The Best Crankbait Reel of 2021: Top 5 Reviewed

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

Last Update:

The Rundown

Most Comfortable: KastKing Royale Legend GT (click to see)
“The Royale Legend GT’s conveniently lightweight and robust design brings all-day comfort and takes away the fatigue serious anglers often feel after fishing all day.”

Best Budget Reel: Piscifun Torrent (click to see)
“High-quality reels don’t have to be expensive. With the Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel’s rugged and durable built, you sure can get the biggest bang for your buck.”

Best All-Around: Abu Garcia Black Max (click to see)
The Black Max has a rugged design so it’s easily maintained, making it one of the longer-lasting crankbait reels on the market. Ideal for anglers who value durability.”

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Many anglers prefer using crankbaits because there is a bigger chance of catching larger fish. If this sounds like your goal, the best crankbait reel for the job is a baitcasting reel.

Look for a baitcasting reel that has an average gear ratio that equally matches speed and strength and features a premium braking system to minimize the occurrence of a time-consuming backlash.

The crankbait reels you need are seamless, it operates smoothly and is comfortable to use during the longest days on the water. To help you decide, we reviewed the top 5 in the market and gave an essential guide so you can buy a suitable fishing reel.

Sources researched
11
Sources researched
Customer reviews
16,247
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
14
Hours spent testing
Products tested
5
Products tested
Product Name
Most Comfortable
Best All-Around
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels,Left Handed Fishing Reel,7.2:1 Gear Ratio
Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel 5.3:1 Left Handed Bass Fishing Reel Low Profile Baitcaster
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26" Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max Drag, RH, Boxed
Our Grade
Our Rating 93/100
Our Rating 90/100
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
Lightweight 7.2 ounce construction for all-day comfort
5.3:1 gear ratio for ultimate versatility
Power Disk Drag System for potent fighting power
Feature 2
Synthetic soft-grip handles for an ergonomic feel
Low-profile design for enhanced portability and comfort
MagTrax brake system for enhanced line control
Most Comfortable
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels,Left Handed Fishing Reel,7.2:1 Gear Ratio
Our Grade
Our Rating 93/100
Feature 1
Lightweight 7.2 ounce construction for all-day comfort
Feature 2
Synthetic soft-grip handles for an ergonomic feel
Best Budget Reel
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel 5.3:1 Left Handed Bass Fishing Reel Low Profile Baitcaster
Our Grade
Our Rating 90/100
Feature 1
5.3:1 gear ratio for ultimate versatility
Feature 2
Low-profile design for enhanced portability and comfort
Best All-Around
Product Name
Our Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26" Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max Drag, RH, Boxed
Our Grade
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
Power Disk Drag System for potent fighting power
Feature 2
MagTrax brake system for enhanced line control

Best Reels for Crankbait Fishing 2021

  1. Most Comfortable: KastKing Royale Legend GT
  2. Best Budget: Piscifun Torrent
  3. Best All-Around: Abu Garcia Black Max
  4. Smoothest RetrieveKastKing Spartacus
  5. Best High End: KastKing MegaJaws

KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reel

Most Comfortable Crankbait Reel: So comfortable, you will not want to put it down

KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels,Left Handed Fishing Reel,7.2:1 Gear Ratio
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KEY FEATURES

  • 8 Cross-Fire magnets for enhanced braking capabilities
  • Synthetic soft-grip handles for an ergonomic feel
  • Lightweight 7.2 ounces construction for all-day comfort

If you are tired of crankbait fishing with large, bulky, or cumbersome reels, and are in search of a new baitcasting reel that will provide all-day comfort, then the KastKing Royale Legend should be worthy of your consideration. The Royale Legend GT has a lightweight construction with a total weight of only 7.2 ounces. In addition, it features synthetic soft-grip handles, making it easy to fish from sun up to sun down without becoming fatigued.

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The KastKing Royale Legend also features a premium magnetic drag system, which includes 8 Cross-Fire magnets for excellent braking capacity. This should find favor among serious anglers, who do not wish to be burdened with repeated cases of backlash. In theory, the presence of this high-quality braking system should minimize angler downtime and maximize efficiency when on the water.

Most anglers are also likely to find immense favor in the KastKing Royale Legend’s highly durable construction. This crankbait reel features a Hamai precision cut 37 mm main gear, pinion gear, main shaft, and worm shaft made of brass. The rest of its hardware is made of high-quality stainless steel. This makes the KastKing Royale Legend one of the most robust products on our list.

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

Best Budget Crankbait Reel: Hard on fish, not on your wallet

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel 5.3:1 Left Handed Bass Fishing Reel Low Profile Baitcaster
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KEY FEATURES

  • 18 lb. carbon fiber drag for ample fighting power
  • Low-profile design for enhanced portability and comfort
  • 5.3:1 gear ratio for ultimate versatility

The Piscifun Torrent should be the ideal option for anglers who take their time on the water seriously but do not wish to mortgage their house in a bid to finance their next crankbait reel purchase. It features a 5.3:1 gear ratio, providing optimal retrieval speed for tactics such as slow-rolling and providing a substantial amount of grit and torque when such a need arises.

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The Torrent features one of the most robust drag systems of any crankbait reel in its class. It utilizes an 18-pound drag system of high-quality carbon fiber to provide efficient line metering, even under the most strenuous circumstances. This attribute should be well received by those who regularly pursue the largest bass on any given body of water.

Many anglers are also likely to find favor in the Torrent's rugged construction. This baitcasting reel features shielded bearings made of stainless steel, brass CNC machine gears, and a highly durable carbon fiber frame. The Piscifun Torrent is also equipped with a side-mounted oiling port for ease of maintenance and enhanced longevity.

Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Reel

Best All-Around Crankbait Reel: A reliable choice for those who rely heavily upon their gear’s integrity

Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26' Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max Drag, RH, Boxed
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KEY FEATURES

  • MagTrax brake system for enhanced line control
  • Lightweight graphite frame for all-day comfort
  • Power Disk Drag System for potent fighting power

The Abu Garcia Black Max should make a fantastic choice for those seeking an excellent all-around baitcaster, especially when new to this particular genre of fishing reel. It also features an easy-to-use brake system that allows anglers better line control, thereby minimizing aggravating backlash.

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The Black Max has a firm handle and recessed spool, which should aid in one’s ability to fish without falling victim to hand and arm fatigue. It also includes a Power Disk Drag System that allows the drag to be set in an instant without ever removing your hand from its handle. This is yet another feature that should be appreciated by anglers who spend a significant amount of time on the water.

Anglers also prefer Black Max’s lightweight design. This crankbait reel comes in a graphite frame and side plates, which keep its operational weight to a bare minimum, maximizing all-day comfort. This is extremely important for serious anglers who usually go for the most comfortable reels to use.

KastKing Spartacus Baitcasting Reel

Smoothest Retrieve Crankbait Reel: Where old school reliability meets new-age innovation

KastKing Spartacus Baitcasting Reel – Multi Colors - Carbon Fiber Drag 17.5 LBs - 11 + 1 Shielded Stainless Steel Ball Bearings - The Perfect Warrior for Bass Fishing
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KEY FEATURES

  • Shielded 11 + 1 corrosion resistant ball bearings for seamless casts and retrieves
  • Micro-cast dual centrifugal and magnetic brakes for the minimization of backlash
  • 6.3:1 gear ratio for excellent all-around performance

The KastKing Spartacus should make the perfect option for those who prefer a crankbait reel with equal parts form and function. It performs flawlessly, thanks to a state-of-the-art drag system and premium ball bearing arrangement. It is also appealing to the eyes because of the premium cork grips. 

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Many anglers are also likely to favor the KastKing Spartacus’ shielded 11 + 1 corrosion-resistant ball bearing system. This system allows an ultra-smooth operation during casting and retrieval. This is ideal for bass anglers who prefer covering water at a rapid pace.

The KastKing Spartacus also features a well-rounded 6.3:1 gear ratio, which tends to be within the preferred range for regular crankbait use. This “middle ground” ratio should be fast enough for crankbait use of every type while remaining versatile enough for use in alternative tactics.

KastKing MegaJaws Baitcasting Reel

Best High-End Crankbait Reel: A reel that outcasts all the rest

KastKing MegaJaws Baitcasting Reel,5.4:1 Gear Ratio,Right Handed Fishing Reel,Great White
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KEY FEATURES

  • Funnel-shaped line guide reduces friction and maximizes casting distances
  • 11+1 double-shielded stainless steel bearings for stable operation
  • Heavy-duty internals for increased longevity

If you are currently in search of a crankbait reel that will allow you to cast at even the most distant of points, then the KastKing MegaJaws should be for you. The MegaJaws has many features that enhance casting distance and make it easier than ever to hit your mark. Additionally, it has been designed with angler comfort in mind and features several ergonomic design cues.

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The KastKing MegaJaws features a specialized funnel-shaped line guide that minimizes friction as the line departs from the reel’s spool. This reduction in friction should drastically reduce the effort required to reach distant docks, the backs of winding creeks, and other promising locations that can not be accessed as closely by boat.

Many anglers are also likely to find favor in the KastKing MegaJaws’ robust construction. This crankbait reel features several highly durable components, including 11+1 double-shielded stainless steel bearings, brass pinion, main gears, and a nickel-coated brass worm gear. This enhanced durability should be a hit among anglers who regularly pursue trophy-size bass.

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Cranking Reel

Gear Ratio

A reel’s gear ratio directly determines how it will perform when tasked with a specific duty.

A reel’s gear ratio plays a pivotal role in its overall speed and power. However, selecting the perfect gear ratio can be much like walking a tightrope. Higher gear ratio reels possess fast line recovery rates but are limited in available power. On the other hand, low gear ratio reels have ample power but tend to retrieve lines much slower.

Line Recovery Rate (Inches Per Turn)

A reel’s line recovery rate dictates its ability to keep an angler’s lure in the strike zone.

A reel’s recovery rate is measured in inches per turn and reflects a particular unit’s gear ratio and spool size. A fishing reel that possesses a high gear ratio and a rather large spool will naturally recover the line at a much faster rate than a reel with a slower gear ratio and a small spool. The faster a reel’s line recovery rate, the better it can keep a deep-diving crankbait at the necessary depth for success.

Increased Torque

A reel that possesses ample torque can wrangle the most relentless of fish, with a minor issue.

A reel’s available torque comes as a direct product of its gear ratio. A fishing reel that features a low gear ratio will possess more torque than a similar model that features a higher gear ratio. However, coming to such a decision requires an angler also to determine what effect will be had on a particular unit’s line speed. The lower a reel’s gear ratio. The slower its line recovery rate.

Brake and Drag System Quality

A quality braking system is essential if you spend more time crankbait fishing and less time picking apart tangled lines.

A baitcasting reel’s braking system prevents its spool from moving faster than the line coming off of it. As a result, the occurrence of backlash is significantly minimized. This is of immense importance when making the most out of every available second spent on the water.

Lightweight Crankbaits

Casting a lightweight crankbait is equal parts finesse and skill.

One of the most challenging tasks associated with baitcaster reel use is casting a lightweight crankbait. Since lures of this nature do not possess enough weight to force quick and efficient line dispersal, severe backlash often results. To minimize the occurrence of backlash, an angler must cast with moderate force while using a flexible rod to whip the lure forward across the water.

Number of Bearings

Smooth reel operation comes as a byproduct of the ample use of high-quality ball bearings.

Every fishing reel uses ball bearings to reduce rotational friction. However, some reels use a higher number of ball bearings than others. For a reel to operate in a smooth, seamless fashion, it must possess an adequate number of ball bearings, all of which should be highly uniform across the board.

Budget

Selecting the perfect reel involves balancing your budget in a manner that allows you to get the most bang for your buck.

We, as anglers, all live on one type of budget or another. This forces us to meter any purchase we make against the availability of expendable capital. While it is realistic for many to purchase the most expensive reel on the market, many great reels are available for purchase at a price that will not leave you in a financial bind.

Types of Crankbait 

Today’s angler is treated to an endless array of crankbait to choose from, all of which are of significant value when employed in a given setting. However, one can easily categorize the bulk of these crankbaits into four main types.

Standard Crankbaits

When most anglers think of a crankbait, they envision one of many lures that fall within the “standard” category. Standard crankbaits feature an integrated diving bill and a bulb-shaped body, which tapers toward the rear. When retrieved, a standard crankbait presents a wobbling motion that imitates natural baitfish. In addition, standard crankbaits come in floating, neutral, and diving buoyancy ratings.

Lipless Crankbaits

As one might guess, lipless crankbaits do not feature a lip or bill. Instead, their nose tapers to a wedge shape, which facilitates diving. Lipless crankbaits also tend to be flat-sided rather than bulbous in shape. Crankbaits of this configuration come in both floating and sinking forms. While floating models tend to run quite shallow, sinking lipless crankbaits can be allowed to sink to the desired depth before being retrieved, therefore aiding in versatility.

Minnow Crankbaits

Minnow-style crankbaits are lengthier than their standard counterparts and typically feature bills of a far more subdued size. These sounder crankbaits are generally of the shallow diving variety and are often fished in shallow water areas where bass are feeding heavily upon schools of baitfish. The narrow profile of a minnow crankbait also presents a tighter wobble when being retrieved than is observed from the vast majority of standard crankbaits.

Jointed Crankbaits

Jointed crankbaits utilize a two-piece body, which is connected with a pivoting eyelet. Crankbaits of this variety swim erratically when retrieved, accurately mimicking the actions of an injured baitfish. Opportunistic game fish seek to capitalize on an easy meal and strike the above-mentioned lure as a result. Jointed crankbaits come in numerous sizes and diving depths.

Questions & Answers

When will I use a crankbait reel?

You will use a crankbait reel in any situation where an angler intends to use a crankbait as their primary lure. While a crankbait reel can be used when fishing lures other than a crankbait, a reel of this type possesses the ideal combination of attributes to optimize one’s success throwing diving any baits.

Crankbait reels feature an ideal mix of speed and power when attempting to make the most out of diving bait use. Reels of this nature also tend to cast quite well and allow anglers to present their lure in a life-like manner.

How fast should I reel in a crankbait?

The speed at which a crankbait is retrieved is primarily dedicated to the weather and water conditions faced during a given outing. In general, fish of most any species respond most favorably to a fast retrieve during periods of warm weather. On the contrary, a slow retrieve tends to be beneficial during the winter, when cold water makes fish far more sluggish.

When selecting the speed of your retrieval, it is also essential to consider the depth at which you intend to fish with the crankbait that is to be used. In most situations, a crankbait will dive deeper when retrieved at a fast speed. 

When should I throw a crankbait?

The wonderful thing about crankbait fishing is that it is a year-round tactic. You can use crankbaits of various types in spring, summer, fall, and winter to a high degree of success. Many bass anglers find special favor in crankbait use during the post-spawn period of early summer when largemouths suspend over deep water. Fishing in this manner allows an angler to cover large expanses of water in search of cooperative fish.

Many crappie anglers slow roll crankbaits during the winter months to catch fish that congregate near river channels and other points of differing depths. However, crankbait use can also be effective at any end of the year when implemented while trolling.

What is the best reel ratio for crankbaits?

Most anglers prefer a feel that features a gear ratio of 5:1 or 6:1 as ideal when throwing a crankbait. Reels with a 5:1 gear ratio are ideal for achieving maximum depth out of a crankbait and tend to be responsive enough to allow an angler to detect light bites. On the other hand, a crankbait fishing reel with a 6:1 gear ratio is an excellent choice for those who intend to employ additional tactics outside of typical crankbait use.

While not as popular as the options mentioned above, some anglers also favor using a reel with a 7:1 gear ratio. These reels are primarily used when attempting to cover large expanses of water in rapid succession.

Do crankbaits have to hit bottom?

There is no need for a crankbait to hit bottom to find success unless the species of fish you are pursuing is staging at such depths. Crankbaits can be fished as shallow as six inches or run as deep as possible. Therefore, the depth at which fish are found will serve as an angler’s guide toward how deep they should be fishing.

Many fish suspend off of points at various depths throughout the year. Once fish are located, it is up to an angler to find the perfect crankbait for the application at hand. A well-prepared angler will keep numerous crankbaits on hand to respond to any situation.

Conclusion

Armed with the best crankbait reel, any angler can optimize their efficiency on the water and experience more success than they might have ever thought possible. While selecting the perfect reel of this nature presents its challenges, the information above will have given you the information required to make an informed buying decision, thereby allowing you to get the most for your money.

The products mentioned above are all stellar examples of what a crankbait reel can and should be. Any such purchase should bring you many afternoons’ worth of enjoyment while pursuing your favorite species of fish, no matter where they are found.