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7 Best Musky Reel in 2021: Buyer’s Guide

The musky fishing season is short and there’s a lot of competition for the best spots.

Musky anglers are always looking for new ways to catch more fish, but it can be hard to find time in your busy schedule to research and test out new gear.

We did all the work so you don’t have to! Our team of experts tested and tried dozens of musky reels before we found our top picks. With our reviews, you’ll save hours researching which reel will help you land that trophy fish this season.

So without further ado, here are our top picks for the best musky reel!

Need tips when fishing for musky? Check out our musky fishing tips!

Our Top Picks

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Suitable for Catching Big Swimbaits 
SHIMANO Tranx 400A HG Lowprofile Baitcasting Freshwater Reel
Expensive Reel with Unmatched Quality
SHIMANO Calcutta 400D Round Fishing Reel
Best Reel for Fish Trolling
Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel CW354D, Right Hand
Feature 1
It has a max drag of up to 22 lbs
It has a max drag of up to 17.5 lbs 
Has 25-pounds of max drag
Feature 2
It comes with 5BB + 1R bearings and a 5.8:1 gear ratio
It comes with 3BB + 1RB bearings and a 5.0:1 gear ratio
With machined aluminum, two-tone anodized spool
Suitable for Catching Big Swimbaits 
Thumbnail
SHIMANO Tranx 400A HG Lowprofile Baitcasting Freshwater Reel
Feature 1
It has a max drag of up to 22 lbs
Feature 2
It comes with 5BB + 1R bearings and a 5.8:1 gear ratio
Expensive Reel with Unmatched Quality
Thumbnail
SHIMANO Calcutta 400D Round Fishing Reel
Feature 1
It has a max drag of up to 17.5 lbs 
Feature 2
It comes with 3BB + 1RB bearings and a 5.0:1 gear ratio
Best Reel for Fish Trolling
Thumbnail
Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel CW354D, Right Hand
Feature 1
Has 25-pounds of max drag
Feature 2
With machined aluminum, two-tone anodized spool

7 Best Musky Reels for your Musky Fishing

1. SHIMANO Tranx Baitcast Reel

Suitable for Catching Big Swimbaits 

SHIMANO Tranx 400A HG Lowprofile Baitcasting Freshwater Reel
  • A powerful; low profile; bait casting reel built to tackle...
  • Offering shimano's new coreprotect water resistant...
  • The hagane construction provides a metal reel body that...

Key Features:

  • It has a max drag of up to 22 lbs
  • It comes with 5BB + 1R bearings and a 5.8:1 gear ratio
  • With a line retrieve of 30″

SHIMANO Tranx Baitcast Reel is powerful. It has a low-profile baitcasting reel built to tackle anything that swims in the blue waters.

It also comes with SHIMANO’s new core protected water-resistant technology, which gives the best performance and durability even in the harshest environments.

Additionally, it comes with X-ship and the technologies that provide massive cranking power with a smooth and effortless retrieve. It is perfect for musky anglers who want to catch a big musky.

The Hagane construction provides a metal reel body that delivers bulletproof performance, stiffness, and impact resistance.


2. SHIMANO Calcutta Round Baitcast Reel

Expensive Reel with Unmatched Quality

SHIMANO Calcutta 400D Round Fishing Reel
  • With the Shimano Calcutta 400D Round Baitcasting Spinning...
  • Featuring a whole new design; the new Calcutta D Series...
  • Delivering serious cranking power; they also provide the...

Key Features:

  • It has a max drag of up to 17.5 lbs 
  • It comes with 3BB + 1RB bearings and a 5.0:1 gear ratio
  • With a line capacity of 24” 

The Calcutta series of reels are the pinnacle core of Shimano’s quality, versatility, dependability, and long-term value. This classic round reel will keep up with the fastest low-profile reels for today’s angler styles and can have almost any application in waters like muskie fishing.

It is built with super-strong, ultralight forged aluminum side plates to ensure that all parts align perfectly for lifelong smooth power and solid rigidity.


3. OKUMA Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel

Best Reel for Fish Trolling

Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel CW354D, Right Hand
  • Lightweight, corrosion-resistant frame & sideplates
  • Multi-disc, carbonite drag System
  • Aluminum handle arm with Ergo grip handle knobs

Key Features:

  • It comes with 3BB + 1RB stainless steel ball bearings and a 5.4:1 gear ratio
  • Has 25-pounds of max drag
  • With machined aluminum, two-tone anodized spool

The OKUMA Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel has a low-profile design. Modern, sleek, and elegant, the shape of the reel fits the hand perfectly, a critical feature when back-bouncing or casting floats.

As it is centered within the die-cast aluminum, the machined aluminum spool holds more than 150-yards of a 65-pound braided line.

The thumb bar spool release is immediately available for ease of casting or feathering a drift. The Coldwater 350 also has a mechanical line counter to the proven low-profile bait cast reel. Great to use for trolling reel and muskie fishing.


4. Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Baitcast Low Profile Fishing Reel

Best Reel for Catching Hard Pulling Fish

Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel,Blue,Black,60-HS
  • Powerful, low profile baitcast fishing reel engineered to...
  • 7 stainless steel HPCR bearings and 1 roller bearing offer...
  • Power Stack Carbon Matrix drag system delivers unparalleled...

Key Features:

  • Five stainless HPCR bearings + 1 roller bearing provides increased corrosion resistant
  • Comes with Infini spool design for extended castability and extreme loads
  • Built-in DuraClutch design provides improved engagement and durability

The Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Baitcast Low Profile Fishing Reel is engineered for brute strength and unrelenting performance; It delivers a unique platform that is best when musky fishing.

Cranking power and a high line capacity give anglers the upper hand on various fresh and saltwater species. You might finally catch your trophy musky!

The Toro Beast reel delivers impressive power and durability in a surprisingly compact package.


5. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

Best Budget Option

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Left Handed Fishing Reel,Rover90
  • BULLET PROOF - The hot Rover reel just became hotter. The...
  • MORE POWERFUL - You will love the stronger, more powerful...
  • SUPER SMOOTH - KastKing Rover reels have premium MaxiDur...

Key Features:

  • Has MaxiDur stainless steel bearings (6 + 1 BBS on Size 40-60, 4 + 1 BBs on 70-90) 
  • With 2-pin centrifugal brake that is good for casting
  • It comes with up to 30LB of smooth drag

The KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel is built with functionality and quality. It delivers fantastic design, power, and performance at an affordable price. 

Anglers who want the best musky reel while also being affordable now is your chance! It has a dependable level wind round baitcasting reel to add to your musky fishing tackle. You’ll appreciate the low price and high quality of a KastKing Rover.


6. Daiwa Lexa Type-WN Baitcasting Reels

Lightweight with Great Performance

Key Features

  • It comes with ultimate tournament carbon drag and a max of 25lb
  • With 2CRBB, 4BB, 1RB
  • Has Custom Winn Handle Grips

The Daiwa Lexa Type-WN Reels features a stealthy new look for musky anglers. It delivers power and performance unattainable by other smaller baitcasting reels while enhancing the comfort factor with custom Winn Grip Handle knobs.

It is also available in two high-capacity sizes, 300 and 400, with higher and lower gear ratios. The Lexa Type-WN has unrivaled stopping power that is necessary from a heavy-duty baitcasting reel.


7. Daiwa Prorex TW Baitcasting Reels

Heavy Duty and Very Durable

Key Features

  • Has 43mm Aluminum Spool
  • Comes with Magforce Braking System
  • With an Adjustable 70/80mm Power Handle

The Daiwa Prorex TW Reel is well suited for the rigors of big baits and big fish. It is a heavy-duty high capacity musky catching machine.

Built around a solid aluminum frame and side plate, this gives it the strength it needs to withstand long-drawn-out battles under heavy drag pressures with an impressive power to weight ratio. 

The Ultimate Tournament Drag system produces a staggering amount of drag pressure to put the brakes on the hardest pulling lake monsters out there. It also features a T-Wing Level Wind System for uninhabited line flow while casting.

This helps you get your bait further away from the boat where the big ones are hiding—making it the best musky reel for all the big monsters of the lake.


musky reel
Source: Canva Pro

Different Types of Musky Reels

There are three types of reels available for freshwater use that should be recognizable to most anglers:

  • Spincast Reel – not recommended for musky
  • Spinning Reel – not the best one for musky
  • Baitcast Reel – best choice 

These all have similarities in how they function. However, their applications are vastly different. It’s crucial to understand how each reel works before determining what sort of musky reel you’ll need.

Now, before you buy the musky reel that fits you, let’s talk about some things to consider.

Things Consider When Buying the Best Musky Reel

Before deciding on a reel. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Are you Left or Right Handed?

What is the difference between right-handed and left-handed reels? To put it simply, suppose you are a beginner angler.

In that case, it is much preferred that you use a left-handed rod if you are right-handed dominant. That way, you don’t have to swap over the rod while casting with your right hand, and it seems more natural.

Which Musky Reel suits you?

Now you should consider the reel type. Spinning reels are the most common ones out there. They are a favorite among novice anglers because of how easy they are to use and maneuver.

And lastly, the spin-cast reel is recognized as one of the easiest reels to use due to its simplicity.  Thus, if you want to become an extreme angler, this type of reel for musky fishing isn’t for you.

What is it Made of?

A muskie reel gear is usually made of one of two materials: stainless steel or brass. Stainless is the more durable of the two materials, but it is also the heaviest. Stainless steel gears are less likely to wear or be damaged by stress loading than brass gears.

On the other hand, brass gears are still popular among manufacturers because of their simplicity. Because brass can be easily made for accurate fitting, high-quality brass gear sets may be mass-produced.

Reel Housing, Frames, and Spools

Remember, the majority of reel bodies are made of graphite or aluminum. Aluminum is more durable, but it is also heavier and less likely to withstand saltwater. Graphite is an excellent option if you’re looking for a saltwater fishing reel because of its corrosion resistance.

And for the spool, the majority of spools are composed of anodized aluminum or graphite. Graphite is lighter, but aluminum has better strength; this significantly impacts casting distance and smoothness. 

Price

As you can see, there is a healthy demand for reels. Thankfully, we have a wide selection of excellent reels to pick from in various price ranges. One of the wisest decisions a musky angler can make is to invest in a high-quality reel.

Musky are among the most aggressive freshwater fish, and they put up a battle that anglers will remember for a long time. An angler needs nothing but the greatest equipment to conquer these water monsters, including a powerful reel and a musky rod.

Conclusion

When purchasing a new musky fishing reel, there are several factors to consider. While most of the reels we looked at are quite similar, make sure to remember the few small variations of each. Try comparing each musky reel based on this guide when you find yourself in the store.

Choosing the best musky reel might mean the difference between landing a musky and having it swim away after snapping your line. Make sure to select the right one according to your planned catch.


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Johanes Godoy
Editor

Jon Stenstrom
Founder

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