The Ultimate Centerpin Reel Guide for Precision Anglers in 2024

Kenneth Reaves

Kenneth Reeves

Executive Director

Daniel ONeil

Daniel O'Neill

Head of Product Testing


Last updated:

Embark on a captivating exploration of premium centerpin reels with the invaluable expertise of Perfect Captain. Through meticulous testing in varied fishing scenarios, we’ve unraveled the intricacies of precision and performance in a diverse range of reels. Join us on this immersive journey to delve into the world of seamless drags, robust constructions, and unparalleled float fishing experiences.

Whether you’re in pursuit of an elusive steelhead or relishing the tranquility of float fishing, our comprehensive guide serves as your unwavering compass through the vast sea of options. It empowers you to make informed choices for your angling adventures. Bid farewell to uncertainties and confidently navigate the currents of reel selection with us. Your worry-free casting awaits in the realm of top-tier centerpin reels!

Best Centerpin Reel – Our Top Picks

What We Look For: Essential Factors To Consider

  • Price: Determine your budget and look for a centerpin reel that offers a good balance between price and quality. Consider your fishing needs and skill level to find a reel that suits your requirements without breaking the bank.
  • Build Quality and Durability: Look for a centerpin reel that is built with high-quality materials, such as aluminum or stainless steel, to ensure its durability and longevity. A reel with solid construction will be able to withstand the rigors of fishing in various conditions.
  • Drag System: Although centerpin reels don’t traditionally have a drag mechanism, some models may offer adjustable drag or a clicker mechanism. Assess your fishing style and preferences to determine if a specific type of drag system is necessary for your needs.
  • Size and Weight: Consider the size and weight of the centerpin reel, as it will affect the balance of your rod and overall comfort while fishing. Choose a reel that matches the length and weight of your rod to ensure a smooth and enjoyable fishing experience.
  • Bearings: Check the number and quality of bearings in the centerpin reel. More bearings generally result in smoother operation and better performance, providing a seamless fishing experience. Look for reels with high-quality ball bearings to minimize friction and ensure smooth line retrieval.
  • Line Capacity: Evaluate the line capacity of the centerpin reel, as it will determine how much line you can spool onto the reel. Consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing and the target species to select a reel with an appropriate line capacity that meets your specific needs.

Our Recommendations In 2024


Editor’s Choice: Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel, CNC-Machined Aluminum Alloy Fly Reel, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 Weight, Black, Gunmetal, Space Gray, Pink

The Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel is a great performer for the price, offering durability, ease of maintenance, and reliable drag. With its excellent value and the support provided by Piscifun, it is a solid choice for fly anglers looking for an affordable and dependable reel.

“The Piscifun Sword stands out as a great performer. Its craftsmanship, drag system, and corrosion-resistant build contribute to a satisfying fishing experience.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Piscifun Sword emerges as a commendable contender, particularly for those seeking budget-friendly options. Boasting a three-year warranty, this reel positions itself as a reliable companion for anglers delving into the intricacies of fly fishing.

The CNC-machined aluminum alloy construction is evident in the reel’s mid-arbor design, addressing the age-old issue of line memory. This not only facilitates a lightning-quick line pickup but also enhances the overall efficiency of your fishing experience.

Corrosion resistance is a key feature, achieved through hard anodization for surface protection. The reel’s construction involves cold forging and tempering, ensuring superior strength and rigidity, vital for withstanding the rigors of various fishing environments.

The drag system is a standout feature, employing a multi-disc combination of premium carbon and stainless steel. The one-way clutch bearing ensures immediate drag engagement, accompanied by an accurate click drag and a silent retrieve. This contributes to a silky-smooth operation, a crucial factor in the nuanced art of fly fishing.

The reel’s construction from precision CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy strikes a balance between impact durability and weight. The larger CNC hollow design makes the Piscifun Sword lighter than ordinary reels, a feature appreciated by those who value a feather-light yet robust fishing tool.

As an angler with over two decades of fly fishing experience, I approached the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel with a discerning eye. While its light feel may not entirely resonate with seasoned fly fishermen, its overall performance, especially in the context of its affordable price, impressed me. The reel’s construction and drag system, coupled with the three-year warranty, make it a noteworthy choice for beginners and budget-conscious anglers.

The Piscifun Sword stands out as the best overall choice. I highly recommend this for anglers seeking a reliable and cost-effective option. It performs exceptionally well, and its value for money is outstanding. However, its light feel may not be universally appealing, and the limited line capacity for heavier fish may pose a consideration for some. Nevertheless, considering the value it delivers at its price point, the Piscifun Sword emerges as a strong contender for anglers seeking a reliable and budget-friendly fly fishing reel.

The Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel, marked by CNC-machined aluminum durability and a commendable drag system, emerges as an impressive budget-friendly option for versatile fly fishing. With its sleek design, smooth performance, and enticing price point, it caters to anglers seeking reliable gear without compromising on quality.

“The Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel is that it stands tall as a remarkable value pick. Its combination of durable construction, smooth drag, and budget-friendly pricing makes it a go-to choice for anglers seeking high performance without breaking the bank.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel, available in sizes 5/6 and 7/8, stands out as a solid choice for anglers seeking a blend of quality and affordability. Constructed with CNC-machined aluminum alloy, this reel boasts impressive durability and rigidity. The large arbor design facilitates swift line retrieval, making it suitable for various fly fishing applications.

The reel features a rotary knob system for controlling line release resistance, ensuring a smooth and controlled fishing experience. Its low-profile aluminum alloy spool adds to the overall smoothness of line release. Additionally, the reel offers both right and left-hand retrieval conversion, providing flexibility for anglers.

The advanced fiber-composite drag system is a standout feature, offering anglers the precise control needed to handle diverse fishing scenarios. Whether targeting trout, bass, or panfish, the Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel delivers reliable performance.

As an angler with over two decades of experience, I appreciate the Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel for its remarkable value. The reel’s performance exceeded my expectations during real-world testing, particularly when battling powerful fish. While it may not match the finesse of high-end reels, its functionality is commendable for the price.

The Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel stands out as a budget-friendly yet reliable option. Its CNC-machined aluminum construction and advanced drag system provide a solid foundation for anglers seeking performance without breaking the bank. The reel’s drawbacks, such as a slightly heavy build and the need for spool change adjustments, are minor compared to its overall value. For anglers prioritizing functionality and affordability, the Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel is a commendable choice.

The M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch ECO Fly Fishing Reel stands out as the best beginner pick, offering a user-friendly design and exceptional affordability. With a smooth drag system, durable construction, and pre-loaded features, it provides an accessible entry point for those venturing into the world of fly fishing.

“The M MAXIMUMCATCH Fly Fishing Reel earns its place as the best beginner pick with a user-friendly setup and exceptional affordability. As It’s seamless introduction to fly fishing for novices aligns perfectly with our mission to simplify gear selection and enhance the angling experience for all.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

For beginners venturing into the world of fly fishing, the M MAXIMUMCATCH Fly Fishing Reel emerges as a top choice. Its user-friendly design is evident in the pre-loaded configuration, sparing newcomers the complexities of assembling lines and leaders. This reel not only eases the initial learning curve but also provides a cost-effective solution without compromising on quality.

The affordability of the M MAXIMUMCATCH is remarkable, offering features often found in higher-priced counterparts. The rugged disc drag system ensures a smooth and controlled experience, crucial for those mastering the nuances of fly fishing. The reel’s durability is reassuring, capable of withstanding the inevitable bumps and knocks associated with beginners finding their rhythm.

As someone passionate about introducing others to the joys of fishing, the M MAXIMUMCATCH has earned its spot as my top recommendation for beginners. Its user-friendly setup, combined with a price point that won’t deter newcomers, aligns perfectly with the ethos of encouraging more people to embrace this rewarding sport. While packaging and minor quality control issues exist, they don’t overshadow the reel’s overall value, making it an optimal choice for those taking their first steps into fly fishing.

The M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch ECO stands out as a beacon of affordability and quality. Its ease of use, coupled with a durable build, positions it as the ideal companion for those starting their angling journey. With this reel, beginners can confidently cast into the world of fly fishing without compromising on performance or emptying their wallets.

The CHANNELMAY CNC Machined Aluminum Fly Fishing Reel offers a winning combination of quality craftsmanship and cost-effectiveness, making it a top contender in the mid-range category. Its precision-engineered design, ambidextrous functionality, and positive customer reviews position it as an attractive choice for anglers seeking reliable performance without a hefty price tag.

“The CHANNELMAY CNC Fly Fishing Reel stands out for its commendable blend of quality and affordability, making it a smart investment for anglers seeking reliable performance without breaking the bank. Its precision construction and versatile design embody the essence of a mid-range reel that caters to both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The CHANNELMAY CNC Fly Fishing Reel strikes an impressive balance between quality and affordability in the mid-range category. With its precision CNC machined aluminum body, this reel offers durability, and the smooth drag system ensures consistent performance across different fishing scenarios. The ambidextrous design, complemented by an easy left and right-handed switch, caters to anglers of various preferences.

The CHANNELMAY CNC Machined Aluminum Fly Fishing Reel earns its place as a best mid-range pick, delivering a solid combination of quality and affordability. While it may lack some of the advanced features found in premium reels, its reliable performance and durable construction make it an excellent choice for anglers seeking a dependable companion on the water without breaking the bank.

In the competitive landscape of fly fishing reels, the CHANNELMAY CNC Machined Aluminum Fly Fishing Reel shines as a top-tier mid-range option. Anglers looking for a reel that offers a balance between performance and cost will find this product to be a trustworthy companion on their fishing adventures.

The Saion Float Reel Centre Pin, with its CNC-machined aluminum construction, emerges as a versatile choice for anglers engaged in diverse fishing methods. Its durability and adaptability make it a standout option, securing its place as a reliable tool for anglers seeking performance across different scenarios.

“The Saion Float Reel Centre Pin earned its spot for its adaptability across diverse fishing techniques, showcasing the versatility that anglers crave. In our testing, its CNC-machined aluminum build stood up to scrutiny, affirming its durability and making it a reliable choice for anglers exploring various fishing styles.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Saion Float Reel Centre Pin is a versatile companion for anglers exploring different fishing techniques. Crafted from CNC-machined aluminum, it exemplifies durability while maintaining a manageable 4 3/4-inch diameter. The reel caters to a range of applications, from steelhead to coarse and trotting fishing, making it a well-rounded choice for anglers seeking versatility.

The Saion Float Reel Centre Pin earns its place as the best versatile pick, offering a robust platform for diverse fishing techniques. While its stock bearings may warrant an upgrade for saltwater excursions, the reel’s overall build quality and adaptability make it an excellent choice for anglers seeking a well-balanced, multipurpose reel.

The Saion Float Reel Centre Pin stands out as a versatile and dependable choice. Its CNC-machined aluminum construction ensures longevity, while the reel’s adaptability to various fishing styles makes it a go-to option for anglers looking to diversify their approach. With some prudent adjustments and potential bearing upgrades, this reel excels as a versatile companion on the water.

Questions & Answers

  1. What makes a centerpin reel different from other types of fishing reels?

    A centerpin reel is unique boasting a remarkable feature in its distinctive absence of a traditional drag mechanism, setting it apart in the realm of fishing gear. Unlike conventional reels, the centerpin allows unimpeded rotation in both forward and backward directions. This unique design is a game-changer, offering anglers an unprecedented level of control over their fishing experience. The liberated spinning motion of the centerpin reel proves especially advantageous when engaged in specific techniques, such as fishing below a float or indicator. This freedom of movement translates into precise control over the line, enhancing the angler’s ability to navigate currents, follow the drift, and ultimately improve the overall fishing performance. Whether you’re a seasoned angler seeking enhanced control or a beginner looking for a user-friendly reel, the centerpin’s drag-free design opens up new possibilities for a more satisfying and effective fishing experience.

  2. How do I effectively use a centerpin reel?

    When employing a centerpin reel, it’s essential to be mindful of its inherent spinning motion. Develop proficiency in managing the line’s speed by using the “palming” technique, wherein you control the reel’s rotation with the palm of your hand. Dedicate time to practicing the precise execution of setting the hook and maintaining optimal tension when engaged in a battle with a fish. This attention to detail is crucial for increasing your chances of a successful catch.

  3. What are the advantages of using a centerpin reel for trout fishing?

    A centerpin reel offers several advantages for trout fishing that cater to the specific needs of anglers in pursuit of these elusive freshwater species. One key benefit lies in the reel’s ability to provide a drag-free drift, a crucial aspect of techniques such as float fishing or drift fishing. The smooth and unhindered movement of the line allows the bait or lure to mimic the natural flow of the current, increasing the chances of enticing a trout to strike.

  4. Are centerpin reels suitable for all skill levels?

    Centerpin reels are commonly used by intermediate to advanced anglers who have experience with float or indicator fishing techniques. Beginners may find the initial spinning motion challenging to handle, but with practice, they can master the technique and enjoy the benefits of using a centerpin reel.

  5. How do I ensure I choose the right centerpin reel for my needs?

    When you’re in the market for a centerpin reel, it pays to focus on some key factors. Check the build quality and materials for durability, assess the presence and efficiency of the drag system, and match the reel size to your preferred fishing conditions. Don’t forget to factor in your budget; find a balance between features and cost. The key is to choose a reel that aligns with your unique fishing style, the species you’re targeting, and your skill level. To make a well-informed decision, sift through reviews for user feedback and consult with experienced anglers who can offer practical advice based on their own experiences. This comprehensive approach ensures you find the right centerpin reel for your needs.


After comparing a range of quality fly fishing reels across budget categories, the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel stands above as our decisive best overall pick. Delivering smooth reliability that performs in real-world conditions for less than $100, the compact yet powerful Sword epitomizes thoughtful design optimizing versatility for travellers. Simply a fantastic reel exceeding expectations, we confidently recommend the Piscifun Sword as the ideal value workhorse ready to create fishing memories for years ahead.