Anglers often consider the question, which is better to improve your performance, a baitcasting reel or a spinning reel? Here are a few tips on finding the best baitcasting reel and a few reviews to help you start your search.
Most anglers know that spinning reels can be great to learn on but eventually, you’ll want a fishing reel that will evolve with your skills. A baitcaster is ideal for anglers that want more precision and control with their casts and for those that have a lot of experience in perfecting their skills.
The Best Baitcasting Reels
Experts Guide To The Best Baitcasting Reel
Baitcasting reels are also known as baitcasters, and are a great choice for anglers looking to perfect their technique making them a better reel for professional or more advanced anglers. This is due to the higher gear ratio they offer for a faster retrieve, plus they can be used with larger crankbaits and buzz baits.
Baitcasting reels make it easier to use heavier lines, between ten to twenty pounds, and can easily cast lure that ranges from 1/4 to 1 ounce and more.
This is due to the fact that the rod guides are perpendicular to the spool’s axis of rotation so the line is coming directly off through the line guide and right through the rod guides.
Since baitcasters spool the line perpendicular to the spool axis, the only time you will have line twist is from the line that comes from your lure when you are fishing soft plastics.
When you have a baitcaster reel paired with the right rod, you can outcast a spinning reel. In comparison to the uncoiling of a spinning reel, the line comes right off the spook and straight out the rod guides.
Due to the spool design and layout, baitcasters can have more power than spinning reels. Since the spool is in-line with the gears and handle, your fishing reel can give you more torque and power, plus when the handles are mounted right onto the reel frame, you don’t need a lever arm to cause flex when you are reeling hard on a fish.
You get a high degree of casting control with a baitcasting reel in comparison to spinning gear due to the amount of speed and distance you get when thumbing the spool during the cast.
After you get used to using it, you can get incredible accuracy with your casts that let you put your lure exactly where you want it.
Choosing the Best Baitcasting Reel
The manufacturer or brand of a baitcasting reel is important when selecting a reel. Each brand will use different features when producing their reels that may or may not be important depending on the style of fishing you have planned.
A dependable braking system will help you have an easy time when casting. There are two different types of reel brakes including:
- Magnetic system – This is the most inexpensive and easiest to learn type of a braking system, but it is also the least efficient when it comes to making adjustments.
- Centrifugal system – This is more of a manual system that offers the ability to make the adjustments you need in strong winds or other factors.
Speed, Gearing, and Gears
Having a good speed ratio will lessen the torque in your reel improving your performance. Usually, standard gears will be made of brass while the higher quality gears will be constructed of metal which is more dependable and durable, but also more expensive.
Note: avoid plastic gears that will give you bad performance as well as break quickly.
Reducing friction between the gears in the reel, bearings help to increase its lifespan. When more bearings are used, you get a better cast.
But, keep in mind, that using a reel with five good quality bearings can still give you a better performance than a reel that has fifteen poor quality bearings.
The most expensive frames are made of aluminum which also gives you the best performance. Graphite and alloy are also common although they are not as strong as aluminum. Acting as the reel’s foundation, a frame should come in one piece.
Baitcasting Reel Reviews
Shimano Curado Baitcast Reel Review
For a high-quality baitcasting reel experience, the Shimano 200I Curado Baitcast Reel includes an aluminum spool and frame and a line guide made of titanium.
You also get 5 bearings as well as anti-reverse, and it features a 6.3 gear for all around use as well as a slower 5.5 to 1 gear for large baits. Plus, the 7:2:1 gear ratio is great if you are flipping and pitching.
Available in both right and left-handed models, the Curado features several specific technologies including a braking system that is adjustable allowing you to fine-tune the braking system to your preferences.
You can turn the brake pads on and off with convenient tabs, and the small knob on the side plate allows you to control the brake level and lessen the brakes so you can improve your casting distance. By increasing the brakes, you can also lessen the possibility of back lashing.
The X-Ship technology will help improve your reels lifespan by protecting your gears. Since it supports your pinion gear at both ends which also gives you more torque and power.
The Curado also offers the Super Free spool that makes sure you are getting the perfect balance so you can have smooth casts for longer distances that also lessens friction on the spool shaft as you cast.
It also when uses a ball bearing when supporting the pinion gear ensuring they align perfectly when you cast reducing friction to almost nothing.
Daiwa Tatula Review
Available in both left and right-handed models, the Daiwa Tatula Reels feature various gear ratios including 8.1, 7.3, and 6.3 to 1.
This aluminum reed is both lightweight and strong and uses eight corrosion-resistant bearings. It also features Magforce-X casting brakes with a smooth carbon drag system and a thirteen pound maximum drag.
All Tatula reel models have a specific casting system and include a line guide that is designed specifically to lessen friction and obstruction with your cast. It also allows you to keep even level line when you are winding and retrieving the line on to your spool.
When the line guide is flipped up into the casting position, your cast will have a T-shaped hole for the line to go through allowing you to have a larger hold for a smoother cast so you can achieve a greater distance.
This feature allows you to avoid having a small hole that restricts the line flow and when you retrieve the line, the T-shaped hole will flip down providing the line with a narrow groove allowing you to more evenly wind the line onto the spool.
Abu Garcia Revo SX Review
If you are looking for a premium baitcasting reel, the Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile may be a little more expensive, but it is worth the investment.
Featuring a great design and matching features, the Revo uses components that are lightweight but still incredibly strong. It is also really compact with a low profile that is comfortable and ergonomic to use.
This lightweight reel only weighs 6.7 ounces, so it is easy to use all day long in comparison to its heavier competitors.
The Revo uses a bent power handle that will give you the cranking leverage you want without straining your arms. It also has a corrosion resistant alloy frame and a specially designed spool that easily handles heavy loads and lines.
The Revo also includes anti-reverse and a titanium-coated line guide that lessens friction when casting. Ten high quality bearing with a maximum drag of 20 pounds allows you to which can allow you to bottom fish.
The magnetic braking system is a great feature for beginners since it allows you to adjust the brake by turning the knob on the outside of the reel so you can control your casting distance and reduce backlash. It also comes in a 6:4:1 gear ratio which is a great option for all-around performance and a 7:1:1 ratio for fishing around lily pads.
Abu Garcia BMax Low Profile Reel Review
This lightweight and compact reel gives you reliable performance and has become the go-to reel for beginners in bass fishing.
Even though it only uses four ball bearings, it is very smooth due to the use of the excellent “Power Disk” drag system.
With an impressive 18-pound maximum drag, the BMax also has an instant anti-reverse feature as well as Duragear brass gear to extend the gear’s lifespan.
A 6.4:1 gear ratio is the only option on this reel but that is enough for beginners as it is the gear that is recommended for overall performance.
The impressive MagTrax brake system allows you to consistently apply brake pressure throughout your cast, and it is adjustable with a simple turn of a knob on the outside of the handle. Since you can control the brake, you can reduce the pressure for casting at farther distances or increasing pressure to lessen backlash.
This lightweight rod weighs 7.3 ounces so you can fish for long periods of time without tiring your arm. Made of graphite, this is a strong and durable reel that uses a machined aluminum spool that adds strength without adding weight.
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Round Reel Review
One of the best-selling reels in history is the Classic C3 series. Now known as the Ambassador C4 series, it still retains the best Classic C3 features plus it includes newer features and technologies.
Available in several spool sizes that all feature the 6.3:1 gear ratio for a great all-around performance. Offered in both right and left-handed models, the Ambassador C4 uses drag material made from carbon fiber and an aluminum spool.
It has instant anti-reverse and a maximum drag of fifteen pounds and the instant anti-reverse feature found on most modern reels. Even though it only has four ball bearings, it is still smooth to operate and it includes a gear system that increases the strength of the gear to match the circumstances you are encountering.
Your casting is also improved by a level wind setup that is synchronized. The Ambassador C4 also features a comfortable bend handle that is compact and ergonomic so you can easily fish for hours at a time.
Best Baitcasting Reel Reviews Conclusion
The winner of the best baitcasting reel roundup is the Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile. This is a great reel for both experienced and beginning anglers.
This is a reel that is worth the investment that offers both great features and design. With lightweight components that are also incredibly strong, this reel has a compact and low profile that is ergonomic and comfortable to use all day long.
Featuring a bent power handle, the Revo SX gives you the cranking leverage you want and doesn’t string your arms. It is constructed with a corrosion resistant alloy frame and a specially designed spool that easily handles heavy loads and lines. The definite winner of the baitcasting reel roundup is the Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile hands down.
P.S. don't forget to check out our spincasting reels, fly fishing reels, ice fishing reels and surf fishing reels reviews & guides for a deeper dive into those topics, and if you're getting into bass fishing, be sure to read our extensive bass fishing guide.