Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200

Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200

Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200 – Baitcasting reels are important tools for anglers who want to be able to effectively fish larger lures and techniques where light line spinning reels simply don’t cut it. A good baitcasting combo gives you a high degree of control of your lure, allowing pinpoint lure placements, and the power to pull pig bass out of cover and deep water.

This guide will help you understand how to choose the best baitcasting reel for the money, one that helps you fish your favorite techniques as efficiently as possible, as well as coming in under your budget. For those new to baitcasters, we’ll cover the most important specifications to look for so that you make the right choice for your own personal best baitcasting reel. If you are familiar with these things already, then jump right down to our Top 10 baitcasting reels.

10 Best Baitcasting Reels 2021

Before reading the reviews, take a minute to compare our Top 10 picks in the comparison chart. All these reels are mid-range and above in price and are good values for the money. Any of these reels would make an excellent choice for bass and almost all other freshwater fishing applications.

Have a certain Price Range in mind?

  • Best Baitcasters from $200 and up
  • Best Baitcasters from $200-$150
  • Best Baitcasters from $150-100

How did we choose these reels? We collected review data from multiple online tackle shops, took notes on what anglers were saying, and combined this with our own fishing experience. There are many other great reels out there, but these are the best all-purpose baitcasting reels based on the data.

Reel:Weight:Bearings:Gear Ratios:
1.Shimano Curado DC7.8 oz6+16.2/7.4/8.5
2.Lew’s Hyper Mag SLP5.4 oz10+17.5/8.3
3.Shimano Chronarch MGL6.5 oz8+16.2/7.1/8.1
4.Abu Garcia Revo SX7.8 oz9+16.6/7.3
5.Lew’s Pro Speed Spool LFS6.2 oz10+16.8/7.5/8.3
6.13 Fishing Concept Z6.4 ozZero7.3/8.1
7.Abu Garcia Revo STX7.3 oz10+16.6/8.0
8.Lew’s MP Speed Spool LFS6.9 oz9+15.6/6.8/7.5/8.3
9.Daiwa Tatula CT7.4 oz7+16.3/7.3/8.1
10.Shimano SLX XT7.2 oz4+16.3/7.2

Advantages of Baitcasting Reels

We believe anglers should use both high quality spinning reels and baitcasting reels to be the most versatile angler you possible. However, there are many techniques and lures that are best used with a baitcasting combo.

  • Heavier Line– On a baitcasting reel, the spool’s axis of rotation is perpendicular to the rod guides, meaning the line comes off directly through the line guide and straight through the rod guides. This makes it easier to use heavier lines, from 10-20lb test on average, and heavier lures. A good baitcasting setup can easily cast lures from 1/4 to 1oz, and more.
  • Less Line Twist – Spinning reels are notorious for line twist, and line twist is the enemy of good casting. Baitcasters spool the line perpendicular to the spool axis, meaning the only line twist imparted into your line will be coming from your lure, usually when fishing soft plastics.
  • Longer Casts – When paired with the right rod, baitcasters easily outcast spinning gear. The line comes directly off the spool straight out the rod guides, compared to the uncoiling of a spinning outfit. For bombing hard baits and jigs, you can’t beat the baitcaster.
  • More Power– Baitcasters are capable of more power than spinning reels, thanks to their spool layout and design. The spool is in-line with the handle and gears, so the reel can apply more power and torque. Also, because the handles are mounted directly onto the reel frame there is no lever arm to cause flex when reeling hard on a fish.
  • More Control– Baitcasting reel combos provide a high degree of casting control compared to spinning gear because you can control the distance and speed of your lure by thumbing the spool during the cast. Once you become proficient in their use, you can achieve pinpoint accuracy with your casts, allowing you to place your lure exactly where the fish are.

Best Baitcasting Reels for the Money

1. Shimano Curado DC

Shimano Curado DC

Pros: Digital brake control technology that makes an incredibly versatile, smooth, and long casting baitcasting reel. Shimano craftsmanship and all their top reel technologies.

Cons: A few ounces heavier than other reels in the Top 3.

Specs:

  • Weight: 7.8-7.9 ounces
  • Gear Ratios: 6.2:1, 7.4:1, 8.5:1
  • Line Capacity: 10/120 fluorocarbon, 30/135 braid
  • Technology: I-DC4 Digital Brake, Hagane Body, X-Ship Pinion

The Curado DC is the latest version of Shimano’s most popular baitcasting reel of all time. We could talk about how this reel is packed with reel tech like the Hagane alloy body, X-Ship pinion support, Micro Module gears, and Cross Carbon drag, but the star of the show is the I-DC4 digital braking system.

The I-DC4 digital braking system is a tiny microcontroller inside the reel that monitors your spool speed. Every time you cast, the chip measures your spool speed 1,000 per second to adjust the brake pressure automatically on the fly.

Why is that important? It makes anglers of all experience levels more efficient. You can now change techniques and lure weight without having to constantly readjust the reel setup. You can achieve long, smooth casts, with less effort, no matter if throwing a light Texas Rig worm, or flipping a ½ ounce jig.

It might sound too good to be true, but it is not. Just read the instructions before fishing with the DC, the I-DC4 is factory tuned and does not require adjustment out of the box. Once you have tried a Curado DC you might end up wanting more, you have been warned!

2. Lew’s Hyper Mag SLP

Lew's Hyper Mag SLP

Pros: Magnesium frame, hardened aluminum gears, weighs just 5.4 oz. Highly adjustable internal braking system (4 pins and 27 positions).

Cons: Premium priced, but you get an amazing reel, and the great Lew’s customer service.

Specs:

  • Weight: 5.4 oz
  • Gear Ratios: 7.5:1, 8.3:1
  • Bearings: 10+1
  • Line Capacity: 12/110 mono, 30/110 braid

The Team Lew’s Pro Mag packs all of Lew’s reel technology into a premium feather-light reel. It’s certainly a premium baitcaster but still priced within reach of serious angler’s budgets. Tournament anglers should love the sensitivity and all-day comfort that comes with a magnesium reel.

The concept for the Pro Mag is to be Light, Fast, and Strong. The reel is built on a one-piece magnesium frame and C45 carbon side plates. The concept is even taken to the handle and knobs, which are carbon fiber and cork EVA composite, respectively. The spool is machined aluminum to maintain tight roundness tolerances but has a v-shaped profile for level winding and is drilled to shave off weight.

The fishing performance is as refined as the reel. Lew’s reels usually exhibit great casting, and the Pro Mag is no exception. The great casting comes from double shielded ball bearings, an audible tension clicker, and a killer 27 point, externally adjustable centrifugal braking system. Throw in an integral bait keep and line size indicator, and you have one heck of a baitcaster.

3. Shimano Chronarch MGL 150

Shimano Chronarch MGL

Pros: Magnumlite Spool and SVS Infinity braking for smooth, precision casting, and stout retrieve.

Cons: On the higher end of the price scale, but worth every penny.

Specs:

  • Weight: 6.5 oz
  • Gear Ratios: 6.2:1, 7.1:1, 8.1:1
  • Bearings: 8+1
  • Line Capacity: 12/110 mono, 30/135 braid

If you’ve read this site, you can tell we are fans of Shimano fishing reels. The Chronarch MGL 150 is easily in the Top 3 of all baitcasting reels. The Chronarch MGL costs more than a budget reel, less than the cost of magnesium framed reels, and performs as a premium reel should.

The Chronarch MGL has a near-identical carbon composite frame to the previous Ci4+, and still weighs a scant 6.5 ounces, but has some new enhanced features. First, like many of Shimano’s high-end reels, the MGL gets the X-Ship gear arrangement that provides rock solid gear stability and strength.

Also new are the Micro Module gearing and MGL Spool that gives the reel its name. Micro Module gears make the retrieve strong but smooth, and the Magnumlite spool reduces casting effort by up to 10%.

The Dartanium II drag washers provide one of the smoothest drag systems around. You can simply adjust it with a flick of your finger while fighting a fish. The SVS Infinity braking system is one of the best out there. There is an external dial as well as 4 internal brakes that are adjusted by opening the side plate and engaging 1 to 4 of the brakes.

Overall, the Chronarch MGL can be the versatile workhorse baitcasting reel that you need. It is well suited for anything from finesse lures and weightless plastics, all the way up to your flipping and pitching needs. The fact that you can get this performance in a lightweight carbon frame reel, without the price tag of a Japanese import is a bonus.

Best Baitcasting Reels Under $200

Abu Garcia REVO4 SX-HS Revo SX Low Profile Fishing...

4. Abu Garcia Revo SX

Abu Garcia Revo SX

The Revo SX baitcasting reel from Abu Garcia is one of the very best all-around reels an angler can buy today. They are Abu Garcia’s most popular baitcasting reel for a reason. It’s very lightweight, easy to palm, and comes in two different gear ratios.

The 6.6:1 SX is going to excel at a wide swath of fishing techniques, and we recommend this one if you are looking for a workhorse, multi-purpose reel. The 7.3:1 reel on the other hand, will be better for you if you like to burn in topwater baits, or if you like to pitch and flip jigs or soft plastic creature baits. You’ll get more casts in with the 7.3 ratio.

The newest version of this reel (REVO4 SX) has an upgraded D2 Duragear and clutch, plus a hard coating on the pinion and pawl that take out a lot of friction.

The Revo SX is ultra-smooth on the cast thanks to 9+1 ball bearings and the Infini magnetic brake system on the side plate. This reel is a great option if you are looking for versatility, performance, and reliability in a new reel, yet doesn’t cost a fortune.

5. Lew’s Tournament Pro Speed Spool LFS

Lew's Tournament Pro Speed Spool LFS

The Tournament Pro Speed Spool is a step up in refinement from the Tournament MB (keep reading for that reel). For the additional cost, you get more bearings, shave off half an ounce of weight, lure keeper, and precise braking adjustments.

The dark gray aluminum frame is highlighted with orange accents. The reel utilizes the Lighter Faster Stronger (LFS) materials, including a swept offset carbon handle that keeps your reeling power closer inline to the main drive shaft.

Fishermen should appreciate the little touches incorporated into the Pro Speed Spool. There is the SpeedKeeper near the seat of the reel that allows storing a Texas rig without pulling the hook form your plastic bait. Then there is ingenious Speed Dial built into the tension control knob. Just point the clicker to the size of your line and you’ll never have to play the line size guessing game again.

6. 13 Fishing Concept Z

13 Fishing Concept Z

13 Fishing has always been kind of a “hype” company to me, making pretty products and splashy marketing. The Concept Z, touting a “Zero Bearing” design is no exception. It is a flashy red baitcaster with great looking matte black handle and knobs. No doubt they can design a god looking reel, but does it pass the test?

No bearings, how is that supposed to work? The Concept Z uses solid polymer bearings in place of ball bearings. A solid bearing has no place for dirt and debris to build up and clog the bearings, reducing the performance of your reel. This technology is impressive and has now been a top performer for several years, proving the hype was real.

On the fishing side, the Concept Z has proven to be more than capable. Casting is a breeze, thanks in part to a unique “arrowhead” line guide, and waffle spool. The internal 6-way centrifugal brake allows casting of lures as light as 3/16oz up to 1oz crankbaits and jigs. One knock is the lack of external access to the brakes, but once inside it’s as easy as selecting a setting form 0-6 on the dial.

7. Abu Garcia Revo STX

Abu Garcia Rev STX

We like the STX line because of the high-end bearings and brake system, but also for the 3 different gearing ratios available (6.4/7.1/8.0:1). The Revo STX is essentially a super tuned version of the Revo SX. There is a gear ratio for everyone in the STX, where SX has only 2. The reel weight drops from 6.9 ounces to 6.4 ounces, and also has 10+1 bearings.

The biggest difference between the two models is the braking system. The Revo STX has a magnetic system, plus an upgrade to a centrifugal brake system called the Infini Brake System. It’s up to you if the extra money for the better braking system is worth it to you.

Like on all the Revo reels, you can expect an ergonomic design that is easy to palm, a smooth Carbon Matrix drag system, and a D2 Gear Design that provides plenty of cranking and hook setting power. The STX can be the workhorse reel you’ve always wanted.

Best Baitcasting Reels Under $150

Lew's Tournament MP Speed Spool LFS 5.6:1 Right...

8. Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool LFS

Lew's Tournament MP Speed Spool LFS

The Tournament MP is a tournament fisherman’s delight. It’s hard to outfit 6 to 8 rods with $200+ reels, which is why reels like the Tournament MP are so popular. Like most other Lew’s products, they cast for distance with minimal effort. That fact is a big deal when fishing crankbaits and lighter jerkbaits.

The MP utilizes the LFS construction, making lighter, faster, and stronger than previous reels. Breaking that down, it means a 1 piece forged aluminum frame, drilled and anodized aluminum spool, and Duralumin gears. This is one sturdy reel.

It’s loaded with performance features bass anglers will love. It’s compact for easy palming but has a large handle with oversized paddle knobs. The big knobs come in handy wrenching big fish out of cover. The brakes are easy to fine-tune, thanks to four pins inside the side plate and a fine adjustment dial on the outside. Perhaps the best part is being able to choose from 4 different gear ratios, from 5.6:1 all the way up to 8.3:1.

9. Daiwa Tatula CT

Daiwa Tatula CT

The Daiwa Tatula CT is one of the more innovative baitcasting reels we’ve seen in a long time, thanks to it’s awesome new “T-Wing” casting system. Once you get used to the way it flips open and shut on casts, you’ll be slinging baits further and easier than ever before.

The T-Wing concept is a specially designed line guide that reduces friction and obstruction on the cast while maintaining a uniform level line winding onto the spool on the retrieve. It works by flipping up into casting position, revealing the wide slot for the line to flow through on the cast.

Compare this to the single small hole found on virtually every other baitcasting reel made today. There is less restriction on the line, allowing you to cast farther and smoother. On the retrieve, the T-Wing flips down and the line lays in a narrow groove to level wind onto the spool. It really is an ingenious design from Daiwa.

The Tatula reels are more than just the T-Wing, coming equipped with a carbon drag stack, Magforce-X casting brakes, 8 bearings, and several gear ratios, all at an affordable price.

10. Shimano SLX XT

Shimano SLX XT

The new Shimano SLX XT is highly similar to prior years Citica, which were known as some of the best baitcasting reels for the price. These are excellent reels for bass fishing at any level of experience. The SLX XT promises to build on Shimano’s long history of performance, reliability, and durability.

Users of the SLX XT will love the smooth casting and especially the adjustable Infinity SVS braking system. The SLX XT is complete with all the cool Shimano technologies like the S3D stable spool, S-A-RB bearings, and the rigid Hagane metal body design that anglers have been raving about since it came out.

The bottom line is, if you don’t want to try out other brands or have any doubts about cheaper reels, then get into a few Shimano SLX XT. They cast like a dream and will last you many, many years of hard fishing before you need to tear it down for cleaning or to buy a new one.

11. Ardent Apex Elite Review

Ardent Apex Elite

If you’re not familiar with Ardent, I encourage you to check out their Apex series. The Elite is priced just below the top of the line Apex Magnum. The only difference is color and gear ratio. The Magnum is a 7.3:1 gear ratio reel only, while the Elite has only 6.5:1. At $50 less, the Elite is the best choice for all-purpose bass fishing.

The materials on the Apex Elite are top notch, with an aluminum frame and spool, carbon fiber handle, and EVA foam paddle knobs. The result is a 5.9oz reel at a very competitive price. Most reals in this price range will weight at least 6.5-7.0 ounces.

As for performance, Ardent has upped its game with the Apex series. Anglers have many positive things to say about the fluid casting and rigid frame. The external 270-degree magnetic brake dial is icing on the cake. If you want to set yourself up with a lightweight, easy to palm reels, the Apex Elite is a super value.

What to Look for in a Good Baitcasting Reel

Why choose a Baitcasting reel?

It is smart to use both high quality spin casting and baitcasting reels in order to be the most versatile and effective angler. There are however some differences.

A Baitcasting Reel is better than a spinning reel for certain techniques and lures. This article will inform you about the top baitcasting reels less than 200 dollars.

Heavier Line:

Most top bait casting reels have the line cut through the line guide. The rod guides are also accessible because the spool’s rotation axis is vertical to the rods.

This allows anglers to use heavier lines that can drag 10-30 lbs, and other heavier lures in a Baitcasting Reel. A quality Baitcasting reel is capable of casting lures weighing 1/4 to 1 oz or more.

There are fewer line tangles

People who spin more often know how annoying it is to have the line twist and tangle. Baitcasters spool their line vertically to the spool axis, so there is no tangle at the lure. This is especially true if you are using soft plastic fish for bait.

Longer Cast:

A combination of the right rod and a Baitcasting reel will easily outcast any spin casting reel. The rod guides the line straight off the spool and is not dependent on the uncoiling mechanism in a spinning reel. Bait casters are unbeatable at casting hard baits or jigs.

Extra Power:

Because of their dynamic layout and ergonomic design, the Baitcasting reel can generate more power than a spinning reel. The reel generates more power and torque because the spool is aligned with the handle wheels. For their direct mount on the reel frame, the reel feels solid when it tackles a tough catch.

Control:

Baitcasting reels offer more control and balance than spin casting reels. The user can control the line’s velocity and distance by using their thumbs when casting a baitcaster. You will become more precise and efficient at casting your line once you have learned the technique. This simple thumb pressure system allows you to cast your lines exactly where you want them to be.

Before we get into our opinions, take a look at the chart for the best baitcasting reels under 200 dollars. These reels can be found in the low-end price range, with a few exceptions that are more expensive. This reel is suitable for all types of fishing. Some reels can be used in saltwater or freshwater.

We have compiled a list of the top ten options based on affordability and quality after extensive research. We visited our local stores to try out some of these top bait casters.

This casting reels review is the result of our knowledge and past experiences as regular anglers. There are many top-quality baitcasting reels on the market. However, only a few can offer the best value for money. Before you make a purchase, I recommend that you at least look through our selections.

How to pick the best baitcasting rod

The best baitcasting reels must be strong and durable. You can also recognize it by the rotating spool or the fact that it is attached to the top of a fishing rod. There are some things you need to know before you start thinking about a baitcasting rod.

Baitcasting reels can be difficult to use. It is not easy to use so novice anglers need to learn as much information as possible before purchasing one. Before you buy a casting reel, it is advisable to read this review.

Gear ratio:

It is important to choose a gear ratio that is more suitable for your needs. Too slow, you might lose your catch. If you are not an experienced angler, too fast can result in stiffening of the rod. It is important to find the sweet spot. Otherwise, the entire fishing experience can be a disappointment.

The gear ratio is simply the number of times that the spool turns once the handle begins to work. This constant mechanism controls the speed of the lure once you have recovered the line.

The digits on the baitcasting reels might be recognizable. Each one has its own characteristics. These numbers will be displayed in the following formats: 6.4 to 1. This means that the reel spins 6.4x with every rotation of the handle. If the number is greater, you will have a faster retrieve and orbits.

A gear ratio below 5.9:1 will be considered sluggish. Medium ratios range from 6.0 to 7.2. Anything above these numbers is considered to be very fast. If you’re new to this, it is advisable that you choose a faster gear.

You should also consider the size of your lure when choosing a gear ratio. Large spinnerbaits or diving crankbaits are best for adjusting a low-profile gear ratio. Texas rigs are better than jigs that have a medium gear ratio. Anglers commonly use spinnerbaits, buzz baits and other lures to catch fish with a higher gear ratio.

This casting reels review will provide more information about the gear ratios and other details.

Spool:

When deciding on the size of spool to buy, consider what type of line capacity is needed. It all depends on the type of fishing you choose and the size of the fish you are looking for.

Even if you’re not trolling for large fish, I recommend that you keep enough line. Because it has a larger line capacity, it is smart to choose the round-profile reel.

For those who just want to relax and enjoy a cold one while casting, a lower profile should work well with a smaller line capacity.

The Ideal Handle Size

For bass fishing, Low Profile Baitcasting reels have different handles. Compact reels tend to have a shorter handle. While this may work well for small fish, it will not be ideal when dealing with large fish. A longer handle is required to generate more torque and drag power. You can also grab your line more securely with a larger handle, even if it is resistant to fish.

Braking system

To properly cast a baitcasting rod, you need a reliable braking system. This system allows you to control and decrease the speed of your reel rotations. This will decrease the counteraction on your spool. There are two main options for baitcasting reels: magnetic and centrifugal.

The eccentric braking system relies on the discharging of a central force. The pins expand further when the spool rotation speed is higher. This is responsible for setting the start speed of the cast. This is the most cost-effective and straightforward braking system available. Although it is easy to master, the braking system does not have an efficient adjustment.

You guessed correctly, the core function of this system is dependent on the magnetic field. This braking system is superior to centrifugal because it allows for smoother adjustments. Magnets are used throughout the cast to control the spool speed. This ensures consistent resistance. This system is more manual and allows for adjustments to natural or artificial forces.

Ball Bearings

Bearings reduce friction between the moving gears on the reel, and improve the lifespan and functionality. Reels with more gears work better and produce a smoother cast. There is a catch: it is better to have a few high-quality ball bearings than many with poor performance.

Bearings can be digitally coded to provide specific capabilities. Bearings such as those mentioned above are rated with 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. Look out for labels that indicate stainless, shielded, or double-shielded. Lightweight gears and gears made from strong materials such as aluminum, magnesium, or carbon composite materials will provide a more stable performance and a longer life expectancy.

If you are not satisfied with this information, check out in detail of baitcasting reel information here.

Here is a good video explaining these concepts further.

Conclusion

Casting reel reviews are very limited in their ability to provide you with accurate and useful information. We ask that you read through our reviews and then watch some videos online. If you have any questions, speak to your local anglers. Then, decide what you want to do.

For new anglers who are enthusiastic about fishing, we recommend purchasing one of the most affordable baitcasting reels. You can then experiment with it to gain practical knowledge.

After you’ve mastered the art of casting, retrieving and dragging, and how to adjust the brake system, you can then purchase the best Baitcasting reels. It won’t suffice to have a top-quality baitcasting reel under 200 dollars if you don’t understand the operation and mechanism.

Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.