For experienced anglers, finding the right fishing reels for your needs shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but if you’re new to the fishing game, what should you be looking out for? What’s the best fishing reel for beginners? What is the best freshwater fishing reel?
Along with the top brand histories and what they’re known for, I’ve included their best selling reels (that are still being sold) and their higher end (premium) reels. Remember this article is focused on reels and not rods or other fishing gear. These reels are strictly spinning, casting and spincast and do NOT include fly or centerpins reels.
When it comes to fishing reels everyone has their own favorites, but we set out to pick the 10 best reels you can buy today. Is your number-one pick on the list? Let’s find out.
Who this is for
Like most fishers, I’m not able to carry, store, or afford a different rod and reel for every species of fish or method of fishing. So I picked an affordable, high-quality spinning-rod-and-reel combo that can work in as many fishing conditions and settings as possible—including saltwater and freshwater. This spinning-rod-and-reel setup is approachable enough for a novice to learn on, yet it performs well enough for a seasoned veteran to depend on.
In researching and testing, I prioritized attributes such as durability and build quality—features that anyone, regardless of skill level and intended use, can appreciate—over more specialized features such as multiple-geared reels for using live bait or especially stiff rods that can handle big fish but not smaller ones.
5 Best Fishing Reels of 2021:
|Abu Garcia Rocket||5 x 5 x 4 in||6.35 Ounces|
|Shimano Tekota TEK501HG||6 x 6 x 6 in||15.2 Ounces|
|Daiwa 18 Ninja LT||5 x 5 x 4 in||12.48 Ounces|
|Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2||6 x 6 x 6 in||11.8 Ounces|
|Lew’s Tournament MB||5 x 5 x 4 in||12.4 Ounces|
Abu Garcia’s Rocket Revo 20 is a spinning reel that can reel lines in quickly, allowing for fast retrieves. Ideal for anglers who need to reel in their slack line at top speed or deliver bait in a hurry. It’s fast, appropriately priced, and an ergonomic design for comfortable and efficient fishing.
The reel is made using high-end materials, with a carbon fiber body, ergonomically molded grips, and a cutting-edge spool system made from carbon. A carbon fiber drag system is also added to the mix. The result is a lightweight reel that’s comfortable to handle and powerful enough to pull serious amounts of weight.
In terms of gearing, the Abu Garcia Revo comes equipped with a sophisticated AMGearing system. This system uses a 7.0:1 gear ratio with machined gears, 9 stainless steel HPCR ball bearings, and a roller bearing, for smooth and responsive operation.
If you’re looking for a spinning reel with a high drag capacity and high-speed performance, then this lightweight reel is worthy of your attention. Compatible with a range of different fishing lines, the Abu Garcia Revo fishing reel is a must-have for serious anglers.
- Reel Type: Spinning
- Suitability: Salt and Freshwater
- Gear Ratio: 7:0:1
- Weight: 6.90 ounces
The new, upgraded Shimano Tekota line-counter reel is a compact, reliable saltwater or heavy freshwater salmon reel. Shimano finally got on the bandwagon and now produces their Tekota line counter in both left- and right-hand retrieve.
Whether trolling in the salt for silvers or kings, or backtrolling a large river, the Tekota line-counter is right at home. We used this reel in both scenarios and it proved itself utterly reliable.
Some of the time, we used it to pull 360 flashers with up to 20 ounces of lead. Braided-line capacity is 240 yards of 65-pound-test PowerPro, or 330 yards of 50-pound-test PowerPro. It features 24 pounds of maximum drag, much more than we’re likely to use, even for king salmon.
With its power handle, it has no trouble with this kind of load, nor with a number 50 Jet Diver and K-16 Kwikfish. The line-counter has proven reliable despite the kind of abuse our tester inflicted upon it. Based on this year’s performance, he expects years of reliable use from this reel.
- Shimano quality at a great price
- Roller clutch
- ARC patented spool design
- 2+1 bearings for smoothness
- XT-7 body construction material
The Daiwa Ninja LT is one of Daiwa’s best selling reels. With an extremely affordable price point and stacked with some of Daiwa’s high-end features that only appear on more expensive reels. The Ninja is the ideal choice for entry-level anglers to the most avid of angler.
It comes equipped with Daiwa’s LT technology which stands for Light and Tough. The LT technology helps reduce the overall size and weight of Daiwa’s reel while further increasing the overall strength of the reel. Daiwa’s engineers have done this by optimising specific aspects of the reel’s components, such as Strengthened Digigear for enhanced cranking power, a full graphite body that has been redesigned to improve the robustness and strength of the body while reducing the overall weight through reel body design.
The ABS spool will accommodate both braided and mainlines while the spool design is very efficient at managing various line types. This increases overall casting performance.
Thanks to Daiwa’s ATD drag system. The Ninja LT comes with a smooth, powerful and progressive drag system, ensuring you have complete control at all times when under heavy pressure.
The Daiwa Ninja is a great value and competitively priced reel. It features some of Daiwa’s latest reel technologies and is finished in a cool and stealthy red and black colour scheme that will look great on any fishing rod.
- ABS spool
- ATD (Automatic Tournament) drag
- Machine cut aluminium handle
- Soft touch handle knob
- New generation line clip
If you’re planning to get only one rod and you don’t want to spend a fortune, it should be a 6½- to 7-foot Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2, available in ultra-light, medium, medium-heavy, and heavy versions.
It should be a single-piece model, if you can accommodate it. The size and line rating depend on the species you’re targeting and the type of water you’re fishing (ultra-light, UL, for panfish and small trout; medium, M, for fish weighing 3 to 10 pounds; medium-heavy, MH, for fish in the 10- to 25-pound range; and heavy, H, beyond that). The GX2 is the latest update to a classic line of rods renowned for their versatility and durability for nearly four decades.
The Ugly Stik GX2 was introduced in 2013 as the first major redesign of the Ugly Stik series since its debut in 1976. Compared with the original, it includes more graphite and less fiberglass, giving the rod more of a backbone for working lures and handling heavier fish, while still keeping the soft fiberglass tip that makes it sensitive enough for detecting subtler strikes and smaller catches.
- Front drag
- XT-7 body material
- Die-cast aluminium spool
- 2 SUS ball bearings and 1 roller bearing
- AR-C spool lip design
Now I am introducing you the Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel which is standing in the 2nd position in the list of the 5 high-quality fishing reels over 100.Requirements of fishermen vary a lot based on the purpose of use.
Not every reel is designed or created to fulfill all your needs. Some people want their reel to be long lasting and durable in every situation. This Reel is one of the best reels for that situation. Let’s find out more about this.
Moreover, It has both a magnetic cast control and centrifugal braking system.It has multi-setting brake system which is very helpful while fishing.These characteristics make this product really stunning.It also considered The Best Baitcasting Reel Under 200.
The gear ratio of the product is very moderate. So when you use it you will see the line retrieve is good and the spin of the gear will feel smoother. Also, it’s come with a one-piece lightweight graphite frame and side-plates, which reducing weight, but, the durability of this product makes it one of the good fishing reels.
- Bearings: 9BB + 1RB
- Gear Ratio: 5.6:1
- Weight: 6.7 Oz
- Line Capacity: 12/120
What is a Fishing Reel?
A fishing reel is a device that is connected to a fishing rod. Generally, it is used to pull the line rope which is used for fishing.
Onesimus Ustonson is the one who created the fishing reel for the first time. He lived in London because he had a business there. Because of having products that were fishing related, he created the fishing reel around the 1760s. Modern designs of the fishing reels were created at the end of 18th century in England.
Types of Fishing Reels
Usually, you will find 4 styles of reels for fishing but you can use them in different ways for different types of fishing. There are some other specialized reels but they are for some specific purposes only.
- Fixed Spool Reels: The fixed spool reel is a style of the reel that is very easy to use. It has different configurations, colors, and sizes so you can choose one according to your need.
- Free Spool Reels: Next, comes the free spool reels. This is a modified version of the fixed spool reels. Because it offers an extra drag system. This extra drag system will help you to know when a fish takes your bait and runs with it.
- Centerpin Reels: Another type of reel you will find is the Centerpin reel. This is very useful while fishing in flowing water. Because the reel will rotate exactly to the flow of the water so you can identify if the fishes had your bait. If you can master using this reel you will master fishing for sure.
- Closed Face Reels: The final reel you will find is the closed face reels. These reels are easy to hold as they are extremely light. They are easier to use as a cast reel than the Center pin reels. So these reels are perfect for beginners.
How we tested the Fishing Reels
I tested all of the rods and reels from beaches, rocks, boats, and riverbanks. And I set 1- to 1½-pound live baits from my skiffs, catching ocean fish up to 20 pounds with each rod and reel. The gear on smaller bottom fish, including summer flounder, sea bass, and porgies (or scup), as well as red drum and spotted seatrout in Charleston, South Carolina. I spent several days fishing freshwater rivers for trout and smaller salmon, and a couple of days fishing private ponds and lakes for largemouth bass. I beat up these rods and reels, from the mouth of the Hudson River in New York to the Cook Strait of New Zealand.
There you have it! I’m sure you may have been surprised to see some of these brands as they haven’t been around for very long. Each of the companies has impressed me whether it be their longstanding quality reels, the sexiness of their products (and marketing) and even how I see these companies positioning themselves in a fast paced growing fishing industry.