If you’re looking to start trout fishing than you may have been surprised to hear that you needed some specialized equipment.
Finding out you need a bit more kit than you thought can be a bit daunting, after all, you want to get the right thing the first time around instead of wasting more time and possibly money trying to find something that suits you better.
Luckily, this handy guide is here to take you through some of the best options in trout spinning reels that are currently available, answer some of your important questions and remind you of some of the features you need to look out for.
With the right reel with you, you’ll soon be catching plenty of trout. So let's take a look at what sort of options are available.
Top 5 Best Trout Spinning Reels
OUR TOP PICK
If you’re looking for a great value trout spinning reel for your money than you probably won’t find better than the KastKing Sharky III. This is a saltwater and freshwater reel that allows you to go after both sea and rainbow trout so if you’re looking for a reel with a bit of variety to it this is a great option.
If you’re looking for something durable, or you want the peace of mind of knowing whatever might happen on your fishing adventure your reel can handle it then this isn’t a bad option to try out. The protective design covering the spool, body, and the rotor is water and dirt resistant and stops anything from getting into the system.
It’s pretty lightweight weighing only 9.2 ounces, but it’s pretty mighty despite its size. This reel can drag up to 33 pounds, and the retrieve is also not too shabby at 29.7 inches/crank and a gear ratio of 5.2:1.
This system is the reason this reel is so versatile because it makes it suitable for all types of fishing. With an impressive ration between its weight and max drag, this is a reel that will keep most anglers pretty happy.
The slip-free EVA grip helps to keep you comfortable no matter how long you’ve been out. The grips are high density, and will really help you make the most out of your trip.
- A great value reel
- A very impressive weight to drag ratio
- Smooth operation
- Durable and well constructed
- Very versatile reel with great options in the kind of catch you can pursue
- Some of the bearings may make a grinding sound
- NEXT-GEN - The brand new design KastKing Sharky III spinning reels are built tough to land trophy fish in all fishing conditions. Sharky III are superb lightweight fishing reels built with a high percentage fiber reinforced graphite body and rotor!
- PURE POWER - You will love Sharky III spinning reel's amazing best-in-class up to 39.5LBs / 18KG of smooth, reliable triple disc carbon fiber drag, oversized stainless-steel main shaft, and stronger precision mesh manganese brass pinion gears for more fishing muscle.
- K.I.S.S. - Sharky III spinning reels are sealed with a KISS! Sharky III has a unique protection water resistant design for its spool, body, and rotor - K.I.S.S. (KastKing Intrusion Shield System). It helps keep water and dirt out.
- SUPER SMOOTH - You'll be blown away by the quiet, silky smooth retrieve of the Sharky III. Plus, with the unique Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool, you no longer need to use backing line when spooling on braid fishing line.
- AFFORDABLE INNOVATION - Sharky III spinning reel is loaded with features, including 10 + 1 high quality, saltwater rated double shielded stainless steel ball bearings, instant lock anti-reverse, stainless steel hardware, aluminum handle, and more line capacity than other brands. It is the best all-around spinning reel for every angler.
Although the Pflueger President is a great option for those just starting to try out trout fishing and aren’t ready to throw in a large amount of money of top quality tackle, it’s still a great reel that comes with plenty of features which the average angler will find very useful.
The construction and build remain very high and a large amount of effort has been employed to make this a great option for the beginner angler.
This is a durable reel which is also surprisingly lightweight, great for those who don’t want to cart lots of tackle around on a long trip. It’s also a great option for beginners whose wrists can grow tired quicker.
This light option removes the stress from your wrists allowing you to fish for longer periods. The choice to build the body and rotor from graphite is responsible for the lighter weight of this model, using graphite has cleverly solved both the problems of durability and portability without compromising on one.
This model weighs 8.3 pounds and can drag a 9-pound fish, at a speed of 25.2 inches/crank its gear ratio is 5.2:1, which make it a great option for effortlessly reeling an average-sized trout without losing speed.
This reel isn’t suitable for saltwater fishing as it’s not sealed, but the vast majority of anglers choose to pursue freshwater trout which typically live in rivers and streams. This model gives you a very smooth retrieve thanks to the corrosion-resistant- 10 bearing system.
The system is made from stainless steel, and the whole thing can be adjusted to micro increments which will increase the overall precision of the reel. It also has an audible click to let you know when the bail is open and ready for you.
- Lightweight thanks to the body and rotor being made from graphite
- Easy retrieve switching from right to left
- Smooth drag and retrieve
- Very precise
- Perfect for freshwater trout
- Not suitable for saltwater use
- 10 bearing system: Corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings
- Graphite body and rotor: Lightweight graphite reel construction. Braid ready spool - Allows Braid to be tied directly to spool
- Sealed drag system: Sealed drag washers, always lubricated, always smooth. Slow oscillation gearing: improves line lay and minimizes line twist
- The “B” at the end of the model number represents the type of packaging (B= Claim, X= Box) and does not affect any of the specifications of the product
Shimano is one of the most popular and respected manufacturers of fishing equipment currently operating and this reel certainly lives up to their reputation, most anglers will be more than happy to have a Shimano in their tackle and this one is worth a look.
If you’re willing to invest in your tackle than this is one of the best trout spinning reels you can currently find on the market, and it is well worth it. The smoothness of the retrieves on this model is really out of this world because of the double bearing supported pinion gear which helps your retrieves stay smooth even when you’re after big-gamefish.
The gear ratio is 6.2:1 and 24-pound maximum drag so you can really go after the bigger trout species like rainbow or steelhead. With this reel, you never know what you might end up with because it’ll probably be able to handle you throw it at.
One of the best things about this reel is its portability despite its massive range of power. Weighing only 8.1 ounces this is pretty lightweight thanks to the Magnumlite (MGL) rotor which is very light and responsible for the quick starting and stopping of your retrieves.
The carbon body also helps make it lighter and increased balance by bringing the center of mass of the reel closer to the body of the rod so you have a much better feel of when there’s a strike from a catch.
This reel has advanced water resistance that means it’s durable in all sorts of conditions and weather. The bearings are shielded to stop any dirt, sand, or water interfering with the system. The Stradic Ci4+ minimizes line twists and wind knots and has some of the best line management systems currently available.
- Lightweight despite its power
- Outstanding construction and uses high-quality materials
- Exceptionally smooth retrieves and drag action
- Advanced water resistance makes this nearly completely waterproof
- Suitable to go after all kinds of trout
- Probably too advanced for a beginner
- Gear Ratio: 6.0:1, Weight: 5.60 ounce
- Mono line capacity lbs/yd: 2/270, 4/140, 6/110
- PowerPro Line capacity lb/yds: 10/95, 15/85, 20/65
- Line retrieve per crank: 31.10. inch
- Max Drag force: 7 lbs, Bearings: 6 S A RB and 1 RB, spare spool available under ASIN: B01M3UEXIQ (Shimano Item-No. RD17775)
This is one of the best examples of why Abu Garcia is a leading light in the world of fishing, they’re the undisputed masters of high quality and dedication to their customers.
This model is a composite of carbon and graphite which makes the reel both lightweight and durable. The inclusion of a carbon handle housing and side plate has also given the durability of this model a bit of a boost and helps protect it from corrosion.
This reel has a gear ratio of 6.6:1, a 10-bearing system, and a 27-inch retrieve/crank, all of which combined allows the reel to be capable of catching trout up to around 24 pounds while remaining incredibly smooth. It’s also one of the lighter models available weighing only 7.8 ounces. It also has an integrated Rocket Spool Lip which helps improve your accuracy.
The Rocket Spool Lip is compatible with all lines and works for any casting location. It lets the line run off the reel with less drag so you can be more precise in your casting and makes your casts longer. The whole system is pretty seamless due to the 10-bearing system and Power Stack Carbon Matrix
- Rocket Spool Lip makes casting smoother
- Very Lightweight
- Capable of handing up to 26 pounds
- Increased durability and precision
- Ultra-quick retrieval
- It is possible to find smoother systems in similarly priced models
The best thing about this model is the cyclonic flow rotor, this quickens the drying time and reduces corrosion and make this a very durable reel.
This model minimizes the risk of water getting into the reel maximizing its durability while remaining portable thanks to the graphite body. This is an incredibly light mode weighing only 5.9 ounces, but this does drastically reduce its maximum drag to 6.6 pounds.
While many will find this ample, it’s worth thinking about what sort of thing you want to catch and if this reel will be able to handle it. On the other hand, if you’re looking for portability then this might be your perfect model, so think about your priorities and what you want to get out of your reel.
It’s perfect for brook, golden, and tiger trout and it’s plenty powerful enough to give you fast action when catching smaller trout, so don’t discount it quite yet.
- Ultra-lightweight and portable
- Great value
- Corrosion-resistant and durable
- Great for small sized trout
- Smooth operation
- Probably won’t be suitable for larger trout like rainbow
- Multi-disc, oiled felt drag system, Max Drag Pressure - 5-lbs
- Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing
- Precision machine cut brass pinion gear
- Machined aluminum, 2-tone anodized spool
- Monofilament line capacity (diameter in mm.) - 210/2 (0.12) 110/4 (0.17) 70/6 (0.22)
Best Trout Spinning Reels Buying Guide
Hopefully, you now feel a bit more up to date on what’s currently available when looking for a spinning trout reel. But if you’re just starting out you might want a little bit more information on what you should be looking out for, and the features you should consider before making a decision.
Choosing a reel for trout is hard because you need to consider the fish you’re after, and its features before looking at what sort of reel you want. Some characteristics require some specialist help, so it’s worth thinking of first before you start looking.
This is one of the most important features to consider on your reel. While there is much fiercer fish about, the trout can be a slippery customer and you need fast reeling and a quick retrieve to be able to catch them, and this is why you need to think about gear ratio.
Gear ratio means the number of times the line spins around the spool with each turn and put simply the higher the ratio the quicker the action. Think about the size of the trout you’re looking at and adjust your ration accordingly. For larger fish go higher, it’s really as simple as that.
Again something nice and easy to remember, the bigger the reel the better they are at catching big fish. But don’t just go for the highest number and expect everything to go perfectly. The bigger reels normally weigh more and this will really reduce how long you can fight for.
Consider that an average trout is only two to eight pounds, quite often you’ll find a smaller sized reel a great solution. For trout look at a reel size around 1000 and 2500, while anything between 3000 and 4000 is going to be more than plenty.
Drag is really important in fishing as this is when you pull the fish toward you and a smooth drag relies on two features. First the bearings on your reel, the more bearings you have the smoother you’ll find the action and the easier your fish will land.
The other is the maximum drag capacity on your reel which basically tells you the maximum weight of the fish that your reel is capable of handling. If you’re looking at trout fishing than something as small as 5-6 pounds of maximum drag might be sufficient, but bigger species can need a drag capacity between 15-25 pounds.
Once again you need to think about what you’re looking for and adjust accordingly. Much bigger than 25 pounds might reduce your capability of feeling when you have a bite.
Finally, you need to make sure your reel can be used in saltwater and freshwater unless you want a different reel for different species. If you’re looking for saltwater trout than you need to be aware of the risk of corrosion on your reel and ensure your reel is protected.
Look for a reel made from or with graphite reel housing to increase the durability of your reel. Freshwater fishing means that using aluminum is perfectly fine, but carbon housing is always a good option as it both protects your reel, without being too heavy or hard to maintain.
Best Trout Spinning Reels - FAQ's
How do I choose a reel for trout?
Making sure you’re considering the kind of trout you’re going after and that your reel is suitable for the species is one of the most important things to think about when you’re in the market for a new reel.
Consider how much you want to spend and what you want to use it for will help you make the right choice first time. Consider the features most important to you, and you’ll find the best option for your needs.
What’s the best bait for trout?
Corn, worms, and salmon eggs are all good trout bait. Have a look at the specific type of trout you want to catch and find the bait that suits it the best. Trout dough baits are always a good idea if you’re not sure.