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Looking for a fishing reel for your first fishing trip? Well, we would like to offer a few fishing reel brands to your attention.
There are many reels on the market that you could choose from. Perhaps too many. But by narrowing your options down to a few brands, you should be able to make things a little easier for yourself.
Below, we will introduce you to reel brands in a few reel categories – spinning reels, baitcasting reels, trolling reels, fly reels, and spincast reels. Hopefully, such a breakdown will allow you to find what you are looking for quicker.
With that said, let’s have a look at the best fishing reel brands in each of these categories!
The Best Fishing Reel Brands of 2019
Spinning Reel Brands
- Gear ratio: 6.0:1, Weight: 6.70 ounce
- Line Retrieve Per Crank: 35 inch
- HaganeBody - The HAGANE Body is a metal reel body with high rigidity. The body stiffness and impact resistance virtually eliminates body flexing. The result transforms the angler's actions directly...
- X-Ship - provides improved gear durability. By supporting the pinion gear on both ends with bearings, the pinion gear maintains precise alignment with the drive gear. This means the gears will stay in...
Shimano is one of the best-known names in the fishing tackle market, if not the best-known. This Japanese brand is also quite renowned for its cycling components and rowing equipment, so you have probably heard this name more than once when shopping for bicycles or maybe rowing shoes.
Shimano offers many types of reels, and – a little spoiler alert – this brand will be featured for a few other fishing reel categories.
The total number of spinning reel models offered by Shimano as of October 2020 was 55 – 10 surf spinning, 20 saltwater spinning, and 25 regular spinning reels. Not only that, but Shimano offers fishing reels across multiple ranges, allowing newbies or experienced anglers alike to find something by their budget and needs.
- Lightweight and corrosion-resistant graphite body
- Machined and anodized aluminum spool
- Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish
- Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptional durability
Penn’s selection of spinning fishing reels isn’t nearly as wide as that of Shimano. But while you do have only 15 models in total to choose from, Penn’s assortment should be pretty enough for most people.
On the lower end, you have the Penn Fierce III spinning reel, an inexpensive but solid piece of equipment that will appeal to newbies or those who don’t need an over-the-top spinning reel. This reel has all the basics you would want, as well as fairly decent build quality.
On the higher end, you have the Torque II spinning reel that’s just shy of costing a grand. This guy offers a remarkable sealed body design along with exceptional smoothness delivered 9+1 stainless steel bearings.
Aside from these two reels, you have 13 models in between that would be more suitable for the not so demanding angler. And by the way, most of Penn’s fishing reels are in the middle price range, with Torque II being the only higher-end model as of October 2019. This makes this brand quite a good option for those who want something good but not too pricey.
- Gear Ratio: 5.0:1, Precision Elliptical Gearing system
- 7BB + 1RB bearing system, Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
- Made of highest quality material
- Manufacturer: Okuma
Okuma is another well-known fishing tackle manufacturer.
The spinning reel variety of Okuma is pretty remarkable – you have 35 regular reels, 3 saltwater reels, and 6 surf spinning reels. While Shimano offers a wider selection of saltwater and surf spinning reels, Okuma may actually be better in the regular spinning reel department.
The high-end Okuma spinning reels like the Surf 8k are particularly remarkable since they boast the wide array of technology used by Okuma in their reels. The Surf 8k reel is filled with patented design solutions like a rotor brake system and the rotor with brush guards, which shows that Okuma has its own vision and direction in fishing reel design.
- 10 bearing System : corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings
- Graphite body and rotor : lightweight graphite reel construction.Braid ready spool - allows Braid to be tied directly to spool
- 10 bearing System - corrosion resistant stainless ball bearings
- Aluminum main shaft - 30% lighter than stainless steel
Pflueger isn’t the most renowned fishing reel manufacturer on the market since it doesn’t have those really spectacular high-end models. However, if you are on a tighter budget, then this brand may be a good option for you.
Pflueger offers 12 spinning reel models, and the prices don’t go over $300! If you desperately need a fishing reel, then you may also go for the $30-$50 models like the Monarch Ice or the President spinning reels.
The “you get what you pay for” rule will apply to this brand’s cheap reels, but if you don’t need anything too over-the-top, Pflueger is a solid option.
- Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing ("Hard Bodyz" Body & Side Cover), Over-sized Digigear (Digigear System)
- Solid Screw-In Handle, Air Rotor, Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool
- Carbon light material housing - lt concept
- ABS spool (advanced Ballistic System)
Daiwa doesn’t sell the most expensive spinning reels either, but they do have a few interesting things to offer.
The first is the Exist spinning reel that’s a product of Daiwa’s 60 years of innovation. While this particular reel is far from being the priciest model out there, it does offer a remarkable combination of durability, lightness, and smoothness. This spinning reel is among the more cost-efficient models you can find out there.
Then, you have the middle-end Certate LT spinning reel with its aim at corrosion resistance, particularly thanks to the 10 corrosion-resistant ball bearings.
Aside from these two reels, you have 22 others to choose from, and each offers its own interesting features.
- NEXT-GEN - KastKing Sharky III spinning reels look great. They are built tough to land trophy fish in saltwater and freshwater. Sharky III are superb lightweight fishing reels built with a high...
- PURE POWER - You will love Sharky III spinning reel's amazing best-in-class up to 39.5LBs / 18KG of smooth, reliable triple disc carbon fiber drag, oversized stainless-steel main shaft, and stronger...
- GREAT VALUE - Loaded with features yet low on price. KastKing Summer/Centron offers the best value...at any level. The KastKing Summer Fishing Reel turns any angler into a PRO.
- LIGHTWEIGHT - narrow graphite frame design and computer balancing system combined with high performance in the compact Spinning Reel makes KastKing Summer/Centron an awesome gift for anybody who loves...
And the last notable brand in the spinning reel category is KastKing, which is a great option for those who are looking for inexpensive fishing reels whether because you are a newbie or a not too demanding angler.
The spinning reel selection of KastKing doesn’t go over $100, with the most expensive model as of October 2020 being the Speed Demon Pro with its $99.98 price tag.
On the lower end, you have things like the $29.98 Mela II reel, or even the $19.98 Summer spinning reel!
Now, since KastKing’s reels are very cheap, there isn’t too much to expect from them. But this won’t necessarily be a problem if you don’t need that much!
Baitcasting Reel Brands
- Lightweight design with one piece graphite frame and side plates
- 4 stainless steel ball bearings
- Carbon matrix Hybrid drag System for Super smooth reliable drag performance
- Duragear brass gear for extended gear life
Abu Garcia is the go-to reel brand if you want a middle-end baitcasting reel. This company may be able to also satisfy you if you are looking for some low-end options.
The reel selection of these guys is pretty remarkable – you have 16 round baitcasting reels and 29 low-profile baitcasting reels. This is a much wider selection than those offered by the more renowned brands, e.g. Okuma with its 6 models.
And while you have more low-profile baitcasting reels to choose from, you can find good low- to middle-end reels in both categories represented by Abu Garcia.
- The Shimano SLX is an incredibly sleek looking baitcaster with a stunning matte black finish and beautiful blue accents
- This reel is 22% more compact than the Caenan Baitcaster but its small size does not mean it lacks in strength; and with an amazing 150 PowerPro line capacity for such a compact reel
- SUPERIORITY – The Curado DC low-profile reel is the most advanced of all Curado models. Augmented with Shimano’s all new Digital Control Braking System that builds on the Curado’s legacy of...
- CAST SMARTER – Shimano’s new Digital Control braking system utilizes a microcomputer to monitor spool speed 1000 times every second and apply the perfect amount of brake to prevent backlash and...
Is it a surprise that Shimano has made it into our list for the second time? Well, 34 regular and 8 saltwater baitcasting reels are a pretty good reason for this brand to be featured again!
Now, Shimano offers a couple fewer baitcasting reels than Abu Garcia, and the selections of the two brands are a little different. Abu Garcia also has more saltwater baitcasting reels, though not that Shimano is too far behind in this regard.
However, given that the two reel brands are pretty close to each other in terms of price, Shimano is a good alternative to Abu Garcia (and the other way around) if you find that Abu Garcia’s reels aren’t exactly what you are looking for.
- LEW'S MACH CRUSH SPEED SPOOL: Baitcast reel features a Strong and lightweight, Super Low Profile (SLP) graphite frame and side plates
- SPEEL SPOOL FISHING REEL: Reel features a machined and double anodized aluminum U-shape 32mm spool and a high strength solid brass main gear and crank shaft
- LEW'S CUSTOM INSHORE SPEED SPOOL: Baitcast reel features a one-piece aluminum frame with C45 gear side plate and graphite palming side plate, and a strong, lightweight carbon handle side plate and...
- ZERO REVERSE: Premium 10-bearing system with sealed corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings and Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing; Double shielded stainless steel bearing
Lew’s is yet another solid brand option if you are looking for a baitcasting fishing reel for not too much money. This brand offered 28 models in total as of October 2019, with the priciest Pro-Ti Speed Spool model costing $349.99. Though this model is far from being the most sophisticated baitcasting reel on the market, it still has great smoothness and durability to boast.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have extremely cheap models like the Speed Cast Underspin or the Speed Cast Spincast, both costing $19.99. These can’t boast exceptional durability or smoothness, but they are good enough for the newbie angler.
Trolling Reel Brands
- DURABLE: The entire Thunder LS II series is based upon a powerful star drag foundation, supported by heavy duty brass gears and a full Carbonite drag system. With the ability to output 40 lbs. of...
- EASY OPERATION: One of the absolute best things about this trolling reel is the fact that it fits so comfortably in your hand, which is great for anglers who plan on staying out on the water for a...
- Made using the highest quality materials
- Tested for reliability and quality
On the trolling reel market, you aren’t going to find as many reel models as in other categories. You probably won’t find more than a couple of models from a single brand, but there are nonetheless a few brands who you can buy trolling reels from.
One of them is Cabela’s with its DepthMaster trolling reel line that includes lower- to middle-end models. If you can’t spend more than around $200 on a trolling reel, then Cabela’s reels may interest you.
- Made using the highest quality materials
- Tested for reliability and quality
- Lightweight, corrosion-resistant frame & sideplates
- Multi-disc, carbonite drag System
Okuma is a little bit better than Cabela’s in terms of the trolling reel selection.
You have the Line Counter reel line that’s specifically designed for boat fishing, with high-performance options like the Coldwater Line Counter, Convector Line Counter, and Magda Line Counter reel lines. In total, you have 6 models in the lower and middle end.
Well, such a selection sure is nowhere near the 35 models in the Okuma spinning reel line, but given how specific trolling reels are, 6 reels to choose from is pretty good.
- Shimano's incredibly versatile Triton Lever Drag Reels deliver unsurpassed performance for casting; live-bait and trolling fishermen who demand precise; specialized equipment
- Features incredibly strong and durable 1-piece graphite body; precision stainless steel gears and main shaft; power handle with oil-ported torpedo knob; 1-piece cold-forged aluminum spool; and strike...
- The HAGANE body provides stifness and impact resistance virtually eliminating body flexing resulting in the angler's actions directly converting into cranking power
- Equipped with Shielded Anti-Rust Bearing that are shielded on both sides of the bearings reducing the possibility of salt or sand from inhibiting the bearing's rotation
Shimano is a fairly good option if you are ready to spend the money on a solid middle-end trolling reel.
The reel selection with Shimano is a little bit poorer than with Okuma. To be more precise, Shimano offers just 2 trolling reel models – the Tekota A that’s priced around $200 and the Charter Special that’s a little bit cheaper.
At the moment of this post’s writing, the Tekota A line offered 8 size options, whereas Charter Special had only 2. While you may be able to find what you are looking for in the Charter Special Line, the Tekota A series is more likely to provide you with what you want.
Fly Reel Brands
- Stealthy matte-gray powder-coat finish
- The best performance-to-value reel in the industry
- Material: aluminum
- Drag System: fully-sealed carbon on stainless disc
Things are a little better in the fly reel department. In this market segment, you actually have brands that are focused on fly fishing tackle specifically.
One of these brands is Orvis. While Orvis can’t boast the widest selection of fly reels on the market, you can find both cheap and expensive fly reels from it.
If you want something less expensive, then the Clearwater Large Arbor or Battenkill reels costing around $100 may interest you. But if you are up to spending a few hundred dollars on a great reel, you could opt for Mirage fly reels that cost from around $500 to $800.
- Maintenance-free Rulon disc drag
- Low start-up resistance protects light tippets
Echo is also specifically focused on fly fishing tackle. And while Echo only offers 3 fly reels to choose from, this brand is a nice option if you are looking for a cheaper reel.
The priciest fly reel from Echo costs just $139, while the budget Base reel is priced at just $39. You also have the Ion line in between with a price tag of $79-$99 depending on the model, which shows that Echo is pretty decently represented in the lower end.
- THREE-YEAR WARRANTY - Your reel has been set at the factory for left-hand retrieve. To convert your reel to right-hand retrieve, please contact us for guidance.
- SOLID and LIGHTER WEIGHT - Precision CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy for high-impact durability; Larger CNC hollow design makes the reel lighter than ordinary ones.
- LIFETIME WARRANTY - Piscifun offers Life Time Warranty for all Crest fly reels without Human Damage problem. The Crest fly reel has been set at the factory for left-hand retrieve. To convert your reel...
- FULLY SEALED CARBON-to-STAINLESS DRAG - Impervious to water, sand and grit, requiring no maintenance except for simple rinsing. Can be used for both fresh and saltwater fishing.
Finally, we have Piscifun, a fishing tackle brand that has a few other reel kinds other than fly reels. These guys are focused around the lower end across their entire reel selection, which makes this brand another good option if you have a tight budget.
Piscifun offers 10 fly reel models to choose from, and their price doesn’t go over $100. Most of the Piscifun reels are priced around $50, which isn’t as cheap as Echo reels, but it’s cheap enough if you are looking for an inexpensive beginner’s fly reel.
Spincasting Reel Brands
- Gear ratio: 4.1: 1
- Line capacity: 100/12
- Gear ratio: 4.1: 1
- Line capacity: 80/10
Daiwa’s selection of spincast reels pales in comparison with its spinning reel line we’ve overviewed earlier, but that’s actually how things go on the spincast reel market. You only have a few brands to choose from, and there aren’t too many options available to you.
The Daiwa spincast reel lineup includes 4 not too expensive models. On the higher end are the Goldcast and Silvercast reels with smooth operation, and you also have the Underspin and Minicast reels if you aren’t too demanding.
- 5 Bearing System Corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings
- Aluminum Frame Ensures precise gear alignment
- 10 bearing System
- Braid ready spool
Pflueger only has 2 spincast reel models, but priced under $40, they appear to be pretty decent for beginners or those who don’t need an over-the-top spincast reel.
The $39.99 President spincast reel isn’t going to be the absolute best reel on the market, but it seems to be a fairly solid option of a lower-end spincast reel. And if you want something even cheaper, then the $25.49-$29.99 Trio line could be a good option for you.
- 3-Bearing system (2 plus clutch)
- Continuous anti-reverse clutch
- POWERFUL REEL: The Omega Pro Spincast is a closed-cast fishing reel that comes pre-spooled with 10-pound Zebco fishing line. This reel features aluminum covers, an extra Dual-Paddle handle, and a...
- SMOOTH RETRIEVAL: This reel features 7 bearings (6 + clutch), a 19-inch retrieve rate, right/left hand retrieve, and all-metal gears to stand tough for many fishing adventures to come!
Finally, we have Zebco. With a selection of over 20 spincast reels, Zebco is a great option if you are looking for a very inexpensive spincast fishing reel. The spincast models of this brand don’t go over $100, and you can also find reels that cost as low as $20 or even $10!