Best Spinning Reel for Walleye – Tips For Walleye Experts!

Also referred to as the yellow pike, the walleye is quite a challenging fish. The freshwater specie requires a bit of attention, as well as the right equipment if you want to be successful on the water. At this point, small details make the difference. Finding the best spinning reel for walleye may take a while though.

At the end of the day, you can catch walleye with any reel out there, but a specialized unit will definitely ease your experience. 😉

Best Spinning Reel for Walleye

Based on personal experience, a few tests and some research at the Lake Link and Walleye.com communities, I have come up with a list of excellent spinning reels for the yellow pike. Make sure you understand what makes each reel special and what features make the difference.

Top spinning reels for walleye

Best Spinning Reel For Walleye

Shimano Sahara FI Spinning Reel

While one of the best rated reels from Shimano, the price for this unit is relatively low. This is what drew my attention in the first place. Has Shimano really managed to implement a bunch of high end technologies in a middle range reel?

The G-Free body is a unique technology available in certain Shimano reels only. It is Shimano’s response to a constantly changing market and it seems to dominate so far. Its main role is to push the gravity center of the real close to the rod. It is all about balancing, but also some extra comfort – less fatigue after a day out.

The Hagane gear system is cold forged. Practically, it reduces the cutting required by the gears. This system will only boost the performance, but more importantly, it keeps the price down.

If you have read other Shimano reviews by me, you probably know already how much I appreciate the X-Ship technology. I have tried dozens or maybe hundreds of reels overtime and at some point or another, most of them make you feel like they are holding back. Sometimes, you go out with a random reel and you can almost feel the friction as you cast.

This technology clears everything out – perfect alignment, close to no friction, long distance as you cast and plenty of smoothness.

Finally, Shimano has implemented graphite as one of its top materials. In other words, the side plate, rotor and frame are all based on graphite. What makes graphite so good? It is not too expensive, so Shimano can keep the price low. It is extremely durable, but it also ensures a lighter and stronger profile. In other words, there are literally no reasons wherefore graphite should be overlooked – I have no idea why so many brands overlook it.

Pros

  • Lots of high end Shimano features
  • Long and smooth casting that involves almost no friction
  • Great value for money
  • Lightweight, strong and durable

Cons

  • There is no anti reverse switch

Best price and deal 

What do other anglers say?

“This is one of the best deals I have ever got on a reel. There are lots of pricey features that you can find for double the price, but everything is kept low profile. Excellent product.”

Give it a try here.


Best Value For Money: Lews Mach MCR2000 Crush Spinning Reel

To me, Lews is full of surprises. There is something about this brand that intrigues me, but I cannot really tell what. Just like many other reels from Lews, the Mach MCR2000 model comes with no fancy bells and whistles and no unusual technologies. It looks like the average Joe, but as you get to use it, you will be surprised by how well everything is put together.

The design is one of the first things that will catch your eye. This reel looks good – no doubts about it. It looks futuristic and has a few orange accents that make it unique. But then, you care more about the performance. At this point, Lews will not disappoint you.

The reel comes in an aluminum body. It also features aluminum side plates, so the design is quite lightweight and will not affect the balance of your rod. It comes with a superior 11 bearing system. Basically, you have 10 ball bearings and a zero reverse clutch bearing. The result? Easy – extreme smoothness. I do not think there are too many reels that can outweigh this kind of smoothness in this price range.

Furthermore, you have a C40 carbon skeletal speed rotor. It features a bail wire based on stainless steel and a professional S curve oscillation element. The system adds to the overall performance, as well as the alignment. Moreover, the handle is ergonomic and made of aluminum. The grip is one of the things that reduce fatigue after a day out – you get Dri-Tac handle knobs. While the reel is compact and small, the handle is large and easy to use.

Last, but not least, do not overlook the proprietary Speed Lube – designed and used by Lews only. It will help you improve your finest technique.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Lightweight and strong
  • Super smooth due to the 11 bearing system
  • Small design and large handle for less fatigue

Cons

  • No fancy bells and whistles or technologies

Best price and deal 

What do other anglers say?

“This reel will not draw your attention too much, but give it a try and you will be surprised. It is quite impressive given the performance you get for the price.”

Try it out here.


Customer Favorite: Shimano Sedona FI Spinning Reel Clam Pack

While Shimano has spoiled us with a plethora of technologies at affordable prices overtime, this model is among the first innovations released by the successful manufacturer. What drew my attention is its exquisite value for money. Practically, this is the first unit from Shimano to use the Hagane gears in the low priced segment.

The gear system guarantees for an extremely smooth movement. Moreover, you will improve your casting capabilities. You will cast over a longer distance, but you will also reduce the friction. The system is slowly becoming a standard for Shimano. However, it is mostly used in higher priced models, rather than an entry level unit like this one.

Compared to other Shimano reels in this segment, the Sedona FI spinning reel features a few upgrades that make it unique. The drag power has “suffered” a serious upgrade from previous models. The gear ratios have also been boosted. In other words, the reel is excellent for walleye. It comes in more sizes, so you can use it for light freshwater species or heavy offshore fish. Based on the size, the maximum drag varies between seven and 24 pounds.

To make this reel even better, Shimano has reduced its weight by changing materials and clearing unnecessary parts. The result is pretty obvious – less fatigue when you spend a full day casting and jigging. Other than that, there are 3+1 bearings and a retrieval rate of 26 to 41 inches, depending on the size you choose.

Pros

  • Impressive drag power for the size
  • Suitable for more species – both small and large
  • Lightweight
  • No fatigue after a long day of casting

Cons

  • No high end technologies, like in other Shimano products

Best price and deal 

What do other anglers say?

“This reel is great for walleye and not only. I would say it is an entry/middle level reel that pretty much every angler can benefit from. It does exactly what it is supposed to do.”

Find out more about it here.


Quantum Optix Spinning Reel

I bought Quantum’s Optix reel half a year ago. It was supposed to be one of my best backup solutions and a primary option for walleye. Well, believe it or not, I have used it as a backup so many times that it has become my primary choice for freshwater fish and not just walleye. It is a great catch and brings in excellent value for money.

This reel is in the same category with low end units. It will cost you nothing. With time, you will realize it can actually up your game. I do not find it too appropriate for professional anglers, but both entry level and intermediate fishing enthusiasts will love it. It comes with a graphite frame design, which is a total innovation at this price. Graphite is the lighter, less expensive and more durable alternative to aluminum.

The spool is based on aluminum. It keeps the weight low, but more importantly, it is strong and durable. It adds to the smoothness as you cast. Furthermore, you get a selectable continuous anti reverse, so line management is less likely to become a problem.

I said this is an entry level or intermediate reel because of the three bearing system – two ball bearings and a roller one. They are enough for walleye and other similar species though – quite smooth and efficient.

The handle is comfortable and relatively large for the size of this reel. It is not like you have to use your fingers too much – great grip. You are less likely to experience any fatigue after a day out. Besides, the handle is collapsible – good for storage and transportation. Many handles are fixed, so the impact will often cause a small play.

The reel provides around 27 inches of line retrieval per rotation, which is quite a lot for this range. It has a 5.3:1 gear ration, so the retrieval rate is fast – no time for the walleye to escape. Last, but not least, it is worth mentioning the internal bail trip.

Pros

  • Features a graphite frame design for a lightweight and durable profile
  • Smooth line movement due to the bearing system
  • Good line retrieval of 27 inches per revolution
  • Large and comfortable handle that can be collapsed for transportation and storage

Cons

  • Not the best option for professional anglers

Best price and deal 

What do other anglers say?

“This is one of my first spinning reels for walleye and I still rely on it. I do have better options too, but this unit is so well put together that it can easily outweigh more expensive models.”

Check it out here.


Abu Garcia Orra S Spinning Reel


Abu Garcia surely knows how to draw some attention with its spinning reels. At first, the design catches your eye, so you decide to find out more about it. Then, as you go through the features, you know you are about to get a gem.

The Orra S reel is engineered with precision. It is designed with a perfect alignment and great durability. As you look at it, it feels compact and well put together. As you get to use it, you will love how advanced it is. Performance is flawless.

Abu Garcia has used lots of carbon for this model. The body design is based on IM C6 carbon. The gearbox carries the X-craftic quality standards and brings lots of C6 carbon. Gears are well put together and aligned, while the excessive amounts of carbon keep the reel lightweight.

The real comes with a seven bearing system. There are six HPCR bearings made of stainless steel, as well as a roller bearing. The design ensures top notch protection against corrosion, but without affecting the overall performance.

Now, no matter what type of line you use, you will love the line management system. Control is simply flawless. I actually tried to mess it up with some of my weirdest types of line – still a wonderful performance. Finally, let me mention the Carbon Matrix drag system and the slow oscillation.

Pros

  • Comes in more sizes
  • Compact and great balance
  • Excellent alignment
  • Superior line management system

Cons

  • Heavier than other spinning reels for walleye

Best prices and deal 

What do other anglers say?

“Definitely one of the most balanced reels for walleye and I am not talking about the actual balance, but about how well everything is put together.”

Find out more about it here.


Editor’s Choice: Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel

Pflueger has a good reputation when it comes to reliability and value for money. The Trion series has a good reputation when it comes to its looks and smoothness. At this point, the spinning reel seems to gather all the qualities an angler may expect from a quality reel.

I own a few different Pflueger reels, so I thought this one is less likely to let me down. I like its appearance and let me put it out straight away – it comes in a bunch of different sizes, depending on what you truly need.

The moment I picked it up, I was surprised by how lightweight it is. It is made of graphite. Both the body and rotor carry the same standards – durable and lightweight. Now, ball bearings are made of stainless steel, which is quite similar. The system is not just smooth, but also strong.

You have six bearings and an instant anti reverse bearing. The multi disc drag system also comes with stainless steel. Simply put, everything is built to provide a smooth experience. The simple bail features a small clicking noise when fully open and good to go.

Other than that, you get a double anodized spool made of aluminum. The lip is made of titanium. Pflueger has even paid attention to the handle. It is based on aluminum, but it features a soft touch knob. The knob is quite large, so the reel is very convenient for people with large hands.

Whether you are left or right handed, you will love the possibility to convert it within a few seconds – great if you share your reels with a friend or perhaps a sibling.

Pros

  • Extremely smooth casting
  • Great balance on the rod
  • Excellent value for money
  • Ultralight design

Cons

  • Other reels in this segment come with more advanced bearing systems

Best price and deal 

What do other anglers say?

“This is the Cadillac of spinning reels for walleye. It is incredibly smooth and feels so lightweight. Great addition to my rod.”

Check it out here.


Conclusion

Bottom line, deciding on a spinning reel for walleye does not have to be such a challenging job. The above mentioned reels are the best in this range. It is not just my opinion, but my research led me in this direction. Whether you are after smoothness, good looks or durability, you have everything in this list.

 

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