Spincast reels have been around since the first design came to the market in 1949. Spincast reels were developed to avoid backlashes, line twists, and snaring. and have a unique design when compared to other types of fishing reel, with a conical cover and a fixed spool.
While today being eclipsed by spinning reels as the most commonly used fishing reel, many anglers still prefer to use spincast reels, mostly panfish anglers and people who are not avid anglers, along with beginner anglers and children due to their ease of use and lower chances of backlashing and line issues.
Best spincast reel: our top picks
Best spincast reel: KastKing Brutus
One of the most modern spincast designs on the market the Brutus puts a spin on the old spincast design of decades past.
The fixed spool design has a dual pick-up system to bring in slackline very quickly, allowing you to be ready for fish hooking consistency.
The casting is incredibly smooth due to 5 stainless steel ball bearings which are double shielded for further corrosion protection making this our choice as the best spincast reel.
The reel features an aluminum, reversible, double paddle handle with durable rubber grips that can be switched to either right or left-handed easily.
The KastKing Brutus even comes with monofilament pre-spooled on the reel, allowing you to hit the water with the reel immediately.
Best value spincast reel: Zebco 202
This reel is built tough with all metal gears and a 2.8:1 gear ratio that will help you winch in any big fish you might hook.
When it comes to fighting that fish the Zebco 202 has a dial-adjustable drag and a quick set anti-reverse feature to stop your handle from spinning back and causing a loss of the fish and a mess of tangled line.
The pickup pin for the fixed spool is made of stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about this spincast reel wearing or breaking as with other cheaply made spincast reels and it will last you for years, even a lifetime.
Best spincast reels: detailed reviews
The Zebco Omega Pro is one of the top spincasting reels on the market today in quality and performance. Not only is it one of the best in the ways that truly matter, but it also comes with quite a few extras in terms of parts and features.
The Omega comes with a power handle, which is great for winching in heavy fish, and it also comes with a spare dual paddle handle, allowing you to switch to whatever reel configuration you want.
The reel comes equipped with a soft-touch thumb button for a solid grip in any weather conditions and an aluminum spool cover for optimum durability.
With a total of 7 bearings, the Omega is also one of the smoothest spincast reels you will find, and all-metal gears will ensure that it stays smoother for longer, and give you the strength needed while catching fish after fish.
The Omega has a line capacity of 85/6 making it capable of fishing for heavier and larger species like walleye, bass, and catfish.
- Capacity for larger diameter line
- A large number of ball bearings for smooth operation
- Multiple handle options
The Daiwa goldcast spincast reel by Diawa is built robustly with aluminum to give the angler a durable spincast reel that will stand the test of time.
This reel packs in some pretty innovative features compared to many other spincast reels, like the cross bobbin winding design that delivers a flat line lay and ensures you get the most out of your casting by allowing for an even line release, giving you the maximum distance with each cast.
The Daiwa Goldcast is also well known for a smooth and consistent drag, giving reliable operation every time you have to battle a large fish.
The Goldcast has a rotating tungsten carbide line pick-up which will last a lifetime of fishing, and last but not least a 4.1:1 gear ratio and the capability to fish either left or right-handed.
- Tungsten carbide line pickup
- Cross bobbin winding design
- heavy duty construction
The Pflueger president spincast reel gives anglers an incredible value by giving great features and performance at a low price point.
Featuring 5 ball bearings you will get smooth retrieving with every cast, and the aluminum frame will ensure that you have the durability to last for years, withstanding the harsh fishing conditions like rocky shorelines and being bounced around in a boat or the back of your pickup truck.
The front nosecone on the Pflueger president is also aluminum as well as precision machined to a high level of quality with corrosion-resistant titanium pins and a machined body to boot, ensuring a high precision fit across the board.
the reel is fit for a king or queen with very durable construction to withstand abuse with the rest of the reel, and it has a very large and comfortable rubber knob.
The Pflueger President is a pretty good choice when it comes to spincast reels, and the reputation of Pflueger reels means that you will get a quality product. This is not far behind the KastKing Brutus in our view as one of the best spincast reel choices.
- Highly precise and durable aluminum construction
- 5 ball bearings for smooth casting
- high-quality components like titanium pins
The Zebco 33 is arguably the most trusted and popular reel in America, with a history of fishing that goes back to the 1950s.
Modern design, materials, and manufacturing have made this reel even better than in the decades past, with a higher gear ratio that increased the reel’s line retrieval by 20% over older models, all-metal gears, and the bite detect feature which allows you to see when your bait is taken.
The Zebco 33 reel also features a quickset anti-reverse system and a dial-style drag adjustment knob for easy drag strength manipulation while fighting fish with your rod.
It also comes in two different colors. Silver, and pink!
- Increased retrieval speeds
- Bite detect feature
- Quickset anti-reverse system
The Brutus is one of the best spincast reels on the market with a completely modern design and modern features.
The Brutus has a reverse handle that can be switched from left to right-handed depending on the angler’s needs and preferred hand.
Along with handle options, the Brutus also has a dual-line pick-up system that is made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel to last you for years of fishing, and five double coated stainless steel bearings to give you some of the smoothest retrievals of any spincast reel on the market today.
The reel also comes pre-spooled with monofilament line allowing you to hit the water immediately after purchase, and also is very sleek, smooth, and compact in shape to help keep everything efficient and have a small footprint.
Did we mention it also looks super cool?
- Double coated ball bearings
- titanium dual-line pickup
- Pre-spooled with monofilament line
The Zebco 202 is a great reel for avid panfish anglers and novice anglers alike. Featuring all-metal gears and a ratio of 2.8:1 you have the makings or a great panfish reel that can winch fish out of thick cover. This is arguably the best spincast reel for those wanting to tackle larger fish.
Features of this reel include a dial drag system for quick drag adjustment, a quick-set anti-reverse system to ensure a rock-solid and locked hookset every time, and a corrosion-resistant stainless steel line pick-up pin for years of reliable use.
All of the Zebco 202’s features are featured in a reel that is built tough while being light, lessening fatigue on long fishing trips, and being tough to handle the abuse you can give it.
- Corrosion-resistant pick-up pin
- quickset anti-reverse
- low gear ratio = high cranking power
Abu Garcia is no stranger to anglers and as a company is well known for producing some of the best reels on the market for decades.
One of the key features of the Abumatic 170 is the updated drag system. The drag system of the abumatic 170 is super smooth and is the hallmark carbon matrix drag system, one of the features Abu Garcia is known for.
The nose cone of the Abu Garcia Abumatic is aluminum and the body is machined to precision, both of which will last the test of time and punishment on the water. The abumatic 170 also features an oscillating spool for long-distance casting and comes complete with a 12-pound monofilament line.
- Carbon matrix drag system
- Machined body with aluminum nose cone
- Oscillating far cast spool
What to consider when buying a spincast reel
How do you like to fish
Choosing to use a spincast reel all depends on how you fish and what kind of species you intend to fish with the reel.
While there are some larger spincast reel variants that allow for the ability to fish for larger species like bass or catfish, the majority of reels aren’t suited to fish larger than bass. The predominant species anglers use spincast reels for would be panfish like bluegill, crappie, perch, tilapia, or other smaller species.
One of the main reasons for this preference in species with spincast reels is due to gear ratios and overall reel limitations, while working great for small lure presentations and exceptional performance when using live bait, larger lures are used to catch larger species like pike, muskies, and other species are simply too heavy and large for a spincast reel and will result in reel failure and the inability to fish the large lure properly, let alone fight the large fish. Even the best spincast reel isn’t suitable for taking on these larger fish.
How it fits you and your rod
Spincast reels require casting rods for effective fishing, spinning rods are made specifically for spinning rods and will not work with a spincast reel setup.
You should ensure when picking a rod that you consider the same things we mentioned in the “How you like to fish” section.
Your rod, like your reel, should be chosen based on the species you intend to fish, light to ultra-light for panfish, medium action for bass, or larger species.
Trigger-style spincast reels are the exception to the casting rod rule, with trigger-style spincast reels being designed to work with spinning rods instead of casting rods.
Button or trigger
The button-style spincast reel vs. the trigger style is a personal preference for many anglers. Push-button style spincast reels are the standard and have been a method employed from the beginning.
Trigger style spincast reels have become incredibly popular in recent years and arguably have better ergonomics over push-button style reels.
Trigger style reels also are used with spinning rods, which is another reason many anglers have migrated to trigger style spincast reels over button reels.
Button models are probably the best spincast reel choice for beginner anglers or kids, as it is easier for them to simply push the button and release it at the desired time with more room for error.
Line capacity isn’t much of a concern for most anglers using spincast reels, as fishing for smaller panfish means that you don’t need exceptional amounts of line to catch them when compared to other styles of fishing like trolling.
When using a monofilament line at 10-pound strength or less, virtually all spincast reels on the market will have spools with an acceptable amount of line capacity.
Line capacity may be a larger consideration for spincast reels that are used for larger species like catfish when used to reach spots in rivers or deep holes, but then again most reels used for this application will also have ample amounts of line capacity, especially if braided line is being used.
Drag while not being needed much of when fishing for panfish is still a critical component, and having a good drag system will really matter when you hook into a large fish on accident while fishing for panfish or when deliberately targeted.
Carbon drag systems are the standard for many reels today, regardless of reel type as they are reliable and long-lasting, so when looking for a reel with a solid drag system, carbon drag systems are a great place to start.
Other considerations with drag may be the placement of the adjustable knob, with some reels featuring star drag-style setups, with most using a dial drag system, this is a feature that is a personal preference decision for many anglers.
Gear ratio/retrieve speed
One of the downsides of spincast reels is their gear ratio setup, which has a direct impact on retrieve speed, with most gear ratios being around 4.0:1 for most spincast reels. This gear ratio setting is a happy medium between speed and power, giving anglers the ability to fight larger fish in the event one is hooked with a spincast reel, while also having the retrieve speed to still bring in lures, albeit at these gear ratio levels it won’t be at fast speeds.
Quality of bearings and other components
Bearing and other internal components are critical to the function of the reel and when choosing a spincast reel you should look for ones with quality components like the ones listed above.
components made from materials like stainless steel, titanium, and bearings that are stainless steel or double-coated will go a long way to ensure that your reel functions well after years of use.
What kind of rod do I pair with a spincast reel?
Your rod of choice depends on species and reel type, with spincast reels being either push button or trigger style today. Push-button reels require casting rods, while trigger-style requires a spinning rod setup.
Starting with the rod type needed, you then need to look for a rod that can handle the target species you wish to pursue with the rod and reel, and base power and length of the rod based on those species.
How to use a spincast reel?
Using a spincast reel is incredibly easy, you simply push the button and cast while releasing the button or trigger at the right time to allow the line to release and uncoil from the spool, sending your lure or bait in the desired direction.
This ease of use when compared to other reel types like bait casters, is the reason that spincast reels are incredibly popular with people who are not avid anglers, and for kids who may not know much about other conventional reel types.
What line to put on a spincast reel?
Monofilament is definitely the recommended line type to use with spincast reels. Other line types like Fluorocarbon store memory when coiled. While not an issue for open-faced reels like spinning and casting reels, on a spincast reel this memory stored in coils makes casting very inefficient when coming through the small opening of a spincast reel and can cause “bird nests” or tangled balls of line in the reel.
When Should You Use a Spincast Reel over a Spinning Reel?
Choosing when to use a spincast reel over a spinning reel is purely personal preference, but there are a few things to consider when choosing one of the other as mentioned above, but one key factor should be experienced in fishing and reel use.
Spincast reels still have a place in the market today for this very reason, sure some avid and experienced anglers still love to use spincast setups, and I personally use trigger-style reels when chasing springtime panfish on occasion.
but spinning reels can do everything a spincast reel can do, and vice versa. The decision between the two should all come down to one question. What are you comfortable with?
Our final thoughts
Spincast reels today are more of a niche reel type, while half a century ago they were more of the standard in reels. Due to innovation in reel design over the decades, they have taken a back seat to other reels like spinning and baitcasting reels, but spincast reels still have a time and a place, in particular for fishing smaller fish species, and for beginners or anglers who don’t fish a lot, being easy to use and affordable.