The best baitcaster reels for bass have a higher gear ratio of at least 7.5:1, a max drag of over 15 lb, and weigh less than 8 ounces, such as the KastKing Royale Legend II.
Amongst many professional bass anglers, the most trusted of all reels are baitcasting reels, which give an unparalleled degree of control and precision which is crucial for catching those tricky fish. These reels give a sense of control that is well worth the extra time and effort invested.
This article is part of my Complete Guide to Bass Fishing series that you might be interested in.
Best for Bass
KastKing Royale Legend II Baitcasting Reel
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Best Value for Money
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Abu Garcia Pro Max Baitcast Reel
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Table of Contents
1. KastKing Royale Legend II – Best Baitcaster for Bass
- Shielded 5+1 Ball Bearings
- Two Gear Ratio Options
- Ideal for Fast Moving Lures
- Lightweight Design
- Requires Regular Maintenance
- Some Durability Concerns
Overall Score – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
Performance – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
Durability – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
Value for Money – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
With a sleek red and black design, this reel does the job perfectly and looks the part when doing it! Comfort is the goal with this rod, not only for you, the user, but also for the fishing line itself.
The ergonomic cranking handle features comfortable grips, to ensure that you won’t lose hold of a tough bass and that you won’t end up with any friction burns from reeling.
As well as this, the subtly concealed side cover keeps your fishing line comfortable throughout multiple frequent uses, to ensure that you won’t have to change your line constantly and won’t have to worry about it snapping at the worst moments.
The cranking gear is also perfectly engineered to give you an incredible sense of control and precision. You can easily adjust your reeling speed on the fly, to speed up or slow down, without causing strain on any part of your rod, or on the line itself. The reel will work effortlessly to keep up with you, to give you the power or control you need now.
You can also rest assured that every component that goes into making the KastKing Royale an amazing piece of kit is of the highest quality. The body of the reel is made of stainless steel, which keeps it clean through multiple uses while also preventing rust from developing, which is perfect, considering you’ll be using it when surrounded by water!
Other components are made from steel, such as the drag system, which allows the reel to turn slightly when it encounters serious resistance. This means you can also depend on the drag system whenever needed.
What I Don’t Like
One issue that stands out is the reel’s noise level; it tends to be quite loud when casting and retrieving, which I find distracting and somewhat annoying. I’ve noticed that the drag system can be inconsistent, which has caused me to lose some fish when the drag doesn’t engage smoothly.
The reel’s bearings seem of lower quality, as I’ve experienced a decline in overall smoothness and performance over time.
- The cranking gear is built to keep up with adjustments in your speed to give you precise reeling.
- High-quality materials in the reel’s construction ensure it can withstand the strain.
- They are designed for comfort for the user and the fishing line.
- Feels slightly more lightweight than competing reels.
- Noises can develop when casting and reeling, especially after long-term use.
The KastKing Royale Legend is another reel that offers superior value for money. KastKing is growing in popularity but still offers great products without the price tag of the more famous manufacturers. The Royale Legend is built well with specifications ideally suited for bass.
2. RUNCL Baitcasting Reel REMIEL – Best Value for Money
- 10 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
- Comfortable Non-Slip Handle
- Affordable Price Tag and Great Value for Money
- Dead Stop Anti-Reverse Function
- Noisier Operation than Alternatives
- Backlashes Can Occur - Check Brake Tightness Often
You’ll be amazed at the price of this beauty. It’s incredible that RUNCL can offer such an amazing reel for such an affordable price. The RUNCL baitcaster stands out best for its long and sturdy handle.
With a larger distance between each end of the cranking handle, the RUNCL reel can offer an unparalleled sense of control, which is perfect when wrangling a particularly stoic fish.
The handle is also equipped with non-slip material, to ensure you won’t lose your grip even in the heat of the moment. This non-slip material is also soft to your skin, so you won’t end up with painful blisters on your hands when fighting against a trophy fish.
Thanks to the advanced seal drag system, you won’t have to worry about your line snapping just before you reel in your prize. The drag system allows the reel to turn slightly when a certain amount of tension is reached on the line.
This helps to prevent the line from snapping by giving it some leeway when under considerable stress. You’ll really feel the advanced engineering in this compact but powerful reel when you use it, and you’ll no doubt notice a considerable increase in larger catches!
Despite its small size, this reel also packs some considerable heft, which helps to make it feel incredibly powerful in your hands, leading to smoother and far more confident reeling.
This is thanks to the ball bearing system, which uses 10 ball bearings. One of these bearings is a dead-stop bearing, which kicks into action automatically when a bass starts to fight back against your reeling.
The reel can automatically discern when to kick in the dead-stop brake, or to give a little bit of drag, which means that you can fish without worries.
What I Don’t Like
I’ve been using the Runcl Remiel baitcasting reel for a while now, and while it has some great features, there are a few things that I don’t quite like.
First, the reel’s braking system leaves much to be desired. It doesn’t provide the smoothness and control that I expect from a high-quality reel, which has led to more backlashes than I’d like.
The build quality seems subpar, as the components have started showing signs of wear and tear much sooner than I expected. Lastly, the reel is a bit heavier, making it difficult for me to comfortably cast for extended periods.
- Considerable strength and weight packed into a small reel.
- Affordable price considering the plethora of benefits it offers.
- The comfortable handle makes longer fishing sessions pain-free and comfortable.
- Slightly noisier operation than competing reels.
- Backlashes can still occur with the braking system, which means the tightness of the brakes needs to be checked often.
There is one reason the RUNCL baitcaster has earned 2nd place in my list – the price. This is extremely affordable but still has considerable strength. It doesn’t have the features of the higher priced alternatives, and you will be frustrated with backlashes.
3. Abu Garcia Pro Max Baitcast – Best Compact Baitcast Reel
- Exceptionally smooth drag
- Fast 7.1:1 gear ratio
- Good spool capacity
- Easy to cast and retrieve
- Affordable price
- Drag is not adequate for larger-sized fish
- Frame isn’t quite as durable as aluminum material
Perhaps one of the smallest reels on this list, you might be deceived into thinking that the Abu Garcia Pro Max doesn’t pack some serious punch, but you’d be dead wrong! Its compact size makes it perfect for transportation and a truly unassuming necessity for any prospective bass fisher.
The spool, used for gathering up the line tidily as you reel, is made up of aluminum, to allow for easy reeling, without creating tangles and knots that can significantly cut into your fishing time.
Untangling knots takes a long time that you’d probably prefer were spent waiting to catch that special fish! The spool itself makes up the bulk of this reel, which features few extra features, but has an incredible focus on ease-of-use, and durability.
The ergonomic handle is attached directly to the spool, used to crank away and pull the reel back in. This handle is designed to be comfortable for extended sessions, so if you find that a fish puts up more of a fight than usual, you won’t find your hands aching from the strain. This is perfect for catching bass, which tends to be more persistent fighters requiring patience to catch.
This reel also has a generous drag that ensures that the line is never put under extreme strain that might cause it to snap. This drag system will kick in automatically, as the reel notices when significant strain is being exerted, to allow for smoother operation, without needing to unreel the line yourself!
This is a perfect reel to grab if you plan on catching some bass, as you can easily swap it with other reels on the fly, thanks to its small size, and easy attachment to any rod of your choice!
Things I Don’t Like
I find the reel’s design somewhat uncomfortable to grip, which has made longer fishing sessions a bit of a challenge. The spool tension knob is quite sensitive and requires frequent fine-tuning to maintain optimal performance, which can be frustrating during a day of fishing.
The reel seems prone to bird’s nests and backlashes, even when I make a concerted effort to properly adjust the settings.
- Entirely function-focused, with a small and compact size.
- High-grade parts make it sturdy, and able to handle even the roughest of outdoor conditions or strong fish.
- The small size makes it easy to swap with other reels on the fly, to make it easier to catch different types of fish, such as bass.
- Noisy during operation, which can be off-putting to some.
- The small number of extra features may make it less appealing to experienced users who want added customization.
The Abu Garcia Pro Max is a great middle-of-the-range option for bass fishing. It is manufactured to Abu Garcia’s high standards and is built with weight and cost in mind. It doesn’t have all of the features of a premium reel but is great for beginners and entry-level anglers.
4. Lew’s Mach I Speed Spool
- Adjustable Braking System
- Durable Spool
- Comfortable Handle
- Grips Can Be Slippery
- Only 15 Pound of Max Drag
Standing out from the crowd with its green and white color scheme, this futuristic-looking reel is perfect for bass fishers who want an advantage in catching their prized trophy.
One of the best reeling features on this alien-like fishing reel is the adjustable speed gears, These gears can be adjusted on the side of the device, to allow for differing tensions, to make controlling the speed of your reel far easier, to avoid snapping your reel, or otherwise losing you grip on a tricky fish.
The brake also makes it much easier to wrangle in a fish that won’t stop fighting back, thanks to its own adjustable brake setting, with a click dial that can be used to control the magnetic brake.
You can activate and deactivate the brake as you see fit to further adjust how you reel in your catch. The brake can also activate automatically when a reel reaches a certain speed, so you can be sure that a good fish won’t elude you any time soon.
The spool is also built to be durable and to feed the line efficiently onto itself to avoid nasty knots and tangles.
You can sit back and enjoy your fishing trip thanks to this reel, which features comfortable grips, so that you can patiently wait for the right moment to strike on a catch and reel it in without worrying about your hands slipping all over the place.
Things I Don’t Like
One thing that bothers me is the reel’s overall durability, as it has shown signs of wear and tear more quickly than I anticipated, with the finish and internal components seemingly degrading at an accelerated rate. The reel’s drag system can be somewhat inconsistent, making it difficult to rely on when fighting larger fish.
I’ve experienced issues with the line guide not aligning correctly, leading to uneven line distribution on the spool and causing me to spend more time resolving this problem than I would like.
- The adjustable braking system makes it easy to keep a catch under control.
- The spool is durable and can retake the fishing line knot-free.
- Comfortable handle that is easy to grip and to maintain a hold on.
- You can encounter trouble when exerting the reel.
- The basic grip on the handles might be too slippery for some but can be easily changed to suit specific needs.
I love Lew’s products because of the number of features they pack into an affordable package. If you haven’t tried Lew’s before, I would recommend giving them a try. You will be surprised at the performance they can deliver. The reel is durable, made from high-quality materials, and has sufficient specifications to handle even the largest bass.
5. Piscifun Alijoz Baitcasting Reel
- Easy to Access Thumb Bar Button
- Strong Gearing
- High-Quality Components
- The Included Line Spooled is Weak and Should be Replaced
- Check the Oiling on the Bearings Before Use
The most innovative feature of this incredible reel is perhaps its Thumb Bar Engage Button. This button allows the user to quickly disengage all gears, to allow the line and the spool to move about freely.
This is perfect when first casting out the line, to allow it to reach a fair distance. The thumb bar button also then makes it easy to quickly engage your gears, to allow you to quickly move from a relaxed waiting position to a ready reeling position.
The high-quality components used in constructing this reel also ensure that you can make multiple uses of it every day for years before ever encountering a problem. These materials also add to the reeling strength, allowing you to pull in even the toughest of catches that might pose a serious challenge to the average reel.
With adjustable gears, you can also adjust the speed of your reeling easily when you need it, to allow for more tension in the reel, which makes it easier to reel slowly, or less tension, which makes it easier to reel in a small fish before it can escape quickly.
This makes the reel perfect for a wide range of fish of varying sizes, especially bass. You could comfortably rely on just this one reel for every fish you catch in a single day, or just as easily swap it out for another, thanks to its small size. And changing your line is easy, thanks to the access panel towards the side, which allows you to access the spool quickly.
Things I Don’t Like
One issue that stands out is the reel’s weight, which is heavier than I would prefer, making it challenging to fish comfortably for extended periods. The reel’s magnetic brake system is not as user-friendly as I would like, as I’ve frequently adjusted it to prevent backlashes and improve casting performance.
The handle grip material is somewhat slippery, especially when wet, which affects my ability to maintain a secure hold during those crucial moments of reeling in a catch.
- The easy access to the thumb bar button makes it easy to adjust between two states of relaxed line tension to strong tension, so you can quickly react to a bite.
- Can easily change your line, thanks to the easily accessible spool, which allows you to customize to your needs on the go.
- Strong gears allow you to adjust your reeling speed easily.
- The spool packaged with the reel is relatively weak but can be easily swapped for any spool you choose.
- You may need a slight amount of oiling on the ball bearings before first use, to allow it to glide much easier.
6. Tailored Tackle Bass Fishing Baitcaster
- Adjustable Gearing
- Great Beginner Option
- Reversible Handle
- Stock Line Spooled is Weak and Should Be Replaced
If you are looking to get your first ever reel for catching bass, then this is the product for you.
The reel also comes with a packaged rod, making it even better for first-time baitcasters, who don’t yet have a rod. The reel itself can easily be attached and detached from the rod, to allow you to customize your use of it.
The reel also works to prevent knots so that you can enjoy tangle-free fishing. Untangling a fishing line can be difficult for a first-time fisherman, so preventing the problem is great. If the line does tangle, the spool and the line can easily be accessed to remedy the problem before it complicates itself quickly!
The rod and reel are specially designed for first-time users so that they can learn the ropes stress-free with only the essential features at the forefront. There are few bells and whistles to potentially confuse the learning process, which further makes it a perfect starter set.
You can also get to grips with gear-based systems, which allow you to easily change your reeling speed without straining your rod, which can be difficult for inexperienced users to control.
The gears allow you to create the perfect conditions for fast reeling, to catch smaller beginner fish, and then to increase the tension on the gears when you choose to take on some tougher fish.
Things I Don’t Like
One concern is the reel’s somewhat flimsy construction, with the frame and side plates not feeling as sturdy as expected from a high-quality reel. While adequate for smaller fish, the reel’s drag system has proven to be insufficient when battling larger bass, leading to some frustrating losses during critical moments.
I’ve found the reel’s overall performance inconsistent, with occasional hiccups in smoothness during both casting and retrieving.
- A great beginner rod and reel set to learn the ropes easily.
- It can be adjusted to suit different types of users, and can even be adjusted to be used by both left-handed and right-handed users.
- Adjustable gears allow you to learn in comfort while also pushing yourself to slowly step out of your comfort zone.
- Not advised for experienced fishers, who may expect better customization and more features.
- The stock spool can be easily broken, so swapping it out with another before use is worth swapping it out.
7. Lew’s Custom Inshore Speed Spool Baitcast Reel
- One-Piece Frame Design
- High Grade Materials Throughout
- Lightweight Design
- High Price Point Isn't Suited for Beginners
With its flashy white and blue design, this reel knows how to draw attention to itself. You’ll soon be the envy of your fishing buddies with this reel, thanks to its ergonomic design which makes it comfortable to the eyes and your hands.
You can reel in varying fishes, including bass, for hours a day without encountering problems. The handles are fitted with rubber grips that comfortably conform to your grip so that you don’t end up straining or end up with painful blisters from reeling in a tough catch.
The reel is also lightweight, thanks to the carbon side plate and efficient craftsmanship within the device’s inner workings. This makes it perfect if you need an optional reel to attach to your rod, in case you plan to catch a wide array of fish.
You can also easily customize the brakes on this reel to allow for safer use, making it easier to reel in a bass. You can also adjust gears, to increase the tension, and to allow you to reel in at different speeds, depending on what each fish requires from you.
Lew’s is a trusted brand with a healthy reputation amongst the fishing community. Their reels come highly recommended by expert bass fishers who need a level of precision that other reels can’t offer. You cannot go wrong with this if you need a truly competitive reel that will stand up comfortably to whatever you throw at it.
Things I Don’t Like
One notable concern is that the reel’s corrosion resistance isn’t as effective as I would expect for an inshore reel, and as a result, I’ve noticed signs of corrosion after just a few saltwater outings. Additionally, the line capacity of the spool is somewhat limited, which can be problematic when targeting larger, hard-fighting fish that make long runs.
I’ve encountered occasional issues with the reel’s braking system, requiring me to make frequent adjustments to minimize backlashes and ensure smooth casting.
- Perfect for more experienced anglers who want a competitive edge in catching the elusive bass.
- Does not develop rust or mold, thanks to its one-piece frame design, which also has numerous drainage points, so you can use it even in the worst conditions.
- Every component is made from high-grade materials so you won’t have to replace it for many years!
- Not recommended for beginners who the massive array of features may daunt.
- The high price point makes it a considerable investment.
|Baitcasting Reel||Gear Ratio||Ball Bearings||Retrieve Rate||Max Drag||Weight|
|RUNCL REMIEL||7.5:1||10+1||29 inches/crank||17 lb||7.7 oz|
|KastKing Royale Legend II||7.2:1||5+1||29 inches/crank||17 lb||7.2 oz|
|Abu Garcia Pro Max||7.1:1||7+1||28 inches/crank||15 lb||7.4 oz|
|Lew’s Mach I Speed Spool||7.5:1||7+1||30 inches/crank||15 lb||7.3 oz|
|Piscifun Alijoz||8.1:1||8+1||36 inches/crank||33 lb||11.3 oz|
|Tailored Tackle Bass Fishing||6.3:1||6+1||25 inches/crank||17 lb||8.0 oz|
|Lew’s Custom Inshore Speed Spool||7.5:1||9+1||30 inches/crank||20 lb||6.9 oz|
How We Rate Products
Russ Egan and Donny Karr have over 40 years of combined fishing experience. We know the difference between a high-quality reel and a poor alternative.
I thoroughly review all products to measure their performance, durability, and value for money. I conduct bench and field testing to check how the product performs. Each reel is tested for at least 8 hours, with a full test taking 2 full weeks. This testing results in an overall score that I give to all products. All metrics are scored out of 5.
The performance score is how well this product fulfills its primary purpose. Does it have all the features and optional extras you need to catch the target species? I also interview expert anglers on their experience to build a broader and more comprehensive view on the performance under multiple conditions.
I take all reels down to my local freshwater lake for bass and panfish, or inshore fishing off the beach for redfish.
- Test 1: I confirm that the max drag meets the manufacturer’s specifications using a calibrated scale.
- Test 2: I test the maximum casting distance using a 1.0-ounce lure.
- Test 3: I test the accuracy by casting 10 times into a 3 ft diameter circle at 30 yards.
- Test 4: I check the versatility and the ability to handle multiple uses by field testing with 3 different lures and baits, by actually going fishing.
Durability refers to how long the product will continue functioning. I twist, bend, and break all the products to check their longevity. This score is for the materials of construction, the quality of the workmanship, and the servicing requirements. There are also bonus points for manufacturers’ warranty.
For products that I can’t test for long enough, I also consult with experts who have been using them for multiple decades to judge their longevity.
- Test 5: I pull it apart to check the grease and oil levels, how difficult it is to maintain, and whether any sand or salt has deposited after use in saltwater.
Value for Money
The final aspect of the scoring system is the price or, more specifically, the value for money. Value for money is a comparison against the closest alternative products, both by the same manufacturer and other brands.
Finally, I average the three scores of performance, durability, and value for money to give the overall score of each product reviewed.
To see more details, please read the complete guide on how I test and evaluate fishing products.
Baitcasting Reel for Bass Buyer’s Guide
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to getting the perfect baitcasting reel for catching bass. However, with so much choice, it can be difficult to know exactly which reel is perfect for you.
To help make your decision much smoother, we’ve put together this useful buyer’s guide, so that you can learn all you need to know when looking out for a new reel for bass fishing!
|Specification||Recommended Value for Largemouth Bass|
|Gear Ratio||6.4:1 – 7.5:1|
|Line Capacity (lb/yd)||10-17 lb / 120-150 yd|
|Max Drag (lb)||12-20 lb|
|Retrieve Rate (inches per turn)||26-32 inches|
|Brake System||Magnetic or Centrifugal|
|Frame Material||Aluminum or Graphite|
|Weight (oz)||6-9 oz|
|Spool Material||Aluminum or Graphite|
|Handle Material||EVA or Aluminum|
Ease of Use
If you are new to baitcasting, you will want to pick up a reel that won’t put up a significant challenge. Spending money on a reel that will only confound you is pointless. Check to see if the reel you are interested in has the features that you want or need, and to see if it has any other quality of life improvements.
These can include automatic drag systems, which prevent your line from snapping, or gear systems, to allow you to adjust your reeling speed to your comfort. You want your reel to be easy to use, not anybody else.
Getting the right product for a fishing trip can be difficult, largely due to the fact that getting a good feel from a rod or a reel is subjective. What feels good to one user doesn’t feel as good to another.
You may want to swap out the spool from a reel or change your line thickness whenever you like it. You may want to get an adjustable reel to accommodate these needs.
Check for things such as adjustable gears, or removable parts. If you plan to customize your reel to your needs, then it is well worth buying one accommodating towards customization.
Using a baitcast reel requires more precision than the average reel, and wrangling in a bass requires more of a sense of control, as the fish is famous for fighting.
If you want good control, you will want to get yourself a reel with a strong crank system with comfortable handles that won’t rub uncomfortably against your hands, making it hard to maintain control.
Catching yourself a large bass is incredibly rewarding, and is considered to be a milestone moment in any fisher’s journey. Certain reels accommodate the needs of catching a bass better than others, but the best of all are baitcasting reels, which allow you to control every step of wrangling a bass.
Pick up one of the top seven baitcasting reels from the list above, and you’ll catch numerous bass in no time!