Baitcasting reels are known as a strong kind of reel because they can work well with heavy lures or heavy lines. However, the price ranges for them are commonly high. If you want to get the best of both worlds – a high-quality baitcasting reel at an inexpensive price tag, we’re here to help.
Here are the best baitcasting reels under $200 (Jan 2021 Update):
- Best Overall: Lew's Fishing Custom Inshore SLP Speed Spool MSB 9+1
- Ultra-Lightweight: 13 Fishing Concept Z Freshwater/Saltwater Baitcasting Fishing Reel
- Best For Inshore Saltwater Baitcasting: Piscifun Alijoz Size 300 Baitcasting Reel 33lb Drag 5.9:1/8.1:1
- Best For Catfish: Abu Garcia C3
- Best For Salmon: SHIMANO Curado K Baitcast Reel
- Best For Small Hands: Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS Baitcasting Reel 8.1:1
|6 Best Baitcasting Reels Under $200|
|Lew's Fishing Custom Inshore SLP Speed Spool MSB 9+1|
|13 Fishing Concept Z Freshwater/Saltwater Baitcasting Fishing Reel|
Best For Inshore Saltwater Baitcasting
|Piscifun Alijoz Size 300 Baitcasting Reel 33lb Drag 5.9:1/8.1:1|
Best For Catfish
|Abu Garcia C3|
Best For Salmon
|SHIMANO Curado K Baitcast Reel|
Best For Small Hands
|Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS Baitcasting Reel 8.1:1|
Best Overall: Lew's Fishing Custom Inshore SLP Speed Spool MSB 9+1
- Controllable and comfortable - Lew’s combat grip pad on the thumb bar
- Heavy-duty yet lightweight - aluminum frame with a graphite palming side plate and a strong, lightweight carbon handle sideplate
- Decent durability and smoothness - Corrosion resistant ball bearings and Zero Reverse anti-reverse 1-way clutch bearing
- The drag is a bit jerky
The Lew's Fishing Custom Inshore SLP Speed Spool isn’t your regular baitcasting reel.
It is customized for left-handed and right-handed anglers while all the parts are upgraded to give you the next level of fishing experience.
A typical example for our saying is its aluminum frame with a graphite palming sideplate and a solid, light carbon handle sideplate – something hardly finds on other counterparts.
Besides, it boasts Zero Reverse anti-reverse one-way clutch bearing and sealed corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings with the aim to deliver decent durability and smoothness. It also gives you superior control and comfort to every cast by featuring a new Lew’s combat grip pad on the thumb bar.
Another notable thing is its Lew’s patented Speed Keeper hook keeper, which enhances your fishing convenience by all means.
|Lew's Fishing Custom Inshore SLP Speed Spool MSB 9+1 Specifications|
a carbon fiber drag system
new Lew’s combat grip pad on the thumb bar
aluminum frame with a graphite palming side plate and a solid, light carbon handle side plate
Corrosion-resistant ball bearings and Zero Reverse anti-reverse 1-way clutch bearing
Lew's Fishing Custom Inshore SLP Speed Spool is our best overall performer this year, according to its superior construction quality, functionality, and experience.
Ultra-Lightweight: 13 Fishing Concept Z Freshwater/Saltwater Baitcasting Fishing Reel
- Durable, corrosion-protection but lightweight - Gear sideplate & HD aluminum frame
- Offer adjustable six pins of the braking system for easy use - the 6-way centrifugal braking system
- Allow the spool of the reel to spin to either cast or pull in fishing line - Zero bearing technology
- The paint easily chips off
- Many plastic parts
Strong enough to hold up well large, aggressive fish as well as fight corrosion but the 13 Fishing Concept Z is still amazingly lightweight. It weighs only 6.08 ounces while most other counterparts are ranging from 6.6 to nearly 8 ounces.
However, making it stand out from the competition is the zero ball bearings of construction. This feature allows the spool of the reel to spin to either cast or pull in the fishing line.
Another thing that we also like a lot is its 6-way centrifugal braking system that allows for easier and more customizable use than traditional braking designs.
|13 Fishing Concept Z Freshwater/Saltwater Baitcasting Fishing Reel Specifications|
zero ball bearings.
22 lb Bulldog drag
HD aluminum frame
The 6-way centrifugal braking system
Zero bearing technology
Designed to be ultra-lightweight with no compromise of strength, the 13 Fishing Concept Z is a great addition to anyone’s arsenal of fishing supplies.
Best For Inshore Saltwater Baitcasting: Piscifun Alijoz Size 300 Baitcasting Reel 33lb Drag 5.9:1/8.1:1
- Perfect for inshore baitcasting fishing - Hamai cut hardened brass gearing and the incredible 33Lbs of drag
- Able to handle better big swimbaits and big fish with lower noise and decent smoothness
- Easy to use, comfortable, and stable - internal wrapped thumb bar pad, 8 magnetic braking system, and double shafts
- Might take extra time to get used to its power handle and larger frame size
- The brand is still quite new
One of the key elements making this reel a perfect choice for inshore baitcasting fishing is its Hamai cut hardened brass gearing and the incredible 33Lbs of drag.
This perfect combo, along with the premium aluminum frame and gear sideplate, offers unparalleled strength and power, allowing it to handle better big swimbaits as well as big fish with lower noise. For that reason, it’s perfect for pro fishing tournaments.
Piscifun Alijoz is also renowned for its ease of use with decent comfort and stability, all thanks to the internal wrapped thumb bar pad with an engage button on the gear sideplate, 8 magnetic braking system, and double shafts.
|Piscifun Alijoz Size 300 Baitcasting Reel 33lb Drag 5.9:1/8.1:1 Specifications|
8 double-shielded stainless steel bearings
Hamai cut hardened brass gearing and the incredible 33Lbs of drag
internal wrapped thumb bar pad, 8 magnetic braking system, and double shafts
If you’re finding a reel under $200 for inshore saltwater baitcasting, this fits the bill.
Best For Catfish: Abu Garcia C3
- Specifically designed for catfish
- Easy to use – lightweight line
- Reliable – Sweden-made
- Not enough lubrication from the factory
What we like the most about this baitcasting reel is it offers four different options custom-made for specific fish species, including catfish.
If you’re wondering about the difference between this version and the 7000 reels, aside from the color and $20 price difference, the 6500 version features a lighter line so it’s easier to use. Besides, it’s a lot more sport in getting them in when hooking <20-pound fish.
Another worth-mentioning thing is that this version is Sweden-made while the 7000 is by China, which ensures the quality.
|Abu Garcia C3 Specifications|
1 roller bearing
3 stainless steel ball bearings
Carbon Matrix drag system
Specifically designed for catfish
For those pro catfish anglers, the Abu Garcia C3 6500 Catfish Pro might be what you’re after.
Best For Salmon: SHIMANO Curado K Baitcast Reel
- Strong and durable – able to pull in 10- to 20-pound landlock salmon
- Cast smooth and further – come from spinning reel
- Allow for backlash at the beginning of cast – feature thumb wheel adjustment
- Require tightening the spool to clasp back the plate
- A bit on the heavy side
SHIMANO Curado K is the best baitcasting reel under $200 we’ve ever tested. It pulls in 10- to 20-pound landlock salmon with ease, even in really strong current. And as coming from spinning reels, it casts a lot further and smoother than similar counterparts.
The drag system is fantastic, functions well with no issues, and feels sturdy in the hand.
It also features an optional thumbwheel adjustment for backlash at the beginning of the cast, which is a big bonus.
|SHIMANO Curado K Baitcast Reel Specifications|
6 S A RB and 1 Rollerbearing
able to pull in 10- to 20-pound landlock salmon
come from a spinning reel
feature thumbwheel adjustment
Built with an adjustable thumbwheel, awesome drag system, and superior strength, the SHIMANO Curado K becomes the most sought-after baitcasting reel under $200 for salmon.
Best For Small Hands: Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS Baitcasting Reel 8.1:1
- Ideal for small-handed fishermen – 38mm size
- Able to make a long cast in strong winds
- Easy and effortless to use - lightweight setup and powerful drag system
- The handle could be sturdier
Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS continues to be our best pick for small hands over the past two years for some good reasons.
Aside from its custom ergonomic designs for this group of anglers, the baitcasting reel highlights great performance even when making a long cast in the 12 MPH wind. The powerful drag system allows it to handle up to 5-pound bass effortlessly.
Our testers also fall for its lightweight setup and ease of use in a long day of fishing of nonstop casting.
|Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS Baitcasting Reel 8.1:1 Specifications|
lightweight setup and powerful drag system
The Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS is our favorite pick for small-handed anglers due to its compact 38mm size and many other highlight features.
How To Choose The Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200?
If you’re new to this term, we’ve got an easy example: if you see a reel numbered 180/40, it means this unit can hold 180 yards of 40 pounds. So line capacity of a baitcasting reel is the maximum line length its spool can hold without overloading the reel.
In the market, different reels deliver different lines, and different lines perform at different consistencies.
At the price range of under $200, you’ve three options of baitcasting reel’s line capacity – fluorocarbon, braided, and monofilament.
Whichever the choice, remember to leave some space (nearly 1 1/8 of the spool) free.
A basic rule of thumb is the larger the baitcasting reel, the larger the drag systems.
In some special cases, the reel’s interior gear design might also affect this feature. When talking about the drag system, there are two common terms – rear drag (also called bait feeders or bait runners) and front-rear drag.
Rear drag is a screw with adjustments located on the back of the reel, along with a lever to activate its function. Front rear drag is associated more commonly with spinning reels and it’s positioned above the spool, allowing you to change it before or while you go fishing.
Baitcasting Reel Feature
Materials and technologies – worth considering because they keep the reel lightweight and compact yet still high efficiency. Modern reel models are generally designed with new tech.
Size – choose a small and sleek reel for higher wear resistance and enhanced durability or a bigger one if you use larger lines.
Weight – a baitcasting reel can be lightweight to suit feather-light lures or heavy for improved balance.
Which Brands Make The Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200?
In 1949, Lews was established by Childre Lews as a family-run company specialized in manufacturing fishing rods and reels. After 40 years, they are one of the most reliable brands in this field, known for top-notch innovation that is stronger, faster, and lighter than other competitors.
Founded by Jim, 13fishing was into the market with a solid aim to create higher-quality fishing rod and related accessories at a more affordable price. And now, they make that come true.
What makes a good baitcasting reel?
There are three solid things making a good baitcasting reel: line capacity, drag system, and other features (like size, weight, and technologies). To learn more, please read our buying guide option above.
What lures are best for baitcasters?
For baitcasters filled with braid, go for topwater chuggers, plastic frogs, and buzz baits. For baitcaster with fluorocarbon, choose deep cranking and Texas-rigged soft plastics.
Should I use a mono or braided line on my baitcaster?
If you’re in a tight budget, go for a monofilament line. However, if your budget is loose a bit, we highly recommend choosing the braided because, despite its high price tag, this line is stronger, longer, and more sensitive.
What is a low profile baitcasting reel?
It features a handle size and a palm side. The spool is located in the center of the reel and the clutch bar is behind the spool.
What gear ratio is good for you?
5.0:1 to 7.1:1 of gear ratio is perfect for beginners to intermediate fishermen while 7.1:1 to 9.1:1 is for pros.
There is a seemingly endless array of baitcasting reels available today, and it can be hard to determine which is the right one for you. If you’re on a budget, we hope that our review roster of 6 best baitcasting reels under $200 comes in handy. Thanks for reading!