Best Open Face Reels of 2021 – Ultimate Review

| Last Updated January 19, 2022

Fishing was never easier until the advent of open face fishing reels.

Now, you don’t have to worry about escaping fish and tiresome heavy nets. All you need is a decent open face reel, and you won’t miss out on your prey.

The following guide is a thorough review of some of the best open face reels.

Comparison of the Best Open Face Reels

  • Lightweight but very hardy and durable
  • Offers incredible stopping power up to 17.5LBs
  • Increased and ultra-smooth performance
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  • Utilizes corrosion-resistant construction and material
  • Baitfeeding System results in better control
  • Well-designed and very durable
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  • Best Open Face Reel for the Money
  • Double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • Unique water-resistant design for spool, body, and rotor
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  • Best Open Face Spinning Reel
  • Powerful and design prevents inconsistent drag operation
  • Smooth retrieves and long, accurate casts
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  • Best Penn Open Face Reel
  • Heavy-duty material for exceptional durability
  • Durable, high-range spinning reel ideal for big fish
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  • Best Zebco Open Face Reel
  • Effective anti-reverse system
  • Graphite spool offers enhanced reliability
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  • Best Open Face Fishing Reel With Trigger
  • Features technology that allows easy and fast one-handed casting
  • Has enhanced sensitivity and smoothness
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What is an Open Face Reel?

An open-face reel is a type of spinning reel which offers a spool that is open. Unlike spincast reels, open face reels don’t have an enclosed spool. An open-face reel has a stationary spool for line storage. It is very handy as the line stops uncoiling once the cast is completed. 

Open face reels are among the most popular type of fishing rods among anglers. The reel is located on the bottom of the rod or blank. Also, the guides are considerably larger when compared with the spincast reels. These open-face reels are ideal for professionals to intermediate anglers.

What is an Open Face Reel Used For?

An open-face reel is also known as a spinning reel. Unlike spincast reels, it has a spool that is not covered. Open face reels are quite popular since they offer high versatility due to different sizes and ease of use. Talking about its uses, here are some of the uses of open face reels.

Small to Medium Size Fish

An open-face reel is generally used to catch small to medium-sized fish. In the US, the large-mouth bass is the most popular game fish found in freshwater. Spinning or open face reels are ideal to bait and catch these small to medium-sized fish with extreme ease. Consequently, you can experience a smooth and reliable fishing experience while using these fishing reels.

Fresh Water

Open face reels are usually designed for freshwater. They have a durable construction, however, they are not recommended for saltwater applications. Therefore, it is always wise to use open face reels in freshwater to catch your prey with ease.

Easy to Use

If you’re a beginner or new to fishing, an open face reel is a good start to your fishing journey. Since they are super easy to use and available at low prices. It’s a great start for novice and occasional anglers.

How to Choose an Open Face Reel

Choosing an open face reel is quite a task, especially when there are thousands of similar products to offer. However, it is wise to thoroughly research and determine the right one based on your requirements. Some reels offer different features and functionality, while others require different working conditions and various mechanisms. It greatly depends on your personal preferences and how you wish to operate an open face reel. Here are some aspects to consider while choosing an open face reel.


While purchasing an open face reel, make sure that the construction is solid. Typically, most open face reels feature an aluminum or graphite frame. These frames offer great durability while being lightweight at the same time. However, graphite tends to wear faster than aluminum, therefore, look for an aluminum frame.

Salt vs. Freshwater

Open face reels are designed for either salt or freshwater applications. However, some offer both qualities. Therefore, you need to identify whether you are going to fish in fresh or saltwater. Pick either one, depending upon your personal preferences.


Well, the price is the most important factor to consider while purchasing an open face reel. Usually, a high-end reel would possess a considerably higher price tag. Therefore, you need to invest wisely. If you are an occasional angler, a decent quality open face reel will do the job. However, if you are a professional angler, you might require a high-quality and expensive reel.

Key Terms to Know

To help compare products in this review, we have included a few key specifications for each. Here is a quick summary of what they mean.

  • Materials: The materials the reel is made of.

  • Weight: The actual weight of the reel.

  • Hand Orientation: Which dominant hand the reel is made for.

  • Bearing Type and Material: The number or type of bearings inside the reel and also the bearing material.
  • Gear Ratio: This tells you the number of times the reel spool turns with each crank of the handle.

  • Maximum Drag: The amount of force the reel can withstand without the line slipping.

  • Line Compatibility: Which line types the reel is meant to be used with.

Review of the Best Open Face Reels

Open face reels are a great way to catch fish effectively and efficiently. The reason is the swift and sleek design that offers ease of use and high reliability. However, purchasing a high-quality open face reel demands thorough research. To save your time and money, we have devised a list of products based on features, personal preferences, and quality.

Best Overall:
KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels

KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel


  • Lightweight with a narrow graphite frame design
  • Offers great value for the money with multiple features
  • Promises an ultra-smooth performance with 9-ball bearings
  • Features a superb drag system that enables significant stopping power
  • An attractive and incredible finish that attracts anyone who loves fishing


  • Not designed for saltwater fishing
  • The crank handle is relatively small 
  • Doesn’t offer an extra spool upon purchasing

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users refer to this product as one of the best open face reels. They believe that it is worth the money you pay. Most importantly, it is lightweight and can be operated easily with its durable design and multiple features. It’s a great pick for anyone who loves occasional fishing in local freshwater.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Most of the people think that this reel is a value for money product. However, we think a bit differently. What strikes us about the KastKing is the overall design and build quality of this reel. It features a narrow graphite frame that is incredibly lightweight while being durable at the same time. Furthermore, there’s a superb drag system to provide you with an ultra-smooth experience.

Who Will Use This Most

The KastKing fishing reel is designed for freshwater fishing. It possesses an attractive finish and a fine design to attract anyone who loves fishing. If you wish to experience an ultra-smooth reel experience, then nothing beats this reel. In a nutshell, it’s a superb fishing reel for freshwater fishing.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, if you’re an amateur or a pro, this reel is a must buy. It offers you all that you need. Ease of use, smooth experience, reliability, durability, and an awesome finish are what you get with this unit! However, watch out for the small crank handle and salt water.

Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait

Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel


  • Comes with a multi-disc drag system
  • Offers a 1-year manufacturer warranty
  • It has a corrosion-resistant construction
  • 6 ball-bearings and one quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing
  • Features a bait feeding system that enables disengagement of spool


  • The drag clicker isn’t very loud
  • Second spare spool is made of plastic
  • Several users reported loose bail screws

What Recent Buyers Report

Here’s another great fishing reel for fishing lovers. A high percentage of positive reviews suggest that it has a lot to offer. Most users reported an elegant and durable design of the Okuma Avenger fishing reel. It offers a great ultra-smooth experience and an anti-reverse capability that enhances user experience.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a super-smooth fishing reel for your liking. It is all you need if you want a smooth reel experience. It has a bait feeding system that enables disengagement of the spool and a multi-disc drag system. Additionally, it has 6 ball bearings and features an anti-reverse feature as well. All in all, it’s a highly durable and elegant fishing reel with its corrosion-resistant body.

Who Will Use This Most

The Okuma Avenger fishing reel is perfectly designed for large and heavier fish found in freshwater. If you are into big fish, then you probably need an Okuma Avenger open face fishing reel. Not only does it offer an elegant design but also a corrosion-resistant construction for long-lasting functionality. Thus, it’s a great choice for fishing lovers.

Bottom Line

Tired of breaking lines and escaping fish? Try this fishing reel and forget your fishing miseries forever! This is an incredible fishing reel designed to perfection for catching large and heavier fish with extreme ease. It is super-smooth and resistant to corrosion, which makes it a great choice if you seek a long-lasting yet durable fishing reel.

Best Open Face Reel for the Money:
KastKing Sharky

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Fishing Reel,Size 3000


  • A quiet and silky-smooth retrieve 
  • Available in various sizes and capacity
  • An anti-twist line roller for line tangles and snarls
  • Offers a unique water-resistant design for longevity
  • Braid fishing line ready aluminum pool allows you to eliminate backing line


  • Doesn’t offer any sort of warranty
  • The spool diameter is considerably small
  • Handle is not elegantly designed for a decent grip

What Recent Buyers Report

Well, the reviews say it all. This is another great open face reel that promises a great fishing experience. The users are truly amazed by the performance and the quality of this fishing reel. They believe that it offers great versatility and a silky-smooth operation. Whether small, medium or large-sized fish, the KastKing Sharky won’t disappoint you with its capabilities.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The KastKing Sharky has multiple features to offer. Firstly, it is extremely reliable since it can be used in saltwater, as well as, freshwater. Secondly, it features a unique water-resistant design for long-term operability. Also, it has a silky-smooth retrieve and an aluminum spool to eliminate the use of the backing line. Most importantly, it’s highly affordable and delivers much more for the price.

Who Will Use This Most       

The KastKing Sharky III is perfectly designed for fishing in salt, as well as, freshwater. It is available in multiple sizes and line capacity to meet your fishing requirements. It is a great choice for anyone who seeks a multi-functionality fishing reel. Small, medium, or large fish, this is all you need on your fishing expedition.

Bottom Line

In short, if you are looking for a great all-around fishing reel, this is your best bet. It offers you solid construction, multiple features paired with an ultra-smooth operation that provides you a flawless and seamless fishing experience. It’s a must-have fishing reel!

Best Open Face Spinning Reel:
KastKing Valiant Eagle Spinning

KastKing Emerald Eagle Spinning Reel,Size 1000 Fishing Reel


  • Features an amazing gear ratio of 6.2:1
  • Ideal for fresh and saltwater applications
  • Uses an enhanced graphite frame for strength and durability
  • A tough aluminum handle and a lightweight EVA handle knob
  • 11 stainless steel ball bearings for an outstanding smooth experience


  • The customer support service is not great
  • Handle needs to be tightened after several uses 
  • Fishing line may retrieve depending upon the quality

What Recent Buyers Report

A highly recommended fishing reel, this is a masterpiece when it comes to fishing. Its ultra-smooth drag offers you a superb reel experience. What’s attractive is the bearing count. It features an outstounding 11 stainless steel ball bearings for superb performance with an amazing 6.2:1 gear ratio.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The KastKing Valiant Eagle has a lot to offer at the given price. It features an Expanded Pinion System that provides strength and performance. Moreover, the Sliding Stabilizer Rod delivers a long-life and durability. The frame and rotor are made of graphite while being extremely lightweight and sturdy. It’s the perfect reel for fresh and saltwater applications.

Who Will Use This Most

We find that this model is suited for both salt and freshwater applications. It is fast, reliable, and ultra-smooth when it comes to fishing. In addition, it features a lightweight and compact design to ensure maximum user satisfaction. If you’re seeking a day or two fishing, then this fishing reel is the best choice of the lot.

Bottom Line

You asked for the best. Well, you got one now. The KastKing Valiant Eagle is a superb fishing reel when it comes to fishing. It offers you a ton of features while delivering incredible performance and durability. If you are looking for a long-term investment, then this model is worth considering.

Best Penn Open Face Reel:
Penn Battle

PENN 1338220 Battle II 5000 Spinning Fishing Reel


  • Great for fishing big fish in salt water
  • The bail wire is made of heavy-duty aluminum
  • Features a full metal body, side-plate, and rotor
  • Offers great versatility due to various sizes it offers
  • Comes with carbon fiber drag washers and superline spool


  • A fairly expensive fishing reel
  • It is not reliable for regular use
  • Relatively heavier than other reels

What Recent Buyers Report

A great fishing reel that provides superb performance is what most users have to say. They believe that the Penn Battle fishing reel provides all they need for their fishing needs. In addition, most users highly recommended this fishing reel since it offers great versatility. It’s available in various sizes, which allows you to pick the right one without compromising on personal preferences.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are a number of features that we like about the Penn Battle fishing reel. The most attractive thing about it is the versatility it offers. It is available in various sizes to ensure your requirements are met. Moreover, it is a great choice if you are a big lover of fishing in salt water.

Who Will Use This Most

The Penn Battle offers a durable full metal construction, side plate, and rotor. It features a bail wire made out of heavy-duty aluminum while offering HT100 carbon fiber drag washers. Therefore, if you are looking for a durable yet smooth fishing experience then, this is the ultimate choice.

Bottom Line

The Penn Battle fishing reel is a highly reliable and durable fishing reel designed for salt water. It is capable of catching big fish while offering long-term durability due to its metal construction. It has 5 stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti-reverse bearing to facilitate the users. It’s a great choice for big saltwater gamefish.

Best Zebco Open Face Reel:
Zebco Quick Cast

Zebco Quick Cast 10SZ Spinning Reel


  • Comes with a ball-bearing drive
  • Stainless bail wire that is highly durable
  • Offers a QuickCast casting trigger system
  • A QuickSet anti-reverse system for reliable fishing
  • The spool is constructed from Graphite that enables a reliable experience


  • Doesn’t offer a long casting distance
  • It is manufactured to catch small-sized fish only
  • Several reports regarding broken components upon delivery

What Recent Buyers Report

A fairly large number of recent buyers left a positive review regarding this fishing reel. What appeals to them is the trigger system of this reel. The QuickCast casting trigger system enables you a fast and reliable casting experience. All in all, it’s a great fishing reel that provides you with a ton of flexibility and reliability.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What is attractive about this reel is, of course, its trigger system. The Zebco QuickCast reel offers a QuickCast triggering system that most fishing reels don’t offer. Other than that, it also features a ball-bearing drive and a QuickSet anti-reverse system for great reliability. Also, it comes with a graphite spool and a stainless bail wire, which is extremely sturdy.

Who Will Use This Most

Well, the Zebco Quick Cast reel is perfectly designed to snap small and fast-moving fish in no time. As the name suggests, it offers some quick casting features that allow you to catch maximum fish in minimal time. It is perfectly designed for impatient anglers who wish to catch fish quickly.

Bottom Line

The Zebco Quick Cast is a great addition to your fishing arsenal if you are new to fishing. It offers you a seamless and easy to operate mechanism that most reels don’t offer. It has an anti-reverse capability and a fair casting range to ensure your prey doesn’t get away.

Best Open Face Fishing Reel With Trigger:

SHIMANO SYNCOPATE Front Drag, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel


  • Efficient and reliable performance at a low price
  • Dyna-Balance is responsible for wobble-free retrieve
  • Varispeed Technology allows a consistent spool speed
  • QuickFire II Technology enables fast and easy operation
  • Long casting distances due to Propulsion Line Management System


  • It is not a high-end reel
  • Does not have an instant anti-reverse
  • Spool size is small and only for small fish

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the recent buyers are completely satisfied with the Shimano fishing reel. What impressed the users is the availability of various technologies embedded to facilitate the fishermen. It has an ergonomic design and a sleek build that catches the eye for most fishermen. It’s a highly recommended product!

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Shimano fishing reel offers a great bit of technology to its users. What we like about it is its efficient and reliable design at a lower price tag. In addition, it offers Quick Fire II Technology for fast and easy operation while Varispeed enables consistent spool speed. Moreover, the Dyna-Balance allows you a wobble-free retrieve. Also, the Propulsion Line Management System is introduced for longer cast distances.

Who Will Use This Most

The Shimano fishing reel is not a high-end reel, however, it functions as one. The build quality is pretty decent while it offers you great value for your money. It is an ideal pick for beginners and experienced anglers who wish to catch their prey without a sweat! Most importantly, it’s relatively cheap, therefore, it attracts a large number of customers.

Bottom Line

A final word on the Shimano fishing reel would be that it’s a value for money fishing reel that offers more than what you pay. It is designed to perfection with multiple technologies, allowing you to experience a more reliable experience. In short, it’s a great fishing reel if you don’t want to miss out on your prey!

Types of Reels Explained - Spot The Difference 

There are different types of fishing reels available on the market nowadays. These fishing reels differ from one another based on their functionality and purpose of usage. To help you with a better understanding, here are some of the various types of fishing reels.

Spin Cast Reels

Spin cast reels are also known as closed face reels. These fishing reels have a covered spool usually, with an aluminum or graphite covering. Unlike open face reels, spincast reels are ideal for beginners, occasional anglers, and children.

Bait-Casting Reels

Baitcasting reels are generally designed for larger and heavier fish. These reels are ideally used for catching big fish such as bass and catfish. Apart from that, they are designed to withstand saltwater. If you excel in using your thumb to control the spool, the baitcasting reel will work like a charm.

Spinning Reels

Spinning reels or Open Face reels are quite popular when it comes to fishing. Unlike Spin cast reels, spinning reels offer an open spool. It means that their spool is not covered like spincast reels. Their popularity is generally linked to their size range and being extremely easy to use. However, you cannot expect to catch heavy fish using these fishing reels.

How to Cast an Open Face Reel

Casting with modern open face reels is fairly simple and easy. Since most of these reels exhibit user-friendly mechanisms, they are easy to use. However, you would always require some sort of knowledge and experience to cast an open face reel successfully. Here is a short tutorial of how to cast an open face reel:

  1. First of all, grip the reel using two fingers holding each side of the post.  

  2. Now, use your index finger to hold the line while opening the bail with the other hand. This will free the line.

  3. Next, swing the rod where you want the bait to land. Relax your index finger and allow the bait’s weight to uncoil the line. 

  4. To control the distance of the cast, use your finger to adjust the line as it continues to uncoil from the spool. 

  5. Finally, once the cast is complete, you can close the bail by rotating the handle of the reel. You can also close it by hand. You can then retrieve the line when you want.

If you are still unsure of the casting mechanism, here is a visual demonstration of how it’s done.

How to String an Open Face Reel

Stringing an open face reel is simple and quite easy. Since they offer you simple operating mechanisms, they can be spooled even by beginners. All you need to do is follow these steps, and you are good to go.

  1. The first thing you have to do is put the braided line through the top eye. Then, pull the line down to the reel. 

  2. The next thing you have to do is flip open the bail. 

  3. Now, tie a knot with the braided line in order to connect with the reel.  

  4. Pull the tag end to the knot carefully while tightening. It should be close enough so that you don’t need to cut the end. 

  5. Now cover the spool with a layer or two of the mono-line. Make sure that the line is tight and true using your fingers. 

  6. Once the spool is covered, cut the line past the first eye. As the braided line is attached, make sure there are no twists or tangles in between. 

  7. Hold the braided line with your right hand on the rod and fingers to feed the line. 

  8. Now, all you have to do is start reeling and bring the braided line to the reel.

You are now ready and set up with the braided line and good to go!


Open face reels are a reliable yet cheap source of catching fish. However, there are tons of different types of fishing reels available that can confuse you when it comes to purchasing. This guide was designed to be an all-inclusive guide to ensure you get the best of the lot. Happy fishing!

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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.