A musky reel gets specially designed to catch a musky with ease. Not every angler can afford a $300 baitcasting reel. Modern-day advancement in technologies has made the flagship features of a high-end musky reel available at a reasonable price. However, you might need to compromise on less important factors like a design or style.
They have a low metabolic rate during the spring season. You can capture them even with small bait. Not every reel is suitable for fishing a musky. Traditional fishing reels reel cannot withstand the sheer force a musky exerts. Your fishing adventure can get annoying and tiresome if you fish with a conventional reel.
These musky reels come well under $100 but provide all the necessary features required for musky fishing. These musky reels have a distinct engineering and mechanism concepts. The best musky reels provide you with maximum drag power to catch a musky.
Catching a musky is a rewarding and satisfying experience for any angler. After much consideration, I have listed the ten best musky reels under $100 available in the market. Read further for the detailed review of each product and my final verdict.
Best Musky Reel Under $100 – Review of top 10 Musky Reel Under $100
The Okuma Coldwater Linecounter Reel is elegant with advanced features. The excellent shape and ergonomic design provide comfort and ease. The reel can load upto 350 line spool that stretches up to 150 yards.
The aluminum die-casted external frame gets centered. There are also left and right-hand versions of the reel. You should always choose the reel that is comfortable on your dominant hand. Aluminum made diecast and carbonite system pinion gears, and powered equipment is some of the additional features.
Moreover, Okuma Coldwater has a mechanical line-counter. The bar spool helps in casting with a great deal. The gear ratio of 5.4:1 is perfect for musky fishing. The frame can hold upto 65 pounds of the braided line. This feature helps anglers to catch muskies and other difficult fish. The advanced line counter technology measures the distance. It works well for tuna, salmon, and other fish along with a musky.
Furthermore, the precision free lines enable near-exact trolling. Okuma Coldwater is available in both left and handed versions. The spectacular multi-disc carbonated drag system along with 25-pound drag can tackle even a considerable musky. Overall, the Okuma Coldwater Low Profile Musky Reel is one of the best musky reels within the price range of $100.
- Powerful 25-pound drag
- Saltwater and freshwater use
- Rust and corrosion resistance
- Smooth casting
- Higher fishing line
- Both left-handed and right-handed versions available
- Advanced line counter
- Extra lubrication required
The Kastking Royale Legend Elite Baitcasting Reel are the result of an elite concept and design. You can expect an advanced level casting reels that promise tournament-level performance.
The low profile compact comes within the budget of $100. Ergonomically the reel has a superior design and is kastking’s smallest frame till date. The design perfectly fits on your palm. The swing-wing side cover enables swift release with an ergo twist. The dual braking system with centrifugal and magnetic brakes gives you unlimited cast control.
Moreover, the exciting feature of the Kastking legend is that The Kastking also uses ten double-shielded stainless steel bearings and instant anti-reverse hardened aluminum main gear which protects it from rust and corrosion. The 8.1:1 gear ratio along with 11+1 ball bearings. Baitcasting reels are quite lightweight and weigh only 7.2 oz.
Furthermore, the reel is available in both left and right-handed options. The spectacular 17.6 drag power and five-element magnetic brakes with ten adjustments control backlash. This feature makes the reel extremely reliable. Besides this, there is also a stainless steel main shaft and non-slip EVA grips. Overall, the Kastking Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel gives you a high-end reel at a budget price.
- Centrifugal and magnetic braking system
- 11+1 ball bearings
- 5 lbs of max drag
- Brass gearing
- Power-packed features of high-end baitcasting reels
- Noisy while casting
The Abu Garcia Pro Max is another stunning baitcasting reel from the reputed brand of Abu Garcia. The reel is heavily inspired by the unique design of the premium Revo and Orra lineups from Abu Garcia.
The Pro Max comes with an externally adjustable line-up of casting brakes. This feature provides an exceptional level of casting control. The reel offers first-rate performance and is smooth at all times.
Moreover, the 7+1 stainless steel ball-bearing system is another advantage. The Pro Max delivers a seamless retrieve. One-piece graphite frame ensures secure handling for the long-run. EVA handle provides extra grip and comfort. Double-anodized aluminum spool along with dura gear brass gearing is sturdy. The gear ratio is 7.1:1, and it weighs around 7.3 ounces.
Furthermore, the power disk drag system in place ensures a powerful drag in any conditions. There is also a MagTrax brake system that provides smooth handling. The EVA handles have high density and offer an excellent grip. Overall, the pro max is a lightweight and compact reel that can withstand harsh conditions and the biggest of fish.
- Lightweight and compact
- Smooth drag
- Double anodized aluminum spool
- Duragear brass gear
- Magtrax brake system
- One-piece graphite frame
- Premium design
- Noisy when casting and retrieving
The Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Reel is a lightweight baitcasting reel with a stylish design. The one-piece graphite frame, combined with graphite side plates ensures a lightweight but sturdy reel.
Moreover, there is a superb Power Disk system that provides a smooth drag performance. This low profile reel comes with a recessed reel foot. This feature provides a comfortable grip. The gear ratio of 6.4:1, and there are five ball bearings. There are a total of four stainless steel ball bearings with a well-made chassis. The casting and retrieval are easy and smooth.
Furthermore, Abu Garcia also boasts a MagTrax brake system. The magtrax brake system customizes the cast control and makes it suitable for different kinds of lures. The reel is lightweight at 7.9 ounces and has a max drag capacity of 15 lbs. Overall, the Abu Garcia max black is a versatile baitcasting reel perfect for amateur bait casters.
- One-piece aluminum frame
- Magtrax brake system
- Power disk drag system
- Compact bent handle
- Machined aluminum spool
- Comfortable grip
- Only suitable for amateur baitcasters
- Some users have complained about its durability
Shimano is a famous brand in manufacturing baitcasting fishing reels. The Shimano Corvalus can withstand even the most difficult of fish like the musky. You can use the corvalus in both freshwater and saltwater.
Moreover, the line capacity of the corvalus is ideal for trolling and saltwater expedition. There is an exciting feature of super stopper anti-reverse solid hooksets and variable braking system. This feature allows anglers to smooth casting. The super stopper also eliminates back play, which enables instant hook setting power.
Furthermore, the Corvalus is available in both right and left-handed options. There are 3+1 ball bearings. The Shimano corvalus is lightweight at just 10.9oz. The gear ratio of the Shimano Corvalus is 5.2:1 along with the maximum drag of 11 pounds. Overall, the Shimano Corvalus provides smoother and efficient casting along with excellent value for money.
- Good value for money
- Backlash gets eliminated
- One-piece diecast aluminum frame
- Super stopper anti-reverse solid hooksets
- Variable braking system(VBS)
- Freshwater and saltwater applications
- Drag system at only 11 pounds
- Some users complained about the build quality
KastKing is a reputed brand that manufactures fishing gear and equipment. The kastking Rover round baitcasting reel is another superb addition to the list. The reel has a gear ratio of 6.4:1.
The round baitcasting reel gets upgraded with stunning components like the hard-anodized aluminum side plates, precision-cut brass gears, CNC machined spool, stainless steel worm gear, patented idle metal gear, stainless steel shaft, among others.
Moreover, these components ensure durability and protection from corrosion and rust. A carbon fiber drag system along with the cymbal washer system makes it offers upto 30 lbs of max drag. The Kastking Rover 90 has a 4+1 ball bearing system. The versatile reel provides near perfect trolling.
Furthermore, you can also use the reel for other various purposes like bottom fishing. Kastking rover reels deliver on all fronts. The conventional reels provide exceptional quality and functionality. They are durable and come with a stylish design. Overall, the Kastking Rover 90 is a dependable baitcasting reel under $100.
- Smooth casting
- Durable and powerful
- 30 lbs of max drag
- Carbon fiber drag with cymbal washer system
- Anodized aluminum side plates
- Some users complained about the build quality
Lew’s Speed Spool is a relatively unknown reel in the world of musk fishing. However, the reel is one of the best baitcasters on the list. The lew’s speed spool gets made up of graphite frame and side plate. In addition to this, there is also a machine forged aluminum spool and high strength brass gearing in the reel.
The palming graphite side plate is easily removable. The large 95 mm swept oversized power crank handle and a smooth drag of 10 pounds to control the fish. There is a zero reverse one-way clutch bearing made of stainless steel. The gear ratio of 7.5:1 and 9+1 ball bearings. Paddle handles have a soft touch knob.
Moreover, the magnetic control system is externally adjustable. The star drag brake system has an audible click. The zirconia line guide and worm gear is a bonus. The palmaable design also means the reel is extremely lightweight and weighs only 6 pounds. The reel functions best on freshwaters. You can also find anti corrosion protection covering.
- Smooth ball bearings
- Zirconia line guide
- An externally adjustable magnetic control system
- Anodized bowed aluminum reel handle
- Some users complained of a non-rigid drag
- No suitable for saltwater
The classic Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S is an old school baitcasting reel that is perfect for all fishing conditions. The throwback reel is a cult favorite among seasoned bait casters. The round reel is perfect for those anglers who do not want to spend huge on a fancy baitcasting reel but still want a quality reel.
Moreover, Abu Garcia ambassedeur adds a power bent handle in its design. This addition makes the reel look classic and gives you a throwback feel. The zinc frame constructions and aluminum side plates ensure that the reel is durable and well built. The low gear ratio of 5.3:1 and a powerful synchronized level wind system is an exciting feature.
Furthermore, there are a total of two stainless steel ball bearings and a four-pin centrifugal brake system. The brake system allows anglers to cast lightweight or with large lures effectively. The multi-disk drag system can fight even the biggest of fish. Overall, the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S is another great fishing reel from Abu Garcia.
- Synchronized level wind system
- Four pins centrifugal brake
- The multi-disc drag system
- Power bent handle
- Classic design
- You will need to grease the reel regularly
The Zebco Big Cat Xt is perfect for musky or catfish fishing. Zebco is a brand known for manufacturing fishing rods for beginners. However, the zebco big cat xt also makes many fishing gears for expert anglers as well.
The Zebco Big Cat Xt is a massive upgrade from its predecessor, Zebco Big Cat. The Zebco Big Cat Xt is perfect for a big fish like a musky or a stripper. The low gear ratio of 4.2:1 makes the retrieval quite speedy at 29 inches per crank.
Moreover, the Zebco Big Cat Xt provides a pleasant and productive casting experience. The maximum drag is at 17 pounds that provides powerful cast. Graphite is the primary component of the reel. It weighs around 18.4 ounces and has a 2+1 bearing and continuous anti-reverse system.
Furthermore, the big cat had a quick set mechanism, whereas the big cat the text has an anti-reverse system which is an upgrade. The reel can cast long distance as the mono capacity is at 200/20 yards per test. It has one of the loudest clicks among the fishing reels. Overall, the Zebco Big Cat Xt is an excellent fishing reel from Zebco.
- Continuous Anti-reverse system
- The maximum drag of 17 pounds
- Long casting
- Fast retrieval rate
- Loud bait clicker
- Graphite construction
- Only right-handed
Okuma Convector Reels are another outstanding reel from the reputed brand of Okuma. The reel comes well under the price of $100. Okuma convector reels are ideal for occasional fishing.
Moreover, there are two stainless steel ball bearings along with multi-disc drag system that makes it perfect for musky fishing. The drag system comes with a carbonite construction. The reel is easy to cast, and the drag is useful. The reel weighs around 20 ounces and has a max drag of 30 lbs. It is ideal for catching medium-sized muskies.
Furthermore, the ball bearings are powerful and flexible. You can fish with this reel for a long time. The build quality is robust and well built. The dual anti-reverse function is another strong point of this reel. The line counter is accurate. The star drag system has a click while adjusting. Overall, Okuma Convector Reels is a great addition to this list.
- Powerful ball bearings
- Strong gearing system
- Dual reverse formula
- The multi-disk drag system
- Perfect for medium-sized muskies
- Drag is hard to modulate
Criterias Before Buying the Best Musky Reel Under $100
When you buy a budget musky reel, you cannot expect fancy functions and features of a high-end premium musky reel. Since the reel is in a budget price, some things have to get compromised.
However, that does not mean you should buy any reel on the market. Specific criteria need consideration before purchasing a musky reel.
Gears And Gear Ratio
Modern-day equipment gets made of stainless steel. The stainless steel makes the reel durable protecting it from rust and corrosion. The gear ratio is another important factor that you need to consider before buying the musky reel.
The gear ratio denotes the number of rotations the spool for every turn of the reel. The average gear ratio for the best musky reel is between 5:1 to 5:7. How to read the gear ratio? This is a pertinent question amongst anglers. Let’s suppose the gear ratio of your reel is 5.1:1, then it means that the spool rotates six times in a single turn.
Higher the first digit, faster the spooling and vice versa. The advantage of having a slower gear is that it provides an excellent torque. If the torque of your reel is high, then it means that you will need less amount of energy to catch the fish.
Line Retrieve Per Crank
The line retrieve per crank denotes the range of your line retrieval with the turn of the handle once. This numerical value enables you to estimate the amount of strength you will require to retrieve the lure or fish.
Generally, the lower gear ratios of baitcasting denote the retrieval rate is slower than spinning reels. You need to carefully study all the specifications of the product before you setup and start fishing.
The line weight must be strong enough to carry a musky fish and stress pull it. The muskies generally weigh around 15-36 pounds. The ideal line weight for a musky reel is around 80 lbs. This weight ensures the line can handle even the biggest of musky fish.
Line capacity is essential as well for musky fishing. The reel should load up at least 140 yards of the line. This feature ensures a productive fishing experience.
The difficult muskies could make you run out of supplies and snap the line. This would not only result in you losing the fish but also damaging the reel.
Good Built-In Quality
Muskies are monster fish challenging to catch. Even in budget-friendly musky reels, the build quality should not get compromised.
Anglers should be able to drag the musky with the reel. The muskies are an aggressive fish. You will require a durable reel to catch the musky. Baitcasting reels can withstand even the toughest of the fish.
The musky reels must have a good drag. You cannot deal with a heavyweight musky without a decent amount of drag. There are different drag systems.
You should choose the carbon drag system that provides the best function. The great combo of a muskie rod and reel with max drag can enhance your muskie fishing experience.
You will require a durable fishing reel to fight these fish monsters in the water can be extremely strenuous. Muskies are very difficult to catch. The reel damage from the sheer force of the musky or the giant lures is quite high.
A robust reel can withstand the musky when you set the hook. You don’t need to worry about malfunction like cracking at this point. Another factor is that the reels must be rust and corrosion-resistant. Aluminum and stainless steels make the reels durable.
Left-handed or right-handed
While using a fishing reel, you will use a non-dominant hand to cast and reel with the dominant hand. Right-handed reels are most common.
But there are many specially designed reels for left-handers. This feature makes your fishing experience pleasant and productive.
The Final Verdict
Picking one from the great list of musky reels is a challenging task. However, if I had to pick one, I would choose the Okuma Coldwater 350 Line Counter Reel. The lightweight reel weighs just 12 ounces and offers a max drag of 25 pounds.
It is an excellent musky reel under the price of $100. The impressive features resemble that of a high-end musky reel. Overall, the Okuma Coldwater 350 Line Counter Reel provides an exciting and productive musky fishing adventure.