Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Fishing Reels Reviewed

Whether you’re a newbie or pro angler looking to upgrade your reel to a better model, this guide is here to help.

by Andrew

Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Fishing Reels Reviewed

Whether you’re a newbie or pro angler looking to upgrade your reel to a better model, this guide is here to help.

by Andrew

by Andrew

Reeling and casting might seem like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, but with the right fittings and systems in place, it won’t be a problem for long. Whether you’re entirely new to fishing or you are becoming a more experienced angler looking to upgrade your reel to a better model, this guide here to help.

We’ve compiled a list of the best fishing reels on the market to make your reel search a little easier.

Preview

Product

Reel Type

Reel Weight

Max Drag

Check Price

Redington Reels Behemoth 5/6 Reel, Black

Redington BEHEMOTH 7/8

Fly Reel

7.5 oz.

Up to 20 lbs

Zebco 33KPL,10C,BX6 33 Platinum 5 Ball...

Zebco 33KPL

Spincast Reel

11.2 oz.

N/A

PENN 1403985 Slammer III Spinning Gold, 6500

Penn Slammer III

Spinning Reel

16 oz.

30 lbs

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500 FB Spinning Fishing...

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG 2500 model

Spinning Reel

6.7 oz.

20 lbs.

Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel

Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel

Baitcasting Reel

7.7 oz.

12 lbs.

Shimano Curado 200K Lowprofile Freshwater...

SHIMANO Curado

Baitcasting Reel

7.6 oz.

11 lbs

Lew's Custom SLP 7.5:1 Left Hand Baitcast...

Lew's Custom Speed Spool SLP Series

Casting Reel

6.6 oz.

20 lbs

KastKing Summer Spinning Reel,Size 3000...

KastKing Summer and Centron

Ice Fishing Spinning Reel

11.9 oz.

17.5 lbs

SHIMANO Torium 30 HGA Saltwater Star Drag...

Shimano Torium SW Saltwater

Saltwater Reel

18.9 oz.

24 lbs

PENN 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing...

Penn Battle II

Spinning Reel

17.6 oz.

15 lbs


The Importance of High-Quality Fishing Reels

Your reel is the heart of your fishing equipment. If you purchase a high-quality reel, your line will run smoother, you can target the type of fish you wish, and you’ll conquer your preferred waterways in style. Your reel won’t be prone to wear and tear either, so it will last you longer.

There are many styles, sizes, gears, bearings, and line capacities differentiating one reel to another. With the right information, you can catch the desired fish you like with a reel suitable for you and your experience level.


Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Quality Fish Reel

Target Fish & Environment

Do you live near a lake that’s swarming with bluegill catfish? Or maybe you’re hoping to buy a reel to meet the match of many bass breeds? Knowing the water environment and the species you wish to use your reel in will seriously help you narrow down your search. If you’re unsure of the type of fish you hope to catch, then go for a small reel, medium, or heavy in duty. Here are some examples of popular targeted species and their sizes

Species and their Environments

Freshwater Panfish- Crappie, Bluegill, Sunfish

Shallow waterways in ponds and lakes (often muddy)

Smallmouth Bass and Trout

Clear and rocky streams and rivers (cranking works best in this environment)

Bluefish, Cod, Flounder, Striped Bass, Tuna, Sea Trout

All saltwater species that require a corrosive-resistant reel

Fishing Skill

If you’re just starting on your fishing journey, and you’re taking up fishing as a new hobby, there’s no need to throw down a couple of hundred dollars on a new reel. You’re most likely looking for a reel that’s simple to use and made of high-quality materials to get you started.

On the other hand, more experienced anglers looking to become pro’s will be looking for a more heavy-duty reel to match their existing arsenal. No matter your experience level, we’ve covered a range of reels to suit all levels of anglers in our reviews.

Reel Type & Size

There are three main reel types to choose from: spinning, spincast, and baitcasting reels. Not only are these three the most popular, but they also have a range of sizes to choose from by some of the leading manufacturers in fishing equipment.

The size of the reel depends on what it’s used for. Whether it’s to reach a specific distance to catch deep water species, or you wish for your reel to be able to troll, jig, or drop shot to get your catch, this is where size will matter. We elaborate further on reel types and sizes in our product reviews, and we discuss each reels' features for fishing.

Important Reel Features

  • Gear Ratios
    A lower gear ratio (up to 5.4) will have more torque, so they're perfect to pair with big swimbaits, deep crankbaits, and deep water spinnerbaits.A reel with a medium gear ratio (6.1-6.4) is perfect for multiple presentations, making them very popular among bass anglers.Higher gear ratios (7.1-8.1) are fast, so pair this ratio with jigs and worms, Texas rigs, Carolina rigs, or any light, topwater baits.
  • Drag System
    There are two main types of drag within a reel: front drag and rear drag. Front drag reels often have larger drag washers, and we find the line run smoother from the spool. Rear drag reels allow anglers to adjust the drag system to their liking. Experienced anglers prefer this drag system as it can be more difficult for new anglers.
  • Ball Bearings
    Most spinning, spin casting, and baitcasting reels will feature ball bearings. These balls work within the reel for improved smoothness, support, and stability while in operation. Many believe that the more ball bearings, the better, but we think that the quality of the bearings greatly triumphs the quantity for better performance in return.
  • Spool Style
    If you hope to use heavier lines, then you’ll need a reel that can withstand it. This is where the size and the style of the spool come into play. Many of the reels on our list feature an internal or skirted spool style to support different types of lines. The line can often get tangled within an internal spool, so manufacturers began to make skirted spools to solve this problem. Skirted spools are often more shallow, and they have markings so anglers can see exactly how much line they have on their spools- a great feature for beginner fishers.
  • Line Capacity
    Manufacturers indicate the amount of line and the capacity in which the spool can hold on each of their fishing reels. This stops anglers from overloading the reel or using lines that simply won’t benefit you. It’s measured in lbs and yds. We’ve listed this information with each reel that we’ve reviewed.
  • Hand Orientation
    This will determine whether your new reel will retrieve on the left-hand side or the right. Some reels will have interchangeable hand retrievals, but with most baitcasting reels, you’ll need to choose the right-hand orientation to suit you.

Warranty

Even if you purchase the best of the best fishing reel at the highest price, damages can still take place during packaging, or shipping, or even during production. Having a warranty on your new reel could be detrimental as you’ll be able to return it if damages are apparent. Some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty, whereas others will cover your new reel for 1 year. We’ve listed the length of each warranty of our reviewed reels under the pros and cons list. Take this into account if you’re stuck between choosing 1 or 2 models.

Price

Fishing reels can range in features, and this dramatically impacts each price point. Spincasting reels tend to be the easiest and cheapest models of reels, but some spinning reels will be very competitive in terms of price. Baitcast reels are lighter but can handle bigger lines and heavier weights, which is why they’re more expensive. In terms of fly fishing reels, you can get some high-quality reels at amazing prices. Whether you have a $100 budget or $1000, you’ll find a reel suitable for your needs with the help of our reviews!


10 Best Fishing Reels Reviewed

1. Redington BEHEMOTH 7/8

best fly fishing reel

Reel Type

Fly Reel

Reel Weight

7.5 oz.

Max Drag

Up to 20 lbs

Line Capacity

Fly line: 200/20 Yds/lbs.

Ball Bearings

N/A

Gear Ratio

N/A

The first reel on our list is the popular fly reel by Redington. The Behemoth fly reel is available in 5 sizes, from 4/5 WT for small fish species to 11/12 WT for hefty game fish like largemouth bass and sea trout. No matter the size you choose, you’ll get a top-of-the-line drag system that puts many of its competitors to shame. The reel features a super-heavy-duty carbon fiber drag package giving the reel exceptional drag strength, reliability, and performance. It’s easily adjusted by its oversized drag knob, even when wearing heavy fishing gloves.

The construction and design of this fly reel are impressive, too. It has an unmachinable, unique Die-cast construction with a matte finish. You’ll get to choose from 5 color options, too. These are:

  • Black
  • Gunmetal (Smoke Gray)
  • Desert (Sand-green)
  • O.D. Green
  •  Hunter Orange

Match these features and good looks with a large arbor and deep V spool design for increased backing, twin-molded handle, and interchangeable hand retrieval, and you’ve got yourself a remarkable fly fishing reel. If that’s not enough to win you over, Redington includes a nylon reel case and a lifetime warranty on this series. We believe it’s the best fly fishing reel on the market, and we’re sure you’ll love it just as much as we do.

Pros
  • Reliable and strong drag system
  • Comes with a nylon reel case
  • Lifetime Warranty
Cons
  • Must be used with a fly rod

2. Zebco 33KPL

best spincast reel

Reel Type

Spincast Reel

Reel Weight

11.2 oz.

Max Drag

N/A

Line Capacity

Mono: 100/20 yds./lbs.

Ball Bearings

4+1

Gear Ratio

4.7:1

Zebco has been around for decades, and it’s a brand many anglers know and love. Their model Zebco 33 reel continues to get little upgrades, and now the 33KPL is created.  It’s no wonder it is our top pick for the best spincast reel. And, we’re not the only anglers who love it, too.

John D bought and reviewed this new model on the Zebcos site. He stated,

“I know Zebco has been around forever and could be relied upon. Got this one with my daughter in mind for ease of use. But it is great for anyone—novice or experienced alike.”

This sleek platinum reel has a ton of features to rave about. For starters, the all-metal gears with dual ceramic pick-up pins won’t leave your line tangled in any way. It also features solid brass pinion gear. This model has a gear ratio of 4.7:1, so it’s a little slow making it perfect for heavy baits.

The instant anti-reverse clutch works well and will be very helpful for novice anglers. You’ll also get 4 stainless steel ball bearings in the reel, so everything runs smoothly. The all-metal body and stainless steel covers allow you to use them in fresh or saltwater applications. It also has ambidextrous hand orientation so novice anglers can find which hand suits them better for casting and retrieving.

Pros
  • Dial-adjustable drag is easy to use
  • 4+1 high-quality ball bearings
  • 1-Year Warranty
Cons
  • Users have reported issues with the thumb button

3. Penn Slammer III

best spinning reel

Reel Type

Spinning Reel

Reel Weight

16 oz.

Max Drag

30 lbs

Line Capacity

Mono: 480/4  360/6  285/8 yds./lbs.

Ball Bearings

6+1

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

The Slammer III is a fantastic update on one of the longest-lasting Penn spinning reels. It’s easy to use and extremely versatile for different fish species and water presentations.

"I’ve landed countless big Reds, Snook, and lost my share of big Tarpon. This reel has been through it all from rocks to sand to saltwater to mud.”

The body and spool are constructed of IP6 metal and are built to keep water out of the sealed Dura-drag System. Penn also focused a lot on their gear technology and has created an amazingly smooth gear train out of brass, which uses the CNC machine technology giving all anglers the strength and precision you’ll need when freshwater fishing. Between these gears and the 6+1 ball bearings, the Slammer III offers anglers one of the smoothest reel operations you can find in a spinning reel.

We found the line capacity rings very useful when putting a line on the spool. Overfeeding your spool is a common mistake novice anglers run into, so it’s great for this problem. It’s also beneficial for you to see how much line you have cast in the water. They are located on the top and bottom of the spool.

Lastly, the reel is fitted with 2 handle knobs, which add to this reel's versatility. One handle is an aluminum knob for cranking in big game fish, while the other is an EVA knob for anglers that prefer a softer feel. Thanks to these unique features, and thoughtful touches, we vote the Slammer III as the best spinning reel for novice and intermediate anglers.

Pros
  • Patented gear and drag systems by Penn
  • Line capacity rings are very useful
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty
Cons
  • Heavier in weight compared to their competitors

4. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG 2500 model

best spinning reel for bass fishing

Reel Type

Spinning Reel

Reel Weight

6.7 oz.

Max Drag

20 lbs

Line Capacity

Powerpro: 10/200; 20/140; 40/105 yds/lbs.
Mono: 6/230; 8/170;10/140 yds/lbs.

Ball Bearings

6+1

Gear Ratio

6.0.1

The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500 spinning reel is our top pick for the best reel for bass. The already high performing reel got a serious upgrade with the latest Shimano technology without losing its quality performance features. This 6+1 spinning reel can pull in as much as 20 lbs, so most bass species won’t be a match against the Stradic Ci4+.

This reel is packed with Shimano's patented features. One of these is Shimao's X-ship Technology. This improves gear durability so anglers won’t feel any friction between the spool shaft and the gears. This, in return, gives you better casting performance so that you can do longer casts. It also features CoreProtect, protecting the main elements (the roller clutch, the body, and the line roller) from water damage without creating a heavy rotation feeling.

The body itself is constructed of a super-lightweight, strong CI4+ carbon body. It also features a cold-forged aluminum spool and Shimano's Magnumlite Rotor. All of these elements bring the weight of the reel down enormously, so it will be comfortable to use for long periods.

When it comes to bass fishing, you should expect it to perform wonderfully. Often anglers get frustrated with the line birds nesting within the reel. This external spool has a propulsion line management system that offers exceptional smoothness and casting capabilities. It’s one of many great reels used for striped bass, smallmouth bass, and even a ton of trout fish species.

Pros
  • Extremely light in weight
  • Great line management technology
  • 2-Year Limited Warranty
Cons
  • Popular product- often out of stock

5. Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel

best baitcasting reel for beginners

Reel Type

Baitcasting Reel

Reel Weight

7.7 oz.

Max Drag

12 lbs

Line Capacity

Braid: 185/20 140/30 100/50 yds/lbs
Mono: 145/12 125/14 100/17 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

9

Gear Ratio

7.3:1

If you wish to learn how to fish with a baitcasting rod and reel, you’re in luck. There’s a ton of reels to choose from. Our top pick for the best baitcasting reel for beginners is the President XT Low Profile Reel by Pflueger. This high performing reel looks very professional without being too hard to use. For a beginner angler, you’ll have everything you’ll need packed into this lovely low profile baitcaster.

The reel is housed in aluminum for extreme durability. It also has an aluminum handle that's 'aircraft graded,' so it's incredibly durable yet comfortable to use. The magnetic braking system with adjustable brake controls work well, and you can adjust your spool rotation to avoid backlashes; this is a great feature for novice anglers. This reel has 9 high-quality, corrosive-resistant ball bearings, making it freshwater and saltwater friendly. We loved pairing this reel with a braided line, and it worked a treat when offshore fishing.

The one thing to note, if you’re hoping to catch really big fish, then the max drag may disappoint you a little. It has a total max drag of 12 lbs. It’s more than enough for many pan size species, but if you push it too much or pair it with the wrong line rating, then expect to run into some trouble.

Pros
  • Backlash-Resistant- great for baitcasting beginners
  • Magnetic braking system
  • 1-Year Limited Warranty
Cons
  • Only available in a right-handed retrieve

6. SHIMANO Curado K

best baitcasting reel for big fish

Reel Type

Baitcasting Reel

Reel Weight

7.6 oz.

Max Drag

11 lbs

Line Capacity

Mono Line Capacity: 8/180, 10/155, 14/110
PowerPro Line Capacity: 30/190, 50/120, 65/80 yds/lbs.

Ball Bearings

6+1

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Looking for a small and light baitcasting reel that can reel in large fish? Let us introduce the Shimano Curado K Baitcast Reel. Not only did Shimano make this reel for many fishing situations, but the low price point means it's more affordable to a wider group of anglers. Here are some of the top features in this versatile, low-profile baiter:

  • Compact body design
    This model is 10% smaller than its earlier models, but it’s still as tough! It has a robust AL aluminum frame that won’t flex under pressure. This Hagane aluminum frame also protects the interior of the reel from unexpected impacts.
  • Super-free Spool
    Expect smooth casts that will go the extra distance with this spool design. With a good strong cast, this spool will be able to keep up with your heavy lures and will handle light lures just as well.
  • 6 Shielded A-RB ball bearings & Instant Anti-reverse Bearing
    These bearings are constructed of stainless steel, so they’re specifically shielded to prevent corrosion. There’s also 1 super stopper anti-reverse bearing that ends any back-play at the drop of a hat.
  • SVS Infinity Brake System
    This system uses brake weights that give friction to the inside of the reel. Control the speed of the spool to get the utmost precision when using lighter lures.
  • Cross Carbon Drag System
    You can make finer changes to your drag setting with the help of the drag star. It’s not as powerful as previous models, but it's just as smooth.

Some other features are the long and strong handle, which allows for more leverage when reeling in that big bass, drum, or trout. You can also choose between 3 gearing options in 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and 8.5:1. Lastly, you can choose between left and right-handed retrievals in all sizes. These features and more makes this model the best baitcasting reel for big fish.

Pros
  • High-quality parts throughout the reel
  • Smooth and powerful retrieval
  • 1-Year Warranty
Cons
  • Casting control is a bit tight- will need some getting used to

7. Lew's Custom Speed Spool SLP Series

best Lew’s fishing reel

Reel Type

Casting Reel

Reel Weight

6.6 oz.

Max Drag

20 lbs

Line Capacity

110/12 yds/lbs.

Ball Bearings

9+1

Gear Ratio

7.5:1

Lew’s fishing is known by many anglers for its high-quality products. They’re continuing to make reels at tournament levels while keeping that fun element in every model. The Custom Speed Spool SLP Series isn’t in any way different. It was voted ‘Best of Show’ during the industry's biggest trade show, ICAST. This was voted by members of the media and buyers, giving this reel even more validation of its worthiness. We believe it’s the best Lew's fishing reel, thanks to these killer features.

  • It has a lightweight one-piece aluminum frame.
  • It features 9-stainless steel double-shielded ball bearings and Zero-Reverse, one-way clutch bearing.
  • The side plates are constructed of lightweight graphite
  • MSB (Multi-Setting Brake) gives you a dual cast control system.
  • Each size has a bowed, lightweight 95mm aluminum handle with a Winn Dri-Tac knob.
  • It has a zirconia line guide and an external lube port for easy maintenance.

We particularly enjoyed this reels drag system. It has a rugged carbon fiber drag system that provides up to 20 lbs. of drag power. And the double anodized U-spool allows you to use a mono or braided line.

When we brought this reel to the water, we loved how easy it was to cast and retrieve the line. This is thanks to the 4-pin, externally adjustable centrifugal braking system. There’s also an external dial with 27 points of adjustments to fine-tune your reel even further. We believe this reel is for anglers looking to upgrade their fishing techniques. It’s not the easiest reel to use for beginners straight off the bat.

Pros
  • Award-winning reel
  • 9+1 double shielded bearings
  • 1-Year Warranty
Cons
  • Better suited to intermediate or experienced anglers

8. KastKing Summer and Centron

best ice fishing reel

Reel Type

Ice Fishing Spinning Reel

Reel Weight

11.9 oz.

Max Drag

17.5 lbs

Line Capacity

8/370, 10/300, 6/310, 8/210 lbs/yds.

Ball Bearings

9+1

Gear Ratio

5.2:1

Ice fishing requires some extremely specific gear, and the rod and reel are the heart of your ice fishing arsenal. We believe the KastKing Summer and Centron spinning reel takes the top prize for the best ice fishing reel on the market. Not only does it look great, but it performs exceptionally, too. Some of the other features of this high-performing reel are:

  • Graphite Frame
    Thanks to graphite, the reels are very lightweight. The shaft is made of hardened metal and makes the reels strong and durable.
  • 9+1 Ball Bearings
    Each reel has 9 ball bearings that make it very easy and smooth to use. The 1 roller bearing helps with braking without adjusting any dials. This is important as you’ll most likely be wearing thick and heavy fishing gloves.
  • CNC- Machined Aluminium Spool
    This allows the reel to have a precise line-lay so the line won’t build-up on any part of the spool.
  • Interchangeable Handle
    If you're left or right-handed, you can swap and change the handle's orientation with a touch of a button.

The Summer & Centron reel is finished with anti-corrosion paint that protects it from probable damage, so you'll have a strong reel that's durable for your fishing adventures. You’ll bet a total of 17.5 lbs of max drag, and it’s all available at an unbeatable price.

Pros
  • Lightweight frame
  • Suitable for saltwater and freshwater, and ice fishing
  • 1-Year Warranty
Cons
  • Sporty design- may not be every anglers taste

9. Shimano Torium SW Saltwater

best fishing reel for saltwater

Reel Type

Saltwater Reel

Reel Weight

18.9 oz.

Max Drag

24 lbs

Line Capacity

Powerpro: 50/530; 65/330; 80/250 yds/lbs
mono: 16/450; 20/320; 25/260 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

3+1

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

The best saltwater fishing reel needs to be able to endure a lot of splashback from water that’s full of sand and grit. This leads us to introduce to you the best saltwater reel manufactured by Shimano. The Torium SW Saltwater reel is perfect for many fishing presentations like offshore jigging, casting live baits, and bottom fishing. It has a solid construction with Shimano’s cross carbon drag system and a lot more to seduce you to make the purchase.

The high-efficiency gearing system will deliver strength and rigidity even when fishing seawater game fish. It greatly increases the leverage and power of the overall performance. The gearing system runs a little higher, with a gear ratio of 6.2:1. Even though it may operate quite quickly, we didn’t get overwhelmed at its operation, and we feel novice or intermediates could learn a lot from this durable and smooth reel.

Unlike many other reels on our list, this model's spool is relatively narrow, yet it’s still constructed of aluminum. This dramatically reduces the need to guide the line manually. The bearings also help everything inside the reel to run smoothly and without too much noise. You’ll get 3 SA-RB bearings and 1 roller bearing made of high-quality stainless steel.

One of the best features of the Torium SW reel is the multi-waster star drag system. It uses Dartainium washers so you can do high speed runs from oceanic fish. There is also a nice ‘Click’ feature, too, as adjustments are made. One thing that would help this reel would be a level-wind system, but overall, there’s not much to fault with this superb saltwater reel.

Pros
  • Lightweight and ergonomically designed
  • Super-fast line retrievals
  • 1-Year Warranty
Cons
  • Small in size, but heavier in weight compared to the other reels

10. Penn Battle II

best surf fishing reel

Reel Type

Spinning Reel

Reel Weight

17.6 oz.

Max Drag

15 lbs

Line Capacity

Braid: 360/15 260/20 185/30 yds/lbs
Mono: 270/8 220/10 165/12 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

5+1

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Surf fishing is a great way for anglers of all levels to learn or to ease the craft of fishing. It’s considered one of the more straightforward fishing methods as you're casting directly from the shore. This doesn’t mean any old rod and reel will do. We found the Penn battle II to be the perfect companion to your surf fishing rod during these fishing trips.

One review remarked on the Penn Fishing website,

“I fish about 60 days a year in the Laguna Madre of South Texas. I have been using Penn my entire life. I started using the Battle series a few years ago and have been impressed.”

The Penn Battle II features a full metal body, rotor, and side plate, making it a slightly heavier reel than its competitors. It also means that it will not flex under the pressure of larger fish, so you can fight retreating fish with ease. It has an extra heavy-duty bail wire that should last well over time or warp with use. This is important as a warped bail will lead to inferior line management, which isn’t fun for anglers new to the game.

We recommend the reel size 4000 as it has a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and is perfectly suited to a range of oceanic fish species. If you’re looking for a reel that's bigger or smaller in size, then fear not, as there are 6 sizes to choose from. All reel sizes are well suited for fresh and saltwater fishing and have an HT 100 carbon fiber drag system.

Penn did a fantastic job in pricing this reel so that anglers who are even just beginning their surfcasting journey could afford it. It’s also highly reviewed for experienced anglers, so it can suit many fishing styles.

Pros
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system
  • No backing required
  • 1-Year Warranty
Cons
  • Difficult to self-maintain

Comparing Different Types of Fishing Reels

  • Spinning Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels vs. Spincast Reels
    As we mentioned previously, these three reels are the most common types of reels on the market. If you’re looking for the most options at various price points, then spinning reels are a good shout. Spincast reels are the cheapest and easiest to use, but they’re not as versatile as spinning reels. Baitcasting reels are the hardest out of the three, but they’re also great for various fish and techniques.
  • Fly Fishing Reels
    Fly reels are very basic, so they're one of the easiest reels to set up and use. They require a specific fly rod and fly line, so don’t expect a rod you already have to fit this type of reel. Compared to the reels listed above, they tend to start at the same price point as spincasting reels. 
  • Conventional Trolling Reels
    A conventional trolling reel operates the same as a baitcasting reel. They both feature the same "revolving spool." The biggest difference between the two is the techniques they’re used for. Baitcasting reels are used to cast far into waterways, whereas conventional reels are generally used for trolling in salt and freshwater.
  • Offshore Reels vs. Inshore Reels
    Offshore reels are designed to be heavy-duty, and they’re usually a lot higher in reel sizes than the spinning and spincasting reels. As you’re fishing offshore, you're more than likely dealing with larger fish sizes and deeper waterways. Inshore reels are built completely differently. They’re usually 2000-3000 in size and have an open face with corrosion-resistant components.

Recommended Reel Sizing for Anglers

The reel you choose will be based on your fishing environment and the species you hope to catch. This, in return, helps you select the line rating and the type of line you should use. We’ve explained when and where fish can be found in our guide above. So, here is a better sizing guide so you can choose the right reel size based on the weight of your catch.

Reel Size & Fish Weight

2500-3000

From 2-8 lbs

3500-4500

From 8-15 lbs

4500+

From 15 lbs+


Fishing Tips for Beginners

Apart from choosing the right fishing gear and apparel, there are a lot more factors you’ll need to consider as a beginner angler. Some of these are:

  1. 1
    Choosing your lure: If you match your lures to the water's color, many species will be keener to bite.
  2. 2
    Start your fishing adventure to suit the species you hope to catch: This means you might have to fish very early in the morning or later in the evening. Catfish, for example, are less likely to be caught throughout the day.
  3. 3
    Practice techniques before getting to the water: If you hope to troll or jig for fish, it’s wise to practice this technique in a kiddie’s pool or a small pond. You won’t catch fish unless you move your bait in a life-like manner.
  4. 4
    Use a scale to set your reel's drag: Setting your drag correctly is one of the hardest things to learn on a fishing reel. By using a scale, you eliminate any guessing, and you’ll understand how to do it quicker for future trips.
  5. 5
    Be conscious of tides and currents: These will easily cut your fishing trips and ultimately damage your equipment. Keep an eye and do some research on the weather before hitting the water.

People also Ask (FAQs)

How important is it to consider the target fish when deciding on a reel

As we mentioned under our buyer’s guide, the type of fish you wish to target should 100% be considered when choosing the right reel for you. Whether the species are found in freshwater or saltwater will narrow down your search even further.

Is it wise to buy a rod and reel combo for a beginner angler?

Absolutely. As a novice angler, it’s hard to find a perfectly paired rod and reel. If you need both, then a combo is a great way to go! We’ve listed some of the best rods and reels on the market in another guide. You can find it here.

What is the difference between expensive and cheap fishing reels?

Just like buying an expensive or cheap smartphone or computer, each device will operate smoother and better with the more you spend. That doesn’t mean all cheap models won’t work well and get you a few catches, but they might wear and tear faster over time. Expensive reels will be more specific and will feel like tournament level reels.

What’s the best fishing line for regular spinning reels?

Monofilament or braided lines are the top two line choices by anglers for spinning reels. Out of the two, we prefer braided lines as they’re a lot stronger and have a thinner diameter. This means you can fit more of it on your spool.

How often should I clean my fishing reel, and what should I do?

This is determined by how often you use it. We recommend rinsing your reel every time you use it in saltwater presentations. For freshwater, it should be sufficient to give the reel a deep clean every two-three times of use.

Where is the best place to find quality fishing reels for sale?

Amazon is a great choice for buying your new fishing reels as you can find the model you want from many competing sellers. You can also choose to directly purchase the reel from the manufacturer's site or in your local fish tackle store.


Conclusion

Choosing the right reel requires a lot of thought and research. We hope we have helped you narrow your search with our knowledge and reviews listed above. If you're undecided, then go for our top pick for the best fly fishing reel, the Redington BEHEMOTH model.

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