Our Guide To The Best Baitcasting Reels

If you’ve been fishing for a while and want to move on to a set-up that gives you greater control and power, it might be time to consider a baitcasting rod and reel. We first covered casting rods—and our top picks—in a previous post. (Click here to check out the best baitcasting rods)

This time, we’re focusing on baitcasting reels. What’s the difference between (the more common) spinning reel and a baitcasting reel? First, a spinning reel is attached to the underside of a fishing rod. The line is released by flipping up the metal bail wire and when you flip the wire back down, the line stays put. When the line being pulled back in, it spins on the reel.

A baitcasting reel is positioned on top of the rod. Unlike the spinning reel, you control the cast by using your thumb to press against the line. This technique is more prone to backlash and takes longer to learn but the rewards can be great. In general, baitcasting reels and rods give you more control along with a more powerful cast. They’re often used for bigger fish.

Ready to choose the best baitcasting reel for you? Here are our top picks:

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel

This model by Kastking—in the newer low-profile design—offers a dual-brake system to ensure extra-long casts. Despite its low price, the reel is still made from high-quality materials such as forged brass and aircraft-grade aluminum.

KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
  • THE KASTKING ROYALE FAMILY - Select a low profile versatile KastKing Royale Legend 7.0:1, or WhiteMax 5.3:1 Low Gear Ratio baitcaster, or an amazing super lightweight all carbon KastKing Stealth 7.0:1 fishing reel and match it to a peak performance carbon graphite KastKing Royale Legend fishing rod for a fantastic KastKing Baitcasting Combo!
  • UNMATCHED – Precision cut brass gear structure (high-strength aerospace grade aluminum precision gear in the Stealth) and carbon fiber drag system delivering 17.5LBs/ 8KG of drag offer the ultimate in a high performance low maintenance baitcasting reel package.
  • PROVEN - We use only the highest quality, anti-corrosion shielded ball bearings to produce the smoothest, quietest casting reel you’ve ever held in your hand. These 11 ball bearings combined with our instant-stop one way bearing clutch delivers long, accurate casts and lightning fast hook sets.
  • TOURNAMENT READY – Experts and pro anglers will appreciate the multi-level, dual braking system for fine tuning and obtaining the longest possible casts. Anglers new to casting reels will rely on the dual brake system to avoid over runs and lost fishing time. Our dual brake system utilizes a 4 pin, internal friction brake that when combined with our powerful 7-magnet, externally adjustable magnetic brake, provides for the ultimate in fine casting control over a wide range of baits and conditions
  • Performance Defined – Only the finest components are used to deliver professional level performance. Hard forged brass/aluminum gears, aircraft grade aluminum spool, high grade comfortable EVA knobs and braid resistant ceramic line guide insert ensure that these casting reels will be your trusted partner every time you hit the water.

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

Piscifun’s low-profile model has a graphite composite body and a reinforced brass gear system that provides a 7:1:1 high-speed gear ratio.

Piscifun Torrent Right Handed 7.1:1 Baitcasting Reel 18LB Carbon Fiber Drag Low Profile Baitcaster Fishing Reel Tournament Baitcast Reels
  • 【Powerful】Advanced 4 carbon fiber washers, gives the low profile baitcasting reel physically powerful 18LB drag to hunting down the big fish.
  • 【Convenient Design】Unique side plate ports make the maintenance easier, to maximize your baitcast reel life and performance.
  • 【Durable】Industrial Durable Strength Japanese Hami Cut 3604 Brass Gears are the quality gear you'd expect for a baitcaster reel.
  • 【Excellent Performance】Low profile design bait caster featuring 7.1:1 gear ratios, specifically designed for the versatile angler. The 5.3:1(7.1:1) Gear Ratio is a true workhorse offering the torque you need for any deadly slow rolling technique.
  • 【Unparalleled】 - Strong double wind shafts and backlash-eliminating 0-10 magnetic dial-in settings.

Shimano Casitas Baitcasting Reel

This versatile model offers super smooth casts and retrieves with four ball bearings and one roller bearing. Its design allows for control even when using lighter lures.

Shimano Casitas 151 HG Lowprofile Freshwater Reel; Left Hand
  • The Casitas low-profile reel delivers versatile performance ready action on your favorite bass lake or inshore saltwater destination
  • Equipped with 4 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing; this reel ensures super smooth casts and retrieves
  • Outfitted with SVS infinity providing easy-to-manage; consistent spool control and brake force; controls spool speed for precision casting especially when using lighter lures
  • Featuring S3D Stable Spool design delivers improved spool balance for reduced vibration and improved casting
  • Max Drag: 12 lbs. / Gear Ratio: 7.2:1. / Weight: 6.7 oz. / Line Retrieve: 30" / Bearings: 4BB + 1RB – PowerPro Line Cap: 20/150; 30/135; 40/105 – Mono Line Cap: 10/120; 12/110; 14/90 – Retrieve: Left

KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Reel

This high-performance model offers a high-torque handle, corrosion resistance ball bearings, and carbon fiber drag.

KastKing Spartacus Plus Baitcasting Fishing Reel,Rubber Cork Version,Right Handed Reel
  • NEW features added - Like its gladiator name, the Spartacus bait casting reel is a warrior! KastKing Spartacus bait casting reel has the dynamic features you need in the battle for your personal best.
  • POWERFUL - You will love the exceptional micro-cast dual centrifugal and magnetic brakes. Plus tournament ready carbon fiber drag with 17.5 LBs of trophy fish stopping power, make the Spartacus bait caster a strong contender.
  • SMOOTH - A Spartacus bait casting reel has: superior shielded 11 + 1 corrosion resistant ball bearings, CNC machined aluminum spool for smooth casting, powerful precision matched brass gears, and KastKing logo embossed hi-grade rubber cork handle knobs.
  • NO MERCY - A KastKing Spartacus bait caster fishing reel with its versatile 6.3:1 gear ratio create an exceptional bait casting weapon in your fishing tackle collection that will save you money and bring you years of fishing pleasure.
  • GAME CHANGER - Go beyond the limits with this phenomenal, yet affordable new Spartacus bait cast reel that is smoother and more powerful than any other brand bait casters in its price range.

Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Reel

With a compact handle and recessed design, Abu Garcia’s Black Max offers a dependable ergonomic grip for all-day fishing trips.

Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26" Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max Drag, RH, Boxed
  • Lightweight design with one piece graphite frame and side plates
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Clear tip design for strength and sensitivity
  • MagTrax brake system boosts range and accuracy of casts
  • Compact bent handle and recessed reel provide an ergonomic grip

Lew's Fishing Tournament Baitcasting Reel

If you’re looking for a small, lightweight reel, Lew’s has a model that checks both boxes without compromising performance. Reviewers praise its long smooth casts and easy set up.

Lews TS1SHMB Fishing, Tournament MB Baitcast Reel
  • One-piece die-cast aluminum frame. RPT: 31 inch
  • Drilled and forged, double anodized aluminum U style spool
  • Easily removable palming graphite side plate

Piscifun New Phantom Baitcasting Reel

Piscifun also has a lightweight reel (at just 5.70 ounces) that will protect against fatigue on all-day trips. Don’t be fooled by its size though. It nonetheless provides 17 lbs. of stopping power.

Piscifun Phantom Baitcasting Reel - Carbon Fiber Frame and Plates Baitcaster Reel, 5.7oz Lightweight, 7.0:2 Gear Ratio Dual Brakes Baitcast Fishing Reels
  • Featherweight- Weighs only 5.70 ounces, premium carbon fiber frame, side plates and handle provides significant weight reduction without sacrificing strength and durability
  • High Performance- 7.0:1 gear ratio provides long distance, accurate casting and instant hook set, 6 anti-corrosion stainless steel ball bearings plus 1 clutch bearing, all shield to extend the durability
  • Strong Power- Double hard anodized Aircraft grade aluminum main gear and pinion gear paired with 4 disc carbon fiber drag washers deliver exceptional 17 lbs stopping power to fight your biggest fish
  • Dual Brake- Dynamic 6-pin Centrifugal brake plus Magnetic brake provide the anglers with on-the-fly tournament ready adjustments
  • Ease of use- The 105mm extended carbon crank handle gives the anglers the leverage and power needed to pull the biggest fish out of the thickest cover

KastKing MegaJaws Baitcasting Reel

ts front hood has a row of teeth) and TK, this tournament-ready reel offers power and durability.

KastKing MegaJaws Baitcasting Reel,5.4:1 Gear Ratio,Left Handed Fishing Reel,Great White
  • MegaJaws – Inspired by the most powerful sea predator, the KastKing MegaJaws baitcasting fishing reel conveys essential shark elements that represent the power and strength that sport fishing anglers desire today. The shark tooth front hood, shark fin side covers, and rigid metal components will consistently remind you the sense of dominance and the total confidence on the water.
  • Super Long-Cast System & Slick Design – The MegaJaws unique KastKing LFTV (Low Friction Tapered Vortex), funnel shaped line guide greatly reduces line friction, giving you super long casts. MegaJaws adopts the same palm perfect ergonomic engineering as the Royale Legend Elite. Its low-profile frame fits perfectly and comfortably in the palm of your hand. MegaJaws is a compact, palm sized baitcaster that reduces fatigue for all day long comfort. Cast after cast, you will feel the difference.
  • Color-Coded System – KastKing knows how difficult it can be to quickly identify a specific gear ratio reel on the deck of your boat for a specific fishing application. KastKing has given the MegaJaws unique colors for each gear ratio so you can quickly identify the right reel for the job and gain a competitive advantage to win bass fishing tournaments. Select from 5.4:1. 6.5:1, 7.2:1, and one of the fastest ratios in the market -- 9.1:1.
  • Powerful Components - MegaJaws bait casters are full featured, tournament ready reels in every way. 11+1 double shielded stainless steel bearings throughout; The manganese brass pinion and main gears and a nickel-coated brass worm drive gear provide strength, durability and consistent performance for freshwater or saltwater fishing. Its ultra-smooth carbon fiber drag uses multiple carbon discs providing up to 17.6 lbs of fish stopping power for hard fighting trophy fish.
  • Attention to Detail – Command your fishing situation with CNC Aluminum spools for amazing casts, a powerful aluminum handle with comfortable rubber cork knobs, and a spool tensioning knob with click stop adjustments. The unique MegaJaws magnetic casting control system features 8 magnets with 10 adjustment settings that control backlash and overruns. Easy access lubrication and drainage ports provide long-term performance and simple maintenance.

Shimano Calcutta Baitcasting Reel

On the opposite end of the style spectrum is this model from Shimano. Its traditional round reel design and TK give it a timeless look that’s matched by its performance.

Shimano Calcutta 400B; Round Freshwater Fishing Reel
  • The Calcutta series of reels represents the core of Shimano’s quality, versatility, dependability, and long-term value
  • This classic round reel will keep up with the fastest low profile reels for today’s fishing styles and is suitable for almost any application whether in fresh or saltwater
  • Built with super-strong, ultralight forged aluminum frames and side plates ensures that all parts will remain in perfect alignment for lifelong smooth power and solid rigidity
  • All sizes feature the ultra-smooth Dartanium Drags and the popular Speton Handles along with Anti-Rust Bearings
  • Max Drag: 17.5 lbs. / Gear Ratio: 5.0:1. / Weight: 11.7 oz. / Line Retrieve: 24" / Bearings: 3BB + 1RB – PowerPro Line Cap: 50/305,65/180,80/160 – Mono Line Cap: 12/330,14/260,20/160 / Retrieve: Right

Daiwa Fuego CT Baitcasting Reel

With a lightweight aluminum frame and contoured handle, Daiwai Fuego’s model is comfortable enough for any adventure but still offers tournament-ready quality and performance.

Daiwa Reels Cast Low Profile - LH FGCT100HL Fuego Low Profilebaitcast Reel, LH, 100 Size, 5BB 1
  • Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag UTD with 13.2 lbs. of drag
  • Magforce-Z cast control
  • Large, 90mm swept power handle with cutouts for reduced weight
  • 5BB + 1RB, 6.3:1 Ratio
  • Line Capacity (Lb. Test / Yards)-MONO: 14/125, 16/110, J-BRAID: 30/140, 40/110