Steelhead spinning reels – Buying Guide, Reviews, and Comparison
If you’re short on time and all you want is to find what the best steelhead pinning reel is, you can rely on this short paragraph to give you all the information you require. After looking at what consumer steelhead spinning reel reviews and professional fishers had to say, we’ve come to the conclusion that the Okuma Helios is the one that you should consider. What makes this product stand out is the extremely lightweight design which at just 8.8 ounces will allow you to fish for longer periods of time without getting tired. The Okuma alternative is not only light but also durable as the C-40X long strand carbon fiber construction makes this product 50% stronger than standard graphite-framed reels. It is also a perfect alternative to be used in cold water as this option can hold up to the elements without freezing. In the unfortunate event that the Okuma Helios is unavailable, we believe that the Abu Garcia Revo is the second-best alternative.
10 Best Steelhead Spinning Reels (Reviews) in 2021
We know that selecting the best spinning reel for steelhead can be a challenge, especially if you’re a beginner. To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list with some of the critically acclaimed options available for sale today.
1. Okuma Fishing Tackle Hx-35 Helios
If you enjoy spending hours and hours fishing and want the best product for the job, the Okuma Helios is exactly what you need. The lightweight design makes this a perfect choice for people that don’t want to take breaks as at just 8.8 ounces this alternative won’t add a lot of weight to your setup which means that you’ll be able to spend a few extra hours practicing your favorite hobby without feeling tired. This product might be light, but that does not mean in any way it is also not durable. By using a cutting edge C-40x long strand carbon fiber construction, this choice will be able to handle a lot of force. As a plus, you also have an aluminum and brass gear system. This mix of materials makes this option 25% lighter and 50% stronger than most alternatives on the market. Using this option is also extremely easy, and you will not have to struggle to catch your steelhead as the gear is smooth. In fact, customers are so happy with this product and how easy it is to operate that they believe the Okuma Helios feels more like an extension of their hands because of how easy it is to use.
2. Abu Garcia Revo 2 Reel Red Silver
A perfect choice for beginners and experienced anglers alike, the Abu Garcia Revo is a quality product that seeks to provide the best experience to as many customers as possible. It uses an eight stainless steel HPCR bearings which had customers impressed with the smoothness that it offers. Add to that the fact that the product comes with increased corrosion protection and you have yourself an alternative that is built to last. The gear design that uses only the most recent technology such as computer optimization makes the gear system used in the Abu Garcia Revo one of the most efficient in its price range. For a smooth and reliable drag performance that will help you catch even the biggest of fish, this option uses the latest carbon matrix hybrid drag system. To ensure a better casting accuracy, the Abu Garcia Revo uses its Rocket Spool Lip design to control the rate at which the line comes off the spool. This neat feature works together with the Rocket Line Management System which improves the versatility of this product by allowing for additional control, no matter of the type of fishing line that you are using.
3. Shimano Sienna FE Reel
If you’re looking for a product that offers a great combination of durability, bearing quality and power and all in a lightweight body, the SHIMANO SIENNA FE is the one for you. Using an XGT-7 body that gives this option great durability, you can be sure that the strength of this product is more than enough to enable you to catch even the most aggressive of fishes. The use of XGT-7 composite also makes this product quite compact as well as lighter and stronger. The internal mechanism is protected better than ever which means that you get something that will last for longer and be able to withstand even extreme weather and environments. With a drag power of 9 lbs is more than enough to help you catch even larger steelheads. As a plus, the use of the Dyna-Balance design will help get rid of uncomfortable vibrations that can occur when you retrieve. To top it all off, the SHIMANO SIENNA FE is also the most affordable pick on our list. This makes it an ideal choice for beginners that don’t want to commit to an expensive purchase. Even by paying a fraction of what other more costly alternatives may cost, you still get a quality purchase that does not compromise in any area.
4. Daiwa Fuego 6.0:1 2500 8BB Spin Reel
The Daiwa Fuego is a versatile product that is great for a huge variety of applications, including, but certainly not limited to steelhead fishing. It uses an air rotor that cuts a few ounces out of the total weight of this option, allowing for better sensitivity and an overall smoother experience. The machine cut aluminum handle is exactly what you would expect, easy to maneuver without requiring a lot of force. The handle knob is made out of comfortable EVA which is not only soft to the touch but also firm enough and with a great grip even when using with gloves or with a wet hand. With the help of the new HaedBodyz design, your product will be able to respond to even the smallest of tugs while also adding additional durability. The same design also helps reduce some of the weight, making the Daiwa Fuego weigh less than past generations. The use of corrosion-resistant ball bearings helps make the Daiwa Fuego a tool that is suitable for both fresh and saltwater use. You also won’t have to worry about the mechanism failing which means that your purchase will be future proof and last for longer than the alternatives that lack this feature.
5. One3 Creed K Spinning Reels
The 13 Fishing ONE3 is another affordable option that has garnered the appreciation of the customers that have bought and tested it. It offers great quality for the money, in fact, it is quite difficult to find another alternative that offers similar features for a similar price. It’s the perfect tool to use when steelhead fishing. When fishing with the ONE3, you will be impressed by the advanced grip that this product uses and that will help you maintain your edge. The Evolve Soft Touch Knobs are purposely built to provide you with comfort as well as to ensure a good grip even when fighting to catch big fish. Add to that the Strong Arm one-piece aluminum handle and you have a product that is ready to face any challenge. The use of high-quality aluminum means that the handle will be light but tough enough never to fail you when it matters. The handle is also carefully designed to eliminate unwanted wiggle and vibration. By employing only the best materials, the 13 Fishing ONE3 is built with precision components as well as the latest technology and engineering. This allows the customers to get the latest features without having to pay a lot for them.
6. Fierce II Spinning Reel 4000
If you choose Penn, you can’t go wrong, no matter what reel from them you want to try. The Penn Fierce II is no exception to the rule, and there are plenty of things to like about this model. First of all, it has a full metal body and side plate, which means that it was built with durability in mind. Also, because of its heavy-duty construction, you will not experience any gear misalignment when you need to pull fish out of the water. Furthermore, the frame won’t bend or flex when you’re dealing with heavy loads, something that guarantees its durability in the long run. Because it is available in different sizes, finding a good match for your needs should not be particularly difficult. As there is an instant anti-reverse bearing, you will not experience any of the common mishaps other models might be known for. Furthermore, the 4+1 shielded ball bearings made from stainless steel increase its durability. Other aspects, such as the techno-balanced rotor, ensure that each retrieval will be smooth and consistent, helping you achieve the results you want without a glitch. Regular use is possible, and you can pick this one as your go-to choice when it comes to fishing for steelhead.
7. Okuma RTX Lightweight Carbon Frame
If you search for a reel that will behave just as you desire when you go steelhead fishing, the Okuma RTX Light is the one that should sit on top of your list. The frame, side plates, and rotor are made from C-40X carbon, a lightweight material that keeps the total weight of the model to a minimum. The well-known Japanese quality these reels have is evident in this model. The drag system is a multi-disc design that is adequately oiled to ensure many hours and days of fishing without any problems. Stopping the line as needed is one of the advantages of this reel and you can count on its performance under all circumstances. Let’s take a look at the ball bearing system, too. In this case, the configuration is 7BB+1RB, all made from stainless steel, which means that using them for a long time is possible and that without worrying about rust and signs of corrosion. These ball bearings serve an essential role, which is to provide the reel with smooth operation, for increased durability. You will also like the fact that the main gear, along with the oscillating gears, is made from AlumiLite.
8. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel
There is a reason why Penn decided to include the word ‘battle’ when naming this particular reel, designed to deal with big game fish that live in saltwater areas. It will serve you as an appropriate weapon for fighting a fish to take it out of the water. Durability is definitely not an issue with this model. First of all, the body is full metal, which means that you can expect years of use without any signs of wear and tear. Under the heavy loads of big game found in saltwater, the frame when bend or break, so you can rest assured that you have the right reel by your side. While we’re here, let’s talk a little about the drag system. Its HT-100 carbon fiber construction ensures both flexibility and durability. The powerful drag provided will not make the reel less smooth, and that’s a significant gain that you cannot overlook. The anti-reverse bearing is one of those aspects that make this model stand out. Also, the five stainless steel bearings are there to provide smooth cranking without a problem, and, since they are sealed, they won’t suffer from corrosion and rust. There is no backing needed for the Superline spool that comes with the reel.
9. Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel
With a gear ratio of 5.0:1, the Okuma Ceymar is one of the most popular steelhead spinning reels currently available on the market. Let’s take a look at its features to understand what this reel can do for you. Due to the precision elliptical gearing configuration, you can expect the reel to provide you with consistent results all the time. Also, the 7BB+1RB ball bearing system offers all the means for smooth operation and superior durability. You will like the anti-reverse bearing that helps you control your fishing tool with great ease. Another thing that many people love about this model is the fact that it can be switched from one hand to another, as it has an ambidextrous design. Everything about this reel seems to have been designed with precision and attention to detail in mind. For instance, the pinion gear is made from machine cut brass, and it behaves without a glitch. Ergonomics is important for anglers, too, and it’s a great thing that this manufacturer thought about this aspect, too. The Ergo Grip handle is the main proof of this preoccupation and helps you with using the reel for longer times without experiencing the usual fatigue.
10. KastKing Sharky III Spinning Fishing Reel
KastKing is a manufacturer with a longstanding tradition in making fishing equipment, and their reels undergo many innovations and improvements year after year. In this case, we’re dealing with a next-gen spinning reel that is not only sturdy, but it also looks impressive. For trophy fish that live both in saltwater and freshwater, you will feel hard-pressed to find a better option. Equipped with a triple disc drag system made from carbon fiber, this model provides the much-needed smooth operation that makes spinning reels like this one sit in a class of their own. Also, the K.I.S.S. feature ensures that the spool, as well the rotor and the body of the reel, are protected against the action of salt water. This acronym stands for KastKing Intrusion Shield System, and it is pretty much self-explanatory. Not only water but also dirt will be kept away from the mechanism inside the reel so that you can use it for a long time without a problem. On the retrieve, the reel is smooth and quiet, and the good news is that there is no need for a backing line when you use braid. Another thing that must be talked about here is the presence of 10+1 ball bearings, shielded and made from stainless steel.
Finding the best salmon and steelhead spinning reel is not an easy task and requires that you spend a lot of time prospecting the market, time that not everyone has to spare. To help you in this matter, we have compiled the following buyer’s guide to assist you in finding the product you need. By taking into account the opinion of customers and experts alike, we have been able to pinpoint the features that you should look for in a product. If you’re having trouble picking the best reel tailored to your needs, the guide below should be of use to you.
You want an option that will last
The most important feature that a good spinning reel for steelhead should have is good build quality. You want your option to be built of only the best materials available that put an emphasis on durability. The last thing you would want when purchasing anything is only to be able to use it for a couple of times until it becomes inoperable. To avoid such a scenario, you need to pay close attention to what your product is built out of. Spinning reels nowadays are made of plastic, aluminum or graphite. Out of the three, the plastic body is the one we recommend the least because it has a fair share of disadvantages and the only advantage it really has is the low production cost. We found that an aluminum body makes the best option as it combines the lightweight of the graphite alternative but without sacrificing any strength. Similarly, you also need to consider if you intend to fish in saltwater or freshwater. For saltwater fishing, a graphite body is the best choice as it will not corrode like aluminum and plastic.
A product suitable for the task
When fishing for steelhead, you need a product that can do the job right, and for this, you will have to consider both the general rules of steelhead fishing as well as your personal preferences. First, this isn’t an easy fish to catch, but it can sure be one of the most fun to catch. To make sure that you are well equipped for the task you need to verify that the product you chose is designed to handle rough conditions. Most steelhead love to swim in fast water and unless you have a spinning reel that can handle such conditions you will find yourself having troubles. Thus, you need to make sure that you have a reel that is durable and that can withstand a great deal of force. Depending on where you fish you might have to decide whether weight or strength is more important for you.
When you spend hours and hours holding the rod, any ounce that you can spare can make your experience more comfortable, which is why the weight of the reel is also a crucial factor to consider. The lighter your product is, the more you will be able to spend fishing without your hands getting tired. At the same time, you need to consider that a lightweight design is not always the best choice, especially if the material that is being used is not suitable for the task of fishing steelhead. Graphite is the lightest material that manufacturers use, but unfortunately, it does not offer the same strength that aluminum does. A plastic body is heavy, and unfortunately, that heaviness does not even add extra strength to the product, as plastic is unreliable for strength and can break easily. If you want a lightweight option, we recommend you avoid a plastic build.
How much are you willing to invest in your hobby?
If some of the options available on the market seem to be more expensive than you would have liked, you shouldn’t worry about it. While spending more will most definitely give you a product that can perform better, you don’t have to worry that a more affordable alternative will not be good enough. In fact, before committing to a purchase, it is crucial that you consider just how much you want to invest in this hobby. If you have numerous hobbies and fishing is just one of them, you might have to juggle your budget around and buying the best products is not always a viable option. Thankfully, you can find a lot of options that come at a really good price and that do not sacrifice quality for affordability. These options are great for beginners and novices but for more experienced fishermen that want to improve their performance, better and more expensive reels are advisable.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.