Best Spinning Reel of 2017

Best Spinning Reel of 2017

Are you looking to get started fishing, and trying to decide on your first fishing pole? Or are you a seasoned fisherman looking to expand your arsenal? Whatever the case, picking the right fishing pole for you can be a daunting task. In this article, we will walk you through your options to help you find the best spinning reel for your needs.

Picking the best fishing pole is inherently an impossible task, so we will instead change the question, and focus on picking the right fishing pole for you. The right fishing pole for you will depend on many factors, including: how experienced you are, how often you fish, the type of fishing you do, and the types and brands of fishing poles you have used in the past. Some people naturally gravitate towards some brands, for reasons of personal preference, previous brand experience, and loyalty. You may fit into this category, and if you do, you can skip ahead to what we say about some of our favorite brands. Others of you might not care about brand at all, and instead focus on getting the best value for your money. Finally, some of you might not care about the cost as much, and will instead focus on getting the best fishing reel overall.

If you haven’t noticed by now, in the previous paragraphs, we talk about fishing poles, and fishing reels. You might be wondering, what’s the difference? The fishing pole (the whole set) is made up of two parts: the fishing rod, and the fishing reel. The rod is the stick. When you look at a fishing pole, most of what you’re seeing is the rod. The other part of a fishing pole, is the reel. The reel is the part at the bottom of the rod. It holds the fishing line, and has all the mechanical components needed to release the line when you are casting off, and pull the line back in when you catch a fish. When buying a fishing reel, there are two ways to buy: just the reel, or the reel and the rod already assembled together. If you are buying just the reel, you will need a rod to attach it to. You can use your existing rod if you are just replacing a broken reel, or you can shop for a fishing rod seperately. If you don’t already have a rod and just want to get started fishing, you can buy the reel and the rod already assembled and ready to fish. This is called a combo. Some reels only come as a reel, other reels come in both a reel-only, and a combo form, so you can pick whichever fits your needs.

Spinning Reel

Here, we will limit the field of potential reels to just spinning reels. We do this for two reasons. The first, selfishly, is that we want to make our job easier, and focus on one type of reel. The other reason, well really related to the first reason, is that it is very hard to compare reels across types. Sure, we could compare price, and build quality, but those comparisons wouldn’t be worth that much. Each type of reel has its own strengths and weaknesses, and those exist across all brands of that type. Comparing specific reels across types would really just turn into an article describing the different types of reels, with about 10% extra talking about specific brands. So instead of doing that, we will focus on only spinning reels. Finally, most of you that are looking for a new fishing reel already know what type of reel you want, and only care about those, so we can just talk about those without wasting your time.

If you don’t know what the difference is between the different types of fishing reels, or you aren’t sure that a spinning reel is for you, Click here to read our article explaining the differences between the different types of fishing reels.

Best Value Spinning Reel

We decided to go in a different direction for our pick of the best value fishing reel. We picked the Piscifun Steel Feeling Spinning Fishing Reel. Although Piscifun isn’t as well known as some of the other brands we reviewed in this article, the Steel Feeling is a quality fishing reel. It is also quite a bit cheaper than the other brands and well liked by its customers, earning our designation of best value. Coming in at 12oz, its almost as heavy as the Spinfisher. The Steel Feeling has a maximum drag of 15 pounds, which is quite a bit less than the Spinfisher, Shimano, or Daiwa. For a cheaper price than the premium reels listed below, the Steel Feeling is built with easier fishing in mind. If you aren’t doing rough fishing, and don’t need something as heavy duty as some of the other reels, this one would be an excellent choice to save some money.

This reel is built with a carbon fiber drag material, and a 9+1 bearing system. The spool is made from anodized aluminum. This reel is not water sealed to protect the bearings, so keep that in mind. It probably isn’t suited for saltwater fishing.

Best Cheap Spinning Reel

Our pick, and probably the pick of most other fishermen, for the best cheap reel goes to the Zebco 33 Spincast Combo. The Zebco 33 is an incredibly popular reel, and its the reel that many of us got started fishing on. At less than half the price of most of the other reels in this article, the Zebco 33 comes as a combo, so that price includes the rod. Since most of the other reels don’t, that makes the Zebco 33 amazingly cheap. It is really marketed towards beginning fishermen, giving you a simple, cheap, and ready to go solution so you can start fishing and see what its all about. Despite the price, the reel is still well built, and will do you well for your first couple of years if you’re new to fishing.

The Zebco 33 Spincast Combo comes with a tackle box set, so you really do have everything you need to start fishing immediately. That being said, as you will soon learn, you end up going through the supplies you bring in your tackle box. Lines get caught, floaters fall off, and things you never would have thought of will happen too. So, don’t rely on the included tackle box for a long fishing trip. Too much tackle equipment is always better than running out while you’re on the water.

Some people start out on the 33, think its fine, and just keep using it. If you don’t plan on fishing to often, this strategy will fit you well. Most experienced fishermen, however, will feel the need (or desire) to upgrade to a more substantial reel after their first couple years.

None the less, if you’re new to fishing, even if you are sure that you’ll love it, we’d still recommend you start with a starter reel for your first reel. Even though you will probably buy a new one in a couple years time, its always good to have a spare, and its a great idea to have a cheap, but durable and easy to use, fishing pole to lend to your friends. If they ruin it, you won’t be nearly as hurt as if they ruined your second reel.

Best Saltwater Spinning Reel and Overall Best Spinning Reel

Our pick for the best spinning reel goes to the Penn Spinfisher V SSV3500 Spinning Reel. From catching walleye in the Great Lakes, to shark fishing in Florida, the Spinfisher is a truly versitile line of reels. Made by Penn, one of the most well known brands of spinning fishing reels. The BG3500 is built with a durable, full-metal body, and is water tight, for reliable performance in saltwater and sandy environments. The spool requires no backing, and is ready for braided lines. Built with saltwater fishing in mind, the BG3500 will live up in the harshest environments. Even if you don’t plan on going saltwater fishing, you will still benefit from a reel designed to handle those punishing conditions. The Spinfisher comes with HT-100 drag system, which delivers a smooth drag across the full range of drag weights. The Spinfisher V 3500 provides drag up to its maximum, of 20 pounds. The drag system has 3 drag washers in different locations, giving the drag a clean, smooth feel. The spool on the 3500 can hold 210 yards of 8 pound test weight line, or if you use braided line, it can hold 230 yards of 10 pound test line, or 165 yards of 20 pound test weight line. The SSV3500 is geared to a ratio of 6.2:1.

The watertight design of this reel keeps the gearbox and drag system, the important mechanical parts of a fishing reel, free from water and sand in order to provide smooth performance and maximize the lifespan of this reel. Along the reel are line capacity rings, which will show you at a glance how much of the spool of fishing line is remaining.

One of the downsides of the Penn Spinfisher V is its weight. Compared to other reels in its class, it is a heavier reel. But if you’re looking for quality and durability, that extra weight is a feature, not a bug. Its heavier construction means that you are getting a fishing reel that will hold up over time.

Best Shimano Spinning Reels

Our pick for the best Shimano spinning reel is the Shimano Nasci Compact Spinning Reel. Shimano is perhaps best known for its premium Stradic line of reels. Although the Nasci doesn’t compare with the Stradics, you can often do well with the basic line of a premium brand. The Nasci does not disappoint, and lives up to the Shimano name, but with a more affordable price. The Nasci Compact comes in sizes from 1000 to 5000. To try to compare the brands as closely as possible, we will look at the C3000HG. The C3000HG is in the same class of reel as the Penn Spinfisher and the Daiwa BG3500. All three of these reels fall in the same price range, and all three brands come highly regarded. The Shimano Nasci Compact reels are smaller and lighter than the Daiwa or the Spinfisher reels. The C3000HG has a gear ratio of 6.3:1 and brings in 36 inches of line for each full turn of the handle, which is a little bit more than the Spinfisher does. Its spool holds 140 yards of 10 pound test weight line, and is also compatible with braided line. For braided line, the spool holds 140 yards of 20 pound test line, or 105 yards of 40 pound test line. It has a maximum drag force of 20 pounds. The main body of the Shimano Nascis is made of graphite. One downside of the Shimano Nasci when compared to the Penn Spinfisher or the Daiwa BG is the bearing count. Both the Spinfisher and the BG Series reels have 6+1 bearings, compared to the 4+1 for the Nasci. Certainly not a dealbreaker, and I’d wager most fishermen using this reel would struggle to notice a difference.

This Shimano is definitely a light weight reel, especially compared to some of the heavier reels in this list. Saltwater is hard on all fishing equipment, but some users did notice corrosion on this reel. But, if you aren’t planning on doing saltwater fishing, its light weight could be a plus and this could be a great fishing reel for you!

Best Daiwa Spinning Reel

The 2017 Daiwa BG3500 Spinning Reel is our pick for the best Daiwa reel. While not as popular as some of the other brands listed in this article, Daiwa builds a quality fishing reel. Because of this, Daiwa has amassed quite the following of diehard fans. The BG3500 falls into the high quality category of fishing reels. Compare it to the Penn Spinfisher or the Shimano Nasci that we listed above. All three of these reels are at a similar price point, and are a step above the Piscifun, and two steps above the Zebco. The Daiwa BG Series, which stands for “Black Gold,” comes with an aluminum body and a black anodized aluminum body cover, from which it gets its name. Being anodized, the black coating on the body is more durable, and won’t chip away as easily as paint will. The BG Series come with oversized gears, giving them a smoother gear operation, more power, and increased torque. The BG3500 is geared with a gearing ratio of 5.7:1, bringing in 43 inches of fishing line for each turn of the handle. The handle can be moved to either side for left or right handed operation. The BG3500 has a maximum drag of 17.6 lbs.

The BG3500 has the line capacities listed below. This tells you how long a fishing line will fit in the reel, given the weight of the fishing line you are using. Heavier line is thicker, so the spool holds less of it. Braided line has multiple strands woven together, giving a stronger (but more expensive) line for a given thickness. The BG3500’s spool is braided line ready.

Test Weight (lbs) 10 12 14 J-BRAID: 20 J-BRAID: 30 J-Braid: 40
Line Capacity (yards) 240 210 170 310 230 150

The BG3500 is an excellent fishing reel, and comes right in the middle of the BG Series reels. If you need a heavier reel than this one, you can go up a size (or a couple). Similarly, you can go down sizes, to find one that fits with the type of fishing you are doing, and your budget. The Daiwa BG Series reels are bigger than similarly numbered Shimano reels. The BG3500 can hold slightly more line in the spool than the Penn Spinfisher, but its barely noticeable. Really, there’s no way you would notice the difference except for when you’re comparing the spec sheets. Given the specs and quality of this reel, it comes with a bargain price.


Well, we either simplified things for you, or just confused you more. Hopefully, we have helped you pick a fishing reel, or at the very least, given you a framework and some ideas of what to look for when comparing reels.

One thing to note about the braided fishing lines. Just about every manufacturer has their own brand of braided fishing line, like PowerPro by Shimano or J-BRAID by Daiwa. So don’t worry too much about the brand names attached to the braided lines in this article.. those are just the brands that go with the manufacture of the reel. The specs, like length in the spool, and test weight are comparable.

We reviewed three reels, that are roughly comparable: the Penn Spinfisher, the Shimano Nasci, and the Daiwa BG Series. All three of these reels are in the same price range, and you couldn’t go wrong with any of them. All three brands are quite well known and respected.

As with all things in life, you get what you pay for. The Piscifun isn’t as good as those three, but it comes in at half the price. The Zebco isn’t as good as the Piscifun, but it comes in at half the price again. Its up to you whether you want a great reel, a really good reel, or a good reel. You’ll get a good deal for your money with any of these, but its unrealistic to expect Zebco to compare to a reel 3 times as expensive.

The Zebco is great for new fisherman or as a spare pole for friends. The Piscifun is good if you want to spend a little more than that. All three of the premium reels are great if you’ve been fishing for a couple of years. You won’t be disappointed with any of them.

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