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There is no, or very little, question about it: if you want to catch more bass, use crankbait lures. The pros know this, the moderately experienced know it, and almost every newbie is told the same thing. That is just one half of the equation. The rest of it has to do with choosing the right crankbait rod and the best crankbait reel. After all, if you are going to go down this path, why not just go all the way?
The thing about using the right tool for the job is not just that you will get it done properly but that you will get it done efficiently. Crankbaits help anglers to quickly move their lures across the water-attracting all manner of fish and getting them hooked. With the right crankbait reel and rod, this action will be more efficient and more effective. Thus making your bass fishing trips that much more fun.
Since we are on this path now, how about we just go all the way?
Here are some of the best crankbait reels in the market you could try out on your next fishing trip:
Best Budget Choice
1. Sougayilang Baitcasting Reel (The Best 8:1 Gear Ratio Crankbait Reel on the List)
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While it’s a very affordable reel (low-budget even), surprisingly enough, this Sougayilang Baitcasting Reel packs more quality than the price would suggest.
For one thing, it uses an 11+1 bearing system with 11 ball bearings coupled with a single roller bearing, all of which are resistant to corrosion. These bearings go to power an exceptionally smooth aluminum pool as well as a drag system made out of 3-disc carbon fiber. All these materials combine well to give you a rather durable reel that is impressively lightweight, weighing in at only 8.3 ounces.
As a top-quality spinning reel, this one features a variable braking system that works hard to give you accurate line control. This goes a long way in reducing your chances of bird-nesting the line. It also has built-in double wind shafts. These are crucial to maintaining the line in the spool as well as increasing the efficacy of your casting plus determining the smoothness of your retrieve.
To say that this crankbait reel is excellently built would be to state a fact. It comes with comfortable wood handles that ensure your comfort, which will go towards improving your performance.
• Excellent option for beginners
• It has an 18-pound drag limit
• Easy cast
• Smooth retrieve
• 2-year warranty
• You can only use a braided line
Best Overall Choice
2. KastKing Spartacus Baitcasting Fishing Reel - The Best Ultra-Smooth Crankbait Reel on the List
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Even the name tells you that the KastKing Spartacus Baitcasting Fishing Reel is one heck of a crankbait reel. With a 17.5 lbs. carbon fiber drag, this beast of a reel is not only powerful, but it’s elegant too.
It has a host of features that makes it one of the best in the market. You will fall in love with the outstanding micro-cast dual centrifugal, and we aren’t even talking about the magnetic brakes yet!
The casting reel features 11+1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings, a CNC machine aluminum spool that ensures nothing but smooth casting as well as rather powerful precision matched gears made out of brass.
With a 6.3:1 gear ratio, this is one of the best crankbait reels out there. Couple all that with the rubber cork handle knobs, and you have not only a comfortable angling weapon in your hands but also one that is capable of reeling in big fish with excellent efficiency.
• It has a 6.3:1 gear ratio, which makes it perfect even for experienced anglers
• It’s ultra-smooth
• It features 17.5 lbs. of stopping power
• Comfortable cork handles
• Lightweight (8.1 ounces)
• Dual brakes (magnetic on the outside as well as centrifugal braking on the spool)
• Works best with bigger lines
3. KastKing Royale Legend/Whitemax Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel - The Best 7.2:1 Gear Ratio Crankbait Reel on the List
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Yet another KastKing entry, this KastKing Royale Legend/Whitemax Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel is an excellent alternative for people who want a crankbait reel with a 7.2: gear ratio.
While the performance of this reel is outstanding, it’s really the “feel” or comfort of using it that stands out. Featuring soft synthetic grip handles that have been lovingly nicknamed “Grand Touch,” the handle grips are mounted on an impossibly strong 95.5mm aluminum alloy handle that allows for comfortable fishing all day long, improving your experience by a huge factor.
Apart from the unparalleled comfort that the grip handles offer you, this reel also comes with some incredible features that make it one of the most outstanding in the industry. For starters, it has eight cross-fire magnets that offer braking efficiency as well as excellent casting control. Couple all that with a quadruple disc carbon drag delivering an astonishing 17.6 lbs. of drag, and you have a reel that is pretty much a stopping machine in your hands.
With 5.1 double-shielded bearings (stainless steel) and a 37mm Hamai precision-cut main gear made out of brass as well as a brass pinion gear and main shaft finished off by stainless steel hardware that offers a line recover rate of about 29.8 inches of line per turn. You are all set for excellent fishing experiences every time you go out.
Suitable for fishing in both salt and freshwater, this reel not only looks good, but it performs just as well.
• Extremely high performance
• Smooth casting and retrieve
• 7:1 gear ratio
• Very high line recovery rate (29.8 inches per turn)
• Stainless steel hardware
• Astonishingly comfortable handle grips
• You will need to adjust the braking and drag for the reel to work properly
Best Premium Choice
4. Lews Fishing Laser MG Speed Spool Series Reel - The Best Comfortable Crankbait Reel on the List
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Lew’s is a well-known brand with the admirable habit of cranking out the gear of excellent quality. Thankfully, this Lews Fishing Laser MG Speed Spool Series Reel follows that strict reputation very closely.
The one thing you will notice (probably first) is the fact that this reel isn’t as pricey as you would expect such a high-quality product from a reputable company to be. That is because Lew’s has gone above and beyond to provide the budget-conscious angler with the opportunity to buy an excellently built reel at an affordable price.
It isn’t, however, all about affordability with this reel. It’s also about efficiency, quality, and durability. It features a Speed Spool made out of durable aluminum, which means that you don’t always have to rush to clean it every time you get a catch. At the same time, you are always advised to clean and dry your reel before storing it.
The materials used in making this reel go a long way in preventing damage that comes with things like accidental drops and rust. This is even more accentuated by the 7+1 bearing system that is made out of stainless steel for corrosion resistance and excellent performance.
With a gear ratio of 7.1:1 and an excellent retrieval rate of 31 inches per rotation, you get amazingly smooth control and a wonderful experience when reeling in your catch. Furthermore, it features Zero-Reverse and a 6-pin brake, which goes a long way in preventing your line from continuing the unspooling process when casting.
Every single one of these features works in concert to bring you a reel that offers a smooth casting and retrieve
• Comfortable to use
• Very affordable considering the quality
• Smooth casting
• Easy retrieve
• Adjustable braking
• The 7.1:1 gear ratio can be a bit high for crankbait fishing
5. Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel - The Best Powerful Drag Crankbait Reel on the List
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Out of all the crankbait reels on this list, this Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel is the one with the most powerful drag. At an astonishing 18 lbs. carbon fiber drag, this is the kind of crankbait reel you want in your hands when you go fishing for big fish.
But it’s just all about the drag with this reel. It’s also about the quality of the build and the comfort that it offers you while using it. The reel features climate-resistant Hami cut brass gears that are of durable industrial strength. That makes it the reel with one of the highest quality gears on the market today.
As far as the performance is concerned, the reel features a 5.3:1 gear ratio, which is just right at the sweet spot for bass fishing. This gear ratio is nothing short of a workhorse offering you the right kind of torque, especially when it comes to using a deadly slow-rolling technique out in the water.
Couple all this with magnetic dial-in settings (0-10), a unique side-plate oil port that allows for excellent maintenance, and you have a reel worth bragging about to your friends.
• Excellent for beginners
• Amazing drag (18 lbs.)
• Easy to maintain
• 5.3:1 gear ratio
• The drag and braking need to be frequently adjusted
6. Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel - The Best Low Gear Ratio Crankbait Reel on the List
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It can authoritatively be stated that this Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel is the lightweight of the group. That, however, doesn’t make it the least performing reel by any means.
Featuring a single-piece graphite frame with side plates as well as a 4+1 stainless steel bearing system, this is an incredibly lightweight reel that offers amazingly smooth retrieval.
The reel also features the MagTrax magnetic braking system that brings with it reliable breaking whenever needed to offer you a consistent and effective casting experience.
Couple all that with the fact that it features a power disk drag system, and you have a reel with an extremely heightened smooth action. If you have been looking for an affordable, easy to maintain, and use crankbait reel that is also rather lightweight, then you have found it here.
• Very lightweight
• Easy and consistent casting
• Smooth retrieve
• Excellent braking
• The reel grips are a bit too small for anglers with bigger hands
The Best Crankbait Reels Buyer’s Guide
You might be wondering why exactly you need to buy a crankbait reel specifically? Why can’t any other reel work just as well when using crankbait lures? The truth is that diving crankbait is a technique that calls for a specialized reel and rod to work efficiently.
If you are a beginner, it’s recommended that you use a spinning reel. This is because this particular type of reel work just fine with almost any type of line, although they tend to work best with lightweight lures and lines.
What Specifications Are Important for Crankbait Reels?
The idea here is to make your fishing as efficient as possible. This often means that you need a reeling system that has not only high-quality braking but also an excellent drag system as well as a line recovery rate.
With that in mind, here are some of the most important specification to pay close attention to when choosing the right crankbait reel to buy:
The Gear Ratio
The gear ratio in a crankbait reel, and any other reel, simply means the number of rounds the spool makes with one turn of the handle. For the most part, the best gear ratio for a crankbait reel lies between 5:1 and about 6.5:1 with 5:1 hear, meaning that the spool makes five rounds with one turn of the handle. Your first consideration when trying to find the right crankbait reel for you, therefore, should be the gear ratio.
To decide the best ratio for your needs, you first must consider your fishing hole. If you are going to be fishing in a somewhat shallow lake where your lures can bump into things, then you need a reel that will allow you to get that lure to the bottom first.
That reel needs to have a high enough gear ratio to let you get your bait exactly where you want it while allowing you to have enough speed to generate the right reaction strike. The gear ratio, in this case, therefore, should not be either too fast or too slow.
While there is some debate about a slower gear ratio being ideal for landing heavier fish, the truth is that it’s mostly about your control. Whenever bass strikes, you need to take up the slack line immediately to maintain the kind of constant pressure needed to land it. This is often achieved more efficiently when you have a high-speed reel coupled with the right rod.
The Line Recovery Rate
Your line recover rate is typically calculated in inches per turn. This, then, means that both the design and actual size of the spool come into play. Your line recovery rate is the next specification you need to pay close attention to after the gear ratio.
In simple terms: a larger spool coupled with a faster gear ratio, will effectively bring in more line when compared to a smaller spool coupled with the same gear ratio.
For bass fishing, you need a line recovery rate of around 19 to 23 inches per turn. This is good enough to get the lure to the deep fast and keep it there while you retrieve the line.
If you have a spool with a higher recovery rate than this, you will find it more difficult to slow down the handle turns.
The Number of Bearings
While the bearings in a reel work to support the spool, more is less efficient in this case because it adds to the overall weight of the reel without really improving the performance. That is why some of the best reel brands on the market today opt to use plastic bushings and fewer bearings to reduce the weight.
When it comes to bearings, however, you need to pay close attention to the type. Stainless steel bearings are a bit more resistant to rust than most other counterparts. However, if you are mostly a saltwater kind of angler, you might be better served with plastic bushings instead.
The Quality of the Brake and Drag System
If you are going to focus on little fish, then the drag system in your spinning reel doesn’t matter. The problem comes in when you start angling for bigger fish like salmon. This is when you will need a smoother dragging system to improve your experience.
The idea is to find the best crankbait reel that not only suits your specific fishing needs but also makes your life as an angler much easier and your experience more enjoyable. Every crankbait reel on this list does just that and more. All you have to do now is pick the right one for you, buy it and start enjoying your new, improved crankbait fishing experience.