Anglers Gear (10)

What is the Best Spinning Reel for the Money?

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2023 and Beyond - What is the Best Spinning Reel for the Money?

Angler’s Gear is always in the market for the best products.  Before we get into this next article, there is something we do want you to know:

The best does not mean the most expensive.

For example, there are some reels commercially available that will go into the thousands of dollars but are completely sealed.  Unless you send the reel back to the manufacturer, you cannot perform routine maintenance.  If you try, you may void a warranty.

There are times when the reel is a bit on the expensive side.  In that case, it is understandable if you are interested in a less expensive option.  Not everyone has the dispensible income for high end gear.  Chances are you are a recreational angler not a commercial guide, captain or professional.

That is why you are here.

Here are the things that we consider in our reviews on spinning reels.  You have likely seen many of these mentioned but not discussed to any degree.  That said, here is the list of the terms you see on a regular basis:

  • Drag – The drag system is the resistance a fish will feel when pulling line off of the reel. The initial parts of a fight should have a very light drag, tightening it down as the fight continues. The secret to the drag is the smoothness.  It should allow the fish to pull without hangs or stops. This can break lines.
    • There are two locations for drag on a spinning reel: front and rear. Turn the knob to adjust the drag.
  • Spool size/Line capacity – The spool is the part of the reel the line winds around. Line capacity is how much line the reel will hold.  The reel size will help determine line weights and capacities.  Remember: braided line is considerably different from monofilament or fluorocarbon line.
    • Many models will have secondary spools you can use to spool up a different line weight or simply have a backup.
  • Frame material – The frame makeup is important because heavy models will wear anglers out as the day passes. Many higher end model frames are carbon fiber, lighter than metal and equally durable.  Lower end models will be aluminum or plastic.  (Angler’s Gear note: Do not buy plastic.  That is all.)
  • Line recovery – Each 360 degree turn of the handle will return an amount of line, in inches, to the reel spool. You will see ratios like 5:1 or 4.8 to 1.  The larger number is the amount of line returned.
  • Bearings – The push for more bearings in a reel is not that absolutely vital. It is nice to note because the number of bearings will make the reel smoother, but this is not the only element to concern yourself with when shopping.
  • Anti-Reverse – Turn your handle clockwise. If you try to turn it counter-clockwise and will not, you have anti-reverse.  Some like to keep it on at all times, and some do not.  Ultimately, it is your choice.

Now that you are armed with a good bit of information – it is time to answer the question. 

What is the best spinning reel for the money?

The Shimano Stradic FL

This may come as no big surprise considering how fond Angler’s Gear is of the Shimano line, but the reel has everything an angler would want in a quality reel:

  • Variety of sizes from light to heavy
  • An 87 percent five start rating on Amazon
  • A price that will not break the bank

Like we said at the outset, Angler’s Gear is after the best for the money.  The Stradic is not a cheap reel by any stretch but with a bit of budgeting, the Stradic is affordable.  Make coffee at home; take your lunch to work and cut back on some other spending for a few months.  You can make the Stradic affordable.  What you pay for in price will be made up in years of faithful service.

Until we meet on the water – practice good catch and release habits (Read our 10 best barbless hooks for fishing review)!