If you’ve been angling for a long time, then you probably know how important crankbaits are in bait fishing. They’re very useful for baiting large fish and angling over a large area of water. And that’s why every angler will have to use crankbaits at one point or another.
But though crankbaits are great lures, they will not perform well if you do not pair them with the right fishing gear, especially the fishing reel. The wrong reel can reduce the effectiveness of your crankbait and turn what would have been an amazing fishing trip into a boring sport.
We reviewed several crankbait reels and made a detailed list of the seven best crankbait reel for you.
7 Best Crankbait Reels
- Best Value for Money – Shimano SLX DC
- Best All-round Multi-Purpose – Lew Tournament MP Speed Spool
- Best for Lightweight Lures – Daiwa Tatula Crankbait Reel
- Best Crankbaits for Large Baits – Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast
- Best Budget Crankbait – Kastking Royale Legend Low Profile
- Best beginner-friendly Crankbait – Piscifun Torrent 18LB
- Best Long Cast Crankbait Reel – Abu Garcia REVO S
Best Value for Money
- has a digital control (DC)
- 6:3:1 gear ratio
- 4 + 1 bearing system
Shimano brand is popular for the great fishing gear they produce. The Shimano SLX DC comes in three different versions, but the SLX DC 150 with a 6:3:1 gear ratio is the best for crankbaits. The gear ratio combined with 26 inches of IPT (66cm) makes it very versatile and suitable for all types of crankbaits.
Its Hagane body gives it a high rigidity and resistance to body flexing. This makes it very strong and long-lasting with improved cranking power.
This reel also has a digital control (DC) with four different modes that enable you to adjust the reel accordingly. It also enables excellent casting & lures control and minimizes backlashes.
Its 4 + 1 bearing system operates smoothly, enhanced by the S3D spool technology that keeps vibration in check. The reel weighs 7.6oz (0.2kg) with a maximum drag of 12lb (5.4kg).
Although it’s expensive compared to most bait-casters, the combined features of the S3D spool, DC, Hagane body, and many others make it the best value for money crankbait.
Best All-round Multi-Purpose
- comes in an aluminum frame
- 27-point braking system
- 9 + 1 bearing system
- 20lb carbon fiber drag
This reel comes in an aluminum frame that makes it suitable for freshwater and saltwater fishing. It protects the reel against dirt, debris, and saltwater, making it corrosion-resistant and easy to maintain.
It comes with an impressive 27-point braking system, 9 + 1 bearing system, and 20lb carbon fiber drag. Plus, it’s surprisingly lightweight, weighing only 7.0 ounces.
Its 5:6:1 gear ratio is perfect for shallow and deep water fishing. Brass gears and pinions have been added to this reel for smoother feel and operation.
The combined functions of its aluminum frame, aircraft-grade drive gears, and anodized spool make it the best all-purpose crankbait reel.
Although some users have complained that its ball bearings failed in a few months, we believe this failure can be prevented by proper maintenance.
Best for Lightweight Lures
- weighs 7.1 ounces
- 5:4:1 gear ratio and 13.2lbs drag
- aluminum body
The Daiwa Tatula beautifully combines aesthetics with functionality. This performance-ready reel comes in a glittering aluminum body and weighs 7.1 ounces with a 5:4:1 gear ratio and 13.2 lbs drag.
If you’ve been having trouble casting lightweight crankbaits, then the Daiwa Tatula is perfect for you. Its T-wing guides the line for freer line flow and eliminates backlashes. This makes it great for long casts and casting lightweight cranks excellently, even in the wind.
The air brake system uses an inductor cup to prevent braking during a cast. This enables precision casting and creates a great presentation. It works smoothly even with a 7+ one-ball-bearing configuration. It is also beginner-friendly, although it’s somewhat expensive.
Best Crankbaits for Large Baits
- optimal drag (25lbs)
- available in two sizes
- two additional power handles
If you’re hunting for large fish, you’ll need a slow and powerful cranking reel like the Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast. It’s a large reel produced with an optimal drag (25 lbs) for pulling in large baits, hence the title beast.
The Toro Beast is available in two sizes with different gear ratios, but the size 60 with a drag ratio of 6:2:1 is preferable. It winds large bait smoothly and offers the best value for money.
It comes with two additional power handles that help controls the reel and make retrieval easier. Plus, a very impressive dual brake system featuring a mag dial on the side plate offers more control even in the wind.
The major complaint about this reel is the weight which is a small sacrifice for the large baits you’ll catch. It is not recommended for beginners.
Best Budget Crankbait
- costs less than $50
- 7:1:2 gear ratio
- Huge drag of 17.5lbs
For a crankbait reel that costs less than $50, the Kastking Royale Legend surprisingly performs excellently. It features a dual brake system that enables you to control and adjust the reel to your liking. Although its 7:1:2 gear ratio is slightly high, it offers greater versatility.
The ball bearings are corrosion-resistant making them suitable for fishing in both freshwater and saltwater. It’s lightweight despite its huge drag of 17.5 lbs.
The reel is made to suit every angler as it is available in righthanded and lefthanded operations. Plus, it has very comfortable handles with a soft grip to prevent fatigue from long hours of fishing. It also comes with a ceramic line guide that enables you to control your cast as much as possible.
Some anglers complain that this reel is not very durable, but considering the price and its many features, the Kastking Royale legend is still one of the best crankbait reels.
Best beginner-friendly Crankbait
- 5:3:1 gear ratio
- 22 inches IPT
- impressive 18lbs drag
This crankbait is perfect for you if you’re looking for a beginner-friendly and budget-friendly reel with great features. The Piscifun Torrent has an impressive 18 lbs drag with a 5:3:1 gear ratio and 22 inches IPT. It is available in righthander and lefthanded operations, making it suitable for every fisherman.
The six stainless steel ball bearings are corrosion-resistant and have smooth operation. It features a backlash-eliminating technology and has very durable climate-resistant brass gears.
Piscifun Torrent has a 0-10 magnetic braking system that enables you to make precise adjustments. It also has a unique small opening for lubrication. This makes it easy to maintain and helpful for beginners.
Best Long Cast Crankbait Reel
- carbon matrix drag system
- eight stainless steel bearing
Abu Garcia REVO S low profile is an attention-grabbing reel not only because of its slick appearance but also because of its many outstanding features.
It features a carbon matrix drag system that provides consistent drag pressure that supplies sufficient power to pull in any bait. If you’re a technical angler concerned with pinpoint accuracy and long-lasting, this is the reel for you. This reel is designed for precise, adjustable casting.
The eight stainless steel bearing provides smooth operation, and a lube port on the underside of the reel enables convenient maintenance.
Things to Consider When Buying Crankbait Reels
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right crankbait reel. These factors determine the functionality and effectiveness of a crank bait reel. They are:
The gear ratio is the number of spool revolutions per revolution of the handle. A 5:7 revolution means the spool will turn 5:7 revolutions for every revolution of the handle. Reels with slower gear ratios enable you to go deeper with your lures. Reels with a 5-7.0 gear ratio are best for crankbaits.
A reel with high line capacity will enable you to increase your reach to go far and deep. Casting is easier when using a reel with high line capacity.
When choosing a reel, it’s important to consider the size of lures you will be fishing with. Some reels, like the Daiwa Tatula, are more suited to lightweight crankbaits, while others do well with heavier crankbaits.
Type of Reel
You can choose from two main types of crankbait reels: baitcasting reels and spinning reels. Spinning reels are easier to use and are great for beginners, but baitcasting reels are more precise.
Handle Torque and Reel Weight
Torque means the rotational force of the handle. A lower gear ratio and line recovery rate mean increased torque. Reels with higher torque require takes less effort to reel larger baits. They also put less stress on the wrists and arms than regular reels.
Reel weight is also important because fishing with crankbaits requires slower presentation. This means you’ll be holding the reel for a long time. A large reel will tire you out quickly.
Inch per Turn (IPT) is also called line recovery rate. It measures the number of lines retrieved per turn of the handle. The ideal recovery rate for a crankbait reel falls within the range of 19 to 23 inches. This means you will retrieve 19-23 inches of the line for every turn of the handle.
Crankbait fishing is very popular because of the versatility of crankbait lures. It is, however, important to pair them with the right reels for effectiveness. The reel you’re most comfortable with is the best for you so long as you’re getting the results you want.