Looking to purchase the best baitrunner reel? Then you have come to the right place.
While the spinning reel is a versatile fishing tool, there are drawbacks when working fish that take live bait and make a run before the hook can be set properly. However, things have changed with baitrunner or baitfeeder spinning reels on the market.
In this post, we are going to take an up-close look on a few models, but before we do that let’s answer a question many people have…
What is a Baitrunner reel?
Baitrunners allow the spool to go into a free spool mode that allows the line to be pulled from the spool while the bail is closed and without drag pressure. Once enough time has passed the front drag can be employed quickly with an efficient hook set.
Here we have listed five models that employ excellent free spool mechanisms and with further details/videos below.
What is the best baitrunner reel?
Here is a quick preview of what we think to be the top 5…
- SHIMANO BAITRUNNER
- Okuma ABF Avenger Baitfeeder
- KastKing Sharky
- Okuma Trio
- Daiwa Emcast Bite & Run
Specs: (4000D Model)
- Ball Bearing Count: 3+1
- Gear Ratio: 4.8:1
- Line Retrieve: 28 inches
- Line Capacity: Mono, 8/240 yards, 10/200 yards, 12/160 yards,
- Maximum Drag: 15 lbs
- Baitrunner Drag: 2 lbs
- Weight: 13.5 ounces
The first to add to our list of the best baitrunner reel is the SHIMANO BAITRUNNER Spinning Reel. This reel is available in 4 different models with reel weights ranging between 13.5 and 30oz. These are durable reels that feature both forged aluminum and high modulus graphite reel parts.
All models have a 2.2lb max rear drag that can be adjusted in extremely fine increments to keep the line from over running in free spool mode.
All models have a nice smooth retrieval and casting performance with the 3+1 anti-rust bearings.
All models have a gear ratio of 4.8:1 with 28-37” line retrieval rates.
Regarding front reel drag, these models can produce between 15-20lbs of max drag once the drag system is engaged.
The Baitrunner D provides plenty of line capacity so letting the line run is not a concern. The smallest model can hold up to 160yards of 12lb monofilament while the largest model can spool 265 yards on 20lb monofilament.
There is an easy to handle and access rear drag adjustment switch on the back of the reel stem. Once a fish is running you simply have to crank the handle to engage the spool and front drag and set the hook.
The Baitrunner D also offers all the usual reel technology offered by Shimano such as propulsion line management and Super Stopper II anti-reverse bearings.
Take a closer look at the SHIMANO BAITRUNNER in the following video:
Specs: (40 model)
- Ball Bearing Count: 6+1
- Gear Ratio: 4.5:1
- Line Capacity: Mono, 8/270 yards, 10/190 yards, 12/170 yards
- Line Retrieval: 29 inches
- Weight: 11.3 ounces
- Maximum Drag: 13 lbs
There are six models available for the Okuma ABF Avenger Baitfeeder Series. These reels are one of the more popular baitrunner reels on the market and for a good reason. They are lightweight coming in between 8 and 27.6 oz depending on the model size.
The Avenger uses a multi-disk drag system with felt drag washers that can put on 8-22lbs of max drag.
The Avenger ABF is constructed from corrosion resistant materials making them great for not on freshwater, but also saltwater environments.
The S-curve designed rotor is perfectly balanced and lays line on the spool as well as any other reel on the list and negated a lot of potential line twist.
The Avenger features a simple but reliable on/off bait feeding switch located along the back of the reel stem that allows you to disengage the spool without opening the bail. When you are ready to set the hook simply turn the handle, and the front drag will be in play.
The rear spool tension adjustment knob makes very fine increment adjustments to the rear drag to set up your line feeding speed perfectly.
Once the spool is engaged, the Avenger ABF models have excellent gear ratios and line retrieval rates ranging from 5.0:1 to 4.5:1 with rates of 25-40″ per handle rotation.
With all these features there is no wonder the Okuma ABF Avenger is on our list of the best baitrunner spinning reel.
Learn more in the following video:
Specs: (4000 Model)
- Ball Bearing Count: 10 + 1
- Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
- Maximum Drag 33 lbs
- Line Capacity: 10/190 yards, 12/140 yards, 15/110 yards
- Carbon Fiber Drag
- Weight: 15.1 ounces
The next spinning reel we are going to take a close look at is the KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder.
The Sharky Baitfeeder designed and produced by KastKing provides fantastic bait feeding and general spinning reel performance for an incredibly reduced price when compared to their competitors. It is also a nice reel to look at with its black finish with red trim.
The Sharky Baitfeeder is available in the 3000, 4000, 5000, and 6000 models that come in at 14.4-23.9oz and have a 5.2:1 gear ratio.
All models utilize a carbon fiber drag front and rear drag system. The front drag can put out max drags between 27.5 and 33lbs, an incredible amount of pressure. The major drawback is the start-up inertia, especially higher up on the drag range that has a chance of breaking the line.
This is a smooth performing reel with a 10+1 bearing system. Not only is it smooth but the CNC machined aluminum spool, stainless steel drive shaft, and high modulus graphite body provides excellent strength and can generate quite a bit of cranking power.
The rear drag adjustment is a little hard to adjust, but you can adjust in fine increments to get the tension to your liking.
Like most bait runners/bait feeders, the this KastKing reel series uses a bait feeder mode switch along the back of the reel stem.
On top of all of this reels features, all reel models come with an extra graphite spool.
Take a closer look at the KastKing Sharky in the following video:
Specs: (bf40 model)
- Ball Bearings: 9+1
- Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
- Line Retrieval: 28 inches
- Line Capacity: 8/270 yards, 10/ 190 yards, 12/170 yards
- Maximum Drag: 18 lbs
- Weight: 12.2 ounces
Could the Okuma Trio Baitfeeder be the best baitfeeder? Let’s take a closer look…
The Okuma Trio Baitfeeder is available in 5 different sized models to better match up with your desired fish species.
All models feature an HDGII gear design which features corrosion resistant and high-density gears. The gears align well and are supported with a 9+1 bearing system that utilizes stainless steel ball bearings.
The aluminum/graphite hybrid body and rotor design provides a nice balance between lightness and ruggedness and also features Okuma’s corrosion resistant body coating. The bail, handle, and spool are all solid aluminum. The total reel weight of the models ranges from 11.8 to 24.6oz.
These models range in gear ratio and line retrieval between models. The gear range in the smallest model is 5.0:1 and the largest model has a gear ratio of 4.5:1. The line retrieval rate ranges from 25” to 38”.
The front drag system uses a multi-disc oiled felt washers and provide decent max drags ranging from 18-22lbs. The drag system is also sealed for extended longevity.
The on/off auto-trip bait feeding system works well on this reel and is easy to manage. The rear drag adjustment utilizes a micro-click system that allows extremely fine tension adjustments.
All models use an EVA grip on the reel handle, but the 55, 65, and 80 model versions use an oversized knob for extra handling abilities when working large fish.
Learn more about the great features in the following video:
Specs: (5000A model)
- Ball Bearing: 7 + 1
- Gear Ratio: 4.6:1
- Line Retrieval: 33.8 inches
- Line Capacity: 12/410 yards, 14/340 yards, 17/250 yards
- Maximum Drag: 22 lbs
- Weight: 17.5 ounces
The last, but certainly not the least, on our list of best baitrunner reel is the Daiwa Emcast Bite & Run Spinning Reel 5000A.
The Daiwa Emcast model bait runner has a carbon composite body, side cover, and rotor along with an aluminum spool, bail, and crank handle. This is a sleek-looking reel with an all black finish.
The Emcast is available in three models that have an overall weight of 16.8 or 17.8oz. They both are capable of employing 22lbs of max drag that is employed by a Daiwa’s Ultimate Tournament Drag system.
These bait runners can be spooled with huge amounts of line. The 4000, 4500, and 5000 models can be spooled with 220, 300, and 340 yards of 24lb test monofilament respectively.
All three models have a 4.6:1 gear ratio with line retrieval rates of 31.1” for the 4000 model and 33.8” rate for both the 4500 and 5000 models.
These bait running models all have very smooth functioning gear systems that are aided by the reels seven stainless steel bearing system.
The Emcast has an excellent rear drag adjustment mechanism that can fine-tune spool tension when the line is free running. It also utilizes a quick flip bait feeding trigger that can be re-engaged by turning the reel handle.
Bait runner/feeding spinning reel models are the answer to a specific niche in the fishing world. We have listed five of the best models available for this type of fishing and hope that you take advantage of them.
What do you think is the best baitrunner reel on the market? Share with us your thoughts.