Whether you fish as a hobby or as a professional, sooner or later, you’d want to take your fishing up a notch or two. And the first step towards that is to use the best fishing gear or to upgrade your existing equipment.
You might be torn between upgrading your spinning reel to a better one or switching over to a baitcasting reel. The question to ask yourself is, why do almost all the Professional anglers prefer baitcasting reels when they go fishing?
The answer is quite simple really. Spinning reels, no matter how good, are limited in functionality. They are wonderful when you are starting out learning the ropes about saltwater fishing. When it’s time to up your game, your best option is to join the pros and switch to a baitcasting reel. And this guide will show you how to buy the best baitcasting reel for saltwater fishing.
One important advantage of a baitcaster is how it increases your casting accuracy. And all anglers know accuracy plays a crucial role in your daily haul. Apart from casting accuracy, you are more likely to have greater control over the movement of your lures.
Also, the best baitcasting reels would give you a faster retrieve because of the higher gear ratio. And of course, they are the best for buzz baits and bigger crankbaits.
Features the best baitcasting reel for saltwater fishing have
Before buying a baitcasting reel, there are certain factors you need to consider. This is important as a decent fishing store would have several models on their shelves. In which case, you might get confused on which one to pick.
You might be tempted to purchase the cheapest thinking you are getting a bargain. On the other hand, with enough money, you might plump for the expensive, fancy looking baitcaster. In this case, the overriding feeling is; the pricier the better.
Both attitudes are wrong. The best baitcasting reels are rarely about the cost. In terms of cost, the best value for money is somewhere between expensive and cheap.
So, here are the features to look for before buying a baitcasting reel.
1. The frame
The frame is the foundation of the baitcasting reel. You want a frame that would be durable, or else you’d be using a fishing tackle that could break easily.
The strongest and best are baitcasters made of aluminum reel frame. They are pricier than other types, but the Investment could save you a lot of money in the long run.
The best advice is to never go for the cheaper alloy or graphite frames no matter the kind of pitch you hear. Even the so-called composite, reinforced graphite frames are not worth your time or money. Apart from breaking easily, you’d run into problems hooking big fish.
2. The Brakes
A baitcasting reel with a good breaking system is directly related to easy casting while fishing. There are two major types of braking systems:
The centrifugal system: it is more a manual system with multiple brakes, usually between 4 to 6 brakes. Since it a manual system, it gives you leeway to adjust it depending on factors such as strong winds and the direction and strength of the tides.
The brakes come into the play in the initial part of the casting and keep the spool spinning optimally thereby eliminating or cutting down the chances of an over-run.
The magnetic system: it is cheaper and easier to operate. It works by slowing down the spools at the backend of the casting. Over-runs are prevented at the end of the cast.
You can get a pro to guide you on the type of braking system suitable for your needs.
3. Gears and Speed
The relationship between how many times the spool turns after one turn of the handle is known as the gear ratio. A high gear ratio means a faster spool.
Most baitcasting reels have their gear ration written on them. The common ones are 4:1, 5:1, and 6:1. A 6:1 gear ration means that the spool spins 6 times with just one turn of the handle.
Obviously, you need a baitcasting reel with a higher gear ratio if you want a faster retrieve and don’t want to get tired easily.
However, you must consider the type of lure before settling for a particular gear ratio. For instance, low gear ratios are best for diving crankbaits and larger spinnerbaits. While a high gear ratio works well with buzz baits, spinnerbaits, and lures that require fast action.
4. The size of the spool
You must take into account the type of fish you want to catch in choosing spool size. This shouldn’t be a problem though.
For bigger fish, you would need a larger spool size so that your heavy lines can be accommodated comfortably on the spool. And conversely, for small fish, all you need is a small line and a small spool would do just fine.
Top 6 baitcasting reels for saltwater
1. KastKing Royale Legend
The KastKing Royale Legend is a sleek chrome and black affair with red inlay markings. It is a low profile reel with an impressive gear ratio of 7:1. This makes retrieval during fishing very effortless thus conserving your energy.
Also contributing to the reel’s smooth retrieval is the presence of aluminum spool, ball bearings made from non-corrosive material and an anti-reverse mechanism.
The aluminum spool also helps to keep the keep the weight really light at just 7.5oz. That is just about 0.5lb (213g) of a really good reel to attach to your fishing rod. Needless to say, you won’t have to bother about your arms getting tired easily.
The handle is a dual grip affair making it comfortable for either left-handed or right-handed user. The EVA foam padding on the handles ensures you have absolute control of the reel, while any moisture on your palms is quickly absorbed by the foam. So slippery hands while reeling is out of the question.
In spite of the lightweight, the awesome drag system of the KastKing Royale legend made from carbon fiber is strong enough to give anglers 17.5lb of drag.
Though the KastKing Royale Legend is excellent for saltwater fishing with all types of fishing lines, the magnetic drag system makes it a bit inefficient in dealing with adjustments. With a little practice though, you would be able to get the hang of it.
2. Piscifun Kylin Baitcasting Fishing Reel
The Piscifun Kylin Baitcasting fishing reel stands out from the pack not just because of the bright red color and the relatively cheap price. For a reel this cheap, it packs a range of features to mark it out as one of the best bargains for your money.
Its aluminum alloy frame and low profile design gives it two clear advantages. First of all, it is very light at 8.03 Oz or O. 5lb (228g) making it easy to work with without feeling that you are lugging something heavy. And the low profile design means you can cast, twitch jigs and troll with it quite easily.
The gear system has a good gear ration of 6.3:1. Coupled with the non-corrosive 9+ 1BB ball bearing and an impressive drag force of 13.2lb, you get smooth fast line retrieval without getting tired no matter how long the line is.
Two other outstanding features are the design of the line guides. They are made from ceramic and coated with titanium. This decreases friction on one hand while ensuring the durability of the guide on the other hand.
Then there is the magnetic brake. It is manually adjustable to give you greater control of all stages of casting. Obviously, this would help your accuracy.
Though the Piscifun Kylin Baitcasting Reel is outstanding in many aspects, the spool is a bit on the small size. That poses two problems. First, you can’t use the bigger fishing lines. And because of that, you are limited to small and midrange fish.
That said, a 30lb braid fishing line can be spooled comfortably on the spool. That is about the size of 15 – 20lb monofilament fishing line.
3. Sougayilang Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Like the name implies, Sougayilang’s baitcasting reel is a low-profile baitcaster that comes with all the advantages of reels with that design.
The ultra-light baitcaster at just 7.02oz or 0.44lb (201g) makes it one of the lightest baitcasting reels in the market. Combined with carbon structure, you can be sure of fishing for a long time without a hint of fatigue.
Despite the lightweight, the reel packs an impressive brake capacity of 16lbs. Implying big game can be handled easily while fishing. The magnetic brake system comes with 9 + 1 MaxiDur ball bearings resistant to corrosion which is especially effective against the corrosive effects of saltwater.
The baitcaster also includes a nifty dial used to increase the tension of the line. This is convenient when you want to change baits or lures.
To underline the strength and handling power of the reel, the spool is made from machine-tooled aluminum. It is nice the handles have foam grips making handling very comfortable especially while reeling in.
For a low-cost baitcasting reel, the features match most of the pricier ones. Though it is a bit of a disappointment that this model was made primarily for right-handed people.
4. KastKing Assassin Carbon Baitcasting Reel
KastKing is known for feature-rich quality reels at amazingly low prices. That tradition is maintained in the KastKing Assassin Carbon baitcasting reel.
The reel is completely charcoal-black in color with a finish that renders it really sleek with an understated class. The first thing you’d noticed when you carry the reel it how light of feels.
At just 5.7oz or.0.36lb (162g), this puts it in the rank of one lightest baitcasting reels. Imagine fishing all day with such a light reel.
The weight though does not mean many features were sacrificed. On the contrary, it comes with a 6-pin centrifugal brake coupled with magnetic dual brakes, 11 + 1 corrosion-resistant ball bearing, a 6.3:1 gear ratio and a four plate carbon fiber drag system.
In other words, your featherweight gear packs huge stopping power, while running smoothly with little noise.
As for adjusting your brake settings, the dual feature makes it easy enhancing its suitability for casting with lightweight lures as well as relatively heavier baits. Like all the best baitcasters, the spool is made from aero grade aluminum making it as strong as the best out there.
The spool size is impressive as it can take over 50lb of the braid and an impressive amount of fluorocarbon line. Basically, any type of fishing line can be spooled easily with this reel.
The handles are made from carbon fiber and they are not big as found on some reels. Any average-sized hands would feel very comfortable with them.
The KastKing Assassin Carbon reel has a few downsides though. A beginner might find the various settings on the dual brakes daunting to master.
5. Entsport Classic Casting Reel
The Entsport Classic is a smooth looking titanium alloy reel with side covers made from the same material. The blue trimming on the titanium body is a rather nice touch to give it that classic look.
This baitcaster is not only about the looks. It comes with top-end specifications that make it a bargain at that price.
For starters, the big spool is made from aluminum ensuring durability. The size makes it suitable for different types of fishing lines and weight without compromising functionality.
The main brake system is magnetic with an easily accessible adjustable, multilevel cast control. With a system like this, casting should be smooth and accurate. The drag and stopping power is aided by an impressive gear ratio of 6.3:1 and 10 stainless steel ball bearings made from non-corrosive materials.
To prevent your fishing lines from unnecessary breaks, the guide is made from ceramic. And the double aluminum handle is in keeping with the overall durability of this reel.
The handle is covered with EVA foam to give users a soft grip, while also being able to absorb moisture thereby preventing slipping during fishing.
The lightweight, 7.04oz or 0.44lb (200g), makes it suitable for any fishing rod and helps to conserve energy if you want to fish all day. That should make casting easy.
A little design fault could pose a problem for users of Entsport Saltwater Baitcasting Reel. When the spool tension is adjusted to the lowest primary drag, a gap is created between the spool and the brake cover or housing. This might could the fishing line.
As you can see, buying the best baitcasting reel for saltwater is not just about price and brand name. Try and consider some of the very important factors before making a choice.
Obviously, it would be money down the drain if you fail to do a proper research before settling on one. The smart move is to seek the wise counsel of a professional before making a final decision.
One last tip, since you are fishing in saltwater, always maintain your reel periodically. This is to prevent rusting. Though all the reels come with non-corrosive ball bearings, it wouldn’t harm you to just to take the reel apart and clean it.
If you can’t do it yourself, take it to your nearest maintenance store. It doesn’t cost much and it would save you a lot of bother in future.