Musky is a special kind of fish that is normally found in freshwater. You don’t really have to go deep down to search for them. They are easily found on the surface and are quite big in size as compared to other fish. The fact that muskies are heavy and large in size is why you need the best musky reel to capture them.
If you’re thinking you can go ahead and catch these fish with your regular reel then you will probably come home beaten. That is why we recommend you take a look at some of our top choices for musky reels. We are sure you will find something worthwhile.
Also, don’t forget to take a look at our detailed buyer’s guide for best musky reels at the end of this article. It will definitely help you make a more informed decision.
At a Glance
- 8 Best Musky Fishing Reels to Buy in 2021 – A Comparison Guide
- 1- KastKing GT Baitcasting Reel- The Best Musky Reel in the Market
- 2- Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Reel – Strongest Musky Fishing Reel
- 3- Shimano Calcutta B-Round Reel – Best Rated Musky Fishing Reel
- 4- OKUMA Coldwater 350 Reel – Best Musky Reel Under 200
- 5- SHIMANO Tranx 500 Fishing Reel- Best Musky Reel for Big Rubber
- 6- KastKing Rover Round Reel – Best Musky Reel Gear-Ratio
- 7- Abu Garcia Revo Toro Reel – Best Musky Reel Under 100
- 8- SHIMANO Tranx Baitcast Reel – Best Small Musky Reel
- Top 3 Picks
- Thing to Know Before Buying a Best Musky Reel
- FAQs about the Best Musky Reels
8 Best Musky Fishing Reels to Buy in 2021 – A Comparison Guide
1- KastKing GT Baitcasting Reel- The Best Musky Reel in the Market
KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reel is the best musky reel you can opt for. The reel has stellar ratings on Amazon and all the buyers couldn’t be more pleased with its performance. We found most people praising how comfortable and convenient the reel it is to use. And that is exactly how our experience went like.
The reel is built out of solid and durable material. It is meant to last for a very long time and is very easy to get the hang of. If you’re a beginner who is in search for a high-end musky reel at an affordable price, then you’re really going to enjoy using this one.
Features You Need to Know
The reason why we found the KastKing Royale Legent GT Baitcasting Reel to stand out from the crowd was because of its silent retrieval. We didn’t come across many musky reels that offered this feature which is why we were thrilled.
Also, the line retrieval is precise and so is the amount of line it can accommodate. The gear ratio is great and precise. It retrieves the lines quickly and ensures you don’t have to spend any extra amount of energy once you have scored your goal.
Last but not least, another benefit of using KastKing Royale Legend Gt Baitcasting Reel is it doesn’t limit your options. You can use it in both, freshwater and seawater. Not only that, it comes integrated with a high-end drag system. You will not have any trouble luring your fish no matter how heavy it may be. The line is durable and strong to win the battle that goes on in the water.
If you happen to be someone who wants to have some peace while he/she fishes musky, then KastKing Royale Legend GT baitcasting reel for under $100 is a good choice for you. The reel offers exponential performance, has a very quiet operation, is very easy to use and delivers precision.
It’s a great fit for anglers who don’t really have a lot of experience using fishing reels.
2- Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Reel – Strongest Musky Fishing Reel
The next musky reel that we would like you to check out is from Abu Garcia. The brand is very difficult to resist when it comes to buying any and all kinds of reels. They have an amazing build quality plus the whole price point is magnificent.
If smoothness, accuracy and precision is what you’re looking for then Abu Garcia C3 Baitcast Round Fishing Reel is all that you need.
Having said that, let’s get a look at some of the other features that this spinning reel has to offer;
Features You Need to Know
The reel features 3+1 ball bearings don’t grind at all on retrieval and are very smooth to operate. Not to mention, we absolutely loved the synchronized system that allows no overlay and effortlessly brings the line back. Moreover, the reel comes with a high quality Carbon Matrix drag system that can resist up to 15lbs and delivers a smooth and consistent drag.
The Abu Garcia C3 Baitcast Fishing Reel has been integrated with a 6-pin centrifugal brake offering superior control and accurate casting which is exactly why it is so precise. If you love capturing feisty fish, then C3 has got you covered. It’s extended cranking handle, even reeling action and power knob delivers commendable performance.
The gear ratio of Abu Garcia C3 is 5,1:1 which works great for musky fishing. Not to mention, there are several other models available with different gear ratio specifications catering to all your needs. Furthermore, there are different models that are suitable for right-handed people while some are meant to coordinate well with left-handed people.
The Abu Garcia C3 Baitcast Round Fishing Reel is definitely one of the best musky reels available to purchase. It offers strength, smoothness and precision packed in a small but solid packet. The only drawback is some of C3 models aren’t as good as the others. So, you need to be careful while making a choice.
3- Shimano Calcutta B-Round Reel – Best Rated Musky Fishing Reel
Strength and accuracy are the two main features required when fishing musky. The fact that Shimano Calcutta B Round Reel offers both these aspects is what has gained it all the appraisal. It is available in a number of sizes which is incredible. It caters to the requirements of most users which is another great reason for us to consider it as one of the best musky baitcasting reels in the market.
Again, this product also has received favorable reviews on Amazon. Shimano is a popular brand among professional fishermen who are always in search of high-end and solid reels. If strength and power is what you need then you’re really going to like what we are about to say.
Features You Need to Know
The Shimano Calcutta B Round Reel is a rigid and solid reel made out of metal for optimal precision. We can’t deny, the power and strength of this round reel is unlike something we have ever seen before. The line retrieval is also reasonable. It does make a little noise while bringing the line back but given the amount of power it offers; we would say that’s okay.
Those who fish regularly know muskies are bigger fish, it is very hard to capture them and requires a lot of force. However, with the Calcutta B Round Reel, your entire task is made easier because of the durable and tough drag system. It’s one of the best drag systems in the market. On top of that, it makes retrieval easy so you won’t have to spend too much of your energy retrieving the line.
You can use it in all kinds of water unlike other cheaper reels in the market. The overall performance is epic and so is the durability of this reel.
For those in search of power and solid reels, the Shimano Calcutta B Round Reel certainly does take the cake. It’s extremely powerful and comes with a commendable drag system, sure to give your first musky win.
4- OKUMA Coldwater 350 Reel – Best Musky Reel Under 200
Next up we have the best linecounter musky reel from Okuma. It’s possibly one of the best and most eye-catching salmon reel we have ever encountered. The Okuma Coldwater series of trolling reels comes with exceptional functional that delivers utmost efficiency to anglers and provides maximum strength once you go fighting a feisty fish.
The reason why it became so popular among the anglers is mainly because the reel comprises of three main aspects that every angler requires i.e. accuracy, smoothness and fast retrieval.
Features You Need to Know
First things first, you’re going to fall in love with the design and build quality of OKUMA Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel. It fits comfortably in your hands and comes with a highly durable, high-capacity spool that promises precision.
Secondly, it features a powerful drag system that offers an efficiency of 25lbs. You won’t have to worry about your reel malfunctioning while you try to catch your musky. The drag system is strong and durable enough to have it in your grasp with just a little bit of effort.
The line retrieval is also commendable of the Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel. The gear ratio is high so the retrieval is fast enough to wrap your line within given seconds. You don’t have to do any effort on your own. The overall quality and functioning of this reel is definitely going to spice up your leisure time.
The Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Linecounter Reel is a powerful and precise reel that offers great performance. It’s one of the most recommended reels for anglers and beginners who have just taken on fishing and would like to catch heavy fish.
5- SHIMANO Tranx 500 Fishing Reel- Best Musky Reel for Big Rubber
Since you plan on catching the toughest fish in the water, you need a solid and durable reel on your side that won’t betray. The Shimano Tranx 500 Fishing Reel is another one of those best friends that won’t betray you during a tough fight.
This specific musky reel features heg and X-ship technology along with a 7+1 ball bearing for a very smooth reel retrieval. The overall build quality is also phenomenal and so is the fishing technique.
Features You Need to Know
The Shimano Tranx 500 Fishing Reel comes with a gear ratio of 4.6:1. The line retrieval is very smooth and doesn’t require any extra effort from the user. We also found the reel to be highly suitable for throwing bigger baits that is usually required to cash larger fish.
The excellent drag system can resist up to 25lbs which means, capturing a musky isn’t going to be that big of a deal now, is it? Not to mention, the Shimano Tranx 500 Fishing Reel has a maximum line capacity of 450 yards which is phenomenal. It’s the largest capacity among all the models we have recommended so far.
The Shimano Tranx 500 Fishing Reel definitely a good choice if you’re looking for a high quality, durable and powerful musky reel for fishing. It comes with great features that you’re possibly not going to find in any other fishing reel for that matter.
6- KastKing Rover Round Reel – Best Musky Reel Gear-Ratio
Since the last model might break your bank account, it would be fair to recommend a reel that is budget friendly and still offers all the high-end features.
For beginners who want to buy a baitcasting reel to catch muskies, the KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel is the best choice for you. It comes with a 6 ball bearings that makes it durable enough battle with a large fish and come out victorious.
Features You Need to Know
Though the overall construction of KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel has highly durable construction with rigid materials, it’s still lightweight enough and can be handled easily. Moreover, the reel features a T shaped handle that is easy to grip and won’t cause your hand any sort of fatigue even if you spend your entire day on the water.
The reel features a 2-pin centrifugal brake that makes it perfect for casting. The KastKing Rover catfish baitcasting reel is also very versatile given you can use it in fresh and salt water both.
The gear ratio of this bad boy is 5.3:1 which is suitable for catching larger fish. You can also use it for various fishing techniques which makes it a good choice even for professionals. The best part is the price of course. You get phenomenal features and high-end quality at a very minimal price point.
The KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel is a budget-friendly yet powerful fishing reel that’s going to become your best fishing partner. It offers great support when battling bigger fish and comes at a price that won’t empty your pocket.
7- Abu Garcia Revo Toro Reel – Best Musky Reel Under 100
As we are moving down to our last couple of recommendations, here is another option from Abu Garcia that might interest you.
The Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Baitcast Fishing Reel, the name truly says it all because it is really a beast when it comes to catching bigger fish. The reel has been integrated with 7 stainless steel HPCR bearings along with 1 roller bearing that promises strength and durability.
Features You Need to Know
This commendable fishing reel features Power Stack Carbon Matrix that offers resistance up to 25lbs. The Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Baitcast Fishing Reel has a very sleek and stylish design. You’re going to love the powder finish.
Not to mention, the power this reel possesses is like no other. The line retrieval is very smooth and it makes little to no noise. We also loved the fact how comfortable the handle is to hold. You will get the hang of Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Baitcast Fishing Reel very quickly.
Furthermore, the reel also features InfiniMax that is a dual braking system for efficient casting.
The Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Baitcast Fishing Reel might be an expensive choice but the level of efficiency it offers is unparalleled. The reel is highly durable and delivers incredible performance which is worth every penny. Highly recommended for professionals.
8- SHIMANO Tranx Baitcast Reel – Best Small Musky Reel
The last product on this list is one of the best small-sized fishing reels in the market for musky catching. It is extremely well built and has a strong body to support the large pressure from a fight with a musky.
Let’s see what features it holds that allows it to be capable of reeling in a musky;
Features You Need to Know
The Shimano TranxBaitcast Reel comes as a super rigid body with a highly durable drag system. It has a maximum drag resistance up to 20lbs which is sufficient to capture larger fish.
The gear ratio is also suitable for muskies so you won’t have any trouble. Shimano is known for manufacturing high-quality and durable reels, this one doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The price is also very reasonable plus the features are almost the same which makes it worth buying.
What’s more? The line capacity of this reel is around 240 yards which is quite sufficient. The reel feels very lightweight and is easy to handle as well.
The Shimano Tranx Baitcast Reel is a great choice for beginners. it is very easy to handle and offers tons of features that most high-end reels do. The only drawback is that we won’t recommend it to professionals.
Top 3 Picks
Now that you have gone through this article, you must have had selected a few products out for your final consideration. To save your time, I have picked out the top 3 Musky fishing reels for you to choose from.
These products have been selected because of the certain features that help them stand out above the rest. Having said that, let’s see what these products are and what makes them so special;
- KastKing GT Baitcasting Reel with its synthetic and soft-grip handles, 8 crossfire magnets, and Nickel plated brass work.
- OKUMA Coldwater 350 Reel with its Carbonite Drag system, line, and depth counter, and Pinion Gears.
- SHIMANO Tranx 500 Fishing Reel with its X-ship and heg technology and latest anodizing, plating, and painting techniques.
Thing to Know Before Buying a Best Musky Reel
If you are still unable to make up your mind or are having second thoughts about a product, let this buying guide help you. It will clear your confusion by providing information about the features that you must be looking for.
It will help in setting up conditions and parameters for judging a Musky fishing reel. If a reel has all or most of the following products, only then should it be brought under consideration. Otherwise, it will not be worth your money.
So, let’s have a look at what these features are;
Muskies are incredible large and very tough fish to capture. So, consequently, they require reels that can handle the hardships of bringing them onboard. In this sort of scenario, a reel takes a lot of abuse which is why they need to be durable enough for efficient performance.
This means not all reels will work efficiently. Sure, you may be able to catch one or two fish from your grandfather’s passed down reel but there is a great chance it will get destroyed by the sheer force of the fish.
You will need a tough and rugged reel that is capable of handling the battle that will probably go on between you and the musky. Having a durable reel will keep you from worrying about a hardware malfunction while you’re on the brink of landing your prize.
See also: how to cast a fishing rod.
In our comparison table above, you saw gear ratios as 4.6:1 or 8.1.1. But what does it mean? Let’s break it down.
The first digit indicates the number of rotations the spool makes per a single full turn of the handle. Therefore, a reel that has a gear ratio of 8.1:1 will rotate 8 times straight in a single go. The lower the gear ratio, the more time it will take in reel retrieval. Some reels with lower gear ratio come with higher torque power which means it requires less energy from you during the retrieval.
Different gear ratios can be used for different purposes. While some people require faster reels to get the task done quickly, sometimes you need slower gear ratio for a more methodical reel retrieval.
Muskies are usually quite heavy. This means you will need a line that can handle their weight effectively while pulling them over the deck. In our humble opinion, you should go for a line weight with 80lbs so that it is strong enough to handle the heavy load of the fish.
Speaking in a general context, an 80lbs line is usually strong enough to withstand the heavy lures of catching a musky.
As much as it is important to consider the line weight, the amount of line you’ll be able to put into your reel is equally worth considering. Make sure you can load up at least 180 yards of line into your reel, no less than this figure.
If you can’t accommodate a certain amount of line in your reel, you could possibly be looking at a recipe for a disaster. If you run out of line during your battle with a musky, you will possibly lose your prize which is going to make you feel angry and helpless at the same time.
Of course, this is something we absolutely cannot neglect. Make sure you have determined your budget before you begin researching. If you’re a professional fisherman, then we would suggest invest in something high-end even if it costs some extra bucks. Having a high-quality reel will take you a long way. It is important to make sure you don’t end up buying something you’re going regret later.
But if professional fishing isn’t up your alley yet and you’re just a beginner, start small and then maybe buy something expensive once you have a grip on your skill.
FAQs about the Best Musky Reels
Q: Can the Spinning reel be used for Musky fishing?
A spinning reel will have to be quite large if it is going to be used for fishing for musky. This is because a larger size offers better strength and balance that is required to tackle a tough and resilient musky.
Q: What is a good and reliable gear ratio for musky fishing?
There are thousands if not millions of types of musky fishing reels in the market, all of which offer a large variety of gear ratios. But generally, it is believed that 5.0 to 5.2 is the sweet spot for most people.
Put a power handle with the right gear ratio and you can reel in large amounts of line at a single time.
Q: Around how much drag is necessary for musky fishing?
You need to look for reels that have at least 12 pounds of drag. A drag of 15 is the most you will probably ever need to reel in a musky, higher that this will just be a waste of money.
Q: How do you fight a musky?
Generally, it is believed to be a good idea to keep your rod at a 45-degree angle to that of the fish. Try to do exactly the opposite of what the fish is trying to do, for example, if the fish rises to the surface, bring your rod as low as possible. If it goes for a dive, then raise your rod.
Try to keep the fish under the water as much as possible.
Q: Should I use a leader on a braided line?
A leader is a good option to use on a braided line, it saves the mainline. A leader helps by saving the amount of braid cut every time you tie in a new lure. Since braids are very expensive, leaders are a more economical option in the long run.
Q: What time of year is best for fishing for a Musky?
Fall is considered to be the best time of the year to fish for a musky, probably around September and October. This is because to prepare for the winters, Muskies start to increase the fat in their body.
A good tip to keep in mind is to use large lures while fishing for muskies.
So, this is everything we had for the best musky reels. There are numerous things to take into account when buying a musky reel. We wanted to give you a brief idea about everything that you should not ignore.
Choosing the right reel can make world of a difference between landing a musky and losing it. If there is anything else you would like to add to this conversation, do let us know through your feedback below.