Best Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing 2020 – Review

Bottom fishing is one of the most popular fishing techniques that’s used to catch fish close to the sea bed. Although some people consider it a lazy technique that requires a lot of patience, bottom fishing is not an easy job and requires you to be a pro at anchoring and drifting. The bottom fishing method is great for catching large predatory fish such as halibut, flounder, snapper, grouper, catfish and many more!

The right tackle is very important in bottom fishing as it will help in pulling the fish back once it is lured with the bait. Bottom fishing gives you the best results when you have a heavy action rod that is six to seven-foot-long along with a good quality conventional reel. Conventional reels are one of the oldest varieties of reels. The conventional reels are mounted on the top of the rod and have a line spool that is perpendicular to the rod’s length.

This technique requires you to have a sturdy reel that is easy to use. We have reviewed some great conventional reels for you so that you don’t have to worry about finding the best reel for bottom fishing. So, let’s look at some of the reels that will be suitable for you:

Quick Overview - Best Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing 2020

Quick Comparison - Best Conventional Reels for Bottom Fishing

Preview
Best All Around
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing Reel,Rover60
Best Value
PENN Squall Star Drag, SQL15
Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind
Daiwa Saltist Star Drag Conventional Reel
Title
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing Reel,Rover60
PENN Squall Star Drag, SQL15
Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind
Daiwa Saltist Star Drag Conventional Reel
Level Wind
Gear Ratio
3.6:1
6.0:1
6.1:1
6.4:1
Ball Bearings
6+1
6+1
2+1
4+1
Customer Rating
Best All Around
Preview
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing Reel,Rover60
Title
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing Reel,Rover60
Level Wind
Gear Ratio
3.6:1
Ball Bearings
6+1
Customer Rating
Best Value
Preview
PENN Squall Star Drag, SQL15
Title
PENN Squall Star Drag, SQL15
Level Wind
Gear Ratio
6.0:1
Ball Bearings
6+1
Customer Rating
Preview
Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind
Title
Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind
Level Wind
Gear Ratio
6.1:1
Ball Bearings
2+1
Customer Rating
Preview
Daiwa Saltist Star Drag Conventional Reel
Title
Daiwa Saltist Star Drag Conventional Reel
Level Wind
Gear Ratio
6.4:1
Ball Bearings
4+1
Customer Rating

Buying Guide

Although bottom fishing may seem relatively simple, it comes with its unique set of challenges. You need a long-distance structure for catching big fish in the ocean. Also, you need a lot of line on the spool as the ocean has a great depth and you need to carry the hood right to the bottom. So, we have compiled some features that will help you make the right decision when buying the best conventional reel for bottom fishing.

Weight

Weight of the reel is another important consideration when you are fishing in the ocean. The weight is dependent on the size of the fish you are willing to catch. So, if you want to catch a bigger fish you need a heavier reel. However, your personal preference is also a deciding factor as you might like a streamlined model which is easier to hold or you may go in for something that is bulkier if you want to catch larger predatory fish.

Materials and Design

The conventional reels for bottom fishing are generally sturdy and rough. It is because these reels have to withstand harsh conditions and accordingly you need more torque and cranking power. So, if you are out there fishing for large species you need a reel that is stronger and more durable. One should go for a reel that is able to bear at least 25 pounds of drag.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio is a crucial factor that needs to be considered before you make an investment into a conventional reel for bottom fishing. The gear ratio of a reel is calculated according to the number of times a spool will turn for every full rotation of the handle. When you are looking forward to catch fish that thrive at the bottom of the ocean then it’s always good to opt for a reel with a low gear ratio. It is because you will get more power which is required because of the decreased rotation of the spool. So, go for a less gear ratio that provides more strength and durability.

The Best Conventional Reels for Bottom Fishing – Our Top Picks

Person fishing from a boat with a sunset in the background using one of the best conventional reel for bottom fishing

The Best All Around Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing

Best All Around Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing

Pros

Cons

  • Superior Carbon Fiber Drag
  • New Thicker Outer Shell
  • Oversized T Handle (70-90)
  • Super Smooth
  • Stainless Steel Worm Shaft
  • Clicker Line Out Alarm
  • This model might have an issue with spool release as the button doesn’t stay down

If you are a trophy hunter looking for great catch then the KastKing Rover conventional round baitcaster reels are a great choice. These reels offer all the required tools for hunters so that they can catch big fish.  They are ideal for wreck fishing for bottom feeders such as groupers and red snappers. Also, if you are looking forward to catch giant catfish and walleye or if you are trolling inshore for large saltwater species then this one should be your go to reel.

KastKing Rover conventional reel has the best saltwater features such as premium shielded stainless-steel bearings. The Rover 40 through 60 features 6 shielded stainless-steel ball bearings and one instant stop anti reverse roller bearing. It has brass precision gears, stainless steel components, an oversized nonslip left hand or right-hand handles, and a drag with up to 30 lb. of smooth carbon fiber.

The KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel has flawless level wind, audible line out alarm, ergonomic thumb bar line out release, a rock-solid construction, and the classic look of a quality round baitcasting reel. The Rover carbon fiber star drag fishing reel series has great power that can’t be matched by trolling or round baitcasting reels by other brands.  You can combine a Rover loaded with KastKing braided line with KastKing carbon fiber rod for a fantastic trolling rod and reel combo.

So, if you are looking out for an affordable conventional reel, then KastKing Rover star drag fishing reel with carbon fiber drag washers is the best reel available in the market.

Rather going fly fishing? Looking for other great options for saltwater reels? Check out these saltwater fly-fishing reels!

Features and Specs

  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Saltwater Baitcasting Reel with All Metal Body

The Best Value Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing

Best Value Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to use
  • Magnetic casting feature
  • Made using highest quality components
  • Tested for quality and durability
  • There have been instances where a used item has been shipped to the customer when they had ordered a new one

Looking to go bottom fishing but the equipment is burning a hole in your pocket? The Penn Squall Star Drag is the best, relatively cheap conventional reel for bottom fishing. It has been used by professionals worldwide for a long time. This company was found in 1932 and has come up with some great reel designs that have been admired my experienced anglers. The Penn Squall Star Drag reel is a user-friendly convectional reel that has a star shaped wheel. When fighting a fish this wheel is employed to tighten the drag by providing adequate pressure. In fact, the Penn Squall Star Drag reels are popular because of their high drag pressures that are great for casting purposes.

Features and Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.9 x 4.7 inches; 1.32 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • 6+1 bearings
  • Gear ratio: 6.0:1
  • Line capacity: 17/240
  • Weight: 14.6 ounces

The Best Leightweight Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing

Best Lightweight Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing

Pros

Cons

  • Made using only the highest quality components
  • Tested for quality and durability
  • Lightweight
  • The clicker may stop working with constant use

The Penn Squall Level Wind is the best lightweight reel that is made up of a graphite frame. The main gear contains marine grade bronze alloy and has machined high-strength. The stainless-steel pinion gear provides the ideal smoothness and the HT-100 drag washers remain cool and smooth in the heat of battle.

This lightweight reel has 2+1 shielded stainless steel bearing system and an anti-reverse and is used by professionals across the globe while bottom fishing for large species such as snapper and halibut.

Features and Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 7.9 x 5.9 inches; 1.85 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • 2+1 shielded stainless steel bearing system and anti-reverse

The Most Durable Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing

Most Durable Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing

Pros

Cons

  • Machined aluminum with an anodized finish for greater corrosion resistance
  • Centrifugal braking system for control and longer casts
  • Extremely smooth freespool
  • Well suited for braided line
  • Spool is too narrow to be used comfortably

If you are searching for a conventional reel that has the latest features then you should go for the SALTIST Star Drag Conventional Reels. These are not only lightweight but also strong and compact reels. There are 11 reels in this series and all of them hold line classes from 12 to 50-pound test mono. Moreover, all these reels are strong enough for braid sizes up to 100 pounds.

The drag system of Daiwa Saltist Star Drag Conventional Reel can apply as much as 25 pounds of pressure to the spool. These reels are constructed from machined aluminum and are anodized for maximum corrosion resistance. These sturdy and durable reels are great for bottom fishing. The true free spool of this star drag system makes it easy to cast longer under a variety of conditions and uninhibited spool pay out is ideally suited for fishing live bait.

The Daiwa Saltist Star Drag Conventional Reel is a perfect gift for your friend or family members who are enthusiastic about catching large fish such as halibut, snapper, and flounder.

Features and Specs

  • Gear Ratio: 6.4:1
  • Maximum drag pressure from 17 to 25 pounds
  • 4 CRBB ball bearings and a roller bearing
  • Water Type: Saltwater
  • Retrieve Rate: 39. 5″
  • Braking System: Centrifugal Breaking System
  • Bearing Count: 4+1

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Conventional reels comprise the largest group of reels amongst the three groups of reels namely spinning, spin cast and bait cast reels. These vary from small reels that go well with the lighter power rods to the larger reels that help you in catching bottom dwelling fish such as halibuts, bream, snapper, groupers, catfish, and sea bass. The main purpose of conventional reels is to provide more cranking power. So, during bottom fishing conventional reels are used with heavy sinkers so that the bait can be put vertically. The cranking powers of these reels makes it super easy to retrieve the line. For a comprehensive overview of the different types of reels, check out this article.

The commonly targeted fish include groupers, halibuts, red snappers, sea bass, bream, catfish and other species that feed at the bottom of the ocean. Groupers are relatively easier to catch as they don’t move around much. Red snappers are powerful fish that are generally found around reefs. These fish fight hard and are a challenging to catch. For catching halibut, you should throw the bait at the bottom of the waterbody for some time and then make gentle sweeps sideways to attract the fish’s attention.

Check out the article over at westmarine on how to select a conventional reel.

Happy Bottom Fishing!

There is not any one conventional reel that is the most suitable for bottom fishing. But we have reviewed some great conventional reels that will make your job easy.  Conventional reels are on the more expensive side, so it is good to go through product descriptions, customer reviews, and the important features that we have listed out before you invest in the reels. So, go for the best conventional reel according to your requirements and get ready for an amazing bottom fishing experience!