Baitcasting reels are quite a complex type of reel and can take a bit of time and practise to perfect but once you get the hang of them, they a must have in all fishermans rod and reel collection. Baitcasting reels are the reel of choice for most professional fisherman due to their larger gear ratio which provides a faster retrieve. They are ideal for precision casting and are able to handle larger lures and heavier fishing line and are the go-to reel option when chasing larger sport fish.

I must admit, the first time I tried a baitcasting reel (also know as baitcasters) I had a hard time getting the hang of it. Many times I ended up with a birdsnest of line with each cast. However with perseverance and a general understanding of how a baitcaster reel works, I too was able to perfect the art of controlling the reel spin when casting, and tweak the drag easily all with the use of only a few fingers. Even the overhead reel setup makes it a great boat rod for jigging.

So with that in mind, this guide will help you choose a suitable baitcasting reel for your level of fishing experience.

Best Baitcasting Reel Research – What Reel Is Best?

Like almost every type of reel out there, baitcasters come in a wide range of styles, sizes, brands and of course cost. When researching baitcasting reels its best to consider the following factions:

  1. Round vs Low-Profile
  2. Brand
  3. Brakes
  4. Speed and Gears
  5. Bearings
  6. Frame/Components

Learn more about these factors further on in this article.

”I must admit, the first time I tried a baitcaster it was an epic fail. Line was going everywhere, my lure barely made it 5 metres. I wanted to give up. But I persisted and with practise I know comfortably can use a baitcaster when required. 

Whilst they are a great form of fishing reel they aren’t for everyone – or every type of fishing, so hopefully this article will give you some insight into when to use one, how to use one and what to look for when buying one.

Tight lines!”

Matt, Focus Fishing.

Focus Fishing Matt

Best Baitcasting Reels for 2019 - Reviews

1. Daiwa Coastal TWS T-Wing Reel

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2. Abu Garcia REVO Inshore Low Profile

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3. Shimano CURADO DC, LowProfile Baitcasting Freshwater Fishing Reel

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4. SHIMANO CAENAN A, LowProfile Baitcasting Freshwater Fishing Reel

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5. SHIMANO Metanium DC Baitcasting Reels

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6. SHIMANO Calcutta, Round Baitcasting Freshwater Fishing Reel

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6. Abu Garcia C4-6601 Ambassadeur Round Baitcast Fishing Reel

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7. Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel

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8. Lews Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel

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baitcasting reels

Baitcasting Reel Buyers Guide – All you need to know

If you are looking to dive into the world of baitcasting reels then you have come to the right place. This guide will hopefully empower you to make an informed decision when buying a new baitcaster for your reel collection. First things first, lets look at the main types of baitcasting reel.

Round Reels

Round reels have their own place in the world of fishing reels, they feature a larger frame size than low-profile reels and this allows them to have a higher line capacity. They also have a slower gear ratio resulting in slower line retrieval but more power, meaning they are best suited to larger fish species. Round reels are commonly used offshore or jigging deeper water where the larger gears can be used to  “winch” fish up from the depths.

Low-Profile Reels

Low-profile reels sit closer to the rod than round reels, hence the name. This allows anglers to have more control over the line and the gears which sit to the side of the reel. Overall low-profile reels have a better feel than round reels and are used more for finesse fishing. They have great power which is a must when casting larger lures and pulling fish such as bass from weed beds. The gear ratio of low-profile reels allows for a fast retrieval which is ideal when using lures such as spinner baits. The low-profile design means they hold less line then other reels but when fishing lakes or rivers this isn’t a high priority.

Brand

It always pays to buy a reel from a reputable brand. Not only because of confidence in the product, but also after sales care and warranties. Big brands will also have a wide range of reels to choose from all with different features for different styles of fishing. Try and avoid cheap, unknown brands unless you are just after a reel to first practise on. Brands such as Shimano, Abu Garcia and Daiwa all make quality baitcaster reels.

Brakes

The brake is a very important part of a baitcasting reel. A common mistake for first timers is  having the brake too loose when casting and the end result is a mess of line due to the line feeding off the spool way too fast. There are 2 types of brakes on common baitcasters; Magnetic and Centrifugal. The brake acts somewhat like a drag, and is often a dial positioned on the side of the reel. The dial can be adjusted depending on the weight of your line and lure so you can get the perfect cast.

Speed & Gears

The speed of retrieval and the power of the reel comes down to the gears and overall gearing setup. The material used to make the gears is an important factor to consider when buying a baitcaster. Most reels are made with brass gears, however more top of the line quality reels will use metal gears. This results in a more durable reel that will last many fishing trips then cheaper reels that use plastic gears. Plastic gears as you can imagine will not stand the test of time and not hold up against regular casting and catching fish.

Bearings

The bearings in a reel assist the gear rotation and provide smoothness to the spin of the spool. The use of quality bearings will mean your reel will perform much better overtime than poor quality bearings. This will be noticeable when casting and retrieving your line. When picking a reel keep in mind that quality is better than quantity when it comes to the number of bearings.

Frame

Reel frames are made of several different materials, the most commonly being Alloy, Graphite and Aluminium. It is ideal to have a reel with fewer number of pieces as this limits the number of parts that risk breaking. Alloy and graphite frames are the most cost effective however they are weaker than aluminium frames.

How to use a baitcasting reel

A baitcaster can be a little tricky to work the first few times, however once you master it, they are a great versatile reel. The main components of a reel include the handle, drag, spool tensioner, spool release button, spool, brake and line guide. Baitcasters dispense the line in a straight line when casting and there is no need to flick a bail arm over in order to cast. To release line you simple press down the spool release button with your thumb and then you can control the release of the line by placing pressure of the line with your thumb. The line is now ready to cast. It is important to adjust the brake and use your thumb to control the release of line dependant on the weight of the lure/bait you are using.

A baitcaster reel will allow you to get your lure to land exactly where you want it by the use of thumb pressure on the line when casting. A bit of practise and you will be able to skip your lure directly under mangroves or boat docks in no time.

To adjust drag you simply rotate the drag dial much the same as you would a spinning reel, however the size and positioning of the drag is slightly different. The components and their positioning on a baitcaster are all setup for ergonomic purposes and allow the angler to make changes to their reel with the use of just one hand – typically the one holding the rod, which can be done at anytime and not interfere with line retrieval. This is ideal in situations where you have hooked a fish and need to adjust the drag whilst still winding the reel. A standard spinning reel would require you to stop reeling, and adjust the drag then proceed to start reeling again. This several second pause can often result in a lost fish.

How to cast a baitcaster without backlash?

The tip here to avoid backlash when casting is to ensure the spool tension is set right. Too loose and the line with fly off the spool way too fast resulting in a mess of line. The spool tension needs to be adjusted to suit the weight of lure you are casting. Again, practise is required to perfect the use of a baitcaster reel. The following article provides great tips with photos showing how to cast a baitcaster correctly

What lures are best to use with a baitcaster reel?

Baitcasters require a decent amount of weight in order to cast well. It’s recommended a lure weight of more than 1/4oz is used. Spinner baits, swimbaits, large softplastics are all suitable lures to use.

What fish are baitcaster reels used for?

A wide range of fish can be caught on a baitcaster, however a baitcaster is ideal for fast retrievals of lures and therefore used more widely when chasing sportsfish such as largemouth bass, mangrove jack, barramundi or when jigging bottom dwelling fish.