27 Best Freshwater Spinning Reels in 2020

Freshwater spinning reels are the most popular way to fish in streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. This article provides a detailed review of the best freshwater spinning reels. Check out this article if you are interested in the best saltwater fishing reels. Spinning reels allow spinners, spoons, plugs, and jigs to be cast a far distance and retrieved quickly.

Best-Freshwater-Spinning-Reel

Almost all spinning reels available have different size options for each real model. The differences include weight,  size of the reel, max drag, line capacity, and the amount of line retrieved per turn of the handle. Small ultralight class reels good for trout, crappie, sunfish, bluegill, and perch. Larger spinning reels are good for striped bass, steelhead, salmon, and large catfish. If you are traveling for a fishing trip rod consider getting a telescopic fishing rod.

This article will provide the specifications for each reel size. Brands of spinning reels that are reviewed include, Shimano, Plueger, Abu Garcia, Lew’s, KastKing, Diawa, Cadence, and Sougayilang.

Here Are the Best Freshwater Spinning Reels


1. Shimano Stella FJ Spinning Reel

shimano-stella-fj-high-end-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $670-$862

Models and Specifications
1000: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 6.0 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/6, braid 95/10.

2500: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 7.2 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/10, braid 100/30.

3000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 7.4 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 180/30.

4000: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 9.0 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/12, braid 120/50.

5000: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 9.4 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 165/14, braid 185/40.

The Shimano Stella is a high-end reel designed for optimal performance in freshwater. Aero Wrap II is a two-speed isolation system to put the line on the spool in a crisscross pattern to allow for further casting. Cross carbon drag allows for a smooth drag across all drag levels. The Hagane metal body is lightweight, strong and rigid.

There are 12+1 shielded ball bearings. Other features include a waterproof drag, Hagane Gear, long stroke spool, magnum-light rotor, and silent drive. This is a great reel to use for trout or bass. It does have a smooth spool and works better with a monofilament fishing line. The reel knob size and shape varies based on model size.


2. Shimano Exsence Spinning Reel

shimano-exsence-quality-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $460-$540

Models and Specifications
3000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 7.1 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/8, braid 95/20.

4000: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 8.6 oz, retrieves 39 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 130/8, braid 120/20.

The Shimano Exsence is a top-quality reel with a rigid metal body. It includes most of the features that Shimano offers in a fishing reel. These features include the Aero Wrap two speed oscillation system,  Hagane body, Hagane Gear, magnum-light rotor, and rapid-fire drag.

Its two model sizes are designed for bass fishing. The reel is a freshwater reel but it is safe to fish inshore and on the reef in saltwater. This is because it has a waterproof drag and 11+1 shielded ball bearings.  It also has X-protect which is a water repellent coating.


3. Shimano Stratic Ci4+ Front Drag Spinning Reel

shimano-stradic-front-drag-fishing-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $190-$402

Models and Specifications
41000HG: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 5.6 oz, retrieves 31 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/6, braid 95/10.

42500HG: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 6.7 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/8, braid 145/15.

43000HG: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 6.7 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 145/20.

44000HG: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 8.1 oz, retrieves 39 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/12, braid 175/30.

The Shimano Strtic Ci4+ is a high-performance lightweight reel perfect for freshwater fishing. This reel has smooth drag, smooth casting, and smooth reeling. These are the most important performance items for a spinning reel. Features include the Hagane drive gear, magnum-lite rotor, titan one-piece bail, and 6+1 shielded bearings.

The difference between the standard model and the HG is the gear ratio. HG is a high-speed model and has a higher gear ratio than the standard models. This means the line retrieval rate will be higher per turn for the HG model. The spool is made from forged aluminum and the reel handle is made from machined aluminum. The video below provides a review of the Shimano Strtic Ci4+.


4. Shimano Sedona Fl Freshwater Fishing Reel

shimano-sedona-freshwater-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $65-$129

Models and Specifications
500: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 6.3 oz, retrieves 27 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 100/4, braid 105/8.

1000: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 7.6 oz, retrieves 26 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/6, braid 85/15.

2500: Drag 9 lbs, weighs 8.6 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/10, braid 100/30.

3000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 8.8 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 105/40.

4000: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 10.4 oz, retrieves 39 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/12, braid 150/50.

5000: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 10.6 oz, retrieves 41 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 165/14, braid 160/40.

8000: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 21.7 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 185/20, braid 265/50.

The Shimano Sedona has size options for all types of freshwater fishing. This is a very popular reel because it is a high-quality reel at a reasonable price point. Features include an anodizes machine cut spool, Hagane gears, cross carbon drag, and spool lip design that allows for further casting.

There are 3 bearings and an anti-reverse bearing. The reel does not have a lever and is set on anti-reverse all the time. This means the angler can not switch the reel so that the handle spins in reverse. Most people want the reel set in this setting all the time anyway. The only good reason to have the reel spin in reverse is if the line somehow gets under the spool.  In the situation, the spool can easily be taken off to address the issue.


5. Shimano Syncopate Bass Spinning Reel

shimano-syncopate-front-drag-bass-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $29-$33

Models and Specifications
1000: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 7.6 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/6, braid 85/15.

2500: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 9.2 oz, retrieves 29 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/10, braid 145/15.

4000: Drag 13 lbs, weighs 12.7 oz, retrieves 32 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/12, braid 175/30.

The Shimano Syncopate is a great low-cost fishing reel for freshwater. This was the style reel I fished with as a kid. The quickfire II system allows the bail to open by pulling back the trigger with the index finger. The index finger also holds the fishing line so you can cast using only one hand. For new anglers, this can be easier than opening the bail with the left hand.

Features include a spool design for long-range casting, 4+1 ball-bearings, an anti-reverse switch, graphite frame, graphite rotor, aluminum spool, and a Dyna balanced rotor. The video below shows and unboxing of Shimano Syncopate. This gives you a general idea of the size and look of the spinning reel.


6. Shimano Spirex Front Drag Fishing Reel

shimano-spirex-freshwater-bass-fishing-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $60-$98

Models and Specifications
1000: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 8.8 oz, retrieves 28 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/4, braid 85/15.

2500: Drag 9 lbs, weighs 10.6 oz, retrieves 32 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/8, braid 145/15.

4000: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 13.9 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/10, braid 175/30.

The Shimano Spirex is a two handle spinning reel. This handle is similar to many baitcasting fishing reels. If you do not like the two handles the threading should be the same to swap with any similar size Shimano spinning reel.

Features of this reel include in the trigger Quickfire II which allows one-handed casing, a spool design that allows far casting, and 5+1 ball bearings. The frame rotor and side plates are made of graphite and the spool is made of aluminum.


7. Shimano IX Rear Drag Spinning Reel

shimano-IX-rear-drag-freshwater-spinning-reel-for-trout

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $14-$27

Models and Specifications
1000: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 8.4 oz, retrieves 19 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/4, braid 85/15.

2000: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 8.6 oz, retrieves 21 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 100/10, braid 100/15.

4000: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 11.4 oz, retrieves 24 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/10, braid 145/50.

This Shimano IX is a popular low-cost fishing reel. The spool, rotor, frame, and side plates are all made from graphite. Drag is adjusted with the knob on the bottom of the reel. It has the Quickfire II trigger to open the bail with one hand.

The 1000 size reel is good for catching trout and crappie. While the 2000 and 4000 series are good for catching bass. These are good reels for kids and angels that only fish occasionally. For people that fish frequently I would recommend getting a more quality fishing reel.


8. Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Reel

phlueger-supreme-xt-freshwater-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Around: $150

Models and Specifications
25X: Drag 8 lbs, weighs 6.0 oz, retrieves 22.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/4, braid 110/8.

30X: Drag 10 lbs, weighs 6.8 oz, retrieves 31.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 130/8, braid 160/10.

35X: Drag 12 lbs, weighs 8.0 oz, retrieves 33.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 155/10, braid 160/14.

40X: Drag 14 lbs, weighs 8.7 oz, retrieves 38.6 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 195/10, braid 200/20.

The Pflueger Supreme XT is a popular high-performance freshwater reel that can also be used in saltwater. Features include a magnesium metal body and rotor, 10 ball bearings, a braid ready spool, and a sealed carbon drag system. It also has an aluminum bail wire and slow oscillating gearing. EVA foam is used for the knob which is attached to a carbon-fiber handle.


9. Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel

pflueger-president-xt-spinning-fishing-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $70-$99

Models and Specifications
20:
Drag 6 lbs, weighs 5.6 oz, retrieves 20.7 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 100/4, braid 100/8.

25: Drag 8 lbs, weighs 6.6 oz, retrieves 22.4 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/4, braid 110/8.

30: Drag 10 lbs, weighs 7.6 oz, retrieves 31 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 130/8, braid 160/10.

35: Drag 12 lbs, weighs 9.1 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 155/10, braid 160/14.

40: Drag 14 lbs, weighs 10.1 oz, retrieves 38 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 195/12, braid 200/20.

Pflueger President XT reels is a high-quality spinning reel and have size options for all types of freshwater fish. Most reel sizes have 10 ball-bearing but the 20 size only has 7 ball bearings.

Features include a sealed drag system, a braid ready spool, carbon fiber handled and a rubber cork knob. It also has an aluminum main shaft and an aluminum pinion gear. The spinning reel has a large gear ratio to allow for a high line retrieval per turn of the handle.


10. Pflueger President Fishing Reel

phlueger-president-freshwater-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $55-$61

Models and Specifications
20:
Drag 6 lbs, weighs 6.1 oz, retrieves 20.2 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 100/4, braid 100/8.

25: Drag 8 lbs, weighs 7.5 oz, retrieves 22.4 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/4, braid 110/8.

30: Drag 10 lbs, weighs 8.8 oz, retrieves 25.3 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 130/8, braid 160/10.

35: Drag 12 lbs, weighs 10.7 oz, retrieves 28.1 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 155/10, braid 160/14.

40: Drag 14 lbs, weighs 11.5 oz, retrieves 31.6  in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 195/12, braid 200/20.

The Pflueger President reel is a great all-around reel that is perfect for most recreational anglers. For size 20 there are 7 ball bearings and for all other sizes, there are 10 corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings.

Features include a sealed drag system, graphite body, graphite rotor, and a braid ready spool. The line lays on the spool evenly and slowly because of the low gearing.


11. Abu Garcia Revo X Spinning Reel

abu-garcia-revo-x-braid-ready-spinnig-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $75-$100

Models and Specifications
10: Drag 10 lbs, weighs 7.5 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/6, braid 150/6.

20: Drag 11 lbs, weighs 7.7 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 130/8, braid 190/8.

30: Drag 11 lbs, weighs 8.3 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 180/10.

40: Drag 13 lbs, weighs 9.1 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 150/14, braid 210/14.

The Abu Garcia Revo X spinning reel has 6 stainless steel HPCR bearings and 1 roller bearing. Features include carbon fiber drag, a machined aluminum braid ready spool, stainless steel main shaft, and a lightweight graphite rotor.

The line lays on the spool evenly and the slow oscillation system works well with monofilament line, braided line, and fluorocarbon line. The size 10 and 2o are good reels for smaller fish like trout, crappie, and small bass. For big bass, I would recommend getting the size 40 reel.


12. Abu Garcia Black Man Spinning Reel

abu-garcia-black-max-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $30-$40

Models and Specifications
5:
Drag 6.4 lbs, weighs 6.4 oz, retrieves 20.5 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 100/6, braid 160/4.

10: Drag 6.5 lbs, weighs 7.0 oz, retrieves 21 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/6, braid 150/6.

20: Drag 14 lbs, weighs 8.9 oz, retrieves 27 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 130/8, braid 190/8.

30: Drag 14 lbs, weighs 9.2 oz, retrieves 29 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 180/10.

40: Drag 14 lbs, weighs 9.6 oz, retrieves 29 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 150/14, braid 210/14.

60: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 13.3 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 150/20, braid 200/20.

The Abu Garcia Black Max is an average quality spinning reel. It has 3-ball bearings and 1 roller bearing. The frame and rotor are made from lightweight graphite and the spool is aluminum. Features include a everlast bail system, rocket spool lip design, and a rocket line management system.

Abu Garcia is known for making top quality baitcasting reels and conventional reels. Baitcasting reels are great to use to fish for bass especially when using heavy lures. Personally, I like the far casting ability that spinning reels offer. When a lure is cast with a spinning reel there is very little extra resistance added to the lure during the cast. This enables lightweight lures to be cast as far as possible. The advantage of baitcasting reels is the ability to softly pitch heavy jigs.


13. Lew’s Mach II Spinning Reel

lews-mach-II-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $52-$107

Models and Specifications
100: Drag 8 lbs, weighs 8.2 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/6, braid 120/20.

200: Drag 14 lbs, weighs 8.4 oz, retrieves 31 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/8, braid 120/30.

300: Drag 14 lbs, weighs 9.1 oz, retrieves 32 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 145/10, braid 145/30.

400: Drag 18 lbs, weighs 9.6 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 185/12, braid 185/40.

This Mach 2 freshwater spinning reel is an above-average quality fishing reel. The body, side plate, and spool are made of aluminum. The rotor is made with c40 carbon. It has 10 ball bearings and an anti-reverse bearing clutch. An advanced polymer Dri-tac knob is used with an aluminum reel handle.

The spool is knurled and comes ready for braided fishing line. Its handle can easily be switched from a right-handed reel to a left-handed reel. Lews is another company known for making conventional and spinning reels for bass fishing. The reel is a bit different than others on the list. This reel can also come as a rod and reel combo in a separate listing.


14. KastKing Megatron Aluminum Spinning Reel

kastking-megatron-freshwater-spinning-reel-with-aluminum-frame

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $48-$60

Models and Specifications
2000: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 8.8 oz, retrieves 21.3 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 310/8, braid 330/20.

3000: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 9.5 oz, retrieves 22.4 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 290/10, braid 205/30.

4000: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 12.7 oz, retrieves 22.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 370/12, braid 250/40.

5000: Drag 39.5 lbs, weighs 13.4 oz, retrieves 24.4 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/16, braid 275/50.

6000: Drag 39.5 lbs, weighs 13.4 oz, retrieves 24.4 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 300/20, braid 195/65.

The KastKing Megatron reel can be used for freshwater or saltwater fishing. It is made with a zero flex aluminum body, aluminum spool, and a solid brass pinion gear. The three-disk carbon fiber drag system offers smooth drag over 30 pounds for all reel sizes. These reels have 7 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing. There is a lever to allow the reel to spin in reverse. The reel handle can be easily switched for both left-handed and right-handed anglers.

This reels definitely has custom robot-like visual aesthetics. These reels hold lots of fishing line. If you are using the reel for largemouth bass fishing the 2000-3000 series is large enough. It is actually more difficult to fish with a big heavy spinning reel for bass. The large spinning reels are more for fishing in the ocean for large fish such as striped bass or tarpon.


15. KastKing Sharky III Freshwater Spinning Reel

kastking-sharky-high-drag-freshwater-fishing-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $50-$59

Models and Specifications
1000: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 7.4 oz, retrieves 27.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 170/8, braid 200/20.

2000: Drag 33.6 lbs, weighs 9.1 oz, retrieves 27.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 190/8, braid 190/30.

3000: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 9.2 oz, retrieves 29.4 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 175/10, braid 220/30.

4000: Drag 39.5 lbs, weighs 10.2 oz, retrieves 31.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 220/10, braid 200/50.

5000: Drag 39.5 lbs, weighs 10.6 oz, retrieves 33.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 190/14, braid 220/50.

This KastKing Sharky III spinning reel is a quality reel at a reasonable price. It works for both freshwater and saltwater. I even included this reel in the best saltwater fishing reels article. If you plan to fish with a braided fishing line this reel is a good option. The aluminum spool has a rubber gasket to prevent the line from spinning. Most freshwater reels rely on knurling or lines cut within the spool but a rubber section provides the best grip.

Features of the reel include a stainless steel main shaft, a brass pinion gear, and triple disk carbon fiber drag. The reel is designed to keep water, sand, and dust from getting into the internal components. There are 10 double-shielded stainless steel ball-bearing and an instant lock anti-reverse bearing. This is a great all-around reel that should work well for most angles. I would recommend getting size 1000-3000 for bass fishing. These reels have plenty of drag and hold lots of fishing line for there size.


16. KastKing Centron Spinning Reels

kastking-summer-centron-light-weight-smooth-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $25-$32

Models and Specifications
500: Drag 11 lbs, weighs 6.9 oz, retrieves 19.7 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 155/6, braid 125/20.

2000: Drag 12 lbs, weighs 8.6 oz, retrieves 24.4 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 232/8, braid 140/30.

3000: Drag 13 lbs, weighs 9.1 oz, retrieves 25.2 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 270/10, braid 150/40.

4000: Drag 17.5 lbs, weighs 12.1 oz, retrieves 28.0 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 310/10, braid 160/50.

5000: Drag 17.5 lbs, weighs 13.5 oz, retrieves 29.1 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 245/16, braid 200/50.

This KastKing Centron is your average quality freshwater spinning reel. The body, rotor, and side plates are made of lightweight graphite and the spool is made from machined aluminum and is anodizes. There are 4 ball bearings and an anti-reverse bearing. The handle on the reel is interchangeable to make it a right-hand reel or left-hand reel.


17. KastKing Valiant Freshwater Spinning Reel

kastking-valiant-eagle-braid-ready-spinnig-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $46-$63

Models and Specifications
1000: Drag 17.6 lbs, weighs 8.6 oz, retrieves 31.4 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 215/4, braid 165/15.

2000: Drag 17.6 lbs, weighs 8.8 oz, retrieves 33.2 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 150/8, braid 125/20.

3000: Drag 22.0 lbs, weighs 9.8 oz, retrieves 35.5 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 180/10, braid 150/30.

4000: Drag 22.0 lbs, weighs 10.1 oz, retrieves 38.0 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 240/10, braid 180/40.

The Kastking Valiant Eagle has a graphite frame, aluminum spool, and aluminum handle. This reel can be used in freshwater or saltwater. Features include 10+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, sealed carbon drag washers, and a knurled spool that is ready for braided fishing line.


18. KastKing Brutus Spinning Reels

kastking-brutus-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $22-$27

Models and Specifications
2000: Drag 12.0 lbs, weighs 7.6 oz, retrieves 21.3 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 300/8, braid 320/20.

3000: Drag 13.0 lbs, weighs 9.2 oz, retrieves 22.4 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 300/10, braid 215/30.

4000: Drag 17.5 lbs, weighs 9.5 oz, retrieves 23.6 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 350/10, braid 180/50.

KastKing Brutus spinning reel has a lightweight graphite frame with a high capacity aluminum spool and brass pinion gear. Features include 4+1 stainless steel ball bearings, a multi-disk drag system, and a steel main shaft. Even the 2000 size holds plenty of line for catching big smallmouth bass and largemouth bass.


19. KastKing Sharky Live Liner Spinning Reel

kastking-sharky-live-liner-baitfeeder-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $50-$60

Models and Specifications
3000: Drag 17.6 lbs, weighs 11.2 oz, retrieves 29.9 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 180/10, braid 305/20.

4000: Drag 26.5 lbs, weighs 14.3 oz, retrieves 33.9 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/14, braid 180/40.

5000: Drag 26.5 lbs, weighs 15.8 oz, retrieves 35.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 250/14, braid 290/50.

6000: Drag 26.5 lbs, weighs 16.1 oz, retrieves 37.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 300/14, braid 300/60.

This KastKing Sharky is a live liner fishing reel that can be used in freshwater or saltwater. A live liner reel is sometimes called a Baitfeeder reel. These reels have two separate drag systems. The front drag is the primary drag and the rear drag is for the live liner feature.

The max rear drag is 2.6 pounds on the 3000 size model and 4.4 pounds on all other sizes. This is commonly used when fishing with live bait or dead bait to allow the fish to swim with the bait will minimal resistance. This lets the fish get the bait into its mouth before setting the hook. This type of spinning reel is commonly used to catch catfish and hybrid striped bass.  In saltwater live liner reels are used for surf fishing and shark fishing.

The spinning reel comes with an extra spool. This is nice so that two different strength lines can quickly be switched depending on the type of fish being targeted. Other features include 10+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, carbon fiber drag washers, and a stainless steel main shaft.


20. Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Spinning Reel New in 2020

okuma-avenger-baitfeeder-live-line-spinning-reel-for-catfish

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Around: $55

Models and Specifications
ABF-20: Drag 8 lbs, weighs 8.9 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 90/8, braid 90/30.

ABF-30: Drag 12 lbs, weighs 9.6 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/8, braid 160/30.

ABF-40: Drag 13 lbs, weighs 11.3 oz, retrieves 29 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 170/12, braid 170/40.

ABF-55: Drag 19 lbs, weighs 15.6 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 340/12, braid 340/40.

ABF-65: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 22.1 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 260/20, braid 260/65.

ABF-80: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 22.9 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 350/20, braid 350/65.

The Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder reel is a new version for 2020. There have been two previous versions of the very popular reel. This reel is widely used by saltwater anglers. There are now smaller versions that are perfect for many species of freshwater fish.

Features include 6+1 stainless steel ball bearings, a multi-disk felt drag system and a machined aluminum anodized spool. The rotor equalization and even flow roller system allow for smooth even spooling of the fishing line during lure retrieval. What makes this reel popular though is the bait feeder system. The second rear drag on the reel can be adjusted so the fish can run freely with the bait without tangling the line. When the angler starts reeling the rear drag automatically switches to the primary drag to fight the fish. When the line is pulled off the reel in the live liner mode it makes a loud clicking noise to notify anglers a fish has taken the bait.


21. Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel

okuma-trio-high-speed-freshwater-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $68-$84

Models and Specifications
Trio-30S:
Drag 17.6 lbs, weighs 10.4 oz, retrieves 32.6 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/10.

Trio-50S: Drag 19.8 lbs, weighs 10.8 oz, retrieves 32.6 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/20, braid 170/12.

Trio-55S: Drag 22 lbs, weighs 14.8 oz, retrieves 39.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 185/20, braid 240/15.

The Okuma Trio is a saltwater fishing reel but is small enough that it also works well in freshwater. This orange model is for high speed and retrieves lots of fishing line per turn of the handle. There is also a red-black live liner model, red-black standard model, and a pink ladies fishing reel.

The reel is made with integrated aluminum and graphite. The rotor and reel are both made from stamped aluminum. Features of the reel include 9+1 stainless steel ball bearings, dual force water-tight drag which applies pressure on the top and bottom of the spool, and corrosion-resistant high-density gearing. The video below provides a review of the Okuma Trio spinning reel.


22. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

okuma-ceymar-freshwater-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $41-$55

Models and Specifications
10: Drag 5 lbs, weighs 6.0 oz, retrieves 21 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 210/2, braid 210/10.

20: Drag 6 lbs, weighs 6.8 oz, retrieves 24 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/6, braid 110/20.

30: Drag 13 lbs, weighs 8.2 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/6, braid 200/20.

40: Drag 13 lbs, weighs 10 oz, retrieves 29 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 270/8, braid 270/30.

55: Drag 18 lbs, weighs 14.2 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 380/10, braid 380/40.

65: Drag 22 lbs, weighs 17 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 430/12, braid 430/50.

This Okuma Ceymar spinning reel has size options for all types of freshwater fish. The spool, bail wire, and handle are all made from aluminum. Features include a multi-disk felt drag system, 7+1 ball bearings, precision elliptical gearing, brass pinion gear, and a graphite body. This reel can also be used for saltwater fishing.


23. Penn Wrath Freshwater Spinning Reel

penn-wrath-freshwater-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $29-$50

Models and Specifications
2500:
Drag 10 lbs, weighs 10.5 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 160/20.

3000: Drag 12 lbs, weighs 12.2 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/12, braid 130/30.

4000: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 12.7 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 165/12, braid 185/30.

5000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 21.0 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 135/20, braid 240/40.

6000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 22.8 oz, retrieves 41 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 210/25, braid 335/50.

8000: Drag 25 lbs, weighs 29.1 oz, retrieves 44 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 230/30, braid 345/80.

This Penn Wrath fishing reel is technically a for saltwater fishing. However, the smaller size options are compared to many freshwater fishing reels. Check out the best saltwater fishing reels article for a full list of Penn spinning reels.

The body and rotor of the reel are made with graphite. It has an anodized aluminum spool with a rubber gasket so that a braided fishing line can be used. There are two stainless steel ball bearings and one instant anti-reverse bearing. There is not a lever to allow the reel to go into reverse. The reel is always in the anti-reverse setting.


24. Cadence CS10 Spinning Reel

cadence-cs10-freshwater-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $115-$119

Models and Specifications
2000: Drag 16 lbs, weighs 7.2 oz, retrieves 32 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/6, braid 165/10.

4000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 8.5 oz, retrieves 38 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 220/10, braid 260/20.

The Cadence CS10 stands out for ist ultra-lightweight design. It has carbon composite side plates, carbon fiber handle, magnesium frame, aluminum one-piece bail, aluminum main shaft, and an aluminum spool. The drag uses multiple carbon fiber disks. This reel is very smooth and has 10 ball bearings and 1 instant anti-reverse bearing.

The 2000 size is perfect for trout, crappie, perch, and small-medium bass. Hybrid striped bass, large bass, and large catfish can be caught with the light but strong 4000 size reel. The handle is made of EVA foam which is comfortable to use while reeling. Below is a video review of the Cadence CS10.


25. Cadence CS8 Spinning Reel

cadence-cs8-fast-speed-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $93-$99

Models and Specifications
1000: Drag 29 lbs, weighs 6.3 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/6, braid 115/10.

2000: Drag 36 lbs, weighs 7.3 oz, retrieves 32 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/6, braid 165/10.

3000: Drag 36 lbs, weighs 7.4 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 150/10, braid 165/20.

4000: Drag 36 lbs, weighs 8.5 oz, retrieves 38 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 220/10, braid 260/20.

This Cadence CS8 freshwater or saltwater spinning reel stands out for having a strong multi-disk carbon fiber drag system. The frame is made of magnesium while the handle arm, spool, one-piece bail, and maid shaft are made with aluminum. It has 9 ball bearings and an instant an anti-revers bearing. The side-plate and rotor are made of carbon. Inside of the spool, there is a rubber sleeve to prevent braiding fishing line from slipping. The Cadence CS8 works well to catch freshwater fish like bass, walleye, and trout. It also can be used inshore and on the reef in saltwater to catch, snapper, redfish, drum, sea trout, and fluke.


26. Sougayilang Spinning Reels

sougayilang-freshwater-low-cost-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $22-$33

Models and Specifications
1000: Drag 10 lbs, weighs 7.4 oz, Gear Ratio 5:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/6, braid 160/60.

4000: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 10.1 oz, Gear Ratio 5.5:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/16, braid 140/65.

The Sougayilang spinning reel looks and feels like a high-end fishing reel but is a fraction of the price. Features of the reel include 13 NSK deep grove ball hearings, large EVA knob, stainless steel gear, and stainless steel main shaft. The drag system comprises multiple wool-felt washers. It also comes with a second graphite spool. This allows two different line types or sizes to be easily switched based on the fishing conditions.

The company that makes this reel is also known for making telescopic fishing rods. However, this particle reel does not come in a rod and reel combo. The exact retrieve rate per turn of the handle is not listed but with a 5:1 gear ratio, it would be considered average based on the reel size.


27. Sougayilang Wood Handle Spinning Reels

sougayilang-left-hand-and-right-hand-low-cost-spinning-reel

Shop or Read Reviews

Price Range: $14-$23

Models and Specifications
1000: Weighs 8.6 oz, Gear Ratio 5.2:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 150/8, braid 150/30.

2000: Weighs 9.0 oz, Gear Ratio 5.2:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/8, braid 160/30.

3000: Weighs 9.2 oz, Gear Ratio 5.2:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/10, braid 160/40.

4000: Weighs 9.6 oz, Gear Ratio 5.2:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 180/12, braid 180/50.

5000: Weighs 13.3 oz, Gear Ratio 5.1:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 170/14, braid 170/60.

6000: Weighs 14 oz, Gear Ratio 5.1:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 210/14, braid 210/60.

This Sougayilang wood handle fishing reel is great for anglers on a budget. The exact dag values of the reel are not listed. However, it is a multi-disc carbon drag system. Features of the reel include a machined pinion gear and a CNC aluminum spool.

The reel says that it can be used for saltwater. This reel can be used in saltwater but I would not expect it to hold up as well as saltwater reels that have sealed drag systems and sealed stainless steel ball bearings. This reel is better suited for a pond, river, creek or lake. Although it is a budget reel is certainly will work to catch fish. I would just not expect the reel to last multiple seasons with heavy use.


Frequently asked Questions

Which is better a spinning reel or a baitcaster?

Spinning reels are better for casting light lures a far distance. This is because when the fishing line is released the line unravels without an extra resistance. Lighter fishing lines and heavier lures allow for further casting. Most spool lips are designed to minimize the resistance of the fishing line on the spool during the cast.

Baitcasting reels are best with pitching heavy jigs or heavy lures a short distance. When bass fishing the splash of the lure into the water is important. If the splash is too loud and it can scare away fish. A gentle splash typically attracts fish. The resistance of the spool can be changed to allow heavy lures to be cast far enough but still enter gently into the water. Baitcasting rods have the eyes facing up and are better for jigging. A fishing pole with a baitcasting reel can be held in a way that allows more leverage. Spinning reels can be used to jig as well but if you are jigging for multiple hours a baitcasting reel makes it less work.

 What is the best size spinning reel for bass fishing? 

My preferred size bass spinning reel can hold about 125 yards or more of a 20-pound braided fishing line. Ideally, the max drag should be 15 pounds or greater.  This can typically be found in a 2500-4000 size spinning reel. Larger reels actually make fishing more difficult. It is best to get a small, strong, lightweight reel for bass fishing. These small spinning reels are what I use to fish in freshwater bass tournaments. I tie a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader to the end of the braided line. Most bass are under 5 pounds. However, this heaver line allows the fish to reeled in and netted more quickly. It also allows for a fast and strong hookset.

For most recreation angler lighter tackle can be a more enjoyable way to fish. Most bass can be caught on ultralight spinning reels with a 4-pound test line and less than 4 pounds of drag. It takes a bit more finesse when reeling in the fish but can typically be done with few issues. I would recommend a 2500 size spinning reel for most bass fishing anglers.

How do you match a spinning reel with a rod?

There are several factors that go into deciding what spinning rod is best. First, you need to decide if a one-piece will work or if a two-piece fishing rod is needed. One-pieces rods are slightly more sensitive and are a bit stronger. However, they are much more difficult to transport. Typically I get two-piece fishing rods for bass fishing. Next, the length of the spinning rod needs to be considered. Anywhere from a 6-foot rod to an 8-foot rod will work well. I prefer a 6-foot 6-inch to a 7-foot bass fishing rod.

Bass fishing poles also have a power rating that describes the stiffness of the rod. A power rating is the most common rating shown on the pole and described how easily the entire rod will bend. Power ratings can be heavy, medium, medium-light or light. There can also be a line rating value typically 8-20 pound test. This means how much drag can be applied without maxing out or breaking the rod. A rod with medium action with an 8-20 pound line rating is good for bass fishing.

Sometimes the action of the rod is also described. This is how easily the tip of the pole bends. Action values are slow, moderate, fast, or extra fast. The quality of the graphite or sensitivity of the pole is sometimes described with an IM6, IM7, or IM8 rating. There is not an industry standard for determining these values.  However, withing a particular brand the sensitivity of the rod increase with IM value. Higher IM values are also typically lighter and stiffer. Personally, I like IM6 rods for bass fishing.

Can I use a freshwater spinning reel in Saltwater? 

Freshwater spinning reels can be used in saltwater but it will likely do damage to the internal components of the reel. Some people say you can use a freshwater reel as long as you rinse the reel off afterward. However, this is not the case. The worry is not the exterior of the reel. Freshwater reels are commonly made of graphite which is similar to plastic and does not corrode.

The performance will be good the first time the reel is used in saltwater but could break or have issues after that. Saltwater reels have drag systems, ball bearing and internal components that are sealed or shieled at a minimum from saltwater. The components also have corrosion-resistant coatings or are made with stainless steel and aluminum. Rinsing the reel off does not clean the internal components. Saltwater fishing reels can be used in freshwater without any issues. The only downside there is that the reel might be heavier and more expensive.

What lures are best to use with a spinning rod and reel?

My favorite bass fishing lures to use with spinning reels are Mepps spinners and soft plastic baits like baby brush hogs. Mepps number 5 spinners are heavy lures that can be cast extremely far. The lure is also retrieved quickly. This allows for large amounts of water to be covered quickly. Soft plastics are often lightweight and spinning reels allow them to be accurately cast a far distance. Spinning reels also work great with stick baits, spoons, plugs and live bait.

What types of fish are targeted with a freshwater spinning reel?

Spinning reels can be used to catch all type of freshwater fish. In many cases, these are the best type of fishing reels to use. The only style of fishing they do not work well for is trolling. When trolling a conventional reel works much better. Common freshwater fish caught with spinning reels include arctic grayling, bass, hybrid striped bass, crappie, trout, salmon, walleye, and pickerel.

Fishing for pickerel with spinning reels is one of my favorite fish to target. This is because they feed super aggressively when lures are moving fast through the water. Pickerel look similar to small northern pike or musky. Although they are typically smaller than 26 inches they are very plentiful in some areas and are super fun to catch.

Spinning reels typically have sizes from 500 to 6000. Size 500 is an ultralight spinning reel for trout, crappie, panfish, sunfish, bluegill, and perch. A size 4000 reel can be used to catch monster bass, large catch fish, and hybrid striped bass.

How do you cast a lure with a spinning reel? 

To cast a spinning reel the line should first be held back with the index finger. Next, the bail should be opened with the left hand. The pole should then slowly pulled back behind the angler. Watch to make sure the pole and lure are not going to hit into anything or anybody. Then quickly bring the tip of the pull forward in the desired casting direction. When the lure is moving forward at a high rater of speed let go of the line with the index finger. Just before or just after the lure hits the water close the bail with the left hand. Reeling forward will also close the bail. Finally, retrieve the lure at the desired speed. For young kids, a spincast fishing reel is the easiest type of reel to cast with. 

What is the best type of fishing line for a spinning reel?

The best type of fishing line for spinning reels is actually braided fishing line. Braided line is the lightest and thinnest fishing line for any given breaking strength. The spool does need to be a braid ready spool or the line will slip on the smooth aluminum. When using a braided line it is a good idea to tie a fluorocarbon leader as the braided line is quite visible in the water.

A monofilament fishing line also works well on a spinning reel. It is a good idea to spool the reel at least one day before fishing with monofilament line. This is because the line has memory and can get tangled if the memory is in a different shape than the spool. The make some types of fluorocarbon fishing line that can be used for the entire spool. This line is typically stiff and harder to cast. However, if it is under an 8-pound test line it is typically flexible enough to work well on spinning reels.

What is the best pound fishing line to use with a spinning reel? 

The best pound test fishing line depends on what type of fish is being targeted. For trout and crappie 4-pound test line works well. This light line allows lightweight lures to be cast a reasonable distance. The thin diameter also provides good lure action and is less visible to the fish. For bass fishing, I like using 12-pound monofilament or 20-pound braided line. This allows enough fishing line to be put on the spool and is strong enough to catch large fish.

In freshwater, it is rare to use fishing lines over 20 pounds in strength. Even when fishing for salmon in streams in Alaska 6-20 pound fishing line would be considered normal. If I was trolling for salmon in the great lakes I would use a 30-pound line but would also be using a conventional fishing reel. In saltwater, it is not uncommon to use a 50 to 100-pound test braided line on large spinning reels. However, a 30-pound monofilament line is probably the most common.

How do you know a spinning reel is full of fishing line?  

Fishing line can typically be added right up to the end of the spool. Some fishing lines are stiffer and if the spool is to full it will get tangled during the cast. If the spool is underfilled there will be an extra drag on the line and the lure or bait will not be cast very far. Each day some fishing line is typically cut off the spool so less and less line is in the reel over time.

When running fishing charters every day it is not uncommon to have to re-spool each reel about once a week. The main issue is that when people reel as the drag is working it twist the fishing line. It is a hard balance for novice anglers to keep the pressure on the fish and not reel over the drag. This is especially true when catching a large fish on light tackle. Using good ball bearing swivels helps prevents line twists in general when using spinning reels.


Popular Posts

best-trout-lures-post
27 Best Trout Lures by Captain Cody

best cast nets post
23 Best Cast Nets by Captain Cody

best bass fishing lures post
27 Best Bass Lures by Captain Cody

Share Article
share article

Leave a Comment