While many anglers are intimidated by the bait caster reel, it offers a lot in terms of technique and opportunity. Learning to use one should be the goal of every fisherman, and once you get the hang of it, the experience is worth it.
However, there are a few things to know before you go out and buy one. That’s why in this article, we’ll be talking about not only the best left handed bait caster reels on the market, but we’ll also talk about what to look for when you do your shopping! Let’s get started.
Low profile vs round reels
Low profile bait casters are the preferred and most common variety that you see everywhere. This is because they are more ergonomic and pleasant to use. They also have good wrist action, are good for palming, and great for bass and crappie fishing.
However, the round variety has its place too. They not only hold more line, but can also use heavier line that can run further during fights with big fish like muskies and pike. They’re also a good bet if you’ll be tossing out large baits.
Choosing a gear ratio
Gear ratios can be a matter of preference, and that preference may even change depending on the bait you’re using. For example, if you use a lot of spinnerbaits or buzzbaits, a 7.1:1 gear ratio is preferred. However, for crankbaits, you might be better to go for a 5.4:1 ratio, which works better when using this particular lure.
But, if you want something that’s more general – 6.4:1 is the most common, and it will work for you in most situations. It’s the most common, the most popular, and the best place to start if you’re new to bait casting reels. However, many people buy more than one reel with different gear ratios so they can swap out when using different techniques or baits.
Manual vs Magnetic vs Centrifugal Braking Systems
While choosing a braking system is mostly up to your individual preference, it is important to know the difference so you don’t buy something which you regret. Here’s a quick run down of the difference between them.
Magnetic braking systems have a little dial on them which allows you to move the magnets closer or further from the spool – creating opposing magnetic forces changing how the spool spins. This system works well, but some more experienced anglers don’t like it, because there’s really no way to turn it off. This means that as you level up your skills it can get in the way of your technique.
The centrifugal system also allows you to make adjustments and change the reel to your liking. However, you can also go inside the reel and disable it entirely if you want. While this is not recommended for a beginner, it might be appealing later if you progress to the point where it is limiting you technique-wise. You may want to make sure the reel has an external dial though, as some of them require removing the side plate when you want to adjust it which is rather annoying.
Manual braking systems are, well… manual. This type of setup requires you to control the line with your thumb. This method allows you to have the most control over your line: where it goes and how fast it leaves the spool. However, it’s also the hardest to master and frustrates many who are inexperienced with bait casting reels – though it’s definitely worth learning!
Learning To Identify Quality Parts
If you don’t know anything about reels it can be hard to know which products are quality and which ones are expensive. While you don’t have to go out and spend hundreds of dollars if you don’t want to, it’s important to know what to look for. Here are a few terms to watch when you shop.
Frames: Aluminum vs Graphite
Most reels are either aluminum or graphite. While graphite frames will be significantly cheaper, they are not quite as durable – so you may need to be a bit more careful with them. Most of the high-end reels are one-piece aluminum frames, which adds to the cost.
Ball Bearings: More Ain’t Always Better
While cheaper reels may advertise “10 ball bearings!” – that doesn’t necessarily mean they are quality bearings. Instead, check the descriptions for “shielded”, “sealed”, or “double shielded”, as these terms are better indicators of quality equipment in this department.
Spools: Forged vs Die Cast
Higher quality reels have forged aluminum spools. These are harder to damage, when compared to cheaper die-cast ones. Drilled spools are also lighter and easier to stop. Pretty much every worthwhile bait caster will have a drilled spool.
Your typical line guide will either be ceramic or titanium. While the ceramic is the cheaper option, you’ll need to be willing to baby it. This material can crack with too much abuse, and if you’re tough on your gear – going for aluminum is a better and more robust option.
Best Left Handed Bait Caster Options
Shimano Curado DC
The Shimano Curado DC is a fantastic reel with a lot of GREAT quality of life features. One of the most impressive is the digital braking system, which uses a computer chip to monitor the speed of the spool, 1000 times per second.
This makes for an unbelievable smooth casting experience, and offers great distance as well.
- Digital braking controlled by computer chip
- Light-weight, heavy duty construction
- works well for all baits, great casting distance
- Easy settings for wind, skipping, and line types
This reel also features a lightweight, but heavy-duty body that feels substantial in your hand. The small form-factor reduces fatigue and makes it easier to palm, but the solid construction and comfortable grips give it the feel of a heavy-duty reel in a condensed package.
While it, of course, works well for bass and blue gill, the Shimano Curado DC will have no problem wrangling larger fish, either. It also has easy settings that novices will enjoy, but which also won’t get in the way for more experienced anglers.
This includes easy settings for different types of line, skipping, and adjustments for heavy wind conditions. All of which make the Shimano Curado one of the absolute best bait casters in its price class. Click here to check prices and reviews on Amazon.
Abu Garcia Revo Rocket
The Revo Rocket is fast, really fast. This one is rather a special case in that it offers a 10.1:1 gear ratio, making the retrieve, and subsequently, the things you can do with this reel a little more interesting.
Many more experienced anglers like how the faster gear ratio allows them to manipulate their lures, but the Revo Rocket also has another trick up its sleeve.
- Fast 10.1:1 gear ratio
- Hybrid magnetic/centrifugal braking system
- Excellent casting control
- Comfortable design with good leverage
This reel actually has a hybird magnetic/centrifugal braking system. This allows beginners to take advantage of the magnetic system, but also allows them to later make adjustments more suited to experienced anglers.
In addition, this reel is very comfortable to use and great for palming. It offers excellent control, but perhaps a bit less casting distance than with a single braking system due to the way it works.
All in all, anglers have a lot of good things to say about this reel and for good reason. It’s an exceptional piece of equipment that makes fishing a joyful experience. Click here to check prices and reviews on Amazon.
Daiwa Tatula SV TW
The Daiwa Tatula SV TW offers an excellent combination of Daiwa’s T-wing system and SV spool, which gives the everyday angle a powerful, and smooth reel that can handle any application you can throw at it.
In short, the most impressive feature of this reel is that it’s able to handle pretty much any fishing style, line, or bait gracefully – and the speed 7.3:1 gear ratio does it fast too.
- T Wing offers unrestricted casting performance
- Fast gear ratio without sacrificing performance
- Great value in its price range
- Works well with all bait sizes
Daiwa’s T-wing gives unrestricted casting performance, allowing the line to flow freely. This gives anglers the ability to cast long distances, or to make precision casting movements, allowing you to fish anywhere.
However, it also has extremely adjustable casting control, allowing you to make adjustments for virtually any fishing conditions, and works equally well with baits on either side of the size spectrum thanks to the quality SV spool implementation.
The Daiwa Tatula SV TW feels great in hand, featuring a comfortable, ergonomic design which is good for palming, and a very smooth performance – even when compared to reels which cost $100 more.
That makes this reel a great value in its price point, and the faster gear ratio version offers speed without negatively impacting performance. Click here to check prices and reviews on Amazon.
Okuma Komodo SS
Looking for a great baitcaster for saltwater fishing? Look no further than the Okuma Komodo SS. This excellent and powerful reel features all stainless interior construction and corrosion resistant ball bearings to protect your reel from damaging salt water.
- Saltwater approved corrosion resistance
- Includes optional bait clicker
- Powerful drag for predator game fish
- Lengthy casts for all bait types
However, it’s also a super powerful reel, with up to 30 pounds of drag. Big drag means big fish, and the Okuma Komodo SS is an excellent choice not only for saltwater fishing, but also for landing monster muskies and pike with heavy line.
The Okuma will work well regardless of the bait you choose, and this reel casts far. Easily plopping live baits or lures way out, to wherever the fish happen to be hiding. It offers smooth, uninhibited casting, and the level-wind stays engaged during casting, keeping braided lines aligned properly and avoiding uneven spikes in drag pressure. Click here to check price on Amazon.
Lews Speed Spool LFS
Looking for something more affordable? While Abu Garcia and Shimano are the big dogs of fishing, Lews has been making a name for themselves the past few years. Their reels offer a great compromise between price and quality, and if your budget is on the lower end – you should definitely look into some of these reels.
- Fantastic value for the price
- One-piece aluminum frame, forged aluminum spool
- Smooth, double shielded bearings
- Externally adjustable magnetic controls
Personally, we like the Lews Speed Spool LFS. It’s one of the best baitcasters in its price range, offering a heavy-duty, one-piece aluminum frame, and forged aluminum spool that’s built like a tank.
Lew’s P2 technology also gives this reel a surprisingly smooth performance, especially for the price. Plus, it features double-shielded bearings, a super fast gear ratio with smooth retrieve, and an externally adjustable magnetic control system.
The small form factor of the reel is pleasant to use, easy to palm, and will give less fatigue than larger reels. All in all, the Lews Speed Spool LFS makes for a fantastic bass reel, and it’s an incredible value for the price. Click here to check prices on Amazon.