There’s a huge debate on what fishing reel is perfect to hunt for catfish in water. This is the place where a lot of fishermen will waste a vast amount of money.
Getting the best reel for catfish is a matter of proper knowledge and better decision. That’s why I decided to come up with this comprehensive guide about catfish reels. So be ready to save a lot of money and still get a perfect tool for your purpose.
However, my favourite pick for best baitcasting reel for catfish is KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel (check price on amazon). It’s a budget-friendly catfish reel.
In this piece of writing, I’ll include the top nine reels that will serve the best, great details about catfish reels and the whole other parts that might be important for your buying journey.
Make sure you stick till the end and I promise you’ll leave with a wise mind for purchase. Let’s begin!
Best Catfish Reels
|1. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Fishing Reels||3 SB+1 RB|
|2. Penn Spinfisher V & VI Spinning Fishing Reel||5 SB|
|3. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Reel C3-7000||3 SB +1 RB|
|4. Abu Garcia C3-6500STSPC Ambassadeur Striper Special Fishing Reel||3 SB + 1RB|
|5. Team Catfish Gold Ring Casting Reel||5 SB|
|6. Abu Garcia C3 Catfish Special Round Reel||2 SB + 1 RB|
|7. Daiwa Millionaire UTD 5.1:1 Fishing Reels||2 BB + 1 RB|
|8. Shimano Tekota 300 Trolling Reel||3 SB +1 RB|
|9. Daiwa Black Gold (BG) Reels|
Now I’ll be writing about these finest catfish reels and their features. Just be sure to check out the positive side and if it does any good to the needs you have.
Yes, there would be some negatives but who doesn’t. Just make sure the basic purpose is satisfied and you are ought to get your perfect match. Let’s get it!
1. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Fishing Reels – The Catfish Special Round Baitcast Edition!
It’s a baitcasting reel that gives what you need to have an excellent fishing experience.
With ball bearings coming your way, each one of them functions properly to give you astounding fishing results.
Not to mention they are made of high-quality stainless steel. So forget about wear and tear and just enjoy the whole feel of catfishing.
The drag system is another great feature to talk about. With excellent carbon matrix design, you’ll have enough control over the prey and there will be less pressure needed for the fishermen’s side. The drag can handle even heavy weights easily.
It’s important to have comfort in mind as well. The manufacturer didn’t forget and even consisted of a great made handle for better control over the whole fishing activity.
We all know how important it is to have good force over the reel to get a huge catfish out. The handle has nice extra bents to ensure while holding you can do it without making any discomforting posture.
2. Shimano Tekota 300 Trolling Reel – The Traditional Reel for Competitive Catfishing!
You’ll find the features are really capable to give you a comforting catfishing experience.
The design is really suitable for any kind of environments. No matter if you want to go for the fresh water to get a catfish or either choose the salty water areas. It ought to survive and perform well in both conditions.
Also, the material is really strong. I mean it can handle lightweight catfishes easily and most of the time you don’t have to encounter fishes running ways. It pulls really great. When you are in a jetty fishing area where getting splash are common this feature will really help.
The spool position is really convenient as well. The unique crossbar forward outlook is in charge to give you better access to the spool. Also, the line management is outstanding thanks to the level wind system it includes within.
The bearings that come along are known to be resistant to any kind of rust. The manufacturer even mentions that this material can withstand ten times stronger to any rusting than normal stainless steel reel. It really does. Hardly will you notice any oxidation but of course you should have good maintenance habits.
3. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Reel C3-7000 – With the Excellent 6-Pin Brake!
The bearing system is also up to the mark with a total three ball bearings and it works combine with one roller bearing.
So it should give you a smooth functioning no matter what environment or situation you choose to go for catfishing.
The next nice thing about this quality reel is the carbon matrix drag. It’s one of the most basic features needed for catfishing and this model really knows it well.
You would not easily lose control with the excellent drag and it constantly keeps the balance to get the fish out the water. Smooth and nice.
The most fascinating feature is definitely the 6-pin brake. It does a moderate job to keep a consistent pressure which is important for better casting.
The constant functioning helps a lot. The bent handle and powerful knobs are also great to give you better torque for string pulling catfishes.
4. Abu Garcia C3-6500STSPC Ambassadeur Striper Special Fishing Reel – The Baitcast Reel for Effortless Dragging!
The design is somewhat Swedish with curve reel platform. The striper angling is a great optimization to include and the manufacturer needs applause here.
It’s strong and resist and force gracefully to give you the whole control while pulling heavy catfish.
Another great quality about the reel is the excellent brake system implemented within. The 6 pins centrifugal brake will always make sure a consistent pressure is working all over the parts to give a balanced performance. This makes precise casting piece of cake for even noob anglers.
The handles are designed with a little curve to make it easy to hold. This gives you a better gripping ability that is necessary to keep any pain or fatigue away from your hands. Also, the handle will make hard pulling fishes an easy thing to pull right from the water in no time.
5. Team Catfish Gold Ring Casting Reel – Powerful Catfishing Reel!
It would suit most environments and that’s one of the greatest things about the reel. You can depend in the drag and handle huge seized easily in most situations and water conditions.
The carbon matrix drag really does a great job to ensure there’s always room for smooth and better consistent dragging.
This catfish reel can handle the fight pretty well and manage to wind against the strong catfishes easily. It’s quite powerful. You won’t feel fatigue or pain while dragging and pulling the fish out the water. It would be simple and easy most of the time.
However, with huge fishes, you need better lining. Also, the reel is tested while manufacturing. So the construction quality is dope and will resist any force easily.
I also love the fact that it looks really amazing. With a very lightweight that reel is also great to hold for longer times. So you can take it with you for a long time fishing as well. It is one durable tool you can get in a moderate price range.
6. Abu Garcia C3 Catfish Special Round Reel – With 20 Pounds Max Drag!
The round reel has an excellent design plus ability to handle pretty large catfishes with 4.1:1 gear ration. That’s quite enough for usual catfishing and casting activities.
Also, there are a total of three bearings available within to ensure the functioning is smooth and well operating.
The 20 pounds maximum drag is a reasonable feature to have when you go for heavy fishes. The construction quality is also up to the mark to give you better protection from fights and pulls.
There is also one roller bearing that works continuously with other bearings to give a constant performance. The brakes are also better in quality to ensure you get the smoothest stop whenever you need to.
The carbon matrix drag is also present with the overall system. There are handles with extra bending to give a comfortable grip and this is important to have for better cranking power.
7. Daiwa Millionaire UTD 5.1:1 Fishing Reels – The Classic Catfishing Reel!
The most fascinating thing about this excellent gear is its balancing ability. It’s really important to hold balance when fishing for the aggressive species of catfishes.
It comes with an excellent gear ratio of 5.1:1. That means when you are dealing with moderately huge sizes of catfishes the reel will give enough pull and control over the creature to get it out the water easily.
Also, the spool is machined with aluminum construction to give you the perfect and smoothest fishing ability. The high strength gear will be enough to handle regular wear and tears with nice construction quality.
Total three bearings are available with an excellent infinite anti-reversing system implemented within. The handle is soft and comfortable to use with a huge size knob to have better usability.
The only glitch I see is the fact that it somewhat needs different handling when using in heavy rigs. But with a little greasing and oiling problems can be solved instantly.
Top 7 Best Spinning Reels For Catfish
8. Penn Spinfisher V & VI Spinning Fishing Reel – Get That Tiny Catfish Out The Water With Ease!
But this model is actually a great pick for the fishermen who want to try small sizes as well.
The oscillation system is a great plus. It gives you a smooth performing platform to get the catfishes fast and in one drop.
The lining is easy and most of the time you would be getting used to catching a lot easier. Spool moves very smoothly which is important to have effective fishing experience.
The whole design is fully sealed. Which means the watertight design will help to keep any dampness ever ruining your reels away.
That’s’ what happened when a regular user has to take their reel for everyday fishing. Now even if you get one of this it would be enough to go well for a long period of time.
However, most pro anglers are used to this and it won’t make any difference since the quality is really outstanding.
9. Daiwa Black Gold (BG) Reels – The Heavy Action Spinning Tool For Catfishes!
Let me begin by talking about the excellent construction quality. It’s outstanding and most of the time will support a good weight.
The weight handling is a surprise for me since spinning reels are not so good with this type of abilities.
The strong metal frame is placed properly with a nice manufacturing process that gives perfect alignments to achieve a blissful fishing experience.
Its handle is also quite comfortable. That’s an important addition to mention, you’ll never have fatigue or pain felt in your hand due to weights. It’s really a good grip to enjoy.
There are total three ball bearings and this works combine to give you a smooth functioning to get your whole day fishing experiment under your pleasurable cover.
Also, the handles are foldable. This means there would be always a better plan to store them no matter what type of storage you have. Even in vehicles, they’ll fit easily. Another great addition is the noiseless left and right-hand retrieves function.
The overall finish is high quality to make sure the user enjoys a rust free experience. It will withstand strong and rough usage with grace and still perform well for most situations.
Buying Guide For Best Catfish Reels
Catfishing Reels Are Full Of Variety!
There are three major types of fishing reels you can think about getting for catfish. All serve for the common purpose but in a different way. You absolutely need to determine which one will do the most for your fishing style. That’s where the part beyond the basic begins.
Indeed the most basic type of fishing reel! Spincast reels are the first reel that most people will start with when learning fishing.
It’s a great type to choose for folks who wish to do basic catfish fishing. Especially if you are determined to buy reels for channel catfish then this is the one you should go for.
It’s also a great reel for fishing small size species. The good thing about the spincast reel is that it is extremely lightweight.
It’s a great pick for anyone who is looking for a tool that serves occasionally. Those who consider fishing as an irregular hobby can trust on it.
However, there are some problems as well. For example, it provides limited line capacity and so you can’t expect it to work for huge fishes.
Also, the drag system is poor, it lacks bait clicker and common glitches that are bound to happen with minor fishing gear.
Spinning reels are of course a better choice than the earlier type. Its unique feature is the fact that it consists a wire bale across the top. Usually, this part is flapped forth and back to do the casting.
Most fishermen who can’t really deal with baitcasting reel will usually go for this type. Surely they are more comfortable because of the lightweight.
Other good things include heavy handles for better weight lifting, great fishing line capability, and better dragging.
But there are some bad sides to these as well. The biggest one, you would limit the fishing rod choice since there aren’t many options available for catfish spinning rods.
Most of the manufacturers will hardly have spinning rods for catfishes. Even harder to get in retail outlets.
Most anglers for catfish will love the idea of baitcasting reels. It’s undeniably the most popular one within experts as well as novice anglers. You’ll notice in online shops that most of the options are actually from this category.
The best part of bait cast reel is that this can suit any technique or species of catfish and give you the perfect fishing experience. They are great for every size starting from smaller to monster shape fishes.
The exciting parts about this great type of reel are better line capacity, great weight holding capacity, proper gear ratio and mind-blowing drag system. I think it covers all basic area that genuine fishing for catfish will need.
However, the price here is a bit high and that’s the only problem you need to deal with. But when quality tends to overtake price, I’m sure nobody would hold a grudge for the only problem.
Cheap in Price Means Cheap in Quality!
I think it’s almost five years I’m being a guide for catfish fishing. As a hardcore catfish guide, I can assure you one thing.
The most common mistake that anglers new to the hobby do is looking for cheaper reels. Most will forget that the best reels for catfish are no joke! So please, don’t expect it to be a cheap tool.
Except for some very rare manufacturers, the maximum cheap priced reel will destroy the fun by serving you with poor quality.
You are going to invest for a hobby, be passionate enough to have a good budget consideration prior to buying a reel. It’s important!
What’s the point of investing even a small amount of money in a tool that will later bring frustration for you?
Instead, the wise angler would choose the safe route and go for a moderate priced reel that can perform well with good quality functionality.
Remember, you get what you pay for!
Factors That Matters For Catfish Reels!
Being blind and choosing whatever looks fancy and nice is a common thing with noob anglers that makes them sob silently later.
To identify the best reels for catfish you need to follow basics. Here are some common factors that cannot be absent from the tool you’re looking at.
1. Huge Line Capacity
To understand the connection between catfish and line counter reels there are basically two things you need to remember. One, go for a line that is hard wearing. You need a braided one to get for catfishes most of the time. Two, choose a lot of line capacity. You need it!
A line that has the design to handle at least 20 pounds or more should be your best choice. These are basically the perfect pick for monofilament. Also, they are flawless for braided ones.
Some smaller ones might be able to handle a huge catfish. But if by chance they break you are going to return empty-handed. So be prepared beforehand. A better option is to go for a reel change or think about re-spooling.
2. Spool Tension
The other common name for spool tension is the counterbalance. Spool tension is the term we use for modern high-quality reels available these days.
This is basically the part that will allow you to have adjustments for rotating the spool. It helps to compensate according to more or less mass you need.
This is an important part that will decide many things for your casting. It compensates for the mass you use. Also, it deals with fishing line size and the complete efficiency of casting. The reel will depend on this.
When you use less weight you can decrease the adjustments. On the other hand, for lots of weight, you can increase the spool tension. This part needs to be smooth and well working other the backlashes are going to ruin the whole experience.
3. A Good Drag
Drag is a very important consideration that you need to think about. Many reels will have a poor quality drag that destroys the whole mood while casting for catfish.
The drag would give you the control for observing how the line reacts whenever you get a catch. This plays a significant part when casting in deep water. No matter what species you hunt for the drag needs to be strong.
A correct drag will help you to avoid line spools or reel damages that often happens because of the running fish. Also, don’t forget to check the reel of your pick has the finest drag possible.
Most of the great quality reels will include carbon washers. These are a great addition to maintain drag quality.
4. Quality Brake
When the spool turns, there is a mechanism that helps the reel to stop or slow down whenever required. This is known as a braking system or simply brake. Most of them will use magnets to do so.
Backlashes are a major problem that you might face when casting. The spool tends to spin too fast which results in a problem. To avoid that hassle one needs to have a quality brake system within.
5. Gear Ratio
Most of the anglers neglect this vital factor and later pays a price. The gear ratio is a confusing function that is, of course, important to measure a quality reel. With every turn you make through the handle the line would return with a distance. This is known as a gear ratio.
Consider that a reel shows the gear ratio to be 4:1. This means for every turn of the handle the spool makes a total of four rotations. Most of the reels would commonly have a gear ratio starting from 2:1 to 7:1. There are some high-end versions as well that can be even faster.
Catfishes need a reel that’s faster than the average. This is important while casting for catfish because they are huge and you need to pull them fast before they run away. So to be fair enough with their rescue ability try to find a ratio range that starts from 5:1 to 7:1 range.
6. Bait Clickers
This term is also common as line alarms. This helps to hold the spool freely to make a noise of clicking. This happens whenever the fish starts to swim away from your bait.
Bait clicker is a common technique for casting catfishes. This is particularly anchored with slip sinker rigs. Also, it suits most similar catfish rigs.
If you include a circle hook then line alarm is not so important. However, if you still have one then this can help you with numerous fruitful techniques.
Be careful when picking this factor since cheaper models will greatly vary and provide a poor bait clicker.
7. Bearings and Bushings
In every type of technique you use for catfish the bearings and bushings will play a very huge part for your success.
The reel bearings will let the reel to turn when you are doing the casting. Better quality bearings will help you to cast farther.
Most models will mention the list of bearings they use. The basic rule to determine a good quality reel is to go for the ones that include more bearings. This ensures that the reel will run smoothly and give you a better casting experience.
Also, don’t count the quantity but the quality. A reel that offers two good quality bearing is way better than the ones that include four cheaper quality bearings. Some will only include bushings. But I’ll say you should choose bearings.
8. Level Wind
Baitcasting reels come in two set up. Either it has level wind or it does not. When the spool turns the mechanism that moves forth and back is known to be level winds.
While retrieving fishing line or revolving the handle this mechanism should smoothly move to have an even line distribution on the spool.
If you choose a reel that lacks level wind then you’ll have to guide the spool whenever retrieving. The thumb usually helps to finish the task. Maximum popular and good quality reels will include this part. It is an optional feature you can have.
However, for beginners who are not too good with retrieving should consider the addition of this feature in the reel they are looking to buy.
Now, when you go casting for huge catfish most of the time having level wind will increase the chances of getting a catch. The versions that come without level wind are good for saltwater fishing surf fishing.
9. Handle & Knob
You cannot imagine how integral as a part of the reel the handle is. This comes to people’s mind whenever they pull in long casts or force the huge fish to the boat. That is the moment that most angler will realize the worth of a good quality handle.
Maximum reels used for catfishes will come with solo grip system. Popular reels are often designed with twin grips though. Some options also include counterbalance opposite the grip to perform heavy duty casting.
You should look for reels that come with huge handles. Most of the time a big handle reel will help you to get better power and control while casting.
But also don’t forget the fact that a large handle that isn’t comfortable to use is also a big no. Comfort is important with size. Only then you can guarantee to have a better experience with your reel.
10. Suitable Construction Quality
Catfish is an aggressive species. So it’s important to pick a reel that comes with good built-in quality. Don’t just go for any product that says they will resist any wear and tear.
Instead, try to know more about materials that will actually make sure the tool lasts long and survive the aggressive attacks it would receive.
Choosing the Best Reels for Catfish
Choosing the catfish reel that will work the finest for you actually depends on your circumstances and needs. Below I’ll be talking about that.
What’s Your Skill Level?
A reel that goes well with your expertise level is the one that will suit the best. A beginner will need some additional features to support their capabilities. However, the skilled anglers will be able to cope with fewer functions
What Are Your Casting Circumstances?
You need to understand how various reel performs in various states. I’ve already mentioned some types and you need to figure out what kind will suit the maximum with environ and techniques you are planning to do for catfishing.
Reel Need to Match the Line and Rod
To make sure you get the perfect reel for casting, you have to consider a suitable rod and line. Not every rod or line will go well with the reel you are using. Suppose you choose sturdy reel for catfishing. Now get a medium to a heavy rod that would be long enough to match the reel.
A rod with seven to nine feet length will suit the best here. Now for a test line go for the one that will weight twenty pounds. Usually, measurements work like this.
What Type of Catfishes?
You need to know about catfishes as well. The reels for blue and flathead catfish might not be similar to the reels for trophy catfish. Every variety would need different features. Maybe because of the size and sometimes also because of the aggressiveness.
Most popular species of catfish is the channel for sure. Then there are blue, flatheads, blueheads and also white ones. Each of them has different qualities as gamefish. So you would require different tactics to keep up with them.
Most catfishes have great sense of taste, smell, tracing ability, great vision and hearing abilities as well. They can even detect vibrations. As an angler, you need to keep these points in mind and then go for a suitable reel.
Setting up Your Catfish Reel
Once you get the perfect reels for catfish, you need to know the right technique to set it up. There are a few rigs you can use to catch catfish. A slip-sinker rig is a popular one to try. This will help you to get the deep water catfishes easily.
You can also try float rigs and jig head. Most catfish will hit hard very quickly. They might play with the bait before taking it completely. Set the hook whenever you have a doubt. The most common rig fishing strategy is to get the nibbling catfish by simply feeding line.
This way there would be no chance of feeling resistance for it. The hard fighting fishes are very fun to get once you have the right technique plus a suitable tool.
- Always use tweezers and toothbrush to clean the reels.
- Use hot water with natural cleaning ingredients to make it clean.
- You should always make the parts separate properly to have a thorough cleaning.
- Know the right way to dissemble as well as assemble the reels.
- Avoid any metallic cleaning tools.
- Keep springs and wire in a safe place while cleaning.
- Always do some greasing to keep the gears doing better functioning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does The Type Of The Reel I Need to Pick Depends on The Size Of The Catfish?
Bigger cats are huger than you think they are. Sometimes even fifty pounds. So, of course, the type of reel you choose will depend on the size of catfish you are looking to go for.
A reel that can hold a great deal of pressure should be your top choice if you are a pro angler. Because then you are ought to be fishing for huge cats. Compensate the reel according to the catfish’s size.
Should I Consider The Environment To Choose a Reel?
You need to have an idea about the environment you are going to fish in. Recognizing the possible barriers will help you to avoid any problems or glitches happening later.
Sometimes choosing the wrong reel for one environment can damage the whole reel. So, of course, it’s a better option to consider the place you would be fishing in.
A spin cast, Spinning or Bait cast Reels, Which One Should I Choose for Catfishing?
All of them are the most basic types of reel used for catfishing, we already know. Now it surely depends on what type of techniques and catfish you’ll go to decide which type will work the best for you.
But still, I’m going to suggest you get a baitcast since that is the most proper choice in popular view. The type has every essential factor needed for catfishing and most models of the reel are basically from this category.
What Lure Should I Pick?
Lures are usually available in a variety of sizes and weight. This matter is also similar to rod and line selection. It should have a proper balance with your rod, line, and reel. For example, you’ll hardly get any distance if you choose to go for light lures for a heavy line.
Furthermore, the first time you get a good sized cat, chances are that you’ll straighten out the hook and the fish would just run away. So it’s vital you focus on good quality brands when picking lures for your reel.
When Is The Best Time To Go For Catfishing?
Most people will tell you that nighttime is best to catch catfish. However, the truth is any time is good enough to go casting. Occasionally bites tend to be better during the daytime. Mostly when it’s the period of cool and calm water.
Also while pre-spawn the catfishes are more likely to feed aggressively. Once the summer patterns come ahead the fishes will get adjusted accordingly. During that time it’s better to go fishing at night. However, sometimes you might get lucky during the daytime as well.
Finding the best reels for catfish is not rocket science my friend. You just need better knowledge about recognizing what tool is right for you and what is not. Following some simple techniques for making a wise purchase is that simple.
The nine best catfish reels that I reviewed in this article are all my favorite. I love how each of them will bring out a unique quality that will make catfishing a blissful moment. You can go with any of these and I assure you would be happy at the end of the day.
Of course, I’ll suggest you be a bit choosy. I’m sure there will be one reel that will go better with your techniques of casting than others. You just have to select that one for yourself by following your instinct. After all, every human knows what’s going to work the best for him or her.
Well, I hope the guide was easy to understand and you can now walk on the path with confidence to get your perfect pretty reel. Good Luck with making all the catfishes fall heads over heel for you. Happy fishing!