Best High-Speed Spinning Reel

Close up shot of three spinning reels spinning reel sizes feature image

It’s sometimes easy to overlook the advantages you can get with a quality high-speed spinning reel. Having a reel that offers a higher gear ratio opens up your ability to use certain types of lures and presentations more efficiently, but it also lets you maintain better control over a fish at certain times. 

Many of the top brands in the fishing industry are now producing spinning reels that provide substantially faster reel speeds thanks to recent technological and engineering innovations. If you’re searching for a solid spinning reel that offers exceptional speed and quality, we’ve compiled this article to explain what to look for, as well as five of the best high-speed spinning reels on the market today. 

What is a high speed spinning reel?

best ultralight spinning reels
In terms of a high-speed spinning reel, look for anything past about a 6.2:1 gear ratio as being considered ‘fast’ by most experts. 

According to most anglers and experts in the fishing industry, a spinning reel with a gear ratio of 5.1:1 or higher is considered to be a high-speed reel. Some models offer anywhere from a 7.1:1 or even a 9.1:1 gear ratio that truly lets anglers crank their line up at an incredibly fast rate. 

Gear ratio simply refers to the amount of times a fishing reel spool turns with one single rotation of the reel handle. Some manufacturers of premium-quality spinning reels will also include the amount of ‘inches per turn’ in relation to how many inches of actual spool you get from each handle turn. 

The reason these spinning reels are capable of delivering this much speed is based on technological breakthroughs and more precise engineering of the fishing brand reels that are now being produced. A baitcasting reel is capable of offering much higher speeds than spinning reels due to the fact that their spool diameter is smaller than what is commonly found in a spinning reel. 

In terms of a high-speed spinning reel, look for anything past about a 6.2:1 gear ratio as being considered ‘fast’ by most experts. 

When do you use a high speed spinning reel?

Determining whether or not you need to be using a faster spinning reel or not really comes down to what type of fish you’re targeting, as well as the specific style of lure you’re going with as well. Spinning reels with higher speeds provide you with a greater ability to pick up significant lengths of line, so you’ll likely want to use them with lures that create a lot of slack in your line. 

Most professional anglers will reach for a faster spinning reel when using a variety of topwater lures, especially with frogs. These reels are great for bass fishing lures like jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits, and virtually any type of soft plastic rig or lure presentation. 

Any situation that you find yourself having to collect a significant amount of slack line is when a spinning reel with greater speed will be better-suited. In addition to bass fishing, there are also a number of other species and styles of fishing where you might find that a fast spinning reel gives you a better advantage. 

If you’re fishing and happen to get a bite out more than 25 yards away from your position, having fast spinning reels will allow you to tighten up the line more quickly and deliver a much better hookset than you could with a normal spinning reel. 

Five advantages of using a high speed spinning reel

family father son fishing pier spinning reels and rods
High-speed spinning reels make it possible to retrieve your lure very quickly if you need to.

High speed reels offer greater overall versatility and control in the hands of experienced anglers who know how to use them. Here are some of the most widely-recognized advantages you get from using spinning reels with a higher gear ratio:

  • One of the most obvious advantages of using spinning reels that are faster is the ability to use a wider assortment of lures. 
  • You also have the ability to tighten your line faster and bring fish in quicker with a high speed reel, especially in cases where you hook a fish and need to get it out of thick, heavy cover without wasting any time. 
  • Faster spinning reels also eliminate the likelihood of you losing a fish that is hooked, but swims directly toward your position. If this happens, you should be able to keep more constant pressure on the line and keep slack from developing. 
  • If you have a fish bite your lure far away from your position, a high speed spinning reel gives you the ability to get a more solid hookset, despite the distance between you and the fish.
  • High speed spinning reels also make it possible to retrieve your lure very quickly if you need to. This can be a serious difference maker if you need to quickly get your lure out of the way of some type of structure to avoid getting snagged, or if you simply want to get your lure in to cast at a fish that just jumped. 

Best high speed spinning reels reviewed

Deciding on a great quality high-speed spinning reel can be tough if you’re not very familiar with what to look for in each model. We have compiled this list of the top 5 best high-speed spinning reels currently on the market based on our own research and experience with them.

Best Overall
Daiwa Procyon AL Spinning Reel
Daiwa Procyon AL Spinning Reel
9.7

This is a very versatile fishing reel that comes in a variety of reel size options and offers great quality internal parts like a machined aluminum spool and one roller bearing. 

Best Alternative
PENN Battle Spinning Fishing Reel
PENN Battle Spinning Fishing Reel
9.6

Penn spinning reels are widely-acclaimed as one of the best spinning reel brands in the industry. Penn’s Battle series saltwater reels are another high gear ratio model that is a solid quality reel. 

Best Budget
Zebco Quantum Smoke 30
Zebco Quantum Smoke 30
9.4

The Quantum Smoke Speed Freak 30 is among the more reasonably-priced options among our list of the best freshwater spinning reels on the market today. 

Daiwa Procyon AL Spinning Reel
Daiwa Procyon AL Spinning Reel
Daiwa Procyon AL Spinning Reel
Our Score

If you’re looking for a solid saltwater spinning reel that delivers a greater gear ratio and is also made of exceptional quality, the Daiwa Procyon is a great pick. This model is made with a waterproof drag system and tough aluminum body that sets this spinning reel apart from the competition and makes it one of the better saltwater spinning reels you’ll find with a fast ratio. 

This reel comes in a 5.2:1, 5.3:1, and 6.2:1 gear ratio that is capable of collecting 27 to 32 inches of line depending on the size. This is a very versatile fishing reel that comes in a variety of reel size options and offers great quality internal parts like a machined aluminum spool and one roller bearing. 

  • Daiwa’s ATD drag system provides a very smooth drag and offers a max drag of anywhere from 11 to 26.4 pounds
  • Great saltwater or freshwater spinning reel that features a roller bearing, quality-made ball bearings, and other features that make it an overall good spinning reel
  • Durable aluminum body makes this one of the best fishing reels available
PENN Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel
PENN Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel
PENN Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel
Our Score

Penn spinning reels are widely acclaimed as one of the best spinning reel brands in the industry. Penn’s Battle series saltwater reels are another high gear ratio model that is a solid quality reel. The Carbon Fiber Drag System, stainless steel ball bearings, and braid-ready spool combine to make the Battle series a great lightweight reel that will catch fish anywhere. 

  • Ideal for using with braided line
  • Battle II and III comes in rod and reel combo with great spinning reel and drag system with a max drag of up to 30 pounds
  • Great saltwater spinning reel that’s corrosion-resistant and an all-around good lightweight spinning reel
Zebco Quantum Smoke Inshore Spinning Reel, Size 30
Zebco Quantum Smoke Inshore Spinning Reel, Size 30
Zebco Quantum Smoke Inshore Spinning Reel, Size 30
Our Score

The Quantum Smoke Speed Freak 30 is among the more reasonably-priced options among our list of the best freshwater spinning reels on the market today. With a gear ratio of 6.2:1, it’s more than capable of performing at a faster rate than other freshwater spinning reel models. 

The Speed Freak 30 is not corrosion resistant, but this a good spinning reel is crafted with an instant anti-reverse bearing, exceptional line capacity, and a max drag that provides you with as much as 20 pounds of drag. This is one of the better freshwater spinning reels you’ll find and is ideal for bass fishing and striped bass fishing. 

  • Carbon fiber drag system yields a max drag of 20 pounds
  • Capable of being used with any type of fishing line, but offers a braided line capacity of more than 200 feet
  • Outstanding choice of freshwater spinning reel for bass fishing
Abu Garcia Revo MGX Spinning Fishing Reel, New Model, 20
Abu Garcia Revo MGX Spinning Fishing Reel, New Model, 20
Abu Garcia Revo MGX Spinning Fishing Reel, New Model, 20
Our Score

The Revo MGX comes in two models that include the MGX baitcasting reels and the spinning reels versions. This reel is somewhat comparable to the Revo SX spinning reel, but has a slightly less gear ratio while still offering a smooth drag along with 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings.  Many anglers compare the Revo MGX to the Pflueger Supreme XT spinning reel, which are two of the best spinning reel models you’ll find right now. 

The Revo MGX is suitable for any type of line, but comes with a braid ready spool that holds quite a bit of line. This reel also has the same smooth drag that other Abu Garcia conventional reels and spinning reels are known for. 

  • Braid ready spool and a 10+1 HPCR stainless steel ball bearings system that is corrosion resistant and ideal for saltwater fishing
  • Offers a 6.2:1 gear ratio and a Carbon Matrix drag system with a max drag of 14 to 17 pounds
  • Ability to function as a saltwater fishing or freshwater option makes this an exceptional fishing reel that’s priced at a rate most anglers can afford
Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel, Blk/Orange, Trio-40S
Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel, Blk/Orange, Trio-40S
Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel, Blk/Orange, Trio-40S
Our Score

The Okuma Trio High Speed is another one of our top picks for the best high gear ratio spinning reels based on its overall quality and capabilities. One of the most talked-about characteristics of this fishing reel is its smooth casting ability and the fact that the 6.0:1 gear ratio gives you 6 full rotations of the spool with one single turn of the reel handle. 


This reel is made with corrosion-resistant material that allows you to use it as a freshwater reel, or a surf fishing rod, especially with its smooth casting ability and line capacity. It will likely outperform most freshwater reels as it also has an anti-reverse bearing, 10 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, and is a fishing reel with the ability to be used with virtually any type of fishing line from heavy to light line. 

  • Considered to be among the best spinning reel models that are able to function as saltwater fishing or freshwater reels thanks to corrosion-resistant material
  • One of the most outstanding lighter reels currently available, but doesn’t offer the same high level of max drag that other fishing reels on our list have
  • Ultra-smooth casting ability and Dual Force drag system that’s better than the standard carbon fiber drag most quality reel models offer

Final thoughts on high speed fishing reels

A high speed spinning reel combo is something every angler should consider adding to their fishing gear arsenal at some point. These new spinning reel models that are faster can be used in a variety of different ways to catch fish using a greater variety of lures. They also deliver multiple advantages over the slower, more traditional spinning reels, even conventional reel models in some cases. 

Author

  • Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He is a regular on fly fishing podcasts and appeared in the international fly fishing film Predator.

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