Ever since I can remember, I have been an avid fisherman. I like the sport so much that I’ll fish from wherever, whenever. Whether it’s from my boat out on the lake or casting my line from the side of a river, I have always enjoyed the quiet pleasantries of fishing, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.
If you’re a fishing pro like me, or just want to get more involved in fishing, you know that having the right gear is crucial to not only having a good experience but ensuring that you don’t lose any fish along the way.
While most newbies will focus on things like bait and hooks, old-timers like me know that your line and your reel are just as, if not more important.
Today I’ll be talking about best spinning reels: how to choose the right spinning reel for your next fishing adventure as well as showing you some of the best reels on the market today.
Table of Content
- How to Choose the Best Spinning Reels
- Recommended 10 Best Spinning Reels 2017
- 1. KastKingSharky II Waterproof Spinning Reel
- 2. Penn Battle II Spinning Reel
- 3. Pflueger President Spinning Reel
- 4. Shimano Spinning Reel
- 5. Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel
- 6. Shimano Sienna Front Drag Spinning Reels
- 7. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel
- 8. Piscifun Steel Feeling Spinning Fishing Reel
- 9. KastKing® Mako Spinning Reel
- 10. Lew’s Fishing Speed Spin G2 Fishing Reel
- Final Verdict
How to Choose the Best Spinning Reels
As any fishing expert will tell you, you need a fishing pole, line, and reel that match the kind of fish you want to catch. If you want just to fish for trout or some other small freshwater species, a light reel with a light fishing line will do just fine.
Our friends from Flukemaster have a detailed video on How to Cast a Spinning Reel, before reading our own guideline, just have a look what they got to say:
The most common materials for fishing reels are graphite and aluminum. Generally speaking, aluminum is more durable, but graphite is lighter. If you are out fishing for hours, a lighter material may be better as it will reduce the strain on your hands and wrist.
However, if you are wrestling big catches, you probably want something much more heavy-duty. Some reels even have a stainless steel shaft, making them much stronger.Keep in mind that a reel is only really as strong as the pole to which it’s attached, so make sure that if you go with a heavy-duty reel, you have a pole (and line) to match.
The size of the reel will largely depend on the weight of the line you will be using. Typically, the weight rating of your line will match the size of your reel. For example, a lighter line will require a smaller model and vice versa.
When it comes to spinning reels, the gear ratio determines how fast you can retrieve your line. For most reels, the ratio is about 4:1 or 5:1, which means that for every spin of the handle, the line wraps around four or five times.
The higher the gear ratio, the faster you can recover your line (and presumably the fish attached), but high-speeds can also make tangles occur much quicker, so you have to be sure you know what you’re doing if you get something with a high gear ratio. If you’re a novice, a 4:1 should be sufficient, but a pro may even go as high as 6:1 if he thinks he can handle it.
For spinning reels, the drag system is either front or rear. What this means is the placement of the drag controls. If you want easier access, then rear drag is better, but it’s not quite as powerful as front-drag. If you plan on fighting big fish, you may want to opt for a front system.
Recommended 10 Best Spinning Reels 2017
1. KastKingSharky II Waterproof Spinning Reel
The Sharky II is a lightweight and durable spinning reel with 41.5 pounds of drag and comes with ten plus one shielded ball bearings for smooth dependability. The best part about the Sharky II is the fact that it can be submerged in water completely for up to three minutes without damaging or affecting any of the internal components.
The spool on this reel is made of aluminum and comes with a unique knob that is sealed by an O-ring to keep the drag washers dry. The gears of this spool are made of mesh brass for durability and reliability.
- Lighter, stronger, and is now dunk-proof.
- CNC machined aluminum spool
- Internal grooves for lube retention
- Exact fit zero-play handle cogs
- Smooth, dependable, silent performance
2. Penn Battle II Spinning Reel
This reel is both lightweight and rugged. The Penn Battle II can come with up to 30 pounds of drag and utilizes six ball bearings for smooth operation. Five for spinning and one to prevent accidental reverse.
The washers in this model are made of solid HT-100 carbon fiber, and can withstand a lot of punishment. The bail wire is also made of heavy-duty aluminum, making the Penn Battle II one of the most durable reels out there.
- Bearing Count: 6
- Full Metal Body, sideplate, and rotor
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
- Instant Anti- Reverse bearing
- Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
3. Pflueger President Spinning Reel
The President reel is made of solid graphite, making this one of the lightest, most durable reels out there.
The President comes in several different models, with a maximum drag of up to 14 pounds. Ten stainless steel ball bearings make the operation of this reel smooth as ever, without risk of corrosion or rusting.
The spool itself is braid ready, so you can attach your line directly without problems. The bail wire is made of aluminum for lighter weight while still maintaining integrity.
Overall, the President is a great investment for its price point. At around fifty dollars, the quality and precision of the President Reel are almost unmatched.
- Famous for our innovations and dependability
- World’s leading rod and reel manufacturers
- Made using the highest quality components
- Pflueger President Spinning Reel 4lb / 100yd
4. Shimano Spinning Reel
The IX series R400 is a lightweight and durable spinning reel made of graphite. This model comes with a maximum of 15 pounds of drag and a bushing design, which means no ball bearings are needed for this reel. Even so, the R400 is smooth on the retrieve and features a proprietary quick draw system for faster results when seconds count.
This reel is rated for saltwater as well as freshwater.
- Graphite sideplate
- Graphite rotor
- Graphite spool
- Quick Fire II
- Lightweight Rear Drag
5. Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel
The Trio is made of both graphite and aluminum for added durability and dependability when it counts.
This reel also has ten stainless steel ball bearings (9+1) with an anti-reverse bearing to prevent accidental reversal. The reel itself is also coated with a corrosion-resistant material that will keep it spinning for years to come.
All models in the trio series are built to provide smooth operation as well as withstand abuse. Each model also comes with a one-year limited warranty.
- Hybrid spool design with graphite arbor and aluminum lip
- Crossover aluminum and graphite hybrid body and rotor design
- 9 BB + 1 RB stainless steel bearings
- Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing
6. Shimano Sienna Front Drag Spinning Reels
The Sienna is a durable reel made of graphite with an aluminum spool. This model series can have up to 13 pounds of drag, and uses four stainless steel ball bearings (3+1) to provide a smooth operation.
This model is both lightweight and reliable, with a variable oscillation speed and several proprietary systems to keep your washers dry and stabilize the reel when it counts. Like the IX series, the Sienna is also rated for both fresh and saltwater.
- Graphite frame
- Graphite sideplate
- Aluminum spool
- 3 Ball Bearings
7. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel
Bouncing back and forth between Shimano and Okuma, we now come to the Avenger ABF Bait Feeder Reel. As the name would suggest, this reel has a proprietary bait feeding system, which allows you to release the line without opening the bail.
The Avenger ABF is made of graphite and aluminum, and comes with a max drag of 22 pounds, depending on the model you get. This reel also uses seven stainless steel ball bearings (6+1) to provide smooth operation while still preventing accidental reversal.
This model has a drag seal to keep your bail wire and washers dry, an elliptical gearing system, and even comes with a spare graphite spool for your convenience.
Like all Okuma products, the Avenger comes with a one-year limited warranty
- Japanese oiled felt drag washers
- 7 stainless steel ball bearings
- Quick Set anti reverse roller bearing
- Machine cut brass pinion gear
8. Piscifun Steel Feeling Spinning Fishing Reel
This reel is most notable for its design, which is an aerated steel frame with aluminum spools. This model looks a bit retro, which makes it a little more appealing.
The Piscifun Spinning Reel is made of stainless steel and aluminum for extra durability out in the field. This model has up to 22 pounds of drag, depending on the exact model you get.
This reel is also designed to battle larger fish, with a 415-C alloy drive and proprietary oscillation gear. This reel comes with 13 stainless steel ball bearings (12+1) for smooth operation.
To prevent twisting and shaft misalignment with this reel, the Piscifun has a double bearing pinion gear, which is unique to this brand, and makes it stand out from the rest.
- High quality Carbon Fiber Drag Material
- Computer Balanced Rotor.
- Precision-cut Solid Brass Pinion Gear
- Double Bearing Supported Pinion Gear.
9. KastKing® Mako Spinning Reel
The Mako Spinning Reel is made of graphite and aluminum, and comes with 22 pounds of drag and operates with nine stainless steel ball bearings (8+1). Some notable features of the Mako are the wide spool to help keep your line from snagging and twisting, as well as help you retrieve your line much faster than smaller models.
This reel is rated for both salt and fresh water.
- Right hand or left hand reversible CNC handle
- EVA flat paddle non-slip knob
- Higher bearing count
- 8 stainless steel shielded ball bearings
10. Lew’s Fishing Speed Spin G2 Fishing Reel
The G2 comes with ten ball bearings (9+1) for smooth operation and reversal protection in case of accidents. The gear ratio on this model is 6.2:1, making it one of the fastest reels on this list, with the Mako not far behind.
Much like the Okuma Avenger, the G2 also comes with a spare spool, but this one is already braided for your convenience.
- Lightweight double anodized aluminum spool
- Carbon graphite inserts
- Rugged graphite body, rotor and side cover
- Soft Touch finish for comfort and slip resistance
In my fishing career, I’ve gone through my fair share of spinning reels. When choosing a reel, so many of them have such similar specifications that it can be hard to determine which one is best.
However, in my experience, brand loyalty usually trumps any special features, so to that end, I have always enjoyed Okuma and KastKing spinning reels, with the Mako and Sharky II being my top picks of this list.
If you are a fan of another brand or model, all of these reels are top-rated and should provide you with countless hours of worry-free fishing, provided that you know what you’re doing.