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:

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.