Baitcast Reel Close Up

7 Best Baitcasting Reels For Beginners (2020 Buyer’s Guide)

If you’re ready to put down your spinning reel and venture into the world of baitcasters, you have come to the right place…

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Using a baitcaster takes some getting used to and the first choice you have to make is buying the right one.

The right reel is the foundation to getting used to baitcasting, paving the way to a new dimension of fishing for you to fall in love with.

There are quite a few reels on the market – but which ones are the best baitcasters for beginners?

Here we have put together a review of some of the top reels on the market to make your choice a little easier… 

The Top Three

Here are our top three reels from the review, each in its own category. 

Best All-Rounder

KastKing Royale Legend

This reel feels a little flimsy in the hand but it’s actually a well-made baitcaster that can be used in both fresh and saltwater. It casts very well thanks to its incremental dual brake system.

KastKing Royale Legend

This reel should have all the features you’d expect from a good reel while being great value.

It has to be durable, last and catch fish. 

The all-rounder is the KastKing Royale Legend. It’s easy to use once you get used to the brake and is good value.

The retrieve rate, drag, and line capacity make it a perfect candidate for some pretty big fish in both fresh and saltwater.

It’s durable, simple and will last. 

Best on a Budget

Piscifun Torrent

This reel has been made with the quality of higher-end reels for less than half the price! The CNC brass gear system and stainless-steel springs make this reel strong, durable and corrosion-resistant.

Piscifun Torrent

Here we’re looking for the best reel with the best price.

It’ll do the basics well, last a while, and catch fish.

The Piscifin Torrent is the clear winner here.

It’s amazingly well priced and you’re getting a reel that competes with some of the higher-class baitcasters.

It’s easy to use, casts well and will last a long time. 

Editor’s Choice

Lew’s Mach Crush SLP

This reel’s frame is made from an advanced graphite polymer that’s very rigid. By not using aluminum, Lews have managed to reduce the cost and weight of the reel, while keeping a solid design.

Lew’s Mach Crush SLP

This is my favorite reel from the review based on my years of experience. 

If it was me I would go for the Lews Mach Crush SLP…

This reel has been designed with a lot of thought.

It’s light, easy to use and one of the best casters in the review.

The reel is durable plus you can fish with it in every situation thanks to the drag, line capacity, and retrieve. 

What to Look for

Here are some things to think about before you buy a baitcaster. 

What are you fishing for?

It sounds obvious but you want a reel that will be able to catch the fish you’re targeting.

Remember, as a beginner, you’ll want a reel that can handle a range of situations.

It’ll need to be light enough for bass but heavy enough for some inshore saltwater.

RECOMMENDATION

Think about where you’re fishing and what you’re catching, then be sure to choose a reel that’s made to handle it. 

Line Capacity

Line capacity is closely related to what you’re fishing for.

If you plan on fishing in freshwater for crappie then most reels on the market will hold enough line for you to cast far enough, and to land the fish.

If you’re a surf fisherman, you know that you’ll need a lot of line on your reel.

This will help you cast far over the waves and land a big shark if you hook one. 

Using Braid

Most anglers are using braid these days as it’s the best line out there for most situations.

When you first start baitcasting go with mono, as it’s easier to learn with.

Then once you have mastered mono, upgrade to braid.

To have this flexibility when learning you’ll want a braid-ready reel. 

TIP

Most reels are braid-ready and this allows you to spool them correctly and get an even line lay which is of paramount importance for your casting. 

How Heavy Is The Reel

When fishing with a baitcaster, you’ll be casting a lot!

A heavy reel is going to get tiresome and hold you back.

Compare the weights of the reels you like and be sure to pick a light one. 

Durability and Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion and durability are key to a reel lasting a long time, especially if you fish in saltwater.

You want a reel that has a durable design, is made of corrosion-resistant materials and has some kind of protection system. 

Drag, Strong and Smooth 

Having a good drag is about it being smooth, having enough power and being made of corrosion-resistant materials.

A smooth drag will let the line come off the reel without any sticking or slippage.

There is nothing worse than when a drag sticks and it ends up breaking your leader.

Drag power is relative to what you’re fishing for.

RECOMMENDATION

Make sure the reel has enough max drag from the fish you want to catch. Try and test the drag if you can, just crank it up and pull some line off. If it’s smooth then you’re on to a winner. 

Gear Ratio

Baitcasters are known to have high gear ratios which translate to a quick retrieve and a high retrieve rate.

If a reel has a ratio of 7.0:1, then for every turn of the handle, the spool will turn 7 times.

A fast retrieve is useful if you’re fishing baits that need to come in quick or to put pressure on a fish that’s trying to snag you. 

Brake System

This is probably the most important factor when it comes to beginners using baitcasters.

You’ll want to make sure you buy a reel with a good braking system as this will help your casting a lot…

The brake lets you adjust how much drag you want to put on the spool while you cast, to stop you getting backlashes and birds nests.

A good brake is an asset that’ll help you cast, whereas a bad break will have you untangling line on the water all day… 

Right vs Left-handed

Baitcasters come with either left or right-hand wind, you can’t switch them over as you might on a spinning reel.

If you have used a spinning reel before you’ll probably want to stick with the side you’re used to. If you’re new to fishing, it’s about choosing what feels right to you.

TIP

The best bet is to try out a reel and see which side suits you best. 

Our Reels Of Choice 

Quantum Accurist S3 PT Baitcast Fishing Reel

This reel has a larger than average spool while still having a smaller frame. This gives you a little more line capacity and a larger area for thumbing the reel while casting. The reel is made with a coated aluminum frame designed for saltwater, making it very corrosion resistant.

Quantum Accurist S3 PT Baitcast Fishing Reel

This reel has a larger than average spool while still having a smaller frame…

This gives you a little more line capacity and a larger area for thumbing the reel while casting.

The reel is made with a coated aluminum frame designed for saltwater, making it very corrosion resistant.

TIP

There is a push-button release on one of the side plates. While this is useful, if you press it by mistake you could easily lose the side plate altogether. 

It has a high gear ratio of 7.0:1 for a quick and smooth retrieve thanks to the 9 ball bearings.

Some of the bearings are exposed and will rust quickly with use in saltwater, you’ll have to oil them after every use.

Alternatively, you can replace them with ceramic bearings – but these get expensive.

Flip Switch Feature

It comes with a flipping switch that allows you to release the line and re-engage the reel without turning the handle.

This is very useful when feeding bait to a fish, it’s like an auto free-spool button.

The reel is easy to use and casts well thanks to the braking system.

The brake has been refined to be more reliable and adjustable.

This makes it easy to dial in and find the right tension for casting. This will reduce your backlashes and is very helpful for beginners. 

TIP

Unfortunately I find the handle on the reel is too small, you’ll notice your hands and sleeves catching on things if you’re winching a tough fish up. 

Specs

Pros

  • Excellent quality for value
  • Great for casting.
  • Easy to use.
  • Quick retrieve rate.

Cons

  • Handle is very small.
  • The push-button release could lose the side plate.
  • Exposed bearings will rust and need oiling every time.

Editor’s Choice

Lew’s Fishing Mach Crush SLP Speed Spool

This reel’s frame is made from an advanced graphite polymer that’s very rigid. By not using aluminum, Lews have managed to reduce the cost and weight of the reel, while keeping a solid design.

Lew’s Fishing Mach Crush SLP Speed Spool

This reel’s frame is made from an advanced graphite polymer that’s very rigid.

By not using aluminum, Lews have managed to reduce the cost and weight of the reel, while keeping a solid design.

This makes the reel a pleasure to cast with and won’t weigh you down on those long days.

The adjustments to tension, drag, and braking are on point, making the reel smooth and a pleasure to use…

The adjustments to tension, drag, and braking are on point, making the reel smooth and a pleasure to use.

It’s known as one of the best casting reels Lews have ever made and is said to cast further than any other in their lineup.

The braking controls are easy to set on the fly using both the internal and external systems.

This makes for easy casting with minimal backlashes. 

Spool

The spool and handle are aluminum for improved performance in the areas that see the most abuse.

The grips on the handle are comfortable and it doesn’t flex while fighting a fish.

The retrieve is quick and smooth featuring 10 ball bearings and a ratio of 7.5:1.

The drag is smooth and has a high max power of 20lbs – enough to handle a big fish.

It all sounds too good to be true. 

NOTE

The only issues with this reel are that the anti-reverse can fail and that the spool begins to play up. After a while it can start slipping and slowing down, affecting both your cast and retrieve.

Specs

Pros

  • Small profile big handle.
  • Casts very far.
  • Great brakes
  • Durable.

Cons

  • Spool slips after time.
  • Spool slows down after time
  • Anti-reverse can fail.

Best on a Budget

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

This reel has been made with the quality of higher-end reels for less than half the price! The CNC brass gear system and stainless-steel springs make this reel strong, durable and corrosion-resistant.

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

This reel has been made with the quality of higher-end reels for less than half the price!

The CNC brass gear system and stainless-steel springs make this reel strong, durable and corrosion-resistant.

It includes a 60S lubricant design that allows you to add oil through a port in the spool.

No longer will you have to take your reel apart to oil it – simply pour it in from the side!

TIP

A slight oversight from Piscifun is that the reel comes without any oil, you’ll have to buy it separately and add it yourself when it arrives. 

The reel only comes with 5+1 bearings which is low for a baitcaster, you’d expect more, although this doesn’t seem to affect the smoothness.

The bearings are shielded, protecting them from oil, water, salt and dirt – good enough to handle both fresh and saltwater.

The reel’s spool is aluminum and the braking system is magnetic, The combination gives you the accuracy and control of a professional reel while being easy to cast with.

The reel’s spool is aluminum and the braking system is magnetic…

The combination gives you the accuracy and control of a professional reel while being easy to cast with.

In addition to the brake, there’s also a spool tension knob and dial-in gauge to help with backlashes.

The brake can be a bit tricky and is known to backlash. 

The drag is smooth, made of carbon fiber and has a great max of 18lbs.

The reel also features and large aluminum thumb bar and a long crank handle both of which will give you more control when using the reel. 

Specs

Pros

  • Smooth and powerful drag.
  • The retrieve is smooth and fast.
  • Aluminum thumb bar and long handle give control.
  • Easy for beginners.

Cons

  • A small number of ball bearings.
  • Comes without oil.
  • The braking system can cause backlashes.

Cadence CB8 Baitcasting Reel

The CB8 is super light reel and is a joy to cast with all day. Cadence managed to reduce the weight by using carbon fiber for the frame and aircraft-grade aluminum for the gears. This also helps make the reel durable and corrosion resistant.

Cadence CB8 Baitcasting Reel

The CB8 is super light reel and is a joy to cast with all day.

Cadence managed to reduce the weight by using carbon fiber for the frame and aircraft-grade aluminum for the gears.

This also helps make the reel durable and corrosion resistant.

The CB8 is super light reel and is a joy to cast with all day…

The drag on the reel is made up of a carbon fiber disc system and has a high max of 20lbs which will have you catching most species out there.

The reel casts very well thanks to the magnetic brake system which is adjusted externally.

It’s easy to adjust and dial in the right tension so you won’t have to deal with many backlashes. 

It has a great retrieve rate and gear ratio. However, the reel feels a little rough to wind and the spool is noisy.

This can be forgiven due to its incredible value, but if you think they’ll get on your nerves, maybe go for a slightly higher budget option. 

Specs

  • Mono capacity YD/LB : 12/120
  • Braid capacity LB/YD : 30/140
  • Max Drag : 20lb
  • Gear Ratio : Gear Ratio
  • Ball bearings : 9+1
  • Weight : 6.7oz
  • Retrieve rate, per crank : 28”
  • Retrieve Side : Right or Left, choose when you order
  • See the full specs for the Cadence CB8 Baitcasting Reel

Pros

  • Very light.
  • Good caster.
  • Smooth drag.
  • Changeable brake for less backlash

Cons

  • Feels rough to wind.
  • The spool is noisy.
  • Play in the handle on the retrieve.

Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel

This is an excellent reel for a beginner thanks to its simplicity. The design is basic and makes it easy to use, but it doesn’t feel like they skipped a few beats on quality.

Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel

This is an excellent reel for a beginner thanks to its simplicity.

The design is basic and makes it easy to use, but it doesn’t feel like they skipped a few beats on quality.

The reel is a little heavy and may become tiresome to cast with over a long day.

That being said, it’s still a winner on price.

This is an excellent reel for a beginner thanks to its simplicity…

The reel has a good braking system but for some reason, it doesn’t cast well on windy days.

This is more likely a spool issue than the braking system, but it’s something to be aware of nonetheless.

Retrieve

It has a smooth quick retrieve thanks to the ball bearings and gear ratio. You’ll be able to skip a lure in and put pressure on a fish without any worry. 

The drag is made up of a carbon fiber disc system. It’s smooth, durable and has a max of 25lbs.

That is a punchy max drag and if you’re after big fish then this reel is worth some serious consideration. 

TIP

One major flaw is that the side plate can pop off by mistake while you’re casting and you’ll have to be careful not to lose it. 

Specs

Pros

  • A solid, smooth retrieve.
  • Great maximum drag.
  • Easy for beginners to use.

Cons

  • The side plates can pop off by mistake.
  • It doesn’t cast well in the wind.
  • It feels like poor quality.
  • It’s a bit heavy.

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

This is quite a handy reel for beginners as it doubles up as an offshore trolling reel. If you’re wanting to give baitcasting a try, but want a multipurpose reel, this is one to consider.

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

This is quite a handy reel for beginners as it doubles up as an offshore trolling reel.

If you’re wanting to give baitcasting a try, but want a multipurpose reel, this is one to consider.

The size 40-60 models come with a centrifugal brake that turns the reel into a baitcaster.

This reel is durable and corrosion resistant as it’s designed for use in the sea…

This reel is durable and corrosion resistant as it’s designed for use in the sea.

The reel is almost entirely made of metal, this does make it a little heavy but it’ll stand the test of time.

The frame is aluminum and the gears are made up of brass and stainless steel. 

It casts pretty well thanks to the aluminum spool and has a huge line capacity, making it ideal for surf fishing.

TIP

The spool lock can slip on occasion causing some backlashes but it’s a rare issue. 

The max drag is excellent at 30lbs and the drag system is a carbon fiber disc system that will stand up well to corrosion.

The reels retrieve is a little slow, but it’s enough for most situations. 

Specs

Pros

  • Durable and corrosion-resistant.
  • Great line capacity.
  • High max drag.
  • Multi-purpose.

Cons

  • A bit heavy.
  • Slowish retrieve rate.
  • The spool lock can release.

Best All-Rounder

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel

This reel feels a little flimsy in the hand but it’s actually a well-made baitcaster that can be used in both fresh and saltwater. It casts very well thanks to its incremental dual brake system.

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel

This reel feels a little flimsy in the hand but it’s actually a well-made baitcaster that can be used in both fresh and saltwater.

It casts very well thanks to its incremental dual brake system.

This reel feels a little flimsy in the hand but it’s actually a well-made baitcaster…

It has 10 different levels of tension allowing you to find the right pressure for a perfect cast.

It does take a while to get used to though and may not be ideal for a beginner. Consistent backlashes will get very frustrating when you’re first starting out. 

The spool is braid-ready, made from CNC aluminum and has a good line capacity.

It’s smooth, casts well, but is a bit noisy when it spins.

This doesn’t affect the workings of the reel, but the sound could get on your nerves.

The reel is quite light for long days of casting and it has a nice smooth, powerful enough drag…

The reel is quite light for long days of casting and it has a nice smooth, powerful enough drag.

The drag is made of a carbon fiber disc system that will hold up in saltwater.

The retrieve is quick and smooth thanks to the 10 ball bearings plus the high gear ratio.

Your baits will be skipping in and a fish will find it hard to snag you.

Specs

Pros

  • A smooth and strong drag.
  • Good for casting once you dial-in.
  • Good for fresh and saltwater.

Cons

  • Hard to find the right brake pressure.
  • Spool is noisy.
  • It doesn’t feel strong.

Conclusion

After considering all the options our top picks were…

All-Rounder

The all-rounder from the review is the KastKing Royale Legend.

The retrieve rate, drag, and line capacity make a reel that can handle some big fish while being reliable.

The reel is well-made, durable enough to be used in saltwater and will last the test of time.

It’s quite simple and easy to use, but it may take some time to get used to the sensitive brake system. 

Best on a Budget

The Piscifin Torrent is the best on a budget reel.

The price is out of this world and should be worth about three times as much.

The reel does everything you might expect from a higher-class reel.

It casts well, is easy to use, has a good drag and will last.

Editor’s Choice

The editor’s choice is the Lews Mach Crush SLP.

This reel has had the most thought put into it compared to the others in the review.

The things that appeal the most are how light it is, its excellent cast and it’s ease of use.

All this while being backed up by a durable design, good drag, and a great retrieve. 

I hope you have found these reviews useful and now have the confidence to buy your first baitcaster.

Remember to focus on simplicity and you should make the right choice.

Once you have mastered it, then you can upgrade to a more sophisticated one.

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