KastKing Stealth Baitcast Reel Featured Image

KastKing Stealth Review (Reviewed and Updated for 2020)

KastKing Stealth

It isn’t designed to dazzle. It is, however, built to be easy on the wrists and last for years. Its all-carbon build makes it one of the toughest and lightest baitcasters out there.

I love fishing. The rush, relaxation and inspiration is awesome. It’s my livelihood and happy place.

But there were a few times I ended up stuck in my boat with backlash and a crappy drag system, cursing my latest purchasing decision. And yes –it sucked. 

I’ve learnt the hard way that research is everything when picking a reel. If you’re considering the KastKing Stealth baitcasting reel then you’ll definitely want to read this review first.

It’s one of the lightest baitcasters on the market and fairly easy to fall in love with. But I’ll let you draw your own conclusion, let’s dive right in…

KastKing Stealth —A Reel Built for Serious Fishermen

This reel has lots of features, and I’ll get to those in just a sec! But first things first —I need to make sure that a baitcasting reel is the best fit for you. Here’s what I mean —

Baitcasting reels take time to master, so if you’re a novice angler be warned! Perfecting the technique of using a baitcaster demands plenty of practice and patience.

Baitcasting reels take time to master, so if you’re a novice angler be warned!…

If you’re a beginner and decide to roll with this reel, take lots of reps before you hit the boat —and don’t get too ticked off if you end up with a bird’s nest in your line a couple of times. 

If you haven’t used a baitcaster before, I’m not trying to scare you off —promise! I mean, everyone has to start somewhere, right? But to “keep it 100% real” with you, I must say the learning curve could cause some tangled line and off-target casts early on.

Practice Makes Perfect

The good news? If you’re willing to hone your technique you’ll likely never want to use another type of reel. The extra power, control and accuracy of a baitcaster tends to captivate anglers who learn to use them. 

In fact, a lot of anglers up their skills by switching from a spincaster or spinning reel to a baitcaster. Once you learn how to wield one like a pro, it opens up a world of longer, more accurate casting. 

TIP

If you’re planning on doing some “occasional” fishing and don’t have time to master the technique, then I suggest saving yourself some agony and using a spinning reel or spincast reel.

They are simpler and easier to operate —much more ideal for novice fishermen. 

Oh, and just in case you don’t know a lot about reels and are thinking — “Omm…what is a baitcaster?” Well, here you go —

KastKing Stealth Baitcast Reel
KastKing Stealth Baitcast Reel

How a Baitcasting Reel Works and What Makes It Different

Baitcasters have two main things that set them apart from other types of reels —

Braking Systems that Give You Control

There are two kinds of brakes on a baitcaster. The first is an external dial that can be shifted from low to high. The higher you set the “brakes” the greater the resistance on the line.

It’s similar to the way car brakes work —they slow the roll. 

This helps to prevent backlash, and can really come in handy when you’re learning how to cast. If you’re just getting your feet wet, set the brakes higher —it makes it easier to cast in a variety of conditions and keeps the line tight.

The other braking system is your thumb. Basically, the bottom of your thumb rests on top of the spool.

You make your cast, and as the lure travels you apply thumb pressure to the line. How quickly you apply pressure, and how much pressure you apply determines casting distance. 

NOTE

The brake setting and your thumb gives you tighter control over your casts, and helps avoid line tangles.

The constant thumb-pressure exerted on the line also keeps it straight while it flows off the spool. But again, this technique takes practice to master —so don’t freak out if you screw up a time or two. 

Since thumb action helps a lot with precision-casting, baitcasters have a reputation for being the best reels for pitching and flipping jigs. If you want to see a seasoned angler pitch and flip with a KastKing Stealth check this out…

A Spool Tension Knob that Refines Your Cast 

This little knob lets you adjust your spool speed —giving you even more authority over how much line is released. You can move the tension up or down, to match how heavy or light the lure is. 

That translates into making longer and more accurate casts with all your lures. It will take time to learn the best tension settings, but once you do it’s game on. 

All-in-all your brakes and the tension button work in tandem to deliver better casts with less line twisting…

All-in-all your brakes and the tension button work in tandem to deliver better casts with less line twisting. See, spinning reels allow line to flow off the spool freely —and that can result in the line rolling left or right. (twisting)

That won’t happen on a baitcaster because your thumb pressure stops the line from rolling while the tension knob promotes a smooth cast. But again, you have to develop your skills to get those results. 

Okay I’ve rambled enough about what makes a baitcaster different from other reels, and who they’re designed for. It’s time to put the spotlight on the KastKing Stealth. So let’s jump head-first into that bowl of cherries right now —

All Eyes on the KastKing Stealth —A Reel Specimen 

Super Light and Strong for All-Day Use 

The Stealth isn’t made to win a beauty contest —although it’s all-black sleek look is actually pretty nice. Its matte finish is a bit lackluster, but if you’re not looking for a visual stunner with bling and shine, it’s perfectly fine. 

It isn’t designed to dazzle. It is, however, built to be easy on the wrists and last for years…

It isn’t designed to dazzle. It is, however, built to be easy on the wrists and last for years. Its all-carbon build makes it one of the toughest and lightest baitcasters out there.

Light but Durable

The KastKing’s frame is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum. It weighs in at a comfortable 5.98 ounces, which means it’s about 20% lighter than most baitcasters. Yep —you can sling it all day without getting hand-cramps or fatigued. 

And it’s not just the frame that’s forged from carbon. The handle is also carbon-crafted which allows it to be feather-light, yet extremely tough. 

This is good news if you’re a bass-warrior like me. I stay on the water fishing for up to 10 hours sometimes. And if you happen to enter a fishing tournament, the KastKing Stealth makes it easy to make hundreds of casts. See how it holds up after 5 months of continuous use in the video below.

KastKing Stealth After 5 Months of Steady Use

A Quality Drag System that Delivers 

It’s not just the frame and handle that are carbon. The Stealth has a carbon-fiber drag system made of 4 layer discs.

It’s smooth and strong when battling bigger fish —plus it clicks when you adjust it so you can increase or decrease in precise increments. 

It boasts over 16.5 pounds of dynamic drag —that’s stout enough to haul in a lunker largemouth.

While it’s strong enough to stop a hog from running wild and wrapping you around a stump – going after huge pike or stripers may not be the best idea. If you want to catch fish like that, I suggest going with something heftier. 

NOTE

Also keep in mind that the drag system in baitcasters are typically less sensitive than spinning reels. That’s why it’s best to pull out your spinner if you want to do some finesse fishing. 

A Killer Ball Bearing Count for a Lightweight Reel 

Why does the number of ball bearings matter so much? Simple —the higher the number of bearings the smoother the reel casts and retrieves. 

The Stealth boasts 12 ball bearings, which is a pretty high number…

The Stealth boasts 12 ball bearings, which is a pretty high number. Honestly, if you can land a reel with 8 or 9 bearings you’re doing pretty darn good. 

Typically, reels with lots of bearings are quite pricey —but that’s not the case here. I guess KastKing made it a point to offer smooth performance without charging an arm and a leg. 

Another plus is that its deep-race ball bearings are corrosion resistant and shielded from debris. Basically, they’re well-protected and made to perform at a high level for a long time. 

Dual Braking System to Prevent Backlash 

Some baitcaster reels have centrifugal braking systems and others have magnetic ones. I prefer magnetic brakes because you can easily adjust them by turning a dial. 

But it just so happens this reel has the best of both worlds and uses a combination of centrifugal and magnetic brakes. So you reap the benefits of both technologies. 

KastKing Stealth Dual Break System
KastKing Stealth Dual Break System

If you buy a reel with a centrifugal brake system, the side-plate will have to be taken off to make an adjustment. I find it easier to just turn a dial, so I like the magnetic kind better. 

The Stealth comes with 7 magnets under the dial that help steady the spool-flow. They’re easily adjustable and work in correlation with a centrifugal braking system. Basically, the centrifuge system is built into the Stealth and uses gravity to help balance the spool.

NOTE

Both brake systems aim to steady the flow of line off the spool —they just do it in different ways. It’s pretty cool that they’re both at work here to stop the backlash monster from rearing its ugly head. 

Aluminum Alloy Gears and an Impressive Gear Ratio 

You may already know exactly what a gear ratio is. But for those of you wondering — “What the heck is a gear ratio?” —I’m happy to answer that. 

The gear ratio is basically how many times the spool turns per 1 revolution of the handle. In other words, if I turn the handle one full time and that makes the spool turn 5 times, the gear ratio is 5.0:1. That number means 5.0 spool turns for every 1 turn of the handle —pretty simple really. 

Why High Gear Ratio?

So by that logic, the higher the gear ratio the faster the retrieve. Obviously, if your lure needs to be reeled in pretty fast, a higher ratio is ideal. 

Or if you’re fishing really deep water, you’ll need a high ratio to retrieve your lure from the depths. It’s also easier on your wrist and makes for a smoother presentation.

The KastKing Stealth has a pretty sweet gear ratio of 7.0:1…

The KastKing Stealth has a pretty sweet gear ratio of 7.0:1. So yeah, the spool turns 7 times per 1 full crank of the handle. That’s not bad —at all.

A reel with those numbers is up for running deep water crankbaits or spinners like a champ. However, there are reels with higher gear ratios. It’s not uncommon for a pro angler to use a reel with a 9.1:1 gear ratio.

Considering Other Factors

KastKing Stealth Components
KastKing Stealth Components

But it’s not just the ratio that matters —the gear material is pretty crucial as well. In this case, we’re working with hard-forged aluminum gears. 

While aluminum is light and strong, not all anglers are crazy about it. Some prefer brass gears, because they tend to hold up a bit better over time. 

Larger Line Capacity to Land Lunkers 

Baitcasters allow you to use heavier braid line for heavier fish. This is not the case with spinning reels, and is a key difference between the two. 

The shape and design of a baitcaster allows room for thicker line, so many anglers look to these reels when they’re going after Moby Dick. Well, not a whale —maybe a largemouth named Moby. 

The line capacity is determined by the length of the line and its weight…

The line capacity is determined by the length of the line and its weight. Let’s take a look at the exact line capacity for the Stealth as an example—

200/10, 165/12 and 120/14 (yards/pounds)

Those pretty pleasing numbers if you’re targeting medium to large freshwater fish. Like I said earlier, the Kastking Stealth is pretty powerful to be so darn light. 

The Drag Might Need to Be Babied at Times 

While its 4 disc carbon-fiber drag system stands up to big fish, it can require a little extra effort to keep it working right.

Some anglers will find they have to adjust the drag a few times throughout the day –even when using the same lure. In other words, it can get thrown out of whack after extended use. 

While it’s not a hard thing to remedy, it’s still something you may need to keep an eye on. If you’re an avid all-day fishermen then it may be of more concern. If you fish less frequently, then it’s really not something to worry about at all. 

Man Fishing on a Dock
Man Fishing on a Dock

Some Anglers Will Miss Higher Quality Reels 

For the price, the Stealth really can’t be beat. But if you’re used to fishing with more expensive baitcasters, then you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Although this reel has a high-quality build, it just doesn’t feel as solid as some of the high-end premo baitcasters. 

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the Stealth is very lightweight. I think some anglers assume it’s dinky because of that. If you want a heavier reel with more girth, there are plenty out there. 

if you’re okay with a good mix of quality and performance at a reasonable price, the Stealth is a solid choice…

But if you’re okay with a good mix of quality and performance at a reasonable price, the Stealth is a solid choice. It may not be high-end, but it’s certainly lightweight, strong and equipped for all kinds of fish. 

Okay, now that I’ve magnified the pros and cons of the KastKing Stealth, perhaps it’s time to look at a few other reels —I mean it’s only fair, right? 

So let me delve into a few other reels that are somewhat comparable —

The Best KastKing Stealth Alternatives

The Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

It’s a good choice if you’re needing a little more heft to go after bigger fish. And if you’re just learning how to use a baitcaster, this is a good reel to learn on because of its extra-sensitive braking system.

The Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

This aerodynamic baitcaster looks a lot like the Stealth —in fact it could be its brother from another mother. It’s not quite as lightweight, but it’s a little less expensive —and still high quality. 

It’s a good choice if you’re needing a little more heft to go after bigger fish. And if you’re just learning how to use a baitcaster, this is a good reel to learn on because of its extra-sensitive braking system. 

There are a few key differences between this reel and the KastKing Stealth —

  • Brass Gears, not Aluminum 
  • Slightly higher gear ratio —7.1:1
  • A magnetic dial setting of up to 10 
  • Stronger drag —18.8 pounds 
  • Strong double-wind shafts 
  • A heavier reel —7.5 ounces 

13 FISHING Concept Z Baitcasting Reel

It uses zero ball bearings –that’s the idea behind the Concept Z Technology. Basically, a polymer is used to to take the place of the bearings. This concept scares some anglers, but plenty of them say it works quite well.

13 FISHING Concept Z Baitcasting Reel

Here’s a horse of a different color. Remember all that stuff I said about ball bearings being important? Well it all kind of goes out the window when it comes to the Concept Z Baitcaster.

No Ball Bearings?

It uses zero ball bearings –that’s the idea behind the Concept Z Technology. Basically, a polymer is used to to take the place of the bearings. This concept scares some anglers, but plenty of them say it works quite well.

you get a very quiet cast and retrieve that stealthy fishermen appreciate…

Without bearings, you get a very quiet cast and retrieve that stealthy fishermen appreciate. This technology is said to give anglers more control and deliver a smooth performance –but I have not personally tried this reel! (But I want to) 

There are a good bit of differences between the Concept Z and the KastKing Stealth —

  • Concept Z has zero ball bearings
  • A more powerful drag –22 – 30+ pounds 
  • Dead-stop anti-reverse system 
  • 6-way centrifugal brake system 
  • Slightly heavier at 6.4 ounces
  • Can handle saltwater fishing 
  • Price is considerably higher 
  • Some people say the parts feel “dinky” 

Okuma Citrix 350 Baitcaster Power Handle Reel

This baitcaster may be similar to the Stealth in color, but it brings a bit more power to the table –or to the pond, rather. Think of the Citrix 350 as its as its older, slightly more athletic cousin.

Okuma Citrix 350 Baitcaster Power Handle Reel

This baitcaster may be similar to the Stealth in color, but it brings a bit more power to the table –or to the pond, rather. Think of the Citrix 350 as its as its older, slightly more athletic cousin. 

Its ball bearing count is a little less than the KastKing, so it does stack up subpar in that department. But it out-grits the Stealth when it comes to max drag. It’s safe to say the Citrix 350 is better-equipped to handle bigger fish.

Can cost a little more

But unfortunately that extra bit of brawn comes at a slight price –in two different ways. What I’m saying is that this reel weighs a good bit more than Stealth –so you gain some power but lose the light weight. 

Also, the price of the Okuma is a bit higher than the Stealth. But if it’s within budget and don’t mind a heavier reel, then there’s no reason to shy away from the Citrix 350 —

  • Boasts 7 ball bearings –less than the Stealth
  • Max drag of 25 pounds, stronger than the Stealth
  • Weighs 11 ounces –so it’s much heavier 
  • Adjustable centrifugal brake system 
  • Graphite side plates –light but not as strong as aluminum 
  • Has a 6.4:1 gear ratio 
  • Has a higher line capacity 

Okay my fellow anglers, it’s that part of the journey where I slip off into the shade of a willow tree. Just remember –you don’t have to deal with a crappy reel! You have the power to know exactly what you’re buying. 

I hope this KastKing Stealth review will serve you well, and that some of you might even give it a try, In my opinion, it’s absolutely the best baitcaster for the price.

Remember, it all starts with facts and research. That’s your best protection, so don’t end up cursing in a boat with a scowl and backlash. Try out the KasKing Stealth and fish without worry.

Maybe we’ll hear from you when you snag a pic-worthy bass? Go catch something to make us proud. And seriously, send us a pic when you do! 

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