Best Saltwater Rod and Reel Combos Reviewed

If you are anything like us, you feel the pull of salt pulling at your heartstrings. A great combination can help you get on the water quickly if you are in need of a new reel and rod.

Combinations are great for combining excellent rods and reels. However, it can be difficult to decide which combination is right for you.

Are you confused about saltwater combinations or looking for a new rig to go with it? Keep reading!

Here are some quick tips on the top saltwater reel and rod combos.

Surf Fishing: Spinning combos

  • Daiwa D-Wave Combo
  • Penn Battle II Combo
  • Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik Bigwater

For Inshore Fishing, Spinning Combos

  • Penn Battle II Combo
  • Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik Bigwater

Combinations of Conventional Products

  • Penn Squall Level Wind Combo
  • Penn Warefare Level Wind Combo

 

Best Surf Fishing Combinations

Daiwa D-Wave ComboBest budget spinning combo

Daiwa DWB50-B/F902M D-Wave Saltwater Spinning Combo, 1 Bearing, 9' Length, 2Piece Rod, Medium Power, Fiberglass Blank Material

 

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Maximum drag?N/A
Gear ratio:N/A
Capacity14/410, 17/310 and 20/240
MaterialN/A
Weight:N/A
Bearings1
Length9
Action/powerMedium/moderate fast
MaterialFiberglass
Handle: continuous EVA foam
GuidesStainless steel with aluminum oxide inlays
Line weight:12-30 lb
Size of the lure:1-5 oz
Pieces2
  • Amazing price
  • Beautiful rod
  • Good blank: Casts well and loads well
  • Great all-arounder
  • Do not expect a miracle reel at this price

Summary

Daiwa is a well-known brand among saltwater anglers. Their Saltist reels are a favorite among sailors. It’s also nice to know that they offer surf fishing gear at an affordable price.

Combining a Daiwa D-Wave combo with a large spinning reel and a good surf-casting rod, the Daiwa D-Wave combo is a great choice. The rod measures 9 feet in length and the fiberglass blank adds to its durability. The rod is easy to load, and you can cast lures from 1- to 5-ounces across the shallows and beyond the breakers.

This rod is medium power and has a moderately fast action. It can be used for stripers, reds and sharks. However, it still allows you to feel the strike from a croaker, flunder, or croaker. This makes it an excellent all-arounder for fishing on the beach.

Daiwa isn’t talking much about this reel at all, and you shouldn’t expect miracles at this price. The drag has excellent capacity and provides enough tension to support the line weights it is rated for.

It casts well and handles windy days like a pro.

Overall, Daiwa offers a great combo for a reasonable price. Anglers with tight budgets should give this option a try.

Penn Battle II ComboBest Combination for Surf Fishing:

PENN BTLII4000701M Battle II 4000 Spinning Reel Combo, Inshore, 7 Feet, Medium Power

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Maximum drag:25 lb. Maximum 25 lbs
Ratio of gears: 5.6.1 (41″ RPT).
Capacity15/335, 20/230 and 25/210
MaterialAluminum
Weight:22.10
Bearings5 + 1
Length9
Action/powermedium-heavy/moderate fast
MaterialComposite graphite
Handle: continuous EVA foam
Guides5 + 1 stainless steel with aluminum dioxide inserts
Line weight:15-30 lbs
Size of the lure:N/A
Pieces2
  • A great rod and reel combination
  • Excellent blank: casts and loads well
  • Amazing strength
  • Sensitivity is a great quality
  • Amazing reel
  • Very fast
  • Excellent capacity
  • Excellent drag
  • N/A

Summary

Penn is the most trusted name in saltwater fishing. You’ll also find plenty of Penn reels on the hands of surfcasters if you make a beach pass in the morning or afternoon.

The Penn Battle II combo is a great choice. It combines the best of a well-known reel with a sturdy rod. The rod measures 9 feet long and can cast far. It’s made from graphite composite and is a bit stiffer than other options. These are two attributes that we think you will appreciate.

This option is a great choice, especially for those who tend to hold their rod very often.

This rod is made for large fish such as sharks and features a medium-heavy blank with great sensitivity. You’ll feel it’s controllable, with the rod’s strength being felt about 1/3rd of the way from the tip. It’s strong enough to take on big reds, large stripers, and aggressive sharks.

The Battle II reel is amazing and one of my favorite salt reels. You can easily apply the tension that you need to fight with 25 pounds of smooth drag. You don’t have to worry about cutting or stripping the line.

You can also run crankbaits like lightning on the reel, or keep up with the fastest of brutes.

Our top choice is Penn’s Battle II combination.

Shakespeare Ugly Stik BigwaterMost Durable Spinning Combo

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Maximum drag?N/A
Gear ratio:N/A
Capacity17/310, 20/250 and 25/200
MaterialN/A
Weight:N/A
Bearings2
Length10
Action/powermedium-heavy/moderate fast
MaterialFiberglass
Handle: continuous EVA foam
Guides5 + 1 Ugly Tuff stainless Steel
Line weight:15-30 lbs
Size of the lure:1-5 oz
Pieces2
  • Great price
  • Extremely tough rod
  • Good blank: Casts well and loads well
  • Powerful for large fish.
  • Excellent guides
  • Do not expect a miracle reel at this price

Summary

Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik Bigwater is a testament to the manufacturer’s commitment to durability. If you have ever broken a surfboard rod, then you will understand why!

Bigwater’s combo includes a 10′ Stik that has medium-heavy power, moderately fast action, and a 10″ Stik. The durability of Shakespeare’s fiberglass blanks is unmatched, and the Bigwater is no different. This might be the right option for you if you are a regular user of your beach rod.

You’ll be strong enough to move a large shark and sensitive enough for a light strike. Your rod will never fail you!

The Bigwater’s stainless UglyTuff guides are far more durable than they appear, and I have put them to the test multiple times. They work extremely well, suffice it to say.

Shakespeare isn’t referring to the reel. It’s obvious that the rod is the main attraction of this combo. This product is high quality with lots of drag and line capacity. It can also cast in any wind condition.

The Stik is a great choice for those who are rough with their rods.

Best Combinations for Inshore Fishing

Penn Battle II ComboBest Combination for Inshore Fishing:

PENN BTLII4000701M Battle II 4000 Spinning Reel Combo, Inshore, 7 Feet, Medium Power

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Maximum drag:Maximum 15 lbs. Maximum 15 lbs
Ratio of gears: 6.2.1 (37″) RPT
Capacity8/270, 10/220 and 12/165
MaterialAluminum
Weight:12.8
Bearings5 + 1
Length7
Action/powermedium/extra fast
MaterialComposite graphite-fiberglass
Handle: continuous cork
Guides7 + 1 stainless steel with aluminum dioxide inserts
Line weight:10-17 lbs
Size of the lure:N/A
Pieces2
  • Amazing rod and reel combination
  • Great blank with lots of strength and sensibility
  • Excellent guides
  • Amazing reel
  • Very fast
  • Amazing capacity
  • Excellent drag
  • N/A

Summary

Penn offers the amazing Battle II combo for both inshore and beach fishing. It’s equally good on mudflats or grassy shallows, and maybe even better on the beach!

Penn’s 7-foot inshore fishing rod is made of graphite with fiberglass core. It’s strong, flexible, and tough. This rod is great for all types of fishing, including specks, flounder, reds, and croakers.

It has the sensitivity that you need for the small guys and the power to control the large ones.

This rod has excellent guide quality and can cast well with both standard-sized spoons and slip floats.

The Battle II reel is undoubtedly a winner. It’s also sized to be used inshore. The maximum drag is 15 pounds and provides plenty of tension during a fight. The capacity is impressive, and the crankbaits can be used with topwater lures or crankbaits as a pro, with a 37 inch retrieve per crank.

Our top pick for the best Inshore Fishing Rod!

Shakespeare Ugly Stik BigwaterThe most difficult inshore spinning combo

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Maximum drag?N/A
Gear ratio:N/A
Capacity12/280, 14/215 and 17/195
MaterialN/A
Weight:N/A
Bearings2
Length7
Action/powerMedium/moderate fast
MaterialFiberglass
Handle: continuous EVA foam
GuidesUgly Tuff stainless Steel
Line weight:10-25 lbs
Size of the lure:1-5 oz
Pieces2
  • Great price
  • Extremely tough rod
  • Good blank: Casts well and provides a lot of sensitivity
  • Powerful for large fish.
  • Excellent guides
  • Do not expect a miracle reel at this price

Summary

Shakespeare has you covered with the Bigwater if you’re looking for something tough.

The combo features a 7-foot Stik made of their famous fiberglass. This rod is ideal for tackle-testing monster reds and sharks. This rod has medium power and is easy to control. Clear tips provide plenty of sensitivity.

You won’t have to worry about the quality of your guide.

Like the surf-casting version Shakespeare keeps the details of the reel close to his chest. We’re not surprised at this price. Acceptable casting and massive capacity are the norm, but refinement is not the hallmark of this reel.

Our top pick for the best offshore fishing reels!

Combinations of Conventional Products

Penn Squall Level Wind ComboBest Conventional Combo

PENN Squall 30 Level Wind Fishing Rod and Trolling Reel Combo, 6.5 Feet

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Maximum drag: 15 lbs.
Gear ratio:4.9:1 (28″) RPT
Capacity17/415. 20/315. 25/290
Materialgraphite
Weight:16.9 oz.
Bearings2 + 1
Length6
Action/powerMedium/moderate fast
Materialgraphite
Handle: continuous EVA foam
Guides6 + 1 stainless with aluminum oxide inserts
Line weight:20-50 lb
Size of the lure:N/A
Pieces2
  • This combo is great for saltwater trolling
  • Strong blank with lots of strength to support big fish
  • Excellent guides
  • Amazing reel
  • Great drag
  • There is tons of capacity
  • N/A

Summary

Penn dominated the traditional combo world. The Squall Level Wind pairing helps to explain why.

The 6-foot graphite rod can handle big fish such as sharks, marlins, tuna and sailfish. It’s also rated for heavy mono braid and steel-like braid. You’ll notice the rod’s backbone quickly and the tip will begin to dip.

Six guides of high quality, along with the tip, distribute the load and pamper your line. While they are not recommended for large knots, this is not an option at this price point.

This rod comes with Penn’s Squall level Wind reel, which is a first-rate reel. It has a smooth drag and an enviable capacity. It is capable of handling large fish and distributes mono across your spool. This eliminates the need to use your thumb as an impromptu guide.

This is a great choice for anglers who don’t like the task.

The Squall combination is the best-quality, most efficient conventional option available on the market.

Penn Warefare Level Wind ComboBest Conventional Deal for Budget

Penn Warfare 30LW Level Wind Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, 6.5 Feet

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Maximum drag: 15 lbs.
Gear ratio:5.1:1 (29″) RPT
Capacity15/475, 25/315, 25/290
Materialgraphite
Weight:18.6 oz.
Bearings2 + 1
Length6′ 6″
Action/powerMedium/moderate fast
Materialtubular fiberglass
Handle: continuous EVA foam
Guides6 + 1 stainless with aluminum oxide inserts
Line weight:20-40 lbs
Size of the lure:N/A
Pieces1
  • This combo is great for saltwater trolling
  • Strong blank with lots of strength to support big fish
  • Excellent guides
  • Excellent reel
  • Great drag
  • There is tons of capacity
  • It is not as high-quality and as versatile as the Squall combination

Summary

Penn’s Warefare combo makes a great alternative to the Squall for anglers who want to keep an eye on every dollar. It’s extremely capable and costs only a third of the price, making it affordable for most saltwater anglers.

This combo provides a 6-foot, 6-inch, tubular fiberglass rod that is tough enough to handle big fish and fights. High-quality guides provide excellent protection for your line while distributing stress evenly over the rod’s length.

Roller guides are not something you can expect at this price point, just like the Squall.

This rod is topped by Penn’s Ware reel, which is a well-respected piece of fishing equipment. There’s much to love about it. It is smooth, powerful, easy to use, and matches the Squall’s capacity. It is faster than the reel that costs more, and offers a inch more retrieve per crank.

It also has a level wind, just like its brother. This makes it an excellent choice for anglers who don’t like using their thumbs for this task.

Although not as robust as the Squall combination, the Ware delivers great performance for its price.

How to Choose the Best Saltwater Rod and Saltwater Reel Combination

Rods

Power

The force required to bend a rod is called power. A rod’s power, along with its action, tells you a lot of about how it will perform.

The material it is made from and the amount of taper in its cross-section determine the rod’s power. The length of the rod also has an impact on its power. Shorter lengths of the same material are more powerful and taper is stiffer than those with longer lengths.

Our buying guide and our top picks for fishing rods are available!

Ultralight

Ultralight rods provide extreme sensitivity and excitement. They can be used to increase the feeling of small fish. They are primarily designed for panfish species such as sunfish, bluegill and crappie. However, experienced anglers can use them to catch large-mouth bass and trout.

Ultralight rods can bend easily even at modest weights and provide very little control if you hook large fish. Anglers who are able to catch anything larger than a fish can find themselves in a difficult situation.

However, don’t let this fool you! Ultralight rods still have plenty of strength!

Ultralight rods can be matched with small spinning reels, lines weighing in the vicinity of 2-8 pounds, and very lightweight lures (typically 1/32 of an ounce).

Ultralight rods are recommended for:

  • Panfish of all types
  • Experienced anglers can catch small- and largemouth bass
  • Experienced anglers can catch trout
Light

Ultralight rods have less power than light rods. They are an excellent choice for panfish and can handle small-mouth or trout.

They are a good all-round choice for novice anglers. They provide greater control over struggling fish and still have the ability to detect panfish nibbling.

Light rods work best with line between 4-8 pounds and should be paired with small spinning reels. The average lure weight is between 1/32 to 1/4 ounces.

For:

  • Panfish of all types
  • Smallmouth bass and trout
Medium-light

Medium-light rods offer the best power and allow you to fish many different species and techniques.

You can wrestle any of the largest species, including crappie, perch, bluegill, and trout with authority. Experienced anglers can also tackle walleye with good technique.

It’s also a great rod for largemouth applications such as drop shotting and weightless senkos.

Medium-light rods can be paired with medium-sized spinning reels. However, you will also find baitcasting rods that have this power rating. Line weights range from 4-10 pounds with lure weights ranging between 1/16 and 5/16 ounces.

For:

  • Panfish of all types
  • Smallmouth bass and trout
  • Finesse techniques for largemouth
  • Walleye fishing with experienced anglers
Medium

Because they are strong enough to muscle large fish, medium-powered rods can be found in salt-water and freshwater. You’ll see them used by anglers to troll for large species such as tuna, wahoos and sailfish.

Medium rods can be used for many purposes, including running crankbaits or jerkbaits as well as yo-yoing swimmingbaits from the bottom. They are also great with live bait making them a popular choice.

They provide the backbone that you need to muscle larger fish like red drum and largemouth walleye.

The most popular line weights are 6-12 pounds. Lures weighing 1/4 to 3/4 ounces are common.

For:

  • Inshore fishing
  • Surf casting
  • Walleye is one example of a freshwater species
  • Techniques for largemouth bass fishing that are triple-hooked, such as crankbaits or jerkbaits,
Medium-heavy

These rods are medium-heavy and have a lot of power. They allow anglers to muscle large fish and drive single hooks home. Largemouth anglers often use them for their stiffness. They are ideal for fishing techniques that require a strong hookset, such as worms or soft plastics.

They can be made of fiberglass and are very strong, making them popular for offshore fishing as well as for freshwater anglers who want to catch fish like steelhead, lake trout, pike, and lake trout.

Bass anglers who enjoy crankbaits – and who doesn’t – find that they provide enough cushion to keep their treble hooks in place when they are tapered right.

This is a great power to use for surfing fishing or inshore applications, especially when the target species are larger. You’ll be able to win the fight against anything, from giant rays to huge sharks.

You should expect to cast lures that weigh no less than 3/8 of an inch.

For:

  • Inshore fishing
  • Surf casting
  • Large freshwater species such as pike and lake trout are available
  • Techniques for largemouth bass fishing that are triple-hooked, such as crankbaits or jerkbaits,
Heavy

Heavy rods can be as stiff and sturdy as they are. They’re made for largemouth bass and the biggest fish.

Expect a backbone as strong as steel, unmatched control in fights, and strength that will not quit.

Heavy rods can be used for grouper, shark, tarpon and other large saltwater species. They are also very popular for trophy pike and lake trout.

They are a popular choice for largemouth fishing, such as pitching and flipping, and single hook worm fishing. Braided line will provide instant hooksets.

For line over 12 pounds, heavy rods are usually made. However, the lure size will vary depending on the application.

For:

  • Fishing offshore
  • Lake trout is one example of a freshwater species.
  • Techniques for single-hooked largemouth bass such as flipping, pitching and worming

Take Action

The rod’s action is the point along which its length will bend under load. Fast action rods bend near the tip and are stiff for most their length. Slow action rods, on the other hand, bend closer to their handle and reel seat and curve over a greater portion of their length.

Extra-fast and super-fast

Extra-fast rods, regardless of power, retain stiffness for most of their length. This improves sensitivity at the tip and hookset, as well as allowing anglers to give better action to most lures.

Moderately fast

Fast rods with moderate flex allow for a little more flexibility than fast options. They also offer some cushion for hooksets, which is often a desirable characteristic when using crankbaits or jerkbaits. This allows anglers to avoid grabbing a sharp treble hook out of fish’s mouths, but it still gives plenty of sensitivity at their tip.

Moderate

Moderate rods can bend the rod almost in a parabolic fashion, which allows it to be bent over its entire length. This allows for toughness and enough strength to muscle large fish. This is an excellent choice for hooksets in soft bait applications, but it can also be used for treble-hooked lures or situations where durability is important.

Slow

Slow rods are made of flexible fiberglass and can bend along their entire length. They are often used with crankbaits because of their cushioned hookset, which allows a lure to hang in the mouth for just one second.

Descripting power and action

Guides

It is important to have good guide quality on all rods, especially when you are moving up in power.

Guides serve two primary purposes. They protect your line from friction and distribute force along the length of the blank. As more contact reduces stress at each point of the rod and line, it is almost always better to have more. On spinning reels, they help channel line from spool. This is why most spinning rods have a large “stripper” guide located near the reel.

You will typically need one guide per foot, plus one.

Some notable exceptions to the rule include surfcasting rods or fly rods.

Surf casting requires more guides to reduce distance. This is perhaps the most important function of the rod. Surf fishing rods will have fewer guides.

Fly fishing rods often have very basic guides. Fly line is not like regular line and doesn’t have to be subjected to the same stresses.

However, for most rods, there is no compromise in guide quality.

Guide material

Guides attach to your rod by feet and are secured with adhesives or some other form of wrapping.

These are three things that are crucial:

  • The guides must be securely fastened.
  • The guides must be strong enough for abuse.
  • The guides must be resistant to corrosion.

Stainless steel is a common material for quality guides. It is strong, durable, and resists corrosion.

Video showing how fragile a line is and how quality guides are tested

Blank Material

Modern fishing rods are made of a variety materials including graphite and carbon fiber. Some fishing rods feature composite construction that uses more than one material as their backbone.

Graphite

Graphite is a common material that can be used as a blank. It provides strength, stiffness and light weight all in one package. Fishing blanks with higher modulus numbers, which are usually described by the word “modulus”, are larger in diameter and more flexible than those with smaller numbers.

Graphite is also known for its high sensitivity.

However, graphite’s weakness lies in its brittleness. If pushed too hard, it can crack and break.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass rod technology is old, but it’s still a great rod technology.

Fiberglass rods are heavy, much like fiberglass boats. They’ll be heavier than other options, inch to inch and foot to foot. Fiberglass blanks are extremely flexible, but can also be very tough. They are also extremely rigid in very short tubular lengths making them an excellent choice for offshore trolling rods.

Fiberglass is not able to perform fast actions or sensitivity (except for very short distances). It is just not as stiff or strong as other options.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is space-age technology. It takes everything that’s good about graphite, and elevates it to a higher level. It’s an excellent choice for blank material because it is extremely stiff and strong.

Carbon fiber is susceptible to impacts. A hard hit on a boat or piling can cause damage to your rod.

As you would expect, it is also very expensive!

Composites

Manufacturers of rods often combine different materials to get the best out of each one. A graphite core is one common example. It provides stiffness and strength and is wrapped with fiberglass to give it flexibility and toughness.

These composite rods are very effective when done correctly.

Length

The length of the rod is important.

The rod’s length will determine how far it can cast. The rod’s length will determine how accurate it casts.

The ideal starting point is between 6’6′ and 7′. This is the sweet spot for accuracy and distance: shorter ranges will result in loss of range, while longer ranges will lead to a decrease in accuracy.

Handle

The decision about which handle you choose is personal. What’s easy for me may not be right for you. You will find two main materials for rod handles: EVA foam and cork.

Cork

Cork is a natural material. It’s soft to the touch, but firm enough to give you a comfortable grip. Premium-grade cork can withstand a beating, but it is not as attractive as synthetics.

EVA foam

EVA foam, a synthetic material, provides a soft grip. It’s a bit colder than cork but it’s usually more affordable and lasts longer.

Spinning Reels

Drag

The drag is what I first look at when looking at any reel.

I first assess the location. The best drag systems are situated directly over the area they will be working. Therefore, drag knobs are often located at the end of the spool.

While some spinning reels may have dials located elsewhere, these require a more complex mechanism that doesn’t work as well as it does not last as long.

Second, I look closely at the maximum setting to see if it slips at this weight. For spinning reels I look for a maximum setting that is appropriate to the size and weight the species I am after. I test the drag by stringing some heavy line and weighing it.

This is about evaluating the drag’s quality, not testing the maximum. I won’t set the drag that high.

Finally, I like spool up some medium-weight line for the reel. Then, I set the drag to about a third of that and see how easily it allows me take line. I like a steady, smooth release, no catching or jerking.

Ratio of gears

The reel’s gear ratio is the relationship between the crank, the spool and the crank. It tells you how many turns the crank makes. A gear ratio of 5.2 to 1 means that one crank turn spins the spool 52.2 times.

This is important for two reasons.

Some lures require a slow, medium or fast retrieve. A reel’s gear ratio should be matched to the intended purpose of the reel in order to improve action. A fast reel with a gear ratio greater than 5.2:1 is ideal for topwater lures and shallow crankbaits.

You should also care about the gear ratio because it shows you how fast it picks up lines. A medium to fast ratio is important, regardless of whether you are jigging deep and casting far out to cover the water.

Smooth operation

A reel of high quality should have a tight bail, a crank that spins freely and a drag knob that adjusts the setting. To encourage solid hooksets, the anti-reverse system should also lock up quickly.

Capacity

It is important to have a line capacity.

A properly filled spool will ensure that you don’t cast your line too far. Over a day of fishing, however, you may need to cut the line to either reduce abrasion or recover from a poor cast.

Your reel should have enough line to last you the entire day without having to re-spool.

I will be reporting line capacity using monofilament weights. You can change to braid to get more line on your reel, or increase the weight to a mono equivalent of 4 or 6 pounds.

When I decided to use my ultralight to record big bass, I did exactly that!

Baitcasting Reels

Durability

Baitcasting reels are often expensive, and it is frustrating to have expensive tackle stop working after just one season.

We recommend reels that are durable and make the most of your money. We don’t have any vested interests in manufacturers, but we tell the truth about all products, good and bad. Three names are worth mentioning: Shimano, Daiwa, and Lews.

These reels are some of my favorite reels. If you have a good conversation with other anglers on the water, there’s a chance you’ll spot these reels on their rods.

Great drag

An awesome drag is your friend when you are fighting a monster. Smooth and strong are your best friends, whether you’re running crankbaits or helping to catch fish.

You might want to keep your drag weight at 3-4 pounds when crankbaiting. Smooth performance is what you want, with just a little bit of give to keep you from ripping treble hookeds free, especially if your rod is not made of glass.

You will need to increase your drag setting if you want to make long-distance hooksets or drag bass out of heavy covers. In these cases, slippage is not an option. However, opinions differ on how much drag should be used.

Many anglers recommend that you set your drag at 1/3 of the breaking strength. This gives you enough power to turn big fish and protects your rod and line.

Others disagree. They claim that they bought superlines for their maximum capacity and will set the drag at the maximum when fishing heavy cover. They rely on the rod, line, knot and rod to hold them together. The idea is to drag bass away from the bad stuff.

Who is right?

Both camps have good reasons to do what they are doing. You won’t need more drag than 6-10 pounds.

Do you really need all the torque that your truck can provide?

Amazing casting

A good baitcasting reel should have a spool that defies physics. The spool should spin as easily as possible and have slick surfaces that allow the line to pass through. To make long casts, it is important to have the right design of the level wind (the part that guides the line onto the spool).

The smooth operation of the “T-wing” by Daiwa is well-known in fishing circles. However, other top manufacturers also have their own designs.

Long casts can be dangerous if they result in bird nesting backlash. Many rods with higher ends have magnetic brake systems. They apply more pressure to the reel as it slows down, preventing the reel from feeding too much line.

These systems, when designed and implemented by the best, can help you cast light lures and work in the wind to launch your crankbaits in the next county.

Ratio of gears

The gear ratio is the number of revolutions that one crank of a handle produces on the spool. A gear ratio of 7.5 to 1 means that one turn of your handle spins the spool 75% of the time. The faster the retrieve, the higher the ratio. This speed can also be represented by the number or retrieve per turn (IPT/RPT), which is 31. This would mean that each turn of the handle picks-up 31 inches of line.

Although speed isn’t always more efficient than slow, it can offer more flexibility. It is easier to slow down than speed up your retrieve. With a little practice you can adjust your natural cadence to meet the requirements of slower presentations.

Speed is important when fighting fish that run straight for you.

It is important to keep your line straight. A fast reel can help you do this.

Capacity

Capacity is not something to be proud of, especially if it’s necessary to strip and cut lines while you fish.

Although the reels we chose are quite similar, there are some standouts. There are tradeoffs, however, as a larger reel will usually require a larger spool.

We list capacities such as 12/120 in mono-diameter equivalents and feet.

Weight and “Palmability”.

A good reel should be lightweight and comfortable. Ideal reels should be lightweight enough to disappear on your rod and in the palm of your hand.

In each review, we’ll discuss comfort and weight.

Bearings

Baitcasting reels have a bearing count that is important, but the standard is only one roller bearing per spool. Retrieving is as easy as climbing icy stairs because the rest of the bearings are hidden in the internals.

Although it is not an absolute rule, more is always better.

Last Thoughts

We hope these reviews helped you make the right decision and get you started sooner!

We’d love to have your feedback or questions. Please leave a comment below

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.