Best Red Drum Reels – Important Factors to Look for When Choosing One

FIshing rod and reel for red drum

When choosing from the variety of the best drum reels for yourself, there are many factors you should consider and this article will surely help you with that. The tackle you use when fishing for reds will determine if you’ll be successful or not. A good tackle, that is one tailored for the type of fish you intend to catch will increase your chances of catching that prize fish you cherish for. A poorly selected tackle, however, can make you toil the sea for eternity.

A reel is one of the most important components of a tackle. When hunting for reds, you will need to equip yourself with the best fishing reel. This is because reds are aggressive eaters; they can grow to a length of 37 inches, and can weigh more than 60 pounds. Due to the amazing features they possess, it is safe to say that reds are one of the toughest game fish to catch. That being said, if you aren’t conversant with the tackle market and you need help regarding the selection of redfish reels, I’ve got you covered.

The Best Red Drum Reels – All Types:

In this section we will provide 5 of the best red drum reels for any type of fishing you might choose along with short description and stats.

Reels:Type:Material:Gear Ratio:Bearings:Weigth:Price:Our Verdict:
Penn ConflictSpinningFull Metal Body6.2:17+17.8 oz170$9.9/10
Penn Battle II & IIISpinningFull Metal Body6.2:15+112.8 oz82+$9.6/10
Abu Garcia Revo SXCastingX2-Cräftic™ alloy frame7.3:19+17.8 oz140$9.8/10
SHIMANO Curado KCastingPower AL aluminum frame8.5:16+17.8 oz180$9.8/10
Daiwa Sealine-X SHA Surf FishingPower AL aluminum frame6.1:15+318.72 oz200$9.9/10

PENN Conflict Spinning

PENN Conflict

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  • Used by professionals worldwide
  • Made using only the highest quality components
  • Tested for quality and durability
  • Features a full metal body with a braid ready superliner spool and line capacity rings
  • High strength graphite rotor (models 1000-4000)
  • Aluminum rotor (models 5000-8000)
  • All rotor designs are Techno-Balanced for smooth and balanced retrieve every time
  • 7+1 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and an Infinite Anti-Reverse bearing

Penn Battle II & III

Penn Battle II & III

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  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptional durability
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness
  • Fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti reverse bearing
  • Superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity

Abu Garcia Revo SX

Abu Garcia Revo SX

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  • 9 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing provides smooth Operation
  • C6 carbon sideplates provide significant weight reduction without sacrificing strength and durability
  • Duragear brass gear for extended gear life



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  • Gear ratio: 6.2:1, Weight: 7.6 ounce
  • Mono Line Capacity (lbs/yd): 8/180, 10/155, 14/110
  • PowerPro Line Capacity (lbs/yd): 30/190, 50/120, 65/80
  • Line retrieve per crank: 26 inch
  • Max. dragforce: 11 lbs, Bearings: 6 S A RB and 1 Rollerbearing

Daiwa Sealine-X SHA

Daiwa Sealine-X SHA

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  • Free-floating spool, separates the spool from the gear train on outcast for less friction, longer casts and faster Lure drop
  • Massive, six-element sealed drag, ultra-smooth and consistent
  • Tough marine bronze and stainless steel gears
  • High-tensile aluminum spool, super-strong yet Super light in weight
  • 5 bearing System (3CRBB)

Important Factors to Look for When Choosing Red Drum Reel:

All anglers want to be successful at what they do. They want to go out there, plunge their fishing rod (best red drum rods are provided in this article) in the river and reel in a big catch. No angler wants less than that. However, what most anglers don’t understand is that to be successful in this endeavour, one needs to pay attention to several details. It’s not just about your skills. You might be a good angler and are pretty good with a rod. Well, even with such exceptional skills, without the right tackle, you’ll end up being frustrated.

Important things to note when selecting one from the variety of red drum reels for yourself:

  • Line Capacity
  • Gear Ratio
  • Size and Weight
  • Drag Design
  • Corrosion Resistance
  • Ball Bearings
  • Action

Most anglers (novice in particular) don’t conduct in-depth research before visiting the tackle shop to buy tackle. They simply walk in a pick any red drum bait and tackle that look appealing. A professional angler wouldn’t do that.

You would agree that it would be unwise to fish for reds with a reel that is meant for catfishing. Thus, when selecting a reel, there are some crucial factors you have to consider. The line bearing capacity, the drag design, the ball bearings, etc. are some of those important factors. So ensure that the features of the red drum reel you intend to buy can help you not just capture reds, but match their aggressiveness as well.

Line Capacity:

Reds are known to be fast swimmers. They can be here one second and the next, they are nowhere to be found. So to capture this fish, you will require a lengthy fishing line. If peradventure, you decide to go after reds during the winter season, you will require a very long fishing line because at that period, they can be found at the base of bays including deep holes.

But, during summer, you can always find them 10 to 30 feet underneath the water. So at that period, a shorter line would execute the job. But, my general advice is to go for a deep spool with higher line capacity.

Gear Ratio:

In a reel, a gear ratio is an indication of the number of times the reel spool rotates each time you rotate the reel handle. The gear ratio of a reel is regarded as one of the most significant hardware that makes the reel efficient and enhances the functionality of the reel. It is recommended that every angler goes for a reel that boasts of a higher ratio because a reel with a lower ratio will end up being slow. This is certainly not what you would want when going after a fish as aggressive and fast as the redfish.

In addition, I’ll recommend that you go for a reel that comes with a gear ratio of 5:1 or more. This will improve your efficiency and allow you capture reds precisely.

P.S Novice anglers often find it hard to catch red drum with live bait. If you are among the fold, be rest assured that it is quite easy. All you need is composure and the right live bait.

Size and Weight:

To catch reds without much stress, you will need to equip yourself with a medium-sized or ultra-light reel. So, if you wish to select a medium-sized reel without compromising its effectiveness, then it is important you have an insight into the different materials manufacturers use to build reels. Graphite and aluminum are regarded as the two most popular materials utilized by manufacturers in making spinning reels.

Graphite and aluminum both have pros and cons. Let’s take aluminum, for instance. This metal is well known for its durability and high quality. Reels made of this material are durable; they can withstand the harshness of saltwater. However, aluminum is heavier than graphite, but graphite is not as durable as aluminum. Because of this, lots of anglers often find it hard to select the appropriate material for their redfish reel.

I’ll always recommend that novice and professional anglers go for aluminum made fishing reel because it is not as heavy as stainless steel, and you can capture reds with such reel, which is a little heavier than the mid-weight reel. However, if you are a novice, you might have to opt for mid-size, mid-weight reel because it will assist in your battle against aggressive reds. But here is something you should understand; graphite made reels are not as long-lasting as aluminum made reels. You cannot make use of them on the horizon of time; however, if you look after your graphite reel well enough, you should be able to use it for 3-5 years.

You can also consider reels made of composite materials. Most of the composite materials are lightweight and long-lasting as well.

Nowadays, lots of brands are making use of aluminum and graphite to manufacture a reel. This allows them to take advantage of the benefits of both materials, thus making the reel more long-lasting and lightweight. So, when purchasing a fishing reel, it is important that you scrutinize its built material meticulously because it will help you grasp the weight of the reel. In addition, you must also make sure that the size of your reel isn’t small; neither is it too big. A mid-size reel is best for capturing red bass.

Drag design:

Reds are bigger than lots of freshwater fish out there. Because of this, you will require a very potent reel that boasts of greater drag strength to capture this fish. The average size of a redfish sold in the market is 25 kg. So, while purchasing red drum fishing reel or rod, you have to make sure that it has the capacity to handle that much weight.

The drag strength of a reel is likewise accountable for its versatility. Here you must understand that most saltwater fishes are bigger and stronger than the freshwater counterpart. Because of this, you will need to arm yourself with a reel that boasts of versatility and strength. A reel that boasts of an enormous drag strength will allow you to capture bigger species of saltwater fish like yellowfin tuna, striped bass, great barracuda, and so on.

Corrosion Resistance:

Reds are inshore fishes, so when you attempt to capture them, your reel becomes vulnerable to the corrosiveness of inshore environments. At this point, it is very important that you understand that corrosion can wreak havoc on your reel. It can destroy the workability and durability of your equipment. Because of this, you must scrutinize the quality of the reel meticulously before purchasing it. In addition, it is also important you ensure that the reel is equipped with protective coatings. If you buy any reel after looking out for these two things, the corrosive nature of the bay won’t have much effect on it.

Ball Bearings:

Ball bearings remain a very significant factor to consider when purchasing a reel. Ball bearing ensures that your reel boast of a smooth retrieval and casting. Several anglers think that they should derive the most ball bearings. But this is unnecessary. When targeting reds, you should make use of a higher gear ratio. This is because reds are very strong. Thus, you will require a spool that can turn fast to obtain more power against the fish.


This is certainly not the type of action you witness in action movies; this type of action is quite different. If you are targeting a red drum, it is wise to consider a moderate or fast-action rod. This will allow you to make far cast a well. In addition, a fast-action rod boasts of sensitivity, compared to its counterpart.


When it comes to buying the best reel for reds, most anglers often complain that it is difficult to find the ideal type. Of course, getting the ideal reelcan be difficult, only if you lack the information I just shared. With the factors mentioned above, you should be able to confidently walk into a tackle shop and select the ideal fishing reel for your channel bass fishing trip.

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