8 Best Baitcasting Reels To Catch More Fish

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largemouth bass
largemouth bass

When it comes to fishing, having the best fishing gear can make all the difference between fishing success and failure. It’s for that very reason that anglers often look for the best baitcasting reels to help them catch more fish. Baitcaster fishing reels are one of the most popular pieces of fishing gear that can make or break a fishing trip.

Whether you’re targeting bass in a freshwater lake or powerful saltwater fish, having the best casting reel will help by providing better precision, accuracy, and control. Let’s go over some helpful information about baitcasting reels including the various types of baitcast reels, their features, and which ones we (and many pro fishermen) consider to be the best baitcasting reels.

The Cast & Conquer Crew have a combined 112 years of fishing experience so we know a thing or two about the best baitcasting reels. When researching and testing various products (no product sponsors), we take the following into account when determining our recommendations: Construction quality, product features, durability, price, customer reviews, and our field testing whenever possible.


Low-Profile Baitcasting Reels: Low-profile baitcaster reels are compact and lightweight. They offer excellent control and are a popular choice for bass fishing due to their ease of handling.

Round Baitcasting Reels: Round baitcast fishing reels are known for their line capacity and power. These reels are often used in saltwater fishing where you might need to tackle larger and stronger fish species.

High-Speed Baitcasting Reels: High-speed baitcaster reels feature a higher gear ratio, allowing for rapid retrieval. These are great for techniques that require quick line pick-up, such as flipping and pitching.

Saltwater Baitcasting Reels: Saltwater baitcasting reels are designed to withstand the corrosive nature of saltwater and the more powerful species typically being targeted. They are built tough and are essential for successful saltwater fishing when anglers are targeting species like snook, redfish, tarpon, etc.


When looking for a good baitcasting reel, you should pay close attention to the following features. Comparing these features can help you determine which casting reel is most suited to your specific needs.

Gear Ratio and Retrieval Speed: Gear ratio is a measurement of how many times your spool turns for each turn of the handle. The gear ratio determines how quickly the line is retrieved. Higher gear ratios are better for fast techniques, while lower ratios provide more torque for handling bigger fish. For baitcasting reels, 5:1 is one of the slower gear ratios while 7:1 is one of the faster gear ratios.

Ball Bearings and Smoothness: Smooth operation is crucial. More ball bearings usually result in smoother casting and reeling. Look for reels with at least 5+1 ball bearings to avoid frustration on the water. By the way, the +1 referring to ball bearings is the roller bearing.

Drag System and Power: A robust drag system is essential for controlling fish during the fight. A baitcasting reel’s drag system prevents line from coming out when it’s pulled. The power and smoothness of the drag can be a game-changer when battling a powerful fish.

Frame Material and Durability: Baitcasting reels are usually made from graphite or aluminum which makes them lightweight and durable. A graphite reel will be lighter, but less durable and an aluminum reel will be a little heavier, but more durable. We typically always use graphite reels (personal preference), but aluminum reels may be preferable when saltwater fishing due to the more powerful species involved.

Brake Systems for Precision Casting: Baitcaster reels often come with adjustable brake systems that help prevent backlash (typically referred to as a bird’s nest) by regulating the rotation of the spool. Understanding and mastering the brake system is vital for accurate casting.


Best Overall: 13 Fishing Concept A2
13 Fishing Concept A2 Baitcasting Reel13 Fishing Concept A2 Baitcasting Reel
  • Gear Ratio: 6.8:1

  • Ball Bearings: 6+1

  • Construction: HD Aluminum

  • Weight: 7.4 Oz.

  • Rating: 4.3 out of 5

I’d bet most anglers have never heard of 13 Fishing. They make the Concept A2 baitcast reel and it’s a beast! They’re slogan is “Reliability + Durability + Capability” and they mean every word. The Concept A2 baitcaster reel just feels premium. This low-profile baitcasting reel is constructed of HD aluminum making it lightweight and sturdy. Features a 25 lbs. drag system for great stopping power, 6+1 ball bearings for smooth casting, 6.8:1 gear ratio for great retrieval speed, and plenty of line capacity. Definitely a keeper. A left-handed version is also available.

Best High-End: Diawa Lexa 400HD
Diawa Lexa 400HD Baitcasting ReelDiawa Lexa 400HD Baitcasting Reel
  • Gear Ratio: 7.1:1

  • Ball Bearings: 6+1

  • Construction: Aluminum

  • Weight: 16.1oz. (It's a tank!)

  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5

Diawa baitcaster reels have long been a fan favorite and for good reason. They're constructed of high quality materials which makes them reliable and very durable. The Lexa 400HD is no exception. Coming in right at a pound, this thing is built like a tank! It's constructed from HD aluminum for added strength and durability. Features 6+1 ball bearings, a gear ratio of 7.1:1 for super fast retrieval, and an excellent user rating of 4.8 out of 5. This model is ambidextrous.

Best High-Speed: Abu Garcia Revo Rocket
Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Low Profile Baitcasting ReelAbu Garcia Revo Rocket Low Profile Baitcasting Reel
  • Gear Ratio: 10.1:1

  • Ball Bearings: 10+1

  • Construction: Carbon

  • Weight: 9.9oz.

  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Team Cast & Conquer loves this baitcasting reel due to its sleek look and blazing speed. Abu Garcia's Revo Rocket combines great quality with high performance. The Revo Rocket is constructed of a carbon blend making it lighter and durable. Features 10+1 ball bearings for super smooth casting, a blazing 10.1:1 gear ratio for high retrieval speeds, 25lbs. of drag, and a great user rating of 4.7 out of 5. There is also a left-handed version.

Best Line Capacity: Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Baitcasting ReelAbu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Baitcasting Reel
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3:1

  • Ball Bearings: 3+1

  • Construction: Machined Aluminum

  • Weight: 10.7oz.

  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Abu Garcia's Ambassadeur C3 round baitcast reel is lightweight for a round, aluminum reel which is a huge plus in our book. Round baitcasting reels seem to typically be a little heavier. This reel gives off that classic-reel vibe which many anglers enjoy. The Ambassadeur C3 features 3+1 ball bearings, a gear ratio of 5.3:1, 15lb. Carbon Fiber Star Drag System, and ample line capacity. The spool holds 320 yards of 12lb. mono or 310 yards of 30lb. braided line. This baitcasting reel would do well for saltwater fishing as well as long as you're not targeting bigger species. The machined aluminum can withstand the harsh saltwater and still deliver. There's a left-handed version as well.

Best Lightweight: Shimano Aldebaran MGL
Shimano Aldebaran MGL Baitcasting ReelShimano Aldebaran MGL Baitcasting Reel
  • Gear Ratio: 7.4:1

  • Ball Bearings: 9+1

  • Construction: Aluminum & Magnesium Blend

  • Weight: 4.8oz.

  • Rating: 4.9 out of 5

If it wasn't for the price, the Shimano Aldebaran MGL baitcasting fishing reel would've been our top overall choice for the best baitcast reel. This compact, lightweight reel has everything you'd want in a reel. The 4.8oz. reel features a super fast 7.4:1 gear ratio, 9+1 ball bearings for a really smooth cast, 10lbs. of drag, and a sturdy frame constructed of an aluminum/magnesium blend which helps lighten it up. This reel has the best user reviews of the reels on our list at 4.9 out of 5. You know the old saying, "You get what you pay for." Well, This luxury baitcasting reel gives you all of the "bells and whistles" if you can handle its price tag. A quality reel for serious anglers. There's a left-handed version available.

Best for Beginners: KastKing Centron Lite
KastKing Centron Lite Baitcasting ReelKastKing Centron Lite Baitcasting Reel
  • Gear Ratio: 7.1:1

  • Ball Bearings: 5+1

  • Construction: Glass Fiber Nylon Blend

  • Weight: 7.6oz.

  • Rating: 4.4 out of 5

KastKing may not be the most well-known when it comes to fishing gear, but they've built somewhat of a cult following. The Centron Lite baitcaster reel is perfect for beginners. It's a high-quality reel that's perfectly suited for seasoned anglers as well. We found it to be of better quality than expected. It made casting all day a breeze thanks to its lightweight frame and 5+1 ball bearings. It features an impressive 7.1:1 gear ratio for quick retrieval and 15.4lbs. of drag. It also has a 10 magnet braking system which will help newbies avoid the dreaded bird's nest:) There's a left-handed version with the same features.

Best Budget: Abu Garcia Pro Max
Abu Garcia Pro Max Baitcasting ReelAbu Garcia Pro Max Baitcasting Reel
  • Gear Ratio: 7.1:1

  • Ball Bearings: 7+1

  • Construction: Aluminum

  • Weight: 7.4oz.

  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Abu Garcia's Pro Max baitcaster reel delivers quite a bang for the buck. Abu Garcia has been producing quality fishing gear for decades now and even their "low-end" products feel premium much of the time. The low-profile Pro Max reel (newest version) features a sturdy and lightweight aluminum frame with oversized, soft-touch knobs, 7.1:1 gear ratio for fast retrieval, and 7+1 ball bearings for optimal casting. It comes with 15lb. Synthetic Star Drag and their MaxTrax Brake System which applies constant brake pressure throughout the cast. Mono capacity yards/lbs: 150/10 120/12 85/17 and braided capacity 155/20 120/30 80/50. This model is right-handed, but they also make a left-handed version with the same features.

Best Saltwater: Shimano Tranx 150HG
Shimano Tranx 150HG Baitcasting ReelShimano Tranx 150HG Baitcasting Reel
  • Gear Ratio: 8.2:1

  • Ball Bearings: 3+1

  • Construction: Aluminum & Magnesium Blend

  • Weight: 6.7oz.

  • Rating: 4.3 out of 5

The Shimano Tranx 150HG is a high-quality reel at a premium price, but we feel like it's worth it considering the build-quality and features. Not to mention, Shimano has a reliable reputation in the fishing world. The Tranx 150HG is constructed of a Hagane frame which is a blend of aluminum and magnesium which provides better strength while weighing less (6.7oz). This low-profile reel features a blazing 8.2:1 gear ratio, 3+1 ball bearings, and a protective coating called CoreProtect that makes it perfectly suited for saltwater fishing where smaller species are targeted. A left-handed version is also available.

Also: Check out the Best Casting Rods

Lastly, you'll want to pair a new baitcaster with a high-quality monofilament, flurocarbon, or braided fishing line. You can also check out our list of the best casting rods to pair with any of the reels listed in this post.