The 10 Best Baitcasting Reels in 2021 (Buying Guide)

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel
“This reel is comfortable to handle, incredibly versatile, and has an 18-pound carbon fiber drag, which is great for anglers who love a good fight — it’s for sure my top choice in baitcasting reels.”

Best Budget Option: KastKing Royale Legend II
“A one-of-a-kind baitcasting reel that’s lightweight even with mighty features like a Cross-Fire braking system and a quadruple disc carbon drag. And it’s affordable too! Perfect for anglers on a tight budget.”

Best Runner-Up: Abu Garcia Black Max
“This is great for anglers of all levels of experience since it’s light, easy to get a hang of, and has impressive stuff like a MagTrax brake system and a Power Disk Drag. If you’re new to baitcasting, this is the reel for you.”

With a good baitcasting reel, an angler can cast under docks, around bridge pilings, and even through matted grasses, all with pinpoint accuracy, so it’s no wonder that they grow more popular with each passing year.

Keep in mind that a good baitcaster features the correct gear-ratio, a high-quality braking system to prevent backlash, and should be comfortable to operate — if you’re having trouble finding the right reel, the following guide will assist you in locating the one that will best suit your needs.

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The 10 Best Baitcasting Reels in 2021

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

Best Overall: Equal parts precision and power

KEY FEATURES

  • 18 lb. carbon fiber drag strong enough to handle big fish
  • Low-profile design for enhanced comfort
  • 5.3:1 gear ratio for ultimate versatility

The Piscifun Torrent is the ideal option for anglers who use precision-based techniques and at the same time need the power to winch even the biggest of fish from the depths below. This range of versatility is made possible through the reel’s use of a 5.3:1 gear ratio, which provides a subtle enough retrieval speed for tactics such as slow rolling, while also giving a substantial amount of fortitude and torque when such a need arises.

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This reel also features one of the heaviest duty drag systems of any reel on this list. The Piscifun Torrent uses an 18-pound carbon fiber drag system for substantial line control, even when tasked with fighting the most sizable of fish. This is perfect for anyone who regularly pursues striped bass, catfish, carp, and musky.

The Piscifun Torrent is also built to last and uses many high-quality components that you’d usually find in the industry’s most expensive baitcasters, like shielded stainless steel bearings, CNC machined brass gears, and an ultra-durable carbon fiber frame. It also features a side-mounted oiling port for regular maintenance and increased unit longevity.

Weighing in at only 8 ounces, this reel was designed with the angler’s comfort in mind. Much of the Piscifun Torrent’s weight reductive qualities can be attributed to the use of carbon fiber as the material of choice for frame composition.

KastKing Royale Legend II

Best Budget Option: Big in features, but not in price

KEY FEATURES

  • Cross-Fire magnetic braking system with 8 adjustment levels
  • Quadruple disc carbon drag containing 17.6 lbs of easy-to-adjust resistance
  • Compact in design and weighs only 7.2 lbs

The KastKing Royale Legend II includes a significant number of features that are typically reserved for reels found at a much higher price point. Because of this, the Royale Legend II is great for those who are working with a limited budget. This reel uses a Cross-Fire braking system, which places 8 different levels of adjustment at an angler’s fingertips. This is substantial worth to those that use a wide variety of lures and need to tailor their reel’s braking to the situation at hand.

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The Royale Legend II is notable for its compact and lightweight design. At only 7.2 ounces, this reel will naturally be comfortable to use, even during long outings. It also offers 17.6 pounds of total drag adjustment to assist anglers when the time comes to fight a sizable striped bass or musky to the boat’s edge.

This reel comes in two different gear ratios: 5.4:1 and 7.2:1. This gives anglers the opportunity to select a reel that best suits their preferred style of fishing; it also meets the needs of those who employ specialty tactics in order to find success.

The KastKing Royale Legend II is built to last, given its wide array of durable components. More of its impressive features include an extra-hard stainless steel main shaft, a Hamai precision machined brass gears, a diamond-shaped ceramic line guide, and a CNC aluminum spool.

Abu Garcia Black Max

Best Runner-Up: A reel that fits the needs of every angler

KEY FEATURES

  • MagTrax brake system that allows greater control when casting
  • Single-piece graphite frame that minimizes operating weight
  • Power Disk Drag System for adjustments to be made at a moment’s notice

The Abu Garcia Black Max is a baitcasting reel that should provide anglers of all experience levels exactly what they need to make the most out of their day on the water. This reel is a wonderful choice for those that seek an excellent all-around baitcaster, especially when they’re new to this particular genre of reel. The Black Max uses Abu Garcia’s special MagTrax brake system to provide anglers with greater line control and to minimize the occurrence of time consumptive backlash.

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The Black Max also features a compact handle and recessed spool design, which is helpful for anglers who are tired of wrestling with older, more cumbersome baitcasters. To further aid in ease of use, this reel also includes a Power Disk Drag System, in which your drag can be set in an instant, without ever removing your hand from its handle.

Anglers are also likely to be fond of the Abu Garcia Black Max’s lightweight construction. It uses a single-piece graphite frame and graphite side plates to keep operational weight to a bare minimum and to optimize angler comfort. This is of significant value, as most serious anglers will quickly discontinue the use of a particular reel when it’s become too uncomfortable to use.

Also of note is this reel’s heavy-duty aluminum spool, which is sized to maximize line capacity, while at the same time also protecting all present lines. This enhanced line capacity gives anglers the opportunity to extend their casts and reach distant points of interest.

KastKing Rover Round

Most Powerful: Heavy-duty performance to meet rigorous demands

KEY FEATURES

  • 30 lb. drag system built to handle even the largest of game fish
  • Packed with high quality components for enhanced durability
  • 2-pin centrifugal brake for casting efficiency

If you routinely pursue the biggest fish in any given body of water, then the KastKing Rover Round is exactly what you are looking for. It features a first-class 30-pound centrifugal drag system, which should make quick work out of boating massive flathead catfish and hard-fighting striped bass. The KastKing Rover Round also features a significant line capacity, making it ideally suited for deepwater fishing, both freshwater and saltwater.

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There are few baitcasters available today that are constructed as robustly as the KastKing Rover Round. This reel uses premium-shielded stainless steel bearings, brass precision gears, stainless steel components, and an oversized non-slip handle. Together, these components give anglers an incredible amount of power that they can depend upon, no matter the circumstance.

As previously mentioned, the KastKing Rover Round’s superior line capacity offers an additional level of versatility. This increase in available line is what makes this reel the perfect candidate for trolling across large inland fishery or bottom fishing along structure found in bays or on deepwater flats.

The KastKing Rover Round is also known for its lengthy list of user-friendly features and functions. Some of the most notable of these include a clicker style line-out alarm and an ergonomic thumb bar line out release. When combined with this reel’s obvious cosmetic appeal, it’s hard not to find some degree of favor in the KastKing Rover Round.

KastKing Spartacus

Smoothest Retrieve: Old school looks meet new age innovation

KEY FEATURES

  • Shielded 11+1 corrosion resistant ball bearings for ultra-smooth operation
  • Micro-cast dual centrifugal and magnetic brakes for well-regulated line dispersal
  • Stylish cork handles for a retro look and an enhanced grip

The KastKing Spartacus is the perfect baitcasting reel for those who prefer a reel that operates seamlessly while looking stunning in the process. This reel features next-level functionality, thanks to a state-of-the-art drag system and a well-designed bearing arrangement. Not to mention, it also looks aesthetically pleasing thanks to its use of retro-style cork grips.

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High atop the KastKing Spartacus’ list of notable features is its superior shielded 11+1 corrosion resistant ball bearing system. This system supplies the Spartacus with an ultra-smooth operation, during both casting and retrieval. Bass anglers in particular will love this level of precise operation since they spend the bulk of their time covering water at a rapid pace.

The KastKing Spartacus also features a highly versatile 6.3:1 gear ratio, which is ideal for a wide variety of techniques, tactics, and presentations. This middle ground ratio should be fast enough for crankbait and buzzbait use, while still moderate enough in speed for use when using any number of finesse style tactics. As an added benefit, this gear ratio also provides a fair amount of torque, which is fantastic for fighting larger species of fish, such as catfish, carp, and musky.

The use of corrosion-resistant components allows the KastKing Spartacus to be well suited for use in saltwater environments, as it prevents salt contamination from creating rust-related issues of almost any type. This trait will be of value to consumers who live in coastal areas, where both saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities are typically plentiful.

KastKing Crixus

Best for Strenuous Use: A workhorse of a reel at a reasonable price point

KEY FEATURES

  • Four carbon disc meter drag with 17.6 lbs of total resistance
  • Features 7 shielded ball bearings for ultra-smooth operation
  • 8-way brake adjustment for minimal backlash

The KastKing Crixus is a reasonably priced reel that is the ideal choice for anglers who need a baitcaster that fishes as hard as they do. This reel features 7 shielded ball bearings, which should provide smooth operations under almost any circumstance, plus an 8-way adjustable brake to keep backlash at bay.

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Another interesting feature found on the KastKing Crixus is its use of a U-shaped spool, which enables longer casts and greater line capacity. This makes it a great option for bass fishermen who usually make use of longer distance retrieves when covering large expanses of water, such as when using a crankbait.

Anglers using this reel are also treated to 17.6 pounds of drag adjustment, which will likely be a favorite feature of those attempting to reel in feisty muskies or hard-fighting smallmouths. This substantial amount of drag offers greater line control and helps to minimize the occurrence of line breakage.

The KastKing Crixus uses a convenient, all-purpose, 6.5:1 gear ratio, which means that this one reel can be used for multiple applications, as opposed to being forced to switch rigs on different occasions.

KastKing Royale Legend GT

Most Comfortable: Comfort beyond compare

KEY FEATURES

  • 8 Cross-Fire magnets for enhanced braking capabilities
  • Synthetic soft-grip handles for increased comfort
  • Lightweight 7.2 ounce construction

The KastKing Royale Legend GT is the perfect reel for anglers who spend every waking moment at the water’s edge or in their boat, as this reel is packed full of features that are guaranteed to provide next-level comfort. It weighs only 7.2 ounces and features synthetic soft-grip handles, making it possible to fish from sunrise to sunset without ever feeling fatigued.

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This reel also features a top-notch magnetic drag system, which includes 8 Cross-Fire magnets for excellent braking capacity. This is great for those who are constantly on the go and don’t really have time to circumvent repeated cases of backlash. In theory, this high-quality braking system should minimize angler downtime and maximize efficiency when on the water.

The KastKing Royale Legend GT is also built to be extremely durable. It houses a 5+1 double-shielded stainless steel bearings, a Hamai precision-cut brass 37 mm main gear, brass pinion gear, a brass main shaft, nickel-plated brass worm shaft, and stainless steel hardware. With all these features, one is most unlikely to experience any occurrences of untimely equipment failure.

Those who like to cover as much water as possible would favor the KastKing Royale Legend GT, as this reel features a 7.2:1 gear ratio. This means it allows for quick and efficient line pickups and can maximize the potential of depth-based lures, such as deep diving crankbaits.

KastKing MegaJaws

Best for Casting: A reel that outcasts all competitors

KEY FEATURES

  • Funnel-shaped line guide that reduces friction and maximizes casting distances
  • 11+1 double-shielded stainless steel bearings for an ultra-smooth operation
  • Enhanced comfort with cork grips and an ergonomic handle

If an average day on the water sees you frequently casting at distant points and out-of-the-way structures, then the KastKing MegaJaws baitcaster is likely to become your new favorite reel. The MegaJaws features a host of features that enhance casting distance and make it much easier to hit your mark. Other than that, this reel is ergonomically designed, which should make for a more comfortable day on the water, no matter how long such a day might be.

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The KastKing MegaJaws features a specialized funnel-shaped line guide that minimizes friction as line departs from the reel’s spool. This reduction in friction drastically reduces the effort required to reach tough spots like distant docks, the backs of winding creeks, and any other number of promising locations that cannot be accessed as closely as one would like by boat.

Another key characteristic of the KastKing MegaJaws baitcasting reel is its robust construction. It features several internal components of substantial strength and fortitude such as 11+1 double-shielded stainless steel bearings, brass pinion and main gears, and a nickel-coated brass worm gear. This level of durability will be well-received by those who love nothing more than to boat trophy-sized fish.

The KastKing MegaJaws also spares no expense when it comes to additional features and user-friendly functions. This reel includes a CNC aluminum spool and handle, rubber cork handle knobs for comfort, and a lightweight graphite body for an all-day-long performance.

Abu Garcia Revo X

Best High-End: Premium performance at a respectable price

KEY FEATURES

  • Carbon Matrix Hybrid drag system for a super-smooth drag performance
  • Extended gear life thanks to Duragear
  • A D2 gear system for seamless gear mesh and operation

The Abu Garcia Revo X offers streamlined performance, which makes it the perfect option for anglers who need a reel rich in features and can be depended on, day in and day out. This reel features Abu Garcia’s proprietary MagTrax brake system, an X2-Craftic alloy frame, a Carbon Matrix hybrid drag system, and a DuraClutch drive system. The combination of these premium features allows any angler to fish with greater efficiency and make the most out of their time on the lake or river.

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The X2-Craftic alloy frame of the Abu Garcia Revo X is lightweight in construction, yet offers robust overall strength and durability. The X2-Craftic frame is also highly resistant to corrosion. This is an attribute that many anglers will appreciate, as the Revo X should be unsusceptible to the rust-related issues that plague a significant number of baitcasters in today’s market.

The Revo X’s MagTrax brake system is another feature that many anglers are likely to find favor in. This system provides consistent pressure that regulates line dispersal rates to a higher-than-average degree of reliability. This plays a big role in minimizing time-consumptive backlash episodes. By drastically reducing, or even eliminating backlash, an angler can make the best possible use of their time spending more time boating fish and less time untangling hopelessly twisted lines.

This reel also features a super-smooth drag performance, far beyond that of the roster of reels offered at a similar price point. The Abu Garcia Revo X’s Carbon Matrix hybrid drag system uses a series of carbon clutches to provide even tension — free of the slippage that is quite common in drag systems of subpar reels.

KastKing Royale Legend Elite

Best Construction: A pro-grade reel for serious anglers from every walk of life

KEY FEATURES

  • Tournament-grade internal components for unparalleled reliability and performance
  • 10 double-shielded stainless steel bearings
  • Compact, ergonomic design for the ultimate level of angler comfort

If you’ve been contemplating taking the plunge into competitive angling and are currently looking for a baitcaster that matches your level of ambition, then the KastKing Royale Legend Elite is just the reel for you. This reel was designed with tournament-grade specifications and features top-notch gear trains, which should guarantee you with years of reliable service free of any mechanical issues or any other troublesome defects.

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The KastKing Royale Legend Elite features a 17.6 pound drag system that includes 5 element magnetic brakes and a total of 10 individual adjustment settings. The sheer adjustability of this drag/brake system will likely minimize, if not completely eliminate the occurrence of time-prohibitive backlash, allowing you to get down to business and put more fish in the livewell.

This reel is also built to withstand the test of time and is constructed with only the highest grade of internal components. The KastKing Royale Legend Elite features double-shielded, stainless steel ball bearings, brass gears, and a stainless steel main shaft and kick lever. The presence of these components will provide anglers with the peace of mind to fish for long periods of time without worrying about untimely reel failure.

The KastKing Royale Legend Elite is offered in four different gear ratios, giving anglers a variety of choices when deciding on a particular model that best suits their individual style of fishing. From slowly crawling soft plastics through cover to burning up large areas of water with a lipless crankbait, there is a model of KastKing Royale Legend Elite that meets every perceivable need. 5.3:1, 6.6:1, 7.3:1 and 8.1:1 models are all available for purchase.

Criteria Used For Evaluation

When locating the best baitcasting reel for purchase, there are a couple of factors which must first be considered. Each of these factors play a vital role in determining how well a particular reel will perform when on the water.

Criteria #1: Brake System

A baitcaster’s brake system is the single biggest factor in avoiding one of fishing’s most aggravating situations: backlash. The brake system regulates the rate at which line disperses from the unit’s spool, thereby minimizing the risk of backlash.

When the line leaves a baitcaster’s spool at an unregulated rate of speed, it often ends up balling up at the reel’s spool, causing a mess that can take half of an afternoon to remedy. Brake systems, which most typically consist of centrifugal and magnetic controls, keep the reel’s spool and line set to a predetermined speed, often preventing the occurrence of backlash entirely.

Criteria #2: Drag System

A reel’s drag system can make or break a fight, especially when a monster fish is testing your line’s merit. Modern baitcasters rely upon the use of highly advanced drag systems and properly setting them to meter line tension when a fish is being fought to the boat or bank.

Every reel features a drag system, as it alleviates tension prior to line breakage when adjusted in the proper manner. When a fish pulls against your line, it comes under pressure, and this same pressure is transferred to the reel from which your line originated. A properly set drag will slip, pulling the line outward when the pressure becomes too great. In essence, a reel’s drag system is a safeguard against untimely line breakage — the better a reel’s drag system, the greater your chance of boating hard-fighting fish becomes.

Criteria #3: Bearings

Without the rotational capacity of bearings, there would be no such thing as a baitcaster. The smoothness of a reel’s operation is vital to maximizing your productivity on the water, and a reel’s bearings are among the most major factors in this equation.

Every reel on the market today relies on a system of bearings to facilitate the necessary rotational force for spooling of line. As a reel’s handle turns, a system of gears rotate the reel’s spool. This spool then rides over a set of ball bearings that minimize friction. However, not all bearings are created equally. Many premium reels use 7, 8, or even 10 ball bearings, while some lesser models feature far fewer. Aside from the number of ball bearings that a particular reel uses, it is also important that these bearings be of high-quality and true in their uniformity.

Questions & Answers

Is it Difficult to Learn to Use a Baitcaster?

While a baitcasting reel can certainly be more difficult to get the hang of than spinning and spincasting reels — with ample practice, one can become quite proficient with their use in short order. Baitcasting reels require an angler to be self-aware and attentive toward their casting efforts. Carelessly casting a baitcaster will almost certainly lead to a case of backlash, during which a ball of entangled line forms at the reel’s spool.

The best way to learn how to use a baitcasting reel is to simply practice, practice, and practice. A sinker can be tied onto the end of a reel’s line, which means that an angler can easily practice their casting in the backyard whenever the opportunity presents itself. Above all else, you must have patience, and as much as possible, try to avoid getting aggravated when initially learning the ropes.

When Should I Use A Baitcasting Reel?

A baitcasting reel is highly favored by most anglers in situations where the use of heavier lines or pinpoint accuracy when casting is a must. Bass anglers generally prefer the use of a baitcasting reel when casting along bridge pilings, stick-ups, and weedbeds, as once you’re proficient with this type of reel, accurate casting comes with relative ease.

Many anglers also favor baitcasting reels to perform a strategy that is often referred to as power fishing. Power fishing is best described as covering extensive swaths of water in rapid succession, while most commonly fishing moving lures, such as jigs, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and topwater plugs.