- 1 Best Baitcasting Reel Reviews – Editor’s Choice
- 1.1 1. SHIMANO Calcutta, Round Baitcasting Freshwater Reel
- 1.2 2. DAIWA Tatula, Baitcasting Reel
- 1.3 3. KASTKING Rover, Round Baitcasting Reel
- 1.4 4. ABU GARCIA Ambassadeur, Catfish Special Round Baitcasting Reel
- 1.5 5. SHIMANO Casitas, Baitcasting Freshwater Reel
- 1.6 6. LEWS Fishing Tournament MB, Baitcast Reel
- 1.7 7. ABU GARCIA BMAX3, Saltwater Baitcasting Reel
- 1.8 8. SHIMANO Curado K, Baitcasting Freshwater Reel
- 1.9 9. PISCIFUN New Phantom Carbon, Baitcasting Reel
- 1.10 10. KASTKING Royale, Saltwater Baitcasting Reel
- 1.11 11. PISCUFIN Torrent, Baitcasting Reel
- 1.12 12. KASTKING Spartacus Plus, Saltwater Baitcasting Reel
- 2 Baitcasting Reel Buying Guide
- 3 How to Choose the A Saltwater Baitcasting Reel
- 4 Crankbait Fishing and What to Look for in a Reel
- 5 Advantages/Disadvantages of Baitcasting Reels
- 6 Best Spinning Reels for Salt & Fresh Water Comparison Chart
- 7 FAQS:
- 8 Wrap Up
The baitcasting reel dates back to the mid-17th century. Early baitcasting reels were generally made of iron of brass gears, with spools and casings made of silver, brass, and even hard rubber. As you can see, many anglers before you have been using and perfecting this reel to catch some of the biggest fish out there!.
To start, why choose a baitcaster over another reel? Also, are you right or left handed? Do you plan to fish in saltwater sources? Are you just learning the art of angling or are you more experienced? These and other important questions are critical before buying the best baitcasting reel for yourself.
When you are going through baitcasting reel reviews and trying to figure out which is the right reel for yourself, you will no doubt come across many options. Most of these options ultimately depend on how/where you will be using it and what your personal preferences are.
- Shimano Calcutta Baitcasting Reel
- PRICE $$$$
- Bearings: 7+1 , 3+1
- Weight : 9.90oz - 11.80oz
- Max Drag : 9,50lb - 16,50LB
- Gear Ratio : 5.0:1 , 6.0:1
- Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel
- PRICE $$$
- Bearings: 7+1
- Weight : 7.60oz - 8.10oz
- Max Drag : 13,20lb
- Gear Ratio : 5.4:1 , 6.3:1 7.3:1 , 8.1:1
- KastKing Rover Baitcasting Reel
- PRICE $
- Bearings: 6+1 , 4+1
- Weight : 11.61oz - 19.01oz
- Max Drag : 11lb - 15.50lb
- Gear Ratio : 4.2:1 , 5.3:1
- Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Baitcast Reel
- PRICE $$$
- Bearings: 3+1
- Weight : 9.30oz - 10.90oz
- Max Drag : 15lb
- Gear Ratio : 5.0:1 , 6.3:1
- Shimano Casitas Baitcasting Reel
- PRICE $$$
- Bearings: 4+1
- Weight : 6.70oz
- Max Drag : 12lb
- Gear Ratio : 6.3:1 , 7.2:1
- LEWS Fishing Tournament MB, Baitcast Reel
- PRICE $$$
- Bearings: 9+1
- Weight : 6.70oz
- Max Drag : 14lb
- Gear Ratio : 5.6:1 , 6.8:1 7.5:1 , 8.3:1
Best Baitcasting Reel Reviews – Editor’s Choice
1. SHIMANO Calcutta, Round Baitcasting Freshwater Reel
SHIMANO Calcutta, Round baitcasting Freshwater Fishing Reel Built on the Shimano reputation for quality, the Calcutta is feature packed and built to last.
Loaded with advanced anti-reverse tech such as the Super Stopper, this reel features a 1-way roller bearing made of stainless steel which prevents back-play. This stipulates instantaneous hook setting capabilities and power.
The Micro Module Gear System provides a smoother retrieve on this reel. This gear functions with a greater number of teeth which are smaller to previous systems; providing extra contact between drive and pinion gears. These features provide a highly effective gear train without feeling the gear struggle.
Shimano has also included in the Calcutta Xship and SVS infinity functionality which when combined, allows for an easy to manage, consistent spool control with enhanced durability of the gear system.
Read the full review → Shimano Calcutta B
- SVS Infinity- SVS Infinity provides easy-to-manage, consistent spool control, and brake force.
- Smooth drive with the MMG system- which stands for Micro Module Gear System.
- X-Ship- X-Ship provides improved gear durability.
- Shimano Stable Spool Design (S3D)- provides a reduction in spool vibration
- Durable, Smooth Reeling, Smooth Drag System.
- Casts very well.
- Designed to catch the strongest fish out there.
2. DAIWA Tatula, Baitcasting Reel
Daiwa Tatula baitcaster fishing reels have a long history and great reputation for being extremely reliable and high performance. The Tatula is made from the highest grade components with a very strong anti-corrosive protection, enhanced stainless steel as the main shaft, a carbon fiber and fortified brass for added measure. Suitable for use in saltwater.
The compact bent handles together with the star provide an excellent ergonomic design making it stand out when compared to many others in its class level.
One feature that really stands out is the MagForce-z cast tech that controls efficiency
With the Ti coated line guide, it will help you reduce friction with the added bonus of improving efficiency.
Read the full review → Daiwa Tatula
- Durable and light construction including an aluminum frame
- Air rotation.
- Corrosion resistant clutch mechanism- longer life and durability.
- Magforce-Z cast control- Helps reduce friction on the line.
- Outstanding durability and versatile design
- Sturdiness and excellent overall performance.
- The MagForce-Z technology helps with efficiency
- Not the easiest reel to use- designed for the very experienced angler.
- Anglers have mentioned its difficult to clean and maintain.
- Not meant for smaller fish.
3. KASTKING Rover, Round Baitcasting Reel
Among baitcasting reels, the KastKing Rover Round is a versatile choice that offers carbon fiber drag washers, non-slip foam grips and has an ergonomic thumb release. This reel was built with durability in mind and its corrosion resistant structure makes it ideal for saltwater fishing. The manufacturer claims this reel to be invincible due to its spool and side plates which are reinforced with anodized aluminum.
With It’s reinforced drag system that is very smooth and built with carbon fiber, There is no need to be concerned about this reel getting damaged or even breaking when you catch a heavy one! Since it was created with stainless steel, its protected from the corrosion that might arise in saltwater environments.
The full feature set for a great price really sets this reel apart.
Read the full review → KASTKING Rover
- Designed and reinforced with an all-metal spool and brass gears, this reel provides amazing strength against any corrosion due to the elements including saltwater.
- Heavy duty drag system that is high performing and built with carbon fiber
- A consistent, smooth operation due to the all-metal bearings designed within the reel.
- Versatile reel for that can adapt to different fishing techniques in either type of waters.
- High-quality design and corrosion resistant materials- allows saltwater usage with long durability.
- Excellent braking system.
- Versatile fishing- can be used for different types of fishing.
- Reduced noise- does not produce humming sound when the handle is spun.
- Affordable reel for all its features.
- Anglers have commented on the weight of the reel- heavier than most in its class.
4. ABU GARCIA Ambassadeur, Catfish Special Round Baitcasting Reel
The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 Round has a very fluid, fast retrieval system with its high-rated gear system ratio.
Abu Garcia has endowed this reel with a gear system that is strong, fast and provides enough smooth horsepower for any types of fishing environments and scenarios. Increasing the durability of this reel it has an all-metal ball bearing system. The Ambassadeur with all its features has a lot to offer any angler.
The C4-6601 Reel also packs in a high performing drag system that is built with carbon. This allows for a fast, smooth and reliable experience when activating the drag system. Additionally, its brake system is built with 6 pins and allows for reliable consistent pressure. The features in this reel allow for great accuracy while casting.
Read the full review → Abu Garcia Ambassadeur
- High rated ball bearing system- This provides smooth operation.
- Drag system made with carbon- The system provides smooth, consistent drag pressure while casting
- Cranking power has been improved with the extended bent handle.
- High gear ratio
- Improved Duragear branded system with two-gears- This provides better gear strength for all fishing scenarios.
- High-speed retrieve with its excellent gear ratio.
- High quality with well-made parts and durable reel.
- Some anglers have indicated that this reel is lacking the sheer cranking power of other comparable reels.
5. SHIMANO Casitas, Baitcasting Freshwater Reel
The Shimano Casitas was built to handle a wide variety of fishing scenarios with its enhanced ball bearings system that virtually guarantees a really smooth, long cast and retrieve.
The reel is built with the famous Stable Spool (S3D) technology which delivers improved balance and casting that is more steady and less vibration during operation, with the added precision of the SVS Infinity external brake control that assists with the placement of the lure giving optimal performance.
The Shimano Casitas was designed with an ergonomic and lightweight handle for comfortable and easy operation, therefore, it appears to be a great baitcasting reel under 200$.
Read the full review → Shimano Casitas
- This low-profile reel provides versatility with a performance that allows you to catch most of anything you want.
- Designed with a 5 bearing system ( 4 balls with 1 roller ) that guarantees smooth casts and retrieves.
- Spool control is enhanced with the branded SVS infinity system- this provides highly manageable, adequate braking features which also enable precise casting by adjusting the speed of the spool, even with lightweight lures.
- With the improvements made to the spool balance Shimano’s S3D Stable Spool design technology ensures better casting capability and less vibration.
- Built strong to handle bass and inshore species.
- Casting distance is phenomenal and best in its class.
- The SVS Infinity feature enables infinite brake adjustments on the fly.
- Sturdy aluminum handle- durable and feels good in the hand when operating.
- Drag system- can be sensitive and a bit touchy.
- Braking system takes time to get used to – but once that’s done, it should be smooth sailing after.
6. LEWS Fishing Tournament MB, Baitcast Reel
The Lews Tournament MB baitcasting reel has been updated with new machinery and is lighter, faster and stronger tech, hence Lew’s acronym- LFS. Its light-weight (6.7 ounces) and 10+1 ball bearings (the ten being double shielded stainless steel and a one-way Zero-reverse clutch bearing). This baitcasting reel guarantees consistent and smooth performance.
The Lew’s MB baitcast reel stays smooth and consistent with its rough drag system made of carbon composite and externally adjustable MSB (Multi-Setting brake )dual cast system.
The MSB system uses an external click-dial to activate the magnetic brake. Also, 4 individually disengaging disks mounted brake shoes attribute to the casting control.
Read the full review → Lews Tournament MB
- The one-piece die-casting technology made of aluminum frame ensures strong durability.
- High Strength solid brass speed gears- helps with the longevity of the reel.
- Externally adjustable Multi-Setting Brake ( MSB ) dual cast system- allows for a strong, consistent cast.
- Rugged carbon composite drag system for smooth operation.
- Effortless casting.
- Great drag system.
- Strong carbon composite drag system that will make operating the reel a pleasure.
- The lightweight of this reel is even balanced, durable against wear and tear and its versatility is well liked by most anglers.
- Some anglers have reported that you will feel the spinnerbait vibrating if you hold the rod too close to your torso.
- Abu Garcia BMAX3 Max Baitcast Reel
- PRICE $
- Bearings: 4+1
- Weight : 7.30oz
- Max Drag : 18lb
- Gear Ratio : 6.4:1
- Shimano Curado K Baitcasting Reel
- PRICE $$$$
- Bearings: 6+1
- Weight : 7.60oz - 7.80oz
- Max Drag : 11lb
- Gear Ratio : 6.2:1 , 7.4:1 8.5:1
- Piscifun NEW Phantom Baitcasting Reel
- PRICE $$
- Bearings: 6+1
- Weight : 5.7oz
- Max Drag : 17lb
- Gear Ratio : 7.0:1
- KastKing Royale Legend/Whitemax Baitcasting Reel
- PRICE $
- Bearings: 11+1
- Weight : 7.50oz
- Max Drag : 17,64lb
- Gear Ratio : 7.0:1 , 5.3:1
- Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel
- PRICE $
- Bearings: 5+1
- Weight : 8.0oz
- Max Drag : 18lb
- Gear Ratio : 7.1:1
- KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Reel
- PRICE $
- Bearings: 11+1
- Weight : 8.1oz
- Max Drag : 17,64lb
- Gear Ratio : 6.3:1
7. ABU GARCIA BMAX3, Saltwater Baitcasting Reel
This reel has been developed with advanced technology that combines an all high-grade metal spool and a great handle that is comfortable and fits the hand well. This will help relieve and make sure your hand doesn’t get tired or cramped up when you are out on the boat.
This fishing reel also has 4 steel ball bearings that are stainless to prevent corrosion and one roller bearing to help deliver smooth operation and makes for a great user experience.
The BMAX3’s drag system provides a consistent and smooth drag experience that will enable you to keep fishing for extended periods of time without any issues. This reel also provides exceptional cast ability with its advanced brake system. The brake system works by consistently applying pressure on the breaks to increase the range that you can cast and the precision of your casting.
This system delivers a smooth, reliable drag pressure across the entire drag range and remains flexible even under massive constraints.
Read the full review → Abu Garcia Black Max
- Sleek and lightweight design with 1-piece graphite frame and graphite side plates.
- 4 steel ball bearings and 1 roller bearing – reliable operation and effortless retrieve.
- Enhanced drag performance
- MagTrax brake system provides precise, customizable cast control which allows for a multitude of lures.
- The handle provides a comfortable grip
- Affordability, great price range.
- Lightweight ensures less fatigue and smooth operation.
- Efficient retrieving.
- Stylish and durable.
- Matches its peers with its durability and performance.
- Plastic gears- not as durable as metal ones.
- Customers have reported that reel is not for novice anglers, like most baitcasters, after a season of fishing is usually when they get the hang of this reel.
8. SHIMANO Curado K, Baitcasting Freshwater Reel
The Shimano Curado features a Micro Module Gear System that creates a smooth retrieve. This new gear set has more, smaller teeth which result in a more efficient gear train with less of a gear feel. The MMG system matched with the X-Ship technology provides enhanced longevity of the gear system and increased performance all around.
The Curado also features the famous HAGANE body which is made of metal, hence, allowing extensive firmness. This eradicates flexing with impact resistance and body stiffness, therefore improves cranking ability.
An additional feature of this reel is The SVS Infinity technology that provides easy-to-manage, consistent spool control, and brake force.
Read the full review → SHIMANO CURADO K
- Leader in the baitcasting market for its consistent high performance and reliable operation.
- Featuring Shimano’s MicroModule Gearing- it’s the latest technology that makes this reel perform extremely well. It has a reputation for efficient, fluid operation and ruggedness.
- Advanced braking system – which provides an easy-to-manage control of the spool and the ability to make on the fly adjustments during casting.
- X-Ship technology is designed to increase the longevity of the reel and to reinforce it to weather and the elements more effectively.
- Very smooth drag.
- Smooth casting and easy to adjust.
- Lightweight and ergonomic.
- Sturdy and built to last.
- Some anglers have mentioned that this specific reel might be a bit harder to master due to its feature set.
- Easily scratched up and dings show fast.
9. PISCIFUN New Phantom Carbon, Baitcasting Reel
This reel weighs under 6 ounces, which means it’s as lightweight as you will find without sacrificing any of the durability.
The reel also has an excellent gear ratio of 7:1, which is very high for a baitcaster in this price range. This allows for a very smooth casting experience matched with a quick retrieval.
The drag system that is built with carbon fiber and is included in the Phantom baitcaster ensures it can handle any big fish that comes its way and with the external magnetic brake makes casting and reeling that much easier.
Even though it is lightweight and smaller than other regular-sized baitcasters, this reel, due to its hollow and strong spool, helps speed up the operation when casting.
Read the full review → Piscifun Phantom
- Ball bearings that are stainless steel- reinforced and tough.
- Built with strength in mind — high-grade metal construction.
- Brake System consisting of 6 pins.
- Durable and built well.
- Great gear ratio with high drag.
- Good braking system.
- Fairly comfortable handle and very lightweight- less fatigue with extended fishing trips.
- Noisy- some anglers have complained that this reel can make more noise during operation than others in its class.
- Braking appears a bit difficult to set right.
10. KASTKING Royale, Saltwater Baitcasting Reel
The KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Fishing Reel is very lightweight. Its design makes it easy to fit in your hand and very comfortable. The removable side plate can also be easily be accessed and quickly removed at any time. Included in this reel’s feature set is an 11+1 shielded ball bearings system which provides fluid operation
The MaxiDur technology corrosion-resistant ball bearings allow for a smoother casting, retrieve and longer life. The magnetic braking system and the speed of line retrieval also stand out on The KastKing and Its loaded with 3 different drag options so you can really fine tune your casts
The KastKing Royale Legend is tournament ready due to its state-of-the-art dual brakes, which gives you a quick and easy way to fine-tune the centrifugal and magnetic brake systems used to control its casting.
Based on the Kastking Royale Legends professional features, strong durability, impressive drag, and state-of-the-art dual braking system it is the best baitcaster for the money. The Royale Legend truly does stand out from other baitcaster reels with all the tech that is packed into this reel at a fantastic price.
Speaking to the strengths of this reel, due to its to feature packed profile and tournament ready strength, the Kastking Royale is also the best option if you are looking for a baitcaster under $100. This reel seems to hit all the checkboxes anglers are looking for when it comes to price performance and durability.
- Low profile design Baitcaster with a quiet and quick line retrieve.
- Drag system that is precise and made of carbon providing high performance.
- Smooth casting and longer life with its 12 anti-corrosive ball bearing system.
- Professional grade and ready to be used in competitions- Advanced braking system featuring a fine tune system for its dual brakes.
- Multi-color reinforced spool
- Pricing- This reel is very well priced when considering all its features
- Professional grade- It’s one of the best tournament-ready models available on the market right now
- Impressive drag – Precision-cut brass gear structure and the carbon fiber drag system that gives you incredible support.
- Anglers have mentioned that a more than usual amount of maintenance is needed to keep this reel in prime condition- not totally uncommon but still something to think about
11. PISCUFIN Torrent, Baitcasting Reel
The Piscifun Torrent is an affordable yet high-quality reel. It is engineered and reinforced with Japanese Hamai precision-cut gears with stainless steel screws and springs. This combination enhances strength and offers reliable, noise-free operation.
This reel has been designed with a precise braking system that will help prevent any backlash from occurring. When used with your thumb’s pressure and the additional tension knob, you can make sure that you avoid the dreaded experience of line tangles.
Included with the Torrent reel is a unique and handy port for oil. This allows you to quickly make performance-enhancing changes as you fish and helps keep the reel from being damaged from lack of maintenance. This reel has been designed with the customer experience in mind from the start.
- Advanced, 3-washer, gives this reel a physically powerful carbon fiber drag to handle the big game fish.
- Industrial durable-strength, climate-resistant Japanese Hami cut 3604 brass gears- top quality gears found in high-quality Baitcasters.
- Low profile design bait caster with a super silent high speed 7.1:1 line retrieve offers great fishing performance.
- Versatile design for either right/left-handed operation.
- Gear system that is much quieter-that has greatly reduced levels of noise.
- Anti-corrosive construction- guarantees the longevity of equipment
- Hassle-free maintenance due to the reel’s design.
- Great for novices and those first learning how to use a baitcaster reel.
- Stable dual line winding shafts
- Anglers have reported that the adjustment knobs can be a bit sensitive at first when learning how to use this reel
12. KASTKING Spartacus Plus, Saltwater Baitcasting Reel
This high-quality reel features an enhanced centrifugal brake system which minimizes the worry about backlashes while retrieving the cast. The brake system is easily accessed through an open side-plate that allows for on the fly quick adjustments.
The Spartacus reel’s main components and the shaft are made of stainless steel while the frame and body from aluminum alloy which really creates a reel with durability, rigidity and optimal performance. It’s critical for corrosion resistance and easy maintenance of the reel for years to come.
The stainless steel bearing systems give you smooth and accurate long-range casting and it is also coupled with a one- way instant anti-reverse system that provides added control for drag. This reel’s spool is designed with machined aluminum for a smooth spin to fly baits further while reducing its overall weight.
- Drag system- Precise and made of carbon providing high performance.
- Tournament ready carbon fiber drag-able to catch very big fish
- Smoother operation and longer life with its 12 anti-corrosive ball bearing system.
- Ultra smooth casting provided by all aluminum machined construction.
- Brass gears- offers precision and efficiency when fishing.
- High gear ratio
- Built with the strength to handle both saltwater and freshwater fishing conditions
- Has plenty of torque for smooth casting
- Drag system can handle catching really big fish
- Anglers have mentioned that this reel needs a slightly wider spool with more line capacity,
- Can make grinding noise when you engage the brakes
- Drag system can be jerky at times.
Baitcasting Reel Buying Guide
So, the assumption is that you have a bit of experience now with angling and you are thinking about how you can up the ante and start complimenting your existing skill set with some additional diversity regarding the type of fish you can catch.
The simple explanation of what a baitcaster is that it’s a reel that has a revolving spool and sits on top of a casting rod with a trigger handle. This contrasts with a spinning or spincast reel which sits underneath a spinning rod and with the line guides facing down.
The Top 7 Things to Consider When Buying a Baitcasting Reel
Let’s take a look at some things to look out for when choosing a Baitcaster reel to invest in:
Only pay attention to Baitcaster reels where the manufacturer uses either high-grade aluminum or graphite. Graphite, which is a lighter material than frequently used metals such as aluminum, isn’t as strong nor can it provide as much raw, brute strength as other more well-suited metals can.
Choosing the Gear Ratio:
Gear ratio refers to the speed of the reel. Usually, gear ratios in Baitcast reels are 5.4:1 going up to the range of 7.1:1 – which indicates how many turns the spool makes for each rotation of the handle.
Just to clarify, a reel with a designation of 5.4:1 it means it performs 5.1 revolutions with a turn of the handle.
Braking systems are a critical part of baitcast reels. Brakes, similar to the idea with cars, adjusting the spool’s rotation and works to slow it down. Without a braking system, the backlash would be happening a lot more during normal operation. As a refresher, a backlash is the knotted mess you are left with when your spool keeps on revolving after your lure has stopped moving forward.
2 types of brakes:
Baitcaster reels use a braking system to help manage the speed of the spool when casting.
the brakes are there to reduce the amount of backlash that occurs on the reel’s spool.
Centrifugal brake systems include two to six pins which allow you to activate and deactivate the breaks.
Magnetic braking systems which are based on, you guessed it, a set of magnets that react to non-magnetic metals ( such as aluminum ) incorporated in the spool. The logic behind this braking system is that when you move the magnets towards the spool it activates the breaks. Meanwhile, moving the magnets further away from the spool allows the spool to move without restraint.
Braking systems are critical to any Baitcaster reel but learning to properly thumb the spool is equally important when it comes to controlling spool speed. This skill will take time as all baitcaster anglers have learned before you.
2 sizes for different types of fishing:
- Pick a bigger (deeper) spool because the larger spool reduces the size of the line coils which makes management of the line less complicated. Perfect when using heavy -duty lines.
- Smaller shallow spools are great when used primarily for catching fish in covered shallow water.
Deciding on spool size should be directly related to the type of fishing you plan to do
Baitcaster reels have variously sized handles. Some of which have shorter than others. Which is okay for most situations like handling worms or jigs. You may reconsider if you are going to use larger crankbaits or swimbaits. Bigger and longer handles generate more torque enabling you to pry fish out easily.
Pay attention and be on the lookout for bearings that are made from strong materials such as magnesium and aluminum. They are lightweight and long lasting with enhanced suitability for any type of fishing. These strong materials will give you the best performance with a lot of durabilities.
High-quality bearings, identified as shielded, double shielded, or stainless will help support the gears and keep the reel running smoothly while enhancing performance.
Drag is the tension that is directed to the spool dictating how easy it is for the line to be pulled off of the spool.
Look for a drag system that has “low start-up inertia” which means the drag is employed evenly and smoothly.
Round vs Low-Profile Baitcasting Reels
Low profile and round Baitcaster reels are very similar but the main difference is the size. Low profile means that the reel is a smaller and lighter reel whereas a reel that is heavier and larger is labeled as a round one.
Some common differences lay in :
Low profile is much smaller and lighter so it’s a preference for a lot of anglers due to low fatigue and easy on the wrist operation. A round baitcaster reel could be as much as 50% larger than a low one.
Low profile usually have a higher gear ratio because of the smaller size
This is where the round profile wins out single handily. It can hold a much larger weight and the actual amount of line so that if the fish makes a run for it, you know you have more than enough to compensate.
Low profile holds their own for their size but doesn’t have a good drag as the round baitcaster. The Round profile can handle much larger fish and provides for a much higher rated drag system.
The low profile usually is for medium sized fish ( 0-14lbs ) and the round profile is typically for much larger fish ( 12lbs+ ).
Left Handed vs Right Handed Baitcasters
When you thought, you had it all figured out about Baitcasters and THEN you are asked if you need a left hand or right handed reel? Come again?.
Baitcaster reels traditionally have the location of their handle on the right side. That means a right-handed caster will make a cast and then switch the rod to the left hand so the reel can be cranked with the right hand.
Does that sound efficient?, Most agree with you that offhand it doesn’t, but experienced Baitcaster anglers will tell you that it’s quick and simple once you get familiar with it.
Typically, right-handed fisherman will use a spinning reel that has the handle on the left so that when casting and holding the rod with their right hand they are reeling with their left.
There doesn’t seem to be a large reason why this became the de-facto standard besides most anglers do it and it seems to work well. Some anglers find more control with switching hands and since they are strongest dexterity wise with their right hand, its preferred.
However, there is a good argument for a reel in the lefthanded position as it does have many advantages over a handle on the right side. For example, you are not switching hands when you cast the line thus, fewer backlashes. This also allows you to work top-water baits better as the moment the bait hits the water you can start reeling without switching hands.
Left or Right: What’s Baitcaster do I Need?
So, the question on your mind is probably what handed reel is best for me? That really comes down to what you have got used to when you first started angling and what feels more natural to you. Most anglers will tell you that it’s not the most fluid and easy things to do, switching casting methods from left to right or right to left after you become experienced with either one.
Key Differences Between a Baitcaster and Spinning Reel
Let’s take a look at a few of the attributes of a baitcaster reel and how they differ from a spinning reel.
A Baitcaster combo (rod and reel), without effort, provide longer more comprehensive casts than other reels include spinners. The difference lays with the amount of control you have with the baitcaster and that the instead of uncoiling like a spinner, the line is unwound straight from the rod.
Baitcasters are considered more powerful with enhanced torque and control. Due to the design of the reel and the way the line is centered with the spool, gears and handle it offers a higher level of ruggedness and ability.
High Level Of Control:
Baitcasting reel combos are able to offer the angler more control while casting and due to the highly tactile way, one operates the reel- with their thumb. Pressure can be applied and taken off depending on what you want and what your goal is.
Check out our choices for the best spinning reels out there.
And, be sure to check “differences between baitcaster and spinning reel” full review for further information!
How to Choose the A Saltwater Baitcasting Reel
For any serious angler out there, eventually, you will be upgrading your reel from a spinning reel to a baitcaster reel. Due to its durability, strength and high level of control, baitcasters win with experienced fishermen. Like most other products, baitcasters come in all sizes and performance levels. Usually, price does indicate the quality level you will get but that’s not a set rule. Also, each brand will produce reels with different features that you may or may not need, depending on your style of fishing and what your goal is.
What to Look for When Buying a Baitcasting Reel for Saltwater
When choosing a Baitcaster in general whether its saltwater fishing or not, you want to make sure certain criteria are checked off to ensure you are getting the best reel and the one designed for what you intend to do with it.
Let’s take a quick look with a bit of recap on a few of the main things to look out for in the best baitcasting reel for saltwater.
Look for an aluminum frame- they are the strongest and will last the longest compared to a graphite mixed one. High-quality frames are coated with an anti-corrosive layer that protects against saltwater damage and general wear and tear from the elements.
Anti-corrosive protection appears to be the most critical aspect for saltwater fishing as it protects your investment and also maintains strength and durability so that you can fish with confidence.
A Baitcasting reel with a good breaking system is directly related to easy casting when you fish. Making sure the braking system is well designed will make catching the big saltwater fish that much easier.
Gears and Speed:
The connection between how many times the spool turns after one turn of the handle is known as the gear ratio. A high gear ratio means a faster spool. You will want a Baitcasting reel with a higher gear ratio if you desire a faster retrieve and to avoid fatigue. For saltwater fishing, make sure they are protected from the elements.
For large fish, a larger spool is needed so that heavy lines can be accommodated comfortably with the spool.
When Buying a Saltwater Baitcaster, What Factors Should You Consider?
Potential saltwater reel buyers should be on the lookout for some specific qualities in a saltwater reel. Due to the inherent differences between freshwater and saltwater sources, there are specific qualities a baitcaster designed for saltwater sources should have.
- Achieving distance in your casts is critical when fishing in saltwater because there is a lot of open waters you need to cover. Due to the design of the baitcaster reel, it will always beat the spinning when it comes to getting some distance between you and the bait.
- Baitcasters are designed to make the line roll directly off the spool in the direction the spool is spinning. Which is in contrast with a spinning reel, where the line slides off the non-moving spool which results in more friction.
- Having a reel that is durable and strong is important in saltwater situations. This factor really does set the baitcaster reel apart and makes it superior to the spinning reel in terms of strength.
- Fishing for the big saltwater game requires you to lift a fish directly out of the water using your reel and line, and they need to be built strong to handle it
- Fish living in saltwater are usually a lot bigger than what you can find in freshwater, emphasizing how important it is for the reel to be high performance when exposed to a lot of force. A baitcaster reel with a high-quality drag comes into play here as well.
- An anti-corrosive coating is critical to saltwater fishing. The salt will destroy the reel and rod if the different parts of the system are not protected and designed to withstand the elements.
- After you are experienced with the mastery that is required from a baitcaster, you can cast your bait with greater accuracy than with a spinning reel.
- This is one of the great qualities of a baitcaster, where you can adjust the speed and distance of your bait using your thumb. Precision matters because it gives you complete control of how much line is coming off.
Crankbait Fishing and What to Look for in a Reel
A specific technique that angler use to cover large areas of water with different depths is called crankbait fishing.
So, what makes for a good reel for this type of fishing? Good question! Let’s take a look at some common features to look out for:
- The amount of turns inside the spool is defined as “gear ratio”
- Choosing a gear that is slow, fast or something in-between all depends what your goal is when you are fishing and how you are doing it.
- A slow ( 5:1 gear ration ) reel is the most desired for deep crankbaiting. It will allow your baits to get to their maximum depth and gives you a very tactile experience and lets you know exactly what’s going on with your lure. Higher gear ratios (e.g. 7:1) are much faster
- Inches per turn, also known as “IPT” is used as a measurement to verify how much line is retrieved during one rotation of the equipment’s handle
- Recovery rates of 19-23 inched per turn are ideal for crankbait fishing. This creates the best environment for the bait going to the maximum depths and being kept there.
- Increased torque capacity when applying when activating the lower gears and line pickup is a key benefit Less effort is needed when you increase the torque. This will help manage fatigue after a long day on the water.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Baitcasting Reels
Baitcasters are the preferred choice for seasoned anglers who have a taste for the precision and brute strength that the reel provides them. With all things in life, there are benefits and drawbacks.
Let’s take a quick look at what’s important to know about the famous baitcaster.
Benefits of a Baitcaster Reel
- Heavy lines are critical fishing larger game fish.
- Baitcast reels are significantly more adept at handling larger and heavier weight lines than spinning reels, especially when it comes to casting. T
- The direct winding design of a baitcaster reel, allows the frame of the reel and spool to absorb the load of the line rather than the bail wire
- Once you gain mastery over the baitcaster’s learning curve, the line control possible by placing the thumb on the spooled line allows for enhanced levels of accuracy and placement that you don’t find in spinning reels.
- Spinning reels have a more susceptibility to line twist that can affect the performance and casting of the line.
- Line twist is not an issue with baitcaster reels. The line spools directly onto and off the spool of the reel, which also may help prolong the longevity and usefulness of the lines.
Drawbacks of a Baitcaster Reel
- Baitcasters are typically more expensive than regular spinning reels- you have to pay for the enhanced performance and precision. Although, you can find decent reels for under $100.
- Baitcasters are not for newbies or people that are just starting in the world of angling. They require a lot of patience, work and practice to master the subtle movements required to cast the perfect line and not to make a mess of things.
- Backlash, which is when you fail to control the line and it turns into a big tangled mess, happens when you have not learned how to control the Baitcasters subtle mechanics. Ask any angler out there, A backlash is dreaded and you do NOT want to have to deal with untangling the mess created by it.
Baitcasting is a very manual fishing experience unlike the simple operation style of a spinning reel.
Best Spinning Reels for Salt & Fresh Water Comparison Chart
|Product||Price||Bearings||Weight||Max Drag||Gear Ratio|
|Shimano Calcutta Baitcasting Reel||$$$$||7+1 , 3+1||9.90oz - 11.80oz||9,50lb - 16,50LB||5.0:1 , 6.0:1|
|Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel||$$$||7+1||7.60oz - 8.10oz||13,20lb||5.4:1 , 6.3:1 7.3:1 , 8.1:1|
|KastKing Rover Baitcasting Reel||$||6+1 , 4+1||11.61oz - 19.01oz||11lb - 15.50lb||4.2:1 , 5.3:1|
|Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Baitcast Reel||$$$||3+1||9.30oz - 10.90oz||15lb||5.0:1 , 6.3:1|
|Shimano Casitas Baitcasting Reel||$$$||4+1||6.70oz||12lb||6.3:1 , 7.2:1|
|LEWS Fishing Tournament MB, Baitcast Reel||$$$||9+1||6.70oz||14lb||5.6:1 , 6.8:1 7.5:1 , 8.3:1|
|Abu Garcia BMAX3 Max Baitcast Reel||$||4+1||7.30oz||18lb||6.4:1|
|Shimano Curado K Baitcasting Reel||$$$$||6+1||7.60oz - 7.80oz||11lb||6.2:1 , 7.4:1 8.5:1|
|Piscifun NEW Phantom Baitcasting Reel||$$||6+1||5.7oz||17lb||7.0:1|
|KastKing Royale Legend/Whitemax Baitcasting Reel||$||11+1||7.50oz||17,64lb||7.0:1 , 5.3:1|
|Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel||$||5+1||8.0oz||18lb||7.1:1|
|KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Reel||$||11+1||8.1oz||17,64lb||6.3:1|
Q: Are there reels better for saltwater fishing?
A: Yes! saltwater fishing requires additional protection for the reel and other components to make sure they last the brutal conditions of the open seas.
Q: What do I need to know about the differences between reels made for freshwater and saltwater?
A: Well, for starters, salt is deadly to all metals. Which makes sense as to why fishing reels designed for saltwater are made with stainless, non-corrosive steel to the metal, that is the reason why saltwater reels are made from stainless steel and other non-corroding components. You cannot escape it buy you can resist it!.
When in contact with saltwater, reels that are designed for only freshwater sources will corrode and most likely get damaged. One solution to that is rinsing your reel after its use. Make sure you get a reel that Is designed for the saltwater.
Saltwater reels are for catching much bigger fish and that’s why they have larger and bigger line capacities compared to freshwater reels. This is also why they are usually more money to buy
Q: Ok, so I am looking to get into using a baitcaster reel, what should I look out for?
A: There are a few main characteristics that you should pay attention to when buying a baitcaster reel.
The Frame: Look for an aluminum frame- they are the strongest and will last the longest compared to a graphite mixed one. High-quality frames are coated with an anti-corrosive layer that protects against saltwater damage and general wear and tear from the elements.
The Brakes: A baitcasting reel with a good breaking system is directly related to easy casting when you fish.
Gears and Speed: The connection between how many times the spool turns after one turn of the handle is known as the gear ratio. A high gear ratio means a faster spool. Physical Size Of The Spool: For large fish, which typically baitcasters are designed for to catch, you will have to buy a larger spool size so that heavy lines can be accommodated comfortably on the spool.
Q: What are some pros and cons with using a baitcaster reel?
A: Good question. Baitcasters are known for their durability, superior casting, and precision when it comes to catching the big fish out there. What you do make concessions for are to do with price ( they are more expensive than spinners ) and they do have a much longer learning curve than other reels out there.
Q: Ok, I am getting a baitcaster reel. Do I need a right or left handed one?
A: That usually depends on preference and what you feel lets you cast and retrieve the most efficiently. See the explanation above as to the reasons why some choose one or the other. Both have their benefits based on what the anglers are used to and what they feel works best.
Read on for the definitive fishing reels buying guide from our editors!
All anglers with a few fishing trips under their belt will confirm, choosing the best baitcasting reel for yourself can be a bit overwhelming! You need intermediate level knowledge and experience to operate these fishing tools. Take time to do the research and make sure the investment you are making is the right one for your specific needs.
When you do make the plunge and decide to buy a baitcaster, you need to take into consideration a few variables such as will you be using it in freshwater or saltwater environments? Do you need a right-handed or left-handed reel and what type fish are you going to be targeting while angling? Going through baitcasting reel reviews will help determine which equipment is best for you and what things you need to look for when choosing to invest in a baitcaster.