Best Musky Reels of 2020 – Ultimate Review

| Last Updated October 11, 2020

If you are fishermen or are fond of fishing, chances are you already know the importance of musky on the market. These aren’t only the most desirable fish in the seawater but are also quite difficult to catch, especially if you don’t have the perfect equipment for it.

As an amateur angler, you need the absolute best musky reel on the market to excel in the art, and that’s exactly why we recommend you go through this article once. It will not only enlighten you with a proper buying guide but will also present you with a list of the best musky reels on the market.

Comparison of the Best Musky Reels

  • Low-profile design bait caster with silent high-speed retrieve
  • Low-maintenance baitcasting reel package
  • Reliable centrifugal and magnetic brake system
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  • Classic round reel can keep up with fastest low profile reels
  • Strong and ultralight forged aluminum frames
  • Good alignment for lifelong smooth power
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  • Best Musky Reel for the Money
  • Round baitcasting reel with carbon fiber drag system
  • Premium double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings
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  • Best Musky Spinning Reel
  • Aluminum handle arm with Ergo grip handle knobs
  • Multi-disc carbonite drag system
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  • Best Low Profile Musky Reel
  • Built to handle fish in freshwater or saltwater
  • Offers great performance and impact resistance
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  • Best Musky Reel for Burning Bucktails
  • Boasts with ultimate carbon drag
  • Swept handle with weight-reducing cutouts
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  • Best Musky Reel Under $100
  • Features anti-reverse for solid hooksets
  • Uses Variable Brake System
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Is Any Reel Suitable For Musky?

Fishermen have long delved into this question without finding a suitable answer, but don’t worry because we are here to make things simple for you. Before you go on experimenting with new musky reels, know that there are some that will hinder your progress and will give you the opposite outcome from the one you desire. 

There are three main reels that are commonly recommended for musky. These include spincast, spinning, and baitcasting reel. All three of these share some common attributes, such as the wounding of the line around the spool. This helps you in turning of the handle. They also have almost the same drag mechanism that gives you some room for adjustments. But even with these similarities, these reels work in significantly different ways.

For musky, you should always prefer using the baitcasting reel. This is not only the top choice for musky, but its advanced drag mechanism and greater strength aids your purpose. On the other hand, spin reeling and spincast reel are both comparatively less suitable for musky.

How to Choose a Reel That’s Perfect for Musky?

Musky fishing is really cool. One reason for its popularity is definitely the challenge associated with it. Many anglers, even the ones with the most experience, often find it hard to lure musky with their reels, but you can change that. Excelling in this art will require you to choose the perfect reel for your musky, and we are here to help you do just that.

Type of Handle

Handles need to be comfortable and should offer a good grip, but that’s pretty common information, and most people know what handles suit them best. However, a huge mistake that people make is choosing the wrong handed handle. This means that if you are a left-handed person, you need the crank to be on your left side and vice versa. So when you go to the store, make sure you try on both these handles to see which one compliments your hands better.

Higher Gear Ratio

This is extremely important to ensure when it comes to musky reels. Each reel comes with a fixed gear ratio. This basically refers to the number of times your spool can rotate at every 360 degree crank of your handle. This spool is also part of your reel and is attached to your line. You should always try to get a reel with a higher gear ratio because this will ensure that you can retrieve the line faster. However, you shouldn’t always aim for the highest gear ratio because it sometimes requires more energy too.

Higher Durability

Since musky are relatively bigger fish, it is important that your reel or your equipment doesn’t break while retrieving the line. This is exactly where durability comes into play. You want your reel ​to be able to withstand the weight of a heavy lure but also the weight of heavy musky. For this, you can try finding a reel that is either made of aluminum or stainless steel. Both of these elements provide higher durability and offer greater resistance to corrosion.

Quick Take | Best Musky Reels

Just looking for the top three best musky reels? Here they are:

  1. KastKing Royale Legend
  2. SHIMANO Calcutta
  3. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

Review of the Best Musky Reels

We have already told you the features to look out for in a musky reel, but if you thought you’d have to spend days on the internet finding reels with these features, you are wrong. Here we have some of the best reels on the market. You can compare the pros and cons to find the best one.

KastKing Royale Legend/Whitemax Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel – 11 +1 Shielded Bearings, 17.5 Lb Carbon Fiber Drag (A: Left-Black)


  • High gear ratio allows for instant line retrieval
  • Comes with a silent line retrieve for more comfort
  • Has ball bearings that offer higher corrosion resistance
  • The carbon fiber drag system is able to deliver more than 17 pounds of drag
  • Superior and smooth casting system is offered by the magnetic brake system


  • Handles often lose efficiency if they get wet
  • Weight is slightly more which reduces portability
  • Gear ratio is slightly less than some other models

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers couldn’t be more pleased with the performance of this musky reel. They have frequently used the words comfort and convenience to describe their experience with it. They also like the high gear ratio, which ensures that their lines are retrieved at a much higher speed. Moreover, the ball bearings also offer high corrosion resistance, which ensures longevity.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We didn’t find any other product that offers a complete silent line retrieve, and this is exactly why we think this feature stands out. The gear ratio of this product is also one of the most impressive, and its high-speed line retrieval mechanism ensures that you don’t have to spend extra energy in luring your musky out. Moreover, its silent operation ensures that you can fish in peace and quiet.

Who Will Use This Most

The best part about this model is that it doesn’t limit your options. It works perfectly well in both seawater and freshwater. Not only this, but its high-end drag mechanism ensures that regardless of the weight of your musky and your lure, you won’t have any issues in retrieving your fish. Moreover, its better casting system makes it a good fit for new anglers who don’t really have much experience catching larger fish.

Bottom Line

With high corrosion resistance and an amazing drag, this model is already winning hearts. The smooth casting system makes it a perfect fit for both new and professional anglers, and its suitable drag mechanism allows you to put a heavy lure on the reel. Moreover, its amazing ball bearing systems and smooth ergonomic handles make it the best overall product on the market.

SHIMANO Calcutta

SHIMANO Calcutta 700B; Round Baitcating Freshwater Reel


  • Allows for fishing in both saltwater and freshwater
  • Presence of slide plates allow for greater alignment
  • Allows for higher durability hence ensures long term value
  • Higher dependability due to its advanced drag mechanism
  • Aluminum frames offer higher durability and hence higher reliability


  • Customer service could be improved
  • The thumb bar might be troublesome

What Recent Buyers Report

Alignment and strength are two key features in musky fishing, and the presence of these two in this model has really pleased most recent buyers. They love that it comes in a variety of sizes, and each side offers them perfect alignment and smoothness. Not only this, but it also offers them higher rigidity, which further adds to the appeal.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Musky are really big fish, and in order to bring them out of the water, you need to invest in a lot of power, but your task is made significantly easier with the help of a good drag system. This model offers one of the best drag systems on the market. This not only makes line retrieval easier but also ensures that you don’t have to spend too much time bringing your lure and your musky out in the open.

Who Will Use This Most

The musky reel is suitable to be used in all kinds of water. Unlike many other cheap products you see on the market, this one does not limit you to one type of water. The high-end mechanisms allow you to catch musky fish both in saltwater and freshwater. This also means that regardless of the outside temperature or weather, you won’t face any issue fishing for your musky.

Bottom Line

Better strength, power, and durability are just some of the many words associated with this model. It not only gives you higher dependability, but its advanced drag system means that you can use this product for a longer time without having to face any issues. Moreover, the model comes with efficient slide plates that offer better alignment and ensures that you don’t waste your energy in line retrieval.

Best Musky Reel for the Money:
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

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


  • Stainless steel shaft also offers higher protection
  • Allows for 30 pounds of smooth and efficient drag
  • Higher precision is offered by the cut brass gear system
  • High durability is able to withstand the lure and musky weight
  • Ionized with aluminum material that offers higher corrosion resistance


  • Does not offer very good portability
  • Slightly heavier than some other models
  • Less torque offered compared to some other models

What Recent Buyers Report

Having the word bulletproof associated with your musky reel must seem luxurious, and this is exactly how the buyers of this musky reel feel. The model is one of the strongest on the market, and it is due to its high dependability that fans love it so much. Moreover, it comes with a round baitcasting technique, which makes it the perfect reel for musky.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Power and higher gear ratio come together to create this amazingly smooth and strong musky reel. It offers an amazing gear ratio that not only makes line retrieval easier but also makes your experience much more enjoyable. With its cymbal washer system, it has exceeded all boundaries and offers a whooping drag of 30 pounds. This means that regardless of the weight of your lure, you can rest assured that your reel can handle it.

Who Will Use This Most

People who don’t want to compromise on the size of their musky will love using this product. This is because it offers a drag like no other, which means that regardless of the size of your lure or your musky, your reel will not disappoint you. Moreover, the presence of stainless steel and aluminum material ensures that you get a reel with high corrosion resistance.

Bottom Line

A product can have thousands of amazing features, but without better precision, all these features are rendered useless. The model offers amazing accuracy and precision, which means that it will ensure that your experience with musky fishing is the best one so far. Moreover, its amazing drag system, coupled with stainless steel, is another feature that consumers absolutely love.

Best Musky Spinning Reel:
Okuma Coldwater 350

Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel CW354D, Right Hand


  • Has a multi-disc drag system for higher versatility
  • Lightweight and hence comes with added portability
  • Smooth handles add to your comfort and convenience
  • Higher corrosion resistance ensures that the reel doesn’t break
  • Ergo grip handles and the compatible knobs add to ease of usage


  • Not as effective as a baitcasting reel
  • Has less line capacity than some other models
  • Cannot withstand the weight of very heavy musky

What Recent Buyers Report

When it comes to musky reels, this one definitely stands out. This is because the Okuma Coldwater musky reel has an extremely efficient design that is both lightweight and compact. This not only makes it easy to use but also makes it travel-friendly. Not only this, but recent buyers have also complimented its use of a multi-drag system for higher versatility.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Strength and durability are two very important features of any musky reel, and these features are highly dependent on the construction material. Okuma musky reels are made with machined aluminum that has been properly anodized in a two-tone way. This has resulted in a reel that is not only very durable but also comes with higher strength. Both of these qualities help make line retrieval easy.

Who Will Use This Most

Anyone looking for convenience and comfort will end up loving this product. This is because it is one of the very few models that come with amazing handles. These handles are not only smooth to the touch but also come with an advanced ergonomic grip for better hold. Moreover, these handles also don’t lose their efficiency after getting wet or dirty, which is another appealing feature of the model.

Bottom Line

With balanced handles and higher durability, there isn’t much that can go wrong with a reel. This product is known to have the perfect balance between power and gear ratio, and it is because of this unique balance that it is known to be the best musky spinning reel. Moreover, the higher corrosion resistance of the model helps increase its shelf life.

Best Low Profile Musky Reel:

SHIMANO Tranx 500 PG Lowprofile Baitcasting Freshwater Reel


  • Suitable to be used in both freshwater and saltwater
  • Ensures massive cranking power and hence saves time
  • High impact resistance ensures you don’t miss your fish
  • Offers bulletproof performance and extremely high durability
  • Provides optimum performance even in the harshest of climates


  • If damaged, replacements are hard to find
  • Does not come with a relatively high torque
  • Slightly more expensive than some other products

What Recent Buyers Report

The HEG technology, coupled with Xship technology, is what makes this product stand out to recent buyers. The model is made with bulletproof material, which means that it offers strength and reliability like none other. Not only this, but it also comes with a metal reel body that does not break easily and offers longevity to recent buyers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Any product that offers the same kind of performance in easy and harsh conditions are likely to stand out among others. The Shimano Tranx is one such product that has exceeded all expectations by providing optimum performance in the harshest of conditions. It comes with high impact resistance, which ensures that the line doesn’t break even when your musky is really heavy.

Who Will Use This Most

People living under unpredictable weather can make the most use of this musky reel. This is because the advanced drag mechanism and the high impact system ensure that your reel works efficiently in both saltwater and freshwater. Moreover, it comes with a massive cranking power that saves both your time and your energy.

Bottom Line

There are very few products that give you this level of smoothness, so if you are looking for a reliable and comfortable product, then this is definitely the one for you. It not only comes with high resistance to climate but also high impact resistance. Moreover, its bulletproof level strength allows it to withstand all kinds of temperatures with ease.

Best Musky Reel for Burning Bucktails:
Daiwa LEXA-WN400H

Daiwa LEXA-WN400H Lexa Type WN Casting Reel, 400, 6.3: 1 Gear Ratio, 33.40' Retrieve Rate, 25 lb Max Drag, Right Hand


  • Use of carbon ensures more durability
  • Allows for a relatively higher drag than most models
  • Comes with aluminum plates ensures higher strength
  • More powerful action allows for a time-saving mechanism
  • Offers more control to the user hence allows them to try new techniques


  • Relatively heavier hence less portable
  • Not very flexible when it comes to bending
  • Longevity is reduced by a relatively higher gear ratio

What Recent Buyers Report

Only the bravest of anglers try catching musky ​and it is no wonder that these brave anglers want to have greater control in both their techniques and their styles, and this is exactly what this musky reel has to offer. It comes with relatively high drag and variable power action that, when combined, allows fishermen to experiment with a range of different styles.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Better power action is definitely the most notable feature of this musky reel, and it is also the feature that stands out to us the most. This power action is extremely important as it not only helps with line retrieval but also ensures that you don’t have to bend too much in order to complete that action. Moreover, having a higher power also ensures that you don’t waste too much time in line retrieval.

Who Will Use This Most

Professional anglers and people who catch musky fish for selling purposes will make the most use of this product. This is because the drag system of the reel is not very time-consuming. Moreover, the advanced power system of the reel also ensures that you don’t have to spend too much of your energy on line retrieval, which makes catching musky relatively easier.

Bottom Line

Higher versatility and higher range are what make people love this product so much. It is also considered as the best musky reel for burning bucktails. Moreover, the presence of carbon and aluminum ensures higher durability. Plus, unlike most other products, this one doesn’t compromise on torque power at the cost of gear ratio. So if you are looking to get the most out of your musky reel, this product is definitely the way.

Best Musky Reel Under $100:
SHIMANO Corvalus

SHIMANO Corvalus CVL300 Baitcast Reel


  • Has higher torque thus less energy-consuming
  • Relatively less expensive than some other models
  • Lightweight and compact size makes portability easy
  • The high variability brake system allows for easy casting
  • Comes with anti-reverse technology that provides solid hooksets


  • More susceptible to breaking
  • Relatively lower line capacity than some other models
  • Does not allow you to put a very heavy lure for musky

What Recent Buyers Report

Any product that offers consumers good quality without putting a lot of burden on their pockets is bound to attract them. The Shimano musky reel is one such model. It is not only one of the cheapest on the market but also one of the most lightweight. Its compact shape and its relatively lesser weight not only make its handling better but also adds to its portability.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Better torque is a term not very frequently associated with musky reels. This is because, with a higher gear ratio, torque significantly decreases, but that isn’t the case with the Shimano musky reel. It offers higher torque, which not only adds to the longevity of the product but also ensures that you save both your time and your energy during line retrieval.

Who Will Use This Most

People who want a good product at a relatively lower cost would love using this product. It is extremely cheap and lightweight, which means people who travel frequently will also make the most use of it. Moreover, since the product has an efficient brake system, it is no wonder that it appeals to most modern anglers.

Bottom Line

The bottom line on this one is pretty simple, buy the Shimano musky reel to save on your cost and your energy. Its superior features like better brake system and compact size ensure that you get the best performance at a relatively low cost. Moreover, it comes with a lower gear ratio than some other products; however, this drawback is compensated by the presence of relatively high torque.

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying?

Sometimes in the bid to find the perfect musky reel, consumers often miss out on some important information. This not only ends them with an imperfect reel but also a product that does not really cater to their individual needs. But don’t worry, we have summarized all the things you need to know before buying your first musky reel.


Like with most products, the construction material of a musky reel plays a huge part in its strength and durability. There are many reels on the market that might look fancy on the outside but aren’t very strong and might even break after just a couple of uses. You should always avoid using any musky reels that have plastic components. On the other hand, it is advised that you buy either aluminum or stainless steel reel. These aren’t only more durable but will also sustain the weight of your musky easily.

Line Retrieval

When it comes to musky, there is a lot of work that is focused on casting and retrieving. This means that you want line retrieval not only to be fast but also easy. Any reel that has a low gear ratio is likely to take a lot of time in line retrieval. A higher ratio, on the other hand, is likely to give you greater speed and hence greater power. Moreover, for the best performance, we recommend a reel that has a 6.0.1 gear ratio.

Line Capacity

Line capacity is one thing that people are really confused about. This is because some anglers prefer a thin braided line that has around 200 yards of spool around its reel, while there are other anglers who like more heavy-duty line capacity. But you shouldn’t be influenced by these opinions on the internet. You should always determine your line capacity based on the type of fish that you want to catch. Musky, in this case, will require your line capacity to be heavy duty.


Musky fishing might have scared you before, but we are sure that after going through this review, it would seem like a piece of cake. And that’s exactly how easy and convenient it can be, but only if you have the right equipment to go with your technique. 

The market is bombarded with cheap products, but you shouldn’t pay any heed to them. Our list includes all kinds of musky reels, those with higher line capacity and a relatively affordable price. So whatever your requirements, rest assured that you can find a suitable musky reel in this review.

People Also Ask

Musky fishing has long fascinated people, and they often come up with questions regarding it. While conducting our research, we found some questions that people have asked recurrently. Here is an honest answer to each.

​Are Musky Hard to Catch?

Musky can be hard to catch, but only if you are using a reel with lower durability and smaller gear ratio. These things would not only add to the time taken for line retrieval but might result in your line breaking too. So if you want to catch musky frequently and without much effort, it is advised that you spend your money wisely on a good musky reel.

What is the Best Time of Day to Catch Musky?

In the fall, you can catchy musky any time of the day​. However, as the temperature reaches 50, you should switch to afternoons or even early evenings on slightly more sunny days. This is when the water will be warmer, and the musky will move farther away from the weeds and hence will be more accessible to you.

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My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.