Best Trout Reel | Buyer’s Guide and Reviews for 2019

As any angler will tell you, catching trout is something of a specialized art form. Though amongst the most popular of fish for many fans, they present their own unique challenges and pressures—primarily due to the necessity of trying out fly fishing to catch much.

For many, trout can prove the holy grail of fish, and the actual act of bagging one is a proud achievement. There is, of course, the time-honored tradition of lying in wait, maybe in the stream itself, hands outstretched, biding your time.

Alternatively, you could act in a slightly more normal manner and just make sure you have the correct equipment. Finding the best reel for trout fishing is not an easy task, but luckily for you, we have put in most of the hard work. Read on to find the very best trout reel—you just need to focus on the fishing!

 

 

Our Top Pick

No need to read very far—we’ve put our top pick right at the top of the page where it belongs. The best trout fishing reel of 2019 is the Shimano Stradic Cl4+. This model is lightweight, easy to handle, and features top-notch durability. We’ve reviewed it first below for your convenience.

 

 

The Top Trout Reels Reviewed

Shimano Stradic CI4+

We start our quest to uncover the very best trout reel with an offering from a name well known and respected in the industry. This is a very intuitive reel that allows you to feel the action far more closely, and this drastically improves your chances of success against trout.

 

Key Features

  • 7 ounces in weight
  • Retrieves 35 inches of line per crank
  • 6:1 gear ratio
  • AdvancedCore protect for weather resistance
  • Very lightweight body

 

What I Like

Without a doubt, my favorite aspect of this reel is the super lightweight design, which makes it very comfortable to use and handle. It is also very smooth, and the anti-corrosion emphasis is a considerable bonus that allows you to use the reel in a range of weather conditions confidently.

 

What I Don’t Like

One of my only criticisms with this model is that it is more expensive compared to some other models we have seen. For the quality, however, it is well worth the higher price tag.

 

 

Pros

  • Very portable, lightweight, and easy to handle
  • Fantastic drag capacity considering the price
  • Almost totally waterproof for a longer lifespan
  • Very smooth operation

 

Cons

  • Quite expensive compared to some competitors
  • The anti-reverse switch is quite small and fiddly

 

This reel is a lightweight, portable, and easy to use and handle. Although the price is a little higher, the quality and durability mean that you can feel confident you are getting a great deal.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Okuma Helios SX HSX-40

This model successfully combines an excellent design with top-quality operation, and the overall finish is an efficient and effective reel, perfect for trout. The performance offered is on a par with models in a far higher price range, and the design is intended to help reduce corrosion as far as possible—a real plus point.

 

Key Features

  • 5:1 gear ratio
  • 1 ounces in weight
  • Retrieves 30.9 inches of line per crank
  • Maximum drag of 13 pounds
  • Eight stainless-steel bearings and one roller bearing
  • Carbon fiber drag system

 

What I Like

This is a reel with a unique and eye-catching design that helps it to stand out from competitors. Its main feature, however, is that it is 100-percent resistant to corrosion, and this really sets it apart from the hordes of similar models, even those in a slightly higher price range.

 

What I Don’t Like

The focus of the reel is primarily on the anti-corrosion properties, but it is important to note that the unit is not fully sealed, and this could lead to some issues further down the line.

 

Pros

  • Very smooth retrieve makes it a pleasure to use
  • A very lightweight design – perfect for anglers of any size or weight
  • EVA knob is included
  • Designed to help resist corrosion
  • Carbon fiber drag helps to ensure a smooth performance

 

Cons

  • This model is heavily advertised as being resistant to corrosion, but it is not completely sealed

 

For a reel that stands out from the crowd while still offering high-quality performance, this is a number one choice.

 

Overall Rating: 9/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Orvis Mirage III Fly Reel

This offering from Orvis has an outstanding reputation in the angling world, and it is easy to see why. With almost zero startup inertia, it is super easy to get started spinning—speed is a crucial factor when it comes to the art of trout fishing. The quick release spool design is another great feature, which helps save time.

 

Key Features

  • 125 yards backing capacity
  • Line retrieval rate is 7.74 inches per turn
  • 8 ounces in weight
  • Maximum drag pressure is 6lbs
  • Carbon drag surface reduces the startup inertia

 

What I Like

This reel was designed for the finesse of trout fishing, and this really shows in the overall result and quality. It can be used and quickly changed thanks to the quick release spool, and the lack of inertia at the startup means that it is active and ready to go as soon as you are—a huge plus point when you are dealing with super fast fish!

 

What I Don’t Like

One of the main problems I encountered with this reel is the weight. It is noticeably heavier compared to similar models, and this is a real disadvantage when we consider the variety of materials which are on offer for construction.

 

Pros

  • Quick release spool design is ideal for trout fishing
  • High-speed line retrieve for a fast-paced, exciting experience
  • Resistant to corrosion – ideal for saltwater use
  • Very little startup inertia

 

Cons

  • The handle feels a little cheap compared to the high quality of the rest of the reel
  • It is cumbersome compared to some of the other models
  • It is quite expensive compared with some of the other options

 

This reel really speeds up the whole pace of the fishing experience, making it a perfect choice for trout.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Sage Domain Fly Reel

If you are looking for a solid saltwater option, then the Sage Domain Fly Reel is a great contender for the best trout spinning reel. It offers high-quality control and precision and is designed to last with durable construction and some very high-standard materials.

 

Key Features

  • 5 ounces in weight
  • A range of line weights available for you to choose from
  • Reel can be configured for right or left-handed use
  • 40 detent settings
  • 3 inches in diameter
  • Carbon drag material

 

What I Like

This reel was designed with precision and control in mind, and this makes it super easy to focus and use, no matter which fish you are after. While it is slightly heavier than some other models, this has no real impact on the performance, and you are still able to achieve an accurate and steady cast.

 

What I Don’t Like

The main issue with this reel is that it has considerably less drag strength when compared to other models in the price range–this does tend to let down the whole item, as you can get more for your money elsewhere.

 

 

Pros

  • Can be used for right or left-handed anglers
  • Drag is very smooth and enjoyable
  • Perfect ergonomics – this is a comfortable reel to use
  • Accurate and steady cast, despite the heavier weight

 

Cons

  • The drag strength is quite low compared with other models, and this means it is unlikely to be suitable for larger, heavier fish.

 

A good trout reel needs to be accurate and precise, and these are both qualities which are offered by this model from Sage.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Abu Garcia Revo SX

The Revo SX combines a lightweight and easy-to-handle design with a very impressive drag limit, making it one of the most versatile options on our list. It is also super quiet, making it a perfect choice if you need to remain concealed and hidden while waiting for the opportune moment to pounce. When it comes to the best ultralight spinning reel trout, this needs to be a consideration.

 

Key Features

  • Nine ball bearings
  • 66 ounces in weight
  • Drag limit of 20 pounds
  • 2:1 gear ratio
  • Alloy frame and carbon handle

 

What I Like

I really like the strength offered by this Abu Garcia design, and it feels sturdy, durable, and able to withstand even fish who put up the biggest fight. As a bonus, it is very quiet, making it perfect for times when you need to be a bit stealthier and sneakier on your fishing adventure.

 

What I Don’t Like

There are nine ball bearings, so I would expect the overall performance and operation to be slightly smoother than the Garcia model offers—there is a little resistance which brings the whole experience down a few notches.

 

Pros

  • Magnetic brake system
  • Very quiet – ideal for sneaky fishing
  • Super lightweight and portable design
  • Sleek looking appearance
  • Good maximum drag helps you to catch larger fish

 

Cons

  • This model could be slightly smoother, considering there are nine ball bearings, and this is somewhat disappointing.

 

This reel is robust and durable, and it is a good choice if you are looking to tackle both larger, stronger fish and smaller trout.

 

Overall Rating: 9/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Pflueger PRESSP30X

This reel is designed to resist corrosion, and this feature is one of the major benefits of the model. It is also super easy and comfortable to use—a real plus if you are planning to fish for an extended period. Even better, the price is more than affordable, meaning it can be accessed even by those who may be on a lower budget.

 

Key Features

  • 3 ounces in weight
  • 1:1 gear ratio
  • Maximum drag is 9 pounds
  • 4 inches of line per crank
  • Made from a heavy-duty aluminum

 

What I Like

One of my favorite aspects of this model is just how comfortable it is to use—a feature which is often sorely underrated in all fishing equipment. It also offers the performance and features of a much pricier model, while still keeping its budget-friendly price tag, and this is a great combination.

 

What I Don’t Like

This is not a reel suitable for use in saltwater, as it is not sealed or designed to protect against the harsh elements. This aspect is disappointing and may mean you end up spending more money to purchase a reel which can handle the corrosion and challenge of saltwater.

 

Pros

  • Ten bearing system makes using this reel super easy
  • Interchangeable left to right retrieve for maximum convenience
  • Very lightweight – easy to transport and store
  • Great budget option while still retaining high-quality

 

Cons

  • This reel is not suitable for seawater as it has not been adequately sealed, meaning that you will need to purchase an extra reel
  • This option does look and feel a little cheap compared to the other models which are available

 

This reel is comfortable to use and manage, but the lack of ability to handle saltwater is a bit disappointing.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Shimano Sedona 1000 FI

If you are looking for the chance to get your hands on some bigger trout, this could be an ideal pick for you. It combines high-quality performance with a model that is easy to use, and available on an affordable budget. The overall result is a reel that ticks all the boxes you need for successful trout fishing.

 

Key Features

  • 5:1 gear ratio
  • Maximum drag of 7 pounds
  • Retrieves 26 inches of line with each crank
  • 6 ounces in weight
  • Includes G-Free body technology
  • Double-anodized spools

 

What I Like

This choice is excellent for both inshore and offshore fishing, and this dual usability saves you the cost of purchasing additional reels for different environments— a real plus point. G-Free body technology also means that the center of gravity is moved closer, and this makes for a far more comfortable experience, which will allow you to keep going for more extended periods.

 

What I Don’t Like

Compared to other models and options, this has a reasonably limited drag capacity. It will only really be suitable for catching smaller trout. This limits your options and can be frustrating, particularly for more experienced anglers looking for a challenge.

 

 

Pros

  • Very smooth and enjoyable to operate
  • Drag system is very smooth and effective
  • Reliable and designed to last
  • Durable, strong finish
  • Easy to cast with accuracy
  • Can even be used for heavier fish

 

Cons

  • Only suitable for smaller trout

 

This reel is a versatile option which can be used for both offshore and inshore fishing, eliminating the need to purchase multiple items.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Trout Reel Buying Guide

While you are on the hunt for the best trout reel, the easiest thing to do is to find a fly rod which includes a bundle of reel and rod. This will make sure that the weights of both elements match, and that the reel is positioned correctly—two essential factors which can make or break your whole fishing experience. You can also read more about other great fishing rod and spinning reel combos that will suit your individual fishing requirements..

As you become more experienced and confident, you may wish to come away from a pre-designed bundle and start taking the chance to incorporate your own personal fishing style and preference into your equipment by purchasing reel and rod separately. This choice allows for greater creativity and flexibility, but there are a few factors to bear in mind if you choose this path.

 

Startup inertia

The startup inertia is the resistance to movement that occurs once a fish has started to take a line. It measures the drag until the reel is spinning at top speed. If we were comparing the rod to a car, the startup inertia would be the amount of time it takes for the vehicle to go from 0-60. This feature needs to be balanced with the stopping power to help you get the best results.

 

 

Weight

There is a current trend towards creating the lightest possible fly rods, and there is a good reason behind this. With every cast you make, your arms will be working to lift each ounce of the rod, and so a heavier rod will mean that your arms are doing far more work. Having a lighter rod allows you to cast more frequently and save your strength, often leading to more efficient performance.

 

Drag System

Drag is the resistance placed on the spool, to prevent the line from being stripped when the fish takes it. If you choose a light drag system, there will be less drag on the reel spool. This means that when a fish starts to take the line, there will be no pressure on the fish, and this can make it harder to reel in. A high-drag system, however, will add too much pressure to the spool, and this risks the line snapping.

 

Final Thoughts

Fishing for trout or even crappie can be difficult, and it is important that you have done plenty of research in advance to ensure that you are picking the best reel for your needs. Our top choice, the Shimano Stradic CI4+, has a great blend of power and portability to help you get your hands on a freezer full of top-quality trout.

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