Top 6 Best Catfish Reels In 2021 | Reviewed And Rated For Great Performance!

Are you serious about landing that delicious monster catch? I bet you are here for that reason! But, how will you even think of going out without the appropriate gear? Surely, if you are not well prepared, you will come home empty-handed. But, we are here to ensure this does not happen even in a single trip. Remember, success does not just come; you have to be ready, especially when it comes to fishing. Having the best Catfish reels to pair with the rod will make a difference when hunting for the big catch. 

Nevertheless, you must be ready to research thoroughly in order to get the perfect catfish reels that will work well. This is so demanding, especially given the fact that you must be having some other work to do. How will you then spend a lot of time to choose one given the countless options available in the market? Yes, you might do this, but it can be even more confusing at the end of the day. How will you go about it then?

Spare a few minutes to go through this article, and I bet you will find the correct catfish reels that have withstood the test of time. Here we present the 6 top-rated gears that remain unmatched in the market. READ THROUGH this article and pick one according to your fishing needs. You are assured of the perfect product that will exceed your expectations!

Top 6 Best Catfish Reels In 2021 (Best Picks)

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Best Catfish Reels

A detailed review of the best catfish reels

You cannot just buy any reel deemed to perform an excellent job. A thorough understanding of its unique features is necessary in order to choose one that will work well to meet your fishing needs. This, therefore, calls for an in-depth analysis of each of the top-rated reels in order to pick one out of the many. Below we review in detail the above-named reels for better understanding and informed decision making.

01. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel for Catfish

Never will you go wrong with KastKing fishing gear as they are designed with quality components that withstand the saltwater conditions. The Rover Round reels are bulletproof. You just heard, right! This is a gear that is reinforced with thicker anodized aluminum side plates, precision-cut brass tools, CNC machined spool, first-class stainless steelwork equipment, stainless steel shaft, and patented metal idle gear to ensure it is rust-free and durable. 

With durability comes the power. The reel is made of an exceptional carbon fiber drag system, which allows for smooth reeling in of big fish using a 30lb line rating. The smooth operation is further enhanced by the MaxiDur twin-shielded stainless steel bearing system. You can comfortably use the reel for casting with non-slip EVA grip, thumb bar spool release that is easily accessible, line out clicker alarm, and stylish exterior that makes things seamlessly easy and convenient. If you want reasonably priced and reliable round baitcasting reel, then do not miss Rover Round in your tackle box!

Key Features

  • Incredible  carbon fiber drag for superior strength
  • The new thicker outer shell that is corrosion-resistant
  • Over-sized T handle that is non-slip and offers full control
  • Non-corrosive stainless steel worm shaft
  • Dependable centrifugal braking system and clicker line out an alarm for even and persistent pressure while casting
  • First-class shielded stainless steel deep race ball bearing for smooth operation


  • Brand: KastKing
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Drag: 30 pounds
  • Type: Baitcasting 
  • Handle: EVA
  • Ball-bearing: 6+1

For more information and current pricing, click the link below.

02- Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel 

Avenger ABF Graphite reel offers superior construction and superb performance, all at affordable prices. The patented bait feeding system is a great feature that allows detachment of the free-running line and the spool without opening the bail. This further enhances the smooth operation and full control of the bait. The fish will pick up the bait and run without suspicion that allows you to hook up the catfish and reel it in without a struggle. 

Durability and strength come as a result of high quality and components used in constructing the reels. Made of graphite body, you will enjoy a lightweight gear that is easy to carry to your fishing destination. Additionally, the control and sensitivity of the line are ensured by the anti-reverse bearing and six ball bearings. Holding a rigid handle gives you much power to cast and reel in the catch. Get this reel and catch the catfish together with other big species in the sea!

Key Features

  • Non-corrosive graphite body construction and components
  • Lightweight for easy transport
  • Stiff handle for powerful casting and reel-in
  • Baitfeeding system that allows the detachment of the free-running line and the spool while keeping the bail closed
  • Multi-disk drag system for smooth operation


  • Brand: Okuma
  • Model: AVENGER ABF
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Drag: 8-22 pounds
  • Bearing: 6+1

For more information and current pricing, click below.

03. Yoshikawa Baitfeeder Spinning Reel

This is a reel that gives anglers broader and accurate drug fine-tuning. With the bait feeder drag system, you can detach the spool and the running line while the bail is closed.  This protects your gear while fighting to reel in the monster catfish and other big species. Note that you can use the Yoshikawa to catch bluefish, striped bass, carp, small sharks, and mackerel, making it the most versatile gear in the market. 

 Whether you are fishing in freshwater or saltwater, the reel will provide long-lasting services. This is a result of corrosion-resistant materials and components used in its construction. This includes a graphite body, stainless steel shaft, anodized aluminum spool, aluminum handles, and much more. The clear spool clicking, 10+1 ball bearing system, and multi-disk drag system leave everything under your control. Match it with high line capacity and popular rod and fish like a pro in your next angling excursion!

Key Features

  • Baitfeeder drag system that offers complete free-spool mode and free-running line while bail is kept closed
  • Non-corrosive materials and components for long-lasting services
  • 10+1 ball bearing system for maximum line control
  • Multi-disk system for smooth operation
  • High line capacity for further casting and extensive coverage
  • Cool-grey finish that can be paired with common rods offering great versatility


  • Brand: Yoshikawa
  • Weight Options: 11.9-18.6oz. 
  • Drag: 18-28 pounds
  • Ball Bearing: 10+1

For more information and current pricing, click below.

04. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Special Round Baitcast Fishing Reel

The components and materials used in the construction of Ambassadeur are of top-quality and suitable for catfish fishing. The three stainless balls and one roller bearing make operations smooth. The smooth process is further enhanced by a carbon matrix drag system that offers consistent drag.  You will achieve incredible accurate cast due to a 6-pin centrifugal brake that applies steady pressure in its operation. Furthermore, with extended cranking grip and power knob, you get additional torque for reeling in a big catch. Buy the Ambassadeur reel and enjoy the highest quality and most innovative fishing products from Abu Garcia.

Key Features

  • Round design for easy maintenance
  • Three stainless steel ball-bearing and one roller bearing for smooth operation
  • Carbon matrix drag system for smooth and steady drag
  • Exceptional, accurate cast due to 6-pin centrifugal brakes
  • Protracted bent cranking grip and power knob for additional torque for hand-pulling the catch


  • Brand: Abu Garcia
  • Model:C3-6500CATSPC
  • Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Ball Bearing: 3+1

For more information and current pricing, click below.

05. Ugly Stik Catfish Fishing Combo

This is a fishing gear combo that is specifically designed for catfish. It features Ugly Tech built that is known to be strong, sensitive, and long-lasting. Additionally, the combo has ugly tuff guides with Ugly Stik clear tip design that offer superior sensitivity for superb performance. A combo featuring medium-heavy action is good for beginners as the spinning rods have a smooth learning curve. The reel is size 50 and has 1 ball bearing and one-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing for smooth operation. Precisely, Ugly Stik Catfish Fishing Combo has a durable design and is made ready for use.

Key Features

  • Ugly Stik clear tip design for high sensitivity
  • Ugly tuff 1-piece stainless steel guides
  • Long-lasting aluminum spool 
  • One ball bearing and one-way clutch instant 
  • Smooth learning curve


  • Brand: Shakespeare
  • Weight: 0.16 ounces
  • Model: 1366955
  • Action: Medium-Heavy

For more information and current pricing, click below.

06. Ming Yang Black CL60 Baitcast Fishing Reel Muskie Catfish & Saltwater

Ming Yang Black CL60 Baitcast Fishing Reel is another great option for catfish fishing activities. Everything is designed with the aim of giving you smooth and comfortable casting all day long. It features a louder clicker 3 bearing system with a gear ratio of 4.2:1, anodized aluminum side plates, one-way clutch anti-reverse bearing, and aluminum spool, among other quality components used. This ensures you get high-performance and long-lasting services. You can choose different line capacity to pay with this reel and head out for a successful fishing trip.

Key Features

  • Double mechanical and centrifugal brake system
  • Three ball-bearing and one-way anti-reverse bearing for smooth operation
  • Non-corrosive quality components suitable for saltwater fishing activities
  • The steady and smooth drag system


  • Brand: Ming Yang
  • Model: CL60
  • Ball-bearing: 3+1
  • Gear ratio: 4.2:1

For more information and current pricing, click the button below.

Factors to Consider When Buying the Catfish Reels- Buying Guide

The anglers are always as good as the fishing gear. The reel is one of the essential tools that should be chosen well and paired with the right rod for successful fishing. However, getting the best requires thorough research, given the many options available in the market. You need to look at specific features that act as a guide in selecting the one that suits your needs. These features are discussed below:

Drag system

The drag system is what allows the anglers to control the line when they catch bites. How well you do this, therefore, depends on the drag system that your reel uses. Those reels that have adjustable drag to allow for fine-tuning are the best as the reeling of the fish will be done smoothly. Catfish is a large species that can only be caught with a reel that has a perfect adjustable drug.

The locations for adjusting the drag system also vary. Some reel will have it in the front, spool, or at the rear part. The knob is placed at the top of the front and spool drags while it is at the bottom for the rear drag system. Some reels can also have a bait runner/clicker as an additional feature of the drag. This is important as it lets the spool to spin freely for proper hooking of the catfish. It will then revert to its original setting when you start pulling in the catch. The clicker will also prevent the lines from breaking as it reduces tension on it. Always check the drag system and choose preferably those that use carbon washer.

Rod’s Construction

Catfish always put up a fierce fight as they try to escape the hook. This is the reason why you will need a reel with sturdy and durable construction. The reel should enable you to pull the fish without breaking. Those that are made of non-corrosive material and components are the best and better if they are watertight. The reels that feature carbon fiber, stainless steel, or aluminum construction are the best as they are strong enough for heavy-duty activities. If there is no outstanding reason to choose graphite or the composite reels, then it should be avoided as they can wear out quickly. 

Line capacity

When it comes to catfish fishing, you will need heavy-duty lines and lots of it. The reels that are tailored to use braided or monofilament lines are the best choices. Also, check the line capacity to determine how much your reel can hold. If you desire to carry along large line capacity, then baitcaster reels are the best option since the spinning type is known handleless. 

Brake system

A brake system is a great feature that some reels have. It slows down the rate at which spool turns when fishing. However, the brakes can completely prevent the spindle from whirling, which can result in a backlash situation. Therefore in such cases, a free spool without a brake is the best if you want to cast easily and for long-distance.


The handle is an essential component of the reel. They come in handy when pulling in large fish with further casts.  The perfect grip should have a larger turning knob to allow secure gripping and offer a broad surface area for improved torque. However, some anglers are equally comfortable using the standard handle present in older reel models. Therefore, it is recommended to test the handles before picking one in order to choose that which works well for you. 

Gear Ratio

The amount of line returned to the reel when the handle is turned indicates the gear ratio. A slightly faster than average gear ratio is recommended when hunting for the catfish. This is because it allows for more rapid retrieval of sagging for tired fish and offers enough strength to fight big fish.


Q: What are the benefits of catfish reels?

The catfish reels are not just for storing extra fishing lines as people might think. There are other benefits which include;

  • Accurate casting
  • Additional fighting power
  • Perfect hook set-up

Q: What type of catfishing reels the ideal option?

There are three types of catfish reels that are designed for various conditions. The one you choose depends on your fishing need. We will discuss them below to allow you to make an informed decision as the best reel in one situation may not be the best in a different environment.

Spincast reels

This is a perfect choice for beginners due to its simplicity in operation. It has a simple push-button that is easy to use, and maintenance of rod is also stress-free. the gear ratio is perfect for bait fishing and can be used to catch small catfish successfully. However, due to its small size, limited line capacity, and weaker construction, it might not be the best option when targeting monster fish. Most of the spin-cast reels do not come with bait clicker, which can be a disadvantage when pulling in the catch.

Spinning reels

The spinning type is more powerful compared to spin-cast reels. The majority of the anglers who prefer using live baits opt for this type of reels. They come in different sizes that can be chosen depending on the target fish species. For catfish, a larger size is the perfect option, and you should be prepared to invest more in this. Beginners can quickly learn how to use the spinning reels, although it can be a bit challenging when using the rod holders. The only disadvantage with this type of reel is that they are not compatible with standard rods, and many do not have bait clickers. Therefore, you should check that the rod you have is well-matched with the reel before buying one.

Baitcasting reels

These are the most common reels which are widely used by anglers who target the catfish. This is because of their sturdy construction, sheer power, and its ability to hold heavy and more lines. Never charge it according to its physical size as the smallest can even perform better than a big spin casting or spinning reels. 

The beginners might find it challenging to use baitcasting reels because of their tough learning curve. However, with a few guides’ lines, you can quickly master the art and fish like a pro. 

The crucial thing to note is that every reel is designed for a specific fishing condition and what is best for your friend might not be the best for you. For example, while the baitcasting reels are known to be the best, you might have to choose the spinning reel if you are planning to use live bait for fishing.  Always seek first to understand the fishing needs and environment before making a decision. 

 Features of the Best Catfish Reels

Product Name Features Price
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel for Catfish
Unmatched carbon fiber drag The new thicker exterior shell Oversized T handle Stainless steel worm shaft Super smooth Clicker line out alarm Centrifugal braking system Check Latest Price
Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel 
Baitfeeding system Multi-disk drag system Six ball bearings Corrosion-resistant materials and components One quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing Check Latest Price
Yoshikawa Baitfeeder Spinning Reel   Baitfeeder drag system Corrosion-resistant materials and components Clear spool clicking Multi-disk drag system High line capacity Can be paired with all conventional rods Check Latest Price
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Special Round Baitcast Fishing Reel
Carbon matrix drag system Corrosion-resistant materials and components Three stainless steel ball-bearing One roller bearing 6-pin centrifugal brakes Protracted bent cranking handle Check Latest Price
Ugly Stik Catfish Fishing Combo Long-lasting aluminum spool One ball bearing One-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing Ugly Tuff guides Comes with a spinning rod Check Latest Price
Ming Yang Black CL60 Baitcast Fishing Reel Muskie Catfish & Saltwater Two ball bearing  One-way clutch anti-reverse bearing s Selective on/off bait clicker Anodized aluminum side plates Corrosion-resistant material for saltwater fishing Check Latest Price

Final Word

Choosing the best catfish reels enable you to fish comfortably and conveniently.  The right reel matched with appropriate fishing rod results in successful angling activities. It is, therefore, essential to take your time before making a decision. This article has made your work easy by profoundly analyzing the six top-rated products that will give you high-performance. You need to go through them in order to pick one according to your fishing needs.

To help you in selecting the best choice, we have provided the buyers with a guide that explains all the features that should be focused on. Always ensure the reel is sturdily built as the catfish are known to put up a fierce fight. Other features to look at are the line capacity, drag, and brake system, handle, and the gear ratio. A reel that combines these features appropriately will enable you to fish successfully in every angling excursion. Buy one of the reviewed reels and have an enjoyable catfish angling trip! 

Reference links

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API