Spinning Reels with Trigger: 8 Top Underspin Reels Reviewed

Spinning Reels With Trigger Feature Image

While not nearly as common as the open bail style of spinning reels, trigger spinning reels have a purpose and excel at certain types of fishing. Let’s take a look at the best spinning reels with triggers and where they apply in the water.

Best Spinning Reels With Trigger: Quick Picks

Best Spincast (Closed Face) Reel With a Trigger
Pflueger President Spincast Reel

The Pflueger President spincast reel is one of the best spincast reels ever designed, it's made with high-quality components throughout its' construction and is essentially bulletproof.

Best Spinning (Open Face) Reel With a Trigger
Shimano Syncopate

You really can't go wrong getting this spinning reel.

It's made by a stellar fishing company and is constructed with great components.

Best Value Trigger Spinning Reel
Daiwa Underspin Reel XD

This reel comes at a great value for the diehard panfish angler, and it will serve any angler fishing for small fish well for years and is ultra-compact and light.

Types of Trigger Spinning Reels

There are three common types of fishing reels that can have triggers. These three reels are underspin, spincast, and standard trigger spinning reels.

Spincast reels are more commonly found with buttons which are kind of like a trigger, and many of you will know of the most common type of spincast reel brand out there, which is the Zebco reel.

Closed-Face Underspin Trigger Reels

The easiest way to think of a closed-face spincast reel is to view it as a sort of hybrid between a traditional spinning reel and a spincast reel like Zebco reel.

As the name implies, a closed-face underspin reel has an enclosed spool, but unlike spincast reels has a long foot that goes into the reel seat that is like that of a spinning reel.

The design of an underspin reel is closer to a spinning reel than a spincast reel in that you can use a spinning rod, unlike a spincast reel where the rod is more akin to a baitcasting rod with the eyelets facing up.

The reel handle of a closed-face underspin reel is similar to that of a spinning reel as well, with most models typically having one handle vs. the double paddle designs of a traditional spincast reel.

Open-Face Spinning Reels With a Trigger

Open-face spinning reels with triggers are like any other standard spinning reel with the exception of the added trigger.

When the trigger is pulled it opens the bail without the need to use your cranking hand to do so and is done with the hand that holds the rod.

You need to ensure that the line is between your finger and the trigger when pulling the bail open or else your line will just freely spool off of the reel.

But for short to moderate casts and light presentations, spinning reels with triggers can really come in handy.

Review of the Top Underspin (Trigger) Reels

Daiwa Underspin Reel XD
Daiwa Underspin Reel XD
Daiwa Underspin Reel XD
Our Score

The Daiwa Underspin is quite possibly the most popular underspin reel out there with anglers.

This reel features a rigid aluminum body design that Daiwa calls the Hardbodyz design.

The line pick-up of the underspin is a titanium nitride lin pickup that greatly reduces the wear on the line and lasts forever.

The reel can also be switched quickly from left-hand to right-handed quickly.

  • Can be used for both left-handed and right-handed anglers
  • Titanium nitride line pickup
  • High-quality body materials
Zebco 33 Micro Triggerspin
Zebco 33 Micro Triggerspin
Zebco 33 Micro Triggerspin
Our Score

The Zebco 33 Micro is an excellent trigger spin reel for panfish; it's incredibly small, compact, and lightweight.

The 33 micro reel is lightweight not only because of its' small size but also because of the materials used in its construction by utilizing a graphite frame.

The reel has what Zebco calls a MicroFine dial-adjustable drag with fine-tuning, solid brass pinion gear, dual ceramic pickups, stainless steel spool cover, and 2+1 ball bearings.

  • Dual ceramic pickups
  • Incredibly compact and light
  • Graphite frame
KastKing Summer and Centron
KastKing Summer and Centron
KastKing Summer and Centron
Our Score

The Summer and Centron reels have no lack of selection and can be bought anywhere from ice fishing variants which are small in size, to the 5000 series for serious and heavy-duty fishing applications.

With a narrow frame design that is coupled with graphite construction, these fishing reels are very lightweight for their size categories, and the internals feature mesh drive gear and precision machined pinion gears for excellent reliability and smooth operation.

All of these features are coupled with a very affordable price for what you get, which is also important for us anglers.

  • Affordable
  • High-quality internal components
  • Graphite reel construction
Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel
Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel
Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel
Our Score

The Pflueger Trion is a great traditional-style spincast reel.

The front cone is made from aluminum and is machined to precision with ports added to prevent water from getting trapped, as well as allow for airflow.

The reel also features heavy-duty metal gears and titanium pickup pins.

  • Titanium pickups
  • Durable metal gears
  • Machined aluminum cone
Pflueger President Spincast
Pflueger President Spincast
Pflueger President Spincast
Our Score

The Pflueger President Spincast reel is one of the best spincast reels on the market.

The reel features 5 stainless steel ball bearings which are highly corrosion-resistant.

Other great features of this reel include dual titanium pickup pins, instant anti-reverse, an aluminum machined frame for precision gear alignment, and an aluminum machined nose cone.

  • Spool applied thumb drag system
  • Aluminum body and cone
  • Titanium line pickups
Shakespeare Synergy Steel Reel
Shakespeare Synergy Steel Reel
Shakespeare Synergy Steel Reel
Our Score

The synergy is a very small and compact spin cast reel that is great for fishing small panfish.

The front cover and rear of the reel are constructed of stainless steel which means that it's very corrosion resistant and will last a long time.

The reel also has high-quality metal gears and a steel pick-up pin.

  • Stainless steel cover and body
  • Metal gears
  • Steel pick-up pin
Shimano Syncopate
Shimano Syncopate
Shimano Syncopate
Our Score

The Shimano Syncopate is a great spinning reel with a trigger option and can work well for anglers that fish for a wide number of species.

The reel comes in three different sizes with 1000, 2500, and 4000 size models, allowing you to choose the size you need depending on the target species.

The Reels feature Shimanos' Varispeed technology which gives the reel consistent spool speeds, and the Dyna-Balance system will eliminate all wobble during the retrieve by counter-balancing the rotor, which also enhances sensitivity and gives smooth operation.

  • Dyna-balance system
  • Varispeed spool technology
  • 3 different sizes to choose from
Shimano IX 4000
Shimano IX 4000
Shimano IX 4000
Our Score

The Shimano IX 4000 is a classic spinning reel that has been around in some form for a long time and is very popular among anglers.

The side plates, spool, and rotor of the reel are all constructed of graphite, which makes the reel incredibly lightweight, and allows for great overall rod sensitivity and balance.

The drag assembly of the reel is on the bottom of the reel instead of on top of the spool, which is a preference among many in the angling community.

  • Time-tested design
  • Rear drag system
  • Graphite construction

Trigger Spin Reels: FAQs

Are Underspin Reels Any Good?

Underspin reels have a time and place on the water and while many anglers enjoy underspin reels, other anglers simply prefer to stick with a traditional spinning reel.
Underspin reels are for light rods and tackle and excel at fishing for species like bluegill, crappie, perch, tilapia, and even trout when fishing small streams and creeks.
These species and the fishing applications used to catch them are where underspin reels really shine, they can mitigate tangles and snagging of light lines, and effectively cast small and light presentations and live bait.

Why Use a Trigger-Spin Reel?

Trigger spin reels are great when running multiple rods when fishing for species like panfish, as they make casting quick and easy.
Simply pull the trigger and cast, and use your free hand for some other task like controlling a trolling motor.
They are very easy to use which makes them great for kids or beginner anglers.

What Are the Benefits of Underspin Reels?

All the advantages that we just mentioned with trigger spin reels can be said of an underspin reel.
The main exception to these benefits is the enclosed spool system of an underspin reel, this means that knotting and tangling of the line are minimized, which is great for any angler, and very beneficial to kids and beginners.

What’s the Best Way to Use the Reel?

The best way to use a trigger reel is with a light action rod with small and light lures or live bait.
There are some spinning reels with triggers on the market that are suited to fishing for species like bass and walleye as well, and they aren’t only capable of fishing for small fish species like panfish.
Undercast reels on the other hand are definitely more suited to smaller fish that you would catch on ultra-light and light spinning rods.

Choosing the Right Trigger-Spin Reel

Quality of Materials

The quality of the materials used in a reel is important, and in most cases with these types of reels, manufacturers will find a great material that is both durable and lightweight.

Some will use carbon fiber or graphite for minimizing weight as much as possible, while others will use aluminum.

For the spool covers, some will even use stainless steel, and while it is certainly heavier than aluminum, it will be very durable.

Weight and Balance

Since most of these reels are made to be used with light-action rods, they are built to be very light in weight, and this translates to a great overall rod balance.

Open spool spinning reels with triggers are not much different in terms of weight compared to a standard spinning reel, and the only added weight is a few ounces at must for the trigger itself.


Most reels in these categories can be found anywhere from low to high prices, and anywhere in between.

The more expensive fishing reels typically have a higher level of quality, but some spincast and underspin reel designs are fairly simple, and even cheap ones can last anglers for several years.

At the end of the day, simply buy the best fishing reel you can personally afford.

Final Thoughts on Spinning Reels With Trigger

There you have it, our top spinning reels with triggers. They will certainly get the job done and last for years if properly maintained. A trigger reel is a great choice if you have limited angling experience.

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Shawn Chapin is an experienced fishing writer and guide based in Wisconsin, where he loves targeting muskie and a range of other species. Shawn's fished extensively for pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth and panfish species. He's developing a passion for chasing trout on the fly rod.
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