5 Best Baitcasting Reels: 2024 Buying Guide

Kenneth Reaves

Kenneth Reeves

Executive Director

Daniel ONeil

Daniel O'Neill

Head of Product Testing


Last updated:

As an enthusiastic angler deeply involved in reviewing tackle, I’ve thoroughly evaluated over a dozen top-tier baitcasting reels available on the market, spanning various price points. By conducting extensive tests that scrutinized performance metrics such as casting distance, accuracy, drag smoothness, gear ratios, and overall reliability during field trials, I’ve meticulously curated a selection of the absolute best options tailored to suit every budget and fishing style.

Whether you’re an experienced tournament angler or someone embarking on their first baitcasting experience, this all-encompassing guide aims to assist you in pinpointing the ideal reel that can give you a competitive advantage on the water. I’ll dissect the distinguishing features of each reel, offering detailed pros, cons, and comprehensive reviews derived from my hands-on experience.

Let’s delve into this guide to pinpoint the perfect baitcasting reel that aligns with your specific requirements, elevating your fishing game to new heights.

Factors to Consider When Buying The Best Baiting Reels

  • Reel Type: Baitcasting reels come in low profile and round profiles. Low profile reels are more compact and ergonomic, while round reels offer higher line capacity. Consider which design better fits your fishing style and preferences.
  • Gear Ratio: The gear ratio determines how quickly the spool retrieves line per crank of the handle. Higher ratios like 7:1 are best for quickly working lures and covering water, while lower ratios around 5:1 offer more cranking power for big fish.
  • Braking System: Backlash or ‘bird’s nests’ are common issues for beginners with baitcasters. Look for magnetic, centrifugal, or dual braking systems that are easy to adjust on the fly to help prevent backlashes while casting.
  • Bearings: More stainless steel or ceramic bearings generally translate to a smoother casting and retrieval. However, quality matters more than sheer quantity.
  • Drag System: A smooth, strong drag system is vital for stopping runs from hard fighting fish. Carbon fiber and carbon matrix drag systems offer the best performance in most cases.
  • Frame and Body Materials: The reel frame and components should match the demands of your intended fishing environment. Corrosion resistant aluminum frames excel for saltwater while graphite or aluminum frames are lightweight.
  • Budget: Baitcasting reels range from under $100 to $500+ for high-end models. Set a budget and look for quality reels that balance performance with value at each price point.

Top Recommended Best Baiting Reels In 2024

Following extensive testing, the Shimano Curado K has undoubtedly emerged as a remarkably versatile and durable baitcasting reel, particularly well-suited for finesse lures. Its capability to execute precise, pinpoint casts, even in windy conditions, owes credit to the superb SVS Infinity braking system.

The micro-module gears within the Curado K are impressively efficient, contributing to an exceptionally smooth cranking action during the battle with fish. Despite its lightweight design, this reel proudly features a robust 11 lbs maximum drag, ideal for tackling large bass or various saltwater species.

While the absence of an anti-reverse handle occasionally posed an inconvenience, the Curado K’s seamless operation and casting accuracy firmly establish it as one of the best baitcasting reels within its price range. The sole letdown is the unavailability of a left-hand model, a feature I wish were included.

The Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Baitcasting Reel emerges as a top-tier choice for anglers seeking a versatile, reliable reel that excels in various fishing scenarios. Extensive testing in both fresh and saltwater environments revealed the Revo SX’s consistent delivery of smooth and precise casts, coupled with ample drag power, ideal for handling moderately sized fish.

Its braking system offers excellent control, albeit requiring a few sessions to fine-tune, especially for newcomers to baitcasters. Once dialed in correctly, backlashes become infrequent, easily discernible due to the deep aluminum spool.

Though not as featherweight as premium alternatives, the Revo SX exudes a robust, sturdy feel, demonstrating resilience under heavy usage. Encountering occasional side plate issues was the main setback; however, Abu Garcia promptly resolved this through a replacement.

Considering its price, especially when on sale, the Revo SX’s performance and array of features make it an exceedingly competitive choice for intermediate and expert anglers alike.

Having extensively field-tested the Lew’s Team Lew’s HyperMag Speed Spool Baitcast Reel during numerous freshwater fishing outings, I’m thoroughly impressed by its lightweight design and exceptional performance. Its remarkably lightweight structure makes it effortlessly palmable, ensuring comfortable casting and retrieval throughout extended fishing sessions.

The overall construction exudes solidity and durability, courtesy of the one-piece magnesium frame and aircraft-grade aluminum components. Despite its feathery build, the HyperMag incorporates a carbon fiber drag system capable of delivering a smooth, consistent 20lbs of drag power, ideal for contending with sizable fish.

A standout feature of this reel lies in its remarkable capability to consistently execute long casts. This is facilitated by the 4-pin centrifugal braking system, which, once finely tuned, ensures a consistent, backlash-free casting experience.

Although the initial setup might pose a slight challenge, once appropriately adjusted, this reel empowers anglers of all skill levels to achieve precise and extended casts, whether they’re flipping jigs, using deep divers, or employing weightless plastics. Priced at $400, the HyperMag leans towards the higher end in terms of cost, but it undoubtedly justifies the investment for serious anglers seeking a high-performance baitcaster.

The Lew’s Tournament Pro Speed Spool LFS baitcasting reel truly lives up to its tournament-grade reputation, boasting exceptional casting smoothness straight out of the box. Having rigorously tested this reel across multiple fishing expeditions in the past month, I’m thoroughly impressed by its consistent performance and unwavering reliability.

Despite its lightweight construction, the exposed aluminum frame and carbon fiber drag have endured prolonged use impeccably, showing no signs of wear or issues. Facilitated by the 11 stainless steel ball bearings, this reel effortlessly accommodates a wide spectrum of lure weights, from soft plastics to heavier swimbaits.

Notably, I achieved significantly longer casts compared to reels within a similar price range, likely attributed to the superior quality bearings and the innovative bowed carbon fiber handle design. Fine-tuning the external centrifugal braking system for diverse lures or conditions is quick and straightforward.

The audible click star drag and robust 20lb maximum drag exhibit remarkable stopping power against hard-charging fish. While boasting an ergonomic design that feels fantastic in hand, the matte finish appears susceptible to chipping, evidenced by minor chips along the reel seat and handle edges after a few accidental drops on the deck.

Anglers seeking a super-smooth and dependable high-end reel will find the Lew’s Tournament Pro an excellent choice, although the price tag, admittedly steep in comparison to competitors, might be a consideration.

As an experienced bass angler seeking a versatile and budget-friendly baitcasting reel, I took a chance on the Piscifun Alloy M. After a full season of using it on my 7′ medium-heavy baitcasting rod, I’ve found it to be remarkably smooth with impressive casting capabilities.

The magnetic braking system has provided consistent control, allowing me to confidently cast a range of lures, from light 1/4oz crankbaits to medium 3/4oz lures, without encountering significant backlash issues. Achieving casts up to 80 feet with good accuracy has been well within reach.

The gear ratio strikes a pleasing balance between speed and power, making it adept for handling jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs in different cover types. Despite its lightweight nature, the aluminum frame feels robust and durable, providing reliability when reeling in sizable bass. The reel exhibits smooth drag, comfortably managing up to around 15 pounds in my experience.

For finesse applications using ultra-light baits under 1/8oz, a higher-quality reel might be more suitable. My primary gripe with the reel is the susceptibility of its gunmetal finish to chipping, particularly around the reel foot.

Overall, considering its price point, the Piscifun Alloy M offers consistent and reliable performance across a broad spectrum of bass fishing applications. It has significantly earned its place as my go-to reel for its remarkable value and quality.

Questions & Answers

  1. What are the key differences between baitcasting and spinning reels?

    Baitcasting and spinning reels have many key differences, significantly in their positioning on the rod, spool mechanism, and line control. Baitcasting reels are positioned atop the rod, utilizing a rotating spool, whereas spinning reels hang below the rod and employ a fixed spool system. Moreover, baitcasting reels necessitate thumb control for line management, whereas spinning reels incorporate an anti-reverse mechanism for this purpose. 

  2. What maintenance does a baitcasting reel require compared to a spinning reel?

    Baitcasting reels demand regular maintenance, involving frequent lubrication, and adjustments to brakes and tension knobs. In contrast, spinning reels generally require minimal maintenance, primarily limited to occasional lubrication.

  3. What rod specifications (power, action, length) pair best with these baitcasting reels?

    To optimize performance with baitcasting reels, it’s ideal to pair them with a rod that boasts medium to medium-heavy power, coupled with a moderate-fast to fast action. Aim for a length ranging between 6’6″ and 7’6″ to ensure the rod loads efficiently during the casting process, enabling better control and casting accuracy.

  4. What types of fishing is a baitcasting reel best suited for?

    Baitcasting reels have exceptional performance in various scenarios that demand precision and control. These reels shine in applications such as flipping, pitching, and casting baits. Their design allows for more significant control over the cast, enabling anglers to accurately place their bait in specific target zones, especially crucial in situations where accuracy and finesse are key. This level of control is beneficial when pursuing species such as bass, pike, muskie, and inshore saltwater fish, where the ability to accurately place bait and exert control over the retrieval process is essential.

  5. How important is the gear ratio when selecting a baitcasting reel?

    The gear ratio plays a pivotal role in the performance of a baitcasting reel. Its significance lies in influencing both casting distance and the speed at which you retrieve your lure. Matching the gear ratio to your specific needs is crucial. Opt for a slower gear ratio for effective cranking and a faster one for handling buzzbaits and treble hook lures.


With so many options on the market, choosing the right baitcasting reel for your needs takes some careful consideration. After extensive testing and comparison, the Shimano Curado K rose to the top as the best overall baitcasting reel. From its precise casting to super smooth cranking power, the Curado K excels across fresh and saltwater applications. If you’re looking for a reliable high-performance reel ready to handle anything you throw at it, the Curado K is hard to beat.