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6 Best Freshwater Spinning Reels in The Market

Written by James Schulz

Going fishing is an excellent method to relax and unwind from a hectic day.

However, the only problem is when you do not have the proper fishing gear.

Freshwater spinning reels offer the most sought-after method of fishing in rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and rivers.

The best spinning reels permit spoons, spinners, plugs, and jigs to cast at a great distance and then retrieve quickly.

However, how do you analyze what are the best freshwater spinning reels?

Don’t worry! This article offers a comprehensive review of the most effective freshwater spinning reels and what are the necessary features you should be looking for when buying.

What Is A Freshwater Spinning Reel, and Why Do You Need It?

Freshwater fishing is the fishing method used in freshwater areas and any water body with less than the 0.05 percentage salinity, like rivers, lakes, and ponds.

You should be aware of the creel limit for the specific area whenever you go fishing.

This kind of fishing is more relaxed as opposed to saltwater fish.

Many fishermen say that they take this time to think, and it’s not difficult to understand the reason.

A typical freshwater angler will be in a boat, sitting on the dock, or in the waters when fishing.

The constant music of the river and the tranquil surroundings make it a perfect spot to sit back and relax.

Most freshwater anglers seek largemouth bass, walleyes, catfish, bluegills, and northern pike.

Furthermore, most freshwater reels are mechanical devices that hold and spool the fishing line.

No matter what type, every model features a brake that slows the speed of the anglers, a grip for retrieving the line, and an attachment bracket that connects your fishing rod to it.

The difference between types of freshwater reels are weight, the size of the reel, the maximum draw, the line’s capacity, and the length of line pulled off per turn from the hand.

Ultralight-sized reels are ideal for crappie, trout, bluegill, sunfish, and perch.

Larger spinning reels work well for steelhead, striped bass, salmon, and large catfish.

The fishing reels can have stainless steel ball bearings, braided line, reel combo, reel handle, full metal body, sealed drag system, shielded stainless steel, and graphite body to help you catch big fish.

Moreover, there are different types that include baitcasting reels, high-quality spinning reels for saltwater anglers, saltwater spinning reel, and many other reels that embrace smooth casting and reel handle.

We have analyzed top-quality freshwater spinning reels to ensure that you don’t waste your money and time with a subpar reel.

Many professionals have tested these reels, and we’re confident that you’ll be able to choose a reel that will work for your species and specific circumstances.

At a Glance

Top 6 Freshwater Spinning Reels Of 2022

1) Best Overall : Shimano’s 18 Stella 2500S Spinning Reel

Shimano's 18 Stella 2500S Spinning Reel.jpg

18 STELLA 2500S is the most well-known spin reel model of Shimano.

The manufacturers have gone above and beyond with this unit; it has been entirely revamped with a brand new appearance.

In terms of quality, it’s sturdy. This shouldn’t be a surprise, given it’s from an established company like Shimano.

The lightweight and durable metal titanium makes the body and spools and has an anti-rust coating.

If you catch a monster fish, you’ll be amazed at how durable the 18STELLA material is.

Advanced Micromodule Gear II is a precisely constructed clearance silent drive.

The smoothness that the spinning reels produce is “the best” of Shimano’s spinning reel.

The reel is extremely quiet and silky smooth, which is a testament to the focus on details.

In addition, the brand’s new waterproof structure X-Protect is also in use to ensure “eternal smoothness.”

Though be aware that since it’s a top-quality reel, you’ll have to pay a little more.

Stella comes at a higher price. It’s an appealing option for professionals who earn a decent income from fishing.

However, casual anglers may want to think about other more affordable options for those on a tight budget.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality from a trusted brand
  • Uses the most modern technology to give anglers an easy, quiet experience
  • Designed with the lowest center of gravity
  • An advanced line management system for propulsion; it produces longer and longer-lasting casts
  • The reel mechanism has a quiet drive, which helps to minimize the noise, resistance, and even vibration when reeling
  • Water-resistant

Cons

  • Expensive

2) Second Best Choice: Pflueger’s Supreme XT Spinning Reel

Pflueger's Supreme XT Spinning Reel.jpg

The Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Reel is a quality mid-sized fishing reel that you can use for saltwater and freshwater fishing.

This budget reel comes in four sizes: 25 (2500) with a 5.2:1 gear ratio, 30 (3000) and 35 (3500), and 40 (4000), each with a 6.2:1 gear ratio.

Thanks to its magnesium rotor and body, the Supreme XT spinning reel is an extremely lightweight reel.

The aluminum spool is ready to braid your favorite line with rubber ridges affixed to the spool to grasp the slippery braided line.

On the highest point of the spool, you’ll find an enclosed carbon fiber drag system that is ideal for saltwater and freshwater fishing.

One feature that makes this reel stand out is the carbon fiber handle that is lightweight and paired with the EVA handle knob, which offers the most smooth and effortless retrieval.

Pflueger features the Sure-Click bail that makes an unmistakable snap sound when you open the bail fully and are ready for casting.

The bail sports an anti-twist titanium liner that ensures the line lies equally on the spool when you take it back. Additionally, the instant anti-reverse lets you hook quickly and reliable hookset each time.

Pros

  • Extremely Light
  • Smooth Drag Performance
  • Braid Ready Spool
  • Instant anti-reverse feature
  • Carbon Handle, which is 21% lighter than aluminum

Cons

  • Durability could be better
  • Expensive

3) Best Bass Fishing: Shimano’s EXSENCE BB Spinning Reel

Shimano's EXSENCE BB Spinning Reel.jpg

The Shimano’s EXSENCE BB comes with the same Stella the ’14 Magnesium body.

So it is strong but light, like everyone knows about Stella.

The standard size of the reel is 3000MHG and weighs 215g.

The unit features the new Magnum Light Rotor. It’s a Ci4+ rotor with asymmetry, creating smoothness and “quick response.”

You can begin fighting immediately after hooking. So, it is fair to say that it is one of the best freshwater spinning reels.

Like the TwinPower XD ’17 X Protect, the spinning reel has a water-resistant system with features that repel water and a labyrinth-like water-resistant design to allow you to bring and use this reel for more challenging locations like rock fishing.

However, it gives the best result for freshwater fishing, including bass fishing.

Pros

  • Very light
  • Water-resistant
  • Smooth and quick response

Cons

  • Not as durable as it should be

4) Best Premium: Penn’s Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel

Penn's Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel.jpg

Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel is the sixth generation of this iconic spinning reel manufactured by Penn.

This version of the Penn Spinfisher VI ranges in sizes from 2500 to 10,500, providing a quality reel in a variety of sizes based on what you’re looking for.

In addition to all the standard sizes, you can also get the Penn Spinfisher VI in several sub-series.

They have long-cast reels and live liners available to pick from in different sizes.

All sizes and models have a metal frame and side plate.

However, to increase the longevity and durability of Penn Spinfisher VI, they’ve added a new CNC gear technology made of brass and aluminum, according to the size you’re considering.

When you select the size of your reel and the type of gear you choose, you also need to decide on the materials used to make the gears.

Both aluminum and brass are excellent materials for creating an efficient gear system that can stand up to extreme tension; Penn has opted to utilize brass gears on 6500 and up models for extra toughness and durability.

The IPX5 sealed system was another major feature that caught our eye instantly in the Penn Spinfisher reel.

The English protection rating tells you about the degree to which the reel is sealed.

This also means that you can spray your reel with a hose towards the time of day or let it soak in saltwater.

The IPX5 seal will keep any dirt, salt, or sand from entering the gears and causing the reel to rust and swell with time.

Carbon fiber drag washers protect the wholly sealed spool.

Moreover, it also provides you with the stopping power needed to capture fish without resistance.

In addition, the HT100 material has previously proven to stand the years of use and create an effortless drag.

The 5+1 stainless seal ball bearing system is kept securely inside the body of the Spinfisher VI reel, far from the elements.

It is sealed tightly within the outer metal surface to ensure that no salt, water, or even sand enters the system and causes damage to it.

The line capacity rings let you instantly know at a glance the amount of line remaining on the spool after fighting with a bigger fish.

You will notice markings on the spool such as 1/3 or 2/3 lines and full-capacity rings.

Pros

  • A variety of sizes are available
  • Super even line lay
  • CNC gear technology
  • The IPX5 sealed spool gives protection against debris and dirt
  • 5+1 stainless seal ball bearing system

Cons

  • Paint can begin to crack after a while
  • The bail arm may loosen over time

5) Best Value For Money: Abu Garcia’s Revo SX Spinning Reel

Abu Garcia's Revo SX Spinning Reel.jpg

Abu Garcia’s Revo SX Spinning Reel offers the best features for its price.

The best part of the reel is the presence of an insert-molded carbon body design. Furthermore, the single-piece aluminum gearbox is ideal.

Its sturdy frame can maintain an impressive level of weightlessness.

As a result, it’s possible to crank on a huge bass without any flex throughout the reel’s frame while having relaxing ergonomics.

Furthermore, it has an incredible line management system.

The Everlast Bail system and the Rocket Spool Lip design lets the line lie flat, neatly on the spool, irrespective of the technique you choose or the weight of the lure.

Of course, many are susceptible to massive and random backlashes during the daytime, but you won’t have any issues using REVO SX.

Despite the tauter fluorocarbon lines, you won’t need to worry about all those bothersome wind knots or loops of the line when in a storm.

This reel’s drag is exceptional. It can start without hesitation, and it operates incredibly as the fishes’ swim toward deeper water.

It’s strong enough to lure any fish away from the cover and has a lot of finesse especially when it comes to fighting bigger fishing in clear water.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Powerful drag
  • Attractive looks
  • Compact body
  • The line is dispersed to outstanding range and precision
  • It can handle the majority of lure weights easily

Cons

  • Lacks some refinement
  • Even though it has a powerful drag, it isn’t always smooth

6) Best Budget-Friendly: Shimano’s Sedona FI Spinning Reel

Shimano's Sedona FI Spinning Reel.jpg

If you’re pondering whether there’s a reel available on the market that offers top-of-the-line capabilities at an affordable cost, then you’ve found it.

The upgraded Sedona FI is set to impress both on the water and in your pocket.

The Sedona retains the smooth, hassle-free 3+1 ball bearing system; however, the good news is that you can use this model for a greater variety of uses that range from freshwater fishing to the most heavy-duty offshore.

As a result, it’s awe-inspiring in the feel and control and the cost!

Shimano’s Sedona FL sports a G-Free body that will assist you in shifting its center of gravity to the rod.

This improves anglers’ comfort and allows them to fish for more extended periods without suffering from fatigue.

The all-metal, cold-forged gearing system is the thing that makes this reel stand out from the rest. The new system offers anglers greater flexibility in the fish they’d like.

You can use the rod for small freshwater applications and inshore saltwater fishing.

Shimano employs the latest technology to give you an extraordinarily long-lasting and seamless retrieval each time.

They do not cut to the tooth of the motor. Instead, they employ an exceptional 3D concept and cold-forged tech.

Their work results are unbeatable endurance, strength, power, and smoothness.

This reel includes a spool lip design that increases casting distance and helps prevent wind knots and backlash.

Additionally, the machine cut spool permits greater line capacity and is compatible with an oval-shaped oscillation system.

Finally, the double anodizing process plays a vital role in preventing the spool from corrosion.

The varispeed oscillation system can prevent your line from accumulating at one end of your spool.

Instead of retrieving the line at a steady speed, the reel can alter the oscillation speed to give you an even and consistent retrieval.

This means you’ll have a smoother line laid for a better cast and better line control.

The single paddle handle reduces the load of the reel while maintaining its high performance and durability.

Furthermore, the unit has model sizes ranging from 500 up to 8000.

The numbers on the model are for the size of the spool.

The bigger the spool, the more line the reel can carry.

The more line you’ve got, the bigger the fish you can take on.

If you intend to fish in smaller areas like ponds or rivers, you’ll want to choose between 500 and 2000 according to how big the species of fish you are trying to catch.

However, if you’re fishing nearshore and deep freshwater areas, you’ll probably want to opt for a model of 4000-8000, with 24 pounds of maximum drag.

Pros

  • A very smooth reel that has a significant drag
  • Smooth performance and easy retrieval each time
  • Long-lasting, durable G-Free body
  • Hagane gearing offers maximum flexibility concerning fishing applications
  • A highly desirable line management system for line management
  • An excellent freshwater reel at an entry-level you can use only sparingly in saltwater

Cons

  • There is no reverse direction switch

Buying Guides

Types Of Freshwater Reels

For past years, numerous brands have produced hundreds of different models of freshwater reels.

But, there are only four kinds of freshwater fishing reels available in various sizes and lines speeds, casting distances, and much more.

1) Bait-Casting Reel

The most difficult freshwater spinning reel is to master the baitcasting reel, made to cast bigger lures or bait over longer distances.

These freshwater reels typically have an automatic level-wind mechanism that prevents the line from becoming trapped underneath itself during rewinds and subsequent casting.

In addition, some bait-casting reels come equipped with anti-reverse handles and drag specifically designed to slow down runs made by powerful and large game fish.

Standard bait-casting reels are placed above the fishing rod and include a retrieve crank to the right of the reel.

People with a dominant left hand can also use it.

Since the force of the forward casting must turn the spool around and propel the lure, it is always recommended that you select heavier lures when using a bait-casting angling reel.

However, due to the complexity of bait-casting reels, they’re not ideal for beginners.

2) Open-Bail Spinning Reel

A spin-casting reel has mechanical pickups employed to pull the line off, and an anti-reverse lever keeps the crank handle from turning as a fish pulls lines from the reel.

Since you do not need to draw the line against the spool’s rotating mechanism like the bait-casting reel, you can use lighter lures when using spin-casting.

You can use fixed-spool reels to cast the bail opening and grip the line using the forefinger.

Then, making a backward snap with the rod, followed by a forward casting, and releasing the line using the forefinger.

When you retrieve the line, the wire’s large, rotating cage or bail (either with a trigger or manually) is used as the line’s pickup and returns the line to its location at the end of the reel.

It is recommended that you should place the open-bail reels just below the rod. As a result, they’re actually relatively easy to operate.

3) Closed Spin Casting Reel

Like an open bail spinning reel, the line on this reel is pulled out of a fixed spool which means you can use light baits and lures.

However, the closed spin-pin casting reel removes the huge line roller and wire bail, using only two or three simple pickup pins and an aluminum cup used to spin the line around the spool.

Typically, the rod is placed above it; the spin casting reel also comes with an outer nose cone covering and shielding the spool fixed.

Due to these features, spinning reels are generally regarded as the top freshwater fishing reels designed for beginners.

4) Fly Fishing Reel

The majority of fly fishing reels are relatively simple in their designs.

However, once you have selected the rod’s appropriate dimension, the second most important thing to look at for these freshwater reels is their drag mechanism.

Fly reels employ a weighted-fly fishing line and a lightweight fly for bait.

They are often used to catch trout fish in the clear, flowing rivers.

What to Consider While Buying A Spinning Reel?

Spinning reels work great to teach someone how to cast and fish.

The process is simple; it involves opening up the bail, putting your finger at the rod and finally letting the lure go.

As you get more experienced, you can change your gear if you need to.

However, it would help if you always began with a spinning reel; it’s the best for all levels of angler.

However, it isn’t easy to discern the hype and know the exact value you get from your purchase.

This section will outline the key characteristics to help you determine the difference between a 5-star product and a 1-star product.

1) Saltwater vs. Freshwater

Saltwater reels are constructed with special castings designed to stop corrosion from saltwater.

The primary distinction between freshwater and saltwater equipment is the durability; saltwater gear has a greater tendency to resist corrosive atmospheres as compared to freshwater ones.

Saltwater is a corrosive liquid and can cause corrosion to solid metal structures.

The Freshwater Gear is constructed out of your typical gear metal.

They don’t have an enclosure of their own.

Hence, the freshwater equipment is prone to damage due to the surrounding environment.

This can cause them to rust when used for saltwater fishing.

They are perfect for water bodies with less than 0.05 percentage salinity.

2) Material and Construction 

The construction methods and materials employed to create the spinning reel must be strong enough to withstand giant fish and lightweight sufficient to minimize fatigue for the angler.

Manufacturers achieve this by using different methods, including using alloys from the space age that are lightweight and strong and cutting off metal parts to reduce the weight.

Modern reels are constructed of:

  • Metal
  • Graphite
  • Plastic
  • Copolymer

If you are budget-conscious, then plastic reels are the best option for you.

These are ideal for small freshwater fish such as bluegills and river trout.

Graphite and copolymer are more durable and suitable for most freshwater and saltwater fishing situations.

Metal construction is the preferred choice of serious anglers to fish both saltwater and freshwater.

It is important to note that certain reels are constructed from various materials to help lower the weight and cost.

However, these reels are only as strong as the weakest materials, so make sure you know the components used in each reel before purchasing.

3) Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are an essential indicator of the reel’s performance and how smooth the reel’s retrieve is.

The more ball bearings you have, the more equally spread they are over the reel internal gearings and frame.

There is an apparent relationship between the cost of reels and the number of ball bearings.

If you are torn between two reels with almost identical features, you should choose the one which has greater ball bearings.

4) Gear Ratio

Gear ratio means the number of spins of the reel’s spool for each handle rotation.

For instance, a gear ratio of 5.0:1 is that one hand rotation provides 5.0 turns on the spool.

In actuality, this refers to the retrieval speed of the reel spinning, and you must know or be clear abo the purpose of the reel.

For example, if you plan to retrieve a catch quickly, you’ll need an increased gear ratio.

Remember that the greater the gear ratio, the less power you will be able to use.

Large gamefish reels with a lot of weight typically come with gear ratios as lower as 2.0:1.

The high-speed reels for baitcasting can have a 10.0:1 gear ratio.

If you consider a spinning reel, we recommend choosing between the 4.0:1 and the 6.0:1 range.

This gives you the greatest flexibility and lets you catch in different styles.

5) Line Capacity

How much the line is required depends upon the dimensions and kind of fish you intend to target.

For example, when fishing for panfish, you will need more line as compared to when you are targeting an individual tuna, which will swim away at the speed of light after it’s hooked.

The greater the line’s capacity, the greater the reel’s weight because the spool must be physically bigger.

It is also vital to think about the fishing line you will employ.

For example, a braid fishing line has an increased line capacity than a mono line.

6) Drag System

The most crucial feature to consider is the drag that has the highest capacity.

It shows how much force the drag will be able to exert on the fishing line and, consequently, the amount of fish it will stop.

The more giant reels have more drag, so choose the suitable model or size of a spinning reel for your desired species. Get a good-sized reel that can manage the largest fish species you’ll likely catch.

Tip: The highest quality reels feature silky smooth drags, which don’t change pressure and operate silently.

Whereas low-quality reels usually allow you to draw the line in a jerky-fast, stop-and-start style.

7) Anti-Reverse Switch

The anti-reverse switch, once activated, stops the bail and the handle of the reel from turning backward.

This ensures that your hook sets are secure and allow your drag mechanism to supply line to fight fish.

If you switch the anti-reverse switch to a neutral position, you can operate the reel’s handle in any direction.

This gives anglers the option of reverse reeling whenever an animal takes off instead of relying on the drag system.

Some anglers choose to reverse reels instead of relying entirely on drag.

Many anglers were using this method because the drag systems with older reels weren’t always working very well.

Most modern reels, especially top-of-the-line models, have fluid drag systems that work more effectively than reverse reeling when combating large fish.

However, in reality, some of the best reels on the market don’t have anti-reverse switch features anymore.

Conclusion

In the realm of freshwater spinning reels, you have countless options.

To choose the most suitable freshwater spinning reels for anglers like you, you must look at every option.

Selecting the best reel is significantly more straightforward if you know what you’re looking for and where to get it.

We’ve put together an overview of what we believe are the top freshwater spinning reels available for anglers seeking the best spinning reels for freshwater.

Through these excellent reviews of the product, you’ll be sure to locate the best product to catch all freshwater fish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What's the best spinning reel you can buy?

When fishing reels are favorites, our top pick for the best spinning reel is the Shimano 18 Stella 2500S Spinning Reel. It has a great quality build, uses the most modern technology for a satisfying experience, and has the lowest center of gravity. Additionally, it uses an advanced line management system for propulsion which has been demonstrated to produce longer casts, is water-resistant, and has a quiet drive to minimize the noise, resistance, and vibration.

What makes a good quality spinning reel?

A good spinning reel must have:
Instant Anti-Reverse Handles: Begin your search by looking for spinning reels that do not have backward movement in the handle. If you could move the handle backward even just one degree, it would stop a solid and precise hook set, drastically decreasing your fishing efficiency.

Smooth, Easily-Adjustable Drag: The drag system must let out the line effortlessly and smoothly, with no jerks or pulls when the line moves. If it stumbles and stutters like a car that has poor transmission, it might not be the ideal option for the reel you choose.

Ball Bearings: The more ball bearings, the more smooth the spin of your reel. Many experts suggest getting the reel with the highest ball bearings. The ideal number to remember is five.

Gear Ratio: The best gear ratio will be determined by the type of fishing you plan to pursue. A more excellent gear ratio is suggested if you're fishing with lures that require quick retrieves. A ratio of 4:1 is considered slow, while a 6:1 ratio is considered speedy. If you want a great all-around reel, pick one that falls within the 5:1 ratio.

What is a good freshwater reel?

There are two types of freshwater fishing reels that are pretty popular: open-bail and closed-spin fishing reels. An open-bail fishing reel also called a spinning reel, is among the most popular fishing reel. When you purchase this type of reel, you'll see the spool (and many of the moving components) is accessible instead of being tucked behind a cover for the spool.

The line is stored on the spool, and when you've cast the line and then closed the bail arm, the reel stops coiling. In contrast to open-face reels that have lines exposed, there is no visible spool on closed-spin reels. Instead, it is contained within the nose cone of the reel. In addition, it has a hole that allows the line to pass through.

Kids and novices will be at ease with closed-face reels and can be able to get their feet wet in the waters of fishing without difficulties. However, despite being more challenging to operate, experienced anglers will benefit from the improved control and length of line that open-face fishing reels have.

What is a 3000 series spinning reel?

The size of the reel you buy will depend on the kind of fishing you intend to pursue. Small spin reels of size 1000 – 3500 are the perfect combination for freshwater fishing. And the ideal is a spinning reel of 3000 inches; lightweight, medium-sized, and can catch Catfish, Walleye, Bass, and Northern Pike,  best in estuaries, harbors, bays, and light waters. Additionally, the lightweight of a 3000-reel is essential if planning to throw a lot of lures.

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