Good Choices in Catfishing Reels

When choosing a baitcaster, strength and durability are the main points to look for. Cheaping out on a reel for catfishing is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. If you come unprepared, don’t expect to win this battle.

In addition to the direct durability of the reel itself, consider that you’ll want to use a very strong line, maybe even a braid, and you’ll need to put quite a bit of that line on your reel, so make sure that the reel’s capacity is adequate to the task. A very smooth, easily-adjustable drag control and exceptionally strong gearing are also important points, because a big cat won’t let up in a fight, but the reel might. Having a good level winding system and some sort of casting control is beneficial, but not at the expense of strength, if you cannot afford both. Speaking of gear strength and casting control, it’s interesting to note that the best casting reels are not often the very strongest, and vice-versa, since the weight of the components affects casting distance and agility negatively. Try to find a reel that offers a good balance of these, in the stronger models from a given manufacturer.

As far as manufacturers go, there seems to be little dispute among the seasoned guys, that Abu Garcia 6000 or 6500 baitcasters are probably the best all-over reels for really big cats, combining a nice balance of castability and high strength, while Penn reels such as the 320 GT2, or the Jigmaster 500 are the favourites for overall brawn and durability. Both manufacturers know what it takes to build a really top-drawer catfishing reel which won’t let you down.

Regardless of the style, make or model of reel you decide to look at, overall, make sure that you are comfortable using it, before you buy it, because in the end, your reel is one of the most important pieces of gear in your arsenal, and you need to be confident in it, and be able to work with it, after all is said and done.

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Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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