Best Ice Fishing Reels: Reliable Options

By Sonnox | Fishing Reel Reviews

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To be successful when you are fishing in the extreme conditions which ice fishing brings, you will need to make sure you have gear that can function properly when in those conditions. Without the right ice fishing reel, you’ll be left with few catches and a lot of frustration!

To choose the best ice fishing reel for your needs, you’ll need to take the chance to look at some of the options around. These three ice fishing reels we picked stand out for their ability to withstand the elements while also making it more enjoyable to roll in big catches.

Which of these will be the right fishing reel for you? Find out today!

Comparison Chart

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel Size

Penn Battle II Spinning Reel

KastKing Summer Spinning Reel

Best Ice Fishing Reel Reviews

1. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

The Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is one of the most well-known spinning reels around. This reel is recommended for more than just ice fishing, and it’s easy to see why it is so popular once you get to know the features that it offers.

Features

This spinning reel comes in many different sizes with comparable features as they are from the same Ceymar line. Depending on the specific type of fishing you will be doing, you will want to choose the right size. The C-10 is designed for most small ice fishing outfits, but some will want to bump up to the C-30 if they are headed for bigger catches.

The reel itself has a graphite body, a machined spool, and a brass gear. This build is pretty standard for spinning reels, and all of these materials can handle the ice fishing conditions where you will be using them in.

It also has a relatively long handle. The stem and the grip both being large make it easier to get enough grip on the reel while you are fishing in cold conditions with thick gloves on.

Finally, the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel also has a specific type of balancing that was achieved during the cutting phase of production. This even, balanced cutting helps to reduce the amount of wobble you will feel, even when the reel is spinning at high speeds.

PROS

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    Can be used for more than just ice fishing
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    Easy to use even with big gloves on
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    Variety of sizes available
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    Budget-friendly

CONS

  • May need multiple sizes for different situations
  • Some durability issues

2. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

The Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel is known as a rod that offers a lot of bang for your buck. While it is not priced as much as a high-end reel would be, it still offers a good balance of features that are worthy of high-end prices.

Features

Within the drag system, Penn upgraded this reel from the original version to have keyed drag washers. These washers are used on both sides more equally so that there is more drag possible than in the previous model. This was done after the company received feedback about some drag-related issues, so it's sure to be an improvement.

This reel also has sealed ball bearings. While this feature is typically viewed as more important for saltwater reels, it can also be very important for reels that will be used in any harsh conditions. If the bearings corrode, the reel won’t function properly, as the sealed compartment protects bearings.

Finally, let’s mention the line and spool features which make the Battle II special. The line capacity ring marks make it easy to spool the right amount of line. Additionally, the spool features a rubber inlay which helps prevent any line slippage when you are working a fish.

PROS

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    Visible amount of line
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    High-quality paint
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    Feels very solid
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    Fun to use

CONS

  • Hard to fix on your own; many sealed parts
  • Durability issues
  • Heavy

3. KastKing Centron Spinning Reel

Finally, let’s see what the KastKing Centron Spinning Reel has to offer for those looking to do some high-quality ice fishing.

Features

This is a two-bladed reel which has an anodized aluminum spool. The frame of the reel has a very thin graphite layer to it and very little steel.

The spool has CNC constructed so it is laid out in even, balanced ways. Additionally, the spool is treated to resist corrosion while still remaining lightweight.

You can fit more than enough line capacity on the Centron as the spool is very large, and the line will lay flat thanks to the even line lay feature. The T-shaped handle makes it a bit more comfortable and easy to keep a hold on things when you are bundled up for the cold weather conditions which ice fishing requires.

A total of nine ball bearings are present in this spinning reel, which helps to ensure that you can finesse every single fishing situation. Lastly, the hardened shaft of the reel stays strong and secure even in the coldest conditions.

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PROS

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    Smooth performance
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    Sturdy shaft section
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    Fits in the pocket
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    Lightweight

CONS

  • Hard to know which model to choose
  • Hard to adjust drag system

The Winner

Among all of these great options, there is no doubt that the best ice fishing reel for most people is the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel. While the other reels are good products in and of themselves, the Okuma Ceymar has the best features which specifically help make ice fishing a more enjoyable experience.

In particular, the C10 size, as well as the large grip handles, just makes sense when you are going to be dealing with a very specific type of fishing out on the ice. That indicates that the design of the Ceymar was well thought-off. What's better is that you can even use it for non-ice fishing activities, too!

All-in-all, the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel has the best appeal for fishing folks who want to ice fish but wouldn’t mind having a great spinning reel for other applications as well.

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