Best Reel for Walleye Fishing in 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

By Richard | Fishing Reel Reviews

best reel for walleye fishing
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Fishing for walleye can be a bit tricky; you need to know their behavior and habitat, as well as have the right tools to catch them.

Finding the best reel for walleye fishing is one of the first things that you have to accomplish.

For this, spinning reels can help with the distance and casting and can even help you bring more fish to the hook, but you have to make sure that you choose the right reel for walleyes.

To help you out, here are our top picks for the best reels that you can use for catching walleye.

We also included a short buying guide and a FAQ section to help you make the right choice.

Comparison Chart

Penn 1338215 Battle II 1000 Spinning Fishing Reel

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

KastKing Centron Spinning Reel

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

Pflueger PRESSP20B President Spinning Fishing Reel

Best Reel for Walleye Fishing

1. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

The Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel was initially released in 2014.

Up until now, it is still one of the best mid-tier fishing reels that you can use for walleye fishing, especially if you are on a budget.

This option is a great all-around reel that you can use both for saltwater and freshwater fishing.

Product Highlights

The Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel is made for saltwater game fish, but it is a great choice for walleye fishing because its toughness and high-range reel can be fully optimized for catching walleye.

It sports a full metal body, rotor, side plate, and an aluminum bail wire that provide amazing durability to the reel.

These features make the reel a bit heavier, but for that same reason, you can be sure that it will not flex easily if you catch a bigger fish.

It also has an HT 100 drag system that uses keyed carbon washers instead of the felt washers, which can help increase the lifespan of your reel.

This super powerful drag will not affect the smoothness of the operation.

This reel is designed with an instant anti-reverse technology, which will remove the back play from the rotor once you set the hook.

Aside from that, you will find that it has five sealed ball bearings, which is the same as the first version of the Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel.

However, the ball bearings of this newer version are made from stainless steel, ensuring more protection against corrosion when used in saltwater.

The best feature of this reel is the Superline Spool, which will tell you how many lines you still have on the spool through the line capacity rings.

What We Like

One of the main selling points of the Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel is its amazing durability.

For a reel in its price range, it is pretty tough, especially when catching walleye and other bigger fish.

What We Don’t Like

The full metal body, rotor, and side plate makes the reel a bit heavy, so it is not as comfortable to use as the other lightweight reels.

If you are accustomed to heavy reels, then it won’t be a problem for you.

However, if you have been using lightweight reels, it would still take time for you to be familiarized with this kind of reel.

PROS

  • Solid feel
  • Extremely durable
  • Braid-ready
  • Marked spool capacity
  • Smooth drag system

CONS

  • A bit heavy
  • Wind knots

2. Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

Daiwa is known for creating some of the best spinning reels in the market, and most of the amazing features of these reels are packed into the Daiwa BG Spinning Reel.

Product Highlights

The Daiwa BG Spinning Reel has a modern look to it, but its amazing construction is one of its best selling points.

It features an aluminum body, Digigear System, dynamic cut ABS spool, and a waterproof drag system.

All of these combined make this reel extremely sturdy and packed with features that would make your walleye fishing easier.

The ABS swept pool can lay the line well, and you can use it for braid, fluorocarbon, or a combination of both; there will be fewer wind knots and loops as well because of this.

The bail has a large roller and pickup that can remove line twists and loops.

The waterproof drag system is also a great feature; it is smooth and will easily adjust by doing simple corrections.

This is water-sealed, too, so you can expect that it will last for a long time.

The heavy-duty paddle and the aluminum handle arm will always stay tight; it feels solid, especially when you are catching a big fish.

Nonetheless, it is comfortable to hold even through long hours of fishing.

Lastly, this reel features a 6+1 bearing drive, along with instant anti-reverse. The Air Rotor is 15% lighter compared with other rotors.

What We Like

One of the strong points of the Daiwa BG Spinning Reel is its waterproof drag system.

It is very smooth even if you are dealing with a big walleye fish.

What’s more, it is also water-sealed, so everything inside is completely protected.

Sand and saltwater are kept away from the internal parts of the reel.

What We Don’t Like

The only problem with the Daiwa BG Spinning Reel is its weight.

It is a bit heavy for a mid-tier fishing reel, so some people are not really fond of using it, especially those who prefer lightweight reels.

PROS

  • Smooth and strong drag
  • Anodized body
  • Water-sealed
  • Extremely sturdy

CONS

  • A bit heavy

3. KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels

KastKing is still new in the fishing gear industry, but it is currently one of the top providers of fishing gear.

The company strives to offer the best quality products, and their innovative and unique designs made them one of the most trusted fishing gear brands.

The KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel is one of the best products that they have right now.

Product Highlights

Among the best features of the KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels is its low price.

Despite the low price, this reel is loaded with lots of features that you can use when you are fishing for walleye.

Another important quality to take note of is its weight.

It has a narrow graphite frame design, as well as a computer balancing system, to provide better performance when fishing.

The superior drag system is a great feature as well because it has a stopping power of 17.5 pounds.

The hardened metal main shaft, precision-machined pinion gear, and the perfect mesh drive gear provide enough fighting power to help catch bigger fish.

More than that, the nine ball bearings and the anti-reverse bearing guarantee a smooth performance.

The anodized aluminum spool provides a power launch lip to help you cast farther.

Its appearance is very attractive, too, especially because it has a modern look to it.

What We Like

The stopping power of the KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel is one of its primary features.

With a higher stopping power, you can expect that the reel is capable of dragging bigger fish.

Walleye are not too big, but this reel will help you catch them easier.

What We Don’t Like

The KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel is manually operated, so your arm might tire easily when rewinding the loop.

As such, this reel may not be a good choice for newbies or people who have a hard time using manual reels.

PROS

  • Great value for money
  • High-powered
  • Lightweight
  • Has an amazing drag

CONS

  • Manual reel

4. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

If you want a high-quality, affordable, and lightweight reel, the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is your best choice.

Okuma has been in this market for over 30 years, so they pretty much mastered the design and manufacturing of amazing reels.

Product Highlights

The Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is known for being lightweight, which is something that a lot of newbies are looking for.

The body is designed to help reduce bulk and to allow the user to operate the reel with ease.

The C-10 model is made for two- to six-pound lines, but the reel is very sturdy, so when used by the right people, it will work well even with a heavier line.

The reel boasts an eight-bearing drive system and a precision elliptical gear that provides a controllable and smooth drag.

The Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel also features the Okuma RESII computer balancing that is included in the rotor system.

This means that it will spin at high speed without showing signs of wobbling.

It is also corrosion-resistant, which is an amazing feature if you plan to use it for saltwater fishing.

This reel is designed with a machined-aluminum spool that offers a solid foundation for either the braided or monofilament line, depending on your choice.

As for the bail wire, it is made from heavy-duty aluminum along with an oversized line roller, helping to ensure that the reel will last longer.

Lastly, it has an aluminum handle arm as well as a customized EVA knob that offers comfort and control at the same time.

What We Like

The best feature of the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is its weight.

Most reels are quite heavy and are not meant for beginners as they would put a strain on their arms.

This reel is the best for beginners and expert anglers alike.

What We Don’t Like

The only thing that you won’t like about this reel is its size.

Although the stopping power is there, the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is too small for most anglers.

If you are accustomed to a reel that is a bit bigger, this is definitely not a good choice for you.

PROS

  • Very sturdy
  • Lightweight
  • Amazing drag
  • Comfortable to use

CONS

  • Too small

5. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel

The Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel comes from the Pflueger President series meant to offer affordable and effective spinning reels.

Every reel on this series was actually designed based on line diameters and offers different drag pressures.

Product Highlights

The Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel features a 10-bearing system. These are corrosion-resistant ball bearings that offer a very smooth retrieve.

However, this is not a sealed bearing system, so you will have to clean the reel thoroughly after using it in saltwater.

Aside from that, it also has a graphite body and rotor, a combination that makes the reel lightweight and durable at the same time.

The Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel has a braid-ready spool made from solid aluminum, allowing you to tie the braid directly to it through a series of vertical rubber grommets.

The Sure Click bail of Pflueger is made from heavy-duty aluminum, and it is stronger compared with the previous models.

It can provide an audible click that would tell you if the bail is open and ready.

The stainless-steel oil felt drag provides consistent drag pressure and also helps make the reel resistant to corrosion.

Additionally, the soft-touch ergonomic knob can make it easier for the anglers to grab the knob.

It has an aircraft-grade aluminum handle that is very durable.

What We Like

Among the reasons why you should get the Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel is its durability and comfort.

This walleye fishing reel is lightweight, so you won’t have a hard time using it.

What We Don’t Like

The only concern with the Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel is the bearing system.

It is not sealed, so you will have to make time to clean the system after every use.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • 10-bearing system
  • Easy to switch
  • Comfortable to use

CONS

  • The bearing system is not sealed

Buyer’s Guide

Finding the best reel for walleye fishing is a bit more complicated than you think.

Even if you are an experienced angler, you would still need to look at different options so as to find the one that meets all of your personal preferences and requirements.

To help you out, here are some of the factors to consider when looking for the best reel when fishing for walleye.

1. Purpose

For walleye fishing, you need to choose a reel based on the technique that you are going to practice.

Are you planning to do casting, trolling, or do you plan to do both?

If you are planning to cast spinners, soft baits, and jigs, you need to look for a decent-sized spinning reel because they are easier to cast during windy conditions.

If you are planning to troll, you need a spinning reel that is focused on precision.

When choosing a reel, you will need to do both casting and trolling, depending on the situation.

Hence, if you will spend time catching walleye, it is better to have both of the reels just in case the situation asks for it.

2. Line

When it comes to walleye fishing, there is a wide range of fishing lines that you can use.

Some lines are suited to particular situations; sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all fishing line that you can use.

If you are fishing in shallow areas, you can use monofilament lines and set the hook hard with it.

Monofilament lines also drop slower compared to others.

For the lines, you can go for a six-pound up to an eight-pound test line.

Make sure that you also look for colored lines when you are pitching.

If you plan to do trolling, you can go for lead core lines.

If you want a more general line for fishing walleye, you can opt for braided lines.

3. Capacity

When looking for a reel for walleye fishing, pay attention to the capacity of the reel to hold the line.

You have to be very careful and check if it can hold enough line to reach the areas where the walleye are located.

This type of fish usually stays at 20 feet deep in the water, so you need enough line to reach that area.

Most of the reels in the market will tell you its capacity, and you can try to assume how much line it can hold.

Aside from this, you should also make sure that your reel will have the capability to handle different length sizes.

Basically, the line has to be strong enough to withstand the strength of the walleye.

You will probably need thicker lines for this, and it should be long enough to reach deeper as well.

4. Drag

Drag is important, no matter what type of fish you plan to catch.

If you plan to fish walleye, you need a smooth drag system.

Walleye don’t require heavy lines, so you just need to make sure that the reel provides a smooth drag.

You don’t really need maximum drag settings because you won’t have to crank the reel too hard.

The best thing to do is to test the drag system for two-, three-, and four-pound settings.

Choose a reel that would allow you to make a smaller adjustment on the drug.

You should also check the reel if it is rough or jerky; there are some reels that claim they offer a smooth drag system even if the reel is actually rough.

It is pretty easy to find a reel with a smooth drag system, as most of the reels intended for walleye has this feature.

5. Gear Ratio

The gear ratio is the line speed for every turn on the reel.

If you are fishing in deep waters, you should go for low gear ratios.

High gear ratios are often used for shallow waters.

For walleyes, you would actually fish under 20 feet, so the best ratio that you can consider would be 5.1:1 or something that is very close to this.

You can play with the reel and check what ratio would suit your preferences.

Walleye Fishing Reel FAQs

1. What is an overhead reel?

An overhead fishing reel is the best choice for offshore fishing, especially if you are in a boat for trolling, live baiting, or bottom basing.

This type of reel will provide an easy hook set for you.

The best thing about this type of reel is its large line capacity.

As you all know, you need a large line capacity for walleye fishing, so it is perfect for catching this type of fish.

It also offers amazing drag capabilities.

2. What pound test should I use for walleye?

When it comes to walleyes, anywhere between a six-pound and an eight-pound test line is the best choice.

This is for general use, though.

If you are planning to catch bigger walleye, you can go up to a 14-pound line.

You can test them out and see which one would give you better chances of catching walleye.

However, you should never go lower than a four-pound line.

3. How do you fish a river walleye from shore?

If you plan to fish walleye from spillways and tailraces, you have to use big and snag-resistant lures.

Make sure that you only use large lures because they can emit large vibrations that would easily catch the attention of walleye.

In this kind of environment, smaller lures won’t be noticed and will only be blown out by the current.

You can also do big river wading since walleye usually go upstream to do their spawning ritual.

They are often searching for areas with sand, gravel, and scattered boulders.

The goal is to let them see your lures without having to move so much to reach it.

You should also check the timing because once the walleye start spawning, they won’t feed and they won’t move from their location.

4. What's the best time to fish for walleye?

The best time to catch walleye is during sunrise and sunset.

Walleye are like night predators, and they usually move to shallow waters during sunrise and sunset.

During this time, other fishes won’t see the baits at low light, but walleye can see them clearly, so you can easily get a bite.

5. How do you attract walleye?

The best way to attract walleye is to choose the lure carefully.

Walleye love leeches, minnows, and nightcrawlers, so make sure to use them when you are fishing for walleye.

Final Verdict

Among the reels mentioned above, we found that the Daiwa BG Spinning Reel is the best choice.

It has the basic features that you need for walleye fishing, although it is a bit heavy, it is significantly more durable compared to the other four wheels on the list.

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