Best Spinning Reel for Catfish 2020/2021 – Buyer’s Guide 

Getting a hold of a catfish can be a thrilling experience. Among the many catfish species, several are recognized for their enormous size and tough fighting nature.

To improve your catfishing experience more enjoyable, make sure you have the correct fishing gear for the job. Nothing is more aggravating than a piece of equipment malfunctioning at a critical time. 

A good fishing reel is, of course, one of the most vital elements. Picking the right catfish spinning reel could be difficult, particularly if you don’t know what you’re searching for. 

AT A GLANCE:
1. Our Top Pick: SHIMANO Stradic FL Spinning Fishing Reel 
2. Best OverallPenn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel
3. Best Value: KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

This guide will show you how to choose the best spinning reel for you, one that will allow you to employ your favorite methods to their full potential while staying within your budget. Each design is made by a recognized manufacturer and can be used for catfishing or other freshwater fishing. 

These options were chosen based on years of experience and extensive research, allowing us to provide a completely objective, high-quality comparison so that you may select the spinning reel that best meets your needs. 

Before seeing the best spinning reels, it is important that you know how to choose the correct one. 

How to Choose to Spinning Reel? 

It is essential to consider certain aspects when choosing a good spinning reel. 

Gear Ratio 

The pace at which a spinning reel picks up line is determined by gear ratios. A gear ratio of 6.2:1 on a fishing reel of this type, for example, indicates the spool spins 6.2 times for every single turn of the reel grip.

Even though some brands are now selling versions with a 7.0:1 gear ratio for fishermen who would like to quickly retrieve drop-shot setups or tube baits when angling in deep water, most spinning reels have a gear ratio of 5.2:1 to 6.2:1. 

Spool Size 

When capturing a fish, a larger and deeper spool may be advantageous. Smaller, simpler line coils result from the larger spool. Smaller shallow spools are ideal for short-line applications like flipping and pitching. 

Handle Size 

Low-profile catfish fishing reels include a range of handle sizes. On some of the tiniest reels, you’ll find smaller sizes. This may be adequate for most applications, such as jig or worm fishing, but not for huge swimbaits or crankbaits. When pounding grass mats, a longer and wider handle creates more push, which helps to bring fish out of dense cover. 

Drag System 

The drag system on casting reels is often overlooked, yet it is critical to explain. If you plan on smashing and flipping huge jigs into tangled grass, you’ll need a reel with extremely high drag.  

The spool must not slide when working with power lines. When working with lighter lines, however, the ability to generate a drag that simply peels off the line becomes crucial. 

Ball Bearings 

Ball bearings are spherical bearings that reduce friction and increase the reel speed. You can find all kinds of bearings in both baitcasting and spinning reels, and they always have the same purpose.

These ball bearings are positioned around a fixed axel within the center, surrounded by a wheel that moves from the outside. Without them, this motion would be twitchy and slow. 

SHIMANO Stradic FL Spinning Fishing Reel

  • Brand: SHIMANO 
  • Color: Silver 
  • Model Size: STC5000XGFL, One size 
  • Item Weight: 0.58 lb. 

If you’re looking for a Shimano catfish reel, this is one of the better options available. 

The Stradic FL is a fantastic piece of gear that has one of SHIMANO’s best innovations, the Hagane body. It is a high-rigidity metal reel body. Body flexing is almost eliminated due to the rigidity and impact resistance of the body. As a consequence, the angler’s actions are directly converted into cranking power. It’s all about efficiency and strength. 

Shimano’s other reel innovation, which also applies to this version, is that the gravity center is moved closer to the pole. That will allow you to catch for longer periods of time while reducing wrist tension. Casting will be a lot easier as well. The reel is extremely smooth and contains 6+1 bearings. 

This reel also includes Shimano’s Cross Carbon Drag, which delivers a wider variety of drag settings as well as the finest Shimano drag performance. 

Pros 

  • It features the X-Ship, which offers incredible gear durability. 
  • This reel allows easy handling and casting. 
  • It is amazingly durable and reliable. 

Cons 

  • This model’s largest size is 5000, which would not be enough for people fishing giant catfish. 

KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

  • Brand: KastKing 
  • Color: Black/Blue 
  • Material: Aluminum 
  • Bearing Material: Stainless Steel 
  • Handle Material: Aluminum 
  • Item Weight: 0.93 lb. 
  • Size: 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 

This reel is designed to land big fish in both freshwater and saltwater environments. It has a carbon fiber drag system with an industry-leading 39.5 lbs/18 kg of drag, as well as a stainless steel gear and main shaft. 

Another feature that distinguishes the KastKing Sharky from the other reels described is its ability to accept the braided line. The spool is self-supporting and avoids braided lines from falling off the spool. 

The KISS system is used to seal the Sharky III spinning reels. Sharky III’s spool, body, and rotor all have a special water-resistant construction. It serves to maintain dirt and water out. 

When we talk about a catfish spinning reel, this one is one of the best in terms of quality and price. You shouldn’t be disappointed if you pair this reel with a big channel catfish. 

Pros 

  • These lightweight fishing reels have a high amount of fiber-reinforced graphite in the rotor and body. 
  • This product is ideal for catching monster catfish. 
  • It is incredibly smooth. 
  • These reels have a water-resistant covering. 

Cons 

  • With improper use, the internal mechanism of this reel could easily break. 

Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel

  • Brand: Penn 
  • Color: Black Gold 
  • Handle Material: Carbon Fiber 
  • Bearing Material: Stainless Steel 
  • Size: 2500, 3500, 4500, 5500, 6500, 7500, 8500, 9500, 10500 
  • Size: 0.76 lb. 

If you’re searching for a high-quality alternative with all of the characteristics and functionalities you need for catfishing, the Penn Spinfisher VI is a wonderful choice. 

This reel comes in a variety of sizes, up to 10500, which is sufficient for exceptionally huge catfish species. It is equipped with 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings and runs extremely smoothly. The rotor is calibrated to maintain a good and precise retrieval. 

This reel’s body is totally sealed, so you can use it in any situation, and no pollutants will get inside. The gear ratio is 6.2:1 in this case. The drag system is fantastic. 

The live liner system with four places is an outstanding characteristic that you could find handy. When it’s required, these settings enhance rear drag. Every user could adjust it with the provided tool, and this mechanism can be disengaged with a single grip turn. 

Pros  

  • It has an excellent drag system. 
  • The Spinfisher VI’s design prevents saltwater and other debris from entering the drag system and gearbox.  
  • It is easy to use. 
  • This reel features incredible casting abilities. 

Cons 

  • It is possible that the reel locks up at times, but that could be due to misuse by the user. 
  • Plastic springs in the instant reverse system appear to be fragile. 

Yoshikawa Baitfeeder Spinning Reel

  • Brand: Yoshikawa 
  • Material: Graphite, Aluminum, Stainless Steel  
  • Handle Material: Stainless Steel 
  • Bearing Material: Aluminum 
  • Item Weight: 1.28 lb. 
  • Size: 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 

This product comes with a plethora of features at an affordable price. The reel is saltwater approved, with high-quality ball bearings designed for this type of water. 

The Bait-Running system provides a complete free-spool mode by simply flipping the little lever on the rear of the reel, allowing free-running line without having to open the bail, making it much easier to battle huge fish while safeguarding your gear. 

It’s made of corrosion-resistant materials like aluminum, graphite, and stainless steel. They extend the life of the reel. 

Simply having the bait feeder choice at this cost makes it a great choice for any fisherman searching for a catfish spinning reel, particularly if you’re new to this activity. 

Pros 

  • It is constructed with corrosion-resistant materials. 
  • This product gives you total control during the action. 
  • It comes in various sizes. 
  • This reel is easy to use. 

Cons 

  • It is not as strong as other reels on the market. 

Okuma Avenger Spinning Reel

  • Brand: Okuma 
  • Material: Graphite, Aluminum or Stainless Steel 
  • Color: Gray 
  • Item Weight: 0.88 lb. 
  • Style: Av-6000, 165yds-20lb: Av-10000, 270yds-20lb; Av-1000, 65yds-6lb; Av-2500, 150yds-8lb; Av-3000, 140yds-10lb; Av-4000, 185yds-12lb; Av-500a, 85yds-4lb; Av-8000, 225yds-20lb 

That is a fantastic reel that comes in a variety of sizes. It is equipped with 6+1 ball bearings and is extremely smooth and accurate.

New versions use cyclonic flow rotors, which generate airflow through the rotor and quickly dry it out to avoid damage or corrosion. This is a useful tool, especially for novices who sometimes overlook the importance of maintaining their gear. 

The reel’s body is composed of graphite, and it is fairly light. Other designs are constructed of aluminum and stainless steel, which must be highlighted. With a gear ratio of 5.0:1, this reel is a little slower than others. 

The casting range is decent, though not as great as some of the other reels listed previously. 

Pros 

  • It is cheap compared to other options with similar features. 
  • It is designed for both the left and right hand. 
  • This reel is lightweight. 
  • This product provides excellent performance and smoothness. 

Cons 

  • The bail is a little difficult to close. 

SHIMANO Sedona FI Spinning Reel

  • Brand: SHIMANO 
  • Color: Gold, Graphite 
  • Item Weight: 0.22 lb. 
  • Size: 1000, C2000HGS, C2000S, 2500, 2500HG, C3000, C3000HG, 4000, 4000XG, C5000XG 

SHIMANO’s Hagane gear technology ensures a smooth reel performance and long-term reliability, even with heavy use. One of the things fishermen like about this product is that it allows them to cast quite long distances with little effort. 

It also has machine-cut spools that are double-anodized for greater line capacity while maintaining the body compact. This reel features a propulsion line management system that allows for more extraordinary casting lengths while avoiding wind knots and backlashes from developing. 

This reel has a 5.0:1 gear ratio. It contains 3+1 ball bearings, but they are so finely manufactured that the smaller number has no effect on the reel’s smoothness. 

Pros 

  • It is affordable. 
  • This reel is lightweight. 
  • Shimano’s flagship Hagane gearing is very beneficial for this reel as it offers many durability and strength improvements to its performance. 
  • It features great smoothness. 

Cons 

  • There isn’t a conventional anti-reverse switch on it. 
  • The sealing appears to be insufficient to tolerate a lot of dirt and water. 

Best Spinning Reel for Catfish FAQ 

Is Spinning Reel a Good Option for Catfishing? 

Spinning reels are famous for all types of fishing, especially catfishing because they are simple to use, novices can handle them, and you can obtain superb gear for a relatively low price.

Baitcasters are used by some fishermen, and there are many rods that can be used with them. These reels, at least the bigger ones, hold more lines and allow you to select practically any gear ratio. 

You could use either, but bear in mind that a freshwater spinning reel will rarely be able to withstand a catfish, so you’ll have to choose for the heavier and harder saltwater reels. 

If you’re a beginner angler, you can begin with a spinning rod to acquire some expertise. Some people have been using spinning reels for years and can easily capture a large catfish without the need for a baitcaster. Furthermore, you should be aware that spin casting reels are not suitable for catfishing. 

Where is It Better to Buy Spinning Reels? 

Actually, you can go to any fishing store that is close to your home. However, it is best to buy your reels to fish for catfish near the area where you will be fishing most frequently. That is for two reasons: 

  1. They may sell the necessary fishing equipment for the area where you will be fishing. 
  1. In the event that a part breaks, you can find a replacement quickly. 

What is the Best Manufacturer of Catfishing Spinning Reels? 

The most crucial thing is to select a recognized manufacturer’s product. You may rest assured that you have a reliable and long-lasting reel that performs exactly as intended. 

Selecting the ideal brand is a personal decision. Some fishermen only purchase from one company and are devoted to them. Some people choose SHIMANO, which is one of the most well-known, while others favor KastKing, Yoshikawa, Penn, Daiwa, Okuma, and other brands. 

What is the Best Catfishing Spinning Reel Gear Ratio? 

This is a difficult question to answer because it is highly dependent on your level of experience and the purpose of the reel. The first thing you should know is that slow reeling isn’t the ideal option; however, it may work for small catfish.

The most adaptable gear ratio will be at around 6.0:1. You could make it work in both faster and slower presentations with a little practice. 

Slow reels would not suffice when battling a large fish, and highly rapid reels will only be beneficial for specific baits and approaches, which a novice would not utilize, particularly when catfishing. 

For Catfishing, What Size Spinning Reel is Needed? 

The size, like the gear ratio, is entirely dependent on your preferences. For a catfish of typical size, 4000 or slightly larger should be enough. You do not require a size of 10,000. In fact, you could catch a large fish with a 6000 size reel. 

Medium-sized reels could be used with a variety of poles and for a variety of purposes other than catfishing. So, if you like to have a single configuration that can be used for multiple purposes, you should go with a size of 4000-5000. Unless you have a very specific situation, it is never a good idea to buy a very small reel.  

Some skilled anglers can catch a monster fish with a 2000-size reel, but this is not something that must be done on a regular basis. Small reels are insufficiently robust and unable to retain enough line for a satisfying catfishing experience. 

What is the Best Line to Use with a Spinning Reel for Catfishing? 

That will really depend on the size of catfish you are going to catch and where you are going to do it. For example, an angler who often fishes in rocky locations may need a monofilament line. However, many other professionals use braided lines to catch catfish. 

Are Spinning Reels Suitable for Beginners? 

That will depend on several factors, including knowledge and constant practice that the novice fisherman carries out.

Anglers usually start with spinning or spin casting reels to gain experience, comprehend different fishing techniques, and familiarize themselves with the equipment. Baitcasting reels will be your next step. Even if you have a lot of experience with baitcasting reels, you will still be a novice. 

Therefore, spinning reels are ideal for people who are learning to fish, but it is always important to have an open mind for other changes such as baitcasting reels.