Best Musky Reel for the Money | 2019 Reviews [Updated]

Last September, I decided to take a detour to the nearby lake with a few friends. We opted to take part in a musky catching tournament just for fun. To my dismay, I was not as prepared as I thought I was since my reel was a cheap piece of plastic I bought after reading an outdated review of the best musky reel in 2015.

My bad, I should have gone for the latest information. We lost, but my quest for finding the best reel for muskie began immediately—it also brought me here to write this—2019— best musky reel fishing review.

 

 

Our Top Pick

The KastKing Kapstan Elite low-profile baitcasting reel is my pick for the best musky reel. Why? I am simply in love with the utmost attention to detail the manufacturer has put into this fine piece. You’ll see what I mean in a moment—I reviewed it first!

 

 

The Top Musky Reels Reviewed

KastKing Kapstan Elite Low-Profile Musky Fishing Reel

The KastKing Kapstan Elite low-profile musky fishing reel is renowned for catching trophy fish. With this reel in your hand, you can expect to rule the water when fishing for musky. Apart from being my personal favorite brand, KastKing has always managed to create a reputable place in the world of anglers with its attention to detail and uncompromising commitment to innovation.

 

Key Features

  • Additional line capacity for long-distance casting
  • Triple-disc carbon drag featuring capacity up to 35 pounds
  • Manganese brass main gear and pinion gears
  • Stainless-steel shaft
  • Powerful gear system featuring a 5.41 gear ratio
  • Eight MaxiDur stainless-steel bearings with double shielding

 

What I like about this product

KastKing has always been attentive to the needs of a variety of anglers. In this reel, I like how the manufacturer has added click spook adjustments which can be turned on and off depending upon your preferences. The line indicator is also an excellent addition to help you see just how much weight you can retrieve easily.

 

What I don’t like about this product

As I took this reel for a test run, I noticed that the line is wobbly. It may give rise to more significant problems such as line twisting and spool locks in beginner anglers.

 

 

Pros

  • Click spool adjustments
  • Right and left-handed baitcaster
  • Braid-ready aluminum spool
  • Line indicator located on the palm side
  • Centrifugal braking system
  • Ergo twist handling

 

Cons

  • The reel may be too small in size for some anglers

 

The KastKing Kapstan Elite low-profile musky fishing reel is a great pick for dual handed baitcasters. Its line indicator will allow aiming for bigger targets without any hesitation. Undoubtedly, it is the best musky reel for the money.

 

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Okuma Komodo SS Low Profile Baitcaster Musky Fishing Reel

When it comes to heavy-duty performance, I have not seen a reel as good as the Okuma Komodo SS. Despite its low-profile build, the reel has some amazing tweaks in its design and features, making it one of the most favorite reels among musky fishing anglers.

 

Key Features

  • Powerful main gear and precision cut pinion gears
  • Sturdy spool and reinforced drive shaft
  • CRC-coated internal parts
  • Unique multi-disc Carbonite drag
  • Rapid, dual anti-reverse
  • On/off adjustment for line clicker

 

What I like about this product

I knew I could not go wrong with this reel right from the moment I laid my eyes on it. The reinforced aluminum frame and CRC-coated parts are good enough to withstand heavy-duty performance under rough conditions. I like the easy adjustments for line clicks and stainless-steel gear system which boosts drag capacity up to 30 pounds.

 

What I don’t like about this product

As compared to other spinning reels, the Komodo SS has a limited casting distance. It may be an issue for anglers who prefer to cast at greater ranges.

 

Pros

  • Stainless-steel gear system
  • Corrosion-resistant coating on parts
  • Micro-click star drag for smooth retrieval
  • Easy to adjust anti-reverse roller bearing
  • ALC sturdy diecast Aluminum body and side plates
  • Heavy duty performance

 

Cons

  • Reel ages quickly

 

The Okumo Comodo SS has a brilliant line up of corrosion resistant parts and a convenient design. It is recommended for anyone who likes to experience the thrill of heavy-duty musky fishing reels.

 

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Daiwa Lexa High Capacity Low-Profile Musky Fishing Reel

If gear ratio is your primary concern for finding a suitable musky fishing reel, the Daiwa Lexa high-capacity musky fishing reel is a great choice. Despite its low-profile make, the reel is good enough to retrieve big muskies with little force.

 

Key Features

  • Aluminum frame and side plates
  • Imported, long-lasting parts
  • Power handle for reaching hyperspeed
  • Seven heavy-duty bearing system
  • Innovative MagForce cast control

 

What I like about this product

I love the ergonomic feel of the swappable handle, which plays a significant role in eliminating line friction and jerks. The gear ratio is just perfect for catching musky, and the 25-pound drag capacity adds a cherry on top.

 

What I don’t like about this product

Although the main gear is coated with CRC, there is no arrangement made for preventing the metal body parts from rusting. I noticed that the handle tends to become sloppy and wear starts to show on the body.

 

Pros

  • Continuous anti-reverse
  • Lightweight frame counterbalanced with power handle
  • High-speed retrievals and exceptional casting control
  • Ergonomic swappable handle featuring weight-reducing cutouts
  • Corrosion-resistant main gear featuring perfect 5.11 gear ratio

 

Cons

  • The reel has insufficient cold lubrication leading to grazing in gears and other parts

 

The Daiwa Lexa low-profile fishing reel offers fantastic performance for catching trophy fish on your next fishing trip. You can hone the performance by adding some lube in its parts. Overall, it is a good buy for the price.

 

Overall Rating – 4.3/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

SHIMANO TRANX, Low-Profile Musky Fishing Reel

Shimano’s fame reaches the ear of every angler, and you can’t expect this review to end before mentioning this legendary fishing equipment manufacturer. The Shimano Tranx low-profile musky fishing reel boasts the unerring convenience the manufacturer always manages to exhibit in its reels.

 

Key Features

  • Robust metal reel design
  • CoreProtect technology for water resistance
  • Strong Hagne construction
  • Impressive cranking power owing to HEG and X-ship technology
  • Suitable for throwing big baits

 

What I like about this product

Smooth fishing of big catches is something I enjoyed with this reel. I love the effortless retrieval, which outperforms many reels of the same range.

 

What I don’t like about this product

I could feel the reel heavy in my palm and putting a lot of strain on my arm muscles without making any movement. Although the solid build is made to be durable, the manufacturer has added 20 ounces of extra weight which may not be desirable among some anglers.

 

 

Pros

  • Effortless, fast retrieves
  • Premium, lightweight metal construction
  • Bullet-proof metal body to withstand wear and tear
  • Water resistant parts to stand harsh environments
  • Versatile performance

 

Cons

  • Insufficient greasing of the parts leading to friction in gears

 

The Shimano Tranx does justice to the manufacturer’s reputation by bringing modern technology encased in a sturdy metal body. If you want a stylish, high performing reel for catching musky, this reel is a good pick.

 

Overall Rating – 4.6/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Low-Profile Musky Fishing Reel

The Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast low-profile musky Fishing Reel is a complete package of convenience and smooth performance suitable for musky fishing. As indicated in its name, the reel is a true beast concerning its cranking power and drag.

 

Key Features

  • Powerful gear system featuring a gear ratio of 4.91
  • Extended 24-inch line retrieve distance
  • Metal alloy frame construction
  • Corrosion-resistant make

 

What I like about this product

I appreciate the comfortable handle design, which makes it easier to handle the reel when retrieving big catches. The extended line retrieve helps in long-distance casting for catching larger musky fish. Another good thing about this reel is that the alloy frame is resistant to corrosion so you can use it for long periods.

 

What I don’t like about this product

The reel is on the heavier end of the spectrum. Although the handle is comfortable to hold, there are issues with the grip. The poor grip may be an issue for anglers who rely solely on their palms for retrieving the catches.

 

Pros

  • Smooth, quick retrievals
  • Durable, lightweight metal frame
  • Smooth and easy to handle
  • Minimal backlashes

 

Cons

  • Drag is not entirely frictionless when casting

 

The Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast low-profile musky fishing reel may not be the apple of the eye of anglers, but it certainly has an impressive build and smooth performance. You can expect to cast for longer distances with this reel.

 

Overall Rating – 4.3/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Zebco/Quantum, Big Cat XT Musky Fishing Reel

The Zebco/Quantum, Big Cat XT musky fishing reel is an amalgamation of impressive performance and drag. The manufacturer has always given stiff competition to its much more expensive rivals owing to their commitment to excellence. This model is equally stunning in its casting as it is in its retrieval, indicating that you will enjoy a smooth fishing experience.

 

Key Features

  • Round baitcaster
  • Aluminum frame
  • Line click adjustment
  • Synchronized level wind right-handed baitcaster
  • Corrosion-resistant gear system

 

What I like about this product

I like the long cast distance owing to its reel size of 30. The yard capacity is also very impressive, apart from the drag capacity. You can easily catch big musky with a reduced running rate as the retrieval is very smooth and fast.

 

What I don’t like about this product

There is no swappable handle present in this baitcaster. This reel has a right-handed option only which limits the reel to right-handed anglers only.

 

Pros

  • Gear ratio 4.21 and mono yard capacity is 30 pounds
  • Lightweight frame
  • Dual corrosion-resistant bearing
  • Suitable line capacity for catching bigger targets
  • Quick retrieves

 

Cons

  • The styling of this reel is not as attractive as one would expect

 

The Zebco/Quantum, Big Cat XT Musky fishing reel is a good option for anglers who are frustrated from poor retrievals. This reel undoubtedly offers bang for the buck considering its high performance.

 

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Okuma Coldwater 350 Low-Profile Musky Fishing Reel

The Okuma Coldwater 350 low-profile musky fishing reel is everything an angler could ever ask for in a high performing bait caster. The manufacturer has launched some impressive reels in the market, and this one certainly cuts to be among the topliners.

 

Key Features

  • ALC diecast aluminum frame and side plates
  • Carbonite Drag system featuring multiple discs
  • Oversized brass XL main and pinion gears
  • Aluminum ergo grip handles and soft knobs
  • Dual-tone, machine-anodized aluminum spool

 

What I like about this product

Okuma never fails to introduce variety in its equipment, and that’s the case with this reel as I noticed that the yard line capacity and drag force for different models are just perfect for their respective types of fishing. For musky fishing, the Okuma Coldwater 350 possesses a corrosion-resistant body and anodized frame for proper handling and strength.

 

What I don’t like about this product

Although the cast is butter-smooth with this reel, the rough retrieve is quite distasteful for my liking. It can easily cause big targets to run away during the retrieve.

 

 

Pros

  • Corrosion resistant, lightweight frame
  • Powerful drag system
  • Perfectly balanced handle arm
  • Powerful gearing system
  • Braid-ready spool

 

Cons

  • Problems with drag and line quality

 

The Okuma Coldwater 350 low-profile baitcasting reel has a great design to meet the needs of musky fishing anglers. Some may not favor the rough retrieval. Overall, though, this reel provides good value for the money.

 

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Musky Reel Buying Guide

Now armed with a nice sampling of the top musky reels, you might have a few questions about what makes a musky reel good in the first place. No worries—I thought of that too. Here’s a quick look at the basics of musky reel selection.

 

Spinning vs. Baitcasting Reels

Musky are an aggressive fish species, and anglers tend to go for heavy-duty reels which can keep up with the running pace of this hyperactive fish species. Using a low-performance reel for musky fishing is not a great decision. In such cases, switching to a powerful baitcasting reel is the ultimate option for anglers.

Undoubtedly, any reel can be used for catching musky, but the difference lies in the rate of success. Instead of hampering your success with lower reels, go for high-end bait casters. Usually, low-profile baitcasters possess a suitable array of features and build, which can help in catching bigger muskies with little effort. If you are a seasoned angler looking for versatility you may want to check out spinning reels instead.

 

 

Durability and Gear Ratio

Durability and gear ratio are two of the most critical factors you need to consider before buying a musky fishing reel. Since musky are strong fish, you will need a reel which can withstand their aggressive power during retrieval.

In such cases, aluminum or composite metal frames work the best as they are much more durable than carbon fiber or graphite frames. Make sure that all the parts of the reel are integrated in the right manner. Cheaply glued, poor quality reels will surely break whenever you tug the rod with the slightest force.

Speaking of gear ratio, any ratio lesser than 4.51 is a BIG no for musky fishing. You need a powerful drag which can withstand long durations of battling with big musky. Go for any gear ratio ranging from the 4.61 to 8.11 as it will be powerful enough to hook and retrieve musky to the edge of your boat. The rule of thumb to remember when picking a gear ratio is that the smaller gear ratio means slower performance and could ultimately mean the loss of trophy musky.

 

Line Weight

Typically, musky are bulky fish with their weight ranging from 15 to 36 pounds. A lightweight line just won’t do to retrieve heavy catches as these. At least 80-pound line is needed to improve your chances of catching musky. Don’t follow common misconceptions and go for anything under 80-pound line.

 

Final Thoughts

While any of these fine reels would make an excellent addition to your musky fishing gear, as I mentioned, if I had to recommend just one to try first, it would be the KastKing Kapstan.

The KastKing Kapstan Elite low-profile baitcasting reel fits every expectation for the best musky reel given its impressive feature line up and styling. Right and left-handed anglers can make the most of their next musky fishing venture by bringing this reel with them. What is even more interesting about this reel is its advanced parts with corrosion and water-resistant technology which prolong the lifetime of aluminum. You are going to enjoy this for a long time to come!

Hopefully, this review helped you in understanding the nuances of fishing reels for an elite musky fishing experience. Make sure to pick the best one according to your understanding.

Happy musky fishing!

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