Are you a fan of fishing catfish? But aren’t you sure which reel to go for? Then read on…
Catfish are one of the most aggressive fish out there. They fight to get free from the hook and are also the most eager ones to go after the same bait. These qualities of catfish make them a great sport to catch.
You can fish for the catfish from a boat or from shore. They have many species, all of which are of different sizes and natures. They also live in varying habitats.
That is why you should get the fishing gear according to the species of catfish you will catch. Likewise, your rod, reel, and tackles should be according to your fishing situation.
A small catfish can be as light as 1 pound, but the biggest ones are heavier than 1 kg (sometimes). You can’t catch all types of catfish with a single kind of reel and rod. So, are you confused about which is the best catfish reel for you? Don’t worry because I have got you.
This guide will discuss the best reel to reel in your catfish, buyer’s questions, guides to reels, and buying considerations for you so, that you enjoy your catfish catching spree without any problems.
A Quick Look At The Best Catfish Reels
Best Catfish Reels
Since catfish are such an important fish for anglers, there are many reels available for catching them. However, anglers are constantly debating on which reel is the strongest and which has a suitable mechanism.
But because there is not enough information about the best catfish reel, new anglers often waste money on wrong options, and then they suffer later.
So, before you buy the first catfish reel that you see, you should learn a little about catfish, reels, and everything related to them. This information will help you immensely when you decide to buy a reel or rod for your catfish.
#1 – KastKing Megatron – The Best Choice For Catching Catfish
– Key Features
- Best value of money
- Reel body double shielded with aluminum, zinc, and stainless steel
- Over 30lbs. carbon fiber drag
- Reel spool and handle material: aluminum
- Bearing material: 7+1 MaxiDur stainless steel
- Hand orientation: ambidextrous
- 5 Reel styles available: 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000
- Feature of instant anti-reverse
- It can be used in saltwater and freshwater
- Strong drag to deliver smooth and flawless dragging.
- Works excellent in saltwater and freshwater.
- Perfectly engineered body for easy handling.
- The perfectly geometrical look makes it a crowning piece in an angler’s reel collection.
- Durable body made of aluminum, stainless steel, and zinc alloy.
- Can deal with heavy fish smoothly.
- Great quality at an affordable price.
- Rigid and smooth reel control.
- Ideal drag system to deliver more than 30lbs.
- Sometimes the reel becomes stiff.
- Less experienced anglers need to practice before using it to catch fish to avoid backlash.
- Bait-feeder starts to move freely after once or twice use.
- The reel handle is sometimes flawed/broken.
KastKing Megatron is one of the most superior part of KastKing Megatron series. It has a modern designed body with rugged aluminum skeletal frame.
The gears and spool are made from zinc alloy to provide rigidity and smoothness. The whole reel is perfectly machined for easy use. The spooling shaft and the rest of the reel are made with stainless steel.
The Megatron has a carbon fiber drag system which is ideal for reeling in large fish like catfish, and it also works excellent for retrieving and casting the bait to far distances. This is a tournament-level reel and provides maximum performance both in saltwater and freshwater.
The best thing about this reel is that it can carry even the heaviest fish smoothly. However, the only drawback about this reel is that sometimes it becomes too stiff, and its bait-feeder can become loose after once or twice use.
KastKing Megatron is one of the most powerful transformers in the fishing world. With this reel, KastKing has maintained its superior quality of products which are unmatched by other companies. The Megatron is ideal saltwater and freshwater reel with a bionic and unique body, making it look like an Autobot.
The reel can uphold the great weight of the greatest fish like catfish while maintaining its smoothness, rigidity, and strength. This reel has unmatched durability because of its unique make, and it will stay with you for your many catfishing experiences.
#2 – Piscifun Chaos XS – Best Conventional Choice For Catfish
– Key Features
- Hand orientation: left hand
- Bearing and handle material: stainless steel
- Reel includes 6+1 anti-corrosion bearings for smooth dragging
- Reel material: aluminum
- Superior casting performance and durability
- Reel installed with carbon fiber drag system
- The reel can bear more than 20 pounds of stopping power for chasing fish
- Sturdy and long-lasting reel. Designed to meet the harshest conditions
- Sensitive clicker line alarm to alert you as soon as a fish gets hooked
- Reel features allow the line to spool evenly when the thumb bar is disengaged or engaged
- Ideal for catching trophy fish.
- Powerful for inshore saltwater trolling.
- Suitable for casting to longer distances.
- Smooth and durable handling.
- The reel can bear the immense weight of even the heaviest fish,
- Quiet, providing medium-powered action.
- Resilient body made of the strongest metals.
- Easy to use and lightweight.
- The diamond insets on the reel can cut the braided line because of sharpness.
- The reel size is small compared to other reels.
- The brakes can sometimes jam while fishing.
- Has only one-sided hand orientation
Piscifun Chaos XS is a perfect reel for all kinds of catfishers. There is a high chance that most anglers already have a solid rod for their fishing trips, and this reel will work as the last piece of the puzzle. This reel is designed for all kinds of fishing as its drag is suitable for most fishing situations.
Piscifun Chaos XS is a circular reel with a reinforced metal body. It provides a smooth saltwater fishing experience and inshore surf trolling. You can easily catch Musky, Pikes, Bass, and Catfish with it. In addition, the reel includes a CNC carved anti-line skip aluminum spool, which makes spooling stress-free.
The greatest thing about this reel is that it is durable and provides medium action smoothly. It can also hold a huge quantity of line. Apart from this, the spool can attach or detach easily so that you can tie the braid without any difficulty.
However, the insets on the reel are diamond-shaped, which cuts your braid line. If you want to save your line from cutting, you will have to put electrical tape over it. Another issue that the anglers face while using this reel is that it is small compared to most reels.
Piscifun Chaos XS is one of the most versatile conventional spinning reels in the market for catching catfish. It is very easy to use and efficient for capturing the most aggressive fish of saltwater. In addition, this reel works well for fishers who are not sure if they can use the baitcaster reel.
I think that Chaos XS has the best value for money and its round shape helps to complete a rod and make it efficient for almost all saltwater fishing situations.
#3 – Sougayilang Round Baitcasting Fishing Reel – The Best Durable Reel Out There
– Key Features
- Gear ratio: 3:8:1
- Line capacity: mm: 0.35/480, 0.45/300, and 0.50/280. YDS: 15/520, 25/280, 30/220.
- Ball-bearing: 1+ 1BB
- Hand orientation: right hand
- Body material: graphite, plastic, and steel
- Item weight: 15.5 ounces
- Works well in saltwater and freshwater
- Can bear the weight of large fish like carp, bass, and catfish
- Spool material: carbon fiber makes it durable and corrosion resistant
- Durable and sturdy
- Can store a large amount of monofilament and braided line in the spool
- Line alarm to alert you as soon as the fish is hooked
- Strong reel handling.
- Provides complete control of the catch to the angler.
- Smooth casting to greater distances.
- Can bear the weight of heavy fish.
- Drag works flawlessly.
- Good money value.
- Perfect and sound reeling.
- Easy to put load line in the reel.
- High gear ratio with fast action.
- Silent action.
- Sometimes the line can get tangled during reeling.
- Reel’s spool and handle can break after initial uses.
- The reel body gets rusted in some instances.
Sougayilang reel is designed to resist the harsh conditions of weather and saltwater. This baitcasting reel is one of the most eye-catching reels for catching fish like catfish, carp, walleye, etc.
it is also ideal for trolling offshore in the saltwater and catching the bottom feeders. The reel offers all the necessary features to the anglers for catching trophy fish species.
Sougayilang reel can be used in freshwater and saltwater, but its sturdy and robust body is ideal for harsh saltwater.
This reel is perfect for casting the bait to far distances because it allows you to put in a large amount of monofilament or braided line to cast to the farthest of places for catching your favorite fish. It works as your go-to fishing gear when you want to fish in deep waters.
However, one drawback that customers faced after buying this reel was that it started rusting in some instances after first use. Another issue with this reel is that it can break after first or second use, not so durable.
The Sougayilang baitcasting reel is overall a good reel for money value. Like every reel, it has its downsides, but that doesn’t mean it is not worthy enough. If you properly maintain it, then it can last for many years and be your fishing partner.
You can catch deep-sea creatures with this reel because it has a lot of capacity for storing line. It is also an excellent reel for fishers who are learning to fish and experienced anglers because it provides full control on the catch.
#4 – Heavyweight Champions Catfish Baitcaster Reel – Best Military-Grade Reel
– Key Features
- Reel’s sub-name: Sumo
- Reel material: aluminum and stainless steel
- Hand orientation: right hand
- Handle and spool material: aluminum
- Reel weight: 12 ounces
- Bearing material: steel
- Ball bearings: 6BB + 1RB
- Ideal for new and experienced anglers
- Reel includes a centrifugal braking system with spindle brakes
- Reel includes anti-reverse
- Loud bait clicker
- Carbon fiber disc drag with 20lbs of smooth drag for tiring even the biggest fish.
- Strong body construction
- The reel can hold up to 300 YDS of line
- The reel cover protects the reel from any foreign object.
- Power handle to control the fish.
- Reel comes with a lifetime warranty card.
- Robust body construction with steel mounting plates, thick aluminum plates on the sides.
- Ideal for new and experienced anglers.
- The reel can bear the heaviest weight of fish.
- Lightweight and easy to install.
- The great value of money for good quality material.
- The reel can hold 300 YDS of line.
- The drag is not great.
- The bait can break easily after initial use.
- Sometimes the reel doesn’t spool and also lags.
- The neoprene cover can crack with twice or thrice use.
Heavyweight Champion’s baitcasting reel is made up of aluminum. It is highly durable and lightweight so that it is very easy to cast with it. In addition, the reel has a power handle and a neoprene cover, making it one of the best reels for catching catfish.
Catching aggressive fish like catfish can be very tough on your fishing equipment. And that is why for such fish, you need durable and robust gear.
If you are looking for a durable reel to fish near the rocks or in the darkness for aggressive beasts, then the Heavyweight Champions reel answers your question. Catching big fish is a trophy sport, but you can also catch small fish for fun with this reel.
Its best feature is its centrifugal brake system and smooth drag, which can wear out even the most challenging fish. But a few negative aspects of this reel are that its bait alert gets loosened and falls as soon as you try to change the line. And sometimes, the reel freezes in time and doesn’t spin the spool.
Whether you are an experienced angler or a newbie, you can use this reel for catching any fish. This reel stands out from other reels because it provides you with complete control of the reel and the catch.
You can also get great support for various weighted fish when they fight to get free. The reel’s ability to store many lines helps the fisher cast to great distances and in deep waters.
So, if you are looking for an affordable and good-quality reel, you should ignore its minor flaws and go for the durable heavyweight champion baitcasting reel.
#5 – Sougayilang Warrior Round Baitcasting Reel – A More Powerful Reel Model
– Key Features
- Reel shape: conventional round reel
- Reel material: aluminum
- Hand orientation: right hand
- Reel colors: golden-black and red-black
- Reel handle material: stainless steel
- Reel weight: .71 pounds
- Fishing line type: braided line
- Bearing material: stainless steel
- Machined aluminum reel with reduced weight
- Spool anodized with gunsmoke
- Bearing drive system: 6BB +1RB
- Reel installed with dual anti-reverse (quick roller bearing and silent ratcheting)
- On and off clicker on the reel for bait fishing, chunking, and trolling
- Line guide material: zirconium
- Powerful action for smooth dragging.
- Drags are made of carbon fiber to increase reel durability.
- The reel can bear up to 10 kg weight.
- Handle made of non-slip material.
- Clicker alarm to alert you on the slightest activity under the surface.
- 2-pin centrifugal brake for a flawless fishing experience.
- Ideal for saltwater and freshwater.
- Level wind system allows smooth lay and effortless retrieving of big fish like carp and catfish.
- Lifetime warranty.
- The handle is insecure and loose.
- The reel can’t be adjusted once you start using it.
- The clutch gets stuck and doesn’t engage.
- The knob and handle parts are not durable and long-lasting.
The warrior model from Sougayilang is a more powerful product than the Sougayilang round baitcasting reel that I have already reviewed. It has a metal body and a supreme carbon fiber drag system.
This powerful reel will make you fall in love with the mere idea of fishing with it because it can control any water beast. Its power and versatile body can help you handle and drag up to 10 kg smoothly.
The great thing about Sougayilang warrior, apart from its power, is that it has brass gear with Carbon fiber drag washers, making your entire fishing experience extremely smooth. It is a good reel for the offered price.
But the problem that users face while using this reel is that the reel cannot be adjusted for the drag and the line. Apart from this, the clutch also doesn’t sometimes engage even after the drag is tightened. On the other hand, the handle is loose and breaks easily after only a few fishing trips.
Usually, in the market, reels are not powerful enough to hold weight up to 10 kg. But the Sougayilang Warrior fishing reel is one of the reels which can smoothly drag big fish without giving in or breaking. Moreover, the ideal thing about this reel is that you can claim a lifetime warranty if it ever stops working or breaks.
Like all other reels, this reel also has disadvantages like knobs and handles not being of good quality or that the drag sometimes freezes. But, overall, this reel is ideal for catching huge deep-sea creatures without a problem.
#6 – KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel – A Very Versatile Reel Option
– Key Features
- Reel material: aluminum
- Hand orientation: right hand
- Reel handle and bearing material: stainless steel
- The spool is CNC machined with brass cut gears
- Stainless steel components for reel’s protection from corrosion
- Drag system material: carbon fiber with Cymbal washer
- Ball-bearing material: MaxiDur double-shielded stainless steel (6 + 1 BBs)
- Reel works great both in saltwater and freshwater
- The centrifugal braking system for smooth casting
- Reel includes oversized non-slip EVA grips
- Easy access thumb bar and spool release
- Reel comes with a cloth bag for storage.
- Sturdy, very well made, and durable.
- Easy to use for both new and experienced anglers
- Good money value.
- A newly designed drag system helps in catching the biggest fish even when they are aggressive.
- The reel contains all metallic parts, with no plastic involved.
- Stylish design.
- Ideal for saltwater and freshwater
- The reel is heavy and large in size, which increases the rod’s weight.
- It makes creaking and crunching noises while reeling.
- Less experienced anglers need to practice on other reels before using them to avoid backlash.
KastKing Rover reel is one of the best reels for the money. It vaunts great power, durability, and design. It has a machine CNC enforced spool with precision brass gears and rigid anodized aluminum side plates.
Its spool shaft and other components are made with stainless steel. The KastKing Rover has a carbon fiber drag system which is excellent for extended retrieving and large fish.
The drag also includes a cymbal washer system. The reel is made with six bearings and can cast perfectly with even a heavy catfish fishing line.
The Rover reel works great for many catfishing techniques like deep water fishing and trolling, etc. The greatest thing about this reel is that the clicker alarm ensures that the big fish is hooked before going off, and after that, the drag system starts its magic.
A few drawbacks of this reel are that the reel makes a creaking sound while dragging. It also doesn’t hold many lines, only 30lbs, and it is never secured in place. As a result, it keeps slipping even after you secure it with tape. Sometimes the reel also jams and stops reeling.
I have always enjoyed using an excellent all-metallic reel for my fishing trips, especially when I am fishing for catfish. The KastKing Rover reel is ideal for the money. It is made up of durable materials and will stay with you for many of your fishing trips.
However, you need to maintain it correctly; otherwise, it can break or stop working. It works well with most fishing rods. The reel is ideal for catfishing. If we keep aside the drawbacks for a while, this is a pretty unique and versatile rod.
Things To Consider When Buying Catfish Reels
Fishing for catfish is one of the most famous kinds of freshwater fishing. These fish are known as one of the most aggressive fighters among all freshwater fish. They are the only active fish almost all the time, in the day and at night.
Catfish are famous because of their ability to hunt by smell instead of color. That is why they are fished with baits that have a strong fishy smell. Since catfish are such unique species, they require an entirely different set of gears crafted especially for them.
However, there are a few things that you need to consider before you buy any gear (especially reels) for catfishing.
Baitcasting Vs Spinning Vs Conventional Reels
Mostly the catfish anglers think it is ideal to buy a baitcasting reel. Such reels are handy. From catching small fish to large fish, the baitcaster reel is your go-to reel. The gear ratio of bait casters is ideal for storing longer lines and aggressive fights with the fish.
Baitcaster reels are usually sturdy, strong, and heavy-duty with a well-designed drag system for a smooth fishing experience. Bait caster reels work perfectly with catfishing rods. The whole fishing gear becomes a power duo.
Spinning reels use a wire bale over the spool that is opened for lure casting. These reels are ideal for catching most big fish and deep water species. If the reel is robust and heavyweight, then you can catch any type of catfish, either big or small.
The spinning reels, which have a heavy construction, have a better drag system, and it also casts heavier fishing lines well. Such reels are installed at the bottom of the catfish rod, which is why they don’t work well with rod holders.
Conventional reels are the basic reels that are used by most newbie anglers. In the conventional reel, the spool is released for casting with a thumb-operated button. Thus, it is all about pushing the button, casting the bait, and retrieving the catch with these reels.
However, the conventional reels have a limited line capacity, and it usually doesn’t cast well with the type of line required for catfish fishing. In addition, the dragging system of most conventional reels is not according to the heavy requirements for catching a catfish or similar fish.
Power Handle: How Much Is This Important?
Since catfish are aggressive fish, the handle on catfish reels is essential because the handles help in reeling them correctly without avoiding mishaps.
Large and heavy reels are used for fishing for trophy fish like catfish. Their handles are usually the power handle. A reel having a power handle means that the angler has power over their catch and can smoothly reel it in.
The purpose of power handles is to give the angler leverage on the fish and to make the turning/reeling of big fish easier. In addition, the handle takes on all the weight and saves the angler’s arm from pain or strain.
Overall Construction & Levelwind
When you look at the overall construction of a catfishing reel, your priority should be its quality. Unfortunately, some amateur fishers sacrifice the quality of their fishing gear for a low price.
A low-quality reel can stop working or break after two-three uses, but good quality and expensive reels last for a good deal of your fishing trips. Especially if you like to fish in deep waters or big trophy catch, the quality of your reel and rod is crucial.
Buying a cheap plastic reel is not a good option. Always go for a metal construction of the reel’s body and its parts. Apart from this, you should always buy your best catfish reels and rods from trustworthy brands so that your fishing experience may become better because of it.
Levelwind fishing reel is basically a baitcasting reel that has a level wind system installed on it. It distributes the line evenly upon retrieving automatically. A non-level wind reel doesn’t spread the line evenly automatically.
Drag System & Line Capacity
The drag system lets the big fish to pull the line from the spool without causing stress on the rod, reel, or line. Drag allows the angler to catch fish that is over the limit of the line and the reel.
Many of the reels that I have discussed are created with a drag system which allows a quick adjustment option when the fish is tugging hard on the line. Drag quality is one of the crucial things to consider while catfishing.
Successful fishing requires an angler to use a lot of fishing lines, especially when fishing for large and deep-sea creatures. For example, fishing for catfish requires a more heavy line than fishing for other freshwater fish.
However, the heavier line takes up more space in the spool. A reel with a bigger line capacity allows the line to land better against all fish, and it also provides sufficient line for spending a full day on the water even if there is some loss of the fishing line because of breakage.
Gear Ratio: Why This Impacts Your Catfishing Experience?
Gear ratio means the amount of line reeled per turn of the handle and how fast it reels. A good gear ratio significantly makes your catfishing experience better.
If the retrieve ratio is high, then more line reels in with every turn of the handle. For example, a reel with a gear ratio of 7:1 reels in way faster than a reel with a 3:1 ratio.
To reel in a large amount of line and quickly pull the big fish out of the water like catfish, you need a fast retrieving ratio, and this doesn’t just make you reel in the line quickly, but it also gives you incredible power over your catch. So, even before your catch realizes that they are hooked, they will be out of water.
Mostly, the round baitcasting reels have a good gear ratio for catfishing and other techniques. The reels I have reviewed have good ratios, so you can consider them before buying a reel.
Size And Weight
The size and weight of your reel is always an important thing to consider before buying a reel. If you want to go for big fish like catfish, then you need a bigger and heavier reel to support the fish’s weight.
However, the important thing is that you match the reel’s weight with the rod because balance is very important as well.
If you have a solid, long, and heavy rod but a small and weightless reel, then it won’t be useful to you, and the same will happen if you have a heavy reel but a lightweight and small rod, then it will be shadowed by the reel’s weight.
So, choose the rod and reel according to the fish that you want to fish for.
The Value And Pricing
There is no doubt that good fishing gear is costly. And if you want to buy a valuable product, you will have to spare some handsome amount of money. To catch big and deep water fish like carp, salmon, cod mackerel, or catfish, you need to invest in good quality reels and rods.
There are many inexpensive reels out there, but they don’t last for more than a few fishing trips. You will get precisely what you pay for, and that is why I suggest that you buy a reel that stays with you for your many fishing experiences.
My Final Verdict:
Choosing the right reel according to the fish you want to catch is crucial because you want your trip to succeed enjoyably. The guide that I have provided you is the easiest and the best way of choosing the perfect reel for your fishing trips. Now you won’t have to stay up late to find the best catfish reel.
The reels I have reviewed are the top reels for catfishing. They are all from the top and prominent brands. They are ideal in terms of reel material, affordability, performance, and durability.
However, before you decide to buy any reel, I suggest that you carefully go through all the specifications, pros, and cons of each reel mentioned above.
However, if you ask for my opinion, then I think that KastKing Megatron is the best spinning reel to catch big and aggressive fish. It is the only reel that has minor drawbacks and issues.
The best thing about this reel is that it has a durable body, is easy to use, and has a fantastic gear ratio. Your catch won’t know what hit it with this reel. KastKing Megatron is also amazingly affordable and stylish to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 – What is the best reel for catfishing?
There is no one best reel for catfishing, and the best reel depends on your definition of best. But, I have reviewed the best reels above, and you can choose one according to your preference.
For example, some anglers might consider a good gear ratio as the best quality of a reel. On the other hand, some anglers might consider a level wind system as the best reel quality. So, choose the reel according to your needs.
#2 – What is the best spinning reel for big catfish?
Every spinning reel that I’ve reviewed above is a good reel. However, every angler has their own preferences, and those preferences make a reel good. So, go through all the spinning reels that I’ve reviewed, and you will find your best catfish reel.
#3 – What is the best time of day to fish for catfish?
The best time of the day to catch catfish in all seasons except winters is two hours after sunrise and one hour before sunset.
Other than that, these fish are active the whole day. But the dark hours are when they are out for feeding. In winters, they are out for feeding in the late morning, just before the sunset.
#4 – What pound test line should I use for catfish?
You can use any line for catching catfish because they are not line-shy. So, any line would be suitable for them according to the situation.
However, the strong and small diameter mono line testing up to 15 to 25 pounds is a good option for using in all situations, and it is also inexpensive. You can even take up the number to 80 pounds if the need arises.
#5 – Do catfish feed more at night or during the day?
Catfish are the activist fish out there. They are active during day and night (and this includes all species of catfish). These fish don’t feed at a specific time. Instead, they feed when they are hungry, it doesn’t matter if it’s day or night.
#6 – Are Baitcaster reels good for catfish?
Yes, baitcaster is suitable for fishing various types of fish. baitcasters work best for heavy lines as they allow the angler to cast farther than most fishing reels, like spinning reels, even when the same kind of line is used.