7 Best Musky Reels + Buying Guide

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In this article, I’m going to talk about what the best reel is for musky fishing. These kinds of fish only really appear during the mid and late spring. Because they are full of the joys of spring, you can be sure that they will not surrender to you that easily.

Musky lies at the top of the water’s surface, which means that you won’t find them buried too far down in the vegetation. This fish weighs around 20 to 30 pounds in weight, which means that not only are they a heavy fish, but they’ll have plenty of pulling power. For this, you should have a reel that is up to the job of pulling them in.

This is why having the perfect reel for your needs will really help you when you are doing this type of fishing. You’ll need a reel that is very strong, giving you everything that you need to pull in a heavier fish. This is why the musky reel has been specially designed to take in some of the heavier and more thrashing beasts.

So where can you find some of the best musky reels currently available on the market? What features do these reels need to be made from? What are the best materials for an ice fishing reel? How much will you have to pay for one of these reels? How long can you expect it to last in your tackle box?

Well, if you have questions such as this and a whole lot more, then I would suggest that you keep reading. I have compiled a list of some of the best musky reels that you can get on the market, along with a buyer’s guide that will help you to identify what exactly you’ll be looking for when you’re next reeling in your favorite fish. These reels are primarily baitcasting reels however you can use other styles if that is your preference.

7 Best Musky Reels

1. Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Baitcast Low Profile Fishing Reel

Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel

This first reel is one of the best for catching challenging fish, coming with stainless steel bearings and a roller that will guarantee you a seamless retrieval. This comes with plenty of reel power that will help you to yank this fish out of the water without having to break that much of a sweat – introducing the Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Baitcast Low Profile Fishing Reel.

This comes with a comfortable handle that will enable you to keep your hand fixed to the reel for as long as possible, which is perfect for keeping you out on the edge of the water for longer. This comes with EVA knobs on the side that will allow you a lot more controlled experience when out on the water.

Pros:

  • This comes with a dual braking system, which is perfect for when you are out on the water. This brake is very adjustable, which makes it great for lefties and righties.
  • This will give you plenty of torque, which is perfect for when you are out on the water. This comes in 2 sizes of reel and with 2 different gear ratios.
  • This reel can be used by both left- and right-handed people, giving you plenty of control over your fishing experience.
  • This comes with a smooth casting system, which is perfect for getting your line far out into the water.

Cons:

  • This is one of the more expensive reels on the market, which might not be great for newbie fishers who are struggling to stay on their budget.
Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel
  • 5 stainless steel HPCR bearings + 1 roller bearing provides increased corrosion protection
  • X2-cräftic alloy frame and side plate for increased corrosion resistance
  • Power stack carbon matrix drag System provides extreme drag pressures combined with unparalleled...

2. Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile Baitcast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile Baitcast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo - JLEELP-L/701MH

This next combination rod is amazing if you want to hit the waters during the spring seasons, coming with an aluminum spool that you can use to give you plenty of capacity on your fishing line. This will retrieve your fish very smoothly and with a great level of efficiency, which is what every fishing person is craving – introducing the Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile Baitcast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo.

This comes with a polymer handle which is perfect for keeping your grip comfortable during the harder fishing experience. You should be careful about retrieving your fish, as they could cause you injury. However, this will prioritize your comfort and keep you out on the water for much longer.

Pros:

  • This combination comes with a reel and a rod, giving you everything that you need for a perfect cast, allowing you to snare fish further away from your boat.
  • This has a very snug and comfortable polymer handler, which will be perfect for helping you out when you are on the water.
  • This will enable you to cast your line out very far, which is perfect if you are looking to get a school of fish far away from your boat.
  • These fish tend to thrash around a lot, so make sure that your line has great capacity, allowing you to reel it in as soon as you’ve caught it.

Cons:

  • This might not be suitable for anglers with shorter frames, so if you are honest with yourself about this, then you’ll be able to find the right reel for you.
Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Low Profile Baitcast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo - JLEELP-L/701MH
  • Winn advanced polymer Dri-Tac grips
  • 5 stainless steel HPCR bearings + 1 roller bearing
  • Machined aluminum spool

3. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Baitcast Round Fishing Reel

Abu Garcia C3-5500 Ambassadeur Baitcast Fishing Reel

This next model is another one by Abu Garcia and comes with all the smoothness and precision that you might expect from a top-notch line of this caliber. This will not grind when you retrieve your line, so make sure that you have everything that you need for a smooth retrieval – introducing the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Baitcast Round Fishing Reel.

This will allow you to retrieve even the most stubborn fish without pulling on your muscles or causing you any injury. It comes with a precision-engineered brake that you can use to apply consistent pressure to your fish and give you everything that you need to reel in one of these heavy beasts.

Pros:

  • This comes with some amazing spool capacities, allowing you to cast out your line much farther without experiencing any damage.
  • These fishing reels are suited to both left and right-handed fishers, which makes them much more applicable to every kind of fishing enthusiast.
  • You can fit these reels with mono or braided line, which makes them perfect for casting out the line much farther and wider than some others on this list.
  • This comes with a centrifuge in the center that is precision engineered to ensure that you have everything that you need for a strong casting line.

Cons:

  • Some of the different models of this reel come with very different qualities, so make sure that your model has all the right specifications for your style of fishing.
Abu Garcia C3-5500 Ambassadeur Baitcast Fishing Reel
  • Baitcast fishing reel designed for strength, smooth operation, and precision
  • Engineered for smoothness with 3 stainless ball bearings and 1 roller bearing
  • Carbon Matrix drag system provides smooth and consistent drag

4. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing Reel,Rover40

This next reel is perfect for beginners who are not used to bait casting. It is strong enough and durable enough to catch musky fish, coming with a centrifugal brake that comes with comfortable EVA grips and a 2-pin centrifugal brake. This is a versatile reel, good for fishing in both saltwater and freshwater – introducing the KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel.

This comes with a maximum drag ratio of around 30 pounds, which is great if you are hauling in your bigger fish during the summer. As you might be aware, these fish are used to thrashing around, luckily, you’ll be able to fit a braided or mono line. This is also one of the cheaper reels, which is perfect for anyone just getting into musky fishing.

Pros:

  • This is a great reel for beginners, not only is it durable enough to reel in plenty of fish, but it is a very cheap unit that won’t break the bank.
  • This reel is one of the best for dragging in some of the toughest musky fish that are lurking on the surface of the water.
  • This comes with a 30-pound maximum drag weight, another great asset for hauling in those larger fish. If you are having trouble with 80-pound fish, then this might be the line for you.
  • This is one of the most affordable lines that you can get for your needs, which is great if you are looking to get a whole tackle box and want to save yourself some money.

Cons:

  • This is not suitable for professional fishers, as the layout of it might be a little basic for your needs.
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing Reel,Rover40
  • BULLET PROOF - The hot Rover reel just became hotter. The KastKing Rover round baitcasting reel has...
  • MORE POWERFUL - You will love the stronger, more powerful KastKing Rover round baitcasting reel with...
  • SUPER SMOOTH - KastKing Rover reels have premium MaxiDur double shielded stainless steel ball...

5. Okuma Komodo SS Large Capacity Low Profile Baitcaster

Okuma Komodo SS Large Capacity Low Profile Baitcaster, KDS-471P, 130 yds-30LB, Power Handle , Grey

This stainless steel reel is one of the toughest and most resilient that you can get. It is very solid and will be able to hold against the thrashing of the biggest and most aggressive fish. This comes with a multi-disc carbonite drag that will be sure to alleviate some of the stress on the reel when you are hauling in a fish – introducing the Okuma Komodo SS Large Capacity Low Profile Baitcaster.

This reel is perfect for storing when the musky fish are not in season. The stainless steel element will not rust, as it comes with CRC protection. There are 2 sizes for this reel, both of which give you both left and right-hand retrieval. This comes with a fast retrieval ratio, allowing you to haul in your fish quicker and easier.

Pros:

  • This comes with a dual reverse, meaning that you can reel in the fish from any direction that you like.
  • This is resistant to both rust and corrosion, meaning that you can take it out onto the harsher waters and not have to worry about it getting splashed numerous times.
  • This comes with a carbonite substance, which is amazingly durable and resilient against the elements during a storm.
  • This comes with left and right-hand retrieval, which is ideal if you like to switch up your hand positions when you are on the lake or the rough water.

Cons:

  • This does not come with a cranking handle, which might be very off putting to intermediate or expert fishers who want the ability to snare their fish with as much power as they can handle.
ON SALE $18.81 OFF
Okuma Komodo SS Large Capacity Low Profile Baitcaster, KDS-471P, 130 yds-30LB, Power Handle , Grey
  • Heavy duty stainless steel drive and spool shafts
  • CRC: Corrosion-Resistant Coating process
  • Sport type: fishing

6. Shimano Tranx 500 Fishing Reel

SHIMANO Tranx 500 Fishing Reel

This next reel will allow you to snare some of the toughest fish in the water, giving you everything that you need for snaring larger fish with more substantial baits. If you fancy yourself as a big fish catcher, then you can’t go far wrong with this next fishing reel – introducing the Shimano Tranx 500 Fishing Reel.

This comes with a wonderful drag system that can catch upwards of 25-pounds in fish weight. This comes with some harsher conditions that you can be sure will give you everything that you need for hauling in the bigger monsters. This comes with a magnetic baiting system, which will help you drag in some real beasts.

Pros:

  • This fishing magnet uses centrifugal force rather than just the sheer force of will. This makes it extra strong and extra capable of yanking in some really big fish.
  • This is probably one of the best casting systems that we have on this list, so if you want a wider cast, then look no further than this line.
  • This will allow you to apply much more pressure on your line before you cast it out. This will help reign in some of the larger fish.
  • This will decrease the chance of your fish backlashing on your, this is when it thrashing on the end of the line as you’re about to drag it into the boat.

Cons:

  • This is one of the most expensive reels that you can find, so it won’t be suitable for anyone who wants to save on their budget.

7. Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel

Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel CW354D, Right Hand

Our final reel comes with a die-cast aluminum handle, with a side plate and an aluminum frame. This is great for anyone just looking to cast out their reel when they are out on the water, coming with a carbonite drag system that you can be sure will give you everything that you need on the water – introducing the Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel.

Pros:

  • Whether you are a lefty or a righty, this fishing reel will really work for you.
  • This comes with a spool capacity of around 350 size, which is great if you want to haul in a larger fish from the water.
  • This comes with an aluminum handle with ergonomic grips that you can be sure will help you snare in some large fish.

Cons:

  • This comes with a drag system that is really lacking when you are out on the water. If you are going to be snaring large fish, then you might want to pick a sturdier line.
ON SALE $34.50 OFF
Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel CW354D, Right Hand
  • Lightweight, corrosion-resistant frame & sideplates
  • Multi-disc, carbonite drag System
  • Aluminum handle arm with Ergo grip handle knobs

Musky Reel Buyer’s Guide

If you are looking for a musky reel for your fishing needs, then we would recommend that you pick something that is suitable for your style of fishing as well as musky fishing in general, which is a lot more difficult. Here are some of the features that you’ll need to consider:

Does It Work With Left And Right Hands?

Most crank handles on your fishing reel will be fixed, so make sure that you know which hand is your most dominant hand before you go out on the water. This will certainly help you to deal with those heavier, more troublesome fish.

What Weight Capacity Should Your Line Have?

We would recommend that your fishing line is able to support at least 20-30 pounds of weight. This is important, as most of the musky fishes you’ll be catching will be at their maximum weight at this point.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between Spinner and Baitcasting Reels?

Spinning reels are easier reels to handle, giving you plenty of momentum when it comes to hauling in lighter fish. If you are going to be musky fishing, then we would definitely recommend that you go with baitcasting. Read our article on baitcaster vs spinning reels for more information.

How Difficult Is Musky To Catch?

This has been known as the ‘fish of one thousand casts’, meaning that it might take you multiple goes to try and snare one of these fish. This is the type of fishing that is only reserved for the pros, so if you are looking for a challenge, then I would suggest that you get yourself a hardy ice fishing rod and delve into musky fishing.

Our Final Say

We hope that our list of some of the best musky reels for musky fishing will help you when you are next out on the water. Remember that these fish are very tough and will not bow down to the fishing rod that easily… in fact, you might find that the opposite is true.

We hope that our list of some of the best musky reels for musky fishing will help you when you are next out on the water. Remember that these fish are very tough and will not bow down to the fishing rod that easily… in fact, you might find that the opposite is true.

Last update on 2022-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Ric Burnley

Author of The Complete Kayak Fisherman, Ric Burnley is a reknowned angling writer having been published in Kayak Angler Mag, Sport Fishing Mag, Paddling Mag, and Outdoor Life. Ric has entertained and informed thousands of anglers through his writing and seminars.