Best Crappie Fishing Reel

Best Crappie Reels: A Buyers Guide to the Best Crappie Fishing Reel

Crappie are such a fun species to catch – they are prominent in many areas across the US, are great for beginners, and are delicious to eat. Having the right gear can help make sure you put tons of crappie in the boat and make the most of your time on the lake, and the proper fishing reel is a big part of that.

Catching crappie requires the proper setup, including rod, line, lure, and reel. Each one works in tandem with the others to help make sure you can land most fish. When it comes to choosing a reel, most crappie fishermen are going to elect to use a spinning reel. Spinning reels typically handle the lighter lures and lines that you will be using better than other types of reels.

I’ll walk you through a few of our favorite spinning reels for crappie fishing and then give you an overview of some considerations you should consider when purchasing your next reel.

Best Overall Crappie Fishing Reel: KastKing Sharky III

The KastKing Sharky III has everything we’re looking for in a reel: its affordable, high quality, looks great, and is super versatile. It takes the cake as our best overall crappie fishing reel.

This is the latest in the Sharky series from KastKing and is lighter, stronger, and smoother than its previous counterparts. This reel boasts 39.5 lbs of drag, way more than you’ll need for any crappie but perfect if you want a reel you can use in multiple situations. It also comes with 10+1 shielded stainless steel bearings, an aluminum spool, and brass alloy gears. One of the cool things about the aluminum spool is that it is specifically designed to handle braid fishing lines without backing.

The body of the reel is fiber reinforced for added strength and comes in 5 different sizes. For crappie fishing, you will probably stick to the 1000, 2000, or 3000 size reels depending on your needs. Here are some details about each of the sizes offered and their applications:

SizeGear RatioFrameBBMax Drag (lbs)Mono Line Capacity (lbs/yd)Braid Line Capacity (lbs/yd)Weight (oz)RPTReversible Retrieve (R/L)?
10005.2:1Graphite10+133.06/200 8/17020/200 30/1707.427.8Yes
20005.2:1Graphite10+133.06/220 8/19020/200 30/1909.127.8Yes
30005.2:1Graphite10+133.08/220 10/17530/220 40/1759.229.7Yes
40005.2:1Graphite10+139.510/220 12/20040/220 50/20010.231.8Yes
50005.2:1Graphite10+139.512/220 14/19050/220 60/19010.633.8Yes

Best Value Crappie Fishing Reel: KastKing Centron

The KastKing Centron packs quite a punch at a super affordable price point and comes in as our best value for money pick.

Just because the Centron isn’t as expensive doesn’t mean it lacks any of the features you are looking for in a reel. It’s got a graphite frame that is lightweight and compact. Additionally, the drag system handles up to 17.5 lbs of resistance which is way more than you’ll need in most scenarios. It’s also got a 9+1 bearing system for an ultra-smooth feel. Last but not least, the handle is interchangeable from left to right for another layer of flexibility.

All in all, this reel provides so much value for the price that it’s hard to pass up. If you want to pick up more than one reel to outfit a quiver of rods, this would be a fantastic choice.

Here are the specs on the different options available:

SizeGear RatioFrameBBMax Drag (lbs)Mono Line Capacity (lbs/yd)Braid Line Capacity (lbs/yd)Weight (oz)RPTReversible Retrieve (R/L)?
5005.2:1Graphite9+111.04/240 6/15515/220 20/1256.919.7Yes
20005.2:1Graphite9+112.06/310 8/23520/260 30/1408.624.4Yes
30005.2:1Graphite9+113.08/330 10/27030/180 40/1509.125.2Yes
40005.2:1Graphite9+117.510/310 12/26040/180 50/16012.128.0Yes
50005.2:1Graphite9+117.512/330 16/24550/200 65/13013.529.1Yes

Best Premium Crappie Fishing Reel: Pflueger President Spinning Reel

Pflueger reels are some of the highest quality reels on the market, and the President spinning reels are no exception!

We call this a premium reel because it’s slightly more expensive than others on this list, but its quality makes it a bargain. For the price, this thing is packed full of features and is a reel that will last you many years.

The President spinning reel comes with up to 10 corrosion-resistant ballbearings for the smooth feel that you’d expect. It’s got a graphite body and rotor for an ultra-lightweight package. Furthermore, the drag system is sealed so that dust and grime don’t get into the lubrication, guaranteeing you consistent drag over the life of the reel.

This reel can handle anything you throw at it, and if you are willing to spend a few more dollars, is a fantastic choice for any angler. Find the specs on each reel size below:

SizeGear RatioFrameBBMono Line Capacity (lbs/yd)Braid Line Capacity (lbs/yd)Weight (oz)RPTReversible Retrieve (R/L)?
205.2:1Graphite72/200 4/1004/180 6/1256.919.7Yes
255.2:1Graphite102/220 4/1106/140 8/1108.624.4Yes
305.2:1Graphite104/255 6/1458/190 10/1609.125.2Yes
355.2:1Graphite106/230 8/18510/220 14/16012.128.0Yes
405.2:1Graphite108/285 10/23014/280 20/20013.529.1Yes

Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin

Lew’s makes solid reels through and through, and they are typically at a great price point. This Custom Pro Speed spin is no exception and is a great crappie fishing reel.

This reel comes with a premium 12 bearing system for probably the smoothest feel out of any of the reels on this list. One of the things I love about Lew’s reels is their handles. This one comes with a Winn grip (if you play golf, these are the super comfy padded grips a lot of players use) that is extra comfortable and makes sure you don’t lose hold of that handle. Combined, those two things make this one of the most comfortable reels to use.

The drag system is made from carbon fiber discs for ultimate strength, and the aluminum spool is ready out of the box for braid. One of the other unique aspects of this reel is that it has a flush and drain port so that if you get any gunk or debris inside the body, you can clean it out quickly.

Here are the details of the sizes offered by Lew’s for this particular reel:

SizeGear RatioFrameBBMono Line Capacity (lbs/yd)Weight (oz)RPTReversible Retrieve (R/L)?

Piscifun Carbon X

The Piscifun Carbon X is a solid series of reels with a beautiful matte black look and feel that I love.

This reel has an all carbon fiber body which makes it shockingly light. If you want a reel that you can handle for hours and hours without getting tired, this lightweight option really stands out. At this price point, the carbon fiber body is a nice touch and not something you find in a lot of others. The Carbon X comes with a 10+1 shielded stainless steel bearings. The drag system includes a carbon disc with a sealed rubber ring to keep dust and dirt out.

One other nice feature of this reel is that it’s got a direct screw-in handle, making switching it from left to right or vice versa quick and easy.

All of these features make for a compelling offer from Piscifun at a great price. For a crappie reel, I’d probably look at the 1000 series reels, but here are the specs on the different sizes Piscifun offers:

SizeGear RatioFrameBBMono Line Capacity (lbs/yd)Braid Line Capacity (lbs/yd)Weight (oz)RPTReversible Retrieve (R/L)?
5005.2:1Carbon Fiber10+14/1108/1105.120.1Yes
10005.2:1Carbon Fiber10+16/100 10/1105.722.4Yes
20006.2:1Carbon Fiber10+18/120 15/1507.830.7Yes
30006.2:1Carbon Fiber10+110/14020/1658.033.5Yes
40006.2:1Carbon Fiber10+112/21530/2709.635.8Yes

What to Consider When Buying a Crappie Reel?

There are many options to consider when purchasing a reel for crappie fishing. If you have the opportunity, getting hands-on with a few reel options is a fantastic way to figure out what you like and don’t like in a reel. I know thats not always possible, but its certainly helpful if it is.

If you can’t get hands-on with reels in person, a few features can help you narrow down the list and find the right reel for you.

Line Capacity

First and foremost, each reel size has a different line capacity. You’ll see these line capacities noted in the tables above. We show you two different versions of line capacity: mono capacity and braid capacity. The reason we show you two different numbers is because mono line has a significantly larger diameter than braid for the same lb/test. This way you’ll be able to understand how much of your preferred line can fit on the reel.

Line capacity isn’t super important for crappie fishing. Most any reel will have plenty of capacity for you. That being said, if you are trying to buy a reel that you can use in many different situations this will be more important. For example, when fishing from the bank, you’ll probably be making longer casts than when


Drag is the force required to “pull” more line from the spool and is a common feature on most reels. I will say that similar to line capacity, drag isn’t going to be super important for crappie fishing. You will use drag, but you aren’t going to need a huge about of lbs so most reels will be able to handle your needs.

Drag is super important when fishing because it helps you fight the fish and prevents your line from breaking. While you may not need a lot of drag for crappie fishing, you certainly want your drag to be high quality and work consistently. When you have a fish on, you need your equipment to perform the most!


In most scenarios, the lighter the reel, the better. A more lightweight reel is going to offer many benefits. First, it’s easier to handle and not as tiring on your hands and arms. A few ounces make a big difference over a long day of fishing. Additionally, a lighter reel will give you more control over your rod and, subsequently, your bait. Knowing how your bait is moving is key to getting more strikes. One other important benefit of a lightweight reel is that its going to give you the most sensitivity so that you can detect even the softest of strikes.

One final note on weight is that its important to match your reel to your rod selection. For example, using a heavy power rod with an ultralight reel is not a good idea. Instead, make sure your gear plays well together.

Retrieve Per Turn

Retrieve per turn (or “RPT”) is how much line is brought back into the spool for each turn of the reel handle. Typically this is measured in feet.

RPT is important for two reasons. First, it impacts how quickly your bait is reeled in relative to your reel turns. Certain lure presentations warrant bringing the lure back quickly, while others benefit from from a slower retrieve. While both are possible with any reel, a lot of times a slower retrieve is easier with a lower RPT.

The other reason RPT is important is when setting the hook. Depending on the type of fishing you are doing, occasionally you have to reel up a lot of slack before setting the hook. In those instances, a higher RPT allows you to do that quickly. This is helpful when jigging for crappie.

For crappie fishing, a lower RPT is usually most effective because you aren’t fishing with a lot of super quick moving baits.


The body of the reel, otherwise known as the frame, is the platform upon which everything else is built. You want your frame to be reliable, solid, and preferably relatively light.

Frame material varies from graphite to steel to carbon fiber. There is a lot of personal preference here, but the two qualities I’m most interested in are its weight and its durability. I know that my gear will take some dings here and there, and I expect it to be able to continue to work for me.

How To Choose a Fishing Reel

Frequently Asked Questions

What size reel is best for crappie fishing?

Either a 1000 or 2000 (10 or 20) size reel is excellent for crappie fishing. In my typical crappie setup, I’m using a 6 lb test line and a 6 1/2 foot light action rod, and this size reel works well in that setup. This size reel can also be used for a variety of other techniques so it won’t be limited to just crappie fishing.

Which type of reel is most accurate?

Typically a baitcaster style reel is widely considered to be more accurate than a spinning reel.

A baitcaster gives you a lot of control over how you cast your lure. That being said, baitcasters are sometimes more difficult for a beginner to use than a spinning reel. Baitcasters can also cause backlashes or nasty knots in your spools, which can lead to you spending more time fiddling with your reel than actually fishing, especially if you aren’t used to using one.

For crappie fishing, baitcasters are usually inferior to spinning reels at handling the lures you’d be using. And, spinning reels can still be accurate, especially when combined with the proper rod, so any sacrifices you make in accuracy are well worth it when considering the other benefits of a spinning reel.

Wrapping Up Our Crappie Fishing Reel Guide

I hope these suggestions give you some ideas about what type of reel you’d like to use on your next crappie fishing trip. There are so many options out there that we’d never be able to cover them all, but I hope the reels above give you a starting point to work from, and get you out there on the lake catching more crappie!

Tight lines!

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