Best Freshwater Fishing Reels of 2019: Complete Reviews with Comparisons

By Sonnox | Fishing Reel Reviews

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There is a difference between saltwater and freshwater reels. If you are new to the outdoor activity of fishing, you may not realize that there is a significant difference in the two.

Within the breakdown of the two categories there is sub diversion of reel type — baitcaster, spincaster, or spinning — so, trying to decide which one is the best fishing reel for you is more difficult than simply deciding where you will be fishing.

In this guide, we are going to focus on the freshwater reel and breakdown some of the best freshwater fishing reels of 2019. 

Comparison Chart

Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26″ Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max Drag, RH, Boxed

KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reels, Graphite Frame, CNC Aluminum Spool, 5.0:1 Gear Ratio, 4+1 Ball Bearings.

Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel

Shimano SIENNA 4000FE, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel

Sougayilang Fishing Reel Spinning -12+1BB Ultralight Smooth Powerful Spinning Reels for Freshwater Saltwater Bass Fishing

Best Freshwater Fishing Reel Reviews

Abu Garcia BMax Baitcaster

Good for the new angler the Abu Garcia BMax is so easy on the wallet and gives the fisherman or woman more performance than most in this reel’s price range.


Don’t let the price tag fool you — there is more to this reel than meets the eye.  This baitcasting reel offers a high level of performance. In addition, the BMax comes with all many advantages created by all these features:

  • Precision brake system (MagTrax) to help with a smoother cast
  • Line retrieval is smooth thanks to the four ball bearings
  • Anti-reverse roller bearing as well
  • Gear ration that leads to enhanced retrieval speed
  • Maximum drag of 18 pounds
  • Graphite frame constructed in one solid unit
  • Ergonomic handle design

One of the things you should always think about when deciding which reel you need is the drag system and the Abu Garcia BMax has one of the best on the market. The line retrieval and the performance during the whole drag range are spectacular which means a more precision cast and an easier fight with the fish when you hook them. Even with the positive assets of this reel there is one major drawback and some fishing enthusiasts will think this drawback is a deal breaker, but because this reel is so gentle on that checkbook it is a drawback that we think you could easily overlook. The durability and long life of this reel have been called into question in some online reviews. Though with such a low-price tag this is something that could be overlooked easily.


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    Line retrieval is smooth
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    Brake system built in


  • Durability

KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel

The team at KastKing has crafted yet another value friendly, high performing spinning reel with the Brutus. The precision level of functionality rivals any reel on the market that costs double the price that this fine reel comes in at. For this reason, the Brutus finds itself on our list of the best freshwater fishing reels of 2019.


It is hard to find the balance consolidation of both affordability and efficiency, but as we have stated, the KastKing Brutus certainly achieves this difficult task. From the design, teams focused on crafting a lightweight yet durable reel with high-grade graphite to the internal mechanisms used to elevate this reel’s performance the Brutus could be the perfect reel for you. To achieve this heightened level of efficiency the reel includes all these features:

  • Graphite constructed frame and rotor
  • Brass and zinc alloy gears to ensure the highest level of performance possible
  • Main shaft of steel
  • Ball bearings manufactured of stainless steel
  • Spool designed with high-grade aluminum
  • Drag system that uses multiple discs to create a smooth drag
  • Handle that can be used right/left handed
  • Multiple reels sizes

The only thing that this reel needs to be on this list was its high-level precision performance in the casting department, but that is not all that it brought to the game. The team at  KastKing’s dedication to giving their customers the most they can for a fair price is evident when you read the reviews on the durability of this reel. Though maybe not the prettiest reel on the market the pros of this reel make the need for a stylish design irrelevant.


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    Smooth cast
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  • Not stylish to look at

Pflueger Trion

Pflueger is a name synonymous in the angling world. One of the globe's leading manufactures of rods and reels they, have prided themselves on crafting innovative yet long lasting products. The Trion, which finds itself easily on our list of the best freshwater reels of 2019, is just another notch on the Pflueger Trion’s belt.


The Pflueger Trion is a finely crafted reel composed of the highest-grade materials and inner mechanisms available. With all of these features, the team at Pflueger have given the anglers of the world a reel that could land them the big one:

  • Ball bearings crafted with stainless steel (x6) [the size 20 reel only comes with 4 bearings]
  • Anti-reverse mechanism with a switch to turn on/off
  • Spool that is manufactured of machined, double anodized aluminum
  • Main gear designed with threads

The Pflueger attention to detail has released a reel that offers a smooth cast and retrieves while being affordable for even the most budget-conscious fishing enthusiast. Through the intricate and precision use of high-quality material in the ball bearing system, this reel offers one of the smoothest casts out there. You take the good with the bad for the price you are paying. Many anglers complain that the reel is just too heavy for a comfortable day for fishing. The heft of the reel is something to think about as is the fact that there have been many reviews stating that the handle is too weak and breaks easily. Both are things to be concerned about but if you are more concerned with your cash flow then this reel will give you everything you need.


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    Smooth casting and retrieving
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  • Handle weak
  • Weight

Shimano Sienna

For 80 years the Shimano name has meant innovation and quality in the world of fishing. Starting in Japan and gradually working its way to a global name the Shimano company brings us our next entry on our list of the best freshwater fishing reels of 2019. The Shimano Sienna is a spinning reel that has so much versatility and quality we would have been remiss if we didn’t include it.


Lightweight and crafted with materials that give it corrosion resistance features, which means that though we are listing it on our list of the best freshwater reels, this reel could easily land on a list for the best saltwater reels as well. If that wasn’t enough check out everything else that the Shimano Sienna has to offer:

  • Easily cleanable
  • Balanced feel due to gear placement
  • Decreased backlash and extended casting range with an enhanced line management system
  • Anti-reverse mechanism
  • Available in a wide selection of sizes

The Shimano Sienna is everything that avid anger has come to expect from the manufacturer. It offers versatility with its ability to be both used in freshwater and saltwater. Though it is not as friendly with saltwater as fresh, make sure after using it in saltwater you clean it thoroughly. This reel is as rough and tough as they come and for the price, you pay you are more than getting your money worth. Even with that, there is still one more drawback — many customers feel that the grease that comes from the company is not efficient enough, so, you may need to take it apart and do a little extra greasing to ensure maximum efficiency. Even with those two small negatives, this reel is still easily one of the best freshwater fishing reels of 2019.


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    Performance vs. price
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  • Not pre-greased effectively
  • Clean after saltwater use

Sougayilang Fishing Reel

The next reel on the list of the best freshwater fishing reels of 2019 comes from the team at Sougayilang. A reel that offers versatility, quality, and a low-price tag, the fishing reel from Sougayilang is a great way to round out this list.


Versatility and choice are words that are interchangeable with this fishing reel. Whether you are a novice angler or a seasoned vet this reel offers so many wonderful features that have been designed to enhance your fishing performance. These features include:

  • Body crafted of stainless steel
  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Versatility of water types (fresh/salt)
  • Casting enhancement with an s-curve system
  • Casting and drawing smoothed out by an intricate drawing lock system
  • Ergonomic design
  • Multiple powerful gear ratios available
  • Ability to switch from right to left- handed with an interchangeable handle
  • Reduced noise during casting
  • Cast control that is fully adjustable
  • Durable, ultra-thin construction

This reel’s features speak for themselves but with the ability to fend off corrosion and the high precision gear ratios that are available this reel is a welcomed addition to the list. The reel is easy to carry and designed to be ergonomically superior to other reels in its price range. Even with that, there have been some reports of it jamming after excessive use. This issue is not a consistent issue so it is easy to overlook, but the other drawback is not necessarily a bad thing. This reel is more times than not sold out, so if you are interested in making this your go-to reel just keep trying and eventually you’ll hook the big catch.


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    Corrosion resistant
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    Gear ratio


  • Jams with extensive use
  • Out of stock regularly


The reels that we have broken down for you in the above reviews are just some of the vast choices you are exposed to as you scroll through the online shops or stroll the aisles of a physical store. Hopefully, with our analysis of their features and performance of each of the entrants on this list of the best freshwater reels of 2019, you will find choosing the best reel for you will be a much easier and less stressful chore.

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