Fishing reels are never the same. Actually, the huge number of fishing reels out there might confuse you as to which is better for which kind of fishing. Today we’re going to talk about the best catfish reel and this is a quite important subject, since catfish are one of the most complicate species of fish to catch.
Catfish are incredible survivors, they can live in extreme conditions, from temperatures of just above freezing to almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For this case, they can be found on all continents, except Antarctica. They can live inland or in the coastal waters. They’re a big family of fish actually. They’re named “catfish” because of their “whiskers”. Some species of catfish can live in saltwater, others in fresh or brackish waters. Some prefer fast-moving rivers, others slow streams.
Few species of catfish sleep during the day, and are active during the night, while other species prefer a vice-versa “schedule”. Catfish are incredible species of fish deserving of your utmost attention and the best catfish reel to catch them. Let’s look at what’s in store.
Table of Contents
- Comparison of 9 Best Catfish Reels in 2020
- Top 9 Best Catfish Reel Reviews in 2020
- 1. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
- 2. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Reel
- 3. Ming Yang Black CL60 Baitcast fishing reel
- 4. Sougayilang Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
- 5. Zebco Big Cat XT Spincast Reel
- 6. Lew’s Fishing Cat Daddy Spin Reel
- 7. Zebco/Quantum Big Cat XT Spinning Reel
- 8. Fishing Catfish Bait Feeder Reel
- 9. Piscifun Chaos XS Round Baitcasting Fishing Reel
- How to Choose the Best Catfish Reel for the Best Catch
- The Best Catfish Reel Should Help You Put Up a Feisty Fight
- Relevant Resources
Comparison of 9 Best Catfish Reels in 2020
|KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel||Check Price|
|Abu Garcia Ambassadeur||Check Price|
|Ming Yang CL60 Baitcast Fishing Reel||Check Price|
|Sougayilang Rover Round Reel||Check Price|
|Zebco Big Cat XT Spincast Reel||Check Price|
|Lew’s Fishing Cat Daddy Spin Reel||Check Price|
|Zebco Quantum Big Cat XT Spinning Reel||Check Price|
|Fishing Reel, Spinning Drag Reel||Check Price|
|Piscifun Chaos XS Round||Check Price|
Top 9 Best Catfish Reel Reviews in 2020
As we have said, catfish are a broad spectrum of species and they might require some specialized heavy duty catfish reels to do the trick. So what we have done here is provide you with a comprehensive list of the best quality catfish reel on the market right now, and some additional options, like an inexpensive catfish reel that does the job well, or the best catfish spinning reel, if that’s the style of fishing that you enjoy. Shall we proceed?
1. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
If you love baitcasting reels and you’re looking to adorn your collection with the best catfish baitcasting reel on the market right now, then this might be it. This KastKing Rover comes with a brand new hardened-aluminum design, some high-quality machined spools and brass gears to help you level up your catfish fishing experience.
The spool shaft is made of stainless steel, and the drag system is carbon fiber. It can handle large catfish without a problem and it can do extended retrievals like a charm. The manufacturer claims that the drag system comes with a brand new cymbal washer system, which should offer better drag and a smoother performance.
This KastKing baitcasting reel for catfish has got six bearings and can handle heavy catfish line without a problem. To wrap it up, this KastKing reel looks like it’s up for the job. It appears quite durable and like you’re going to enjoy baitcasting for catfish with it for a long time to come.
- High-quality and durable materials
- Reliable and strong drag system
- All metal, no plastic parts
- If you’re not a well-versed, experienced baitcaster, you might have problems avoiding the backlash from this reel
2. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Reel
This Abu Garcia Amassadeur might be the best cheap catfish reel for catching some serious, big catfish, without much compromise on precision and performance. Actually, the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur is a well-known catfish reel amongst experienced anglers.
Word is out that they will last longer than you’ll ever be able to fish with them and that you’ll always find spare parts for repairing or replacement. Is that just a legend? Let’s see!
This product right here is specifically designed for catfish, especially big catfish. It features a four bearing system and a carbon matrix drag system you can adjust easily. The centrifugal brake has the reputation of being superior to most catfish reels out there. So, what’s not to like?
- High-quality materials and durable build
- Well-designed and powerful drag system
- It can cast heavy catfish line very smoothly
- Great break system which assist greatly in casting and retrieval
- No thumb bar
- Might emit a bit of annoying rattle, but hey, you’re fighting in the big catfish league here
3. Ming Yang Black CL60 Baitcast fishing reel
We know that passion is great, but money is money and every angler has got a budget he should keep to. So, if you’re a bit tight and looking for the best catfish reel for the money, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered as well!
This Ming Yang Black CL60 baitcasting reel for saltwater catfish might very well manage well on the job. It’s got a quite good 4:2.1 gear ration and a one-way clutch anti-reverse bearing. The side plates are made of anodized aluminum and it also features a selective on/off bait clicker.
Drag should be smooth and strong, almost comparable to Abu Garcia, while the baitcasting experience might be a little bit on the rough side. You can get a 65 lbs braided line on it for the big cats and it will hold up the power quite well.
- It should provide plenty of cranking power and drag for the bigger catfish
- The bait clicker looks really nice and loud
- It looks quite durable for the many and can compare to Abu Garcia even
- The casting might be kind of rough
4. Sougayilang Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
It’s hard to determine which is the best quality catfish reel on the market right now, but still, our job is to get pretty close to that. And this Sougayilang product isquite close. It is designed to resist corrosion, so you can fish at the seaside, with minimum maintenance effort.
The 3 stainless ball bearings and 1 roller bears should ensure smoothness, while the drag system should ensure long-range, strength and anti-friction abilities. It also features a power knob and extended bent cranking handles for more torque fighting big fish.
All in all, this product here looks like it’s going to bring the large ones in with very little problems and it’s got a fair price also. Although it’s a Chinese market product, I don’t think you should dump it right away for that matter. To wrap it up…
- Sturdy materials and build; it looks like it could take a beating
- Smooth performance and reliable drag
- It feels quite heavy in the hand
5. Zebco Big Cat XT Spincast Reel
I was a little bit of poking fun with the “big cat” in its name. This spincast is mostly for the easiest catfish to catch, like bullheads or other species living in farm ponds. As you can see it is quite small, can hold a small amount of light line and cannot stand a large fight.
However, you shouldn’t get discouraged. The reason we’ve chosen it is because of its capability of catching small catfish species with ease, well-suited gear ratio, and its nice bait clicker touch. Actually, it is quite rare to see a spincasting reel with bait clicker. All in all…
- It is a spincasting reel with bait clicker
- The gear ratio is well-suite for catfish
- Simple and cool design which makes it easy to use and maintain on long-term
- You cannot catch “big cats” with it as the name might suggest; it is mostly suited for beginners
6. Lew’s Fishing Cat Daddy Spin Reel
Usually, in the fishing world, Lew’s is good quality stuff, not very popular, but still good. This Lew’s cat daddy spin reel is one of those heavy duty catfish reels you can rely on to land a 50 pounds plus blue catfish after fighting it for 15 minutes with drag pulling runs and rolling.
This reel comes with a gear ratio of 5.1:1 and it can offer 34’’ recovery per turn. The design looks nice and strong. It should perform smooth enough for its size. It might be a lot heavier than you’d expect, but hey, it’s a heavy duty catfish reel supposed to be able to take a beating.
- Strong and durable build
- Smooth performance
- Fit for large fish
- A little too heavy
7. Zebco/Quantum Big Cat XT Spinning Reel
On the top rated catfish reels spectrum we’ll also find this Zebco/Quantum spinning reel. It’s fair to say it’s a basic model, but it seems to do its job well. It appears it can achieve really good smooth casting and retrieval, and moreover, it is particularly recommended to fishermen who like bank fishing and need a little extra length in their cats.
It made our list because it seems a pretty reliable reel which can offer consistency, together with some well-received features, like bait clicker, and synchronized adjustable level wind.
The level of skill to master it is basic, so even beginners can use this best catfish reel. Moreover, it is made of high-quality aluminum which is bound to resist. Personally, I’m not a fan of its design, but maybe you’ll enjoy it.
- Quality gears and smooth casting
- Can manage a fair amount of line
- It is easy to use
- Durable build
- The overall design: it is quite large and uninspired
8. Fishing Catfish Bait Feeder Reel
This top catfish reel by Keenso might look like an unknown product to you and we don’t blame you. We recommend you try something new from time to time and maybe it’s time to start with this Bait Feeder reel.
This reel features a metal wire cup design, lightweight body and nice colour scheme. It can be folded for easy storage and it can even fit in your backpack. The drag should be smooth and employ good adjustments.
It features a backstop switch placed directly under the fishing reel, and which can control the front and back of the fishing reel. The manufacturer offers a 180-day warranty, in case you have doubts about purchasing this product. To wrap it up, here’s who it fares:
- Aluminum alloy body
- Cool colour scheme and good design
- Pretty lightweight
- It features lots of plastics
9. Piscifun Chaos XS Round Baitcasting Fishing Reel
This rather inexpensive catfish reel features a CNC caved, anti-line skip aluminum spool for much easier fishing. It is quite versatile, engineered with a 6 + 1 anti-corrosion bearings, some consistent drag and should deliver some really good casting performance.
The forged handle is looks extended for better performance. It looks pretty durable overall. The manufacturer boasts an innovative cast technology which ensures better casting on longer distances and reduced backlash.
However, it doesn’t say how they’ve managed to achieve that or what this technology brings new to the table. The drag system, however, is made of premium carbon fiber and provides up to 20 pounds of stopping power, which is not bad.
- Overall smooth performance
- It can manage large catfish with ease
- It’s got strong drag
- We didn’t like the plastic gearing which could pose an issue on the long term
How to Choose the Best Catfish Reel for the Best Catch
Catfish reels should be durable, reliable, and offer good, smooth performance. They should be made of high-quality materials, and also match your allocated budget at the same time. Catfish are feisty creatures and catching the big ones might require really good heavy duty catfish reels. So, let’s see what to take into consideration when shopping for catfish reels.
Size and Line Capacity of Catfish Reels
The size and the line capacity are highly related when it comes to reels. Larger line capacity means bigger reel and vice versa. The size is usually measured by a thousand. So, 1000 is the smallest reel and growing from there. Most anglers prefer 4000-5000 catfish reels. Now, to get to the line capacity. This one determines how much line the catfish reel can hold. So, info like 12/196 on a catfish reel will tell you that value.
The number is an estimate of the line amount in yards, and the estimate of weight it can hold. So, for the example here, the reel will hold 196 yards of a 12-pound line. These specifications are usually for the monofilament line. As far as braided line is concerned, you’ll pretty much have to guess, as most manufacturers do not provide the details for it.
So, you should keep in mind that the braided fishing line is thinner and make an estimate or just ask fellow fishermen what they’re using. Most fishermen prefer a catfish reel with large line capacity. Also, you should keep in mind that spinning reels have smaller line capacity than baitcasters.
Best Quality Catfish Reel Drag System and Gear Ration Explained
Drag systems should, first and foremost, be adjustable so you can fine tune them to help in reeling in the catch. Big catfish are quite challenging, so a finely-adjusted drag can make all the difference between coming empty-handed and landing the big catch. The position the drag adjustment is located on the reel also differs from one manufacturer to the other and it is an important aspect to consider when shopping for the best catfish reel.
Catfish baitcaster reels will present a second feature here that it’s called bait clicker and its function is to let your spool spin freely so the catfish can run with the bait. Once you decide it’s high time you reeled the fish in, the feature will disengage and revert back to the default drag setting. This bait runner is something that can pose as useful and some anglers really love it. It usually makes a noisy click sound which lets you know when a fish is on the line. As the feisty catfish dives to the bottom putting up the fight of his life, the bait runner will gradually decrease the tension on the line to avoid breaking it.
Now, to the gear ratio. This is usually a feature that you either love or hate, and it is much down to every angler’s appreciation and preference. Some just don’t care about it and once they found the reel that spins like a dream, just stick to that gear ratio. Anyways, to break it down, a gear ratio that reads like 5.2:1 means that every 1 full turn of the handle, the spool turns 5.2 times. Gear ratio can be useful information that will help you decide what type of bait to use.
Materials and Overall Construction Design
Catfish usually put up fights and for that you need the best quality catfish reel on the market, which brings both performance and durability to the table. A fighting catfish can prove straining to a flimsy reel and can result in breaking it. Moreover, since catfish are both freshwater and saltwater species, you need to choose a corrosion-resistant material. Constant exposure to water can cause reels to breakdown. The best materials to look for are carbon fiber and stainless steel.
The Best Catfish Reel Should Help You Put Up a Feisty Fight
In the end, it all should come down to your fishing preferences and technique, but you should also make sure you go for a top catfish reel that will not break down when you are about to catch the biggest catfish out there. For anglers who love a good fight, the best catfish reel on the market is a must.