I remember learning to fish, up in Canada, with my dad and grandfather. We went on yearly fishing trips each fall and they were the highlight of my memories.
The truck and boat was packed with tackle, snacks, food, and spincasting reels. Seriously, everyone in the family used spincast reels.
Because they’re simple to use, easy to learn, and a breeze to maintain. I remember my cousins always using open face spinning reels.
They seemed foreign and complicated to me. After all, I only needed to push the button on my reel at the right time to get a great cast. Then reel it in.
Easy as pie.
Spincasting reels are one of the newest developments in the history of fishing reels. While they may not look as glamorous as the more exotic aesthetics of open face spinning reels or baitcasting reels they’re certainly effective and efficient.
I’m going to help you learn how to buy your next spincasting reel by walking you through what you need to know, step by step.
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Spincast Fishing Reels
- Zebco Spincast Fishing Omega Reel
- Pflueger President Spincast Reel
- Zebco Bullet Spincast Reel
- Abu Garcia Abumatic 170
- Zebco Omega Pro Spincast Reel
- Daiwa Goldcast Spincast Fishing Reel
- Pflueger Trion Spincast Reel
Best Spincast Reels
Spincast Reel Reviews
- 3x Pickup System
- Ceramic line guide
- 7 bearings
- Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
Zebco, inventor of the spincast reel, has been paving the way forward in spincast technology since its inception.
With the Omega reel they introduced the first 7-bearing spincast reel and it remains a tough competitor in the market at a price that’s deceptively easy to handle!
By far the most defining feature of the Zebco Omega is the 7 bearing system. It was the first ever spincast reel to pack a whopping 7 bearings into the the butter-smooth mechanics.
Is it going to be a lightyear ahead of other reels when it comes to efficiency and smoothness? Maybe not, but for the price why not go for the best instead of dropping down a few notches in quality just to save a buck or two?
It’s not that much more expensive than the next step down.
I do like the ceramic line guide which helps reduce friction and alleviate some of the notorious line kink that eventually happens with any spincast reel. With the Omega that problem is reduced thanks to the ceramic low friction guide.
You’ll be able to switch the retrieve crank to left or right hand configuration, as is common on most reels. There’s also the standard top mounted drag adjustment that we’ve come to expect.
Best For: Getting the best spincast reel you can buy for an amazing price.
- 4 bearings
- Soft touch knob
- Instant anti-reverse bearing
- Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
Pflueger brings us a 4-bearing spincast reel with a regal color scheme befitting the highest office of fishing. I like the sleek aluminum body and well matched colors that lend this reel an air of elegance.
It’s a spincast reel with near flawless user feedback and all the features you need to enjoy a day on the water.
Instant anti-reverse is a common feature on every spin cast reel. Pflueger made sure that this reel capitalizes on that feature by polishing up the anti-reverse bearing to ensure reliable, smooth engagement after the cast.
One feature I do love about this reel is the ergonomic shape of the soft touch knob.
I like these larger oblong knobs on a reel because it just adds an extra layer of positive grip that you can really get a hold of when you’re working to fight a fish. Not to mention it reduces finger fatigue over hours of casting.
Ultimately this spincasting reel comes in at a price point that’s hard to argue with. There’s plenty to love and it will bring all the features you’ve come to expect from a quality spincast reel.
Best For: Mid-level budgets and anglers seeking a large, positive grip to reel with. Overall the best spincast reel under $50.
- 9 bearings
- Large positive grips
- Dual-bearing pickup pin
- Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
Zebco is, without a doubt, the biggest name in spinning reels. They made it to the game first and remain a power player. Now, one of their latest reels, features upgrades that will blow your mind.
Of course, you’ll have to be ready to pay for that performance increase.
Zebco is pushing forward into the world of spincast reel design with some improvements that aim to alleviate spincast reel issues. The low friction pickup system design is made to help keep the line from kinking and twisting for as long as possible.
By reducing the friction on the line with each cast, the line lasts longer overall before deforming.
I should mention that they managed to pack in an impressive 9 bearings total. It’s an 8+1 design so there are 8 bearings in the reel and 1 in the clutch.
This is a pretty common design in high end spinning reels and open face reels which Zebco has brought into the spincast market.
This reel is designed to be a fast-hauling reel for pulling in tons of line with ease. That means it won’t be so easy to fight and haul huge fish that really want to pull away from you. You might also have a hard time reeling in bait that you want to sink.
Best For: The most upgraded features available on the best zebco spincast reel.
- 3 bearings
- Brass gear internals
- Side mounted drag adjustment
- Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
Abu Garcia is one of my favorite brands on the market. They have taken many of the classic designs and iterations and improved or put their own twist on many of them. This small, lightweight spincast reel is a classic function with a modern look.
Unlike any of the other spincast reels we’ve reviewed so far, the Abu Garcia Abumatic has a drag setting that’s adjusted by a wheel located next to the crank.
I find these to be a bit harder to adjust than the top mounted friction wheel style so famous to the Zebco reels, but it’s nothing that earns a negative mark.
Unlike the other spincast reels on our list the Abumatic features a slightly improved drag system. The carbon matrix drag system uses a carbon-based friction disc that offers a slight performance upgrade over felt drag discs.
Despite this, even seasoned pros disagree on which type is ultimately the best.
I will say that I like the single handle crank with the large, oblong grip for positive traction when hauling in line.
Best For: A compact spincasting reel at a moderate price level with Abu Garcia reliability.
- 7 stainless steel bearings
- 3x positive pickup system
- Pre-spooled with 6-pound line
- Rating: 4.3/ 5.0
Zebco’s wildly popular Omega reel gets an upgrade with the Pro version that features a few of the internals from the high-end Bullet reel.
With many of the same components as the basic Omega model, the Pro version has reduced friction and more reliable spooling that will help elongate the lifespan of your line.
The Omega Pro is a good alternative to the Bullet because it features the same ceramic pickups. It also has the 7 bearings of the Omega.
But instead of the high 6:1 ratio of the Bullet, it has a more modest 3.4:1 ratio which helps with hauling in heavier fish or pulling bait that you want to sink a bit more.
Will all-metal internals there’s nothing to worry about as far as longevity or durability. Plus, the anodized caps and aluminum spinner head are practically corrosion proof.
I will say that the single black design styling leaves something to be desired. But then again, there’s something to be said the for bold look of an sleek black setup.
Best For: Landing larger fish with most of the advanced features of Zebco’s lineup.
- Metal body and gears
- Tungsten carbide line pickup system
- 1:1 Gear Ratio
- Rating: 4.1/ 5.0
Daiwa is prepared to bring us a moderately priced spincast reel that’s ready for any work you need. As is standard for good spincast reels, the oscillating spool helps to load the line without kinks or jams.
The lightweight frame is open and minimalist in appearance and capped with a gold colored cover.
With a 4.1:1 gear ratio this reel is ready to handle just about anything. That gear ratio is about in the happy middle ground for most anglers and can make for an acceptable all around fishing setup.
I like the minimalist looking frame and there are three different models to choose from. You’ll be able to get just what you’re looking for to optimize your gear ratio, line weight, and casting preferences.
While it’s totally possible to make a good reel with a low number of bearings, the single bearing setup of the Goldcast is a bit behind the times.
It would be nice to see them beef up those bearings for a bit smoother ride, but overall user feedback is positive.
Best For: Choosing the reel that perfectly matches your needs with a single model.
- 2 stainless steel bearings
- Long aluminum handle
- Ported front cone design
- Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
Remember when I mentioned the class of spincast reels called Triggerspin Reels? This is an adaption of that design, originally pioneered by Zebco, and brought to you from Pflueger.
The triggerspin reel is an awesome hybrid of the best features of spinning reels, smashed together with spincast reel ease of use.
I love the ported front cone design on the triggerspin reel. Because this reel hangs upside down on the rod, water can drip off the line and out of the cone through the porting without getting all over your hands.
It’s a small feature that makes a difference.
Inside the metal gears and titanium pickup pins make for a reliable and durable build that sits inside the aluminum frame housing. I like that they kept the simple thumb adjust drag setting that’s accessible from the left side of the reel.
Of course, like any triggerspin reel one of the major advantages is the finger lever which extends up in front of the reel. This makes casting easy and simple, performed by operating the trigger with an index finger, rather than thumb.
Overall it’s a user preference choice to decide if the triggerspin setup is right for you!
Best For: Those who want ease of use with the spinning reel setup.
Spincast Reel Comparison Table
|Spincast Reel||Bearings||Retrieval||Gear Ratio||Frame||Weight||Rating|
|Zebco Spincast Omega||7 Stainless Steel||Left or Right||3.4:1||Aluminum||10.6 oz||4.4 / 5.0|
|Pflueger President||4 Stainless Steel||Left or Right||3.1:1||Aluminum||8.60 oz||4.7 / 5.0|
|Zebco Bullet||9 Stainless Steel||Left or Right||5.1:1||Aluminum||13.4 oz||4.3 / 5.0|
|Abu Garcia Abumatic 170||4 Stainless Steel||Left or Right||3.9:1||Aluminum||9 oz||3.6 / 5.0|
|Zebco Omega Pro||7 Stainless Steel||Left or Right||3.6:1||Aluminum||10.6 oz||4.3/ 5.0|
|Daiwa Goldcast Spincast||1 Stainless Steel||Left or Right||4.1:1||Aluminum||9.9 oz||4.1/ 5.0|
|Pflueger Trion||2 Stainless Steel||Left or Right||4.1:1||Aluminum||5.2 oz||5.0 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Spincast Reel
- Ease of Use
- Triggerspin Reels
- How Spincast Drag Systems Work
- Pickup Systems
- Gears and Internals
- How to Cast a Spincast Reel
There are a handful of important factors in making sure that you pick out a spincasting reel you can be happy with. Let’s go over what you need to know, and what to avoid!
Bearings are the steel or ceramic balls that race around a moving mechanical part to reduce friction. Bearings are the one thing that stand between you and that perfect retrieval as you crank the handle to pull line back into the reel.
There can sometimes be bearings located in other moving areas of the reel as well.
So, what type of bearing is best? Well, ultimately ceramic bearings are touted as among the best possible bearings for smoothness and corrosion resistance.
They’re immune to rust and because of how absurdly hard ceramic is, they are extremely effective in reducing friction. They’re one of the most expensive bearing option.
Stainless steel is by far the most common option. These bearings are nearly rust proof and feature 99% of the tangible performance of ceramic.
Most anglers will never know the difference between good quality stainless bearings and ceramics. Stainless is one of the most affordable bearing options.
Of course there is a difference in performance, but it just depends on how much you’re willing to pay for the increase in performance. What’s it worth to you?
Bearings usually come between 4-7 on a spin casting reel. Anything less than 4 bearings and you’re almost guaranteed a rough feeling retrieval. Basically when choosing a reel, the more bearings the smoother the return will feel when reeling in.
Ease of Use
One of the biggest advantages overall is the ease of use when it comes to closed face fishing reels. Anyone can quickly and easily learn to string the reel.
With just a few practice casts you’ll master when to release the button to let line out. With a bit more mastery you’ll be placing bait right where you want it.
Open face reels, spinning reels, and baitcasting reels can take a bit more mastery to figure out. Once mastered these other types of fishing reels can offer advantages in situations where closed face spincasting reels might falter.
However, none can match the dead simplicity of a spincasting reel. Spincasting reels are extremely popular with new anglers and kids for this reason.
While there are a few technical drawbacks of spincasting reels compared to other types, the simplicity of the setup is a major advantage that many consider a winning factor in choosing.
Spincast reels avoid problems like backlash that are common with open face spinning reels.
While spincast reels eventually will kink and tangle the line, requiring replacement, they avoid entirely problems with imperfect casting that anglers face when learning to master spinning reels.
Triggerspin reels combine some of the best features of spinning reels with the simplicity and ease of use that users love from spincast reels.
Triggerspin reels were invented by Zebco (inventor of the spincast reel). They have the same balanced look and feel of a spinning reel, but feature the click button release of a spincast reel.
The reel sits upside down on the rod and hangs naturally in the hand, allowing for easy casting. This also puts the crank on the same side as your off-hand.
These reels make an awesome hybrid design that can be appealing to those who want the ease of use offered by spincast reels, with the function offered by spinning reels. The Pflueger Trion Spincast Reel is a good example of this style of reel.
How Spincast Drag Systems Work
Spincast reels have a very simple drag system. Drag is the amount of pressure put on the line when something (a fish, rock, seaweed) pulls on the line.
Controlling the drag is critical to avoid a fish running off with all your line, or having your line snap is there’s too much pressure on it.
On spincast reels almost every drag system operates using a felt disc friction system. At some point the line in your reel passes between a sandwich of felt and metal discs.
The pressure exerted on the line by these discs determines how hard it is for the line to come out of the reel. Thus, the drag can be controlled.
On other types of fishing reels there are more types of drag systems. For spincast reels, it’s almost always a felt friction disc system that is controlled with a simple dial located on top of the reel.
Pickup systems are small internal mechanisms that cause the reel to hook on to the line and begin pulling it back into the housing. These are important because if they slip or fail to hook the line, you’ll lose your whole line and bait.
Most spincast reels use either a two or three point pickup. The more the merrier, but there’s really no reason to have more than three pickup points.
I’ve never heard of anyone having problems with spincast reel pickup except on extremely cheaply made reels.
Buying a quality reel from a reputable manufacturer should ensure that you don’t have problems. If you’re particularly concerned, some manufacturers have bleeding edge technology built in to pickup systems.
Gears and Internals
Gears are a big deal to top-level anglers. To save money some manufacturers use cheap quality internal mechanisms, or materials that just don’t cut it.
For instance, plastic gears are not unheard of in cheap fishing reels. As you can imagine, plastic gear just don’t cut it and they’re prone to breaking, stripping, or failing under load.
To make sure you’re getting the best possible reel, look for metal gears. Stainless steel and brass are the most common materials. Stainless and brass are both largely corrosion resistant in all but the most abusive situations.
How to Cast a Spincast Reel
There are a nearly limitless number of options available to you when you choose your next spincast reel. Whether you want to try a newer triggerspin model, or stick with a classic there’s an option for you.
Most anglers will eventually need more than one reel, so don’t worry too much about trying to find one reel that does it all. Over time you’ll fill in your boat with each type of reel you need to get the job done.
For now, use the guide above to determine what features you want in your spincast reel. Then, choose from some of the options in our list.
If nothing there meets your needs, you can further tailor your search by going straight to manufacturers like Zebco for the latest and greatest spincast reels!
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best spincast reel to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a reel I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.