For anglers who want a bit of extra control, classic spinning reels just won’t do. Instead of trying to wield the spinning reel in a way that gives you more control, you could always opt to use a baitcasting reel instead.
Good baitcasters can provide you with much more control than even the best spinning reel would. In addition, you can cast your line in the exact place you want it to go – no guessing or luck required.
If you’re hoping to get into the world of baitcasters, we can help. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to a few of our picks for the best baitcasting reels. Ready? Let’s get started!
10 of the Best Baitcasting Reels
1. Abu Garcia Revo X Baitcasting Reel
Originally designed for professional use, the Revo X has made its way into the hobbyist market, where it has been growing in popularity among anglers of all ages. It’s known for its durability, performance, and modern design.
The baitcaster is lightweight and easy to wield, effortlessly casting lightweight bait a great distance. It features all the iconic Abu Garcia features that one would expect from the company; from make to performance it lives up to the brand’s great reputation.
Features include the X2-Craftic alloy frame, which is resistant to corrosion and rust, as well as DuraGear brass gearing. This gearing system is complete with D2 Gear design, making the system highly efficient and smooth.
Moreover, the baitcaster uses a 7+1 system that includes a set of stainless-steel ball bearings and a roller bearing – both of which are made of quality materials and designed to withstand everyday use. For dealing with tough fish, the caster is fitted with a MagTrax brake system that helps the product maintain even pressure throughout the entirety of the cast at hand. When it comes to maintenance, the process is made easy via a built-in lube port.
- Made of high-quality parts and materials
- Built-in lube port for easy maintenance
- Durable alloy frame
- Efficient gear system
- Side cover that easily pops off
2. Pflueger President XT Reel
With a weight of only 6.8 oz and a low-profile, unassuming design, the Pflueger President XT is a leading contender for both comfort and easy handling. Despite providing ideal comfort when using the reel, it can still handle its own and help you catch the big one when the time comes.
This reel’s strength starts with its graphite frame and side plates, which are made of C45 carbon for pinpoint precision. The handling of the product is taken to a new level via the 8+1 ball bearing system. This system makes use of corrosion-resistant stainless-steel bearings and cast control that is dealt out by the magnetic braking system. The braking system is easy to adjust, as adjustments can be done externally.
In addition, the caster uses a smooth and incredibly powerful drag system that can deploy up to 12 lbs of drag. At the same time, the aluminum handle features oversized rubber cork-style knobs that provide exceptional gripping power. These handles are made of aircraft-grade materials for the user’s safety and peace of mind.
- Aircraft-grade aluminum handle
- 12 lbs maximum drag
- Durable graphite frame and side plates
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Settings can be touchy
3. Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel
Despite its modest and affordable price, the Torrent baitcasting reel can handle a lot. It uses a super strong brass driver gear and 3-layer, 18-lb carbon fiber drag washers, as well as a sturdy aluminum crank handle. This durable crank handle has been updated and is now extra-long for the comfort of the user. Together, these three features provide users with tons of power and plenty of leverage to reel in the biggest catch.
Making it unique, the Torrent has an oil hole drilled into its side-plate. This helps you to quickly and efficiently provide the reel with adequate lubrication in order to prolong its lifespan and maximize its overall performance.
While out on the water, having the ability to make quick adjustments can make a world of difference – it can make or break the situation. Piscifun understands this and has equipped this reel with a 0-10 magnetic setting brake that provides the user with on-the-spot adjustments.
In addition, the reel’s double-lined winding shafts work to increase the winding stability and durability of the reel.
- Great for making quick adjustments
- Easy lubrication and maintenance
- Durable, extra-long handle
- Magnetic brakes
- Slightly turbulent drag
4. Lew’s Fishing BB1 Pro Reel
In terms of performance, Lew’s BBI P1 Pro Speed casting reels are in a league all their own. They’re loaded with features that give anglers the upper hand when handling large fish. The reels are lightweight and made with a one-piece aluminum frame that has graphite side plates.
Moreover, the reel is fitted with a premium quality 10-bearing system with double-shield bearings that use Zero Reverse technology. It also uses a carefully designed 27- position braking system that ensures that your casts are controlled and distant every time. Also included in the braking system is QuietCast, a technology that reduces casting noise.
The reel has a 20-lb maximum drag and a sturdy aluminum handle that comes complete with EVA power grips. These grips make it easy to hang onto the reel during casting and when reeling in a big catch, while the external adjustment system makes adjusting the various settings of the baitcaster a complete breeze. Each adjustment is made by turning a dial.
- Easy adjustments
- Sturdy handle with additional grip
- Seamless, one-piece aluminum frame
- 20lb maximum drag
5. Shimano SLX Baitcasting Reel
With a sleek matte black finish and blue accent trims, the Shimano SLX is a great choice for anglers looking to make impressive catches in style. The baitcaster is compact and lightweight but doesn’t lack power despite its size. Adding to its appeal is the fact that this reel is ideal for casting light lures that are made of plastic and other lightweight materials.
The caster’s body is made of a single piece of durable, rust-resistant metal. Thanks to this seamless structure, the caster is also resistant to body bowing that could be harmful to the user. In addition, it’s equipped with an effective 4-bearing system that comes with 1 additional reverse bearing and can handle up to 12-lbs of drag.
The VBS brake system has been tested and tried dozens of times over, ensuring that it helps maintain an even drag and reduce the chances of backlash.
- Seamless, metal body that resists flexing
- Ideal for casting lightweight lures
- 12 lb drag maximum
- Classic, stylish colors
- Adjustments can be finicky
6. KastKing Royale Legend II Baitcasting Reel
The KastKing Royale Legend II is a new version of the previous Royal Legend. It has been redesigned for maximum comfort, durability, and performance. In this version, the ever-durable graphite frame and side covers have been reshaped to be more compact, with a handy side cover release on the back of the reel.
For extra smoothness, the reel uses stainless-steel ball bearings and a ball bearing sleeve that supports both the pinion gear and the main shaft. The gears are crafted of damage-resistant brass that provides a seamless cranking experience.
The reel is equipped with an efficient magnetic brake system that can be adjusted to 10 different levels. This range of potential adjustments allows users to choose the best setting for a variety of weather conditions and situations.
In terms of drag, the maximum for this baitcaster is 17.6 pounds, which gives users plenty of power in most situations while maintaining smooth, effortless performance.
- Maximum drag of 17.6-lbs
- Compact body
- 10 possible brake settings
- Side cover release on the back of reel
- Reports of difficult casting
7. Abu Garcia Black Max Casting Reel
The Max casting reel is another great option from Abu Garcia. It delivers the performance you expect from top quality brands, a lightweight, and a compact design. The sleek, red, and black body of the reel has been carefully constructed from one single piece of graphite, which makes it stronger than other models and gives it a leg up in terms of longevity. Its side plates are also made of a single piece of material.
The reel uses a PowerDisk drag system with 18 pounds of maximum drag, giving users a smooth, and reliable performance throughout every step of the drag range. Adding another layer to the already pleasant user experience provided by this reel, the gears are heavy-duty Duragear and made of a damage-resistant brass.
Every Max reel is fitted with stainless steel ball bearing and a roller bearing that makes retrieving a great catch a walk in the park, while the uniquely shaped bent handle gives the user a comfortable, ergonomic grip.
- PowerDisk drag system with 18-lbs max drag
- 4+1 ball bearings
- Ergonomic, easy to hold the handle
- Durable graphite body
- Not ideal for beginners
8. Lew’s Speed Cast SC600 Baitcasting Reel
Any serious fisherman will love the strength and overall great craftsmanship of the Lowe’s Speed Cast SC600. The reel’s rugged systems and sturdy body give it plenty of strength and top efficiency, while its sleek colors give it an air of style.
The reel uses a 5-bearing system that includes 4 ball bearings and a specialized Zero Reverse bearing. It also features a reactive 6-pin centrifugal brake system and carbon fiber drag that can generate up to 15 pounds. The handlebars of this reel are oversized which makes them great for large hands. They offer EVA grips to aid in successfully reeling in aggressive fish and casting without worry. The brakes can be internally adjusted to suit your needs and stay in position once they are set, giving you peace of mind and reducing the amount of time that is spent adjusting the brakes.
Each of these features is housed on the aluminum-framed body, which is resistant to bowing and flexing and comes complete with matching aluminum side panels.
- High-quality 5-bearing system
- Aluminum frame and side plates
- Oversized handle with EVA grips
- Carbon fiber drag with 15 pounds maximum
- Bulkier than some other models
9. Cadence C5B Baitcasting Reel
Boasting both a sleek look and exceptional performance, the Cadence CB5 is truly a great investment for any serious angler. In total, it weighs only 7.z ounces despite being made of durable aluminum and carbon fiber materials. It’s available in both black and red.
It has 8 corrosion-resistant bearings that make for flawlessly smooth operation, while the patented carbon fiber drag system gives the reel amazing power. This drag system has a maximum drag of 20 pounds and, included in the 8 ball bearings, is 1 anti-reverse bearing. Along with the bearings comes an SLT (Super Low Torque) BB system that takes the difficulty out of casting and makes the process of reeling in large fish nearly silent.
Adding to its appeal, the reel features an adjustable magnetic brake system that is externally adjustable. It works to easily eliminate backlash without taking up too much time or causing any stress.
- Lightweight and durable
- 20-lb drag maximum
- Corrosion-resistant bearings
- Available in two color options
- Spool end cap pops off
10. Sougayilang Baitcasting Fishing Reel
The Sougayilang reel is a high-quality, aesthetically pleasing baitcasting reel that has taken the fishing world by storm. From its metallic coloration and flashy yellow details to its overall lightweight and ease of use, the reel is a popular choice.
The body and side plates are made of carbon, which effectively reduces the reel’s overall weight, bringing it to a total weight of only 7.6 ounces. This also gives the body a layer of corrosion resistance.
It has an 11+1 brass ball bearing system, a brass gear, and an externally adjustable magnetic brake system, the combination working to reduce backlash and improve the reel’s ease of use. In addition, the carbon fiber drag system has a maximum drag of 18-lbs. This drag system is highly responsive.
To make using the reel even easier, it features a flat-sided rubber cork handle and knobs that are both slip-resistant and oversized.
- Corrosion-resistant body
- 11+1 ball bearing system
- Externally adjustable
- Oversized cork handle that boasts slip-resistance
- Reports of inconsistent drag
Choosing Good Baitcasting Reels: A Buying Guide
Baitcasting reels can be made from a variety of materials. The most common are aluminum, graphite, and carbon. All three are relatively lightweight and corrosion-proof, although graphite tends to be a fraction cheaper than the other options. This being said, graphite is also less durable under strain and in the long term, which means it’s not ideal for large catches.
Aluminum is the best choice for hefty catching, with carbon sitting somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. You should also consider whether you want a frame that is made of a single piece of material or that has been pieced together. Single-piece frames tend to be a bit sturdier and more resistant to flexing.
Before buying a reel, it’s important to consider your needs and which material suits them best.
Line capacity is another important factor to consider. Reels with a low profile are more than enough for catching moderately sized fish like bass, but reels with a higher profile are better equipped for saltwater and deep-water fishing, where larger fish are likely to be targeted.
Related: check our article about best fishing line for bass!
While there is no set line capacity for fishing, sizing up to a larger capacity can make your reel more versatile. However, if you don’t plan on doing any major fishing and are happy to stick with smaller catches, a lower profile reel with a smaller line capacity might do the trick.
Good ball bearings
When it comes to weeding out good baitcasting reels, the number of ball bearings doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the ball bearings. It’s easy to be tempted by a brand of the reel that lists a dozen of ball bearings on their packaging, but this isn’t generally necessary.
Instead of going for a lot of bearings, opt to search for a reel with good bearings instead. A good set of bearings should be shielded, double-shielded, or sealed. A product that has only 8 ball bearings is usually more than enough for most anglers, so there’s no need to try to find a reel with the highest bearing count possible.
Due to the materials used to make baitcasting reels, the finished reels tend to vary in weight. Most are quite lightweight, as they’re relatively small products with very few unnecessary bells and whistles. Some models do weigh less than others and this could be a factor for you.
Advantages of Baitcasting Reels
Use of heavier line
Baitcasting reels are designed so the axis of the rotation of the reel runs perpendicularly to the rod guides. This means that the lines goes directly through the rod guides, which then works to lessen the weight of the line, making it possible for users to use a leaver line.
In terms of power, baitcasting reels take the cake. They’re much more powerful than spinning reels in several areas. Their handles, spools, and bearings are all situated on the same level, which allows users to generate more torque and power.
In addition, the handles are mounted directly onto the reel frame; there’s no lever or pully that could get bent when winding in a catch.
Less line tangling
Traditional spinning reels are known for the frequency in which their lines twist and tangle. Not only does this ruin the line, but it also interferes with what would have otherwise been a great cast.
Baitcasting reels have a lower chance of line twisting, as this only happens when using certain types of light lures. Otherwise, the way that the reel is designed prohibits line twisting.
Baitcasting reels give you a great deal more control than spinning reels do. Users can control the distance of their casts and their lures with the touch of their thumb, which is impossible to do using spinning reels. Again, with a bit of experience and just a hint of luck, users can cast their lures directly where the fish are.
The main reason that baitcasting reels are used is that they cast long, highly accurate casts. When combined with a good fishing rod and a bit of expertise, a line can be thrown so that is moves directly from the rod guides and makes its mark without coming unwound.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Yes. Many serious fishers swear by them.
In general, baitcasters are better for larger fish and deep-water fishing, while spinning reels excel when lighter lures are used.
Baitcasting reels that are the best for beginners are those that are easy to cast and that have good bearings and reliable gears.
All the options we’ve mentioned above are simple and easy to use.
Yes, you can.
Each of the options above offers great value for the money. There are, of course, other great options on the market, though.
Baitcasters are most used for bass fishing, but they can be used for other fish, as well.
Most popular lures can be used on baitcasting reels.
Baitcasting reels are a smart choice for anglers of all experience levels and interests. They provide flexibility and are reliable, while still being both affordable and powerful.
Buying a suitable baitcaster for your needs requires nothing more than taking your time and considering the most important factors. As a quick reminder, these factors include the weight of the reel, line capacity, the type of frame you need, and the quality of the bearings.
Check our other guides: