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Best Trout Reels 2020

Best Overall Choice

KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III

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Best Budget Choice

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

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Best Premium Choice

Shimano Stradic Ci4 Spinning Reel

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Ian Fortey by Ian Fortey Updated on July 31, 2020. In Fishing

The best reel for trout fishing is a spinning reel. The best spinning reels are not hard to find. There are a number of excellent choices available. Some spinning reels are meant for amateurs. Other trout spinning reels are designed for professional anglers. And there are plenty of spinning reels for every angler in between. If you’re new to trout fishing or you are only used to baitcasting reels there is a learning curve. With some time you should be able to master the spinning reel. From there, trout fishing will be a lot easier for you. The right tools for the right job always yield better results. If you’re not sure where to begin, there are the best trout spinning reels on the market today.

Best Overall Choice

1. KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III

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The KastKing Sharky III is a great weight at 9.2 oz. You can still drag 33 lb and it even pulls 29.7 inches per crank. It also features a 5.2:1 gear ratio. It’s water resistant and extremely durable. You can handle freshwater and saltwater using the KastKing.

Its versatility makes it great for bait fishing, jigging or even fan casting. There is a triple disc carbon fibre drag. The 11 shielded stainless steel bearings make it suitable for saltwater fishing, too. The gears are mesh manganese brass pinion gears to increase strength. And it comes with a one-year warranty to back it all up.

The major downside to the KastKing Sharky is the noise. Some anglers have noticed a grinding sound thanks to the bearings. If you’re in the market for big trout, this is a solid spinning reel.

Best Budget Choice

2. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

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The Okuma Ceymar offers solid performance at a good price. It comes with something called a cyclonic air flow rotor. That allows faster drying which reduces corrosion. It also increases durability overall as a result.

The body is graphite and weighs only 5.9 oz. That makes it one of the lightest reels on the market. It also features a 6.6 lb drag which isn’t the best, but it may work for many trout anglers. If you are in the market for small trout, this is a good choice. Not every reel for trout needs to be huge. The average trout only weighs 6 to 8 pounds. That means the best trout spinning reel is often smaller than you’d think.

The Ceymar features a 5:1 gear ratio and retrieves 21 inches for every crank. There’s a 7 bearing system that keeps it running smoothly. The handle is zinc die-cast and is very comfortable and durable. The precision made gearing system reduces friction to improve accuracy when casting. All in all, you’re getting a great reel for a good price.

Best Premium Choice

3. Shimano Stradic Ci4 Spinning Reel

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You could make a good argument that the Shimano Stradic Ci4 is one of the best trout reels on the market. It’s extremely lightweight coming in at only 7 ounces. It also pulls 35 inches of line per crank. That’s thanks to the 6:1 gear ratio.

Shimano’s AdvancedCore protection makes it suitable for all weather. The corrosion resistance is very impressive. The price reflects the quality, but many anglers feel it’s worth it.

4. Pfleuger President Spinning Reel

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The Pfleuger President Is affordable and reliable. It only weighs 8.3 oz but can drag fish up to 10 lbs. The gear ratio is 5.2:1. You can also crank in your line at 25.2 inches per crank. You can adjust the drag in extremely small increments. This increases precision. There is also something called a Sure Click aluminum bail. It produces a sound so that you know when the bail is open for casting. That makes this a solid choice for brook trout or speckled trout. A good number of rainbow trout or browns as well.

The knob is ergonomic and comfortable. It also features dimples to improve grip when it’s wet. The body and rotor are made from graphite. That makes it strong, durable, and able to handle wear and tear.

The President is not designed for saltwater and may corrode. That shouldn’t be a problem if you’re fishing for trout, though. It features a stainless steel 10 bearing system. That makes for a smooth drag. Also, an easy retrieve. It may not be as high quality as some reels, but it’s good for most purposes.

5. Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

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There are several versions of the Daiwa BG spinning reel available. It caters to those who need a heavy reel for saltwater fishing, or a light one for hitting the rivers. The spool is made with Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS line. It has a waterproof drag system and something called a Hard Bodyz body. That keeps it water tight.

The Daiwa BG Features A 5.6:1 gear ratio. That’s giving you a drag of over 13 pounds. It also features an air rotor that weighs 15% less than your average rotor. There’s also an anti-reverse system and 7 bearings. All in all, it offers smooth performance in a durable package.

6. Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel

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The Piscifun Flame Spinning reel has an exceptional drag strength. You can pull 19.8 lb with this reel. Smooth performance comes thanks to a 9 ball bearing system. It also comes with a braid ready spool.

At 8.5 oz it’s a very light reel. Those 9 ball bearings plus one roller bearing make it very smooth. With several models available gear ratios range from 5.1:1 to 6.2:1. Combine this with a remarkably low price, and the Piscifun is a standout reel.

7. Penn Pursuit III Spinning Reel 2500

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The Penn Pursuit features HT-100 carbon fibre drag washers. The body is made from graphite, making it corrosion resistant and lightweight. It features a 4 plus 1 ball bearing system. Not as advanced as some, but effective nonetheless. The design is comfortable and ergonomic. It’s also small, which makes it ideal for younger anglers or for long fishing trips. You don’t want a big, bulky reel that will weigh you down over a long time.

The Penn Pursuit features a gear ratio of 6.2:1. That carbon fibre drag means you could even handle big saltwater fish.

8. Abu Garcia Revo SX

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The Abu Garcia Revo SX has a lot going for it. A 20lb drag limit makes this a standout choice. It only weighs 7.8 oz and has a 6.2:1 gear ratio. It also features 8 plus 1 ball bearings for smooth operation. The frame and the handle are C6 carbon for strength and comfort. It’s also a very quiet reel which is important for trout fishing. If you’re in the market for a light, quiet, affordable real, Abu Garcia is a good choice. It’s sturdy enough to handle even the toughest fish.

The Abu Garcia may not be as smooth as some other reels out there. But it does have a magnetic brake system, which is a plus.

9. Sougayilang 13 1BB Ultralight Spinning Reel

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The Sougayilang spinning reel comes with a spare graphite spool plus a CNC aluminum spool. Ultra smooth handling comes thanks to 13 + 1 ball bearings. It features triple disc carbon drag washers. There are also precision brass gears and a 5.1:1 gear ratio. Despite weighing only 7 oz, the hardened frame makes it incredibly sturdy.

10. Lew’s Fishing Signature Series

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The Lew’s Fishing Signature Series features a lightweight graphite body. There is also a skeletal rotor design. With a 6 bearing system and a 5:1 gear ratio it’s durable and powerful enough for smaller trout. At 4.9 oz it’s remarkably low weight as well. Plus, Lew’s has been making quality reels since all the way back in 1949. That’s a long history of expertise you can rely on.

Things to Remember

No matter what kind of real you’re in the market for there are some things that you must have. The essentials if you’re serious about trout fishing. Finding the best spinning reel for trout will up your game considerably.

Gear Ratio

We’ve listed the gear ratio for every spinning reel on our list. A high gear ratio means your line will recover faster. For instance, if a gear ratio is 5: 1 then that means for every one turn of the spool it’s the same as having turned it five times. A good gear ratio for trout fishing is typically somewhere between 5:1 and 6:1. If you’re looking for something a little larger like a lake trout, you may want to go as high as a 7:1 gear ratio.

Drag

The drag system maintains resistance on the reel. This ensures that your fish stays hooked on the line. A heavier drag wait means that you have that many pounds of stopping power. The higher the drag weight, the larger the fish you’ll be able to reel in. If your drag weight is low, you risk breaking the line or the rod on larger fish. When it comes to trout fishing, a good drag is typically between 15 lb and 20 lb. This can change depending on whether you’re fishing for smaller trout or bigger trout. Two little drag means it can be hard to reel the fish in. Too much drag and there will be too much pressure on the spool and the line could snap.

It’s also worth noting that heavier drag reduces sensitivity. If your drag capacity is over 25 lbs, you may not even notice when you get a bite from a smaller fish. The drag system is one of the most important factors in choosing the best trout spinning reel.

Ball Bearings

Every reel lists the number of ball bearings included. Some have as little as 4, and some have as many as 10. Ball bearings ensure smooth movement in a reel. The fewer bearings that a reel has, the more rough the movement will feel. As with any machinery that uses bearings, more of them ensure a fluid movement. High quality bearings ensure a solid performance n trout reels.

Reel Housing

This refers to what the real is actually made from. Most reels are graphite or aluminum. Aluminum works best for freshwater. Graphite is best reserved for saltwater. The difference relates to corrosion. Graphite is not susceptible to corrosion from saltwater. Carbon housing is another option, but less common. It may often be more expensive as well. Carbon has the lightweight benefits you want, including a light weight and strength.

Weight

In general, a lighter spinning reel for trout is better when fishing. You don’t want to sacrifice strength, but you do want lower weight. This is in part because if you’re fishing for a long time, even a lightweight rod and reel can start wearing on you. Many current trouts reels are very lightweight for this reason. Even a reel that seems very light at first becomes more of a burden after dozens of casts. You’re lifting your arm over and over again. In time, even seemingly insignificant weights can wear you down. That makes casting your line more inaccurate. Even reeling the line in becomes harder. The best trout spinning reel needs to balance weight with performance.

Size

Most reels are available in a range of sizes. These are usually four-digit numbers. Spinning reels come in sizes such as 1000, 2500, 3000, 5000 and so on. The larger the reel size, the more heavy duty work it can do. A larger size reel has more line capacity, a larger gear ratio, and a heavier drag system. Though larger sounds like it may be better, it’s not appropriate for all kinds of trout fishing. Something like a 5,000 would be more appropriate for larger saltwater fish. When it comes to trout fishing, you’ll want to stick to 1,000 or 2,500.

Anti-Reverse System

An anti-reverse off system stops the reel from spinning in the wrong direction. This is important for preventing the line from being stripped off the reel. You don’t want a trout to take your entire line and leave you with an empty spool. Some trout reels will do this automatically. Some have a switch or lock that you can engage to make it happen. The anti-reverse off system works with the drag system. This helps you struggle less with a trout when you’re trying to pull it in. Not all trout spinning reels have an anti-reverse system.

At the end of the day, any reel can technically work to catch trout. But just as you’d expect a mechanic to use the right tools to fix your car, the right reel will help you catch more trout. Choose the trout spinning reel that works best for you and have fun.

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