Best Line Counter Reel 2021 – Review & Buying Guide

If you want to go fishing, you need to have the best reel on your fishing rod. However, you should know that there are different types of reels available for use. And every type has a specific purpose. That is where the best line counter reels come in as a great alternative.

Quick Overview - Best Line Counter Reel 2021

Quick Comparison - Best Line Counter Reels 2021

Preview
Best All Around
PENN Fishing SQL20LWLC Squall LevelWind , Black Gold, 315yd/20Lb
Best Value
Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel
Best for Walleye
OKUMA Coldwater Wireline High Speed Trolling Reel
Best for Salmon
SHIMANO Tekota 501A Conventional Trolling Reel, Left Hand, Line Counter
Best for Crappie
Cadence CS8 Spinning Reel, Ultralight Fast Speed Premium Magnesium Frame Fishing Reel with 10 Low Torque Bearings Super Smooth Powerful Fishing Reel with 36 LBs Max Drag & 6.2:1 Spinning Reel
Title
PENN Fishing SQL20LWLC Squall LevelWind , Black Gold, 315yd/20Lb
Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel
OKUMA Coldwater Wireline High Speed Trolling Reel
SHIMANO Tekota 501A Conventional Trolling Reel, Left Hand, Line Counter
Cadence CS8 Spinning Reel, Ultralight Fast Speed Premium Magnesium Frame Fishing Reel with 10 Low Torque Bearings Super Smooth Powerful Fishing Reel with 36 LBs Max Drag & 6.2:1 Spinning Reel
Material
Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Graphite
Graphite
Aluminum, Stainless Steel
All-metal Hagane Body
Magnesium, Stainless Steel
Ball Bearings
2+1
2
2+1
3+1
9+1
Gear Ratio
4.9:1
4.0:1
4.7:1
6.3:1
6.2:1/5.2:1
Customer Rating
Best All Around
Preview
PENN Fishing SQL20LWLC Squall LevelWind , Black Gold, 315yd/20Lb
Title
PENN Fishing SQL20LWLC Squall LevelWind , Black Gold, 315yd/20Lb
Material
Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Graphite
Ball Bearings
2+1
Gear Ratio
4.9:1
Customer Rating
Best Value
Preview
Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel
Title
Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel
Material
Graphite
Ball Bearings
2
Gear Ratio
4.0:1
Customer Rating
Best for Walleye
Preview
OKUMA Coldwater Wireline High Speed Trolling Reel
Title
OKUMA Coldwater Wireline High Speed Trolling Reel
Material
Aluminum, Stainless Steel
Ball Bearings
2+1
Gear Ratio
4.7:1
Customer Rating
Best for Salmon
Preview
SHIMANO Tekota 501A Conventional Trolling Reel, Left Hand, Line Counter
Title
SHIMANO Tekota 501A Conventional Trolling Reel, Left Hand, Line Counter
Material
All-metal Hagane Body
Ball Bearings
3+1
Gear Ratio
6.3:1
Customer Rating
Best for Crappie
Preview
Cadence CS8 Spinning Reel, Ultralight Fast Speed Premium Magnesium Frame Fishing Reel with 10 Low Torque Bearings Super Smooth Powerful Fishing Reel with 36 LBs Max Drag & 6.2:1 Spinning Reel
Title
Cadence CS8 Spinning Reel, Ultralight Fast Speed Premium Magnesium Frame Fishing Reel with 10 Low Torque Bearings Super Smooth Powerful Fishing Reel with 36 LBs Max Drag & 6.2:1 Spinning Reel
Material
Magnesium, Stainless Steel
Ball Bearings
9+1
Gear Ratio
6.2:1/5.2:1
Customer Rating

Buying Guide

There are some key elements that you should know before you purchase them. Things like the basic structure and functionality, the type of materials used, uses in different scenarios, the technical terms associated with it, etc. All these are essential things that will guide you in choosing the best line counter reel that will suit your fishing needs.

Material & Quality

Generally, line counter reels have three primary materials: machined aluminum, graphite, and cast aluminum. Counter reel made from Machine aluminum is the strongest of them all. The sturdy build ensures stability, and with the right maintenance, it lasts very long. So it means that your investment does not go in vain. On the other hand, the ones made from graphite are the weakest. However, they are some of the lightest line counter reels you can find and often offer great value.

Ball Bearings

The ball bearing is an essential component of the counter reel. In fact, most fishing reels come equipped with them, and they have a specific purpose. They make reeling easier by reducing friction. You can find the bearings in specific parts of the reel, and there are different types like frame, spool, knob, and clutch bearings.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio is a reference to the number of times the reel spool turns when you turn the reel's handle. For example, when you turn 6.4 times of the spool in one revolution, the ratio is 6.4:1. So a faster gear ratio means that you can retrieve your reel faster. However, two different reels can sometimes yield different results depending on how much line there is on the spool and the size of the spool.

You should also know that there are different applications for low, medium, and fast gear ratios. Slow gear ratio is suitable for big swimbaits, deep-diving crankbaits, or spinnerbaits. The medium gear ratio is best for square-billed crankbaits, medium depth cranks, etc. The fast gear ratio is for targeted areas.

Level Wind System

A fishing reel keeps the fishing line in place neatly. And this is possible because of the level wind system. It is a mechanism that keeps your line wraps on the spool in place evenly without bulging out on one side of the reel alone. And this is a crucial mechanism because, without it, you will have to keep guiding the line with your thumb to ensure that this doesn't happen. However, some anglers do not prefer this system when using a braided line because it can naturally wind itself neatly on the spool. Nonetheless, the system helps in your fishing experience.

Size of the Reel

A fishing reel comes in different sizes, and depending on the type of fishing, you pick one to use. Usually, you would either go fishing in saltwater or freshwater. Both require different size reels. And then, you would decide on the types of fish you are looking to catch and then decide on the strength of the line. Typically, a saltwater reel comes in bigger sizes compared to a freshwater reel. And for saltwater fishing, you would need a more robust reel that is capable of covering larger areas. In most cases, the fish run about long distances when it gets hooked, and if the line is not strong and short, it will snap easily.

For instance, there are sizes like 1000 and 10,000 spinning reel. And to catch tuna, you would require a 10,000 spinning reel.

Some other Criteria for Line Counter Reels

There are a few more things worth knowing and considering about line counter reels. These are:

• Graphite counter reels are very reasonably priced, so it makes the perfect line counter reel if you are on a budget. But it does not last as long as some of the aluminum built counter reels even with proper maintenance.

• The aluminum material is the most recommended one both for its durability and higher quality and performance.

• There are essentially four parts in a fishing reel bearing: cages, shields, races, and balls.

The Best Line Counter Reels – Our Top Picks 2021

The line of one of the best line counter reels in closeup

The Best Line Counter Reel

Best Line Counter Reel

Pros

Cons

  • The system and design of the reel are suited for Grouper and Snapper.
  • Works excellent for smaller fishes
  • The drag is carbon fiber, and the graphite frame makes it lightweight
  • The line counter is serviceable
  • The graphite frame makes it light but the durability could be improved with e.g. aluminium

The Penn Squall Level Wind is one of the best overall counter reels for fishing. You can take this reel and go to catch smaller or medium-sized fishes. The line extension capacity is excellent, and there is an anti-reveres bearing on it as well. The frame is graphite, so it is light.

The product has a high rating on Amazon and a lot of great reviews. It can even handle fishes up to 30-40 pounds, and the feature packed product gives you all the right reasons to purchase it.

The Best Value Line Counter Reel

Best Cheap Line Counter Reel

Pros

Cons

  • It is excellent for small and medium-size fishes.
  • It maintains consistency during your fishing trip
  • The gear system is self-lubricating
  • You get a one year warranty
  • Great ergonomic grip
  • It is not very expensive, but it delivers high-quality performance.
  • If you want to fish in deeper waters, this is not the right reel
  • Not suitable for bigger sized fishes

The Okuma Magda line trolling counter reel is one of the finest freshwater fishing reels you can find on Amazon. It is built with the finest materials and has a high-quality finish and the best value for your money. You can easily mount it on your fishing rod, and it has a drag system that makes the rod stress free. It also has a self-lubricating system, which removes the need to lubricate stressed lines.

The product is perfect for the price, and the features satisfy all your fishing requirements. The reel ratio is excellent, and the drag is smooth. It also has a lot of great reviews, so it is a great choice, if you are looking for a cheap line counter reel.

The Best Line Counter Reel for Walleye

Best Line Counter Reel for Walleye

Pros

Cons

  • Perfect for all types of medium to larger fish
  • It has a self-lubricating system
  • Quality build
  • Easy to use and smooth
  • It is not ideal for small fishes

The Okuma cold water counter reel is an excellent option for fishes like steelhead, salmon, and walleye. The Carbonite drag system allows a smooth fishing experience, and the pinion gears are brass. The chief material is machined aluminum, so it is sturdy and durable.

This reel is perfect for walleye because they hold up to 200 feet of braid in about 50lb. You get an excellent drag for the ultimate experience, and catching fish of 30lbs is not a problem.

The Best Line Counter Reel for Salmon

Best Line Counter Reel for Salmon

Pros

Cons

  • Great for personal fishing
  • You can take it to any type of water
  • The sturdy and robust build makes it last longer
  • High value and excellent delivery
  • Works great in a rod holder on a boat
  • There are no harness lugs

The Shimano Tekota 600 line counter reel is one of the best for catching salmons. And the best part is, they work on both freshwater and saltwater. The aluminum build makes it very durable, and the drag reels are also very efficient. It has aluminum frames, an aluminum spool, Dartainium drag, and a dual anti-reverse system.

The Shimano reels are well reputed and known for their quality and high performance. A lot of anglers trust these reels, so you can definitely go for this without thinking twice.

The Best Line Counter Reel for Crappie

Best Line Counter Reel for Crappie

Pros

Cons

  • It has a very smooth drag system
  • Perfect for catching lots of small fish
  • Great value for money because it delivers quality performance for a reasonable price
  • The drag system does not come sealed, so it is not necessarily watertight

If you want to get some crappies, the Cadence CS-8 1000 is one of the best products to buy. The build quality is robust and has an impressive quality. And one of the best features is the lightweight quality. So it feels like an expensive reel even though it is light.

The product is known for its lightweight and flawless performance in the water. And its durability because of the aluminum frame adds to the quality.

Also check out article on the best crappie rod and reel!

Best Line Counter Reel - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The best way is to use a strong quality line. It costs a bit more but delivers excellent performance. It easily holds anywhere from 6 to 10 pounds of fish.

There are two types to consider first—spinning and bait casting. For live baits, spinning reels are the best. The bait caster is ideal for casting, and trolling does not cause any issues.

Rod length and action depends on the type of fishes you are looking to catch. Ideally, a short and stiff rod are preferable. So whether you use a long or short line, the stiff rod lets you control efficiently.

The most common cause of a tangled line is due to overrunning of the reel. It causes a slack, and when you close the bail, it forms a loop in the spinning wheel. So it is best to avoid overruns, you should control the spinning reel.

The maximum fishing line length is usually a 12-pound line. But you don’t need to fill your reel with the whole thing. Ideally, your fishing line on the reel should cover about 150-200 yards, which is the recommended length.

Line counter reels have a design that suits all your fishing experience by using a technique called trolling. They are used to catch fishes suspended in the water, and you can also use them to catch fish in different water scenarios. Trolling is a technique that involves constantly moving your reel in deeper parts of the water so that you catch the fish at different depths. It allows you to cover large areas of the water.

Line counter reels are either electric or manual, and you can find a wide variety of options to choose from.

Line counter reels are very accurate. They monitor the trolling and the lead lengths very accurately.

Using a heavy line on the reel is not recommended. The diameter of thicker lines makes it challenging to spool, and it jumps off when you cast it. So go for the size recommended on your reel. Typically, you will get all the guidance on which line suits best for a specific reel when you purchase from the store.

Happy Fishing

Fishing line counter reels have a wide range of uses. The fish species are diverse, so the reels are designed in a way to make a catch efficiently. It is vital that you have some knowledge about the different types of fishes before you make any purchase. That will guide you to the kind of line counter reel you will need and raise the chances of catching them when you go fishing.