The 5 Best Conventional Reels for Bottom Fishing (Fluke, Flounder, Catfish and more)

Bottom fishing for Fluke, Flounder or Catfish is one of the more common practices for success when fishing. You can start by following the basics and deploy a weighted sinker to transport your bait towards the bottom of the water. Successfully having your bait on the bottom is essential for catching bottom fish. Given the added weight from the sinker and the possibility of fishing in waters that are very deep, it is extremely important to have the right tackle to bring that fish into the boat.

In general, a durable six foot rod with heavy action should help get the job done as long as it is supported by a high-quality reel with healthy line. Bottom fishing for Fluke, Flounder or Catfish does not require you to cast a rod. Without the need for a cast reel, the conventional bottom fishing reel is your best choice. Here are our picks for the best conventional bottom fishing reels.

Penn Squall Star Drag – Best Reel for Fluke or Flounder Fishing

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As the top choice for professionals around the world, the Penn Squall Star Drag is made using the highest quality components. The 6.0:1 gear ratio makes this reel an advanced reel compared to most of its competition. Friendly for use in almost any bottom fish situation (as long as it is paired with the right rod), the drag allows you to adjust different settings from casting the line, striking the fish and maintaining the tension while reeling in the fish. The corrosion-resistant reel is made for the most intense saltwater battles and can last for many years.

Personally, this is my favorite conventional rod that I own and use on my boat. On my reel, I have 50-pound test blue monofilament line that I can use for Stripers, Fluke and Flounder. I feel very comfortable using this reel for larger fish because of its line capacity. If I need to let a fish run and take more line, I am confident that the reel’s capacity is adequate. The backlash control is almost non-existent (never happened to me) and the drag is excellent. Be sure to take good care of this reel because it will probably last you a lifetime.

Daiwa SGT50H Seagate Star Drag Saltwater Conventional Reel – Best Reel for Deep Water Bottom Fishing

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The Seagate Star Drag is a popular choice for those who fish in deeper waters. It is a strong reel with a capacity of over 350 yards. It allows doormat fluke and large flounder to both go on powerful runs without much of a concern for your reel’s line capacity.

I have used this reel in 125-150 feet of ocean water close to a ship wreck. While using this reel, I have noticed that the centrifugal spool brake helps keep the spool from spinning out of control at a rate that’s faster than the release of the line – a perfect reel for those learning how to cast. This helps avoid those painful tangles and allows you to spend more time fishing for fluke and flounder.

While the graphite composite material is helpful for maintaining a lighter reel, it won’t last as long as aluminum, which causes these reels to have a shorter life than an aluminum reel.

Penn Squall Level Wind – Higher Capacity Penn Reel for Fluke or Flounder Fishing

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The Penn Squall Level Wind has a lot of similarities compared to the Penn Squall Star Drag that was mentioned above. To save your time, I will share with you the differences. This reel has a little more line capacity than the Star Drag and is more simple in its operation. When evaluating the differences between the two, you need to compare your need for more distance casting vs the ease of use.

Penn is such a dependable brand for reels that you really can’t go wrong with either choice. I tend to purchase Penn Combos which included both the reel and rod. Whether you are the captain of a charter boat or a recreational fisherman, these reels are designed to handle extreme abuse day-in and day-out.

SHIMANO SpeedMaster 2 Speed Lever Drag – Premium Bottom Fishing Reel

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If you are looking for a reel loaded with state-of-the-art technology and design, then the SpeedMaster 2 Speed Lever Drag by SHIMANO is the reel for you. This reel is a high-end product that is lightweight and has a smooth drag. The aluminum design is not only elegant but it is very durable. No need to worry about corrosion from saltwater fishing with this reel.

Regardless of what fish you are trying to catch, if it lives on the bottom, this reel is a home run . While its gear ratio may be a bit higher for catching large fish, it works great for fluke or flounder. SHIMANO makes high quality reels for big time sport fishing. KastKing Rover (Best Reel for Bottom Fishing Under $75)

KastKing Rover – Best Reel for Bottom Fishing Under $75

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Most of the reels already mentioned are on the mid-high end range when it comes to price. In terms of the best value, the KastKing is at the top of the list. Typically used for inshore bottom fishing, the reel has thick anodized aluminum side plates and stainless steel components for great durability and protection from corrosion. This reel is ideal for those who want an affordable and reliable levelwind round bait casting reel. Very popular for catfish fishing.

As a great all-around reel, it is also available in both right- and left-hand models. If you are buying this reel for bottom fishing only, their is no reason to be concerned with its limitations casting. For the price, no other reel can compare to the carbon fiber star drag that features incredible powered and trolling ability.


All in all, these different types of reels have all been successful in helping catch personal bests for many fishermen. While the reel continues to be a main component of a fisherman’s tackle, other factors such a rod, line and bait all play an important role. Not to forgot the most important component, the angler using the setup. Regardless of the reel you use, the same amount of fish will be in the water and the same number of giant keepers will bite your bait. Important things to keep in mind when analyzing the best bottom fishing reels are gear ratios, spool capacity and corrosion resistance. Other fancy features play a small part in the success of bringing a large fish into the boat. In order to help find the most cost effective conventional reels, be sure to read our recommendations for the best conventional fishing reels under $200.

These conventional reels have been a big part of my tackle in fishing for both Fluke and Striped Bass in the south shore of Long Island, New York. Buying conventional reels takes time to understand and learn. It is important to ask questions and note what has worked for other locals in your fishing location. Lastly, always be sure to test your reel, and practice its functionality prior to bringing offshore. Do not waste valuable fishing time learning how to use your new reel. Modern day reels have made some great advances in technology over the past 40 years. Just imagine the difficulty of catching 100+ pound fish with the vintage reels from the 1980s!

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