Best Overall: KastKing Summer/Centron
“Utilizing a high-powered 17.5-pound Drag System and 9-ball bearings for ultra-smooth performance, the KastKing Summer/Centron series of reels come in multiple sizes to fit every angler’s needs.”
Premium Option: KastKing Sharky III
“Loaded with features (KastKing Intrusion Shield System and a first-in-class 39.5 lb. triple-disc drag) to tackle the chore of hauling in the biggest fish on any given body of water, the KastKing Sharky III is perfect for those who regularly fish for a wide variety of hard-fighting saltwater species.”
Runner-up Choice: Piscifun Flame
“Engineered for the ultimate in angler comfort (ergonomic design, lightweight graphite frame, and powerful 19.8 lb. drag system), the Piscifun Flame Open Face Reel is perfect for those that have grown tired of bulkier, more cumbersome reels in the past.”
When attempting to cast with extreme precision, or present a lure in the most concise manner possible, few pieces of equipment hold immense value as that of a spinning reel. Fishing reels of this variety can be cast with pinpoint accuracy, and provide an angler with a level of line control that is second to none. A quality spinning reel is, therefore, a “must buy” for every serious angler.
Designed for angler comfort and are lightweight in design, the most hearty of today’s premium spinning freshwater reels feature a robust drag system, durable ball bearings, and CNC machined internal gear train components.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown
- Featured Recommendations
- 7 Best Open Face Reels of 2021
- What Should I Look For When Buying An Open Face Reel?
- Questions & Answers
7 Best Open Face Reels of 2021
Best Overall: Subdued in cost, but not in features
- Compact, lightweight design
- High-powered 17.5 lb. Drag System
- Utilizes 9-ball bearings for ultra-smooth performance
If you are on the hunt for a quality open face fishing reel, that is economical in price, there are likely few better options than the KastKing Summer/Centron series of reels. This series of reels feature a lightweight graphite frame that is compact in design, and should be quite durable as well. Each Summer/Centron series reel utilizes a total of 9 ball bearings, which should offer ultra-smooth performance, free of any hard spots or operational lag.
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KastKing Sharky III
Premium Option: Features of a open face reel, power of a winch
- First-in-class 39.5 lb. triple disc drag
- KastKing Intrusion Shield System prevents water and dirt ingress protection
- Includes 10+1 saltwater rated, double shielded ball bearings
The KastKing Sharky III is an open face fishing reel designed to tackle the chore of hauling in the biggest fish on any given body of water. This reel features a first-in-class 39.5 lb. triple disc drag system, and 10+1 saltwater rated, double shielded ball bearings, that offer unmatched strength and agility. This is likely to make the perfect reel for those who regularly fish for catfish, musky, or striped bass, as well as a wide variety of hard-fighting saltwater species.
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Runner-Up Choice: A featherweight reel, with heavyweight performance
- Lightweight graphite frame, for minimal of angler fatigue
- Powerful 19.8 lb. drag system
- Ergonomic design for ultimate comfort
The Piscifun Flame Open Face Reel is likely to be the perfect choice for those that have grown tired of bulkier, more cumbersome reels in the past, as it has been engineered for the ultimate in angler comfort. The combination of a lightweight hollow graphite frame, and an ergonomic grip and handle, should be enough to make anglers pick this reel up, and never want to put it down again. Additionally, this reel is packed full of helpful features, such as a robust 19.8 lb drag system, a smooth 9+1 bearing system, and a braid-ready spool.
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Best Budget Option: Satisfactory performance, at an equally satisfactory price
- 11 total ball bearings for seamless operation
- S-curve oscillation system for uniform spooling
- Compact, streamlined design for comfortable use
If your budget is limited, but you still wish to purchase an spinning fishing reel that you will be proud to own, then the Sougayilang series of reels is likely to be your best bet. This reel looks the part, and carries a number of noteworthy design attributes, such as an 11 ball bearing internal configuration, S-curve oscillation system, and an ultra-compact profile. Most notable is the fact that this reel can be purchased for less than most will spend on bait during any given outing.
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Best Overall: A trouble-free reel engineered to keep you fishing for as long as possible
- Specialized gearing that prevents line from twisting
- Sealed drag system for all-weather performance
- Graphite body and rotor for a lightweight feel
The Pfluger President should be an investment worth making, especially for those that have limited time to spend on the water, and demand the utmost in reliability out of all of their gear. This reel features specialized gearing that slows oscillation to prevent line twisting and kinks. It’s also fitted with a waterproof sealed drag system, 7-corrosion resistant ball bearings, and a lightweight graphite body and rotor.
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Penn Slammer III
Best Premium Option: Premium performance, manufactured from the latest technological advances
- CNC machined gear set for the highest degree of precision
- IP6 Sealed body and spool design for ultimate weather resistance
- Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag
The Penn Slammer III takes precision engineering to new heights, offering anglers one of the best open face reel that looks stylish, includes the latest in innovative features, and should hold its own with any spinning reel to be offered on the market today. This reel consists of a full metal body, side plate, and rotor, utilizes the latest in CNC gear technology, and includes one of the most comprehensive drag systems available. If you are an angler that wants nothing but the finest in your boat, the Penn slammer III is likely your best option.
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Most Versatile: A versatile series of reel, with options for every application
- Multi-disc, pre-oiled drag system allows for ample line control
- Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing prevents freespool of line
- Offered in a range of sizes for versatility
The Okuma Ceymar line of open face reels is offered in a variety of sizes, which should be of benefit to those who know what features they are in search of, but are looking for a perfectly sized reel for their particular application. Additionally, this reel includes a number of high-end features, such as a multi-disc, pre-oiled drag system, a quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing, and a high-torque pinion gear.
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What Should I Look For When Buying An Open Face Reel?
Without a heavy-duty frame, an open face reel is prone to being irreparably damaged when fighting big fish.
A reel’s frame not only provides the base to which all other components attach, but serves as the single point of connection between an angler’s rod and reel as well. As such, a reel’s frame must be extremely rugged, and capable of withstanding abuse, by sizable fish, as well as the elements.
Freshwater or Saltwater
Assuming that a reel is intended for saltwater fishing use, without confirmation, can lead to a host of issues for an angler to contend with.
Saltwater is naturally corrosive to metal surfaces, and can quickly do damage to any reel not approved for use in such conditions. Saltwater approved reels feature anti-corrosive surface coatings, sealed ball bearing system, and water-resistant drag systems. However, not all freshwater spinning reels are built in the same manner. Therefore, it is extremely important to consider which type of fishing you intend to participate in.
Open face spinning reels are offered at virtually every price point imaginable, thereby presenting an option that fits every budget.
Prior to purchasing an open face spinning reel, you must first have a budget in mind. Reels of this type can be purchased for as little as $15, or as much as $300. This makes it quite easy for any angler to locate a reel that is affordable to them. However, it is also of value to remember that you most often get what you pay for. Premium tier reels often feature higher-grade ball bearings, more robust drag systems, smooth operation, and numerous amenities.
A reel’s spool is the final link between an angler, and the line to which their prized catch will be hooked to.
An open face fishing reel’s spool plays an integral role in an angler’s cast and retrieve. A high-quality spool can actually improve casting distances, and minimize line twist and kinks, thereby fostering a greater long term fishing experience. Most of today’s best spinning reels feature an aluminum spool, many of which come in a braid-ready configuration.
A reel’s body composition plays a significant role in its ease of use and overall longevity.
Many of today’s best open face spinning reels feature an aluminum or graphite body. Both of these materials are lightweight by nature, and are also naturally corrosion-resistant. As a byproduct, reels of this composition tend to be comfortable to handle, and long-lasting in their durability.
An open face reel’s rotor is responsible for transferring force between a unit’s gear train, and its spool.
A reel’s rotor is designed to rotate around a reel’s spool shaft, in order to drive the spool in a rotating fashion. The bulk of quality reel rotors are composed of graphite or aluminum, and are rigid in form. This provides reliable rotation, smooth operation, and enhanced durability.
A reel’s handle is the main component to which every other unit function is linked.
Few anglers truly consider just how vital a reel’s handle is to a unit’s overall operation. As the driving force behind a reel’s functionality, a handle must be both solid in construction, and comfortable to use. Today, the best open face fishing reels feature aluminum handles that can be repositioned for both right and left handed use, and utilize comfortable rubber grips.
A reel’s power roller plays an essential role in the spooling of line, free of any unwanted line abrasion.
A reel’s power roller can be found sandwiched between the unit’s bail and spool. This small component is designed to spin freely, allowing line to be wound onto the reel’s spool in an even and precise fashion. A power roller must be durable in design, as any damage to this unit will result in frayed line, which ultimately risks breakage.
A bulky fishing reel is of little use to an avid angler, especially when fishing for extended periods of time.
It is absolutely essential to study the carrying weight of any reel which you are currently considering purchasing. A failure to do so can leave you with a reel that is cumbersome to use, and that ultimately leads to excess arm fatigue. On the other hand, a lightweight reel can provide an angler with hours of comfortable use, which is an attribute that anyone can appreciate.
If a reel’s body is not cast from quality materials, longevity and overall efficiency are sure to suffer.
A reel’s body houses numerous components that are vital to proper function. As such, a reel’s body must be cast from quality materials, in a bid to withstand all that it will be put up against. The vast majority of today’s quality open face reels feature bodies composed primarily of graphite, carbon-fiber, or aluminum. Each of these materials are of value for their lightweight,yet durable characteristics.
A reel’s line capacity is an important consideration when attempting to locate the best particular model to your specific application.
An open face reel’s line capacity varies not only by the size of the reel itself, but by the size of line chosen for use. As a general rule, a reel’s overall capacity decreases as line size increases. However, high-test line can still be used to a more efficient extent, when paired with a reel of sizable proportions.
Questions & Answers
What is an open face reel?
An open faced reel is a type reel that features a vertical spool, that is not enclosed in any manner by a shroud or outer shell. Many anglers also refer to an open face reel as a spinning reel. Reels of this nature are easy to use and extremely versatile, lending themselves well to precision casting and intricate lure presentation. As a result, open face reels are immensely popular with anglers the world over.
Overall, open face reels can be used with relative ease, though learning to cast a reel of this nature often requires a little additional practice. Rather than depressing a button to cast, as is the case with spincasting reels, an open face reel’s bail must be flipped into an upward position, prior to casting one’s line.
What is an open face reel used for?
Open face reels are known for their high degree of versatility, making them suitable for use in most applications. In fact, one can use an open face reel in nearly every type of angling pursuit, including that which pertains to even the most sizable of saltwater species. Open face reels are offered in an infinite number of sizes, making it quite simple to choose a particular model that meets your specific needs.
Many avid panfish anglers prefer an open face reel over units of any other type, due to their superb casting ability. This allows these angler to easily cast to spawning beds, as well as bush piles and other points of interest. Many anglers also keep an open face reel on hand for bass fishing, especially when employing the use of finesse fishing techniques.
How do I cast an open face reel?
Open face reels operate in a relatively similar fashion to other types of reels, in relation to retrieval and drag system usage. However, reels of this variety do cast in a somewhat different manner than various other reels. Prior to casting, an open face reel’s bail is flipped upward to release the line. A finger is then used to hold the slack line against an angler’s rod. As an angler swings forward with their cast, they lift their finger, thereby allowing the line to feed outward.
Casting an open face reel takes time to master. As with any type of casting, practice makes perfect. Many anglers shorten this learning curve by practicing their cast while in their backyard. With as little as 30 minutes of practice per evening, one can quickly become proficient in casting their new open face reel.
How do I string an open face reel?
Stringing an open face reel is relatively straightforward in nature, and can be completed in a matter of minutes, even by those with no prior experience. However, there are a few key steps that must be adhered to, in order to maximize your reel’s performance.
First, begin by feeding the new line through each of your rod’s guides until reaching the spool of your reel. You will now flip the bail of your reel into its upward position, and tie this line onto the spool with the use of an overhand knot.
You will now lay the spool of new fishing line onto a flat surface, and begin slowly cranking your reel. While doing so, make sure that the spool of the new line is spinning in the same direction as the spool of your reel. This keeps line twist to an absolute minimum. As you reel, keep slight tension on the incoming line with the use of your thumb and index finger. You will continue stringing as much line onto your reel until it comes within ⅛ inch of the spool’s outer lip, at which time the line will be cut, and a hook can be tied in place.