Baitcaster Reel Sizes | Pick the Right Reel Size for you! 

Gear ratio? Checked. Drags? Checked. Brakes? Checked. Baitcaster Reel size? Wait, is that even a factor? If that’s how you make a purchase then you are seriously in need of this article because it is the reason you end up searching for the factors for why it is not working the way it should after getting the reel.

Detailed Baitcaster reel sizes

Though a reel size may be the most minor factor, that too requires a huge study to study each reel size with its ins and outs which is why, most of the anglers, especially those who are newly shifting from spinning to baitcasting reels, don’t even bother looking at the size. But guess what? These specifications play a greater role in altering your fishing results as well as their application with certain reel types. So let’s dive into baitcasting reel sizes.

Baitcaster reel sizes (Detailed Explanation):

Commonly, Baitcaster reels have sizes ranging from 100 to 400 with 100 being the smallest to 400 as the largest. Some reels even have the size 50 reels as the smallest. These ranges go as the following; 50, 70,100,150, 200, 300, 400. Well, to simplify these, they are now shortened to 5, 7, 10, 15, etc so you just have to focus on the first number to understand what the size of the reel is.

Different Baitcaster reel sizes

However, these sizes have separate aspects as well since various reel types and multiple manufacturers gave variations to the baitcaster reel size which is why they are never identical. Even though some reels; for example, Abu Garcia, don’t have reel sizes and they are identified by the line capacities that the reel offer.

Well, these were the case with the low-profile reels, round reels have higher ratings i.e 1000 and it goes all the way to 10,000 or bigger. Again, however, you just have to docs the first number to understand the size as small, medium, or large. All these reels, based on there, have different characters and capabilities that we have discussed below. But before that here’s a chart to aid you to understand all the reel sizes with their application in bird’s eye view.

Baitcaster Reel Size Chart

In the following chart, we have taken the sizes and worked out the specifications it carries with respect to its size. 

Baitcaster Reel sizeBaitcaster line capacity (Mono lb/yd)Retrieve rate (IPT)Weight (in oz)Drag maximum Best to useCategory 
50 60-7523″ to 29″7-10Ultra-light inshore Smallest 
70 80-10025″ to 32″610 Finesse inshore Small 
100 110-13026″ to 34″710-14Inshore for bass Small 
200 150-22027″ to 36″810-15 Heavy bass fishing Medium 
300 240-27026″ to 38”1118- 30  Inshore saltwater Medium-large 
400 290-34526″ to 40″12+ 20-35  Nearshore, heavy inshore fishing Large 
Baitcaster Reel Size Chart

As per the table, the most common factors affected by the reel size are; line capacity, retrieve rate, weight, and drag. Other than that, it also briefs the application as well as the categories of sizes they fall under.  However, these are merely the approximate value and these apply differently on different reels depending on the manufacturer.

For example, Daiwa Tatula 300 reel has 28 lbs drag power while the Piscifun Alijoz having the same reel size differs it, giving 33 lbs of total drag. Other than that, the weather and water conditions also play a significant role while forming the entire functionality of the reel as to how it will perform in different waters and under various weather conditions.

However, the information on the chart is helpful in a way to understand the reels with the trends because the key focus is “why it is what it is” rather than getting confused with the minor differences among brands. So, let’s have a deeper discussion on each reel size.

Small baitcasters:

That might sound clichè but small baitcasters are technically for small fishing techniques. Smaller reels generally have sizes of 50, 70, and 100. Though 50 and 70 are the rarest ones and a few brands manufacture them. Here’s a detailed explanation of each size with its relevant application, features, and characteristics. 

50 size:

50 size reels are the smallest and the most lightweight ones in the market. They are used for ultralight applications and besides, you can get them under $50 as well. These are some of the best beginner bait caster reels for the kids and newcomers to learn the art of baitcast fishing. 

Since they are the lightest bait cast reels which makes them compact enough to handle them. However, one thing they lack is less line capacity which limits you to use them for heavier fishes because the bigger fishes apply pressure to the line which leads to getting broken. 

Other than that, you will get the maximum drag of 10 lbs which is enough to pull out bass and trout. Though you can use them in various water conditions where the specification matches the requirements. However, ponds and creeks are happened to be the best places to make use of these reels. One of the most persistent 50 size reels you can get is Shimano Aldebaran MGL. 

70 sizes:

70 sizes reels are basically for finesse fishing application. These have the same features and characteristics as of 70 since they are just slightly larger reels than the 50. They can give large distance casting abilities. Among many 70 reels, Shimano Curado 70 has been one of the top-notch reels for downsizing tactics that you can get under $200.

100 size:

Among the small baitcasting reels, 100 size is the most marketable option that the manufacturer produces as the small-sized reels. Generally, they are the best Carp fishing reels that you can also handle with one hand. They are lightweight and compact as well. 

Additionally, they are the best bass baitcasting reels. Even though, some manufacturers like Shimano and Daiwa produce 150 sized reels as Tatula and Shimano SLX with the bigger spool. This is the reason they are being the most useful reels in pitching and flipping. Furthermore, these are budget-friendly as well i.e mostly available for under $150.

Their spool capacity is larger as well as the former two size options. The specification will also give the max drag of 14 lbs, quite enough for pulling large-mouth bass, right? Well, so far the best thing we liked about these reels is they are pretty much compact and palmable while giving enough of the strength to carry out slightly heavier and fighter fishes. 

Some of the best 100 sized reels are as follows;

  • Daiwa Tatula 100
  • Quantum Smoke X
  • Lew’s Speed Spool

Medium baitcaster size: 200 and 300 sizes

One of the drawbacks with the small reel is the shorter line capacity hence the manufacturers move on size forward and made these 200 and 300 size baitcaster reels with larger spool capacity as you can go to over 85-90 lbs braided lion with these casters. These two sizes have quite the feature and characteristics which is why we put them in the same category here. 

These are the reels for heavier bass fishing as these provide the heavier drag pressure of about 30 lbs as the max. Other than that, these reels are a great option for topwater frog fishing because of their favorable specifications. Saltwater inshore fishing requires these types of reels because of their larger capacity, greater drags, and retrieving rate. 

If in need of one, you can choose one of these 200 size baitcaster and 300 size baitcaster reels. 

  • KastKing Royale Legend II 200
  • Lew’s super duty 300
  • Piscifun Alijoz
  • Shimano Curado 200

Large baitcaster: 400 sizes

400 reels are solely for saltwater fishing as these are the largest and the sturdiest reels. The “large” is for every specification in these reels as these are the ones with the heaviest drags, highest retrieve rate, and largest spool capacity. These big baitcaster are best suited for trolling and sea fishing. 

Besides the specifications, they are made from rigid metals with shielded ball bearings which is also a plus to guard the reel from heavy corrosion of the saltwater. In addition, with the drags of 40 lbs, you can retrieve the heaviest species out of the sea as the catfish, bluefish, salmon, etc.

Here are some of the suggested 400 sized reels: 

  • Shimano Calcutta
  • Penn Squall
  • Shimano Tranx
  • Daiwa Lexa

However, while opting for one of these sizes, it must be borne in mind that these are the least palmable reels.

Why the Reel differs from manufacturer to manufacturer?

why reels differ from manufacturer to manufacturer

Taken the above explanation we give of Daiwa Tatula and Piscifun Alijoz having different drags while the same reel sizes. Here’s the reason why the manufacturer built the reel differently from another manufacturer despite the same sizes. 

The difference is also because the spool size varies from reel to reel. For example, if we take 2 reels offering the same sizes but one of them has the larger spool while the one is composed of a smaller one, then definitely, the retrieval rate will differ as the larger spool will reel more lines and the same will happen on the smaller spool in both the reels hence the specification will have different numbers. 

The gear ratio also has a part in making them dissimilar within brands. A higher gear ratio is less likely to perform fast than one with a slower ratio. So, technically, it depends on the construction yet the size matters a lot as it decides pretty much all the factors, characteristics, and recommended applications are associated with the reels. 

Ending note:

Well, baitcaster reels sizes are one of the hardest reel parts to understand as the complexities it involves and the specifications it affects. However, after getting the handful of knowledge which we are sure is provided in this article, you can understand the mysteries of the reel sizes and have a better use for them with the most useful application for which it is intended to build. Last but not least, there’s just one rule that summarizes the whole article which is “small reels for smaller fishes and bigger reels for bigger fishes” that’s it! that’s all you’ll be needing to narrow down wisely “what reel size do I need exactly”! Good luck!

Clinton Shannon

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