Best Carp Fishing Reels: Our Top 4 Picks

July 17, 2021

Our editors at Finn’s Fishing Tips independently research, test, and recommend the best products to help you make purchase decisions. You can learn more about our review process here. We sometimes get a commission through purchases made via our links.

Catching carp isn’t a walk in the park, I’m telling you!

These fellows love to put up a good fight, and their heavy bodies help them do so. You never know what to expect from a caught carp. You may pull it up safely without much hassle, and you may find yourself fighting for your breath and reel!

You need to catch a carp fish with a lot of patience, a pair of muscled arms and one sturdy reel to pull the fish up without a hitch. I’ve got the best carp fishing reels covered here, but the muscled arms are yours to work on!

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…

The 4 Best Carp Fishing Reels Reviewed

A fishing reel needs to be sturdy, smooth, and durable. With carp reels, the standards are higher because the fish are more challenging to catch. With these considerations in mind, I compiled the best four carp fishing reels here.

Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel

Suppose you’re looking for great value for money, the Ceymar is hard to compete with. For a moderately affordable price, the reel offers an ultra-light graphite body, rust-resistant bearings, and an aluminum spool that resists rust and scratches. 

The Ceymar is equipped with the patented Okuma technology for fishing rails. It includes a lightweight construction and sturdy aluminum reinforcing for durability.

The Ceymar’s handle is anodized to keep it looking shiny. It’s also large enough to make winding the fish up a breeze.

As for the bait feeding, the reel allows you to trick the fish just in time to catch it. First, the fish will get the bait in its mouth, and it’ll move with it easily without resistance on the reel’s part. Then, when you flick the switch, the fish will immediately get hooked, making it hard for it to escape.

Every feature on the Ceymar is designed to catch tough fish. 

It has an anti-reverse system, brass pinion gear, and a corrosion-resistance graphite rotor. That’s aside from the heavy-duty aluminum wire that’ll give carp a hard time. 

The reel may be a bit large for some users, but that’s only because it’s designed to catch large fish, like carp.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Solid aluminum wire for power casting
  • Suitable to catch any large fish

Cons

  • The frame isn’t as lightweight as it’s marketed to be

DAIWA EMCAST BITE & Run Spinning Reel

The Daiwa Emcast is one of the most innovative spinning reels on the market. It features a Bite & Run clutch that offers superior control on live-bait casting. Once the fish takes off with the live bait, the auto-clutch system will flip the line in gear, setting a solid hook on the line and the fish.

This method is highly beneficial because it gives the angler great control, and it reduces drag pressure significantly, allowing the fish to move freely with the bait in its mouth.

In this process, all you have to do is flip the rear switch; then, the reel will start applying the Advanced Tournament Drag System to put drag pressure on your target.

On top of its excellent functionality, the Daiwa Emcast is designed using the Light and Tough concept. It’s lightweight enough not to give your arms a hard time, but it’s still tough enough to catch large fish. 

The Emcast features a machined aluminum handle that provides a comfortable, solid grip. The reel’s body is also made from carbon to ensure corrosion resistance and durability. Of course, it adds to the price a bit, but it’s all worth it.

The Emcast is available in a variety of sizes from 2500 to 5000. It also has models suitable for saltwater and freshwater fishing so that you can use your reel in any environment.

Pros

  • Bite & Run feature to reduce drag pressure
  • Carbon body for durability and corrosion resistance
  • Various sizes are available for all anglers

Cons

  • Some users reported that the baitrunner clicker stopped working after a few months.

Daiwa SS Tournament 4.6:1 Spinning Fishing Reel

Daiwa designed the Whisker SS2600 explicitly for large, cunning fish like carp. It’s an ideal multi-purpose reel that you can use to catch any fish and in any water. It also withstands extreme conditions like they’re nothing.

The reel features a long tapered spool that allows you to cast over any distance without a hitch. It weighs 12 ounces, which is lightweight enough not to tire you out. Despite the lightweight, the reel can handle up to 500 feet of line, which is more than enough for a reel this size.

The Daiwa features an oversized spring-loaded drag, resulting in a smooth and quick action even with the most challenging fish out there. It also allows you to counter hard takes on the hook bait quickly.

There’s a positive-action roller trip on the bail arm, helping you avoid crack-offs and noisy presentations. This feature can be handy for amateur anglers who are still not in perfect control of their casting.

The reel has a gear ratio of 4.6:1, which is ideal for catching big fish and putting up a decent fight.

Moreover, the Daiwa features an ultra-reliable roller bail trip mechanism. It allows you to trick any large fish by letting it move freely for a few seconds, then hook the line up instantly.

Pros

  • Specifically made for large fish
  • Suitable for beginner anglers
  • Ideal for casting over any distance

Cons

  • On the expensive side of the market

PENN, Spinfisher VI Live Liner Saltwater Spinning Reel

The Pen Spinfisher is a little bit more expensive than similar options, but that’s because it offers unrivaled functionality.

It features an entire metal body with metal side plates for durability. The metal withstands extreme weather conditions perfectly well, as well as different waters. The ball bearing system is also made from stainless steel for durability and corrosion resistance. 

The Penn’s techno-balanced rotor is perfect for smooth retrieves. On top of that, the IPX5 waterproof coating keeps the body protected against saltwater and freshwater.

There’s an instant anti-reverse technology, which comes in handy when catching large, heavyweight fish. Not only that, but the Penn also has four ON positions to increase the rear drag pressure when needed. 

The Penn reel is easy to use, even for beginners. With a mere push of the handle, the live liner will automatically disengage and get back in fighting mode. Even if you hold it upside down, it will still work.

The manufacturers utilized state-of-the-art software and CNC machinery to ensure the highest level of functionality. The pinion and oscillation gears are made to endure heavy-duty use.

Pros

  • Carbon fiber washers for extra durability and corrosion resistance
  • Large-sized spool to haul large fish with ease
  • Sealed for protection against saltwater

Cons

  • No sizes available larger than 10,000

Buying Guide: Things to Consider Before Buying Carp Fishing Reels

Carp fishing reels are different from their counterparts because they’re more powerful. They’re designed to catch large, heavy fish without a hitch. So they need to be solid and sturdy enough to withstand fights. 

Fishing Reel Type

There are four main types of carp fishing reels. You should choose between them according to the environment you plan to fish in and according to your skill level. Here’s a roundup of all of them.

Bait Feeder Reels

Baitfeeder reels operate on a two-drag system. They may be called bait runners, and some manufacturers call them Bait & Run. These are the best options for carp anglers because they’re mighty. On top of that, they reduce the drag pressure until the fish thinks it’s safe, then with the flick of a handle, they trap the line and start pulling it back.

Big Pit Reels

Big pit reels aren’t for the faint-hearted anglers. They come with extra-large spools for hauling large fish, and they’re heavily geared to catch any fish you put your sight on. They can also be used on long ranges easily.

These reels are effortless to use. You can cast on long distances while making the least effort, thanks to the large spool.

Big pit reels come at a price, though. They’re more expensive than their counterparts because they require more complex parts and sturdy materials.

Quick-Drag Reels

Quick-drag reels feature a drag system that works quickly and efficiently to haul the caught fish. The drag is on the front, and it can be adjusted to loose or tight using the dial. The ability to change the drag pressure with a dial spin is an excellent quality for carp anglers to have. It provides them superior control over the fishing process.

Spod and Marker Reels

Spod and marker reels are only made for baiting and scouting. They have higher gear ratios than standard fishing reels, and their handles are also much bigger. That’s why they make baiting extremely easy, regardless of the conditions.

These reels also accept stronger and longer lines, which protects the leads and baiting tools from getting damaged or cracking off. They have sturdy braids and solid shock leaders for catching heavy fish.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio is one of the most confusing features, especially for beginner anglers. To simply put it, a 4:1 gear ratio means that the bail will turn four rotations when you turn the reel handle once, and so on. Likewise, a 5:1 ratio will turn it five times with one push of the handle.

Lower gear ratios mean the reel provides more cranking power and more robust gearing. At the same time, higher gear ratios mean the reel allows the anglers to cast and reel in their fish much quicker.

The choice depends on your style of fishing and the fish you intend to catch. For carp fishing, you’ll need more cranking power. So a lower retrieval ratio will be better.

Ball Bearings

When your reel has more ball bearings, it’ll be smoother and easier to use, but it’ll also be more expensive. The larger number increases the efficiency of the reel, and high-quality ball bearings are mostly made of stainless steel.

Stainless steel is highly durable and corrosion-resistant, but it also costs a lot.

Ball bearings carry the weight brunt better, so they subject the other parts to less wear and tear. Such quality is essential for catching big fish like carp. Otherwise, the reel will wear out faster than you want it to.

Handle

Fishing reels either come with single or double handles. Double handles are better-weighed, so they provide smoother action and ease of use. Meanwhile, single handles have better torque, so they’re the better option for catching large fish.

Reel handles are often made of rubber or plastic, which are both comfortable against your hand. However, they may not be the most durable materials out there. Some high-end reels have wooden and metal handles, which are typically more durable and give a more sleek look overall. 

If you’re a left-handed angler, make sure to get an interchangeable handle. A lot of reels come with right-side handles, which are challenging for left-handed people to use. So you may want to check it before buying.

Back Reeling

Some fishing reels come with back-reel features, allowing the anglers to spin the handle backward and play out the line. This feature comes incredibly in hand while fighting fish like carp, but it takes some practice to get used to.

Still, it’s a great quality to have while catching big fish because it prevents the line from twisting when you pull it out through the drag.

The Final Verdict

In my opinion, the best carp fishing reel out of the list above is the Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder Spinning Reel. It comes at a pretty affordable price compared to competitors, and it doesn’t sacrifice looks or quality for it. 

The reel is fully equipped with a patented system for bait feeding, and it catches large fish like they’re nothing. I believe the reel is ideal for both beginners and professional anglers. Its value for money makes it hard to compete with it.

If you don’t mind paying some more money for your reel, you may want to consider the PENN Spinfisher VI Live Liner. Its bearing system and techno-balanced rotor are something to speak of.

Happy Hunting

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