Need to know about good baitcasters under $80? Welcome to the EVERYMAN Series where we’ll be looking for the best of the best without breaking the bank in the world of fishing gear and kayaks.



Baitcasters under $80 aren’t hard to find but good ones under $80 can be. In this first installment of the EVERYMAN Series, we’ll get you lined out on what’s worth your money. Your hard earned money.

In a good baitcaster I look for a few things: tension control so the line doesn’t free spool without you wanting it to, smooth retrieve with no noises or grinding, and a good internal braking system if possible.

$80 is a hard price point to get all three of these in but there are three reels on the market that really meet the demands for me to drop the coin on.


H2O XPRESS™ Mettle MT2 $60

H2O Mettle. Baitcasters . Kayak Fishing Blog
H2O Mettle $60

This reel is under rated by many. At $60 it performs better than some $149 reels I’ve bought. It’s no joke. An extra bonus with this reel is if it stops working, Academy Sports and Outdoors(the maker) will swap it out for a new one with your receipt. Here is some more info on the reel:

The 1-piece aluminum frame ensures lightweight handling, and the forged-aluminum spool and high-strength alloy gears offer smooth casting and retrieves. The reel’s 6.3:1 gear ratio allows for fast, silent retrieves, and the reel features a 6-pin centrifugal braking system, 10 bearings and an adjustable star drag with audible clicks. 7.7 oz. 120 yards/12 lb.

Features and Benefits

1-piece aluminum frame is lightweight

6.3:1 gear ratio for fast, silent retrieves

Forged-aluminum spool and high-strength alloy gears for smooth casting and retrieves

Adjustable star drag with audible clicks

Lightweight aluminum handle

6-pin centrifugal braking system

26″ line retrieved per handle turn

10 bearings


Abu Garcia Pro Max $70

Abu Garcia Pro Max. Baitcasters . Kayak Fishing Blog
Abu Garcia Pro Max $70

I’ve got to be honest here. If you blind folded me and had me cast this reel and the more expensive Abu Garcia Revo S, I’m not sure I could tell a difference. I can get two of these baitcasters for the price of one Revo S so yeah, I think you get where I’m leaning with this. Need some more info on it? Check this:

This reel features an externally adjustable MagTrax™ casting brake that gives consistent brake pressure through the cast and a Power Disk™ drag system that provides smooth drag performance. A Duragear™ brass gear offers extended gear life, while the 7+1 stainless-steel bearing system delivers smooth retrieves. 145 yards/12 lb.

Features and Benefits

Graphite frame and side plates offer durability

7+1 stainless-steel bearing system for smooth retrieves

7.1:1 gear ratio

29 inches per turn

Duragear™ brass gear helps extend gear life

Power Disk™ drag system provides smooth drag performance

Machined, double-anodized aluminum spool provides light weight and strength

Compact, bent handle and star and a recessed reel foot offer an ergonomic design for comfortable use

MagTrax™ casting brake gives consistent brake pressure through the cast

Instant antireverse


Shimano Caius 150 $80

Shimano Caius 150. Baitcasters . Kayak Fishing Blog
Shimano Caius 150 $80

Those orange Caius baitcasters that you see on the clearance shelf right now? There is a reason. In one of the biggest redesigns of 2016, Shimano has upgraded this entry level reel. Like, upgraded to the point that they’ve almost put the slightly more expensive Shimano Caenan  out of the entry market. The new black frame, smaller spool and more compact design looks better, feels better, and performs better than the not so sleek 2015 model. Shimano says about it:

The Caius is a compact, versatile, and durable bait casting reel, designed with light weight lure casting in mind. Reducing the size of the new Caius from 200 to 150, and upgrading the braking system, means the reels cast much easier.

Features and Benefits

3+1 Bearings

Retrieve Range 27 (in)


Star Drag

11 (lb) Drag Power

High Crank Power

High Cast Rating


I know you work hard for your money. I do too, to the tune of three jobs. Dropping major bucks on $500 reels just isn’t in the cards for me. Squirreling away $80 or so for a new reel? That I can handle. You aren’t throwing away money on these three. Make sure you check them out!



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2 thoughts on “EVERYMAN: Good Baitcasters Under $80”
  1. Yes since I retired I’m on a fishing budget, now I use the less expensive Shamino, the $69 falcon,surprise I catch just as many with these as I do with my old expensive ones.

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