5 Best Panfish Reels for Any Situation

By Get Fishing •  Published: 02/11/23 •  9 min read

If you’re a fan of panfishing, you know that having the right equipment is essential to success. One of the most important pieces of gear in your arsenal is your reel. The right panfish reel can make all the difference between a successful fishing trip and a frustrating one. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the top 5 best panfish reels on the market today.

best panfish reels

Best Panfish Reels

Any of the panfishing reels above will work for a wide range of sunfish. Rockbass, shellcrackers, even bass. They will even work for trout! Take a look at our review of the reels below!

Daiwa Revros LT

Daiwa Revros LT

Daiwa Revros LT

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Price$49.99
Line Capacity2/220, 3/160, 4/110
Weight7.4oz
Max Drag11 lbs.
Gear Ratio5.2:1

The Daiwa Revros LT is a top-notch reel that is at the top of our list. Despite its modest cost of $50, the Daiwa Revros LT feels like it should cost much more, delivering exceptional quality and value for money.

One of the standout features of this reel is its impressive drag system, that can be adjusted to your preference. It has a max drag of 11 lbs, a standard gear ratio of 5.2:1, and a lightweight design at 7.4oz. Whether you’re fishing for bluegill or crappie, it’s a great reel!

Pros

Cons

What We Like About It:

Shimano Sienna

Shimano Sienna 1000 Spinning Reel

Shimano Sienna 1000 Spinning Reel

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Price$29.99
Line Capacity2/270 4/140 6/110
Weight7.2oz
Max Drag7 lbs.
Gear Ratio5.0:1

The Shimano Sienna stands out for its awesome performance for a low price. For just around $30, this reel offers a level of performance that rivals most reels costing $50 to $60. It boasts a top-notch drag system of 7 lbs and a gear ratio of 5.0:1, all while being incredibly lightweight at just 7.2 ounces. The Shimano Sienna is also a stylish choice, complementing any neutral-colored rod with its sleek design and well-balanced form.

Pros

Cons

What We Like About It:

13 Fishing Source K

13 Fishing Source K

13 Fishing Source K

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Price$31.99
Line Capacity4/160 6/130 8/90
Weight8.5oz
Max Drag8 lbs.
Gear Ratio5.2:1

13 Fishing brought its A-game with the stylish and cool-looking Source K reel. Weighing in at just 8.5 ounces, this reel feels incredibly solid and sturdy. The smooth action of the reel and the seamless operation of the bail make it easy to use. One charming aspect of this reel that has nothing to do with its functionality is the message “more than luck” inscribed on the reel seat.

Aside from its attractive design, the Source K also boasts impressive performance with its anti-reverse switch and top-notch drag system. If you’re looking to try out the 13 Fishing brand, this reel is an excellent place to start. Its combination of looks and functionality make it a winning choice.

Pros

Cons

What We Like About It:

Plueger President

Pflueger President

Pflueger President

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Price$59.95
Line Capacity2/200 4/100 6/80
Weight6.2oz
Max Drag6 lbs.
Gear Ratio5.2:1

The Pflueger President is the most expensive reel of the bunch, but its quality and durability make it a wise investment if you have the budget to spare and one of the best panfish reels. With its lightweight design, casting is effortless and smooth..

Owning a Pflueger President is a hallmark of a seasoned angler who knows their way around the water. These reels are built to last, made with only the best components. If you’re looking for a pricier option that is both light and long-lasting, the Pflueger President is the reel for you.

Pros

Cons

What We Like About It:

Kastking Centron

KastKing Centron

KastKing Centron

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Price$24.99
Line Capacity4/240 6/155
Weight6.9oz
Max Drag11 lbs.
Gear Ratio5.2:1

The KastKing Centron offers unbeatable value with its price point of around $25, making it an ideal choice for anglers who want to save some money. Its cool design and sleek appearance are sure to turn heads, with its matte black finish and metallic blue accents complementing a wide range of rods.

The Centron’s drag system is a standout feature, offering 11 lbs. of stopping power and a sturdy 5.2:1 gear ratio. Additionally, with its line capacity of 240 yards of 4 lb test mono, you can hold an impressive amount of line on this reel. And, with the occasional sale, you might even be able to snag this reel at an even more attractive price. If you’re looking for a great-looking reel that delivers strong drag performance and won’t break the bank, the KastKing Centron is the perfect choice.

Pros

Cons

What We Like About It:

What is Panfishing?

Panfishing is a type of fishing that focuses on catching small freshwater fish, such as crappie, bluegill, and perch. These fish are typically found in shallow waters and are often caught using small lures or live bait. Panfishing is a popular pastime for many anglers, as it can be done in almost any body of water and is a great way to introduce beginners to the sport of fishing.

What to Look for in a Panfish Reel

When choosing a panfish reel, there are several factors to consider. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

1. Size and Weight

Panfish reels come in a variety of sizes and weights. You want to choose a reel that is lightweight and easy to handle, but also strong enough to handle the biggest panfish.

2. Gear Ratio

The gear ratio determines how quickly you can retrieve your line. A higher gear ratio means you can retrieve your line faster. For panfishing, a gear ratio of 5.0:1 or higher is ideal.

3. Drag System

The drag system is what allows you to control the tension on your line. You want a reel with a smooth and reliable drag system that can handle the biggest panfish.

4. Material

The material the reel is made of can affect its durability and performance. Look for a reel made of high-quality materials, such as aluminum, carbon fiber, or graphite.

5. Price

Panfish reels come in a wide range of prices. Consider your budget when choosing a reel, but also keep in mind that a higher-priced reel may offer better performance and durability.

Conclusion

Whether you’re fishing for Green Sunfish, big Bluegill, or Warmouth fish any of the reels on this list will perform and help you reel in a big one! Good luck on the water and stay fishy!

FAQs

What is the best gear ratio for a panfish reel?

A gear ratio of 5.0:1 or higher is ideal for panfishing.

What is the best material for a panfish reel?

High-quality materials, such as aluminum, carbon fiber, or graphite, are ideal for panfish reels.

Are expensive panfish reels worth the money?

While a higher-priced reel may offer better performance and durability, there are also many affordable options that offer great performance.

Can I use a panfish reel for other types of fishing?

While panfish reels are designed specifically for panfishing, many can also be used for other types of fishing.

What is the best way to maintain a panfish reel?

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help keep your panfish reel in top condition. Be sure to clean it after each use and store it properly when not in use.

What size reel is best for panfish?

We recommend using a 1000 size reel for panfish and ultralight fishing. You can also go down to a 500 size reel, but that will limit you to using the smallest diameter fishing line

Should I use a baitcasting reel for panfishing? 

You can use a baitcasting reel for panfishing, those reels are called BFS reels. The BFS stands for Bait Finesse System. These are reels with shallow spools that allow easier casting of ultralight lures and ultralight line.

What pound line should I use for panfish?

We recommend using a monofilament fishing line. We prefer to fish using 2-4 lb. test, but you can go as high as 6lb test. Any higher than that and it will be difficult to cast ultralight panfish lures. Lighter line will allow your bait to move more naturally in the water and increase your chances of getting a bite.

Can You Use Braid?

Yes, you can use braided fishing line for panfishing! We like using Daiwa-J Braid and we normally use a hi-viz color so we can see our line in the water. We recommend 8lb braid and we tie an Albert Knot to join our braided line to our leader.

What is the best rod for panfish?

The best rod for panfish is generally a lightweight spinning rod that is sensitive enough to feel even the slightest nibble, but also strong enough to handle larger panfish. A 6-7 foot rod with a light or ultra-light power rating is ideal for most panfishing situations.

Is a medium rod good for panfish?

A medium rod may be too stiff and heavy for most panfishing situations. Panfish are generally smaller and more delicate than other game fish, so a light or ultra-light rod is more appropriate. However, if you plan on targeting larger panfish or fishing in heavy cover, a medium rod may be necessary.

What size reel for trout and panfish?

For trout and panfish, a small spinning reel in the 1000-2500 size range is ideal. Look for a reel with a smooth and reliable drag system, a high gear ratio for fast retrieval, and a lightweight design for easy handling.

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