If you grew up in the American south a couple of generations ago, your first fishing pole was a hunk of bamboo with a long line attached.
Kids a few years later often began fishing on their dad’s old baitcasting reel. Snarls, tangles, and the occasional friction-burned thumb earned when you tied into a big fish and tried to use it as a finger drag system were common.
Enter the “cutesy” phase of beginner fishing starting in the late 1970s — Snoopy, Barbie, and later Barney fishing poles. Short three-foot rods with push-button fishing reels introduced the millennials and generation X into the recreational angler’s mania.
The choice of equipment for many anglers is the spincasting reel (sometimes called a bullet spincasting reel). It is a closed face reel much more efficient than its open face cousin. If efficiency is on your bucket list, this quality spinning reel is easy to use, most have anti-reverse, ball-bearing smoothness, they can be configured with a wide variety of fishing line, used on multiple levels of power, on a dazzling array of rods, and they’re just fun to use
Top 8 Best Spincast Reels
BEST OVERALL - Pflueger President Spincast PRES10SCX
If you had only one spincasting reel to use in various settings, the Pflueger President is the go-to default. It will match all those must-haves on your list. It is arguably the best value in a closed face reel, and the construction level is pure quality.
Put five stainless steel ball bearings with dual titanium pins, an instant anti-reverse bearing, and a body constructed of aluminum to create one of the best spincast reels.
Its braid ready spool allows you to tie your fishing line directly to it makes a more durable anchor point. The spool-applied drag system grants you full control over how much or how little resistance to offer the fish on the other end of your line.
You’ll need all that line capacity since the Pflueger President spincasting reel on a quality rod offers a solid fishing setup that allows tremendous casting distance.
All these features put the Pflueger President at the top among the best spincast reels in terms of performance.
BEST VALUE - Abu Garcia Abumatic 170 Spincast Reel
The great New York Yankee Hall-of-Fame catcher Yogi Berra once said, “I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous.” It won’t cost you an appendage if you’re on the water with the Abumatic 170 Spincast reel by Abu Garica. The Abumatic 170 features an easy conversion from right to left-handed, so it’s a reliable option for any angler.
A four-ball bearing system made of stainless steel with aluminum body and cone, the QuadCam pickup system for fast line pickup, and an ultra-smooth drag system make this compact little reel a prevalent choice among the many spincasting fishing reels on the lakes and river of the USA.
It comes pre-spooled with Berkley Trilene XL line and features an ultra-smooth drag system with a maximum setting of eight pounds, so you’re ready for high-intensity action straight out of the box. The instant anti-reverse system design prevents backlash, and the 3.6:1 gear ratio ensures smooth, powerful retrieves even with the biggest fish battling you on the other end of the line. Your line might fail, but your spincasting reel won’t.
Line rating is optimal for 6 to 12-pound test, with a lure rating of ¼ to 5/8 of an ounce. When fully wound with an 8-pound test line, you’ll have 110 yards of high-strength line to work with.
BEST PREMIUM - Zebco Omega Pro Spincast Reel
The Omega Pro is touted as the lightest spin casting reel in the Zebco line. It’s a full 20% lighter than their standard Omega model. With seven stainless steel ball bearings, this spincast reel invented by expertly Zebco is at the top of the market, ranking high in best spincast reel reviews amongst critics, mainly thanks to its unmatchable smooth quality retrieves.
A dual paddle handle construction makes for easy adjustments for the experienced angler. A gear ratio of 3.4:1 on the Omega Pro is identical to the standard Omega, and comes standard with anti-reverse, left or right hand retrieve and a line capacity of 85 yards with 6-pound test line.
A quick retrieve of 14 inches per turn provides additional control when jigging, cranking in buzz bait, or fooling those largemouth bass with a popper. Bass fishermen, young and old, love Zebco reels for their consistent performance.
Triple-Cam dial-adjustable disk drag system, positive pickup ceramic pins, an anodized aluminum spinner head, helical cut worm gear drive, and all stainless steel gears and aluminum front cover make this spincasting reel not just highly efficient but durable as well.
The Zebco Omega Pro is a top of the line spincast reel, ready for action on any body of water.
Daiwa Goldcast Spincast Reel
Sometimes a spincasting reel looks more like art than simple functionality. The Goldcast by Daiwa is a leader in these pieces of ergometric art. On appearance alone, this is among the best spincast reels on the market, but there is much more to this quality reel than good looks.
An oscillating spool level-wind reduces snags, the fast 4.1 to 1 right or left hand retrieve provides excellent control for reeling in those tricky lunkers. The sturdy, colorful metal body, nose cone, and ball bearing cover guarantee long years of usage in even the harshest conditions.
Pre-wound with high-quality premium fishing line, and an ultra-smooth multi-disc drag system, the Daiwa Goldcast spincast reel will tire out even the most stubborn fish and get them back to you with consistent performance.
The Daiwa Goldcast is available in three models, the GC80, GC100, and GC 120. All share the same gear ratio, but the GC80 features an 18.3-inch line per crank, weighs 9.2 ounces, and can handle up to 75 yards of 8-pound test line. The GC100 brings in 20.8 inches of line per crank, weighs in at just under 10 ounces, and has a line capacity of 80 yards in 10-pound test line. Finally, the GC120 is the big boy of the product line, weighing in at 12 ounces, and packing up to 100 yards of 12-pound test line. It also has the fastest retrieve at 21.3 inches per crank.
With various versions available for different use cases, the Daiwa Goldcast is a reliable and versatile servant destined to assist you well for years to come on the waters.
Pflueger Trion Spincast Reel
The Trion looks like something out of a science-fiction blockbuster. Its unique lever-action release is a favorite among serious anglers for the added performance. The button release on most spincasting rods is replaced with a lever just below the rod with the reel hanging underneath rather than sitting on top of the rod. The unique design makes it a popular spincast reel, high in durability.
The Trion comes in six different sizes, granting you the opportunity to choose a model that fits your favorite type of fishing. The Trion6USC B is the baby of the bunch, weighing just 6.4 ounces, but don’t let the light weight fool you. It is packed with the same high-performance features that make Pflueger a world leader in quality reel design.
The reel spools on these six models are either all aluminum or zinc die-cast on two of the models.
They come pre-spooled with high-quality line. The smallest reel handles 135 yards of 6-pound test line, while the Trion10SCB has a line capacity of up to 80 yards in a 12-ounce reel with 3.8:1 gears.
All six modes have a buttery smooth spool-applied dial drag system.
The design takes a little practice to get used to, but serious anglers quickly learn the technique for long-range, precision casts and they never look back because the benefits are huge.
Zebco 33 Spincast Reel
Now we’re talking fishing for anyone in the family. Descended from a spincast reel Zebco called the 303, it was the reel that started millions of youngsters on the pathway to a lifetime on the water. This descendent packs all the ease of use and enjoyment of the old 303 into a more durable modern package, with many more features.
Zebco has rightfully earned the reputation as America’s most trusted source for easy to use reels with long-lasting durability. The Zebco 33 integrates all the technology and intricate design Zebco is renowned for into one simple package.
A higher gear ratio allows for faster retrieves without compromising accuracy and smoothness. The all-metal construction replaces the sometimes breakable plastic parts of the old 303. Zebco’s proprietary QuickSet anti-reverse, Bite Alert along with a dial-adjustable drag system make this the perfect reel for the beginning angler or for someone who has been on the water for decades.
Pre-spooled with 10-pound test line on a reel with a line capacity of 120 yards and a retrieve rate among the highest in the industry at 23 inches per crank this reel is synonymous with high speeds and impressive casting distance.
The Zebco 33 is available in silver and black, with ambidextrous crank placement, weighing just 9.3 ounces and packed with a gear ratio of 4.1:1. This reel will get your lure where you want it to go, and bring in those trophy bass, trout, catfish, and walleye.
Zebco is known for building some of the best spincast reels on the market and the incredible Zebco 33 is no exception.
KastKing Brutus Spincast Reel
KastKing is an American-owned company that makes its fishing reels in New Jersey. They are reinventing the fishing industry with their highly competitive prices and their reliable build quality. The KastKing Brutus is among the most popular entry-level models and rates high in spincast reviews among users on Amazon for a reason.
The business end of this reel comes packed with a long list of features, including five smooth-action MaxiDur stainless steel bearings. It features an easy to use button release just above the handle on the right side and offers a high-speed 4.0:1 gear ratio.
Ambidextrous handles cater to the fishermen who prefer cranking with the left or right hand over the other. The smooth action button release and double-paddle handle design are all popular aspects of this high-efficiency low-priced reel.
Pre-spooled with 10-pound test line, the KastKing Brutus has one of the largest line capacities available in spincasting reels at a whopping 160 yards.
The unique graphite composition of this reel from cutting edge materials, combined with an aluminum handle, ensures a light weight at just over eight ounces, combined with durability, strength, and power. In other words, all the high-tech space level technology you can find is packed into this inexpensive reel, while still being considered at the top of spincast reels you can buy.
Zebco Rhino Spincast Reel
A shiny red spool cover, anodized aluminum core, and black release mechanism attract the eye, while the three stainless steel ball bearings, an instant anti-reverse system, and precisely aligned gears sing to the heart from every angle on each smooth cast.
The Rhino wraps all the quality in a spincast reel Zebco is known for and wraps it up in an attractive, high durability package.
The Rhino is only available in a right-handed configuration. It comes in two varieties, the RSC2B and the larger RSC3WA. The 2B has a smaller reel size, weighs just eight ounces, and can handle up to 100 yards of 8-pound test line. It’s 3.4:1 gear ratio is preferred by bass fishermen and other anglers who look for a more controlled retrieve. The 16 inches per crank retrieval rate is also enjoyed by precision anglers.
The RSC3WA has a larger spoon, handles 95 yards of 12-pound test line, and has one of the lowest gear ratios among all spincast reels at just 2.9:1. This lower ratio is similar to those lower gears on your four-wheel-drive truck. The power is the same, but the transmission of that power allows much more “horsing” on a big fish.
Among spincasting reel reviews, The Zebco Rhino is a favorite by those who have taken it to the water.
What is a Spincast Reel?
There are thousands of fishing reels on the market, in a bewildering array of sizes, shapes, and colors, but if you break it down into simple terms there are just four main types of reels. The baitcaster, the spinning reel, the fly reel, and our topic - the spincast reel.
The spincast reel is similar to the spinning reel in that the line is spooled horizontally with the rod. As the line is cast or retrieved it flows off the spool in a circular fashion, flowing down the line guide to your target on the water. Baitcast reels roll the line out back and forth across a right angle to the rod like a winch pulling a truck out of the mud. Fly reels wind directly in and out of the reel.
A spincast reel is enclosed, as opposed to an open-faced spinning reel. The enclosure secures the line, prevents snarls, and allows the line to flow in and out around the cover, making casting easier, and retrieving more efficient. A higher gear ratio means faster retrieve, a lower gear ratio means more power and control.
The inner parts of the reel are protected from the elements by the housing, the line is protected from damaging UV radiation since it is housed inside the cover. The push-button reel operation requires just your thumb to release the line and doesn’t require the dexterity of a two-handed cast as a spinning reel does.
Adjustable drag and ambidextrous handle mounts make many of these reels accessible to just about any angler.
Spincast reels are the best starting point for young anglers, just learning the basics of fishing. Reduced tangles, ease of use and long casting distances make it an enjoyable experience for young boys and girls just getting started on the water.
Things to Consider When Buying Spincast Reels
A walk down the fishing equipment aisles at your local sporting goods store can overwhelm the casual shopper. Online clicking through retail sites offering spincast reels can be an equally daunting task. Just what should you look for when buying a spincast reel?
The first consideration in purchasing a new spincast reel is fit, does it fit your hand? Does it fit the rod you want to use it with? Does it fit your angling plans? Consider the nuts and bolts of construction, how many ball bearings does it have? How much do you want to spend?
Spincast reels are often sold in combination with spincast rods. The reason is simple, the mount on the rod is designed by the manufacturer to fit the reel and vice-versa.
As a consumer, you don’t have to go with a combination designed by someone else, you can pick and choose the rod and spincast reel you wish for your specific need.
How It Fits You And Your Rod
Most reels sold in stores are attached to a short rod handle. Pick it up, flick it with your hand. Does it rest solidly in your hand? If it feels too large or too small in the store, you don’t want to try it while balancing on a boulder, tossing your line into a fast-moving river, and hoping your entire setup doesn’t fly into the water and disappear.
Spincast rods come in as many varieties as spincast reels. You’re fishing, but the world is your oyster when it comes to selecting the right spincast reel and rod. An oversized spincast reel on a small rod can cause problems but so can an undersized spincast reel on a larger rod. As Goldilocks said, “This is just right.” That’s the quest you’ll have when finding your unique combination.
How You Will Use It
Aside from the ergometric considerations, the most important thing to consider is how and where you’ll be using your new spincast reel.
Is this spincast reel for a novice angler? Perhaps a child or grandchild you want to get started in the sport? If so, the features you’ll be looking for are ease of use, reliability, and strength of design, since kids can be very tough on equipment.
If you’re buying this reel for yourself, or an experienced angler, your goals should be slightly different. What type of fishing are you going to use it with?
What You Will Use It For
If you’re after salmon in a fast-flowing river, you’ll need a spincast reel that can handle heavyweight monofilament or braided line. The spool size will determine the line capacity you can have. You don’t want to lose a record-setting salmon, running hard in high current because you ran out of line and the line snapped at the knot in the spool. Strong fish in strong current require a spincast reel with a good, heavy dragging system that can wear this monster down.
If you’re not going after monster denizens of the deep and are just pond or lake fishing for panfish, your spincast reel needs are much different.
How well does it cast? Not necessarily how far it casts, but how accurate can you get in tossing a lure or live bait? The difference between a good day on the water (they’re all good) and a great day can be lure placement. Fish are fickle, a few inches here or there with bait placement can make all the difference in catching crappie, bluegill, or bass, or not even getting a bite.
A high-quality spincast reel can give you the edge you need in getting that minnow, worm, or jig exactly where the fish are waiting.
Do you fish right or left-handed? Will someone who uses the other hand be using your spincast reel on occasion? If the answer is yes to either question, your best bet is to buy a spincast reel that has an ambidextrous handle. That means with a simple twist of a mounting nut, you can switch the handle from an opposite side of the reel to the other. It’s a simple solution to a problem that many anglers face.
The location of the release button or lever is a final concern when purchasing a spincast reel. Most spincasting reels have a button, bullet-style release you click with your thumb. Others have a lever that avoids the bullet style and allows you to flick your line with a fluid motion as you point the rod tip at your target.
As a rule, a spincast fishing reel is less expensive than other designs. An entry-level Zebco 33 is affordable by just about anyone.
Spincast reels are amazing devices, they’re even more amazing if you select the right reel for your unique needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are spincast reels good for?
A spincast reel is perhaps the most versatile tool an angler can have. It is easy to use, almost maintenance-free in comparison with spinning reels and baitcasting reels. Its covered design prevents the monofilament line from weakening in UV sunlight. Stainless steel parts keep corrosion away.
A spincast reel is available in many sizes and configurations, making it among the more versatile fishing reels on the market.
The simple single button or lever release allows single hand casting. Unlike spinning reels, most spincasting reels can be adjusted to left or right-hand use with just the switching of the handle from one side of the spindle to the other.
Spincast reels are the perfect starter reel for children or novice anglers. It is a very forgiving reel, that rarely snarls, is easy to maintain, and, most importantly, allows even the beginner to place their bait or lure exactly where they’re trying to toss it.
They’re good from shore fishing from heavy brush, or from a boat with other anglers onboard and space at a premium and single-handed bullet casts are needed.
What is the best spincast reel for catfish?
Catfish come in all sizes from seven-inch long bullheads to 80-pound channel cats. The best spincasting reel for catfish is first determined by the size of the fish you could catch. Nobody wants to be the guy who had a fish so big it was pulled the boat against the current before the line snapped. You also don’t want to be the pilgrim who uses 30-pound test-line to pull in eight-ounce bullheads.
Any of the major brand reels, Zebco, Abu Garcia, Daiwa, KastKing, and especially Pflueger are great for catching catfish. For smaller fish, select a lighter weight reel that can handle six to eight-pound test line.
Fishing for catfish doesn’t require a huge line capacity, since the ones in ponds and lakes don’t usually run far after they’re hooked, but instead fight hard to stay on the bottom.
If you’re fishing for the big cats in the Mississippi, Columbia, or Missouri drainages, you’ll want a spincast reel that can handle heavy braided line or monofilament with a test weight of 30 pounds.
Line capacity is a premium feature with big channel cats in moving water. The big boys will run and routinely snap even heavy line. A good drag system is also an important feature on a spincast reel used to catch these river monsters.
Can I put a spincast reel on a spinning rod?
The quick answer is yes, and no. You can put a spincasting reel on a spinning rod if it’s not a casting model. In other words, if the rod is designed to bend with the line guides down, you can’t use it. As a type, spincast reels always sit on top of the rod, a rod with a pre-bent design that throws line out of the guides as they hand down just won’t work.
If the reel seat is permanently attached and does not rotate, you can’t use a spincast reel on the spinning rod.
Older spinning rods usually have a reel seat that rotates around the rod, with an attachment ring that screws the two rotating locking points together. If your spinning rod has this feature, you can easily use a spincast reel with it. Bullet casts can still be made on a spinning rod attached to a bullet spincast reel.
How much line does a spincast reel need?
The answer is enough to let a big fish run with the dragging system set. There is no standard for line capacity, the quick answer is you need enough line to get the job done.
When bobber fishing from a dock, a pontoon, or from shore, the amount of line isn’t that important for this type of fishing.
If you’re fishing into a saltwater bay, after giant largemouth bass or big rainbow trout, you’ll want as much line as you can pack into your reel.
Salmon, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout are runners. They’ll hit your bait hard and take off. In a river sometimes they’ll go upstream and the current helps you, but sometimes they’ll go downstream, using their strength and the force of the moving water to have line screaming out of your reel like a runaway train. A good dragging system, lots of extra line inside the reel waiting to be used is crucial. When a big fish hits the end of the line, there is a good chance it will snap the line and swim away.
That’s a story no angler wants to tell.
When it comes to fishing, a good spincasting reel can fit the needs of most anglers. You’ll want some basic features when selecting the best spincast reel for your needs. An anti-reverse system is important whether it’s a Zebco 33 or a Pflueger President.
For those who say just any fishing reel will do the job, it’s obvious they haven’t been in many diverse angling situations.
No individual fishing reel will solve every demand, but a quality spincasting reel comes very close. Stainless steel handles, button reels, stainless steel spools, and stainless steel bearings guarantee long life, even in saltwater conditions.
Line capacity, the weight of the line it can hold and retrieve rates determined by gear ratio are all important as well.
When you finally hit the water with your new spincasting reel, you’ll be happy you’ve taken these factors into consideration. All you have to do now is bait your hook, cast your line and bring in the fish.