Best Spincast Reel on the Market
Spincast reels are in a way infamous – you either love it or hate it but noone can’t deny they have their own perks such as the friendly price tag or ease of use. On the other hand, they do have some limitations which you should be aware of, especially as a new angler.
In this in-depth guide we will make it clear once and for all what are the pros and cons of spincast reels, what you should look when buying one and finally, where to find the best spincast reel.
After reading this, you won’t have to bother yourself with questions like “why should I buy a spincast reel” or “what spincast reels are decent”. We are here to answer these questions!
|#5||Zebco 33 Authentic||4.2|
Why a Spincast Reel?
When it comes to a spincast reel, a lot of anglers would agree that it lacks in a lot of performance categories when compared to spinning and baitcasting reels. And while this is true, a spincast reel does have its advantages.
If you’re planning on cruising the lake in tourney circuits or looking to haul in muskie or some other large game fish then no, spincasters just don’t fit the criteria needed to work lures at the speeds needed or cast the needed distance.
The gear system and other components, as well as their layout within the body, are just not designed to handle larger fish and will bend, warp, and break over time.
Where spincast reels shine is for small to even medium sized fish. Spincast reels are extremely easy to use with a very short learning curve. Because of their ease to use and streamlined process of casting and retrieving, spincast reels are the best option for young anglers.
The headaches associated with spinning and baitcasters, especially in the casting department, such as backlash, are not there and will not discourage young ones from putting down the rod and reel.
The other advantage for spincast reels is that they are much more affordable than most spinning and baitcasting reels.
Of course, if you want a reel to cast ½ oz lures 50 yards, saving money is not going to do you any good if you can’t get the performance you need.
And don’t get hung up in the negatives. If you want an easy reel to master for you or your children or you are just looking for an affordable way to chase after lighter game fish, the spincast reel is the absolute best way to go.
Take a look at this great video that teaches using spincast reels:
Fishing 101 – How to Cast a Spincast Reel
You don’t need heavy lures, long casts, or 40lb max drags for that type of fishing.
What Makes up a Spincast Reel?
If you’re going to be in the market for buying the best spincast reel, you should have a basic understanding of their components.
By doing so, you will have a better understanding when reading about the specs or while holding one in the store of it the reel has quality parts and is built to last or if it’s a piece of junk.
The latter you won’t find in this article, but it’s information that can help you later.
You might also hear a spincast reel called a closed face reel.
This simply means that the inner gears, as well as the spool, is covered. This frame and cone covering can be made from several materials but is most often plastic or some aluminum alloy.
Aluminum gives you better protection for the inner workings of the reel and is better suited for the strain that comes with larger fish but also costs a bit more.
Spincast reels use a fixed spool that sits within the cone of the reel. These spools are often made from a graphite composite or an aluminum alloy.
Both materials are more than adequate, and we don’t think that most people looking to buy a spincast reel are not too concerned about the material.
Push Button Release
Spincast reels make great beginner’s reels because of the ease of use, specifically when casting. When the push button is pressed during the cast, the pins that hold the line on the spool are disengaged, and the line is allowed to leave the reel by the force of the cast and the weight of the lure.
You want a push button that is easy to engage and one that does not “stick” and is difficult to disengage when trying to retrieve line.
You can’t get a sense of that quality just from reading online so we will be sure to mention our takes on these reels performance in this category during our reviews.
The take-up pins, along with the cap are what hold the line on the spool when not casting and are also the mechanism for laying line back on the spool when retrieving along with the spinning head.
When the push button is engaged, these take up pins disengage from the line back into the spinner head and allows the line to leave the spool.
When you crank the handle, the pins pop back out from the spinning head into place and rotate around the spool to lay line back down as you reel.
Some reels might only have one take up pin while others have a few more. The only difference we have seen between a single pin vs. multi-pin reels is that multi-pin reels tend to engage line a bit quicker than single pin models.
Take up pins are not the most efficient method of laying down line evenly, and over time, you can get a tangle of knots within the reel that can be a pain to fix. One way to help with this situation is to keep the line taut as you retrieve.
The gear ratio simply tells you how many revolutions the line is taken around the spool for one turn of the handle. In this case, how many times the pins move around the stationary spool each time the handle is turned one full revolution.
Spincast reels have lower gear ratios when compared to spinning or baitcasting reels, but for their purpose, most have enough to get the line in fairly quickly.
Most spin cast reels are going to fall somewhere within the 2:1-4:1 range.
Every fishing reel needs a drag system to be effective and work fish. Because spincast reels are designed for lighter tackle and lighter game, the drag systems are not as robust as others.
Like other reels, spincasters utilize a series of washers that cause friction making it more difficult for line to be pulled from the spool.
You will often find one of two drag systems on spincast reels. The first is a star drag which externally between the handle and the body. The second is an internal drag system that is controlled by a small wheel dial on the reels cover.
We do not think these two method differs regarding performance. We like the star drag system just because it seems easier for us to handle when working a fish, but it all comes down to personal preference.
What’s more important is the ability to fine-tune your drag setting. Even though you’re not going to be dealing with marlin on these reels, a big smallmouth bass or a large brown trout are going to warrant some drag adjustments.
Can you easily adjust the drag to the setting you want, does it hold there, and does it engage immediately when you hook up?
All are questions you should ask, and they are questions we will answer for each model in this review.
Like any other fishing reel, bearings play a critical role in a spincast reel’s performance. These ball bearings are located in key positions throughout the reels gear and spool system and help keep everything running smoothly.
The number of ball bearings varies from reel to reel, and while more bearings might initially mean a smoother working reel, it’s the quality of those bearings that is most important and give you a reel with a longer lifespan.
Best Spincast Reel Reviews
Now that you have the basics of what makes up a spincast reel and what to keep your eyes open for when choosing a spincast reel let’s take a look at five spincast models that we think are excellent reel options.
|#5||Zebco 33 Authentic||4.2|
Zebco Omega ZO3PRO Spincast Fishing Reel
[amazon fields=”B0049MMFOO ” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=“1” tracking_id=”cstfrfsh-20″ image_class=”ais450″]
- Solid aluminum casing and metal gears built to last
- Excellent sensitivity in the drag system
- Line lay system is top notch for spincasters
- Can handle medium-sized and even larger fish adequately
- Comfortable and easy to work handle and knob
- A little higher in the price range
- A little play in the anti-reverse bearing
- Rubber push button cover wears easily
If you’re looking for a spincast reel to do some serious angling with than this Zebco might be your best option. The feel of this reel is extraordinary for a spincaster and is incredibly easy to use for extended periods of time on the water.
This is an ergonomic spincaster with a large and reliable push button and an aluminum single wing handle with a wonderful EVA knob. Though the push button is reliable in its mechanism, the rubber cover tends to wear easily. You can easily adjust the handle to a right or left-hand setting, and Zebco also sells the double knob handles that can easily be installed on these reels.
For a closed reel, it can hold a tremendous amount of 2-10lb test line and able to carry 85yds of 10lb test monofilament for smaller and medium-sized game fish.
If you want heavier test line, you are going to be much more restricted in the amount you can spool and still have the reel function properly.
It has one of the best drag systems that we have used on a spincast reel. The Triple-cam multi-disk drag system is incredibly smooth throughout the drag range. It uses an internal wheel dial adjustment that is easy to use even during a fight, and you can feel the drag adjust quickly as you make small incremental changes.
This is a very smooth working reel from its drag down to its gears which are all metal and supported by six quality ball bearings and one anti-reverse. We do think the anti-reverse does play a little too much for our liking, but it’s not enough to mess up a hook set.
All metal gears and aircraft grade aluminum covers make this a reel that can stand up to some abuse from both the user and the fish. While we don’t recommend trying to bring in 30+lb fish, it can handle a larger fish from time to time if you happen to hook up on one.
This spincaster is fantastic in its casting and retrieval. The three ceramic pins and line guides do a fantastic job of laying down line evenly on the spool, and this does wonders for casting throughout the day.
Compared to other spincasters on the market, the line lay is good enough to keep talking about it. The oscillating spool function on this reel along with the pins works near as well as a lot of spinning reels in this regard.
The gear ratio for this particular spincast reel is 3.4:1 which is pretty decent for these types of reels and has a line retrieval speed of 19” per turn.
It allows you to easily get line in quickly when retrieving and even maintains this speed when you are working a fish with the bearing and gear system being well designed.
Pflueger Trion Spincast Reel
[amazon fields=”B00EQZ6748 ” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=“1” tracking_id=”cstfrfsh-20″ image_class=”ais450″]
- Very affordable
- Decent line lay and casting ability
- Internal gears can handle a lot of stress
- Very good retrieval rates for the power you get
- Very smooth performance during retrieval
- On/off anti-reverse switch
- Drag does not adjust in fine increments
- Drag is very jumpy
This is another great option for beginners, but it also can handle medium sized fish and even some larger fish from time to time without fear of warping the internal gears and other mechanisms.
The heavy-duty metal gears, as well as the dual titanium pick up pins, can withstand some heavy force being put down on them. The aluminum spool, casing, and handle also contribute to this reels ability to dish out some cranking power not seen in a lot of other spincast reels.
While this is a heavier duty reel than others on the list, most reels sacrifice power for speed. While it is the case here, it is not near as pronounced as you might expect. This Trion model has a gear ratio of 3.8:1 with a line retrieval rate of 18.5” which is quite incredible for a spincast reel with its power.
With this speed and power, you can easily chase after larger game fish, within reason, than with other models.
As far as line capacity goes, it sits around the average amount one would expect. It can be spooled with 90 yards of 8lb test, 75 yards of 10lb test, and 65yards of 12lb test. So there is a limit to the size of fish you can catch consistently and efficiently while using this reel.
This reel also comes pre-spooled, but we would recommend getting some higher quality line on there before you take it out to the water. It makes a difference, and this reel will perform much better casting and retrieving with better line.
The one issue we came across when it comes to working medium-sized fish is the drag system.
There is nothing seriously wrong with it, it’s just your standard disk washer system. The wheel dial is easy enough to use, but you have to turn it to begin feeling some changes in the actual amount of drag pressure.
The drag stays consistent whatever you set it on, but a lot of anglers want fine adjustments. It might not be as big a deal for those looking to purchase a spincast reel, but if you want this to go after large bass and cats, then the drag becomes very important.
As far as performance on the water, we don’t have any major complaints. The aluminum handle and soft touch knobs feel great and make it an easy reel to handle through a full day of fishing. We think the retrieval is silky smooth.
Don’t let the two ball bearings fool you, they are both high-quality stainless steel bearings and are also corrosion resistant, and you can feel the quality during retrieval of your lure or bait and when you have a fish on the line.
The two titanium pins, as well as the spinning cap on the spool, lay line down evenly though you might at some point have an issue with knots within the spool, but not near as often as with other spincast reels.
Casting with this reel is similar to just about any other spincast reel out there. It’s nothing phenomenal, and distance depends on the line and lures you are using, but for general spincast fishing purposes, this reel does fine.
We like the line aperture and guide and think it paired with how well the pins lay line down, and you shouldn’t be frustrated at all with it’s performance on the water.
One last feature that we want to point out is the anti-reverse on/off switch. We like it while most people might find it useless. We think it makes sense on this spincaster because it can work a bit larger and aggressive freshwater fish. We already talked about how the drag on this reel is average at best.
If you do hook into a large fish, that drag becomes more of a liability than anything. By turning off the anti-reverse, you can use back-reeling.
It’s a technique hardly used anymore today but could come in handy.
Some might even use the feature to turn the reel into a type of bait runner. This allows the fish to carry the bait without any resistance and get the more into its mouth before the drag is engaged.
If you use it in this manner, you have to be sure that the drag is set correctly before engaging it or you risk breaking the line or ripping out the hook.
Daiwa Goldcast Spincast Reel
[amazon fields=”B0000BXJ72 ” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=“1” tracking_id=”cstfrfsh-20″ image_class=”ais450″]
- Rugged and reliable
- Ergonomic design
- Very smooth drag that can be easily adjusted
- Tremendous line retrieval speeds and smoothness
- Can handle aggressive fish and still perform optimally
- Pins and oscillating spool lay line very well
- Noisy retrieval
- Maybe a bit pricey for a beginners reel but still affordable given its performance
- A little finicky when it comes to getting the right amount of line
This spincast reel by Daiwa is a sharp looking reel that comes in three different sized models, each of them being one of the most dependable and reliable spincast reels we have come across. These reels have a fantastic push button that is easy to use and one of the most reliable ones we have come across.
With a 4.1 gear ratio, this spincast reel can bring line in quick, tremendously quick when compared to a lot of other spincast reels on the market.
If you’re looking for a spincast reel that truly has the ability to put fish in the boat efficiently, this reel can take care of business.
The line retrieval speeds are going to vary by the size of the model, but they range from 18.3″ on the smallest model to 21.3″ on the largest.
While a speedy retrieval is nice, it doesn’t do much good if that retrieval is jerky or almost impossible when a decent size fish is on the end of the line.
Both are not an issue with this reel.
As with all Diawa reel products, the gear system on this is optimized for contact between gears which means even under pressure they are going to be at top performance.
The metal construction and gearing also hold up well under duress and perform flawlessly when working aggressive fish and the metal arm and long rubber handle lets you dish out some cranking power for a spincast reel.
All models only feature a single stainless steel ball bearing, but even so, this is as smooth a spincast reel as you are going to find. While smooth, some anglers are not going to like the noisy retrieval that comes with this reel.
It has no impact on performance, but it is a pet peeve for some.
All three reel models can hold a sufficient amount of line though we recommend sticking to the manufacturer’s suggestion if you want to cast at its peak performance.
The smallest model can hold a 75yards of 8lb test, the medium sized model can hold 80 yards of 10lb test, and the largest model can hold 100 yards of 12lb test.
Again, you can probably sneak some more line on the spool, but we and others have found that this can hamper distance on the cast.
For a spincast reel, we couldn’t be more surprised with how well the drag functions. It is incredibly smooth, and the wheel dial delivers easy and fine incremental adjustments to the drag setting.
It doesn’t dish out a whole lot of pressure, nor does any spincast reel that we have come across, but it provides enough to slow down any medium and even larger freshwater fish you might come across barring a trophy muskie.
While most spincasters do not rank high in the casting department, every model of the Diawa excels in this department.
There are several components of the reel that lend it its excellent casting performance such as the tungsten carbide pick up pin and the oscillating spool levelwind.
These components do a tremendous job at laying line evenly back on the spool which cuts down on knots and tangles and allows line to come off the spool freely. With reduced friction along with the optimized line aperture, this is one of the top casting spincast reels available.
Of course the line you are using, the amount of line and the weight of the lure are also going to determine how well the reel casts.
Pflueger President Spincast Reel
[amazon fields=”B00EQZ6KHC ” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=“1” tracking_id=”cstfrfsh-20″ image_class=”ais450″]
- Durability is nearly unmatched
- Silky smooth retrieval at all times
- Good, responsive drag system
- Excellent casting when spooled correctly
- Large soft touch knob is very comfortable
- Release Button is fragile
- Some issues with line slipping on pins
Here we have another underspin reel from Pflueger. Like the previous model, the President has a lot of the same technology that goes into it, but it has enough differences that we thought it also deserved its own review.
Like the Trion, the President offers an extremely durable reel with aluminum framing, cone, spool, arm, and dual titanium pick up pins. This spincast reel can take a beating from you, your children, and the fish and still keep trucking.
This framing along with the steel gears give you another spincast option that is going to be able to handle any small to medium sized game fish in the water and even have the ability to land larger fish if the need arises.
The gear placement and fittings, along with the four tremendous corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings allow this reel to crank down on fish without losing performance.
It has a slightly lower gear ratio than the Trion at 3.4:1 and a slightly slower retrieve rate at 14.5″ per handle turn, but it shines when the pressure is put down on the reel.
There is not a whole lot of room when we discuss line capacity compared to other reels.
We don’t necessarily think this is a negative issue if the reel is used in the correct settings. It can hold 70yards of 8lb test monofilament and possibly more, but you risk a decrease in casting as well as laying line properly.
Some anglers have had issues with line slipping from the pins, and this could be a by-product of over spooling or using poor fishing line.
We do know that when spooled properly, the dual titanium pick up pins lay down line nicely and cuts down on the potential for knots and line dig.
For whatever reason, the drag system on the President seems leaps and bounds better than that of the Trion.
The wheel dial is extremely responsive, and you have full control of the drag over its entire range which is extremely useful when working larger fish than you thought you would be getting into.
Casting is a joy when you have the reel spooled with the proper amount of line and are using lures at acceptable weights. When the push button is working correctly, casting is a breeze from start to finish.
Zebco Authentic Spincast Reel
[amazon fields=”B00F5EB8DY ” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=“1” tracking_id=”cstfrfsh-20″ image_class=”ais450″]
- Very affordable
- Easy to use and clean
- Dual handle
- Great mono line capacity
- Sensitive drag
- Really need to replace pre-spooled line
- Retrieval a little jerky when under pressure
Perhaps one of the most bought and used spincast reels in the world, the Zebco Authentic Spincast Reel (Model 33KGOLD) has probably been the starting reel for hundreds of thousands of anglers.
There are several reasons for its popularity including its ease of use, its durability, and its affordable price tag.
The metal gears including a brass pinion gear, give a little more stability to the reel under a heavy load. The reel is going to keep turning, but you may notice it gets a little jerky if you’re working medium to larger fish.
The large, dual winged handle does help and allows you to get a little more out of the reel when it is under heavier pressure, and it can also be switched for either right or left handed retrieval.
This is a lightweight reel, which helps for smaller children, but the graphite frame and stainless steel cover give it more than enough durability for getting knocked around a bit.
As far as retrieval goes, we have already mentioned that is gets junked up a little with larger fish, but overall it’s got a perfectly fine retrieve. The gear ratio is 3.6:1 with a line retrieval speed of 19″ per turn of the handle.
Nothing flashy but still above average.
It has two ball bearings that help provide a smooth functioning reel under normal fishing conditions as well as an anti-reverse bearing that we think has very little play in it.
We do like the dual ceramic pick up pins that are used in this reel. There doesn’t seem to be any issue with line slip or line abrasion from this system.
You might get some tangles within the spool if you are not careful retrieving without any tension on the line, but overall, we think it is well above the standards of most spincast reels at this price.
This reel also has tremendous line capacity and can be spooled with up to 110yards of 10lb test monofilament.
The MicroFine drag system used for this reel is not going to do a whole lot for large, aggressive running fish, but for a spincast reel, we really like its functionality.
The wheel dial seems to give you good control over the drag settings, and it remains constant throughout a fight.
Once you get the pre-spooled line off of the reel and spool it with quality material, the casting ability of this reel increases exponentially.
Overspooling can cause some hangups on the pins and the line guide at the aperture, but you really have to increase the line amount to get to that point.
Spool it conservatively, and this reel can cast as well as any other spincaster on this list.
While we have listed five spincast reel models that we believe you can have confidence in on the water, we do want to select our favorite model from the list. By no means does this mean it’s the only one worth buying, but we feel it has some qualities that might set it ahead of the others.
We just don’t think that you can go wrong with the Daiwa Goldcast Reel. This reel is built with quality materials and designed to work smoothly and consistently for a lot of outings to the water. This reel has a gear ratio of 4.1:1 which is enough to work some artificial lures efficiently and it can get line in relatively quickly with or without a fish on the end of the line.
More importantly, it can do with while running smoothly because of the precise gear alignment and the actually sensitive drag adjustments that are on this reel.
Spincast reels have their advantages and disadvantages. With one of these five reels and used in the right settings, you are going to have a successful day on the water.
And if you’d like to take a look at some other options, you could read up on the best spinning reels available as reported by CFF.