Best Baitcasting Reel For Catfish – Top 10 Baitcaster Catfish Reels

Catfish is a strong, tough species that will always fight for survival. This makes them enjoyable to catch, whether in a boat or from the shore. Several catfish species have their characteristics and size, so your tackle and bait will differ depending on what you’re chasing. Its wide range of sizes provides anglers with versatility that other species do not.

This guide will look at the top 10 catfish reels, including our favourite, the best value reel, the best reel for saltwater fishing, etc. We’ve also put up a step-by-step guide to help you decide on the finest catfish reel for you.

Top 10 Best Baitcaster Catfish Reels

You’ll need the finest catfish reel to land a large catfish effectively. Catfishing demands a reel that can cast adequately, drag, and hold enough line. There aren’t many manufacturers specializing in catfish reels, and the ones most suited for catfishing are saltwater fishing reels. 

These are the top 10 best Baitcaster For Catfish:

  1. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
  2. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Pro
  3. Abu Garcia C3 Catfish Special
  4. Lew’s Speed Cast Reel
  5. Catfish Sumo Heavyweight
  6. KastKing ReKon Round Baitcasting Reel
  7. KastKing Kapstan Elite
  8. Penn Squall Level Wind Baitcast Reel
  9. Sougayilang Round Baitcasting Reel
  10. Piscifun Chaos XS Round Reel – Reinforced Metal Body Round Baitcasting Reel

Product imagesProduct namesEditor's ratingPrice
Amazon best-selling product B01DDKDE9WKastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel4.9

Amazon best-selling product B086M72DCSAbu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Pro4.9

Amazon best-selling product B086M4N2CBAbu Garcia C3 Catfish Special4.9

Amazon best-selling product B01MPW7ZETLew's Speed Cast Reel4.8

Amazon best-selling product B07ZQSN37MCatfish Sumo Heavyweight4.8

Amazon best-selling product B07VLLP4C8KastKing ReKon Round Baitcasting Reel4.8

Amazon best-selling product B07LH1V4QWKastKing Kapstan Elite4.8

Amazon best-selling product B00ER7G51APenn Squall Level Wind Baitcast Reel4.8

Amazon best-selling product B07GDFQY45Sougayilang Round Baitcasting Reel4.7

Amazon best-selling product B07ZT9SWCVPiscifun Chaos XS Round Reel - Reinforced Metal Body Round Baitcasting Reel4.8

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reels

The KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel is available in 8 different variations. It has an outstanding design, power, and durability. The KastKing Rover reel is strengthened with aluminium side plates, CNC machined spools and a stainless steel shaft. There’s also an all-alloy level wind, a stainless steel worm gear, and a unique metal idle gear. The level wind provides a guide, moving from side to side as you turn and maintaining the line level and smooth. A newly developed “Cymbal Washer” on the carbon fibre drag delivers up to 30 pounds of drag.

Maximus double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings provide a smooth performance. This KastKing is a standard reel used for trolling, bottom fishing, and other activities. A more oversized handle with a 3.6:1 gear ratio for weight savings and a non-slip grip for enhanced control is also included.


  • Strong and heavy
  • Smooth casting
  • Work well under pressure
  • Affordable price


  • Performance may decrease with time.

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Pro Reels

The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Pro is a catfish-specific rod with a Carbon Matrix drag system, four stainless steel bearings, and a six-pin centrifugal braking system. The drag system is robust, which is crucial when fishing for catfish, a fish that enjoys a good battle. Additionally, the technology provides you with an extensive drag range. The stainless steel ball bearings offer a smooth retrieval.

The braking system allows the line to exit the spool at the same rate as the casting. Long-distance casting is simple. It also boasts a synchronized level wind system and a durable aluminium frame.

The extended bent handle offers you a more excellent grip when catching catfish with giant lures. This Abu Garcia is perfect if you want a reel specifically designed for catfishing and are ready to pay a little extra.


  • Rock-solid durability
  • Drag pressures are smooth, consistent
  • Extended bent handle


  • Expensive

Abu Garcia C3 Catfish Special

This Abu Garcia fishing catfish reel is one of the catfish’s most robust and most durable baitcasting reels. It’s available in two different sizes: 6500 and 7000. The 6500 has three stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing, as well as a 5.3:1 gear ratio. The 7000 features two stainless steel, one roller bearing, and a 4.1:1 gear ratio.

Long bent cranking handles and big power knobs on both sizes provide excellent torque and leverage when fishing with large fish. The reel also boasts a substantial drag, thanks to Abu Garcia’s patented Carbon Matrix system, which is smooth and dependable, and the 6-pin centrifugal brake, which provides excellent casting accuracy. The reel includes a sturdy frame and metal spool, and an expanded grip and knob that makes it easier to retrieve line on large fish. The synchronized level wind system also assists in casting and line lay.


  • Centrifugal braking system
  • Two sizes with 4:1:1 and 5:3:1 gear ratios
  • The tough reel that can handle big weigh


  • The max drag capacity is limited.

Lew’s Speed Cast Reel

This catfish reel is designed for large catfish. Because the main gear and crankshaft are brass, you can rest confident that this reel will last long. The frame and side plates are made of anodized aluminium, which is sturdy and stable.

The carbon fibre drag system is readily controlled by its aluminium star, proving that this reel can be durable and smooth at the same time. The drag system can carry a maximum weight of 15 pounds. The reel weighs roughly 12 ounces and has a reel gear ratio of 5.3:1.

Other characteristics include a stainless steel ball-bearing 5-bearing system and a Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing. This ensures that when the spool begins to spin in that direction, the clutch bearing stops it. The large EVA grip on the power handle provides excellent grip. At roughly $100, the reel is reasonably priced.


  • Smooth and strong performance
  • It can handle the large weight
  • Large EVA grip
  • Affordable price


  • Slow retrieval speed 

Catfish Sumo Heavyweight

The Catfish Sumo Heavyweight Champions Reel is built of high-quality materials and includes features created specifically for battling giant catfish. Heavyweight Champions’ flexible catfish fishing reel is a baitcaster, which means it’s suited for long casts.

The centrifugal brake system and spindle brakes protect the line from twisting. There’s also an anti-reverse system and a carbon disc drag with 20 pounds. The gears are made of brass and have a ratio of 5.3:1.

A steel mount plate and thicker aluminium sidewalls add strength. The Heavy Champions Catfish has a line capacity of 300 yards. Because of its durability may be used for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, such as surf fishing.


  • High-quality components
  • Centrifugal brake system and spindle brakes
  • Saltwater approved


  • Bait may fall apart when changing lines.

KastKing ReKon Round Baitcasting Reel

KastKing ReKon baitcasting reels are built to withstand difficult trolling conditions and include only the best components. KastKing employs three double-shielded, stainless-steel ball bearings at high-stress points and the Instant anti-reverse bearing to ensure smooth and trouble-free operation. KastKing’s carbon disc drag provides excellent stopping power.

Each size also has a good line capacity. The Size 10 can carry up to 250 yards of 20-pound test mono, while the Size 20 may carry up to 420 yards. The line clicker function on both size reels makes releasing planer boards simple and easy. When trolling, you may utilize that function as a strike detection system. The gear ratio on size 10 is 5.1:1 and 5.3:1 on size 20. This is an excellent catfishing baitcaster with sturdy internal components, a ton of line capacity, and the precision of a line counter.


  • Work well with various types of fishes
  • The big spool provides for a large line capacity.
  • Available in two sizes and two handle options


  • Line counter numbers might be too small.

KastKing Kapstan Elite

KastKing’s new Kapstan catfish baitcaster reel has the biggest frame, maximum capacity, and low profile of any baitcasting reel. Its comfortable, low-profile design, huge line capacity, and excellent drag power make it the ideal big fish or big bait throwing reel.

This reel has a fantastic carbon fibre drag system with a powerful max and the type of controlled release you desire at lower settings. It has a 5.4:1 gear ratio and is available in right or left-hand retrieve. It offers impressive power and torque for battling giant fish, trolling deep diving baits, or casting heavy jigging lures. The centrifugal braking system is conveniently accessible and has six adjustable brake shoes to prevent overruns and backlashes with baits of any size in any situation.

The Kapitan baitcasting reels include high-performance, double-shielded, stainless-steel ball bearings (8+1) and a braid-ready, CNC aluminium, high capacity spool. These outstanding bearings decrease noise while increasing casting distance and performance. Its performance is good, and casting is ideal for beginners and professionals.


  • Excellent braking system
  • Very smooth and powerful drag
  • Can handle giant catfish


  • Quite heavy due to the large spool

Penn Squall Level Wind Baitcast Reel

Penn Squall Level Wind works well as a trolling or baitcasting reel. The reel’s frame and side plates are graphite, making it lightweight. The high-strength machined main gear is made of marine-grade bronze alloy. So, this reel is highly sturdy and durable.

The drag is smooth and firm, and you should be able to handle a 100-pound fish so that that giant catfish might be alright. You won’t experience any bend with this reel because the handle and body are strong. The larger versions have a massive line capacity backed up with a good max drag. When fishing for catfish, you wouldn’t be concerned with line capacity.

It has a 2+1 shielded stainless steel bearing system and an anti-reverse. Despite the modest number of stainless steel ball bearings, it ensures a smooth and speedy retrieve. It also casts exceptionally well due to a fine-tuned braking system that can serve as a bait feeder when in free spool mode. The reel, however, does not feature an auto-engage drag system, so you’ll have to lift the lever manually.


  • High-quality components
  • Smooth casting
  • Significant drag and line capacity
  • Fast retrieval


  • It does not have an auto engage.
  • The line might bunch due to level wind.

Sougayilang Round Baitcasting Reel

The Sougayilang Warrior round baitcasting reel features a better carbon fibre drag system that is stronger and more forceful. It is made of an anodized machined aluminium frame, spool, and side plates for better corrosion resistance. Machined aluminium is extremely tough and resistant to knocks and scratches.

The Carbon Matrix drag is powerful and smooth, and its synchronized level wind system offers a consistent line lay and easy retrieval. It may reach a maximum weight of 22 pounds, enough for catfish. The drag adjustment is simple and accurate, and the dual anti-reverse is ideal for feeding hungry fish your catfish bait.

The gears are brass, and the insides are stainless steel, making this an extremely robust and corrosion-resistant piece of jewellery. The retrieve is incredibly smooth, and the reel casts effectively despite the wind. Large handle knobs with non-slip grip material, line-out clicker alarm, quick access thumb bar spool release. The braking system is a little unstable, so you might have to rely on your thumb and possibly a glove. This is fine if you’re a professional, but you’ll struggle if you’re a novice.


  • The drag is powerful and smooth.
  • Amazing line capacity
  • Fast retrieval


  • The braking system is poor.

Piscifun Chaos XS Round Reel – Reinforced Metal Body Round Baitcasting Reel

The Piscifun Chaos XS takes a special place on our list due to its exceptional performance for the price. This is one of the most reasonably priced round Baitcast reels that provides nothing less than a first-rate fishing reel.

For the smoothest functioning possible, the reel comes with seven bearings (6+1). The corrosion resistance of the bearings sets it apart from the crowd. These are composed of stainless steel and can withstand saltwater without deterioration.

This reel’s quality carbon fibre drag system is its most outstanding feature. When combined with the Japanese Hamai-Cut brass gear, the reel allows you to draw large catfish from the water quickly. Superior casting performance and rock-solid durability are delivered by innovative cast technology. The innovative cast technology provides a smoother and longer casting distance while minimizing backlash. Whatever the size of the fish, the smooth dragging system combined with the strong gear choice will make it easy for you.


  • Amazing cast
  • Excellent drag system
  • Reasonable price 


  • Most internal gears are made of Teflon or plastic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Things to Consider When Buying Catfish Spinning reels (Drag system, Line capacity…)

Reel type

Spincast, spinning, and baitcasting reels are the three basic types of reels. Spincast reels are simple to operate, making them ideal for beginners. They’re also the most cost-effective reel. But, you do sacrifice accuracy and casting distance. Spinning reels are the most common and easiest to cast reels. They’re more precise as well. The only drawback is that they don’t function well with heavier lines. Baitcasting reels are intended for those with more expertise. They offer excellent accuracy, range, and power, perfect for catching larger, stronger fish. They also are the priciest reels available. Depending on the species and your ability level, any three-reel style can be used to catch catfish.

Construction material

It’s essential to think about how long your reel will last. It must be able to withstand the elements, including corrosive saltwater. Materials that are commonly used include stainless steel, aluminum, and graphite. Metals such as stainless steel and aluminium are stronger, but they corrode more quickly. Stainless steel works well for ball bearings. Graphite is preferable for saltwater fishing. It was also less expensive. 

Drag system

Drag systems assist in the slowing down of large, battling fish. You’ll need a reel with a good drag system, including drag washers if you’re hunting giant catfish. Drag washers should ideally be constructed of metal rather than plastic to ensure durability.

Line capacity

The reel’s line capacity is the amount of line that the spool can hold. Catfishing reels with a big line capacity are ideal because catfish may be giant and heavy. The spool takes up more room with the heavier line. A big line capacity also allows you to utilize a wide range of catfishing techniques. You’ll need to be able to throw great distances to catch catfish in deep water. Baitcasters generally have more line capacity.

Ball bearings

The most excellent reels have sealed ball bearings on their spinning parts. These provide smoother, more durable performance. The ideal material is stainless steel. Bushings are used in lower-cost reels because they are inexpensive and simple to produce. Get a reel with ball bearings if the quality is crucial to you. The most excellent catfishing reels will have a lot of ball bearings.

Gear ratio

When you turn the handle, the gear ratio affects how much line (and how fast) it goes around the spool. With a larger ratio (such as 6:1), you may recover more lines with each handle turn. This is especially useful when bringing in larger catfish and casting a great distance.


You’ll need a heavier reel if you’re fishing for huge catfish. The rod should be the same size as the reel. If you use a big reel with a small, light rod, you won’t have much luck. The weight and size of your reel and rod should be determined by the size of the catfish you intend to catch.

Power handles

Power handles on reels are bigger knobs that provide a firmer grip and torque. They come in handy when you need greater leverage to reel in a giant fish. These handles are well worth considering if you’re after giant catfish.

Setting Your Catfish Reel Up For Success

Choosing the appropriate tool is a significant start in the right direction, but it’s only half the fight. To complete the deal and help capture more catfish, you’ll need to know how to utilize the equipment properly. Not only can understanding how your catfish reel works help you catch more fish, but it will also make your fishing experience more pleasurable.

Do you need a leader for catfish?

When fishing for catfish, we recommend using a leader. The ideal materials are mono or fluorocarbon. Mono provides more stretch. It’s also simpler to break if you get a hook trapped in dense plants or other obstructions. Because of its abrasion resistance, fluorocarbon is a common choice for leads.

The clarity of fluorocarbon is advantageous for hunting catfish with exceptional eyesight (such as channel catfish). This line is much more costly than mono. If you’re unsure if you want to invest the extra money, try mono first and see how you like it.

What Is The Best Bait Should I Use For Catfish?

It depends entirely on the species. Flathead catfish prefer live bait, whereas blue catfish prefer oily fish that is fresh or frozen. Because they are scavengers, channel catfish are like “dead baits.” Many anglers hold their bait close to the bottom while pursuing giant freshwater catfish. You’ll need the appropriate tackle if you use this method.

The Problem With Cheap Catfish Reels

If you’re going to spend money on catfish reels, get high-quality fishing reels the first time. When cheap fishing reels break, replacement components are difficult to come by, and you must discard them. A high-quality reel will provide exceptional performance while also being long-lasting. If you need to replace parts, they will be readily available as long as you keep the reel.

What rod should I pair my catfishing reel with?

A fishing rod is an essential piece of equipment. The best rod is determined by various factors, including reel size, catfish species, and techniques. There are two types of rods: spinning and casting. A spinning rod requires a spinning reel. Whatever kind you choose, it should be on the long side. This is because catfishing necessitates long casts. Longer rods also provide more leverage, helpful when battling a large catfish.


Catfish are enjoyable to catch and provide memories that last a lifetime. You will need the correct reel targeting little catfish or huge blue catfish. Catfish angling is tough on gear, and all but the smallest channel catfish require robust, dependable reels. Keep in mind that the essential features to look for in a catfish reel are durability, castability, line capacity, and drag. It would be best to pair it with a nice catfish rod to perfect the experience. Smaller fish will require a lighter spinning reel to match a more lightweight rod. Whatever species or method you’re interested in, there’s a reel. I hope you found the review informative and that you now know which catfish reel is ideal for you.

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