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10 Best Catfish Reels 2024 – Top Picks

Best Catfish Reels

Are you on a hunt for the best catfish reels? Catfishing is a lot of fun, but catfishes are feisty and put up a great show. They have numerous species with different traits and physical attributes, showing excellent resistance and being as tough as nails.

Having the appropriate fishing gear is the only way to withstand their tenacity in the battle. This makes catfishing more exciting and enjoyable.

Finding the best catfish reels can be a hassle as various reels are available in the market with different features. The best catfish reels from all the options have been listed in the article below.

All the pros and cons of the reels, along with a buying guide, are mentioned in the end as well. By the time you reach the end of this article, I hope you will be able to choose the best catfish reel for yourself.

Best Reels for Catfishing

1. Penn Spinfisher VI – Spinning Fishing Reel

Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel

The Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel stands are first on our list for the best catfish reels because of their sturdy design and excellent performance. Available in numerous sizes with an entire metal body and rotor protection, this is enough for all the dimensions of the catfish.

The ball wire is made with heavy-duty aluminum to keep the line secure, and the friction-free drag system makes it ideal for casting the catfish.

The stainless steel construction can even handle the giant fish, and the 6:1 ball bearing makes the operations smooth. It delivers an accurate retrieval when you pull the trigger as a well-balanced motor is present, making it an excellent choice for the catfish.

There are no chances to miss the catch ever again as it can stop if you spot a larger fish as it has an accurate alignment.

The reel of the Penn Spinfisher VI is braided, which helps in getting out of the water quickly while the body is sealed, keeping all the compartments safe. The line system has four places to boost rear drag and disengages with a single adjustment. It is comfortable for more extended periods, even with a maximum drag of 20 pounds.

  • Incredible drag system
  • Fully sealed body
  • Smooth and accurate retrieval
  • Flimsy plastic springs


The Penn Spinfisher VI, spinning fishing Reel, is ideal for all conditions as it has a balanced rotor and precise retrieve. The gear ratio of 6:1 is considered perfect with enough torque to catch the catfish.

The reel is lightweight and very handy to use. However, the plastic springs of the instant reverse system are weak and become flimsy after some time.

2. Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Reels – Best Catfish Reel

Okuma Avenger ABF B Series Baitfeeder Reels

Next, we have the Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Reels on the list because of the unique live line bait feeding technology. It guarantees ultra-smooth application and is considered one of the best reels available in the market. The micro-adjustments allow the anglers to control the reels more precisely.

The catfish are unaware of the reel’s drag and get hooked as they get attracted to it. After using it for a good time, many anglers agree that high-quality materials manufacture this corrosion-free design. It is ideal for transportation because it has the lightness and the strength of a graphite body.

The Okuma guarantees that the quality of the Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Reels is top-notch and offers a one-year warranty to all consumers. The anti-reverse bearing and six balls help monitor and regulate the aggressive catfish, and a die-casted aluminum handle is also present and makes the operation effective and smooth.

  • Smooth and flexible graphite construction
  • Die-casted aluminum handle
  • Corrosion-free design
  • Uneven distribution of spools


The Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Reels has a solid, smooth, and flexible graphite construction that makes the use and transportation of this catfish reel very easy. The handle is corrosion-free, and this reel’s unique feeding technology stands out. The spools of the line have uneven distribution and some plastic parts that wear out.

3. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel – Best Baitcaster For Catfish

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

The KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel is not too bulky and flimsy and has the perfect size that you will ever want. The power and strength of the KastKing make the operations fast and are upgraded to a better version.

The Cymbal Washer and carbon fiber drag system gives a smooth feel and is appreciated by the anglers. The Maximus double stainless steel protects the ball bearings.

The non-slip EVA grips can start the reeling right away and are compatible with the trolling reels. It is a well-built reel with some parts made up of metals. The aluminum plates with brass gear and stainless steel worm gear make this reel dependable under stress.

Every aspect of the reel works in coordination, giving a hard time to the fish to escape as it retrieves quickly.

The carbon fiber disc in the KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel ensures that the drag system is smooth even at the maximum pressure of almost 35 pounds which is uncommon in most reels.

The drag system usually fails, disappointing the anglers and leaving them in a crucial state. Hence it is an ideal reel for fishing in all types of conditions and will make it to your go-to list.

  • Challenging in terms of stress
  • Carbon fiber disc system
  • Durable metal parts
  • The release button is firm


The Rover Round Baitcasting Reel by KastKing is resilient in terms of stress because of the durability of the metallic parts. The carbon fiber disc system provides smooth drags, which the other reels usually lack. The release button is stiff and firm and does not engage well, making the casting difficult.

4. PENN Squall II Level Fishing Reel – Best Baitcast Reel For Catfish

PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel

Penn is one of the favorite manufacturers of the fisherman as it makes the best conventional reels that can handle the resistance and force of a giant catfish. The PENN Squall II, Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel, is a beast built with corrosion-resistant materials ideal for saltwater fishing.

It is a lightweight, reliable reel made up of graphite that helps you get a lifetime of experience by tugging catfish on the line.

This large catfish reel has a star-shaped knob at the back of the crank that regulates the drag system and hooks like iron. The rigidity is a little less than aluminum, but it can withstand pressure, has enough strength, and controls the fish well.

It has enough line for the weight and each crank having the brass gears offers steady torque. A reliable and robust anti-reverse bearing is present in the Squall II, while fangs can handle any monsters that come in the way.

The PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel evenly distributes the line on the spool and tremendously assists the fisherman. The use of mono can change the casting game because it is abrasion resistant and results in record-breaking catches.

The HT carbon fiber drag system is the most attractive feature that gives extreme smoothness.

  • Extremely durable and rugged
  • HT carbon fiber drag system
  • Excellent drag force and strength
  • Coiled line in steady wind


The PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel is the ideal choice for catfishing and ranks in the best reels available in the market. It has a powerful drag system that can handle the fish’s resistance and pull it out even if stuck in the scum or mud. However, the line becomes coiled in highly windy conditions.

5. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur – Catfish Reel

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Pro Baitcast Round Reel

The rigid design of the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Reel is specially made for catfishing to withstand the resistance shown by the aggressive catfish. The aluminum body has a muscular build and is not flexible. The combination of the ball and the roller bearings and carbon matrix drag technology improve the smoothness of the fishing reel overall.

The handle has an ergonomic design that makes cranking easy, while the six centrifugal braking system extends the lifespan of this catfish reel. The Abu Garcia has a gear ratio of 5:1 and weighs almost 2 pounds. This means that this catfish reel can be a part of your fishing gear and makes precise casts.

Incorporating the bait alarm on the reel handle of the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Reel prevents accidental activation. However, it is difficult to remember that the left side of the reel cannot be used because a clicker is present there. Hence it is the best catfish reel used in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Six centrifugal brake system
  • Incredible grip and gearing
  • Works fine in wind
  • It does not have a thumb bar


The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Reel has a six brake system and ticks all the required boxes in the catfish reels. It has an incredible strength to fight with the aggressive catfish and decent grip. However, it lacks a thumb bar and makes casting a little tricky.

Buying Guide

Best Catfish Reels

You need to keep an eye out for the specific features when searching for the best catfish reels. Finding the best catfish reel can be challenging as they grow significantly.

If you are not aware of essential elements that play an indispensable role, consider the following guide. This will help you purchase the correct catfish reel that fulfills all the requirements.

Line Capacity

The line capacity is self-explanatory and determines the ability of the fishing line that can hold the catfish reel. This is measured in yards or even the weight it can bear as catfish can grow into absolute size.

More prominent lines are used for freshwater fishing as they take up more space and are higher in length to handle the more famous and heavy fish. This has almost 300 to 400 feet of capacity and gives enough room for the fish to do its work.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio is the number of spool turns on the crank of the handle to bear the tension while catching the catfish. The reel having the spool that turns five times on the crank is ideal for the small-sized catfish that do not fight much and give up easily. Higher gears do not work the best.

On the other hand, a gear with 7:1 is ideal for the larger targets as it is slower and helps battle the giant catfish. Usually, the catfish reels have a faster gear ratio of about 6:1, which is considered the ideal and fulfills all the requirements easily. It has enough torque and retrieval and works best for all the anglers.

Braking System

The braking system plays an essential role in the catfish reels. This helps the anglers, especially the amateur ones, nest. The spool continues to move, and the line does not go anywhere when casting the bait caster.

The wind is one of the main factors and makes the anglers stick with the spinning rods. The braking system prevents this as it automatically slows down the spool and keeps the line in place.

Drag System

The drag system helps fight the catfish as they are ferocious fighters and show excellent resistance. A solid drag system is crucial as it helps pull away while the catfish remains in the line.

The drag system is too tight to burn the reel, and the fish won’t come in if it’s too loose. The arrangement of the drag system on your reel is crucial, but carbon fiber washers are the best choice.


Best Catfish Reels

What kind of reel is best for catfish?

The reel with a gear ratio of 6:1 and a larger capacity is considered the best catfish reel. It helps in catching the large-sized catfish and withstands aggressive behavior.

Are bait caster reels good for catfish?

Baitcaster reels are suitable for catfish, but they cannot perform every trick you want to do while catching the giant monsters. They have good line capacity and are ideal for catching small fish.

What is Max drag on a reel?

Max drag on a reel is the force that helps in dragging the catfish even if stuck in the mud. It operates safely and ensures maximum force for all the operations.


Catching a monster fish with aggressive behavior is not an easy task. The spinning reels make the process easy and also improve the skills. A list of the best five catfish reels is discussed in the article above. All the features, including the advantages and disadvantages, are also mentioned. The best two among all the five are:

  • Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Reel for the six-panel braking system and bait alarm.
  • Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel for excellent drag system and fully sealed body.

Hence these are the best two catfish reels that are dependable and strong. The anglers can use this fishing equipment and save money without compromising quality. They work exactly as the catfish behaves and cater to the anglers in the best possible way. I hope this article helps you in choosing the best catfish reel.

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