April 28, 2011 Comments (3) Reviews

Top 10 Baitcasting Reels

Bait Casting Reels

Looking for some new baitcasting reels? Today’s economy forces us to rethink the way we buy fishing equipment. The best “bang for your buck” is looked at a little differently today. Our buck isn’t quiet taking us as far as we would like it to go. To help you with your research, I’ve compiled 10 of my favorite reels with the criteria in mind of both price and performance. We all want to have the best equipment on the market so here is a list of reels I think you should definitely consider:

10. Pflueger® Patriarch

Pflueger Patriarch XTLP Baitcast Reel

The Pflueger Patriarch packs a punch when it comes to high-speed baitcasters. This reel is a workhorse and is ready for any kind of abuse you plan on putting it through. With two different spool options, this reel has the versatility to be used for lightweight topwater baits up to heavy deep cranking with the 64 WLP(wide spool) series. The Titanium line guide is a must and should be used on all reels to eliminate line frays. Pflueger has raised the bar with the Patriarch and continues to pump out quality products.

10 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings
Weight 8.0 ounces
Ultimate Brake SystemTM
Titanium line guide
Check price on Amazon

9. Abu Garcia® REVO SXAbu Garcia® REVO SX

As one of the leaders in engineering high-end reels, Abu Garcia knocks it out of the park with the REVO SX. With its one of a kind Carbon Matrix Drag System you can experience the smoothest drag system on the market. Fighting a monster fish has never been easier. This reel gives me the confidence that no fish is getting away.

10 ball bearings
Weight 8.9 ounces
X-Craftic Alloy Frame and Sideplate
Carbon Matrix Drag System
Duragear Brass Gears
Check price on Amazon

8. Wright & McGill® Skeet Reese Victory

Wright & McGill® Skeet Reese VictoryFairly new to the baitcasting scene but long time fishing company Wright & McGill has produced the Skeet Reese signature series Victory reels. It makes complete since to let a champion design his own arsenal of equipment and then make it affordable to the public. The Victory’s large handle is designed for you power fishermen who want to crank it like it’s hot. This allows less effort from the fisherman and equals more fishing time on the water.

10 ball bearings
Weight 7.76 ounces
Teflon® drag system
Aluminum frame
Check price on Amazon

Pinnacle® Optimus X

7. Pinnacle® Optimus X

I love to see innovation in the fishing industry and Pinnacle has made some ununiformed changes to their fishing reels. We have all seen the “flipping switches” on reels for many years but the Optimus QuickFlip ™ is a new twist on this technique. The QuickFlip ™ button sits on top of the Optimus X reel and only works when the angler quickly engages the button for faster hooksets. This can be crucial when fishing topwater or when pitching into shallow cover.

8 Double-Shielded Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
Weight 7.6 ounces
X-Bone™ Metal Frame Construction
Multi-Stack Trulon Drag
QuickFlip™ Button
Check price

Shimano® Curado 200 E

6. Shimano® Curado 200 E

Throughout this top 10 my goal was to review high-end reels at an affordable price. I had to slip in a few that rose over the $150 mark and the Shimano Curado 200 E was one that I could not leave off this list. Ever heard the saying “you get what you pay for?” This is true no matter what product your in the market to buy. The Curado 200 E is well worth every penny you spend on this reel. Shimano’s unremarkable ability to manufacture precision gears is beyond my comprehension.

When a company makes gears that work for riders like Lance Armstrong, I know they make gears that I good enough for me. Forget about all the other Curados prior to this one and jump on the new Curado band wagon to have a life long enjoyment of fishing. Don’t forget to check out the new Curado 50E which is a smaller version that comes in a 6.4:1 gear ratio and retails for $199.99.

7 ball bearings
Weight 7.6 ounces
Aluminum Frame
Lightweight Graphite Sideplates
High Efficiency Gearing
Super Stopper II
Check price on Amazon

5. Bass Pro Shops® Johnny Morris® Carbon Black


If you’re looking for a top-notch reel that you can find just about anywhere, then look no further than your local Bass Pro Shops. Over the years Bass Pro has made quality reels but nothing that could hold up to the big name reel manufactures like Shimano and Abu Garcia. However the new Johnny Morris series is a step in the right direction. With 7 different reel styles and 14lbs of drag pressure, this reel means business. The Johnny Morris® Carbon Black will fit any type of fishing style and is also great for the beginning angler all the way up to the tournament fishermen.

10 ball bearings
Weight 9.4 ounces
Powerlock™ instant anti-reverse
Dual Braking System™
Light, strong carbon fiber Recurve handle and drag star
Price: $129.99

4. Lew’s® Speed Spool

Lew’s® Speed Spool

The Lew’s Speed Spool was among the first in low profile baitcasting reels back in the 1970’s. So you could say that every other company copied the design off the Speed Spool. Making a huge comeback in 2010 Lew’s released the new lineup of rods and reels that hit the market with a huge slash! Lew’s kept the unmistakable wide paddle for easy grip and a comfortable retrieving experience. The Speed Spools are back and better then ever. There are 4 models all together ranging form $89.99-$249.99. You will have to shell out a few more bucks to get a lighter reel but it may be well worth it for you avid tournament anglers.

10 ball bearings
Weight 8.1 ounces
Zirconia line guide
10 lbs. of drag
Check price on Amazon

Abu-Garcia-ORRA-SX.jpg3. Abu Garcia® ORRA SX

Abu Garcia® is a brand that has held up through the test of time and is still cranking out quality products. Abu’s ORRA SX stands out from Abu’s ever so popular REVO line of baitcast reels. Priced at $99 the ORRA caught my eye and I soon realized this reel is well deserving of its Garcia name. Don’t worry about your drag slipping on this beast; it comes well equipped with 15lbs of drag pressure. The 7 ball bearing system is a relief for tournament fishermen who spend all day chunkin’ and windin’. This reel also comes in an inshore version for all you salties out there.

7 ball bearings
Weight 8.7 ounces
Corrosion-resistant Instant Anti-Reverse™ bearing
Duragear™ hard brass gears
Pitch Centrifugal Brake System
Power Disk™ Drag System
Check price on Amazon

2. Bass Pro Shops® Pro Qualifier

Pro-Qualifier-Baitcast-ReelI’m continually impressed with the quality of reels Bass Pro Shops has been producing, especially the entire Pro Qualifier series. This reel comes in 8 different styles to fit any angler’s needs. Each of the 4 different ratios comes in Right and Left-handed. For a deep cranking reel to wench the fish in the boat then look no further than the 4.7:1 gear ratio. The 5.2:1 will take care of all your cranking or spinnerbait needs. The 6.4:1 handles anything and everything you want to throw. The burning 7.1:1 is great for buzzbaits, traps, and ripping hogs out of cover.

7 ball bearings
Weight 8.8 ounces
Built-in lube port
One-piece machined-aluminum frame
Price: $99.99

Shimano® Citica 200E1. Shimano® Citica 200E

It feels good knowing that every angler has the opportunity to own the best equipment on the market. The Shimano Citica performs like a high-end reel at the price point to sell to the average fishermen. Backed with the High Efficiency Gearing this reel has the muscle of any top-notch competitor. Your money is being spent on the longevity of the reel when purchasing a Shimano. With the proper yearly maintenance, this reel should last you a lifetime of causal fishing. After fishing with a Citica you might not want to fish with anything else.

4 ball bearings
Weight 7.8 ounces
High Efficiency Gearing
Lo-Mass Drilled Spool System
Ceramic Line Guide
Check price on Amazon



3 Responses to Top 10 Baitcasting Reels

  1. Shawn Rubel says:

    Great roundup Jesse! This is extremely helpful. The #6 Shimano looks awesome but I don’t really understand why it’s so much more expensive than all the others???

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