Best Baitcaster Under 200 Dollars

Are you looking for the best baitcaster under 200 Dollars?

Well, you have come to the right place!

Our team of expert fisherman share their top picks for the best baitcaster under $200 so that you can find the right baitcaster for your fishing style without going over your budget.

Below you will find our reviews of the top 7 picks for best baitcaster under $200, complete with what we like and don’t like about each one.

1. Best Overall: Shimano Curado K Baitcast Reel

Shimano Curado K Baitcast Reel

The Shimano Curado is our go-to baitcaster for both fresh and saltwater fishing and it has been a staple in the Shimano line up for a number of years now.

We love the super smooth retrieve of this reel, thanks to the MicroModule gearing.

The Curado is made from CI4+ carbon fiber and a HAGANE reel body for rigidness, that makes this baitcasting reel super lightweight at only 7.6 ounces, but without the flex of some other baitcasters.

The drag is also super smooth thanks to Shimano’s Cross Carbon Drag material. This is the smoothest Shimano drag that they have developed yet.

The Curado also features the S3D spool, which is a thin wall aluminum spool that casts further that other baitcasters using a standard spool.

Where the Curado really shines is in its SVS Infinity brake system technology. It allows super efficient braking so that you can even cast lightweight lures without the fear of backlashes.

Key Features

  • Sturdy HAGANE body construction
  • Three gear ratio options, namely 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and 8.5:1
  • Anti-reversing bearing
  • A maximum drag of 11 lb.
  • SVS brake system
  • Weighs 7.6 ounces
  • (6 + 1) ball bearings
  • ‎Black in color
Pros
  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Perfect for casting across the spectrum
  • Long-lasting MicroModule gearing
  • A refined modern design
  • Stronger handle design
Cons
  • The casting control might be challenging to inexperienced anglers.

2. Best Runner-Up: Shimano SLX DC Baitcasting Reel

Shimano SLX DC

Our staff of experts were evenly split on their top pick for best baitcaster under $200, but after much debate, we chose the Shimano SLX DC as the runner up. The truth is, you can’t go wrong with either of the top 2 choices.

The SLX Dc shares a lot of the same features as the Curado, with the exception of the Shimano’s proprietary DC braking technology that allows you to cast even the lightest of baits without the fear of backlash.

If you are a beginner or new to baitcasting reels, we highly recommend the DC braking technology for learning how to effectively cast these reels without a birds nest.

One of the reasons that the SLX DC is the runner up and not the best overall is that it only has 4+1 ball bearings as compared to the 6+1 ball bearings of the Curado.

The SLX is till super lightweight at only 7.6 ounces and is available in up to 8.2:1 gear ratio.

When paired up with the right fishing rod, you can’t beat the performance and durability of the Shimano SLX DC Baitcaster.

Key Features

  • HAGANE metal body construction
  • Gear ratio up to 8.2:1
  • Super Free Spool eliminates friction
  • A maximum drag of 12 lb.
  • DC brake system
  • Weighs 7.6 ounces
  • (4 + 1) ball bearings
  • ‎Black and blue in color
Pros
  • We love the DC Braking system on the SLX
  • Easy to cast, even for beginners
  • Durable MicroModule gear system
  • We love how smooth this reel is
  • Super lightweight
Cons
  • Some fisherman don’t like the DC braking system

3. Best Daiwa Baitcaster Under 200: Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS

Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS Baitcaster

Our two top picks for best baitcasting reel under $200 were Shimanos, but some of our readers were asking us for the best daiwa baitcaster under 200, so our staff immediately responded with the Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS.

The first thing you will notice when you pick up a Tatula 100 is its compact size. It fits perfectly in the palm of your hand it is unbelievably lightweight at only 6.9 ounces, significantly lighter than the Curado and the SLX.

Adding to its comfort is a 90mm handle that works perfectly with its compact reel body.

The Tatula is a favorite of our staff members that fish competitive tournaments all day, and for multiple days. Its small size and light weight is perfect for fatigue free all day fishing.

It also has the most ball bearings out of our top 3 picks with 7+1, as compared to 6+1 for the Curado and 4+1 for the SLX.

We also love Daiwa’s proprietary T Wing System, which solves the problem of constricting the line flow that is found in other level wind reels by utilizing a T shaped level wind for superior line control on the spool.

Key Features

  • All aluminum body for light weight and corrosion resistance
  • Gear ratio up to 8.1:1
  • MagForce Z magnetic braking control
  • A maximum drag of 11 lb.
  • Zero Adjuster, factory set for perfect casts
  • Weighs 6.9 ounces
  • (7+ 1) ball bearings
  • T Wing System level wind
Pros
  • We love the palm-able size of the Tatula 100
  • Unbelievably lightweight
  • Incredibly smooth casting and retrieve
  • We love the price, given all of the high end features
  • One of the longest casting reels we tested
Cons
  • Some guys don’t like the T Wing system

4. Best Pflueger: Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel

Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel

The Pflueger baitcasting is your best option if you are looking for the right baitcasting under 200. This is a great fishing reel for anglers who love going out fishing, even in saltwater environments. You can rest assured that its efficiency won’t be compromised when you go for fun fishing trips in saltwater bodies.

Considering that the Pflueger President XT is Aluminum built, you’ll enjoy years of fishing outings with this baitcaster. Furthermore, the baitcaster’s 9 bearings are made of stainless steel. So, you’ll be enjoying years of smooth casting. The reel’s handle is made of aircraft-grade aluminum to ensure that you and your friends enjoy your fishing escapades on end. Although the gear ratio of 7.3:1 might seem a little too high to some fishers, it somehow offers you optimal performance if you truly know how to leverage that power.

Furthermore, the reel has a soft touch rubber knob that will lessen the strain you’ll feel using the equipment. In other words, if the grip on the reel is comfortable enough, you can spend hours on the waters casting for more fish as you wish. The baitcaster’s magnetic brake system works very seamlessly. This baitcaster offers you great control on brakes and spool because the braking system is so magnificent. The Pflueger President XT features C45 side plates that define its low-profile design. It has a drag potential of up to 12 pounds of weight.

Key Features

  • Measures 5.79 x 4.41 x 2.4 inches
  • Weighs ‎0.5 Pounds
  • Silver, Multicolor
  • Aluminum construction
  • Stainless Steel handle
  • Right-hand orientation
  • Gear Ratio of 7.3:1
  • 9 ball-bearing system
  • Magnetic braking system
Pros
  • CD45 side plates
  • Soft-touch rubber knob for better gripping
  • Lustrous and compact body
  • Highly durable baitcasting reel
  • More efficient reel
Cons
  • It might not be so comfortable for some new anglers

5. Best for Bass Fishing: KastKing Spartacus I & II Baitcasting Fishing Reel 

The KastKing Bassinator Elite offers you the best affordable fishing experience if you love bass fishing. So, if you have Shad, minnows, or shiners as your favorite baits of choice for fishing in bass waters, then this is a quality fishing reel to settle for. It’s a lightweight baitcasting made from an Aluminum alloy frame and carbon fiber side plates.

That means even if you want to tug a striped bass fish from the water, the frame and side plates are so strong. The Aluminum gear is heat-treated and hardened enough to enhance the baitcaster’s strength and durability. The fishing reel manufacturer has done a good job in the construction of the grips and handles of this fishing equipment.

They have used premium materials that include AAA cork grips and carbon fiber handles, which feel perfect in terms of size and handling. It arguably features the most comfortable grips out there. The baitcaster allows you to manage longer casts that are not only quiet but also classically shielded. The CNC aluminum spool of this baitcaster is designed with ball bearings that include two free-spin high-speed bearings on either side. The maximum drag power of this amazing baitcaster is 17.6 lbs., which will guarantee you seamless drag tension.

Key Features

  • A maximum drag of 17.6 Lbs
  • 7.2:1 gear ratio
  • Weighs 0.35 Lbs
  • 10+1 ball bearings
  • ‎Measures 5.71 x 4.72 x 2.87 inches
  • ‎Made from Stainless Steel
  • Left-Hand orientation
KastKing Spartacus I & II Baitcasting Fishing Reel 
Pros
  • Great carbon fiber drag
  • Great handles and grips
  • Designed for competition
  • Compact design
  • Lightweight and portable
Cons
  • It may not be that comfortable for beginners.

6. Best Budget: Cadence CB5 Baitcasting Reels

Many new anglers or fishers are often skeptical when it comes to delving into the large water bodies, especially when faced with the challenge of investing in new fishing equipment. Cadence is a great brand in the world of manufacturing fishing accessories, baitcasting fishing reels included. Their few models on the market are actually so popular with seasoned anglers.

The company offers you a 3 months risk-free trial to allow users to try out their products and decide whether they’re compatible enough for their fishing trips; if an angler is not satisfied, they can return the product to the manufacturer. In addition, they also offer you a 1-year warranty on this baitcaster. The baitcaster has a gear ratio of 6.6:1. In this baitcaster’s affordable price range, you might not find a similar reel with the same features.

The CB5 has a compact size that feels comfortable on your palm. The lightweight construction of this baitcaster is made of graphite and configured with adjustable side plates. The reel’s smooth speed line enhances its performance. Even though the company is relatively new in the industry, the CB5 has an aluminum spool with a spool tension knob that is specifically designed to make it last longer. Furthermore, its brass gear is resistant to corrosion.

Key Features

  • Aluminum, Graphite body construction
  • Measures 6.06 x 4.8 x 2.99 inches
  • Weighs 0.70 pounds
  • Gear ratio 6.6:1
  • Stainless Steel handle
  • Right-hand orientation
  • Maximum drag of 20 lb
  • 7 Double shielded ball bearings
  • Aluminum spool
Cadence CB5 Baitcasting Reels
Pros
  • 1-year warranty
  • 3 months of risk-free trial
  • Very durable
  • Instant anti-reversing ball bearing
Cons
  • The handle size is a little too small.

7. Best Multipurpose Baitcasting Reel: Sougayilang Fishing Baitcasting Reels

If you’re too tired of your daily work routine, then fishing is a great way to wind off and relax your body and mind. The type of baitcaster you choose to work with will define the experience you’ll get from your fishing outing. The Sougayilang reel is a great multi-featured baitcasting fishing reel that’ll transform your experience out on the waters.

The reel has an awesome braking system that will guarantee you proper control over the brakes. In addition, you’ll be able to comfortably control the spool because the reel has a CNC machined forged spool that enhances its power. Furthermore, the reel features the right amount of high-quality stainless steel 9 + 1 ball bearings combination for increased consistency. That means you’ll enjoy numerous fishing outings regardless of the season of the year. 

The manufacturer offers you a 2-year warranty for you to see redress in case of any ambiguity or other technical problems with the reel. It comes with an exceptional gear ratio of 8:1 that has different line capacities. You can comfortably work with this baitcaster in both fresh and saltwater, especially if you love long-distance casting.

Key Features

  • ‎Measures 5.3 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Weighs 0.39 pounds
  • Left-hand orientation
  • Stainless Steel handle
  • 8:1 gear ratio
  • CNC machined aluminum spool
  • 9 + 1 ball bearings
  • The maximum drag of 18 pounds
Sougayilang Fishing Baitcasting Reels
Pros
  • 2-years support service
  • High-speed baitcasting reel
  • No backlash problem
  • Instant anti-reversing system
  • Great for long casting
  • Small yet stylish design
  • Anti-corrosion baitcasting reel
  • Adjustable brakes
Cons
  • A little noisy when casting

Buying Guide for Best Baitcasters Under 200 Dollars

Here are the key features to pay attention to when shopping for the best baitcaster under $200:

1. Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are very important components of any fishing reel because they determine the direction in which the reel moves and the smoothness with which it operates. Ball bearings are mainly designed to reduce the friction between the various moving parts of the baitcaster. The +1 ball-bearing works as an anti-reverse and is the most common in many fishing reel models. In other words, almost one ball bearing keeps the fishing reel from moving backward.

Having several ball bearings improves the functionality of a fishing reel as they support the smooth operation of the reel. The ball bearings of your new fishing reel may either be shielded or double-shielded to inhibit external debris damage. You may also come across stainless steel ball bearings that are easy to clean and maintain.

2. Type of Fish & Environment

You can use a baitcaster either in freshwater or saltwater environments. Baitcasters with anti-corrosion properties are best suited for saltwater applications. Therefore, you need to ensure that the baitcaster you purchase is capable of surviving in saltwater waterways if that is your fishing location of choice. Baitcasters are great for deepwater fishing applications because they’re often built with sturdy constructions and can support different types of lures, too. You can use jerk baits and live lures to catch a wide range of fish species such as bass, catfish, and trout.

3. Features

Even low-priced baitcasters under 200 come with different types of helpful features that you can take advantage of depending on your fishing preferences. Some of the baitcasters are very heavy, while others are featherweight. 

The weight of the baitcaster is relative to the weight of the lures you intend to use when you go out fishing. But, you should be aware that heavy baitcasters may not be ideal if you plan to go out fishing for long hours because it’ll wear you out. In other words, it’s important to check for the critical features of the baitcaster to ensure you invest in a piece of equipment that will give you the best experience out there.

Established manufacturers of fishing accessories are always adopting new technologies in their advanced newer productions of fishing equipment. Many of the household brand names in this industry produce baitcasters that are not only lightweight but also smaller in size and sleeker.

You should also check the baitcaster’s gear ratio, grips, and spool size to ensure you pick something that will satisfy your specific needs. In essence, the gear ratio will indicate the amount of cranking you need to get the line moving on retrieval, while the spool size will show you the amount of line that fits on the spool. It’s important to note that around spool is easier to maintain.

Man using a baitcasting reel
Man using a baitcasting reel

4. Brake System

During casting, the spool is said to be on a free spin motion. Therefore, you need a brake system that’ll control the speed of that motion. Most of the brake systems configured by established manufacturers are quite complex compared to the ordinary braking systems you find from some retailers. 

A good braking system should be adjustable in order to suit different fishing environments and preferences. Centrifugal brakes are the best options for baitcasting reels. When the fishing line is feeding off of the spool at a good casting rate, you’ll get stable control of your fishing reel.

5. Drag System

A baitcaster’s drag system indicates a fishing reel’s resistance you’ll experience when trying to catch hard-to-get, large species. Adjusting a rear front or a star-shaped drag is not that hard either. In most cases, spinning reels are fitted with front-rear drags. That means you can easily and quickly adjust the front drag as you fish. 

On the other hand, a rear drag is basically an adjustable screw that is fitted on the back of your fishing reel and has a lever that activates it. Fishing reels that have this type of drag system are also known as Bait Feeders. It’s important to remember that the interior gears of your reel can also affect the drag level, especially in larger drag systems.

6. Handle Size & Orientation

You must get a baitcaster with the correct hand orientation. If you want to make sure your baitcaster serves you for long, you need to think beyond just the handles and focus on how you’ll be handling the fishing reel. That means you can choose to go a left-handed or right-handed version depending on what makes you feel as comfortable as possible when out there fishing. A majority of brands opt for plastic tabs, EVA foam grips, and cork handles in their productions. Since you could be using the baitcaster for several hours on the waters, you need to ensure it’s as comfortable as possible.

In addition, you should make sure the line capacity of your reel is thick enough to support optimal performance. While price does not seem like a major consideration when shopping for baitcasters under 200, it’s more important to focus on the provided warranties. For instance, some established brands such as Shimano offer lifetime warranties on their products.

FAQs

What is the best baitcasting gear ratio?

The most popular and comfortable baitcasting gear ratio in the world of angling is 6.4:1. At this gear ratio, you can easily work with fast-moving and slow-moving presentations. In some applications, you’ll notice that either a very high or low gear ratio will deliver the best results. For example, a 7.1:1 gear ratio will perform best for a spinnerbait. In general, the baitcaster’s ratio that you choose to work with will largely depend on your fishing choices, including the type of target fish and water.

What causes backlash Baitcaster?

It’s possible for your bait to slow down during or after a cast and the spool keeps spinning. This leads to a tangled mess of lines, which is also referred to as a backlash. That is why investing in a modern-day baitcaster that comes with anti-backlash mechanisms and sophisticated braking systems that allow you to enjoy fishing without experiencing line overruns is a good idea.

Why can’t some baitcasters cast far enough?

It’s important to understand the functionality of a spool Tensioner. If yours is too tight and the Brake System set too high, then your casting length will be limited. So, it’s advisable to clearly understand the workings of the baitcaster that you’re about to buy to avoid wasting your hard-earned money.

Conclusion

When choosing the best baitcaster under 200, you should focus on the most important features, which include ball bearings, gears, drag systems, and lines. Always consider settling for an all-in-one baitcasting fishing reel that you can bring along when going for long hours of fun fishing out in the waters. Regardless of whether you’re fishing on fresh or salty water bodies, investing in the best baitcaster under $200 that’ll accommodate your outings budget is a great idea. Feel free to share your experiences and suggestions in handling affordable baitcasters in our comments section below.

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Brian Hopkins

Brian is an outdoor writer and the youngest member of our team, but he is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to fishing and different techniques for catching different species. He shares valuable information that the younger generation can relate to. When he is not fishing, you can find him hanging with his friends and gaming on his computer.

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