Walleye fishing requires having the right spinning reel to handle casting and retrieving lures all day.
With walleye being bottom-dwellers, a smooth drag and ability to control depths is critical. I’ll cover the top 5 walleye spinning reels on the market and what to look for when selecting your next reel.
Top 5 Walleye Spinning Reels
Shimano Stradic Ci4+ – Best Premium Walleye Spinning Reel
At just 6.7 ounces, the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is incredibly lightweight thanks to its carbon frame and rotor, making it my choice for the best premium walleye spinning reel. Anglers can effortlessly cast and retrieve lures all day without fatigue.
The reel achieves remarkable smoothness through Shimano’s X-Ship gearing system and Magnumlite rotor which essentially eliminate friction during retrieve. This allows walleye fishermen to detect even subtle bites on the line.
With a powerful max drag of 20 lb and gear ratio of 6.0:1, this reel has the strength and speed to handle large hard fighting walleye. Monofilament line capacity is an ample 140 yards of 8 lb test or 110 yards of 10 lb test, providing flexibility for various line strengths.
The Ci4+ really shines in terms of durability – the rigid one-piece carbon body is built to withstand constant submersion in freshwater while defending against corrosion. Shimano is revered for manufacturing high-quality, long-lasting fishing reels that stand the test of time.
Overall, the Stradic Ci4+ is worth the premium price tag, offering walleye anglers an unparalleled combination of lightweight comfort, smoothness, and durability season after season.
Pflueger President – Best Value Walleye Spinning Reel
With its affordable price point matched with high performance, the Pflueger President offers fantastic value for money as the best budget-friendly walleye spinning reel.
It lives up to its reputation for smooth retrieval thanks to 9 corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings and 1 instant anti-reverse bearing. Combined with the lightweight graphite body and rotor, the President excels at comfort while reducing arm fatigue when casting and working lures repeatedly.
The braid ready spool is a big plus, allowing direct tying of braided lines. While the maximum drag of 18 lb and gear ratio of 5.2:1 are lower than premium reels, they are still sufficient to handle large hard fighting walleye with a balance of power and speed. The President isn’t built as ruggedly as higher-end reels but it contains quality components that are designed to resist corrosion.
For walleye fishermen seeking value without compromising on performance, the Pflueger President is a reliable workhorse spinner that will handle hundreds of fishing trips without breaking the bank.
Abu Garcia Revo SX – Best Lightweight Walleye Spinning Reel
The Abu Garcia Revo SX earns the distinction as the best lightweight walleye spinning reel, tipping the scales at an incredibly feathery 7.1 oz.
The single-piece carbon body and rotor provide exceptional strength and rigidity without any excess weight. This ultra-light construction translates into reduced arm fatigue even after a full day casting and retrieving.
The Revo SX achieves remarkably smooth performance thanks to Abu Garcia’s precision AM Gear System. Combined with the Rocket Line Management System, the reel excels at casting distance and control. While the maximum drag of 11 lb and gear ratio of 6.2:1 are lower than some alternatives, they are more than sufficient for large walleye.
Anglers seeking the ultimate in lightweight comfort will appreciate this reel, and it performs smoothly across all walleye fishing techniques. While it commands a higher price, the material quality and engineering in the Abu Garcia Revo SX provide a premium fishing experience.
Daiwa BG – Most Durable Walleye Spinning Reel
Renowned for their rugged durability, Daiwa spinning reels are built to withstand years of fishing trips in fresh and saltwater. The Daiwa BG earns the distinction as the most durable walleye spinning reel, encased in a rugged anodized aluminum housing and featuring the silky smooth Digigear system.
This precision gearing provides cranking power and unmatched control of lure depth – critical when targeting bottom-dwelling walleye. Even successive seasons of hard fishing will not wear down the BG’s internal components.
Starting at 8.5 oz, this reel is heavier than some alternatives but makes up for it with a rock-solid build quality, massive 33 lb maximum drag in larger sizes, and smooth consistent drag perfect for big river walleye runs.
While the premium cost may turn away some anglers, those seeking reliability above all else need to look no further than the Daiwa BG as their walleye fishing workhorse.
KastKing Sharky III – Best Budget Walleye Spinning Reel
The KastKing Sharky III offers incredible value as the best budget-friendly walleye spinning reel. It delivers performance punching far above its price point.
The 10+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings provide remarkably smooth casts and retrieves outperforming many costlier competitors. Its carbon fiber drag system can produce up to 39.5 lb of drag capable of stopping bruiser walleye in their tracks. A braid-ready aluminum spool, precision brass gears, and anodized aluminum body resistant to corrosion and saltwater round out the features.
With build quality and specs matching reels costing three times as much, the Sharky III gives budget-minded walleye anglers the performance they need without breaking the bank.
While its budget price may cause skepticism, the KastKing Sharky III punches far above its weight class, making it easy to recommend as the best value walleye spinning reel available today.
What to Look for in a Walleye Spinning Reel
When selecting a spinning reel for targeting walleye, there are several key factors savvy anglers will consider:
- Smoothness – A buttery smooth drag and bearing system is vital. Walleye are known for subtle bites, so sensitivity is imperative. More stainless steel or ceramic bearings generally provide a smoother experience.
- Corrosion Resistance – Walleye spend most of their time near the bottom, so reels are exposed to rocks, debris, and constant water. Corrosion resistant materials like aluminum and graphite are preferred.
- Gear Ratio – A moderate gear ratio between 5:1 and 6:1 balances retrieval power and speed. Experts tailor the ratio to the lure type. Slower for crankbaits, faster for light jigs.
- Line Capacity – Look for line capacity in the 150 to 200 yard range using 6-10 pound test monofilament, or 10-20 pound braided lines. This ensures ample line for long casts and running fish.
- Lightweight – Reduces arm fatigue that inevitably occurs after repeatedly casting and retrieving all day on the water. Lighter reels enhance fishing comfort and stamina.
- Durability – Reels must endure season after season of hard fishing use and exposure to the elements. Premium components ensure a lengthy lifespan.
- Drag – Smooth consistent drag starting around 15 pounds max drag suits battling big walleye while protecting lines on light bites.
Finding the sweet spot between these critical performance factors will help anglers select the ideal reel to start landing more walleye.
When chasing walleye, having the right spinning reel can make all the difference in your fishing success. For an unparalleled combination of lightweight comfort, smoothness, and durability, the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ takes the top spot as the best premium walleye spinning reel.
The Pflueger President provides incredible performance and value as the best budget-friendly option. For anglers wanting a lightweight and silky smooth reel, the Abu Garcia Revo SX is a top choice. And the Daiwa BG is built to last season after season as the most durable walleye spinner.
While these reels stand out as the best of the best, there are many other quality options on the market. Carefully evaluate your fishing preferences, techniques and budget to select the ideal walleye spinning reel for your needs. Properly matched gear makes time spent on the water more productive and enjoyable. Equipped with the perfect reel, you’ll be hooked into more walleye in no time!