Baitcasting reels can certainly take your bass fishing experience to a whole new level. Packing more speed, control, and precision than spin casters, baitcasting reels for bass fishing allow you to cast in waters that you never thought you could reach. But to make the most of these benefits, you need to choose the right reel.
The best baitcasting reels for bass fishing are Piscifun Torrent, Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB, Lew’s HyperMag SLP, KastKing Royale Legend, Pflueger President XT, Abu Garcia Black Max, Daiwa Tatula, Abu Garcia Revo SX, 13 Fishing Concept Z, and Shimano’s Curado DC, Citica, and Chronarch MGL 150.
In the rest of this article, we’ll review the above baitcasting reels in greater detail to help you pick the best fit for your bass fishing needs. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
The Piscifun Torrent baitcasting reel is one of the best options for novice anglers looking to get acquainted with bait casters without having to invest too much money in their gear. Despite its pocket-friendly price, it provides an outstanding balance of power, durability, and all-around performance.
With an 18lb (8.16kg) max drag and a 7:1:1 high-speed gear ratio, this reel’s graphite composite body has good reliability for its price. Double-line winding shafts, a feature you’ll almost always find on more higher-priced reels, comes standard for strength and stability.
Meanwhile, the precision-engineered gears and stainless steel screws and springs mean that you get great strength, reliable operation, water resistance, and stealth, steady speed retrievals. Incredibly, the Piscifun Torrent is the only baitcasting reel with reinforced gears.
What’s also worth mentioning is the optimal shielded bearings, which can withstand wear and tear from water, particles, and oil to enhance durability. The manufacturer chose the right bearing for what is usually a place of serious business, redefining free pool and smooth for low-profile bait casters.
Lastly, five strategically positioned magnets ensure an optimal magnetic effect on the ported aluminum spool and the ultra-precise dial-in-gauge to enhance backlash control. In terms of maintenance, the Piscifun Torrent remains novice-friendly.
To prevent you from losing parts during oiling, Piscifun engineers have adopted a quick oil port design that allows you to undo the screw and oil.
- The reel provides easy and smooth casting action with minimal backlash, all without sacrificing distance.
- The 4 ⅓-inch (11-cm) handle comes with EVA knobs to increase comfort and power, making it easier to control hard fighting bass.
- 5+1 shield bearings give you tight control when retrieving and flatten out the reel rotations.
- It’s a beginner-friendly reel that provides excellent overall quality for its price.
- The somewhat tricky thumb button may make it difficult to lock the spool for some anglers.
- The reel can be a bit noisy on lighter lures and lines, meaning that you may need to adjust settings such as the spool tension to silence it.
Lew’s Fishing Tournament MP
While it may not be the most beginner-friendly reel on the market, Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB baitcasting reel is very popular for its aesthetics. However, that’s not to say that it’s not a great performer. Made of a single aluminum piece, top-level Lew’s one-piece frame, ten double-shielded steel ball bearings, and graphite side plate give it tournament-grade handling.
- It has a bowed, light, aluminum reel handle that’s smooth and anti-slip.
- The zero-reverse one-way clutch bearing provides more manual control, helping pro anglers bring in hard-fighters with more precision.
- It works well with crankbaits on the slow retrieve, thanks to a combination of an aluminum spool tension adjustment and a zirconia line guide.
- It’s potentially too expensive, and some of the features may be overkill for beginners looking for a simple reel.
- It can be a bit noisy on the spool area, and the reel handle length could use about an extra half-inch (1.27cm).
Shimano Curado DC
The Curado DC is the most advanced of all Curado reel models. While it packs impressive reel tech such as the X-Ship pinion support, Cross Carbon drag, Hagane alloy body, and Micro Module gears, what steals the show is Shimano’s brand new I-DC4 digital braking system.
The braking system is essentially a small microcontroller housed inside the reel, and its primary function is to monitor your spool speed. Whenever you cast, it measures your spool speed and auto-adjusts the brake pressure on the fly. This is important because it allows both novice and experienced anglers to be efficient.
It means you don’t have to go through the hassle of readjusting your reel setup every time you change your technique or lure weight. Thus, you can make a long, smooth cast without too much effort regardless of whether you’re flipping a half-ounce (14.17g) jig or throwing a lightweight Texas Rig work.
It’s also a big plus that the I-DC4 comes factory-tuned, meaning you won’t have to make any out-of-the-box adjustments.
- It provides hassle-free casting regardless of the weather conditions or lure.
- It delivers excellent performance, thanks to the super-smooth Micromodule Gear system and the X-ship system, which provide seamless reeling and smooth cranking.
- Shimano’s brand new digital control braking system makes for smart casting, applying just the amount of brake you need to maximize distance and prevent backlash.
- It’s heavier than many other similar reels by a few ounces.
The Citica is another popular baitcasting reel for bass fishing in Shimano’s low-profile lineup. There are up to four models in the critical series, all reasonably priced for considering the multitude of features they pack.
It has some of the latest reel technology features, including X-ship, the tech responsible for how smoothly you get to retrieve your bait.
The X-ship helps reduce friction to increase durability, transmits every turn of the handle efficiently, and provides a snug fit on most fishing rods for optimum bass fishing efficiency. Some of this efficiency has to do with the bearings’ placement around the pinion gear. Such a placement facilitates a smooth roll and excellent drive spool alignment.
Shimano Citica reels provide excellent casting distance and precision, thanks to a combination of the SVS Infinity braking system and the S3D spool. The S3D is forged out of aluminum. It’s incredibly balanced, with a thin uniform wall spool to minimize vibration when casting.
The braking system controls both your casting distance and accuracy, and the line’s release is smooth. It also allows you to make quick adjustments to accommodate a variety of lures and weights.
It is also noteworthy that Shimano fitted the Citica lineup with the same Hegane Body you’ll find in the more popular Curado models. Metal construction in place of graphite allows the body to provide a stable foundation for optimal rigidity and cranking power transfer. While the metal body is strong and rigid, it doesn’t make the reel too heavy.
Overall, the Citica is a perfect workhorse for any mainstream angler, and some argue that it’s better than the Curado in terms of absolute value for money.
- It’s easy to use and provides the power you need to reel in large, hard-fighting bass fish.
- Weighing just 7.4oz (209.79g), it’s lightweight.
- Left and right-hand models are available.
- It’s a bit expensive for the recreational fisherman who doesn’t want to invest too much in their gear.
- Some anglers have reported a disconnect in the feeling or sensitivity, especially when working with heavier lines.
Lew’s HyperMag SLP
The HyperMag SLP is a feather-light baitcasting reel that comes with all of the innovative technology we’ve come to expect from Lew’s reels.
Despite being one of the premium options in Lew’s product line, it comes priced within reach of any serious angler. Tournament anglers are especially fond of the incredible combination of sensitivity and day-long comfort provided by the magnesium reel.
Lew’s HyperMag SLP was designed to be fast, light, and strong. The reel’s construction features C45 carbon side plates and a one-piece frame made of magnesium.
The knobs and handle are made of cork EVA composite and carbon fiber, respectively. As for the spool, it’s made of machine aluminum to help preserve tight roundness tolerances. However, it’s drilled to minimize weight and comes in a v-shape for level winding.
The performance matches the reel’s refined design concept. Typically, Lew’s baitcasting reels are known for their excellent casting, and the HyperMag is no exception.
The casting excellence is largely down to an audible tension clicker, double-shielded ball bearings, and a 27-point centrifugal braking system that’s externally adjustable. Add to that an integral bait keep and line size indicator, and it becomes clear why the HyperMag is such a great performer.
- It weighs a mere 5.4oz (153.1g).
- It comes with a super-adjustable internal braking system (four pins, 27 positions).
- Hardened aluminum gears ensure durability.
- It’s highly sensitive and comfortable, thanks to a one-piece magnesium frame.
- It comes at a premium.
KastKing Royale Legend
The KastKing Royale Legend is another low-profile, beginner-friendly option. It’s entry-level priced, so novice and recreational anglers don’t feel like they’re investing too much in gear that they may not use often. It comes with 11+1 shield bearings and a carbon drag of 17.5, which is more than any beginner needs for bass angling.
The combination of a gear ratio of 7:0:1 and a magnetic brake system means that the KastKing Royale is easy to control both when casting and retrieving. Meanwhile, the non-slip EVA grips and stainless steel handles keep you comfortable and improve performance.
- It’s ideal for fishing light lines when you’re looking to catch many small to medium-sized bass. It’s also strong enough to cast into cover whenever needed.
- Works excellent with fluorocarbon or braided lines, with the capacity going up to 65lbs (29.5kgs) on a braided line.
- Both right and left-handed options are available and will work well with medium to fast action rods.
- Some users have had issues with the line click.
- The absence of a release mechanism makes it difficult to remove the ball bearings for lubrication and cleaning.
Pflueger President XT
The Pflueger President XT bridges the gap between a tournament-grade reel and a beginner bait caster. It comes mid-entry priced, too, with a low-profile design that features an externally adjustable magnetic braking system. The ranking system controls the spool rotation and minimizes backlash, while the soft-touch knob provides comfort and grip.
To enhance durability, the handle is made of aircraft-grade aluminum to resist breakage. The 9-bearing system’s balls are made of stainless steel, meaning they can withstand corrosion for the long haul. While the C45 side plates are lightweight, they’re also durable.
- It’s easy to maneuver on open waters, thanks to a light and compact design.
- The durable 9 bearing system and a 7:3:1 gear ratio make for a reliable bass fishing baitcasting reel that can rival the performance of some of the more expensive models.
- With almost no backlash on the braid, the cork handle finish makes the President XT comfortable for cranking.
- Left-hand models aren’t available.
- While the spool control is reasonably silent and smooth, the star drag settings may click a little.
Abu Garcia Black Max
Over the years, Abu Garcia has established itself among bass fishing enthusiasts as a manufacturer of reliable baitcasting reels, and the Black Max is no exception. Coming in at a mid-entry-level price, it’s another good option for novice and casual anglers.
The design is lightweight, thanks to a one-piece frame and side plates made of graphite. The four steel ball bearings are made of stainless steel to resist corrosion and increase durability, while the clear tip design helps enhance strength and sensitivity.
Meanwhile, the MagTrax brake system bumps up the casting range and accuracy as the recessed reel and compact bent handle deliver an ergonomic grip for comfortable angling.
- With high-quality components such as the power disk drag system and machined aluminum spool, the Black Max provides good value for each dollar you spend on it.
- The 6:4:1 gear ratio means that the Black Max is a little slower than most of the reels covered in this list, making it an excellent fit for anglers whose fishing technique relies more on finesse.
- Beginners may experience a bit of backlash due to the braking system.
- It may take some time to get used to adjusting the various settings to suit your casting range.
Shimano Chronarch MGL 150
This is another option from Shimano, but well deserving of its place in this list. The Chronarch MGL easily passes as one of the top five baitcasting reels. It’s priced higher than typical budget reels, but less than most magnesium framed reels.
In terms of overall performance, the MGL 150 is up there with the best, premium-priced baitcasting reels. It comes with a carbon composite frame that’s almost identical to the previous Ci4+ and still manages to keep its weight at a mere 6.5oz (184.27g).
Typical of many Shimano premium reels, the MGL 150 has the X-ship gear arrangement for solid gear strength and stability.
However, the highlight features are the MGL Spool the reel is named after and the Micro Module gearing. Micro Module gears mean a firm but incredibly smooth retrieve, while the Magnumlite spool means a 10% reduction in casting effort.
The drag system is also smooth, thanks to the Dartanium II drag washers, which allow you to adjust the system with a single flick of a finger when you’re up against a fighting bass.
What’s also worth mentioning is the SVS Infinity braking system, the same kind found on the Shimano Citica we reviewed earlier. The system features an external dial and four internal brakes that you can adjust by opening the side plate to engage the brakes.
Overall, the Shimano Chronarch MGL 150 is a versatile workhorse that you can rely on for virtually all your baitcasting needs. Whether you want to use it with weightless plastics and finesse lures or for flipping and pitching, it’ll be equally at home.
The icing on the cake is the fact that you get all this sublime performance in a lightweight carbon-framed reel minus the usually hefty price tag you’d expect for a Japanese import.
- The SVS Infinity braking system combines with the Magnumlite spool to provide smooth, accurate casting and a stout retrieve.
- Overall, the Chronarch MGL requires less casting effort.
- It’s an incredibly versatile reel.
- It’s a bit pricey, but the all-round performance and versatility it provides are worth every penny.
This is the first baitcasting reel from Daiwa on this list, and it’s a great one, too. Daiwa’s Tatula series is a top-of-the-line model designed to meet any pro angler’s performance and durability needs.
It comes in several gear ratios that range from 6:3:1 to 8:1:1, giving you the option to choose the best reel for a smooth cast and reel. The Line Per Handle Turn range varies as well, ranging from 22.9″ to 33.9″ (58.17cm to 86.11cm).
It also features an 8+1 ball bearing system and an Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag design that delivers 13.2lbs (5.99kgs) max drag to further smoothen casting.
You’ll also appreciate the clutch mechanism and the infinite anti-reverse braking system. These two features combine to minimize the amount of effort you need to reel in a massive, fighting bass, making fishing almost effortless. For casting accuracy, you have the Magforce-Z cast control to help you cast with pinpoint precision.
As you’d expect, this kind of angling performance comes at a premium. Another potential drawback is that the Tatula comes in a hyper-speed design, which doesn’t favor beginner anglers. This is understandable because the reel is meant for pro anglers, and such a design provides the power an experienced angler needs to control massive, aggressive fish.
While on the subject of design, it’s worth mentioning that the Tatula baitcasting reel is lightweight. The aluminum frame complements the reel’s angling performance with ruggedness and durability without adding weight. This construction combines with the cutouts on the handle to keep the reel’s overall weight at a mere 7.5oz (212.62g).
- It comes in a lightweight design despite having a very durable aluminum frame.
- Several gear ratios give you more options to choose the most suitable reel for your technique.
- It provides smooth and precise casting with minimal effort.
- Daiwa’s Tatula isn’t the best reel for anglers who fish in saltwater because it lacks corrosion protection.
- For anglers who are used to conventional baitcasting reels, the Tatula’s handling may feel a bit awkward, mainly due to the 90mm (3.5in) swept power handle. However, this can be addressed with a few adjustments, so it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.
The second offering from Abu Garcia in this list certainly earns its place as an all-around baitcasting reel that doesn’t cost a fortune. There’s a reason Revo SX is the manufacturer’s most popular reel, and we’re about to find out.
For starters, it’s easy to the palm, lightweight, and comes in two gear ratios: the 6:6:1 and the 7:3:1. The 6:6:1 Revo SX excels with a range of fishing techniques, making it a better option for an angler looking for an absolute multipurpose workhorse.
On the other hand, the 7:3:1 SX is a better fit for anglers who love to burn in topwater baits and those who often pitch and flip jigs or soft plastic baits. Of the two configurations, the 7:3:1 option allows anglers to get in more casts.
The latest version of Abu Garcia’s Revo SX (the REVO 4 SX) has been given an upgrade in its D2 Duragear and clutch and a tough but smooth coating on the pinion and pawl to reduce friction. While the Revo SX doesn’t have these upgrades, it remains smooth on the cast, courtesy of its Infini magnetic brake system and 9+1 ball bearings.
The Infini dual braking system consists of a centrifugal brake for controlling the first half of the case and a magnetic brake that controls the other half. Such a combination facilitates a wide range of adjustments, allowing you to use this reel with virtually any bait style.
The DuraClutch design also contributes to enhancing casting smoothness by minimizing thumb bar resistance when casting heavier baits. This makes for a smooth cast and improves the degree of engagement you get with each turn of the handle.
For reliable durability, the Revo SX comes with an Infini II Spool design that improves not just castability but also the load capacity to prevent breakage. The X2-Craftic alloy frame adds rigidity to accommodate high drag pressures and enhance corrosion resistance.
- It provides a powerful drag of up to 24lbs (10.89kgs), thanks to a Power Stack Carbon Matrix drag system and a thick carbon washer.
- The extended 90mm (3.5in) handle has a plus-sized PVC, known to provide more leverage and all-day fishing comfort.
- It provides one of the smoothest casts and retrieves around.
- Despite its versatile, all-around performance, the Revo SX isn’t prohibitively priced.
- The lock that holds the side plate isn’t the most durable.
- It can get loud at times.
Anyone familiar with 13 Fishing knows that the company has a knack for designing pretty products, and the Concept Z is no exception. Touting the Concept Zero Bearing Technology (CZB), this flashy red baitcasting reel with sleek matte black knobs and handle certainly has the looks. However, is there more to it than just aesthetics?
First off, let’s address the elephant in the room: how is a baitcasting reel without bearings supposed to work? In place of conventional ball bearings, the Concept Z uses proprietary new “space-age” polymer material.
First of its kind, this design leaves no room for debris to accumulate and clog the bearings, reducing the reel’s performance. This tech has matched the hype with impressive performance for several years now and is one of the main reasons why the Concept Z boasts a 4.8-star customer rating on Amazon.
When it comes to other aspects of performance, the Concept Z is more than capable, too. Casting is smooth and effortless, thanks to a waffle spool and an unusual “arrowhead” line guide.
The 6-way internal centrifugal brake means you can cast lures as light as 3/16oz (5.3g) up to one-ounce (28.35g) jigs and crankbaits. Some users have even reported throwing two-ounce (56.7g) baits with no issues.
For durability, the Concept Z comes constructed using Ocean Armor 2 Saltwater Protection Process to enhance corrosion resistance. The gear side plates and the frame are made of aluminum to keep the reel lightweight yet rigid enough to handle large fish.
- The CZB technology gives the reel significantly more casting distance than conventional baitcasting reels with ball bearings.
- It’s easy to control and quiet.
- It looks great.
- There’s no way to access the brakes externally.
That does it for today’s relatively long post! Hopefully, you’ve identified a few ideal baitcasting reels for your bass fishing needs and will be able to choose the best fit for your skill level, budget, and fishing technique. All the best!
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