8 Best Musky Reels: Guide To Select The Best Reel For Musky Fishing Included


Are you looking for good musky reels?  So, here we will discuss with you some of the best musky reels, a few of them, which we think can make it to our top musky reels list. We recommend these reels to all the anglers, regardless of experience and skillsets.


Before we get to that, why do you need a quality reel? In our view, investing in a good reel is something that every musky angler should do. The best musky spinning reel will help you with musky tackle. To be honest with you, your choice of the musky reel will decide whether you end up having an enjoyable fishing experience or just any other day full of rat nests, aggravations, and knotted line.


Many fishers wish to know which is the best reel for musky fishing for beginners or the best one for casting or trolling, or simply the best value for money reel. See, the honest truth is, there is no such thing as the best musky spinning reel. What may be the best for you may not fit the bill for someone else, and vice versa. The choice of the musky reel will depend a lot on the water you fish and the fishing style you adopt.


Quickly Navigate Through The Best Musky Reels


Certain anglers prefer baitcasters, while we have seen many others who just cannot stand baitcasters and like spinning reels better. Some like the newer, more compact designs, while others still shop for the traditional round reels. Regardless of your preference, we have done some groundwork to help you find the best muskie reels. Now, we won’t just leave you with a list of the top musky reels and leave you alone to pick any one from them. We will take it a step ahead and help you with a buying guide that will enable you to find the musky reel that will cater to your needs, preferences, and budget. Continue reading below.


Top Rated Best Musky Reels Compared

ProductRatingPriceBuy Now

Shimano Tranx – Best Musky Reels


$279 – $349.00Buy Now

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel


$79.99Buy Now

Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Reel

4.7$155-$399Buy Now

Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Reel


$127.90Buy Now

KastKing Kapstan Elite Low-Profile Musky Fishing Reel


$129.99Buy Now

Zebco/Quantum, Big Cat XT Musky Fishing Reel


N/ABuy Now

Shimano Calcutta D CT400D


$381Buy Now

Daiwa Lexa Hyper Speed 6CRBB


$269.99Buy Now



Top Rated Best Musky Reels Review

1. Shimano Tranx – Top Musky Reels

At number one in our top musky reels list is the Shimano Tranx, which will give you the true value for money. It is arguably the best reel for musky fishing.


While engaging in musky fishing, there are several times when finesse is rewarded. However, there are also times when brute force will do the trick for you. If your preference is the latter, then Shimano Tranx is ideally the best reel for musky fishing for you. Given its high-power, we regard it as one of the best musky reels for large musky baits such as the bull dawgs.


Keeping aside its distinctive good looks and the fact that it is the best musky reel for the money for the anglers who wish to take charge of the fight. It is capable of handling anything, which bites in freshwater and saltwater. The reel comes with HEG & X-Ship technologies, which ensure almost effortless retrieves, and massive cranking power to cast huge muskie lures and landing trophy muskies. Additionally, the reel has a built-in water resistance owing to its innovative CoreProtect technology. This helps Shimano stand right to its claims of being incredibly durable.


Shimano Tranx has a bunch of different best musky reels models. So, you can easily find one that best caters to your needs. It includes 500, 400, 300, and 200. Do analyze all of them before choosing and find yourself the best musky reel for the money from the brand.


$279 – $349.00


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Key features

  • Powerful low profile baitcasting reel
  • Can tackle anything and everything that swims
  • Ideal for both freshwater and saltwater
  • Engineered with the core-protect water resistant technology of Shimano
  • Long lasting performance
  • Highly durable
  • Performs exceedingly well in harsh environments
  • Hagane construction that offers a metal reel body
  • Impact resistance
  • Massive cranking power
  • Smooth and effortless retrieve
  • Ideal for throwing huge baits and catching big fishes
  • Max drag: 22 lbs.
  • Gear ratio: 5.8:1
  • Weight: 11.6 oz.
  • Line retrieve: 30″
  • Ball bearings: 5ball bearings and 1 rb
  • Power pro line cap: 40/195; 50/190; 65/125
  • Mono line cap: 12/230; 14/180; 17/150
  • Retrieve: right / handle: double



  • Best musky reel 2020.
  • Reasonable price point
  • Rock solid build
  • Saltwater capable
  • Powerful drag system
  • Can handle even the biggest of fish.
  • Outstanding power
  • Superior torque



  • Could use very minor refinements to the smoothness and knobs


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2. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel – Good Musky Reels For Beginners

If you are new to fishing, and you are not ready to make any serious financial commitment by investing in top of the line gear, then you can shop for the KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel. It is one of the best musky reels for beginners and is immensely affordable.


KastKing Rover is one of those good musky reels known for its durability, functionality, and quality. These reels deliver phenomenal power, fantastic design, and a good performance at a very affordable price tag. Thus, anglers who need a dependable and affordable level wind round baitcasting reel to add to their collection will surely appreciate the KastKing Rover’s top-quality.


This affordable and one of the best musky reels will surely last you a couple of seasons. So, in our view, you can use this best reel for musky fishing while you are figuring out the sport.




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Key features

  • Reinforced with thicker hard anodized aluminum side plates
  • Precision cut brass gears
  • CNC machined spool
  • Industry-first stainless steel worm gear
  • All alloy flawless level wind
  • Stainless steel shaft and other components
  • Durable
  • Patented metal idle gear
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Superior carbon fiber drag system
  • Cymbal Washer” System that offers up to 30LB of smooth drag
  • MaxiDur double shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • 6 + 1 BBs on Size 40-60, 4 + 1 BBs on 70 – 90
  • Conventional reel for trolling, bottom fishing, and other techniques
  • Freshwater and saltwater compatible
  • Oversized nonslip EVA grips
  • Easy access thumb bar spool release



  • Best musky reel for the money
  • Great for beginners



  • Not the best performance-wise
  • Won’t last you many seasons


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3. Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast Reel – Second Runner Up In Top Musky Reels

Next in line for the good musky reels is the Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast. It is a phenomenal reel with seven stainless steel ball bearings and a roller bearing, an active response drag mechanism, a carbon drag system, and an aluminum spool. This is undoubtedly one smooth and nice reel, which is perfect for chasing the big fish.


This heavy-duty best musky reel for the money has excellent cranking power and comes with an option in gear ratio. You can either go with the 4.9:1 or 6.2:1 gear ratio depending on the good line capacity and the model chosen. The aluminum spool of this best musky reel for the money ensures that your reel stays lightweight while still staying strong. This is one of the better-designed reels for giant muskies. Thus, if you are okay with splurging, you can surely find a reel that is ahead of the basic ones out there.




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Key features

  • Powerful and a low profile baitcast fishing reel
  • Can battle hard-pulling fish
  • 7 stainless steel HPCR bearings and 1 roller bearing
  • Smooth operation
  • Long-lasting durability
  • Power Stack Carbon Matrix drag system
  • Unparalleled power and smoothness
  • InfiniMax Braking System
  • Handles large baits
  • Near-limitless adjustability
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Duragear Heavy Duty gear design
  • X-Craftic alloy frame
  • Titanium-coated line guide



  • Heavy-duty good musky reels
  • Smooth and powerful.
  • Comes with 3 different handles – power handle, paddle handle and power handle with a counterweight
  • High line capacity – good for the big game
  • Comes in left- and right-handed models.



  • There’s no clicker
  • Expensive


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4. Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile Reel

Next in our list of the best musky reels is the Okuma Coldwater 350 Low Profile. This reel comes with a die-cast aluminum handle, frame, and side plate. This is predominantly the reason for its nice and lightweight body. The design of this one of the best musky reels makes it fit well in hand, and its oversized handle does feel excellent.


Being one of the best muskie reels, it is an excellent pick for beginners who have some experience and wish to try taking it to the next level. The reel has a phenomenal gear ratio of 5.4:1 gear ratio and drag of 25 lbs. So, it is capable of standing up to a heavy and a good battle. Lastly, we would end the review for this reel by saying that it is one of the best musky reels for musky fishing and is ideal for beginners who need a little more than just basics.




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Key features

  • Corrosion-resistant sideplates and frame
  • Lightweight
  • Multi-disc carbonite drag system
  • Aluminium handle arm
  • Ergo grip handle knobs
  • Rigid diecast aluminium frame and handle side plates
  • Machined aluminum, two tone anodized spool
  • Oversized machine cut brass XL drive and pinion gears



  • Lightweight but powerful.
  • Fast retrieve.
  • Looks awesome.
  • Comes in left- and right-handed models.



  • 4:1 gear ratio might not provide enough torque for the heaviest muskies


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5. KastKing Kapstan Elite Low-Profile Musky Fishing Reel

Next, we have the KastKing Kapstan Elite low-profile musky fishing reel. It is the best musky reel for the money, and having this reel in hand; you can surely expect to rule the water when you are out there fishing for a musky. In addition to being one of those good musky reels, the reel’s popularity is also attributed to the high demand and reliability of this brand. KastKing has always been known to yield best musky reels for the anglers.


The brand behind many top musky reels is known to be attentive to the anglers’ needs and desires. We love how the manufacturers have added click spook adjustments that can be turned on and off to cater to your needs and preferences. The line indicator for these best musky reels

is also a phenomenal addition that helps you see how much weight you can possibly retrieve effortlessly.


When we took this one of the best musky reels for a test run, we noticed that the line does seem a bit shaky. Though it is one of the best musky reels, it may give rise to some significant problems, such as spool locks and line twisting in beginner anglers.


The line indicator will allow aiming for bigger targets without any issue. So, if you want the best musky reel for the money, this is it.




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Key Features

  • Powerful gear system featuring a 5.41 gear ratio
  • Stainless-steel shaft for durability, smoothness and low noise
  • Additional line capacity for long-distance casting
  • Eight MaxiDur stainless-steel bearings with double shielding
  • Manganese brass main gear and pinion gears
  • Triple-disc carbon drag featuring capacity up to 35 pounds
  • Best musky reels with wide body design
  • Best muskie reels perfect for salmon, steelhead, muskie, pike, catfish or bass
  • Perfect for freshwater and inshore saltwater
  • Wide (5.1 inches), aluminum handle with large oversized, comfortable EVA grips
  • Manganese brass main and pinion gears
  • Instant anti-reverse bearing for a total of 8+1 BB
  • Click adjustments for accurate control and it won’t back off
  • On/off switch for the audible spool clicker
  • Ergo-Twist Opening System




  • Braid-ready aluminum spool
  • Centrifugal braking system
  • Ergo twist handling
  • Line indicator located on the palm side
  • Right and left-handed bait caster
  • Click spool adjustments
  • Perfect for long casts, bigger baits and bigger fish



  • The reel may be too small in size for some anglers



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6. Zebco/Quantum, Big Cat XT Musky Fishing Reel

Next in our list of the best musky reels is the Zebco/Quantum Big Cat XT musky fishing reel. We have included this one in our good musky reels collection because of its phenomenal drag and performance. The brand of this reel has always given significant competition to even the most expensive best muskie reels.


Being one of the best musky reels, its casting and retrieval are both excellent. This means that owning this reel, one of the best musky reels, will always ensure a smooth fishing experience.


A prime reason why it has been included in our best musky reels for the money  is its long cast distance, which is possible because of the reel size of 30. Furthermore, in our list of the top musky reels, this one stands out for its yard capacity, which is certainly quite impressive. The drag capacity of this one of the best muskie reels is also adequate. Thus, owning one of the best muskie reels means that you can easily catch hold of a big musky with a reduced running rate as the retrieval is relatively fast and smooth.


Though this is one of the top musky reels, you do not get a swappable handle with this bait caster. Furthermore, there is another problem that left-handed people will find with these best muskie reels, and that is that this reel is suitable only for right-handed anglers. So, if you are a left-handed angler, you may want to give this one a miss.


On the whole, the Zebco/Quantum, Big Cat XT Musky fishing reel is one of the best musky reels, ideal for anglers bugged with poor retrievals. As it is one of the best muskie reels, it does offer you the bang for the buck, especially in terms of performance.



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Key Features

  • Round baitcaster
  • Aluminum frame
  • Line click adjustment
  • Synchronized level wind right-handed baitcaster
  • Right hand retrieve
  • Mono capacity of 455/30
  • Ability to hold 735-yards of 65-pound braided line
  • Corrosion-resistant gear system
  • Best muskie reels ideal for medium species such as catfish, striper, bass, and walleye
  • Strong frame
  • Quick Set anti-reverse technology
  • 2 bearings
  • open-cast fishing reel
  • 29-inch retrieve rate
  • One-year warranty



  • Dual corrosion-resistant bearing
  • Gear ratio 4.21 and mono yard capacity is 30 pounds
  • Quick retrieves
  • Lightweight frame



  • Looks average


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7. Shimano Calcutta D CT400D

We have tested several good musky reels. Of them, one brand topped in our best muskie reels list, and now we have another one from the brand’s best muskie reels collection, and that is the Calcutta D CT400D.


It is one of the top musky reels, which is renowned for its excellent quality. Though it stands at number seven in our top musky reels, it does not mean that it is any less than others. The reel has a gear ratio of 5.1:1. Thus, it perfectly fits into our “musky zone.” Further, being one of those good musky reels, it has a retrieve rate of 27 inches per crank. This shows that these best musky reels are indeed an all-around performer.


The maximum drag of this reel is quite underwhelming at only fifteen pounds, and that is why we have ranked it low in our best musky reels list. However, this is a lightweight reel, and it comes in at 11.8 ounces. Though it is a bit of a trade-off, the lighter weight can be quite helpful with the handling.




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Key features

  • Gear Ratio:1:1
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank:27 in.
  • Max Drag:15 lbs
  • Construction:Metal
  • Weight: 8oz
  • Perfect for freshwater and saltwater
  • Great cranking power
  • Durable
  • Will last you many seasons
  • Equipped with Shimano’s X-Ship technology for better free-spooling
  • Better ergonomic comfort
  • Best muskie reels with compact body




  • Lightweight
  • Perfect gear ratio
  • Nice build quality



  • Max drag only 15 pounds


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8. Daiwa Lexa Hyper Speed 6CRBB

Last in our best musky reels list is the Daiwa Lexa 6CRBB reel. The hyper-speed does not even begin to touch on this reel. Having a gear ratio of 8:1:1, which is also the highest amongst our other mentioned good musky reels, you will surely not find a reel that pulls a line this fast.


However, since it is one of the best musky reels, it is both comfortable and lightweight. Its EVA rubber knobs handle design makes it ideal for both high-speed swimbaits and low-speed glide baits. Thus, with this reel, you can expect a good speed range.


Daiwa has been quite an old brand in fishing work. It has been around since 1955 and has always stayed at the forefront, and they have not let their fans down with their Lexa Hyper Speed 6CRBB reels.


A deserving entrant in our best muskie reels, the reel is renowned for its lightweight aluminum & graphite construction. Initially, this reel was engineered for inshore saltwater. So, you know it can easily withstand the challenges of freshwater fishing for big Muskies and Pike. On the whole, it is a compact design, lightweight reel, which feels good in the hand. Enough said, its price tag only adds to its popularity.




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Key features

  • Line Capacity: 200 yards @ 80lb test.
  • Line Weights: Up to 80lb test.
  • The best gear ratio for a musky reel of 8.1: 1
  • Line per handle turn is 43″
  • Great bearing system and contains 6+1 bearings
  • The maximum drag force is 25 lbs
  • Made with high-quality building material
  • Gives comfort while fishing with its EVA handle




  • Best musky reel for the money.
  • Great drag system.
  • Small form factor.
  • High line capacity.
  • Best musky reel under $200.



  • Not suited for smaller baits.


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How To Select The Best Musky Reel?


Of course, we have presented the list of the best musky reels to you, but the honest truth is not all of them will be equal. If you are a serious angler, you would know that the only way you can land an aggressive fish like musky is by having a solid reel. This means that you should use a baitcasting reel, as they are durable and sturdy to fight even the toughest fights.


Yes, you can certainly pick other reels, but why would you want to lower your chances of success by shopping for an inferior reel for the job. It will result in an unsuccessful day at fishing, thereby leading to anger, frustration, and heartbreak.


Here, in this section, we will discuss some of the vital aspects you need to consider when shopping for the best reel for musky fishing.


See, all you have your preferences, but these aspects are essential to give thought to regardless of whether you shop for the reel from our best muskie reels list or pick one of your own choices from the market.



Muskies are usually tough and large fishes. They require sturdy gear, which can handle the rigor of landing them. Your chosen best musky spinning reel will be the one taking the most abuse, as the muskies can be very strenuous. It means not all reels will do the trick for you. Of course, you can chase muskies with an old Zebco, which your granddad gifted you, but let’s be honest with you, the chances of it being shattered from the sheer force of the muskies or the massive lures are very high.


Thus, when you shop for the good musky reels, always pick something tough and rugged. Only then, your best spinning reel for musky will be able to withstand the battle force with a trophy fish every time you set your hook. More so, with a sturdy and the best spinning reel for musky, you will never have to be bothered about a hardware malfunction.


Gear Ratio

Typically for the best muskie reels, the gear ratio varies from 4.6:1 to over 8.1:1. Now, the big question that you may be faced with is, what does this ratio imply? See, the first digit means the rotations that a spool takes for every single full turn of your reel’s handle. Thus, if your chosen best musky spinning reel has a gear ratio of 5.1:1, the spool will rotate 5.1 times per single, complete turn of the reel’s handle. When shopping for the best spinning reel for musky, please bear in mind that the lower the gear ratio’s numerator is, the slower your reel can retrieve. It usually comes with a much higher torque power. The torque power means that you will have to employ less energy into retrieving the bait.


Different gear ratios come with different use cases. Thus, ideally, when shopping for the best reel for musky fishing, we recommend going with the one that has a gear ratio in the range of 5:1 – 5.7:1.


Line Retrieve Per Crank

This number is mentioned in inches. It will tell you exactly how far you can retrieve the line with only a single turn of your handle. It is a significant number as it lets you know how much work you will have to put in for retrieving the lure or land your hooked fish.


If you pick the top musky reels with a low gear ratio, the retrieval rate will be slower than the other speedier reels available in the market. The analysis of this specification is done with a full spool of line on the reel. Keeping the reel full will ensure that this number stays consistent, and your reel feels just the same every time.


Line Weight

Selecting the best reel for musky fishing takes into account the weight of muskies. As far as the weight is concerned, muskies have a large diversity. Their weight ranges from 15 to 36 pounds. This means that you will require a line weight to handle a giant fish without stressing or pulling it. Ideally, we would recommend you to fish with an approximately 80-pound line. It will ensure that the line is powerful enough to hold even the largest musky.


Generally speaking, you can be pretty confident with your 80-pound fishing line because it can withstand even the monstrous lures that you may come across when catching muskies. A lot of people have this misconception that their 65-pound test line will be okay. However, in reality, anything lower than 80 pounds can break with a hard enough cast.


Line Capacity

Like the line weight is vital for catching a musky, the amount of line you can put in the reel is also equally important. You need to ensure that you can load approximately 140 yards of 80 lb. test line for optimal fishing.


If you cannot hold an adequate amount of line in your chosen best reel for musky fishing, you are up for a disaster. Suppose you are in a battle with a giant musky, and the fish takes off; it may easily run out of the line and snap or fray it. We know that you will hate to lose a fish like that, so bear the line capacity in mind when shopping for the best spinning reel for musky.



Right or Left Handed

The last factor of consideration that you need to bear in mind when shopping for the best musky spinning reel is the handedness of the reel.


If you are a left-handed person, you will want to shop for the best musky spinning reel made with you in mind. Of course, the choices are a bit limited; it sure does raise the enjoyment level exponentially to have the best spinning reel for musky that fits your body just right.


You need to bear some vital aspects in mind when shopping from our top musky reels list. Though most of the good musky reels that we have reviewed above are quite similar, they have some minor differences worth noting.


Hopefully, this guide will come in handy and enable you to shop for the best reel for musky fishing. Is picking the best musky spinning reel that important? See, we would like to close this by saying that shopping for the best musky spinning reel is what makes the difference between landing the musky and having it snap your line and swim away. So, use this guide well, and you can certainly make a decision that you do not regret.


Best Musky Spinning Reels: FAQs


Ques 1. What do you understand by musky fishing?

Ans. Muskies, or as many of you may know  the fish of ten thousand casts are a species of large freshwater fish, which are native to the large rivers and the lakes of North America. The muskies look much like the pike. They are the predators who swiftly bite the prey and swallow the head first. In all circumstances, they eat the fish in their ecosystems, such as ducks, frogs, rats, and muskrat.



Ques 2. I want to engage in musky fishing. What is the gear needed?

Ans. To indulge in musk fishing, you will need bait, a line, a reel, and a rod. Further, it would be best if you also had a release tool for release and catch. Additionally, you will have to shop for hook cutters or bolt, needlenose pliers, and a jaw spreader. Please bear in mind that muskies have incredibly sharp teeth. So, to guard your hands against them, we recommend gloves to all musky anglers. A knife and a catch net will also come in handy.


Another incredibly vital piece in the whole kit is the fishing vest. See, there are a myriad of pockets, which are exquisitely designed for fishing gear. Hence, if you like to keep it organized, we recommend a fishing vest.



Ques 3. What type of rod should you invest in for musky fishing?

Ans. See, if your primary preference is musky fishing, we recommend a reasonably long rod for you, maybe something that is 9” (a rod longer than that would only be better). Further, you should shop for a rod that is robust and can throw large rubber baits, but simultaneously soft to work glide baits and topwater.



Ques 4. What line capacity is needed for a musky reel?

Ans. When you are chasing a musky, you will have to go with the test line of 150 yards or more of 65lbs to 100 lbs.



Ques 5. Can we use the regular reels for catching muskies, or do we need the specific ones only?

Ans. See, if you are an angler who has a surf fishing reel, we cannot for sure say that whether you can use it for your muskies or not. Some of them may be ideal for chasing muskies, while others may not. Generally speaking, most reels are not constructed for the twenty to thirty pounds of drag, which musky fish usually runs. So, before you test your reel against musky, do ensure that it is strong enough for the fight or simply choose one from our above stated list of best reels for musky fishing.


Bottom Line

Generally, the best spinning reel for musky is built to a good specification, and as with a bunch of things in life, shopping for the best musky reel for the money would surely mean that you will get the value for what you pay for. Regardless of how good quality your rod is, if you shop for a cheap reel, it will end in a disaster. Anytime you put the cheap musky reel under any kind of reel pressure, it is bound to fail.  Better invest in some of these best spinning reel for musky.


A giant muskie that has its head pointed down into the reed bed once hooked can be strenuous on the reel’s drag, and if your chosen reel has poor-quality components, you are up for some failure.