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When purchasing a spinning reel, there’s a lot of different things to consider. Casting distance, drag, the weight of the reel, and cost are just a few.  Let’s face it, fishing reels can get expensive.  It is important to get the biggest bang for your buck without compromising quality for cost savings.

The difference between landing a fish and a good fishing story lies partly in the reel used.  Whether it be a brookie or a bass, we all live for the adrenaline rush when the line goes tight.  To help ensure that you win the battle when the fish takes your hook, below is a list of the 5 best spinning reels under $100.

The Penn Battle II has stepped up its game by keying Penn’s HT-100 Versa Drag carbon washers into the spool.  This allows the use of both sides of the washers creating a higher maximum drag and more range.  The HT stands for High Tech because it is carbon fiber laminated on fiberglass.  The 100 is the equivalent of the 100 miles of line taken from the reel during original testing without any sign of deterioration.

This reel also features Full Metal Body sideplate and rotor.  This does make it slightly heavier than other models but helps to ensure that it won’t flex under the weight of a larger fish.

Also, the Battle II has five ball bearings sealed to prevent corrosion from both saltwater and sand.  With a reel free from rust, you will be able to effortlessly cast farther.  The smooth drag and the longevity of this reel coupled with an affordable price point makes it our top pick!

pros
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
  • Five sealed ball bearings 
  • Good for both freshwater and saltwater
cons
  • The coating may scratch
  • Slightly heavier than some other models

Best ReviewsOkuma Inspira

Okuma Inspira spinning reels use a C-40X carbon fiber technology on their frame and side plates.  This design uses a special polymer blend.  The carbon fibers are elongated and reinforced. This makes a much stronger blend than traditional graphite.  It is 25% lighter, 50% stronger, and 100% anti-corrosive, making this design more rigid and lightweight.  An added benefit is the reduction of torque, keeping all internal parts perfectly aligned.

This reel also boasts its advanced Cyclonic Flow Rotor design.  This feature creates a “cyclonic” airflow that drastically increases airflow through the ported rotor, thereby creating a much faster drying time.  Faster drying time means that the potential for corrosion within the reel is minimized creating a longer lifespan.    

The Centrifugal Disc Bail is another reason why the Okuma Inspira deserves your attention.  It uses a heavier, perfectly weighted and balanced brass disc.  This makes for an easier bail operation while also increasing the stability and strength of the overall bail function.

The Centrifugal Disc Bail is another reason why the Okuma Inspira deserves your attention.  It uses a heavier brass disc which is perfectly weighted and balanced.  This makes for an easier bail operation while also increasing the stability and strength of the overall bail function.

pros
  • Lightweight and rugged frame
  • C-40X carbon frame and side plates
  • Cyclonic Flow Rotor design
cons
  • Does not come with a spare spool

Best ValueShimano Sedona fI

The Shimano Sedona FI offers a low price point while keeping the value you would expect from a Shimano product.  It touts the exceptional strength of its cold-forged HAGANE gearing system which provides long-lasting, durable, and strong performance.  This provides anglers with the power they need for both inshore and offshore fishing.    

Another feature worth recognizing is Shimano’s Propulsion Line Management System and G-Free body. The spool lip design allows the line to effortlessly slip off the spool, increasing the casting distance.  This feature also prevents against backlashes and wind knot entanglements.

Furthermore, increased drag power and gear ratios means this series can hand anything from light freshwater fish to the heavier offshore species, depending on the model chosen. 

Finally, the G-Free body design feature shifts the center of gravity closer to the rod.  By shifting the center of gravity closer to the fisherman’s hands, it helps to decrease fatigue and increase casting comfort. 

pros
  • Longer casting distances
  • HAGANE Gearing system
  • Can be used in both freshwater and salt water
cons
  • No toggle to release the spool
  • The reel tends to get stiff

Best Budget ReelKastKing Sharky III

KastKing is known for putting out a top-shelf, high-quality product. For the Sharky model, the third time is the charm. It is lighter, smoother, and stronger.

The Sharky’s triple-disc carbon fiber drag, stainless steel main shaft, and manganese brass pinion gears give you the superior strength and muscle you’ll need to land those bigger fish.  Also impressive is it’s super smooth retrieval.  Plus, its special Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool means that you won’t have to use backing line when spooling on braid fishing line.

The new and upgraded spinning reel has been sealed with a K.I.S.S. (KastKing Intrusion Shield System). The K.I.S.S. system is a unique water-resistant feature that protects the reel from dirt and water. This is a great component to have if your rod and reel accidentally go for a swim.

pros
  • Smooth drag system
  • Long casting distance
  • Affordable
  • Sealed with a K.I.S.S
cons
  • The retrieval could be smoother

Best for BeginnersKastking Summer and Centron

KastKing once again makes the list with its Summer and Centron model. This reel offers the best experience for beginners. One of its exceptional features is its lightweight, computer-balanced graphite frame. The lightweight frame makes it easier for even the most inexperienced angler to cast farther and more accurately.

The Superior Drag System offers great stopping power up to 17.5 lbs.  It has precision machined pinion gear making it a powerful piece of equipment during any fishing battle. 

The Summer and Centron has more fishing line capacity than previous models.  Added to its smooth performance are durable ball bearings and anti-reverse bearing.  The anti-reverse setting on the hook is a great feature for a fast response once you feel a hit. 

This spinning reel is voted best for beginners because it is affordable, casts effortlessly, has a sleek and lightweight frame, and is user-friendly. 

pros
  • Affordable

  • Great for beginners
cons
  • Not made for saltwater fishing

     

DIFFERENT TYPES OF REELS

There are a variety of different types of fishing reels.  The three most common are spincast, spinning, and baitcast.

Spincast reels are the easiest to use and are the most popular amongst beginners and children.  All you have to do is click the button with your thumb and cast away.  It is lightweight and fairly accurate.  It has low line capacity and gear speed, so it is not suitable for catching big fish.  Spincast reels are also not very durable.

Baitcast reels are popular amongst experienced anglers.  The reel sits on the top of the pole drastically changing both casting and retrieving.  These reels are great for making long, accurate casts.  With the push of a button, the line stops.  This is a notable feature as it will prevent an overshot.  A baitcast reel is harder to use and takes some practice, so it is more suitable for experienced fishermen.

Spinning reels are the most popular between all anglers regardless of skill level.  These reels are always found on the underside of the pole.  To begin your cast simply open the bail.  Once you have reached your desired spot, close the bail.  It’s that easy.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The most popular reels among anglers are spinning reels.  Its open-face design allows the spool to have excellent line capacity.  It is also easier to swap out line, should a heavier line be needed.

One main attraction of spinning reels is they can carry lighter lures farther.  It is capable of casting weightless lures up to ¼ oz. effortlessly.  Balanced perfectly underneath the rod, this reel will catch small to medium-sized fish all day long.

Another design feature is the effortless unwinding of the line. This allows the tackle to sink straight down instead of in a pendulum-like action. To avoid the pendulum effect, many experienced fishermen will pull line out manually as the lure sinks. This is an important feature when fishing near or around anything vertical like pilings, standing timber, and tall vegetation growing in deep water.

Perhaps as important as a straight vertical drop, the drag can be easily adjusted when fighting a fish.  You hear that familiar “click, click, click” sound, and it’s game on!  The battle has begun.  If your drag is too loose, there won’t be enough tension and the fish will slip off your hook.  Too tight and the line will break when it swims under your boat while making that one last-ditch effort for freedom.  It doesn’t matter if the drag is on the front or the back of the reel.  It is easily accessible giving the angler full range adjustment during the fight.

The last component worth mentioning is that spinning reels are ambidextrous.  All other reels are one or the other – either righthanded or lefthanded.  The handle on a spinning reel is swappable so it fits both righties and lefties perfectly.

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