, as that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Bait casting Reel boasts an aluminum frame, graphite side plates, and double-anodized aluminum spool, along with a drive and bearing system that’s made of hardened aluminum. Talk about affordable durability, huh?
The drag system is equally durable, as it’s made of carbon fiber, a material that’s known for modernity, elegance, and longevity, which explains the massive 20-pound drag pressure.
There’s more to this reel than meets the eye though, as it also features a Zero-reverse one-way clutch and dual magnetic/centrifugal brake system, which prevents lines tangling or snap back.
As far as the metrics go, this bait casting reel can hold up to 120 yards of 12-pound line and comes with a 5.6:1 gear ratio, which means that you can give fish plenty of room to run then reel them in pretty fast when the time comes to get your catch.
In conclusion, just like the Okuma Citrix 300, this bait casting reel is pretty efficient for the price, and it can definitely give you the bang for your back. If you’re on a tight budget and need a new bait casting reel for your angling arsenal, this is yet another solid option to consider.
- Light Lightweight with an elegant design
- Excellent 20-pound drag pressure
- Sufficient line capacity
- A bit slow but that’s expected for the price
Choosing the Best Bait Casting Reel: Buying Guide and F.A.Q
Now that you have a rough idea about what’s available on the market, it’s essential to know how you can choose the best bait casting reel for your style and budget. For that, we put together this buying guide, which will be of great help if you’re just starting out in the angling world.
What Do You Need to Know About Bait Casting Reels?
You can quickly recognize a Bait casting Reel, thanks to their particular revolving spool and their positioning on top of a casting. But before you decide on buying one, you should take into account some specific aspects of this model:
Firstly, this type of angling equipment is not convenient for beginners; they are mainly manufactured to meet the experienced anglers needs. Even then, you will have to learn a lot about their usage.
You will have to practice for some time before getting accustomed to using a Bait casting Reel. The main reason why they are a bit complex to use is the difficulty to learn how to cast. It is explained by the line that is likely to feed out after the lure lands, in case you don’t stop the spool at the right time.
The handles are also an important feature to take into consideration. Numerous types of reels are right-handed, that goes back to how bait casters have evolved their manufacturing. Some models don’t offer the possibility of shifting between the sides, so you will probably adhere to the model you bought.
Indeed, you have to choose a reel that is ergonomic to use and meets your specific needs. This being the case, it is recommended to pick up a model that is opposite to your dominant hand. Meaning, if you are right-handed, you have to opt for a left-handed type of casting reels, and vice versa.
If you doubt its utility, this technique prevents you from switching hands after the cast, thus enhancing your experience of angling and making it much more effective.
Which Profile Is Best for You?
The initial step of deciding which bait casting reel to buy is to select either the round profile or the low profile.
The profile determines the construction of the body. To make the right choice about it, you have to regard your fishing habits, which line capacity you like better, and even your degree of comfort.
Low Profile Reels
Those who prioritize comfort opt for low profile models.
They have a palm-able grip, so if you prefer to grab hold of the reel and the handle when twisting, you will find great comfort in doing so, and that is the distinctive trait of this type.
The ultimate purpose of this design is to guarantee a secure grip and easy winding, thus improving the wrist action.
If you are striving to catch a bass, then this reel is your best choice.
Round profile reels
This type of reels is most convenient if you are fishing for larger fish and need strength and considerable effort to succeed.
This model is gripped from the back, which gives an enhanced twist. Thus, the round profile reels are best for large lures, fish, and baits. So, if you are aiming at steelhead, Muskie, pike or salmon, then this reel is your best bet.
Also, round profile reels are significantly advantageous for trolling and fishing at profound depths thanks to their capability to hold a larger amount of line.
What Is the Gear Ratio and How to Pick Which Works for You?
After you know about the essential features of reels, now you have to determine which gear ratio answers best your needs.
To explain it simply, the gear ratio is the number of times the spool rotates when the handle is turned. It informs about the speed of the lure you recover.
How to determine this ratio? You will find numerals written on the bait casting reels in this specific format: 6.4:1. This means that the spool revolves 6.4 times with every single turn of the handle. Consequently, the higher the number of rotations, the faster your recovering rate.
It is critical to figure the range of speed that suits your abilities. Gear ratios below 5.9:1 are considerably slow, and those between 6.0:1 and 7.2:1 are of average rate. But models with higher ratios are too fast. So, depending on your level of expertise, decide on the reel at a convenient speed. The fastest type is not the best choice in all cases since you could be wasting energy.
The vast majority of fishers take the lure into account before deciding on the gear rate. Typically, they choose a faster gear for buzz baits, some spinnerbaits, and certain lures. The moderate rate is best for soft plastics, Texas rigs and jigs. As for the slower gears, they are best convenient for diving crankbaits and heavy spinnerbaits.
What Is the Braking System?
Inspecting the braking system on the reel is essential. Its role consists in decreasing the speed of the reel revolutions. Hence, you can reduce the load of the backlash on the spool. There are two types to choose from, which are the centrifugal and the magnetic systems.
The centrifugal braking system is based on centrifugal force and pins. The pins expand more with the increasing rotation speed of the spool. Thus, this type regulates the spool speed at the basis of the cast.
On the other hand, the magnetic systems are made of magnets, whose significant advantage is flexibility. With a constant resistance, the attractions regulate the speed all through the whole cast.
What Is the Drag System?
Drag is defined by the tension applied in the spool, referring to how quickly you can pull the line off the reel. Plus, it comes handy in managing the fish caught at the end of the line, so you should seriously consider this feature when deciding on the model to purchase.
When a fish takes off the line, the drag disk heats up and extends, but the expansion length depends on the pressure and speed applied on the line. In extreme cases, the line can snap. The trick to keeping it under control is the sustain a constant rate and pressure for the heat to dissipate.
Hence, you should opt for drag systems produced in graphite, ceramic or carbon.
How to Choose the Right Spool Size?
You have to consider the line capacity you necessitate when selecting your suitable spool size. It can be determined by examining the kind of fishing you practice and the size of the fish you target.
Generally, if you aim at catching large fish or will be trolling, you will require a significant amount of line. As a result, you need a greater spool size, and you should even get a round profile reel because of their higher line capacity.
But in case you will only cast, then a low profile would do you a great job.
Which Extra Options Should You Opt for?
Ball Bearings: these are the parts that ensure an effortless and flawless running of the reel while firmly supporting the gears. They enhance the overall features of the product. Choose the models that are stainless, shielded or double shielded to win quality over quantity.
Frame: bait casting reel frames come with a die-cast or machined. The manufacturing materials are either aluminum or graphite or combined in some models. Structures that provide greater sturdiness and higher quality are usually produced with one-block material.
Why Should You Get the Best Bait Casting Reel?
Certainly, fishers should purchase high end spinning reels as well as bait casting reels to have a multi-purpose gear — nevertheless, their various methods that are best implemented with a bait casting combination.
Longer casts: when you join bait casters with the convenient rod, you will easily outcast the spinning gear. In such a way, the line comes out the rod guides and directly attains the spool.
More power: with their spool design, Bait casters generate more power than spinning reels. This is explained by the aligned handle and gears which allows the reel to apply more force and twist. Plus, since the handles are placed directly onto the reel frame, no lever arm produces flex when reeling vigorously on a fish.
More control: compared to spinning reels, Bait casting reel products ensure more casting degree, thanks to the precise control over the distance and the speed of the lure, by thumbing the spool during the cast. As you get more accustomed to this model, you will reach high precision with casts, and thus more successful fishing.
More massive line: the spool’s axis of revolution is perpendicular to the rod guides, which allows the line to come off precisely through the line guide and rod guides. Hence, using heavy chains becomes effortless, with an average weight of tracks ranging from 10 to 20 lb, and heavier lures. An excellent bait casting set may cast lures from ¼ to 1 oz, and even more.
Reduced line twist: in the angling world, spinning reels are known for line twist, and that drastically ruins the casting experience. With bait casters, the only risk of line twist will come from the lure, which usually happens when fishing soft plastics.
Bait casting is an art, and as is the case with any art, you need the best equipment if you want to get the results that you desire. Worry not; you don’t need to spend hours upon hours trying and testing different reels, as we’ve already done the heavy lifting and chose what we believe are the top options available today.
Any of the above recommendations can be the best bait casting reel for you, but you need to set your budget, determine your needs, and analyze your environment before even looking at the products. Once you do that, get back here, go through our buying guide and FAQ, and choose the best bait casting reel for you!
What are you waiting for? Go catch ‘em all!