Top 4 Best Catfish Reel of 2021 | A Detailed Guide

Best Catfish Reel – Is that your question? Stay hooked to get answers. Choosing the best catfish reel for your setup will largely depend on how big the catfish are that you are targeting. If you don’t invest in decent gear, greater fish can wreak havoc on reels with poor drag systems.

Not all catfish are created equal and in the same way, not all reels are equal either. You can catch smaller channel cats with a light spinning setup, but if you want to catch larger blues or flatheads, then you should turn to a baitcaster.

While that may be true, there are some die-hard saltwater spinning reel anglers who prefer them for catching catfish! Let’s get right into knowing which is the Best Catfish Reel of 2021

Our Top Picks

Here is the list of our top 4 Best Catfish Reel of 2021:

  • Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000 (Best Seller)
  • Daiwa BG Spinning Reel
  • Penn Spinfisher VI
  • Abu Garcia C3 catfish Special

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000 (Best Seller)

If you want to get that lifelong catfish trophy, the Ambassadeur 7000 is the gold standard for catfish reels. Thousands of large bluefish and flathead catfish are caught on a 7000 series reel.

They show a large line capacity and are fitted with a power handle, making immersion a little easier than 6000 small machines. They are only designed to draw large numbers, with a gear ratio of 4.1: 1 and a return rate of 22 inches per crank.

The inner gears are made of solid brass and a multi-disk drag system combined with a six-pin centrifugal brake system results in a highly smooth wheel designed for the highest quality.

Plus, they feature a high-quality beer clicker, which means that if you have a lot of lines tied to the riverbank, you will never miss a bite again.

It will carry 325 meters of 17 kg monofilament or 230 meters of 25 kg monofilament.

If spooling braid, it holds 360 yards of 50 lb fishing line tied.

  • This is constructed using premium components and materials.
  • This reel’s drag system is well-designed and performs admirably.
  • This effortlessly casts heavier catfish lines.
  • Despite its strength and power, this reel should be treated with care and cleaned thoroughly after use to maintain optimal performance.

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

Daiwa is famous for producing strong reels and tailored to anglers of all skill levels at an affordable price. This catfish reel is very strong and powerful. Aluminum is used to build the body. The drag machine is completely waterproof and protected.

Additionally, this reel is braid-ready, allowing you to use any line you like.

Six combined ball bearings provide smooth operation, and more than 4,400 models include booked return bail. The maximum drag is 22lb / 10kg in size, as well as 33lb / 15kg for larger versions like 8000. With a 5.6: 1 gear ratio, this reel is on the slow side. The linear line is excellent, in the 20lb / 210 mono range at 4500 sizes. The capacity of the 8000 line size is 20lb / 550yd. It is very small, which may not be comfortable for novices (size 4500 weighs 1lb / 0.45kg), but keep in mind that this is a sled designed to handle very large fish.

  • Stable and dependable
  • For models 4000 and smaller, infinite anti-reverse.

  • Dual anti-reverse is standard on models over 4000.
  • Casting is effortless, precise, and fluid.
  • The reel is fairly substantial.
  • Ball wire is thinner than it could be on a reel of this size.

Penn Spinfisher VI

Spinfisher is Penn’s leading church, now in its sixth generation, with each series building and developing on its past.

Spinfisher is one of the most popular saltwater spinning wheels ever produced, as well as one of the best-closed reels available.

So, if you are looking for reel spinning that can be used for both catfish and saltwater, Spinfisher is one of the best options available. The 4500 size is suitable for small fishing rigs, while the 5500 size offers an excellent combination of performance and great fishing power. The 4500s occupy 235 yards of 12-pound monofilament and the 5500s occupy 230 yards of 15 lb monofilament.

Both versions have an HT-100 carbon pull washer, CNC internal gear, a fully enclosed seat, Superline spool, and fast anti-reverse. Penn has established an excellent reputation in the fishing industry, and Spinfisher VI is regarded as a leading circulating company, ready for use in both freshwater and saltwater.

Additionally, there are live liner models and sub-bail models available, selected by LL and BLS model numbers, respectively, although I have yet to see anyone using the sub-bail models.

  • Exceptional drag system.
  • Sealed body provides exceptional durability.
  • Outstanding casting ability.
  • The instant reverse system is made up of plastic springs that appear to be somewhat weak.

Abu Garcia C3 catfish Special

If your goal is to target smaller channel catfish, bluefish, or flatheads, the C3-5500 is the greatest value-for-money catfish reel.

Almost every serious catfish angler I know has or continues to use one of these reels, and when properly maintained, they will last decades, if not a lifetime, of usage and abuse.

They are a more compact version of the 6000 and 7000 series but do not include a bait clicker. The 5500 will hold 240 yards of 12 pound monofilament, which is the optimum line to use when fishing for channel catfish using lighter tactics, bait rigs, or bobbers.

With the drag set properly, you may easily land a 25 to 30 pound catfish while using only a 12 pound line, assuming you are not near any snags. The 5500 is only available with the dual handle, not the power handle found on the larger handles. This is not an issue with smaller catfish. They feature the same Carbon Matrix drag system and six-pin centrifugal brake as the more expensive variants.

  • t is perfectly fitted and finished.
  • The craftsmanship and quality are exceptional.
  • It is slightly more expensive than other reels in its class, but it provides better value.

Consider Next When Looking For Best Catfish Reel

What options should you consider when buying a catfish reel? Seven critical considerations for the purchase include the following:

Reel type

Reels are divided into three categories: spincast, spinning, and baitcasting. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Spincast reels are easy to use, making them ideal for young people in fishing.

In addition, they are a very cheap type of tire. The accuracy and distance of the broadcast are done. Spinning reels are the most common form of the reel because they are simple and easy to cast. Moreover, they are straightforward. The downside is that they do not work well with thick strings.

Spinning Reel Components

Baitcasting reels are designed for more experienced users. They are extremely accurate, long-distance, and powerful, which makes them ideal for identifying strong, large fish.

Components of the Baitcasting Reel 

These are the most expensive reels available. Each of these reel species can be used to catch catfish, depending on the species and your ability. Continue reading in the frequently asked area to find an area that we believe works best for catfish.

Building materials

The firmness of your wheel is important. It must withstand elements, which can cause destructive seawater. Materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, and graphite are frequently used. If you are going fishing in saltwater, look for the ten highest reels in the saltwater.

While stainless steel such as stainless steel and aluminum are strong, they are easily damaged. For sea fishing, graphite is attractive. In addition, it is often less expensive. Stainless steel is a great addition to ball bearings. For more, check out the top 10 Saltwater Fishing spinning Reels.

Line power

As the name implies, the volume of a wheel line refers to the value of the line the spool can hold. Fishing reels should have a large line. This is because you will always be relying on the thick fishing line. Catfish can be large and powerful.

The heavier the line, the more space it takes up at the top of the spool. In addition, having a large line allows you to use more fishing techniques. You will want to be able to spread long distances with fish in deep water, which is always where the catfish meet. Baitcasters, on average, have a larger line volume.

Drag the path

Drag systems that help you eliminate large, fighting fish while you pull them slowly. This is important when it comes to catfish. Strong drag prevents the line and other tackle cracks. Almost all reasonable quality wheels will fit some sort of drag system, but cheaper reels will fail.

If you intend to target a large catfish, you should invest in a reel with an excellent drag system that contains drag washers. Drag washers should be made of metal instead of plastic to ensure their durability.

Infographic about Gear Ratios

When you open the handle, the gear ratio affects the line (and speed) that goes around the spoon. With a larger scale (such as 6: 1), you can rotate the extra line with each turn of the handle. This is important if you are bringing in a bigger catfish, especially when you are spreading long distances and bringing in a lot of lines.

Additionally, spool friction should increase. When choosing a gear ratio, you should also consider the seduction you are using. For example, deep water crankbaits perform best with low gear ratios, while jigs and jerkbaits require high gear ratios.


The best reels fitted with ball bears are placed on their spinning parts. This provides stable, smooth operation. As mentioned earlier, stainless steel is a good fit.

Bushings used on reels are less expensive because they are less expensive and easier to make. When you value quality, always choose a wheel with ball bearings. The best fishing reels will have a high ball count. Generally, it is where they meet the most, except where the sales are of poor quality.


The weight of your reel is always a critical factor to consider when shopping, other than the types of fish you are targeting. If you are catching a big catfish, you will need a strong wheel to support them.

The width of the rod should correspond to the width of the wheel. It is important to maintain balance. If you fish with a big line and a short, small pole, you are unlikely to have much success. Choose the weight and size of your rope/rod depending on the size of the catfish you intend to catch. Looking for a little catfish? The following is a list of high reels for ultralight spinning.

The handles are strong

The power handles on the wheel are large buttons that provide better grip and torque. They are useful when additional fishing is required. If you want to identify a big catfish, these handles are worth considering.

What size reel should I use for Catfish?

When you think of a circular catfish line, size 4000 is the minimum empty. 5000 baitcaster with a large hook and a thick line.

When it comes to catching catfish, small reels do not cut. You will need a large amount of line, at least 30 lbs of mono, and 50 to 60 lbs of weaving.


While a high-quality spool is required on all reels, when we use a large heavy line, the arbor should be large enough to fit the line. The larger the spool, the less likely it is that your line will be knotted, built up in memory, or wrapped in excess while stored in the winter.


When fishing for crappie or other fish the size of a panfish, drag a second consideration. However, when it comes to fishing, your reel, especially the pull, should be high. Most of the high-quality wheels will have excellent drag. On the cheap reels of catfish, dragging is often the first step toward failure when pressing hard. Ultimately, your choice of catfish reels will depend on the size of the catfish you intend to identify and whether you prefer a spinning or casting rig.

What is the proper gear ratio to catch a catfish?

A gear ratio of 5.3: 1 and 6: 1 works best on a catfish slide because it provides enough torque while maintaining the right reversal rate. The larger gear ratio allows you to take an extra line every time you turn the handle, but at a higher cost. The low number of gears allows you to put more power on the wheel but results in a loss of speed when you open it quickly.

Wrapping Up: Best Catfish Reel

This was our top pick for Best Catfish Reel and additional guidelines for informed decisions when you decide to invest in a reel. To have a successful and enjoyable fishing experience, choose the right reel for the type of fishing you intend to do. By choosing the right reel based on the features mentioned above, you will ensure that you are ready to take the big and straight catfish. We hope you find this guide on Best Catfish Reel helpful. Please send any questions or comments below.

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