Fishing Reel Rankings for 2016
Spending time at outdoor shows, tackle shops, and making a few too many purchases has allowed me to play with a lot of different reels this year. Some are pretty new and some have been around for more than a year. I wanted to make two lists. The first will have all the fishing reel rankings in order. The second will be more of an EVERYMAN approach and rank the reels under $150.
FISHING REEL RANKINGS (ALL)
#1 Shimano Metanium MGL $419.99
Smooth, lightweight but powerful, and a good looking reel, the Metanium MGL is a dream reel for those with hand fatigue issues. It’s also a workhorse. Possibly my favorite reel in the last 30 years.
#2 Daiwa Zillion SV TW $299.99
If you need a reel that will cast across the lake (hyperbole of course), this is your reel. Great braking system, good looking reel, and great for pitching a jig or a frog all day.
#3 Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spool SLP $259.99
This isn’t your Dad’s Lew’s. The Custom SLP is decked out with great features and still has that high performance you’ve come to expect. Really love the grips on this reel for those rainy days.
#4 13 Fishing Concept A3 $224.99
13 Fishing has really come to play in the market. Improving on the Concept A, the A3 gives you high end performance for a surprisingly low cost relative to all the components in it. A great, smooth cast on this reel with little need to dial it in.
#5 Abu Garcia Revo MGX $369.99
While I like the MGX, the price point doesn’t offer the performance I expect in a $350+ reel. The four entries above it could be to blame. It’s still a really good reel, just not as good as the previous entries.
#6 Shimano Casitas 150 $119.99
Yep, I know you’re shocked by this one. It seems way high for a $120 reel but here is the thing. I have tried to destroy this reel by dragging 10XD crankbaits, 1 ounce jigs through grass mats, and yanking in big swimbaits and the Casitas 150 is still performing just like when I bought it. Very little adjustment was needed on this reel straight out of the box. I have more than one.
#7 Lew’s Tournament MB Speed Spool TS1SMBL $139.99
A great budget option that is packed with features, the TMBL is another great addition to the Lew’s line. I do think it gets overlooked because of all the different model types with similar names and acronyms.
#8 Okuma Komodo SS $219.99
Okuma has been making fast spinning, ball bearing loaded reels for years. The Komodo SS is the next iteration of constantly improving products. I’ve been a long time user of their spinning reels and the Komodo SS got me to try a baitcaster.
#9 Daiwa Fuego 100 $129.99
The Fuego was an offering at a local tackle shop that caught my eye. Almost identical components to the Tatula minues the T-Wing, means the guts of this reel are on point. I have been throwing it since September and still keep it in my everyday arsenal.
#10 Quantum Smoke HD 200 $199.99
I’m not usually a Quantum fan but the Smoke HD turned my head. Really smooth and plenty of power. It’s a touch bigger in the handle (95mm vs 90mm) and comes in a 6.6:1 ratio which gives you a nice mix of baits you can fish with it successfully.
#11 Shimano Caenen 150 A $99.99
The best reel I’ve thrown under $100. And I know I’m not the only one who thinks so. The Caenen performs at a level nearer to the $150+ price range.
#12 Quantum Vapor PT $149.99
Another nice offering from Quantum, the Vapor PT has 11 bearings and a Zero Friction pinion which means smooth, smooth, smooth.
#13 Shimano Caius A $79.99
If you don’t have $100 for the Caenen, this is the reel for you. Only some minor details are different than the Caenen and if you aren’t as worried about flare as you are performance, buy a couple of these reels. This years model is a VAST improvement over the previous bulk and look of last year’s model.
#14 Lew’s American Hero $59.99
A good performing budget reel that is available multiple places, this reel also uses part of the proceeds to help veterans.
#15 Daiwa Laguna $59.99
If $60 (and cheaper on Amazon) is all you have for a reel, this is a good one. It has a brake dial on the side plate so you can make adjustments without having to disassemble it. I would recommend a drop of oil every couple of outings.
#16 Ardent Apex Ranger $79.99
Not my favorite reel this year. It wasn’t bad, I just feel like there are several reels that are better at that sub-$80 price point.
#17 Kast King Stealth $59.99
My review on this reel wasn’t stellar. A lot of people disagreed with me but it just wasn’t for me.
FISHING REEL RANKINGS (UNDER $150)
#1 Shimano Casitas 150 $119.99
#2 Lew’s Tournament MB Speed Spool TS1SMBL $139.99
#3 Daiwa Fuego 100 $129.99
#4 Shimano Caenen 150 A $99.99
#5 Quantum Vapor PT $149.99
#6 Shimano Caius A $79.99
#7 Lew’s American Hero $59.99
#8 Daiwa Laguna $59.99
#9 Ardent Apex Ranger $79.99
#10 Kast King Stealth $59.99
If you want to see what the rankings are with a spincast reel, we’ll have those up soon as well.