Best Swimbait Reels of 2021 – Complete Round-up

| Last Updated June 9, 2021

There is a reason why every expert angler has an arsenal of swimbait reels, and we have collected a lot of reasons for you to start collecting yourself an arsenal and enjoy the best time with swimbait reels too.

Swimbait reels are an extremely important tool for fishing.

Especially when casting for big species, you need to utilize your skills and practice with your swimbait set to catch the best basses of all times. 

Comparison of the Best Swimbait Reels

  • Designed to virtually eliminate body flexing
  • Gears will stay in position even under heavy loads
  • Intelligent Digital Control braking system is easy to use
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  • Strong low-profile bait casting reel
  • Remarkable performance and impact resistance
  • Provides long-lasting performance and durability
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  • Best for the Money
  • Made with strong and light forged aluminum frames
  • Features an ultra-smooth Dartanium Drag
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  • Impressive power and line capacity
  • A high-quality bass reel
  • Very solid and made to last very long
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  • Features Multi-disc Carbonite drag system
  • External adjustable centrifugal cast control system
  • Ergonomic handle design allows better cranking
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What is a Swimbait Reel?

A swimbait reel is a mechanical device that sits on top of a casting rod. It holds and spools out the fishing line. Every reel is constructed with a handle to retrieve the fishing line, a bracket to secure the reel to the rod, and a brake to slow down an escaping prey.

A general swimbait reel has a retrieving handle on the right side of the reel, but now they are also designed for left-handed people. The swimbait reel can be a very adroit tool for anglers who want to fish with larger bait and lures and, at times, when spinning reels are not suitable for certain techniques.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Swimbait Reel?

It can be quite difficult to decide which swimbait reel will allow you to fish with your favorite techniques and is worth your money. Fortunately, it can be quite easy to determine once you know what to look for in swimbait reels. Here are some points you need to keep in mind before buying a swimbait reel.

Line Capacity

The line capacity of a reel is usually indicated on the spool. You need to ensure the line capacity of the reel is adequate for the pound test. Plus, to hold the length of the fishing line, you could use to fish out your prey species. 

Right-Handed vs. Left-Handed

This factor is totally your personal preference and in which orientation your skills work. It is very important to choose where the handle lies. You should choose a reel with the handle opposite to your dominant hand. This way, you will not have to keep switching your hand hence increasing efficiency.

Gear Ratios

It takes three things to determine the gear ratios of your reel, the target species, your fishing technique, and the type of bait you will use. A higher gear ratio has lower cranking power and is best-suited for pitching lighter, fast-moving bait. Lower gear ratios have more cranking power and retrieve slowly to hoist bigger prey.

Review of the Best Swimbait Reels

Starting with a swimbait reel can be a little intimidating at first, but with a little practice, you can get good command over how it works. Down below, we have reviewed the top swimbait reels with the adequate features that will help you make a conversant decision for your next fishing adventure.

Best Overall:
Shimano Curado DC

Shimano CURADO DC, LowProfile Baitcasting Freshwater Fishing Reel


  • Body of reel HAGANE which increases its strength
  • Integrated with Intelligent Digital Control braking system
  • Comes with C14 technology which makes it very lightweight
  • The new Micro Module Gear system makes the gear more efficient
  • X-ship technology eliminates friction between the spool shaft and gear


  • Makes noise when casting
  • Needs the practice to get command over it
  • Backlashes are minimum but not eliminated

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers fully agree on the fact that this Shimano reel is worth all the hype. With this reel, it is very easy to adjust the spool brake setting. You need to set it once and not for each bait. They thoroughly enjoy the distance on the reel with minimum backlashes. Its digital control feature makes the braking systems efficient too. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This reel features a microcomputer to monitor spool speed a thousand times per second. It comes with the new Micro Module Gear System, which helps retrieve smoothly. Also, the X-Ship makes the gear durable by supporting the pinion gear with bearings. It is made of a Hagane body, which is a metal body of high pliability.

Who Will Use This Most

This reel can be used by all. Experts can make use of it more efficiently with their set of skills, while beginners will find it very easy to use and user-friendly with its automatic technology. This is mostly used by people who fish for bass, but it can be conveniently used by people fishing for salmon as well.

Bottom Line

Backlash is always a major problem in reels. The Hagane body of this reel greatly eliminates body flexing, and all it takes is a little thumb management to eliminate that from happening. Shimano has always been on top of the reel business on the market for all the obvious reasons. This variant features the incredible new technology to make fishing as enjoyable as possible.

Shimano Tranx Baitcasting Fishing Reel


  • Hagane metal body makes this reel rigid 
  • Comes in two variants, left and ride side reel
  • X-Ship technology provides great cranking power
  • HEG technology creates smooth, effortless retrieve
  • The new water-resistant technology makes it durable


  • Spool is slightly narrow
  • Product is not very affordable
  • Braking adjustments are internal

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers consider this variant the best of all Shimano’s series. It pulls out all kinds of big fish in a swift movement. Since it is water-resistant, it lasts them a very long time and looks good at the same time. It catches fish of all sizes, and buyers feel like they will not have to buy any other reel in a long time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This low-profile reel is the strongest of all of this series. It can help you literally catch fish of any size. It comes with CoreProtect technology, which makes it water-resistant and durable despite any harsh water conditions. The X-ship and the HEG technology together amplify the cranking power of this reel and contributes to making retrieves smooth and effortless. 

Who Will Use This Most

This reel will be most suitable for those who love to catch big heavy fish, be it largemouth bass, lake trout, paddlefish, or even salmon. This is made possible by their X-Ship and HRG technologies, which output great cranking power. Also, people who go fishing in harsh circumstances where the entire reel gets exposed to water will find it to be a great option since it is waterproof. 

Bottom Line

This reel comes with the features and quality that a great angler looks for. You may not need to buy another reel for the next decade due to its heavy-duty metal body and water-resistance. True experts swear by its premium feel and advise everyone to spend their money on. 

Best for the Money:
Shimano Calcutta Freshwater Fishing Reel

SHIMANO Calcutta B Round Reel


  • Super stopper technology avoids any back-play
  • A very affordable option available on the market
  • The VBS uses centrifugal force to control the cast
  • Aluminum spool provides high strength and durability
  • Constructed with an aluminum frame which ensures all parts remain perfectly aligned


  • The oil bottle is not included
  • Does not come with a drag clicker
  • Needs to be rinsed after using in salt-water

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are greatly impressed by their purchase, this reel has an extremely sturdy aluminum body, which is not only durable but looks very appealing too. The bearing of the reel does not make any noise while casting. In addition, the performance is very smooth. Also, buyers used this reel in saltwater and had no complaints.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a round reel fishing reel that is not only suitable in freshwater but works well in saltwater as well. The round structure lets it hold more line and toss larger bait. It comes with many features, including the Super Stopper, where a steel roller bearing is used, which eliminates back-play. This metal series is designed out of metal frames that keep the parts aligned and make this product last for a lifetime.

Who Will Use This Most

Anglers who want good looking reels that are durable and efficient will surely love this round fishing reel by Shimano. Since it is round, it is perfect for those who love fishing, steelhead, Muskie, pike, or salmon. Anglers with an experienced wrist action will love this affordable product. 

Bottom Line

This reel is the most affordable option you can opt for on the market without compromising any features. With its durable aluminum body and shiny steel exterior, you can flaunt your fishing skills and your striking reel. Thus, it is a necessary piece to add to your reel arsenal.

4. Lew's Fishing Wide Speed Spool

Lew's SuperDuty Wide Speed Spool Baitcast Reel


  • Offers greater line capacity
  • Ergonomic design is comfortable to hold
  • High cranking power due to brass design
  • MCS allows you to control adjustments instantly
  • Suitable with big bait like umbrella rigs or giant swimbait


  • Anglers might experience slight backlash
  • Need to change adjustments with every lure
  • The reel does not have any computerized braking system

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are quite satisfied with their purchase. The reel is butter smooth and can hold the large weight of the line. Users state that they have experimented with various lures and bait, including frogs, and it works well with each of them. It’s the best option for its price on the market.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

This reel by Lews comes with Magnetic Control technology, which allows you to control your adjustments instantaneously depending on the circumstances and lure or bait. The design is made of ten double-shielded premium stainless steel bearing system with a one-way clutch bearing which guarantees smooth cast and line retrieves. It also features Lew's Soft-Touch finish, which adds to ergonomics and comfort.

Who Will Use This Most  

People who are on a budget but still want a smooth running reel should get this reel. It is for simplistic people who want to enjoy fuss-free fishing experience and take advantage of smooth casting. This reel is wide and can withstand big bait and bigger fish so you can try for any size of fish.

Bottom Line

This reel is a perfect package made by one of the best companies. It is super compact for portability. Meanwhile, the design is very sturdy and premium quality, which ensures durability and can withstand heavy fish. Also, it is made for anglers' comfort and excellent performance. 

5. Okuma Citrix 350

Okuma Citrix 350 Btcst Pwr Hndl Reel Rh 7+1BB 6.4:1 14/230


  • The reel offers a 6.4:1 gear ratio
  • Features 25-pound drag system power
  • Coated with corrosion-resistant material inside out
  • Integrated with eight ball bearings made of stainless steel
  • Spool is anodized, and the frame is made of die-cast aluminum


  • The reel is slightly heavy
  • Has limited features to offer
  • Bait clicker is not very smooth

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are very impressed with this product's performance. The reel is very smooth, and they experienced almost no jerk. Anglers were easily able to fish out muskies, catfish, salmon, etc. They prefer it since it is not very bulky and user-friendly, and they find it affordable for the features it offers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a big reel, which means you can easily catch big fish with it. It is made for the user's comfort and also comes along with a few features, including a corrosion-resistant coating on the inside and the outside, which ensures durability and also lets you use it in saltwater. Also, the reel is made of die-cast aluminum with an anodized spool, which adds to the durability.

Who Will Use This Most

People of all ages can use this reel, ranging from inexperienced teens to older ones. This reel is fuss-free and does not need adjustments. Also, it is super comfortable, which also suits people of all ages. People who would love to fish in saltwater will also make use of it.

Bottom Line

This reel is the perfect package for beginners who are starting with their fishing adventures. It is one of the affordable options which will last you a long time, and you will keep coming back to it. The aluminum coating and smooth casting will also make sure the product doesn’t give up on you and make you satisfied at every fishing adventure.

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Reel

Every angler has an arsenal of swimbait reels, and there are several reasons why you need one (or a dozen);

Heavy Line

One of the most important reasons is that the line emerges off directly through the line guide, which makes it very easy to use a heavier line. The lines can weigh from 10 to 20lbs on average and can go up to 1oz.

Long Cast

When matched with the appropriate bar, these reels can cast like butter. Again, since the line comes out directly off the spool and out of the rod guides, it casts very well. Also, to use heavy and big bait and lures, this is the best option out there.

Greater Power

Due to the design of the spool layout, you can apply more force and torque and have higher cranking power for heavy bait like crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Also, since the handles are fixed on the reel frame, you may experience fewer jerks.

Better Control

You can control the speed and distance of your bait or lure by thumb management on the spool when casting. Once you practice enough times, you can gain accuracy with casts and will land your lure exactly where the prey is.

Controlling Lure

With these reels, you can easily slow down the lure, so it lands softly in the water without startling the other fish nearby.


With new fishing equipment launching on the market every day, it can be a little intimidating to choose the best suitable reel for your fishing trip. We have reviewed for you our top picks, as well as, included some tips before making your purchase. Now you need to determine your budget and choose the best swimbait reel, which is compatible with your other fishing equipment, your comfort, your location, and what species you want to catch.

People Also Ask

Swimbait reels can be a new addition for some anglers, but it is a better option than spinning reels for all the reasons aforementioned. With a little practice, you can master the skill of catching fish smoothly. If you have more questions unanswered, we have covered that for you too. Here are some frequently asked questions for further aid:

What Are Swimbaits Made of?

Swimbaits are mostly made of molded plastic. To mimic a life-like display, they are either in one solid piece or divided, so they move side to side when they go through water. They are made by pouring melted plastic into molds and then cooled down. Various scents, flavors, and appropriate colors are added to the mix to make it life-like, which would eventually attract the prey.

Are Swimbaits Good For Bass?

You can use swimbaits for any fish, but bass fishermen mostly swear by swimbaits since they always get big catches from them. Bass are smart species, and anglers have realized that the only way to trick and catch them is to use life-like swimbaits. 

What Line Do You Use For Swimbaits?

What line is appropriate for swimbait varies on many factors. If you are fishing in shallow water, then go for Monofilament since it is not very dense and has floating properties. You can use Fluorocarbon when you want to fish in deeper water since it is more dense, and you can lure deeper. Finally, you can use a braided line when you want to catch heavier species or when fishing through thick vegetation. 

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.