If you’ve ever deep sea fished off your local coast for anything bigger than a guppie, you know the real deal is reeling in a lunker up from the depths. The thrill of having a trophy on the line coming up from the deep dark is what it’s all about. It can be exhilarating. It can also be exhausting. Even your gear alone can be a pain when that arm fatigue sets in.
Watch any deep sea fishing guide on television haul up the true dream species like a tuna, grouper, or swordfish, though, and you’ll see a common theme. That theme is that those guys’ backs and arms look strong. They are sometimes fishing 1000 feet or more down, and seemingly they don’t feel like you at the end of the day.
That’s because, in many cases, they’re using some of the best electric reels with enormous amounts of power.
If you’re unfamiliar with electric reels, the concept is pretty simple. First, picture your typical large arbor deep sea fishing reel. Now picture that reel with an electric motor attached to the reeling mechanism. That motor and bit of juice make all the difference during a long day of deep fishing.
Whether you’re fishing day in and out day in the salt or occasionally fishing your local deep lake for some hidden monster, the benefits of an electric reel are second to none.
Why Choose An Electric Fishing Reel
If you are one of the old-school anglers unfamiliar with the concept of a new school electric reel, you may be simply wondering why. I’m here to tell you… Why not.
Pulling up a fish on a conventional reel can take time and serious effort. Multiply that time and effort by x number of fish or resets, and your day on the water, even when you’re catching dream fish, can feel like a slog.
Now, If you’re serious about getting into fish, hearing you can catch more fish with less effort on an electric reel is probably a good enough reason to get one right there.
An electric reel really becomes a no-brainer if you add on the removed stress from your body for most kinds of fishing. Beyond catching more fish easier, electric reel allows children, anglers with weaker arms, and anglers with physical limitations a chance to pull up prize species.
Another benefit is one many guys who already use electric reels probably don’t think about. Ever had a day on the water where the fish just aren’t hitting anything you’re throwing out. With an electric reel aiding you, even simply pulling up gear in shallow water to change spots can become something done so timely you forget it was ever a chore.
How To Choose The Best Electric Fishing Reel
Ease of use
Ease of use for an electric reel is an easy category to cover. The nature of the electric reel is that of ease. These things are easy to use.
At the end of the day, though, when selecting an electric reel based on ease of use, think personal preference. Electric reels in all price ranges come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you’re purchasing an electric reel for a young angler, think small. They’ll want something they can get their hands around.
Purchasing an electric reel for an older angler? In that case, ease of use might mean a larger display so they can more easily read the depth of the line or the reel setting.
Finally, Many electric reels come with a shut-off switch to convert the electric reel to an old-school crank reel. Sometimes ease of use means simplicity. For example, you may have an angler on your boat that is looking for a fight. In that case, an easy-to-use conversion switch means you don’t have to spend time relining and switching reels.
When considering retrieval speed, you’ll want to think about the depth you’ll be fishing and the torque or low-end power of the reel versus its flat-out pulling speed. Every electric reel on the market will be capable of retrieving a fish or gear quicker than its traditional counterpart. From there, though, the retrieval speed can significantly vary.
When searching for the perfect reel, you’ll want a retrieval speed on the low end at 400 ft per minute and at 1000 ft per minute on the high end. On the low end, your cranking power should be a minimum of 30 pounds. Some of the nicer reels will provide moments of nearly 200 pounds of cranking power.
Line capacity is one of the most important considerations when purchasing an electric reel, especially for deep drop salt fishing. Here you’ll want to consider species. Many electric reels are capable of fishing up to 800 feet down. A reel in that range will hold about 100 yards of 14-pound mono. If you’re looking to fish deeper, think 2,500ft or more for swordfish, you’ll want something a lot bigger. A reel capable of fishing up to 5000 ft will hold about 950 yards of 80 lb mono.
The power supply for an electric reel is either going to be your boat, a 12-volt battery, or a 24-volt battery. When considering power supply, think species and depth. For example, a 24-volt power-supplied reel will most likely hold more line and pull it up faster.
Many electric reels are known for their advanced drag systems. If you’re fishing deep, you’ll need that drag set precisely to hook a fish. For an electric reel, you’ll want a drag rating between 40 and 80 pounds.
Gearing is another essential thing to consider, especially if you’re planning on fishing the reel conventionally. Here again, you’ll want to consider species and depth. If you’re targeting something like a grouper, low and deep, you’ll want something around 4:1 with better cranking power. Fishing shallower? 5:1 or 6:1 should do the trick.
A line counter is a must if you’re fishing offshore in deep waters. You’ll be targeting different species at varying depths. Getting the lure exactly where you want it is nearly impossible without one.
If you’re planning on fishing shallow water and have a depth finder on your boat, a line counter may not be necessary but never hurts.
The best electric reels come in a pretty wide range of prices. Many times this price range is based on application. If you’re looking to make shallow fishing more accessible and enjoyable, you can get away with a less expensive electric reel. It will hold less line, have less predictable drag, and possibly be less weather resistant. On the other hand, if you are looking to access deep locations for trophy fish, you’ll want to spend the money and get a reel that can handle the work and hold the extra line.
The Daiwa 19 Seaborg is a tried and true electric fishing reel that packs a ton of features into a compact size. This is a perfect reel for the serious angler looking to catch lunkers and save on space.Check Today's Price
The Daiwa 19 Seaborg is a state-of-the-art electric reel with a small size and a powerful output. Daiwa designed this reel with snapper and grouper in mind and gave it a powerful MEGA TWIN motor with a momentary winding power of over 100 pounds to pull those big fish off the bottom.
Whether you’re deep dropping or deep jigging, this is the reel for you.
Keep in mind that the compact size doesn’t equal a compact price. This reel comes with it all and a price that reflects the quality and adaptability.
The Silstar Primmus 7000 is a bang for your buck electric reel with more features than you'll know what to do with. The finely adjustable drag, easy one-hand lever, and speed lever control make this reel adaptable to any angling situation. A bonus, the jig setting, makes this reel a winner for anyone looking to fish various species and tactics with one setup.Check Today's Price
The Silstar Primmus 7000W is a reel that does it all at a reasonable price. With more features than most and a drag system that touts up to 143 pounds of max power, this reel will help you land the fish of your dreams.
If that fish happens to be deep, you’ll be happy to know that this reel can hold up to 800 yards of 100 pound braided. Drop that down to 70 pounds, and you’ll have more than enough room to catch even the deepest heavyweight species you’ll be targeting.
Keep in mind that this reel comes with a Korean language user guide.
The Shimano Beastmaster's name suits its form. With a high speed and torque brushless motor and a straight 55 pounds of thermo-adjustable drag, this reel is as good as it gets.Check Today's Price
Shimano, a trusted name in fishing, has delivered with its appropriately named Beastmaster. Featuring a drag system with a 50 percent reduction in drag heat, a brushless high-performance motor, and more bells and whistles than you can count, this reel means business.
Those features all come on top of Shimano’s Hagane reel body, a rigid impact-resistant body that eliminates reel flex. As a result, this thing will pull up swordfish after swordfish without batting an eye.
Keep in mind that all of those features come at a high price. This reel is gonna run you a little more than a less qualified competitor.
Daiwa Lille Leo Blitz is a small electric-assist reel for the budget shopper serious about getting into big fish. The size of this reel, combined with its 33lbs of drag and retrieval rate of nearly 500ft, also makes it perfect for the young or disabled fisherman looking to catch fish easily.Check Today's Price
Daiwa designed the Lille Leo Blitz s500 with the budget and size-conscious angler in mind. Although smaller than most reels, the 33 pounds of drag and 500 feet of line retrieved a minute means this reel is versatile enough to fish deep local lakes and offshore salt in the same day.
Although on the budget end of reels, the Lille Leo Blitz comes with a few higher-end features like a depth counter, depth memory, and automatic retrieval stop.
Keep in mind that this reel’s instruction manual is in Japanese, though you can find an English how-to video on youtube.
The Banax Kaigen 7000CP is a light, small electric reel perfect for the angler looking to jig for big game fish off the coast or fish their local deep lake with a set it and forget it electric setup. With a low price and a one-year warranty, this is a reel you won't mind going to day in and day out.Check Today's Price
The Banax Kaigen 7000CP is a big game-specific jigging reel offered at a price that won’t break your bank. Featuring a jigging specific setting, a drag rating of 42 pounds, and multiple speed settings, the Kaigen 7000 offers a ton of features at a small price and package. The small size of this reel also means it’s perfect for disabled anglers, children, or fishermen looking to keep their gear setup light.
Keep in mind that the Banax Kaigen’s manual is in Korean. With a google search, you can usually find the English manual for many rods. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, the Kaigen is not one of those.
What kind of fishing benefits from an electric fishing reel?
The straightforward use for an electric reel comes with deep drop fishing in the salt. Electric reels allow more guys to fish deeper than they ever dreamed. So whether you’re fishing snapper for the first time at 250 feet or swordfish for the first time at 1250 feet, an electric reel will help you catch fish deeper than you probably thought possible. And keep your arms fresh enough to do it again and again.
Beyond deep drop fishing in salt, there are as many ways to use an electric reel as there are to fish. You can get creative when thinking about the benefits. Jig fishing through ice or even trolling a nightcrawler for walleye can become a more enjoyable, easy task with the aid of an electric reel.
As I mentioned above, even fishing shallow water, where you’re moving a ton and constantly changing locations and tactics, can benefit from the help of a motor.
How does an electric fishing reel work?
In basic terms, an electric reel works just like you probably imagine it does. That is, an electric reel uses a motor that turns the spool of the reel at the press of a button or flip of a switch. Other than that feature, and usually the ability to turn the feature off, an electric reel works the same way as a traditional reel.
It really is as simple as that. Just a reel on a rod, a switch, a motor, and a power source, as the reel generally runs off of your boat’s power system or a separate 24 or 12-volt battery.
Are electric fishing reels difficult to use?
This is an easy one. No. If you understand the basics of fishing, have used a regular fishing reel, and are capable of pushing a button or flipping a switch, in many cases, electric reels are actually simpler than their conventional counterparts.
Beyond the mechanical aspects of their use, the most obvious benefit of an electric reel is its ease on your muscles and joints. Electric fishing reels are more accessible in every way. In fact, they were designed solely to make fishing easier.
Do anglers consider eclectic fishing reels as “cheating”?
In my opinion and experience, anglers do not consider fishing with an electric reel cheating, and those who do haven’t reeled up multiple fish from over 500ft. Fishing is called fishing and not catching, and if you’ve ever fished, you know why.
An electric reel does help you land fish in the case that you need assistance. It does not help you get off the couch, pick a bait, pick a spot, hook a fish, or play the fish. Fishing is fishing, electric reel or not.
Now, with all that in mind, there is one consideration you should be aware of. Looking for a record lunker? Well, regardless of my opinion, if you catch that fish with an electric reel, it doesn’t count. Glean from that what you may.
Fishing is a sport enjoyed by all types and ages of people. Whether you’re young or old, icing that tennis elbow with a beer (see also can you drink alcohol while fishing)on your forehead, or running an Ironman before you hit the boat, an electric can help you. If your fishing aim is to get into more fish with less wear and tear on your body, or even just to catch that prize swordfish you’ve always dreamed of, an electric reel is the way to go.
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