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Up to date Jan 18, 2023 10:16 AM

The correct musky reels are important to struggle, management, and land a toothy monster. The so-called “fish of 10,000 casts” can confuse and beguile anglers. Once you’re prepared to surrender, they offer you one other window into potential success. When the chunk lastly comes, they’ll use each trick within the e book to outsmart or outpower you. And when you’ve got subpar tools, the struggle gained’t final very lengthy. 

Since they’ll make anglers’ lives depressing—throwing solid after solid with out a chunk—musky addicts have developed quite a few techniques to even out the taking part in subject. They contain synthetic lures, stay bait, casting, trolling, and drifting. Every one can profit from specific tools selections. Your reel, nonetheless, is crucial piece of drugs. There are dozens of choices that may get the job completed, however just a few rise to the highest of the heap relating to consolation and effectiveness. Listed below are the perfect musky reels available on the market.

How We Picked The Greatest Musky Reels

We’ve chased muskies in prolific fisheries like Lake St. Clair and had them inadvertently present up behind our lures elsewhere. We’ve realized that their unpredictability requires plenty of arrows within the quiver, together with casting massive lures, casting small lures, trolling, and utilizing pure bait. There are definitely reels that may cowl a number of of those shows, however generally a specialised instrument is the most suitable choice for the job. I primarily based my alternatives on the next standards: 

  • Line Capability: Can the reel maintain sufficient line for lengthy casts and arduous fights?
  • Gear Ratio: Does the reel excel at burning baits again? Can it retrieve lures slowly?
  • Drag System: Can the reel face up to the facility of monster muskies?
  • Approach: What model of fishing is the reel designed for?

The Greatest Musky Reels: Critiques & Suggestions

Greatest Total: Shimano Tranx 400

Greatest Total

Why it Made the Lower: A saltwater reel that may take a beating and deal with massive lures, massive waves, and large fish.

Key Options

  • Low profile design
  • Two gear ratios: 5.8:1 and seven.6:1
  • 5 ball bearings and one curler bearing
  • Alternative of double paddle deal with or energy deal with


  • Excessive- and low-speed variations accessible
  • Light-weight (11.6 or 12.0 ounces)
  • Ergonomic design


  • Old-fashioned Shimano followers could also be hesitant to surrender their time-tested spherical reels

Shimano initially developed the wide-ranging Tranx collection to beat saltwater fish. Fortunately, this reel interprets completely to the musky world. Every part about them is beefed up, from the handles to the 22-pound drag system, and so they incorporate the perfect of Shimano’s newest know-how—Hagne, X-Ship, and HEG. I’ve used mine for all the pieces from smallmouth bass to tuna, and so they’ve by no means let me down. Most significantly, this reel feels good even after years of utilizing it. The 400 is the workhorse, however for smaller musky lures, there’s a 300, and for upsized shows or extra line capability, the five hundred will get the decision. They excel at casting however can be utilized to troll in a pinch.

Greatest for Trolling: Okuma Convector Line Counter

Greatest for Trolling

Okuma Convector Line Counter is the best musky reel for trolling.

Why it Made the Lower: This bargain-priced reel permits anglers to arrange a whole unfold on a funds and nonetheless stand as much as vicious drag-ripping strikes.

Key Options

  • Three sizes—20, 30 and 45
  • Three gear ratios—4.0:1, 5.1:1 and 6.2:1
  • Left- and right-handed variations
  • Two ball bearings and one curler bearing


  • Discount value
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Ratcheting drag star permits ultra-precise drag settings


  • No high-speed left-handed model

Whether or not you’re chasing muskies on Lake St. Clair, the St. Lawrence River, or a Canadian defend lake, the perfect trollers have developed scientific methods to make their spreads handiest. This entails not solely the variety of baits, but additionally how far again and the way deep they run. Okuma’s line counting reel makes replicating a setup easy, and whereas the Convectors are cheap, they’ll nonetheless maintain as much as arduous strikes that threaten to tear the rod out of the holder. They’ve included stabilizing methods for elevated sturdiness and high-grade brass primary and pinion gears to carry up over time. The drag vary is customizable, that means it’ll slip if you want it to, however maintain tight to crank in trophies.

Greatest Excessive-Velocity: 13 Fishing Idea A3 Gen II

Greatest Excessive-Velocity

13 Fishing Concept A3 Gen II is the best high-speed musky reel.

Why it Made the Lower: Tremendous high-speed gear ratio takes lures into overdrive with out sacrificing energy.

Key Options

  • Three gear ratios accessible, together with 8.1:1
  • Left- and right-hand retrieve
  • 40 lbs. of drag
  • Seven ball bearings


  • Extremely-strong draft
  • Double paddle and energy deal with choices
  • Anti-corrosion remedy


  • Might not maintain sufficient heavy line for some shows

Muskies are identified for following lures and turning away on the final minute. Generally one of the best ways to fight this annoying indecisiveness is with a high-speed retrieve that forces them to react. Within the Idea A3 Gen II, 13 Fishing has constructed a reel that brings ultra-high-speed retrieve ratios to the desk however nonetheless packs a punch with 40 kilos of drag. It’s a true marriage of type and performance. That features a brass drive gear, a corrosion-resistant coating, and a low-friction six-way braking system. Musky fishing is bodily demanding beneath any situations, however that exertion doubles when the fish react greatest to a quick retrieve. This reel is light-weight however can nonetheless deal with large fish with out tiring out anglers.

Greatest for Smaller Lures and Multispecies: Lew’s Tremendous Responsibility 300 LFS

Greatest for Smaller Lures and Multispecies

Lew’s Super Duty 300 LFS is the best musky reel for smaller lures and multispecies.

Why it Made the Lower: This reel could also be styled as a heavy-duty bass buster, however its light-weight development permits all-day fishing and multi-species use.

Key Options

  • 6.5:1 and seven.2:1 gear ratios
  • Left- and right-hand retrieves
  • Solely 9.2 ounces
  • Six stainless-steel bearings and one clutch bearing


  • Multi-species use
  • Light-weight for all-day casting
  • 24 kilos of max drag energy


  • Not superb for bigger musky lures or baits

Lew’s has taken the center of considered one of their tournament-proven bass reels and beefed up each side of it, from the double-shielded bearings to the thumb bar and drag system. The braking system is highly-adjustable, permitting anglers to throw totally different sized lures in various wind situations. Plus, the Winn Dri-Tac knobs keep snug and non-slippery in any climate. In case you’re a critical musky angler, this reel will deal with many conditions, however if you happen to solely chase them a couple of times a 12 months, it gained’t sit in storage. As an alternative, it’ll discover loads of alternatives within the salt or throwing swimbaits for bass. 

Greatest Spinning Reel: Daiwa Free Swimmer

Greatest Spinning Reel

Daiwa Free Swimmer is the best spinning reel.

Why it Made the Lower: A wonderful reel for casting massive lures and particular options for fishing stay bait.

Key Options

  • Two sizes
  • Energy spherical EVA knob on the deal with
  • “Chunk and run” drag system
  • 4.7:1 gear ratio


  • Moderately priced
  • Particular options for stay bait shows
  • Automated Event Drag (ATD) system is powerful however has low startup inertia


  • The smallest dimension is 8000

Typical stage wind reels get many of the love within the musky world, however there’s no disgrace or hurt in utilizing a spinning reel. The truth is, they’re higher for particular strategies like fishing stay bait. Daiwa’s beefy Free Swimmer permits massive toothy critters to take pure bait with out resistance, making them much less prone to drop your providing. That results in extra and higher hookups. Even if you happen to use pure bait sparingly, the Free Runner nonetheless operates completely for casting and reeling. It has outsized gears, a beefy tooth sample, and a spherical EVA deal with that lets you retain a grip through the retrieve and subsequent struggle.

Greatest Funds: Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4

Greatest Funds

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 is the best budget musky reel.

Why it Made the Lower: A longtime bulletproof commonplace of baitcasting reels, the Ambassadeur has a confirmed monitor report of excellence.

Key Options

  • Two sizes, 5600 and 6600
  • Left- and right-hand retrieve
  • 6.3:1 gear ratio
  • 4 stainless-steel bearings and one curler bearing


  • Heavy-duty, battle-tested design
  • Carbon matrix drag system
  • Substantial line capability however nonetheless moderately light-weight


  • Just one gear ratio accessible

The spherical Ambassadeur is an iconic reel within the fishing world. Whereas it might not look trendy, loads of high musky chasers belief its confirmed design and easy but refined development. The carbon matrix gearing is a considerable enchancment over the already-solid methods these reels employed in yesteryear. Plus, the centrifugal braking system is a no-nonsense solution to preserve your line in test. There’s additionally a good cheaper C3 model, however it lacks a thumb bar for spool launch, so preserve that in thoughts when selecting one over the opposite.

Issues to Think about Earlier than Shopping for The Greatest Musky Reels

They’re dubbed because the “fish of 10,000 casts” as a result of problem of not solely touchdown a musky, however simply hooking one. When the time comes, your gear have to be fine-tuned and able to go. This implies musky lures, flies, rods, and most significantly, reels. Muskies are very highly effective and have sharp enamel. One fallacious transfer and so they’ll break you off. Ensure to contemplate these components earlier than you buy your subsequent musky reel:

Line Capability

Muskies normally demand heavy line to resist the dimensions of the lures and baits and to carry up throughout a brutal struggle. That might imply monofilament, fluorocarbon, braid, or wire, however it is going to doubtless be sturdy, and you could want plenty of it. Don’t skimp on storage capability as a result of it is going to impression each side of the method.

Gear Ratio

Generally muskies need their meals served up in a gradual, gliding method, and different instances, it takes a warp pace retrieve to tempt them. Select the pace that may make it most snug to attain what you want for achievement. Historically, tremendous high-speed reels sacrifice cranking energy on massive fish, however that has modified for the higher in current product generations. Search for a gear ratio that may burn a bait again and retrieve a lure slowly.

Drag System

Muskies don’t essentially go off on lengthy, spool-emptying runs, however they’ll pull line both on the strike or surge at boatside, and in case your drag doesn’t have interaction at precisely the precise increments, it is going to result in pulled hooks and misplaced fish. The drag not solely must be simply adjustable, but additionally be capable to retain its energy and smoothness throughout runs.


Q: Do I want an costly reel for musky fishing?

You don’t want an costly reel for musky fishing. It’s extra necessary that the reel be suited to the duty at hand, whether or not that be casting, trolling, or another utility. Luckily, there at the moment are many high-quality reels within the low- to mid-price vary. Make sure you test bearing counts and different key options to make it possible for no corners have been minimize to cut back the worth.

Q: Can I take advantage of a spinning reel for musky?

A spinning reel (with an identical spinning rod) can definitely be used for musky fishing. It nonetheless must have correct line capability and a drag system meant to resist the facility of those vicious predators. Spinning reels are used primarily for casting and stay bait fishing, not as a lot for trolling. When utilizing a spinning reel it’s important to take steps to stop line twists.

Q: What is an effective gear ratio for musky fishing?

Whereas increased and decrease pace reels have particular purposes, one thing with a gear ratio between roughly 6:1 and seven:1 will cowl a remarkably big selection of purposes. It’s important to have the ability to decelerate or pace up when the muskies get finicky, and so they clearly appear to want specific speeds or cadences on many days.

Remaining Ideas on the Greatest Musky Reels

Even the perfect and most profitable musky anglers will doubtless expertise lengthy durations of frustration. Once you assume you have got these fish discovered, they modify or present another type of wariness. Your tools ought to make the search simpler and extra pleasurable fairly than compounding the heartache. That begins with reels. In the event that they’re cumbersome to make use of or fail at inopportune instances, they’ll finally make the temporary home windows of happiness much more rare.

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