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Baitcast Reel Recommendation?

What would you recommend as a good baitcaster for the money? I know which gear ratios I am interested in, just having a tough time deciding on which reels to purchase. I would like a reel with a good breaking system to help prevent backlashes when casting.


  • KBGKBG Posts: 204 Deckhand
    I'm really liking my 13 Fishing reels. I have a couple Concept A, C and Z. All are nice and can be used in saltwater as well. Nice drags and can be dialed in to throw some really light baits.  Reels fit my hand nice and are really light.
    The welfare of the state depends on the morals of its citizens.



  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 10,335 Moderator
    I have one Fishing 13 reel and really like it.

    What price point we talking ?
    "You'll get your weather"
  • riverdiverriverdiver Posts: 2,032 Captain

    Daiwa Tatula CT.

    Great reel, very smooth, very difficult to backlash. You can get them on Ebay from a couple of sellers for about $100 shipped, watch for a sale you can pick them up for around $87 shipped.

  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 12,582 AG
    edited May 2019 #5
    I'll second the Tatula.  If you get one, make sure you follow the directions on adjusting the tension.  Once you have it figured out and set you can switch baits of different weights without readjusting the tension. It'll cast like a dream giving you good distance without fear of backlash.

    To clarify I am talking the SV TW Tatula.  I don't know if the CT braking  works the same as the SV.

    Captain Todd Approves

  • RiverRat22RiverRat22 Posts: 78 Deckhand
    Abu Garcia Black Max is my go to cheap real.  Great bang for the buck at $40.

  • FreeLinerFreeLiner Posts: 1,573 Captain
    What would you recommend as a good baitcaster for the money? I know which gear ratios I am interested in, just having a tough time deciding on which reels to purchase. I would like a reel with a good breaking system to help prevent backlashes when casting.
    My favorite is a Shimano Curado K.  4 pins adjust the spool brake, then an adjustment wheel on the side to fine tunes the pin brake.  No longer need to use the spool tension wheel as a crutch (which is how I learned to tune a bait caster) and can keep it just loose enough to keep the spool from wobbling horizontally.   I believe it comes in 3 speed options.
  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 10,438 AG
    edited May 2019 #8
    Lew's Speedcast series.
    I have never seen live bones, but I know that they are often used by rich people to decorate the interior.
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 3,962 Captain
    Abu Garcia. Love them and all are quality 
  • cortrcortr Posts: 289 Deckhand
    Agree with freeliner. Shimano Curado is a great reel. Also shimano calcutta. A bit heavier, but great for light tackle saltwater applications qlso

  • Nick_BrutonNick_Bruton Posts: 36 Deckhand
    I think I saw Tatula in here already. I've bought 3 of them recently. I could be partial to diawa because of my discounts but I have really enjoyed these reels for the price. I never skimp on my gear, if it isn't up to par I will throw it in the lake.
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 12,582 AG
    I used to be a Quantum Smoke guy until I cheated on them and tried a Daiwa Tatula.  I left Quantum.  

    Captain Todd Approves

  • tarpon41tarpon41 Posts: 253 Deckhand
    Would you consider used...if so rounds Abu Record or Shimano Calcutta TE 200GT; Low TD Daiwa Fuego original
  • RealSeabeeRealSeabee Posts: 583 Officer
    The Tatula is a good reel, no doubt but LEWS speed series is a touch better in my opinion.  I use the Inshore Speed series.  I fish the St Johns (South end) and Indian River along with the Lagoon (Heavy Brackish and Saltwater).  To check out how the Drag system works under extreme pressure, catch one 47" Redfish in the Canaveral Bight...Good Results.
    When Practice meets opportunity, Set-The-Hook!
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,084 Moderator
    Abu Garcia Black Max is my go to cheap real.  Great bang for the buck at $40.

    This right here. I have fished a lot of different reels and will never buy anything but a Black Max.
  • bertha01bertha01 mexico cityPosts: 4 Greenhorn
    shimano calcutta
  • cknowles673cknowles673 MississippiPosts: 34 Greenhorn
    oh I read an article that talk about different reels and then the best ones out of those categories!! go check https://apparelbyhomerun.com/blogs/news/eight-different-types-of-fishing-reels
  • MuskiemanNCMuskiemanNC Posts: 134 Deckhand
    Abu Garcia Ambassadeur, the Swedish made ones.

    Sold reels
  • CageyCagey Central FloridaPosts: 917 Officer
    edited November 2019 #19
    Let me throw in on this one... and for a qualifier if it matters... today I work at Kel's rod and reel repair shop as a reel tech. Been working on reels since I was a teenager so now going on 40 years of personal fishing experience combined with the techy know how.

    While I like reels made by "other" brands, you know I have to go with service and parts availability so I can keep my reels working for decades. And I have used just about all of them since I also have been involved in the used tackle market for many years as well.

    And so from my perspective there is really only one brand at the top of my list. Shimano all the way! Well, almost all the way. I still use an old Daiwa Team Daiwa spinning reel now about 20 years old. I think it is an S3000CU. Built like a tank and still just as smooth now as ever. I don't particularly care for Daiwa baitcast reels though. I don't care for their shape or the fact Daiwa never uses centrifugal brakes. It is always some form of magnetic braking. Shimano gave that up in the early 90's and went full tilt centrifugal and that is where my preference has moved to as well.

    I still use Shimano Curado green bean reels, the CU-201B's. Great reels. Big and heavier yes, but solid and last forever if taken care of. And I have followed the Curado line up through the present and today use several i series and K series and one day I hope to afford the DC.

    As a reel technician I get to see the insides of just about all of the reels as they come across the bench. And, I can see that the newer curado line gives me a very good free spool that is every bit as good as what is found in higher end reels. A free spinning spool is a free spinning spool. Does not matter if the curado cost me $50 used, or a $500 Alderbaran new.

    I have used the high end reels. Nice yes. But I don't get any more casting distance from them that I can not squeeze out of my curado's with some ceramic bearings. So why spend the extra hundreds per reel for what? Niceness? Don't need it. I need a good reliable tool that lasts and lasts without trouble. And I have been very happy over the decades with the Shimano midline curado reels. I love my i's I think more than any of them.

    So for me, that is what I would recommend for baitcast reels.

    Other brands make good reels no doubt. But just not for me. I do still have a couple Bass Pro reels made in South Korea at same factory that today also makes reels for Abu, Lew's, Quantum and others like Browning. Same tooling found in all of them. I can even swap parts between brands sometimes because of this tooling similarity.

    And with these reels like my Rick Clunn's and Johnny Morris reels, I have triple carbon fiber drag washers and the Johnny Morris gears fit inside the Rick Clunn reels. Basically inside they are the same. Johnny Morris just saves the bells and whistles for his signature line, but the parts cross directly into my Rick Clunn reels. And these come with both centrifugal brakes and magnetic brakes combined in some reels depending on which model. But I would not recommend these reels. I just like using something different from time to time.

    One issue I have as a tech for my reels is a higher tolerance tightness degree. Shimano and Daiwa both engineer in the designs and transfer into production application some tight tolerances that you don't find in other brands. Let's just say that these two are tops as far as tolerances are concerned. In other brands things can get sloppy fast.

    I saw mentioned above as a recommendation the Quantum Smoke reels. As a tech I'd say heck no! Not that they are bad reels. It is just that Quantum does not back them up. Try and get parts for a Smoke. Good luck! You'd have better luck on ebay finding what you need. At least with Shimano sometimes when they run out of a part that is in demand even for older reels, Shimano will sometimes re-commission those old parts and make them available in limited quantities to keep their older reels up and running. When Shimano executives visit us at our shop this is one of the things I bring up to them every year around ICAST time.

    It won't be long before stateside 3D printers will be covering this angle for us- for all brands in the aftermarket.


    Changing over to spinning reels just to throw this in to this comment. As I said above I do still use a couple of older Daiwa spinning reels, but I will not use their baitcast reels.

    And my preference really goes to Shimano again in the midline range with their stradic line. I am good at working on stradics, especially their older models that I prefer. I generally stick with stradics from the FE, FG, FH, FI, and even FJ era reels. I do not use anything newer because I am not as happy with construction. I like the older triple drag washer mechs. A set of well maintained drag washers can last 20 plus years on the same set the reel came with.

    This does not happen with the newer drag mech. I am replacing chewed up drag washers in newer reels on a regular basis. There is a 50% reduction in the physical material the washer is made of. Less to me is not better in drag mechs. Here, take a look at what I run into all the time in the shop with newer drag mech:

    Top drag washer chewed up as I find them inside the reels:

    Top drag washer on reel less than 2 years old is chewed to pieces!

    And here are some 20 plus year old Stradic drag washers still in usable condition, even though they show obvious compression from user tightening down drag and leaving it cranked down even after putting reel away not using it. NOTE Always back off drag on all reels after use! Save your drag washers!

    And which drag mech do you think will stop fish better? The smaller drag washers shown above that chew up easily, or the older drag mech shown below with more than twice the surface area. Yeah, I'm sticking with what worked! And its cheaper too!

    Older stradics... when stradics earned their reputation! And this is where I am still at to this day and not changing any time soon! My reels will outlast me and get passed down to my boys one day and hopefully the lessons on how to keep them running too!

    While guys today are spending $200 plus on newer stradics and higher end reels. I am still getting these older stradics for under $30 and an hour later after a tear down and overhaul I have like new stradics to last me a lifetime with care and proper maintenance.

    One man's junk is another man's treasure! Got any junk you want to unload?

  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 10,438 AG
    I have never seen live bones, but I know that they are often used by rich people to decorate the interior.
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