Are you planning to catch the big guys – flounder, groupers, and halibut? Whether you are an experienced fisherman or a novice angler, you would need the best conventional fishing feel. Finding the best reel is a challenging task. Every reel is different from the other in features and mechanisms. There are so many parts to a coil, and it can get confusing for you!
As you have arrived here, we understand that you are looking for the best conventional fishing reels for under $200. Many people believe that cheap means low quality. They are entirely mistaken. Fishing reels under $200 can surpass all your expectations. It is simply that you would not be paying for some additional features and mechanisms. Even the inexpensive fishing reels can give you a fantastic experience. We have compiled a list of the top conventional fishing reels and the buying guide to help you choose the best one.
Remember, this grocery shopping that you can go out and do every day. Research thoroughly and be specific about where you want to fish – rivers, lakes, saltwater, freshwater. The location is the most crucial factor in determining the best fishing reel. Before we check the reviews, let us understand the basic idea of a conventional reel and what factors you should consider before purchasing one.
What is a Conventional Fishing Reel?
Conventional Fishing Reels got this name after their traditional design and mechanism. Here, the spool fits perpendicular to the rod. These suits best for the big fishing in the rough waters where other reels cannot endure the pressure and strain.
When you got out in the ocean, you need to cast long and retrieve fast. That’s where conventional fishing reels give you the best performance. They offer a perfect combination of speed, strength, and toughness. Moreover, these are made of stainless steel, brass, or carbon fiber to prevent corrosion.
Things to Consider when Buying a Conventional Fishing Reel for Under $200
Before you purchase conventional fishing reels for your next fishing adventure, consider these essential factors. These factors will determine the quality of your fishing expedition.
- Drag System – The drag system is responsible for the strain on the spool and has a considerable effect on your fishing experience. There are two types – the star and lever. In the case of the star, the drag has a constant number. You can only adjust it while fighting with the fishes, while the lever system allows you to change the drag by adjusting the handle. Of course, the lever drag system is more expensive.
- Line Capacity – Generally, conventional reels have spools of 3 – 4 sizes, but what matters is the aggregate capacity. When you buy a new reel, you get both the monofilament and the meshed line, along with an additional line to help in an emergency.
- Reel Material – The reel material contributes to the weight of the reel. As an angler, you would always prefer to have lightweight reels. The regular ones are made of plastic and aluminum, while the top-notch ones in carbon and magnesium. These are very light, durable, and would not bend under pressure.
- Reverse System – While catching big fishes, you will often experience backlash. A smooth anti-reverse system will help you pull the catch from the water conveniently.
- Speed – Lower-end models generally have one speed, while expensive ones come with a two-speed system. This allows you to have both high and low-gear cranking ability. The two-speed system also helps in fighting the bigger, tougher fishes.
By now, you must have understood that it all boils down to your purpose and budget. Now, we will help you find the best conventional fishing reels for under $200.
Top 6 Best Conventional Fishing Reels
1. Daiwa Saltist Levelwind Line Counter Fishing Reel
If you are searching for a good-quality conventional fishing reel that gives performance, durability, and line capacity, take a closer look at the Daiwa Saltist. This is an ideal choice for saltwater fishing. Made of aluminum, the reel is sturdy and will last season after season.
You can always customize this reel and target a particular area with the line column. Equipped with a line capacity of 24pounds, line counter, brass gears, and easy spool release, this is perfect for precision fishing.
- Maximum drag can be either 15.4 or 24 pounds. The gear ratio stands at 6.1:1
- Full metal aluminum nod gives it exceptional stiffness and durability
- Comes with a five bearing system and the ultimate carbon drag facility (Star drag system)
- The anti-reverse mechanism for pulling the spool out of water
- The reel weighs 20 — 18.5 oz.
- Built on aluminum frames and has metal side plates
- The line capacity stands at 12/420, 14/350, 20/210
- Small, compact, and highly portable
- Super smooth and fast retrieval
- Comes with a level wind & line counter
- Excellent drag
- Gives you great speed
- Parts are readily available and easily installed as compared to others
- Not suited for casting long distances
- Low Line capacity
- Poor quality stock knob
If you want speed and durability, then this is a great choice. We agree that for long casting and heavy drag, this may not be suitable. Still, if you are planning for the monster blues, lake trout, or wahoo, this is an excellent conventional reel for saltwater fishing.
2. Penn Squall Level Wind Reel
Since 1932, Penn is delivering quality products marked by innovation and longevity. The Level Wind models have a guide which moves to and fro to ensure that the lines are drawn and withdrawn smoothly. If you are yet to become a Penn pan, then take a closer look at this product.
With a stunning design and eye-catching colors, this graphite-built reel stands for performance and durability. This reel is very affordable and carries recommendations of professional anglers across the world. The high-quality pinion gear is made of stainless steel and is ready to give you long, uninterrupted fishing hours. The anti-reverse switch and the drag washers (HT 100) ensures smoothness even during the toughest situations.
- Level Wind works under different saltwater conditions for a large variety of fishes
- The main frame and side frames are built of graphite, while the gears come from bronze and stainless steel. This gives lightness as well as strength
- Comes with an excellent drag system (star drag) which never compromises on smoothness while dragging
- Anti-reverse switch reduces any possibility of a backlash
- Line capacity rings show 1/3, 2/3, and 1 at full capacity.
- This reel weighs 15 — 16.2 oz.
- The excellent smooth drag system
- The right choice for novice anglers who are not aware of manual leveling
- Eliminates line twist
- Light body and superior performance
- Best suited for any kind of saltwater fishing
- Does not come with an auto-engage feature for the squall
- Replacing the side bearings is tedious
This conventional reel has hardly any drawbacks. You can target the big saltwater fishes and easily catch a bounty with these reels. Penn has never disappointed anglers, and we are sure that this product would live up to your expectations.
3. Okuma Cortez Star Drag
The Okuma Cortez would be the right choice for someone looking for a star drag reel to couple with heavy rods for jigging or trolling. Though it is low in price, yet it offers all the features that you can expect in a high-end model.
The graphite frame gives corrosion resistance and durability to the reel. This reel comes with the latest carbonated drag system, which provides exceptional strength even under the harshest conditions. If you wanted a corrosion-resistant reel that gives an extraordinary performance, then end your search with this model from Okuma.
- The drag system is carbonated offering smooth and full drag under all conditions
- Easy to grip handle accelerates power and performance
- Graphite frame and sidebars (with aluminum frames) makes is as light as a feather yet gives the ability to tackle the toughest fish out there
- It comes with a dual systems anti-reverse mechanism with both roller bearing and mechanical ones
- The line capacity measures – 30/650, 40/500, 50/400, and the gear ratio is 4.7:1.
- Weight of the reel is 28.3oz
- Comes with a star drag system
- Perfect for all kinds of casting activities and jigging in saltwater
- The cast control has a magnetic facility that enables this reel to be used by inexperienced anglers
- Graphite frames will last for a long time
- Heavier than competitive models
- Not well suited for precision trolling
We recommend this to every angler. If you have a heavy rod and want to go for jigging or casting irons withing a budget, then nothing better than this model from Okuma.
4. Shimano Tekota Conventional Level Wind Reel
One of the best conventional fishing reels within a limited budget is the Shimano Tekota Fishing Reel. It gives you excellent performance in both saltwater and freshwater fishing. From Tuna to Walleye, you can target any of the fishes with this 14lbs, 220-line yard fishing reel.
Shimano is very popular amongst anglers, and this Tekota model is no exception. It is a versatile fishing reel for all kinds of fishers. Graphite and aluminum make it light, but gives it strength for all-day fishing. The excellent line capacity, advanced features, and perfect construction make this an ideal lightweight, versatile fishing reel.
- One-piece aluminum frame gives you excellent performance year after year
- The crossbar has a unique design which provides anglers with easy access to the spool, while the level wind is for enhanced line management functions
- It comes with anti-rust bearings, that is ten times better than the standard stainless-steel bearings, offering a smooth performance under all conditions
- This fishing reel offers a maximum drag of 24lbs, while the line capacity reads as 25/410, 30/350, 40/290,65/570
- Its gear ratio is 4.2:1 and it has a 3+1 bearing system (ball bearing + roller bearing)
- The reel is 28.8oz. in weight
- Comes in a variety of sizes and line capacities
- Offers you a very smooth cranking system
- Very efficient Level Wind for excellent drag
- The line counter is entirely accurate
- Clamps and nuts might be challenging to fit into
- A little slow gear ratio
The only negative point about this reel is the low gear ratio. But if you check the drag system, line counter, anti-reverse switch, and all the other amazing features, you would love this reel. If you can keep the gear ratio aside, there is nothing better than the Shimano Tekota for precise and accurate trolling.
5. Piscifun Salis X Trolling Reel
Well suited for the big-sized monsters out there, this is one of the biggest reels from Piscifun. If you are ready for the big fishing adventure, then grab a Salis X Trolling reel today.
The graphite frame gives incredible toughness and performance to this reel. The oversized drive and pinion gears are responsible for its durability and strength. The spool is braided and ready for you, saving you a lot of time and energy. Salt resistance, ergonomic design, heavy-duty performance, and excellent-level wind make this a top choice for saltwater fishing.
- The graphite frame and side plates, coupled with the steel handle, makes it ready for all the big fishes out there—an ideal choice for all types of saltwater fishing.
- Offers an incredible drag of 37lbs, that makes your task easy against the toughest fishes
- This conventional reel comes equipped with a braid ready spool that eliminates mono backing
- Gear ratio stands at 6.2:1, which is pretty higher than the other models, gives you strength and smooth drag against the tough ones
- Easy to grip, stainless steel handle, convenient power knob, and durable line winding mechanism
- Offers excellent line release
- Bait tracker to notify you once the fish gets hooked
- Quickly release the line
- High gear ratio and line capacity
- Ergonomic straps for connecting and loading
- The reel size is big
- Heavy as compared to similar models
If you are looking for an excellent fishing reel, driven by technology, get super hooked by the instant bait clicker. For anglers who can handle heavy reels can go for this one. It will give you the best performance against all kinds of saltwater fishes at a reasonable price.
6. KastKing Rover Conventional Reel
Our final product in the review is from KastKing. This company has always given anglers their best weapons. Whether you intend to catch the big giant fishes or plan to fish offshore, whether you want to fish on the surface or go deep down, this Rover is the perfect companion you can have.
The all-metal body, accurate warm shaft, and stainless-steel parts make it corrosion resistant even when you fish in the saltwater. This reel has plenty of features that you can only find in the expensive models. It is a perfect combination of capability and value for the price. It is well suited for both left and right-handed anglers.
- This reel has aluminum side plates, excellent machined spool, incredible brass gears, alloy level wind, steel shafts, and gears. People consider this reel to be bulletproof
- It gives more power to you. You can drag up to 30lbs easily using this real. The carbon fiber drags, coupled with the Cymbal Washer, gives you more strength and power
- The reel comes with the durable, long-lasting, and super smooth stainless-steel shielded ball bearings (6+1 ball bearings)
- KastKing Rover is a versatile multifunctional fishing reel. You can use it for trolling, jigging, freshwater or saltwater fishing. The bait alarm, smooth release, anti-reverse mechanism gives it all the features to surpass your expectations
- This model breaks the myth that quality comes with a considerable price. The super-powerful, high-quality fishing reel will last for a long time. It is one of the best budget conventional fishing reels under $200
- Excellent gear ratio – 3.6:1
- Ultimate super smooth drag (carbon fiber system)
- T handle for superior grip and control
- Bait clicker system
- Lightweight and gives stable operations
- Cast Distance is short
- Screws and clamps may wear out with excessive use
The final verdict is simple – if you are on a budget and need a powerful, corrosion-resistant reel, which gives easy drag, but will also last a lifetime, then look no further. Grab a KastKing Rover today. No doubt it is one of the best deals you can get under $200.
By now, the entire scenario must be precise. You must have understood what conventional reels are and what attracts anglers to them. These give you best performance for saltwater fishing though mane conventional reels have become versatile. All the models mentioned above are excellent and will give superior performance. Decide on your fishing location and nature, research thoroughly, and select the best from the top 6 models mentioned above. Bring out your fishing hats, prepare the baits, grab your weapon, and march on for a fantastic fishing adventure!