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Buying Guide & Reviews

The 7 Reels You Absolutely Need In Your Tackle Box This Spring…and Beyond

by Tom Melton 18 Apr 2023

Spring has arrived in most parts of the country and anglers are already gearing up for another season of action. What better way to start the year than picking up a new baitcasting or spinning reel to add to your arsenal. Let’s take a look at what I feel are the seven reels you really need to have on your boat or truck. Okay, maybe you don’t have to have them, but these seven baitcasting or spinning reels will really add to whatever arsenal you already own.

Baitcasting Reels

  1. KastKing Speed Demon Elite Deadbolt Baitcasting Reel

A baitcasting reel with no drag

First up is a reel some anglers were shaking their heads at when introduced. After all, whoever heard of a baitcasting reel with no drag? Are you planning on fishing heavy cover where drag slippage could cause a lost fish? With no drag, heavier line and a well-placed jig, Texas rigged worm or topwater frog, the bass will be throwing in the white towel.

  • Solid aluminum frame
  • Carbon side covers for flex
  • 7 ounces
  1. KastKing Bassinator Elite Baitcasting Reels – 6.2:1

This baitcasting reel is the all-around perfect reel for throwing a wide variety of lures/baits

To me this baitcasting reel is the all-around perfect reel for throwing a wide variety of lures/baits. The 6.2:1 gear ratio will allow anglers to slow it down when needed, but still has enough of a ratio to speed it up. Power and speed are well-balanced within this reel. I have used this reel to throw crankbaits, topwater Zara Spooks, Texas rigged worms, swimbaits, spinnerbaits and blade baits, and have had no issues working the bait the way I needed it to.

  • 6 Pounds of max drag
  • 6 adjustable braking shoes
  • 10+1 stainless bearings
  1. KastKing Speed Demon Elite Baitcasting Fishing Reel – 10.5:1

This baitcasting reel will also allow you keep ahead of fish swimming towards you chasing a lure

Have you ever had a blow up on a bait that was cast a good distance from the boat or shore? All you wanted to do was get that baitcasting reel cranking to get the lure right back into the strike zone. With the 10.5:1 ratio of this baitcasting reel, that lure will be back in the strike zone before the fish realizes it is missing. This reel will also allow you keep ahead of fish swimming towards you chasing a lure.

  • Hamai precision cut aerospace aluminum 44.3mm main gear and brass pinion gear for ultimate performance
  • 42 IPT for super-fast line retrieve
  • Double Tapered Control Chute" line guide to virtually eliminate backlashes
  1. KastKing Mg12 Elite Magnesium Baitcasting Fishing Reel

The top-of-the-line KastKing baitcasting reel

Here it is, the top-of-the-line KastKing baitcasting reel. The new Mg12 is a must have this year; if your budget allows for it. The reel is not going to come inexpensively, but it well worth the investment. The reel is perfect for smaller baits and soft plastics. The patented “Auto-adjustment Magnetic Braking System" (AMB) virtually eliminates backlashes. This reel is built on a magnesium-alloy frame which is 30 percent lighter than aluminum alloy and 55 percent harder than carbon fiber. I already have mine and love it, especially while jerkbait angling for smallmouths.

  • Magnesium alloy frame
  • 4 pounds of max drag
  • 8 ounces

Spinning Reels

  1. KastKing Kapstan Elite Saltwater Spinning Reel – 3000/4000

This spinning reel was made specifically for saltwater

Moving on to the spinning reel side of things, the one you must have most is the Kapstan Elite Saltwater Spinning reel. Although this reel was made specifically for saltwater, it can also double as a solid freshwater performer. The 3000 or 4000 size spinning reel pairs great with 7 foot or 7-foot, 6-inch rod like the Estuary series. I have used this reel for school stripers to 20 pounds in the back-bays of Long Island too largemouths on large poppers and Zara Spooks on the freshwater side.

  • 100 percent Waterproof fishing reel at level of IPX6, with up to 15 EverSeal rubber rings to keep water out of the main gear. 
  • Ultra-smooth triple-disc carbon fiber drag system and 30lbs max drag
  • 3000/4000 have a carbon fiber rotor for strength with reduced weight
  1. KastKing MegaJaws Elite Spinning Reel

KastKing spinning reel lineup

This newcomer to the KastKing spinning reel lineup comes in three great sizes – 2000, 2500 and 3000. What I think I like most about the new 2500 (my current choice) spinning reel is its ability to be used in a finesse situation or a long cast event where I need to toss 1/4 ounce lead heads tipped with swimbaits to the tip of a point some 30 yards away! The compact spool is also a great design for utilizing smaller baits like hair jigs and small swimbaits.

  • Shark fin shallow spool design  is perfect for finesse
  • 10+1 advanced MaxiDur stainless bearings
  • Patented spool lip for farther casting ability
  1. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

The reel is built well, offers a great drag system and comes in at under $60 bucks!

This is one of the best bargain reels out there today and in my opinion a top player in the spinning reel category. This spinning reel comes in five sizes ranging from 1000 to 5000. These ranges allow you to pick a reel from ultralight to light inshore action. The reel is built well, offers a great drag system and comes in at under $60 bucks!

  • High percentage fiber reinforced graphite body and rotor
  • I.S.S. (KastKing Intrusion Shield System) – keeps dirt and water out!
  • 10 + 1 high quality, saltwater rated double shielded stainless steel ball bearings 

The seven reels above covering baitcasting and spinning reels is a well-balanced selection that will cover all your fishing needs for the upcoming year. There are several larger reels by KastKing in the spinning variety for surf and ocean style jig fishing as well. On the finesse side, the BFS and SFS make great additions too. The bottom line is these seven will serve you well… but then again is seven reels really enough? I carry 30 in my bass boat whenever I leave the dock!

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