Daiwa BG Review: A Gold Standard in Spinning Reels

Working on a Daiwa BG review isn’t really work, it’s a pleasure. Daiwa is one of those tackle manufacturers that just seem to get it right every time. And their Black Gold series of spinning and casting reels are outstanding examples of that product excellence.

In particular, the BG spinning reel family is among the finest spinners available in terms of features, build quality and accessibility. So, what is it that sets the BG spinning reels apart from the competition?


The first Daiwa Black Gold spinning reels were released in 1981 causing a considerable stir among spin fisherman. The reels certainly ruffled some purist feathers back then with outstanding features and minuscule price tags. However, the concept was rock-solid, and the BG family of reels is still going strong 38 years later.

In fact, the initial BG series of reels saw an unparalleled 35-year product run without any significant changes made to the original design. Now, that’s an undeniable testament to Daiwa’s BG design philosophy specifically and the companies standing generally.

What of the new BG reels, though? Well, if anything, Daiwa has taken a stalwart product and elevated it to superhero status. Out of the box, today’s Daiwa BG spinners represent a marriage of value and quality that is very hard to beat.

One of the main ingredients in the success of the current BG reel family is Daiwa’s shared technology philosophy. This practice has seen features and technologies specific to their top tier products filter down to enhance reels like the BG.

So, the current crop of Black Gold spinners include features previously found only on the Saltiga and Saltist reels. These include the DIGIGEAR system, Air Rotor, and Daiwa’s proprietary Hardbodyz frame construction technology. This technology cross-pollination has taken the tried and tested BG reels and turned them into the best selling saltwater spinners in the world today.


Daiwa BG Saltwater Medium/Xtra Heavy Spinning Reel,…

  • Black Anodized Machined…
  • Solid Screw-In Handle, Air…
  • Braided Line Ready Spool,…
  • Manual Return Bail (4500 and…
  • Line Capacity (Lb. Test /…

The Daiwa BG spinning reel family includes 10 members ranging from the ultralight BG1500 to the game fish taming BG8000. For our Daiwa BG review, we will look at the BG4500, which is a mid-range saltwater spinner suitable for both in-shore and off-shore angling.


Daiwa BG Saltwater Medium/Xtra Heavy Spinning Reel,…

  • Black Anodized Machined…
  • Solid Screw-In Handle, Air…
  • Braided Line Ready Spool,…
  • Manual Return Bail (4500 and…
  • Line Capacity (Lb. Test /…

The BG spinning reel represents a bridge option between the light and heavy tackle sectors of the BG family. Here are some of the Daiwa BG spinner’s many noteworthy features.







  • Monofilament line capacity (yards/pounds): 350/14, 280/17, 210/20

  • Braid line capacity — J Braid (yards/pounds): 340/40, 270/50, 230/65

  • Maximum drag: 22 pounds

  • Line retrieve rate: 43.1 inches

  • Bearing count: six plus one

  • Gear ratio: 5.7:1

  • Weight: 22 ounces

  • Reel class: medium-heavy/saltwater


The pros and cons section in any Daiwa BG review is sure to be a very one-sided list. However, to be fair, here they are.


  • Extremely smooth operation

  • A powerful, predictable, and smooth drag system

  • Exceptional build quality

  • Rigid and strong construction

  • Braid ready spool

  • Very reliable and easy to maintain

  • A very competitive price point

  • Outstanding after-sales service and parts availability


  • The maximum drag, while perfectly acceptable, is less than some competitors

  • The BG is a little heavier than some competitors


To keep this Daiwa BG review as objective as possible, we will make a balanced comparison between the BG 4500 and two reels of similar specifications and from equally well-respected manufacturers. So, in no particular order, here are the Daiwa BG review competitors.


Penn is one of the oldest manufacturers of quality tackle and gear out there. It’s doubtful that many anglers don’t know of or haven’t used a Penn reel at some point. And, much like the Daiwa BG’s, Penn’s BG spinning reel are among their most enduring products.

For this Daiwa BG review, we have chosen to look at the new generation Spinfisher VI in 6500 size in comparison to the BG 4500.


Penn introduced the Spinfisher line in 1961, making them among the longest-serving of any spinning reels. The modern BG spinning reel is similar to the BG 4500 in that it represents a transition from light to heavy tackle options. So, to continue our Daiwa BG review, what makes the Spinfisher VI tick?







Let’s look at the detailed specs for the Spinfisher VI 6500

  • Monofilament line capacity (yards/pounds): 390/12, 345/15, 205/20

  • Braid line capacity (yards/pounds): 485/30, 410/40, 335/50

  • Maximum drag: 30 pounds

  • Line retrieve rate: 42 inches

  • Spool braid ready: yes plus line capacity indicators

  • Bearing count: six

  • Gear ratio: 5.6:1

  • Weight: 22.3 ounces

  • Reel class: medium-heavy/saltwater


This is another reel that has a lopsided pros and cons listing.


  • Affordable

  • Smooth, predictable drag with a huge maximum rating

  • Braid ready

  • Rigid and robust construction

  • Very good after-sales support

  • Excellent water resistance

  • Smooth operation


  • No user complaints reported as yet


SHIMANO Socorro 5000F SW Offshore Spinning Fishing Reel

  • The Socorro saltwater spinning…
  • X-Ship technology provides…
  • Incorporates Shimano’s…
  • Features Cross Carbon Drag…

Our second and last competitor reel in this Daiwa BG review is an offering from another industry giant, Shimano. The BG spinning reel is a similarly sized and featured reel to the Daiwa and Penn runners with an equally stellar reputation.


Shimano reels have long held pride of place as top-drawer products. Although they are often seen as being overpriced boutique reels, there’s no doubting the outstanding quality of the Shimano brand. The BG spinning reel is no exception and carries an impressive feature set.

Here are some of those noteworthy features.





  • Monofilament line capacity (yards/pounds): 500/12, 320/16, 220/20

  • Braid line capacity (yards/pounds): 360/50, 290/65, 215/80

  • Maximum drag: 27 pounds

  • Line retrieve rate: 40 inches

  • Spool braid ready: yes

  • Bearing count: five

  • Gear ratio: 4.9:1

  • Reel class: medium-heavy/saltwater


Again, there are not likely to be many negatives with the Socorro. However, let’s take a look anyway.


  • Very good build quality

  • Power and smooth drag system

  • Outstanding pinion drive stability

  • Powerful and reliable main gear

  • Excellent frame rigidity

  • Good support and spares availability

What Is a Baitcasting Reel? Everything You Need to Know

Those of you who are new to the world of fishing may have asked the question, what is a baitcasting reel? To the untrained eye, the reels on fishing rods may all look similar, but there are important differences. To paraphrase an old saying, there’s more than one way to catch a fish!


man fishing in the lake

There are two main types of reels for fishing rods; baitcasting reels and spinning reels. Aspiring anglers should make themselves familiar with both types, as each can play an important role for fishermen of all levels.

So, what is a baitcasting reel? The term describes a reel that has a revolving spool and a trigger handle. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to these reels.

The best baitcasting reels will add a lot to your angling arsenal if you can get the hang of them. They are particularly useful when fishing in awkward spots, or when a quick retrieve is necessary.


As the line flies in a straight line from the spool on a baitcasting reel, it can travel much further and faster than is possible with a spinning reel. The control afforded by the trigger also allows anglers to execute more precise techniques. Baitcasting reels also tolerate heavier fishing line than spinning reels.

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The disadvantages of baitcasting reels stem from the fact that they are difficult to master.

A term that is almost synonymous with the baitcasting reel is “bird’s nest,” which refers to the infuriating tangling on the line that occurs from imprecise use of the trigger. These can be difficult and time-consuming to fix, and they are difficult to avoid for beginners.


When asking, “what is a baitcasting reel?” it can be helpful to simply consider it the opposite of a spinning reel. Where a baitcaster casts its line straight off the reel, the spinning reel spins it off (as the name suggests).

This mechanism costs the fisherman in terms of efficiency. However, as alluded to above, this style of reel is much easier to operate, particularly for beginners. All an angler has to do is throw out the line and turn the handle clockwise to reel it back.

The spinning reel isn’t just for beginners. Many experienced anglers favor it over the baitcasting reel, especially if they prefer to use lighter lines.

As we mentioned, however, baitcasting reels have definite advantages in certain situations. It is worth learning how to use both reel types if you are serious about your fishing.



couple fishing

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and begin using a baitcasting reel, there are certain important things you should know.

Left-handed vs. right-handed reels

A question that often arises around baitcasting reels is whether anglers should use the right-handed or left-handed models, and why this matters.

While hands can be easily swapped on spinning reels, they cannot on baitcasters, and so these come in right-handed and left-handed models. Right-handed versions are the more popular of the two.

However, right-handed fishermen will not necessarily be better suited by a right-handed baitcaster. On a right-handed model, the left hand is the one in control of the reel, with the right hand turning the handle.

Many fishermen prefer the opposite setup, and are thus forced to swap hands after the cast; these anglers may be better off choosing left-handed baitcasting reels (even if they are right-handed).


Unlike spinning reels, baitcasting reels have a braking system. These systems help anglers to avoid the aforementioned birds’ nests when operating the trigger.

Braking systems involve centrifugal brakes, magnetic brakes, and spool tension adjustment tools. These are to prevent anglers from having to use their thumbs to slow the movement of lines.

However, you will always have to use your thumb in certain situations, such as where a cast is taken by a sudden gust of wind.


The question of, “what is a baitcasting reel?” cannot be adequately answered without some reference to gear ratios. This is one of the most important distinguishing features between baitcasters and spinning reels.

Gear ratios describe the speed at which reels move, in terms of the relationship between the revolutions of the spool and the turns of the handle. For example, a gear ratio of 7.1:1 (which is a common one for baitcasting reels) would tell us that the spool revolves 7.1 times for every turn of the handle.

The higher the ratio is, the more reel you can withdraw with a single turn of the handle. As baitcasting reels have higher gear ratios than spinning reels, they can generally withdraw reels much faster.


man fishing

By now, you should be able to answer the question, “what is a baitcasting reel?” yourself! You should also have an idea about whether you need one for your angling exploits.

Essentially, if you are an experienced fisherman who likes to fish in challenging locations, you should be familiar with the baitcaster’s mechanism. Even if you are less experienced, it’s a handy tool to have if you should happen to need it.

Which type of reel do you prefer? Get in contact and let us know!

How to Use a Baitcasting Reel Like a Pro

Whether you’re new to fishing or a seasoned veteran, you can learn how to use a baitcasting reel like a pro angler.

A baitcaster is a step above the traditional spinning reel, but it requires a bit more work to use it correctly. With the baitcaster basics, you’ll be bringing in prize fish in no time.


Birdnesting happens to every fisher at some point, and it’ll likely happen more than once. You can also call this event “backlash.” It happens when the spool spins faster than the line is moving, which results in a mess of fishing line tangled around the spool.

While backlash is frustrating, it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s part of learning how to use a baitcasting reel. With the right items and know-how, you can know how to set up a baitcaster reel and get fishing.

Items you need

In order to catch fish, you need more than just a baitcasting reel. This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes we all need a checklist to make sure we have everything before we leave the house.

Along with your baitcaster reel, you need a sturdy rod to attach it to. You also need a sturdy fishing line that can withstand heavy cover and the weight of the fish you’re fishing for. Many avid fishermen recommend a braided fishing line at 10 pound test or higher.

Last of all, you need the right bait for the fish. This will depend on the type of fish you want to catch and your own personal preference.

KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Low Profile Baitcasting…

  • PERFORMANCE – Low profile…
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  • PROVEN – 11 + 1 shielded…
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KastKing Superpower Braided Fishing Line,Low-Vis Gray,20…

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  • Greater abrasion resistance -…
  • Ultra-high sensitivity & Zero…
  • Smaller diameter – compared to…

Set the brakes

Once you have your rod assembled, line attached, and lure ready, you need to locate the brakes on your baitcasting reel. It’s always on the opposite side of the handle, but the brakes will look different depending on the type of brake you have. The two different kinds of braking systems are magnetic and centrifugal.

Magnetic brakes on a baitcasting reel are simple to engage. The reel will have a simple dial on the side and settings that start at 1 and go up to 9 or 10. The lower the number, the less engaged the breaks are.

This means that you can cast further because the breaks won’t slow down the spinning of the spool. The higher the number, the shorter the cast. Professionals recommend that beginners start high so they can practice the technique without the high risk of birdnesting.

Centrifugal brakes are underneath the side panel of the reel. It has springs that you can engage and disengage to determine how heavy to engage the brakes. Pressing the springs away from the center disengages, while pressing the springs toward the center engages them.

djust the tension

Next, you need to adjust the tension on the baitcaster. This is a small knob on the same side of the reel as the handle. You tighten the tension by turning the knob clockwise and loosen it by turning the knob counterclockwise.

The tension helps steady the spool, which means that the spool shouldn’t move after you press the spool release button. The ideal tension will allow the bait to slowly drop without creating any backlash in the spool.

Adjust the tension, and press the spool release button. If the bait still doesn’t move, slowly turn the knob counterclockwise until the bait starts to drop slowly. The amount of tension you need will vary from lure to lure.

Once you have the tension just right, you’re halfway there to knowing how to use a baitcasting reel.



image by pixabay

The other half of knowing how to use a baitcasting reel properly is knowing how to cast with one. It’s great to set up the reel properly, but you’ve got to get the bait in the water before you can get any bites!

Casting a baitcaster will go smoothly if you hold the rod properly as you do it. You’ll then need to know when to release and stop the line to prevent backlash.

Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t perform the perfect cast your first time. Even the pro anglers had to practice before they could cast correctly. As you practice, you’ll refine your form, and it’ll feel more natural.


Knowing how to hold a baitcaster comes down to your thumb placement. Many fishermen are more comfortable casting with their dominant hand, so start by holding the rod in your dominant hand.

Your thumb should sit just over the spool, allowing you to both press the spool release button and push your thumb onto the spool. Some find that sitting their thumb at an angle over the spool allows more control, so you’ll need to experiment to find which position works best for you.

You don’t have to put your other hand on the rod, especially if you’re a beginner. You’ll be able to cast with the strength of one arm because you don’t need much strength for a short cast.



image by pexels

Before you cast, make sure your bait is hanging 6 inches to 12 inches from the tip of the rod. When the bait is at the right length, press the spool release button and place your thumb on the spool to prevent the bait from dropping.

For an overhead cast, bend your casting arm so that your elbow forms a 90-degree angle, and the rod is pointing just barely behind you. If you had a clock next to you, your rod should be pointing at 2 o’clock.

Swing the rod forward, and take your thumb off the spool when the rod passes the 10 o’clock point. The weight of your lure should send the bait and line toward your intended target.

Just before the lure touches the water, place your thumb back on the spool to stop the line. This will drop the bait into the water and prevent backlash in the spool.

Once you get your lure in the water, you’re ready to fish.

Love Video? Here’s a great one to go along with this article:


It takes some time, but anyone can learn how to use a baitcasting reel. All you need is the best baitcasting reel, the right equipment, and an understanding of how they work. You can then work on your cast until you get it down.

What was the hardest part for you to learn when using a baitcaster? Let us know in the comments section.

Featured image by Pixabay

How to Read a Fish Finder to Reel in Your Biggest Catch Yet

Years ago, I sailed out to sea in a chartered boat for a day of fishing. And if I knew how to read a fish finder, I might have caught the big one. You see, I expected the fish to look like, you know — fish. But that wasn’t the case at all.

Luckily, I wasn’t the captain of the vessel because that guy did know how to read a fish finder and was calling out to all of us where the fish were. He told us when, where, and how deep to drop our lines, all because he could read the amazing contraption.

Well, I did end up catching a flounder, who was a hell of a fighter and felt like the big one to me. And I’ll bet, once you know how to read a fish finder the right way, you’ll be able to pick the perfect fishing spot.



image by pexels

The first time you see a fish finder screen, you might be taken aback. Unless you know what you’re looking for, a fish finder screen can look like nothing more than random shades and colors.

Humminbird 410230-1 Helix 5 Fish Finder, CHIRP, Si, GPS, G2

  • 5-Inch color WVGA display
  • Chirp side Imaging/down…
  • Switch Fire sonar: take…
  • Micro SD card slot for…
  • 1-Year limited warranty

And reading a fish finder may not be something you get right away. Deciphering the structures under the water from the fish will take some practice.

But there are some key elements to look for, and once you’re familiar with those, learning how to read a fish finder just might be a piece of cake. Also, knowing how a fish finder works might help you understand what you’re looking at.


A fish finder works by sending a sound navigation and ranging (SONAR) wave down into the water. When that sound wave hits an object, it bounces back to the device, and a picture appears on the screen.

As long as the fish finder is on, it’s sending continuous sound waves into the water in a cone shape, and they’re bouncing back. This movement gives you a picture of what lies underneath the surface.

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The fish finder is also calculating the time it takes to get back up to the device. By doing so, it shows you how deep an object is, its size, and its density.


Now that we’re clear on how the device works, what you really need to know is how to read a fish finder. After all, that’s how you’re going to know where to drop your line.

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You’re generally going to have two kinds of fish finders: color or black and white. The good news is, whether you’re looking at color or shade, it doesn’t make a difference in how to read a fish finder. That said, things will be more clear if you have a color screen.

Why? Because the shading on a black and white screen may be harder to interpret. But, you’ll still be able to pick out what you’re looking for — fish.

When you’re reading the screen, though, keep in mind that all the information to the left is old data. So even though you might see that school of fish on your screen on the left, that doesn’t mean they’re still there.

The fish finder is only sending current data on the right side of the screen because it can only “see” what is currently in the sound wave cone.

Where to buy


When you look at your fish finder screen, the first thing you might notice is the dark strip of black, red, or orange along the bottom. That, as you may have guessed, is the bottom of the body of water you’re in.

The sound wave is showing you a picture of either sand, rock, mud, or sediment at the bottom. The dark color tells you it’s a solid surface. The darker it is, the denser or harder the object.

Orange or yellow means the bottom is soft like sand or silt. And here’s a little tip: bass prefer a soft bottom. So, if you’re looking for bass, that’s where you’ll likely find them.

Also, along the bottom, you might see objects protruding up. These may be colored green, depending on your fish finder. No matter what color they show up, these are likely trees and grasses.

How do you know they’re not fish? Because of their color, shape, and the fact that they’re attached to the bottom. They’ll also be a stationary object, whereas fish typically aren’t.


How to read a fish finder to find fish is actually pretty easy. You’re looking for arches in the water. The arches are the fish entering and leaving the SONAR cone. These arches could be of varying colors based on the size.

Usually, if you see an arch with red inside, it’s a bigger fish.

You’re also looking for larger masses of arches in the water. Those are schools of fish. And the small bumps are baitfish. Also, look along the bottom. You’re looking for lines or arches not attached to the floor. Those are probably bottom-dwelling fish.

One other tip: You may see lines instead of arches. What does that mean? That means the fish is swimming along with your boat and is staying in the SONAR cone. So, instead of appearing as an arch as it enters and leaves the cone, the fish appears as a line.


Now that you have the basics, once you familiarize yourself with your own fish finder, you’ll be able to tell where to fish and where to drop your line. Play with the sensitivity of your machine, so the images below are more clear and make the most sense to you.

man chopping fish

image by pexels

If you see something that looks like a fish, but you’re not sure what kind — cast! See what you pull out of the water and make note of what that fish looks like on the screen. How to read a fish finder is all about knowing the basics and adding your experience on top.

Use your new found knowledge to find the perfect fishing hole and pull in your best haul yet.

Do you have any other tips on how to read a fish finder? Drop your line in the comments!

Featured image by: Amazon

Best Fishing Locations in Illinois: Top 10 Spots to Visit for Your Next Catch

Illinois attracts many fishermen as a recreational sport with its many fishing tournaments. It is one of the best states to fish in in the Midwest as the Illinois fishery management has created many breeding reservoirs for recreational use.

Fishing in Illinois can be fun for anglers of all levels of skill because the Prairie State’s is abundant in natural lakes that are packed with large catfish and largemouth bass.  You’ll find a wide variety of fish here, just like you would in states like Connecticut or North Carolina. (Check out our full guide to catching the best fish in North Carolina here.)

If you are planning a fishing trip to Illinois, the many options might overwhelm you. But, fear not because here is a list of the top 10 tried-and-tested locations for a great fishing expedition. Keep reading so you can choose your favorite.


1. Mississippi River

The Mississippi River spreads across most of the United States, from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The mighty Mississippi River is as long as it is muddy. But this river rewards anglers with some of the best trophy catches.

While fishing in Illinois, you can test your mettle by landing a jumbo catfish. All it takes is the right bait. During the day, you can scavenge for hidden caves for catfish and then return at night to snatch them when they are feeding.

Here’s what you can catch in Mississippi’s muddy waters:

  • Largemouth and smallmouth bass
  • Sauger
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Walleye
  • Catfish (the most spectacular catfish, though, can be found in the Louisiana segment of the river)
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch

Due to the vastness of the river, around 3000 miles, it is widely believed that one could spend their entire lifetime casting a line on a 30-mile segment and would not be able to unlock all that portion’s secrets. The Mississippi river is both immense and majestic, an earthly paradise for all sports fishing enthusiasts.

2. Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is one of the top places to fish in the entire state of Illinois.  It’s near Chicago, making it a great location for tourists with families, and giving you plenty to do if you decide to explore other outdoor activities than fishing.

Reelers of all levels of experience can enjoy boating on the lake. They do have a maximum speed limit of 55MPH on the lake, which shouldn’t be a problem for most anglers, unless you decide to do some speedboating in between your fishing expeditions.

There are also “slow” areas where you need to watch your speed and your wake.  It’s also a great place for kayaking and overall exploring some of the more beautiful scenery in the Chicago area.

In winter and early spring, you can also go ice fishing on Lake Michigan.  Make sure you bring your favorite Auger along.

The best part about Lake Michigan is that it hosts the greatest variety of fish among all of Illinois lakes. It has almost any species of fish one could catch in Illinois and more, including trout, salmon, and the voracious pike. (Click here for some less-known fishing tips if you are into Northern pike).

Here are some of the types of fish you can expect to catch out on Lake Michigan in no particular order, depending on where you end up (it’s a big lake).

  • Salmon
  • Bass
  • Crappie
  • Whitefish
  • Smelt
  • Lake trout and/or brown Trout
  • Walleye
  • Northern Pike
  • Muskie
  • Steelhead

3. Heidecke Lake

Heidecke Lake is a former cooling lake for the Collins Station Power Plant that has been out of service for more than 10 years. They have some rules to follow to fish this lake, so be sure to review them before you go.

The lake is unique in structure because it has a perched part for better cooling, but it can be risky when it is windy.

The lake also varies in depth, so it is advisable to use a fish finder to locate schools of fish. There is not much vegetation there, but there is also less timber in the water.

It’s a great place to find a wide variety of fish, so you’ll want to have a variety of gear that can be tweaked on the spot to handle just about any type of fish.

Heidecke Lake now holds the title of an ambient lake that provides a wide variety of fish including:

  • Smallmouth, striped, largemouth or yellow bass
  • Walleye
  • Muskellunge
  • Hybrid striped bass
  • Channel catfish
  • Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Bullhead

While fishing along the banks, you might get surprised by trophy-sized smallmouths (which this lake happens to be abundant in), walleye, hybrid striped bass (the last two species are more likely in spring).

4. Lake Springfield

When fishing in Illinois, you may want to visit Lake Springfield, a beautiful parkland with abundant wildlife. Woods and bluffs surround the shoreline. Anglers in the area can encounter wildlife like deer, turkey, and even eagles in the winter season.

Amenities include the nature park, picnic shelters, and a boathouse that offers a view of the lake and which you can rent for special occasions .

Anglers can rent a kayak or canoe, too, to go out on the lake. The warm water from the plant affects only one-fourth of the lake where schools of bass search for plankton.

Anglers can hook a variety of fish here as well including:

5. Crab Orchard Lake

Crab Orchard Lake is an artificial lake they constructed for flood prevention and recreational purposes. It is a 7,000-acre paradise for water skiers, swimmers, campers and fishermen.

They also allow all manners of water transportation without restrictions. Lotus planting and introducing largemouth bass every year have stabilized the local bass population.

The creel limit for largemouth bass is three per day and they must be larger than 16 inches. Spinnerbaits and artificial lures produce the best results for largemouth bass.

You can hook any of these fish species in Crab Orchard Lake:

  • Channel catfish
  • Crappie
  • White and largemouth bass
  • Bluegill

6. Devils Kitchen Lake 

Devils Kitchen Lake features a large amount of largemouth bass spreading over 810 acres. With steep slopes and sandstone valleys, the deep Devils Kitchen Lake is a sight to behold.

Clear waters and submerged timber make the ideal habitat for fishing. But there is a 10 horsepower limit on outboard motors. Plus, the southeast part of the lake is accessible only to boats with electric motors or by pedaling.

The lake has standard site regulations on fishing, including what types of watercraft you can use. The regulations and constant efforts of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are contributing to the healthy numbers of fish in Devils Kitchen Lake.

Here’s what you can find on the end of your line:

  • Rainbow trout
  • Bluegill
  • Redear sunfish
  • Largemouth bass
  • Yellow perch
  • Crappie

7. Rend Lake 

When most people think about fishing in Illinois, they think of Rend Lake, a reservoir with a longshore close to Benton, Illinois.

The depth of this lake varies from 10 to 35 feet, which is enough for fisherman to explore. You can also get a guide or an eight-hour boat trip with supplies like water, bait and tackle.

There is a golf course at Rend Lake, too, making it a versatile place for fishing in Illinois.

The park also offers camping sites, museum tours, hiking and cycling. There are lots of largemouth bass, but you can only take those larger than the 14-inch minimum length.

Anglers can expect to find one of these fish species in Rend Lake:

  • Largemouth or white bass
  • Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Channel, blue or flathead catfish
  • Carp

8. Evergreen Lake 

Evergreen Lake is a man-made pond in Central Illinois they built back in 1970. It still attracts people who love fishing in Illinois with its many eye-pleasing areas, lots of greenery, and camping facilities.

Whether you are a professional reeler in a rowboat or a landlubber on the shore, you’ll see plenty of fish. You can rent a paddle or rowboat for a fair price.

However, there’s a 10 HP limit for motorized boats on the Evergreen Lake, just like on any state-owned body of waters in Illinois to encourage a quiet fishing environment. What’s more, starting Oct. 1st until January 1st, gas-powered motors are completely forbidden in the Southern parts of the lake to protect migratory birds.

All in all Evergreen Lake, IL, is a beautiful and peaceful place for fishing or having a day out with family – the trails are very well-kept and there are many well-run camping grounds and play areas for children around the lake.

If the horsepower limit is not an issue, you can snag these fish at Evergreen Lake:

9. Sand Pond


Sand Pond may only be a small pond, but it offers a place of relaxation on its sandy shores. You can fish with choirs of western chorus and leopard frogs in the background. In the summer, the marsh-like pond is full of dragonflies and places for catfish to hide. This location is a must-go-to for landlubbers of all skills.

In the spring the trout almost jump on your hook. But there is a creel limit of one largemouth bass a day. You may even encounter waterfowl or Canadian geese, but stay away because th
ey are protective of their young. They don’t allow boats or wading in Sand Pond.

Landlubbers can cast their lines and catch these fish:

  • Bluegill
  • Channel catfish
  • Largemouth bass
  • Rainbow trout

10. Fox Chain O’ Lakes

The Fox Chain O’ Lakes is an impressive 987-acre fishing location with 488 miles of shoreline for anglers of all stripes very close to Chicago. The chain is a continuous string of lakes on the Fox River, without counting 5 adjacent lakes, that makes a fantastic fishing and boating location.

The deeper waters of the Fox Chain are heavily populated with motorized watercraft, especially in the weekends, thanks to the lakes’ close proximity to Chicago and Madison (steer clear of Fox Lake if you’re a peace-seeking angler at the end of the week). The chain has been described as “the busiest, most used inland waterway per acre” in America.

But there are plenty of spots – look for shallower waters, where you can have your fishing fix in peace while admiring the natural scenery. The lakes are packed with bluegill, large-mouths, small-mouths, catfish, and walleye.

If bluegill is what you’re after, set camp on the 45-foot deep Catherine Lake. For Northern pike and trophy-sized bass head to Channel Lake. For a peaceful day bank fishing and excellent panfish, choose Buff Lake or Petite Lake, two smaller ponds in the chain.

Grass Lake is the shallowest in the chain (3 ft) but it is home to plenty of pike, catfish, and bass. For muskie, head to Fox Lake, but since it is heavily boat populated over the weekends get help from a local guide or do it yourself in off-season or during the week.

Even better, Lake Shabbona, which is a two-hour drive from Fox, is reportedly jam-packed with muskies. You can’t get back empty-handed from Shabbona.

The Fox Chain lakes aren’t short of campgrounds, bait shops, marinas, swimming locations, and local guides to fishing hot spots. The guides specialized on catching the elusive muskie, or ‘Musky’ in local slang, are some of the best in the state, so if you’re looking for an adrenaline-packed fishing expedition that’s hard to forget don’t hesitate to book a trip beforehand. And bring junior with you.

In wintertime, some of the lakes make great spots for ice fishing but check the state and local regulations for such endeavor before embarking on a fishing trip.

Here are the fish species that you’re most likely to see on the end of your line at the Fox Chain O’ Lakes:

  • Bluegill
  • Bass
  • Flathead catfish
  • Northern Pike
  • Walleye
  • Muskie
  • Black and white crappie
  • Perch
  • Other panfish

Final Thoughts

Northern Pike Fishing Tips: How to Fish for Pike and Actually Catch Them

Northern pike — often called water wolves, gators, freshwater sharks, dragons, or toothies — have a long, powerful body, big mouth full of sharp teeth, and an insatiable predatory appetite. Pike can get absolutely huge depending on the part of the world you are angling in.

These are the fish that your Grandfather used to brag about during bedtime stories when he would say, “I caught a fish thiiiiis big!” This isn’t too far off from the truth, although I’m sure the fish tends to grow in size each time the story is told.

These fish are are one of the most thrilling freshwater fish to pursue and catch. If you want to get in on the action and learn how to catch northern pike, this article outlines everything you need to know to get started.

The Basics – Getting to Know The Northern Pike:

Northern pike (Esox Lucius) is a freshwater fish species like crappie that prefers cool water. They average 24 to 30 inches long and weigh between 3 and 7 pounds. In certain areas, particularly isolated lakes in the northern wilderness, pike can grow to over 50 inches long and weigh well over 40 pounds.

In 2018, a 17-year-old caught a monstrous 45.25-inch Northern pike on the fly while on the Rainy River, Minnesota, shattering the prior state record of 43.5 inches. The largest pike ever caught  on record was a 55 lb. 1 oz. best in the Greffern Lake, Germany, on October 16, 1986.

The lucky German who caught it,  Lothar Louis, said that his initial plan was to catch some carp not pike, but he indeed used his pike gear (fitted with around 16 lb of mono just in case) while on the lake. After just two casts, the big fish bit and Louis had to fight the monster for around 40 minutes.

In the heat of battle, he reportedly used both his hands to catch the pike by her gills even though the fish quickly sank her over-sized teeth into both his hands while he was trying to drag her to a nearby bank. And the rest, like they say, is history. Louis’ story, though, is not an isolated case.

There are fishermen’s stories of 70-inch-long pikes or larger all around the world, but most of the evidence for those claims either escaped, was immediately released, or consumed with family and friends before even a single photo of the catch had been snapped. For more, record-breaking pikes, check the hall of fame here.

Pike are found in lakes and rivers all throughout North America, Europe (except for Greece, the Iberian Peninsula, Albania, and some parts of Yugoslavia), Russia, and some parts of Asia. In North America, pike populations extend from Alaska through Canada, into the lower 48 from Washington to Maine, and as far south as Colorado, Nebraska, and Missouri.

Pike are very prolific fish that easily adapt to some of the harshest conditions out there while still managing to survive. There have been reports of pike thriving even in Alpine lakes at elevations of up to 5,000 feet.

Unlike the common carp, Northern Pike are at the top of the food chain in their environment and have very few natural predators other than anglers.

Pike are primarily ambush predators, eating just about anything that will fit in their large mouths — baitfish, frogs, small birds, muskrat, mice, etc. They’ll even go after members of their own species — anglers often catch pike with wounds caused by the jaws of another pike.

So, pike are not very picky eaters and their appetite is hard to control. Their large mouths, which can sometime host up to 700 sharp teeth, have a very wide opening which explains how some pike can eat similarly-sized members of their own species whole.

It is worth noting that pike use their teeth to bite, immobilize, and get through their prey’s feathers and scales. Pike teeth are not designed for chewing.

Some pike are so voracious that they stop eating only if there’s no room left in their stomachs. There are reports of pike swimming around with fresh prey in their mouth for hours on end because their previous meal hadn’t been fully digested.

Pike are some of the greediest fish species out there and when there’s no smaller fish around they attack even their own kind (size does not matter) even with the risk of choking themselves to death while at it. There are also stories of hungry pike biting cattle’s mouth when they got to close to the water.

It is not unusual for female pike to eat their offspring and even their male partners (if they are smaller) during reproduction. There are very few things pike wouldn’t add to their menu to stave off their all-consuming hunger.

Thanks to their nutritious and varied diet, pike grow extremely fast. At age 1, most Northern pike reach between 10 and 12 inches in length. But they do have a lighting fast metabolism – for every extra 2.2 pounds of body weight they need to consume around 22 pounds of food.

Why are we telling you all this? Because it is a good idea for every angler to get to intimately know pike before targeting this species on a fishing trip. You need to think like a pike to find and catch a pike especially because this fish’s hunting style is mostly stationary during the warm months and its color acts like a camouflage and prevents it from being detected even in shallow water.

When fishing pike, you need to understand how pike hunt. They usually stand perfectly still in a weed bed in shallower water, stalking their prey, patiently waiting for it to get closer, and ambushing the unsuspecting fish with a sharp, lightning fast move when sufficiently close. The attack has a rate of success of 90 to 98%.

Pro Tip: If you want to consistently catch pike, the key is to trigger a predatory response with your lure or bait.  Below is a quick video by ProFishermanJones that walks us through an effective predatory response simulation before catching a pike.

Pike have well developed lateral lines that start on the head and extend to the tail. Made up of a series of sense organs, pike’s lateral lines are used to detect low-frequency vibrations.

Pike also use their sensitive inner ear to detect high-frequency vibrations. Both of these elements combined give pike significant predatory advantage when hunting prey, even in low light conditions.

Northern Pike Fishing Tip: Pike are extremely visual predators, so using bright and colorful lures that also happen to create a lot of movement and vibration in the water is the ideal method to catch more pike.

Gearing Up for Your Fishing Trip:

Rod: Although pike can get very large, most of the fish you’ll catch will likely be in the 3- to 7-pound range. For that reason, many anglers use a typical bass fishing setup to catch pike. A 7-foot, medium-action rod paired with either a baitcasting or spinning reel is ideal.

The reel should have a maximum drag of at least 15 pounds, and should be spooled with 15- to 20-pound braid. With this setup, you’ll be able to land just about any pike that hits your lure.

Reel: If you know there are trophy-sized pike in the water you’ll be fishing — fish in the 20- to 40-pound class — you may want to beef up your rig a bit. Upgrading to a medium-heavy action rod and increasing your line strength to 30-pound test will do the trick.

Line: Whether you choose a lighter or heavier setup, you’ll want a reel that allows you to cast long distances. Covering lots of water is key to successful pike fishing, so for most anglers, this means using a quality spinning reel with a large diameter spool that releases line effortlessly.

A reel such as the Shimano Spirex would in the 2500 size would make a perfect pike fishing reel.

Net: Landing pike can be kind of tricky; a good boat net is essential. Any net in the ballpark of 20 by 23 inches will work well for scooping up a thrashing pike. Be sure to get a net with a long handle such as the Frabill Conservation Series to aid in landing the fish.

Pliers: Removing hooks from a pike’s mouth can be intimidating. Bring along a pair of long needle nose pliers like the Piscifun Fishing Pliers to remove the hook quickly and safely. If the hook is set very deep, you may need to use a set of jaw spreaders to remove the hook without losing a finger.

Terminal Tackle:

Pike Fishing With an Effective Wire Leader
Using a wire leader while fishing for Pike is extremely effective.

When you’re fishing for pike, most of your problems will take place at the end of your line. Pike have incredibly sharp teeth and are known to cut line like it’s nothing.

To increase your chances of bringing fish to the boat and decrease the number of lures lost, wire leader material is highly recommended.

Some of the best wire leader material for pike fishing is made by American Fishing Wire. Their Surfstrand Micro Supreme is the perfect size — 90-pound test, but has a small diameter and is very flexible so it won’t interfere with the action of your lure.

Fishing Tip #1: When rigging up your lures or bait, you can attach a 3- to 4-foot length of 20 to 30 pound fluorocarbon to your mainline as a leader, then attach the wire leader to the fluorocarbon. But, if you like to keep things simple, you can skip the fluorocarbon and attach 12 to 14 inches of wire leader directly to your main line using a barrel swivel.

Fishing Tip #2: To attach your lure to the line, it’s common practice to tie a snap swivel to the end of the wire leader and attach the lure to the swivel. This makes switching lures much faster and easier, and also conserves wire.

Choosing the Best Bait and Lures for Northern Pike:

Pike can be caught on a wide variety of lures as well as live bait. Using artificial lures is arguably the most fun and engaging way to catch pike, but there are times when you need some meat to satisfy a pike’s hunger.

1. Live Bait for Pike:

Live minnows and other small bait fish are the go-to live bait for pike fishing. Try to match whatever food source is actively swimming around the water you’re fishing. Use a cast net to catch your own bait fish, or head to the local bait shop to buy some and keep them alive in a bucket with water.

Look for bait fish that are 4- to 6-inches long. Shiners are always a good choice for pike fishing and are usually readily available.

Tip: Some anglers have reported spectacular catches after using live go
ldfish as a bait. Strange as it may sound, pike are naturally attracted to (brightly colored) fish that do no normally dwell in their habitat. Pike show an interest in goldfish even when their waters are saturated with other species of small fish.

Pike love live bait fish because it stimulates their hunter instinct, but some exquisite specimens have been caught on a fly by anglers who managed to masterfully create enough vibration and movement to simulate the presence of live prey. You can read more on fly fishing techniques for pike on this website which is exclusively dedicated to chasing pike with a flyrod.

 Live Bait for Pike
Live bait can be extremely effective for pike fishing.

Several different rigs can be used to fish for pike with live bait. The most common is a simple bobber rig consisting of a bobber, a length of fluorocarbon leader, a length of wire leader, and a 1/0 hook.

Hook the minnow through its back being careful not to hit its spine and fish it suspended one or two feet above a weed bed.

When pike are in deeper water, rig your live bait on a 1/4 to 3/4 ounce jig head by hooking it through the lips.

This rig can be bounced along the bottom with 2- to 3-foot lifts, letting the bait sit momentarily before lifting and retrieving. Pike will often take the bait on the fall, so be ready to set the hook at any moment.

2. Lures for Pike:

There are a ton of pike specific lures on the market but if you’re just starting out there are only three you need to worry about: the spoon, the inline spinner, and the soft plastic swimbait.

These three lures in different color combinations will cover 99% of the pike fishing scenarios you encounter.

Spoons for Pike:

When you let a spoon fall and flutter on the retrieve, it imitates an injured baitfish. If you stick with pike fishing, you’ll no doubt end up with a hefty collection of spoons.

Start stocking your tackle box with a small assortment of spoons weighing 1/4 to 1 ounce in silver and gold plus any local favorites. Be sure to get the classic Johnson Silver Minnow and any others that catch your eye.

Inline Spinners for Pike:

One of the best ways to cover lots of water when searching for pike is by casting and retrieving an inline spinner. The most important part of an inline spinner is the blade.

On the retrieve, the blade spins and pulsates, sending vibrations in every direction. This action capitalizes on the pike’s sensitive lateral line which is exactly what you need to do to get a strike.

Some inline spinners are dressed with natural materials like bucktail, marabou, and feathers, while others feature rubber skirts like what you’d find on a spinnerbait for bass.

Get a few varieties in basic colors like white, chartreuse, and yellow, along with some darker colors for low-light conditions and murky water.

Soft Plastic Swimbaits for Pike:

 Plastic Swimbaits for Pike
Plastic swimbaits can be effective lures for pike.

Soft plastic lures are highly versatile, adaptable, and can be customized to fit nearly any fishing scenario.

For pike, minnow-style soft plastics in the 5- to 6-inch range are particularly deadly. There are thousands of swimbait styles, sizes, and colors available, but don’t let that intimidate you.

Pick out a few different styles in the go-to pike colors — white, yellow, and chartreuse — and you’re set.

Check out the Owner Bullet Head jig hooks in the 3/4 ounce size for a good all purpose jig head for pike fishing. If you’re fishing heavily weeded areas, try rigging your swimbaits on something like a Gamakatsu Weighted Swimbait Hook, that allows for weedless rigging.

Then, grab a few different colors of the Storm Wild Eye Swim Shad. The big fat paddle tail on the Yum Minnow vibrates and wiggles in a way pike simply can’t resist.

When fishing with swimbaits, the retrieve pattern you use is often more of a factor than the color or shape of the swimbait. Experiment. Try different retrieve speeds. Try short pauses and long pauses. Mix it up until you find what works.

Once you start getting hits, stick with that lure and retrieve pattern until the fish dictate otherwise!

Scouting the Water and Fishing for Northern Pike:

Scouting the Waters for PikeWhen you get to a body of water, before you start blind-casting away, take some time to survey the water.

Look for areas that look particularly “fishy.” Aerial maps and depth maps can be a real asset when it comes to scouting a lake for pike.

Google Earth is another invaluable tool that can help you find promising Northern pike fishing locations before you even get to the lake, and making sure you have a top quality fish finder will also help (You can check out our top ten fish finders here.)

Bays, coves, and smaller inlets are some of the first places you’ll want to scope out on a lake for pike. Look for shallow, marshy areas that have lots of weeds and grass. Mark any places that have shoreline structure such as submerged logs, fallen trees, and undercut banks.

Areas like these typically hold high numbers of bait fish and other prey. Find the food, find the pike.

Another key place to look for pike, especially as summer heats up, are drop offs that give pike access to deeper water. Using either your depth finder or a depth map, try to find areas that quickly go from 1 or 2 feet of water to 8 or 10 feet of water.

If you can find an area like this with weeds and vegetation, even better. Typically you should be sticking to docks or boats and avoid kayak fishing or tandem kayak fishing when scouting for pike.

1. Presenting the Lure:

Once you’ve identified several areas that are bound to hold pike, it’s time to tie on your lure and start casting.

If you’re fishing heavily weeded areas, tie on either a weedless spoon like the Johnson Silver Minnow, or a soft plastic swimbait rigged weedless on a Gamakatsu Swimbait Hook. Most of the time, pike sit motionless in classic ambush fashion as they wait for prey to swim by.

Cast your lure past a weedline, then slowly retrieve along the weeds. If a pike is there, he’ll rush out and slam your lure.

Luring PikeIn areas with lots of downed timber, submerged logs, or other sunken structure either along the shoreline or in the middle of a bay, an inline spinner is your best bet.

Focus on covering lots of water, but don’t just make random casts; use fan-style casting to thoroughly and methodically cover the entire area.

If you don’t get any hits, try to vary your retrieve, going either slower or faster, or by adding brief pauses. If you still aren’t getting any hits try changing lure colors or going somewhere else.

If you find a good drop off, tie on a soft plastic swimbait rigged on a standard 3/4 ounce jig head. When pike go deep, they might not be as aggressive as when they’re actively hunting in the shallows.

For this reason, try using a slower lift-glide-pause retrieve, working the lure along the bottom. You’ll have to spend time experimenting with how high to lift, how far to glide, and how long to pause until you find what works.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to use this slower retrieve the entire way back to the boat. Instead, you can cast out past where you know the good drop off is, do the lift-glide-pause retrieve in the prime area, then reel in steadily until your lure comes to another likely spot.

2. Setting the Hook:

When you do find a pike that’s willing to take your lure, it’s usually pretty obvious. Most of the time you’ll feel a solid tug at the end of your line. Give the rod a strong, upward hook set and start reeling.

But, sometimes the bite of a pike is more subtle. When bouncing soft plastic swimbaits rigged on jig heads, a pike will often take the bait when the jig falls back down to the bottom.

In this instance, it may feel like just a little nibble, but don’t let that fool you. Lower your rod tip, reel in any slack and give a nice hard hook set.

3. Landing and Releasing a Pike:

Once you fight the pike and bring it boat-side, things can escalate quickly. Pike are known to thrash upon landing, which can be a dangerous situation if you aren’t prepared. Besides the gnashing teeth and the whipping tail, your lure is in there somewhere and could come flying out at any minute.

Take our advice and come prepared with a net. You’ll thank us later. If possible, a second set of hands can make a day of pike fishing much easier when it comes the time to land your trophy. But, with good coordination and a long-handled net you should be able to land a pike by yourself.

To make landing a pike easier, be sure to play the fish long enough to tire it out. Then, when you bring it boat-side, be prepared with your rod in one hand and net in the other. Or, have your buddy ready with the net to scoop up the fish.

Once you get the fish on the deck of your boat, grab the fish’s head behind the eyes. If the fish is too big to hold the head, you can grab it by the gill plates. Then, with your needle nose pliers reach into the fish’s mouth to remove the hook.

If the hook is deep, you can go in with your pliers through the gills to get it loose. Jaw spreaders can come in handy if the fish is reluctant to open it’s mouth, but be careful using jaw spreaders on smaller fish that you intend to release as they can cause permanent damage to the jaw.

Snap a photo, then lower the fish into the water, giving it a minute to recover before setting it free.

Below is a great video on how to successfully land and release a pike by Matity’s GetFishing channel on Youtube.

If you plan on keeping your catch, drop it in your live well or put it on ice. Many anglers catch pike purely for sport and release all fish caught, but many others enjoy eating pike. The common complaint about pike as table fare is that they are very bony, unlike their trout couterparts.

But, with proper fillet technique you can end up with perfectly boneless fillets and a large amount of meat!

Final Norther Pike Fishing Tips to Help You Catch More Pike:

To conclude our discourse on how to catch northern pike, we’d like to leave you with three tips to make your pike fishing efforts more fruitful.

  • Keep moving. Finding the fish is half the battle, and similar to fly fishing – casting to the same area twice is often wasted effort when searching for pike.
  • Keep casting. Try to work every potential pike holding location for all it’s worth. There is some endurance required to successfully catch pike. If you’re lure isn’t in the water, you can’t catch fish.
  • If you miss a strike, keep working the lure. Sometimes a pike will “play” with your lure. It might hit it, spit it, and keep chasing it. If you feel a bite, but miss setting the hook, keep working your lure and you might be rewarded with a second or third chance to seal the deal.
  • Know your Pike Seasons. Pike fishing in the winter may give you a slightly different results but can be just as effective if you know where to fish. Make sure you are setup with the right ice auger to drill in your preferred fishing location.

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10 Fantastic Fishing Spots in North Carolina

From the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains in the west to the gorgeous outer banks, North Carolina is full of great fishing spots. Freshwater fishing enthusiasts have many choices where to go fishing for large and smallmouth bass in the many lakes and reservoirs.

Those with a passion for streams and hiking have thousands of miles of waterways, most with stunning rainbow and speckled trout. The best fishing spots in North Carolina are easy to find, too.

If all that fishing is not enough, there is the vibrant music scene. While bluegrass may be what most people think of when someone mentions North Carolina, you can listen to any musical genre you want while discussing your big catch over a craft brew from one of the state’s many breweries.

The vibe here is very different from other places like the east coast fishing areas in Connecticut or Maine.

Get ready for a great fishing trip because North Carolina offers some excellent opportunities for saltwater fishing. You can cast a line from the shore or pick a guided trip for some deep-sea fishing that you will never forget.

So, start packing up your tackle and gear because after reading this list, you’ll want to go fishing in N.C.

1. Lake Fontana

With more than 400 miles of shoreline and a water surface of 10,230 acres with a ton of different branches, Lake Fontana is the place for bass fishing. (Check out our step-by-step guide to catching big bass here).

There’s even an annual bass tournament on the lake (this year, it was held in March) were anglers can win real cash, have unrestrained access to entertainment venues, and try out the local cuisine.

You can even try your hand at trout fishing at one of the many different streams that feed into the lake. Record-breaking fish are common, making this one of the best fishing spots in North Carolina.

Make sure you are properly geared for your trip and make sure your fishing gear can stand up to some of the larger fish in the area. Bass over 10 pounds and huge catfish and muskie are routinely caught on the lake.

You can also pull up your boat and explore the ruins of old homesteads or hike a huge network of trails. The best part about Lake Fontana is that you have many options for both camping and fishing.

You may see these types of fish at Lake Fontana:

  • Largemouth or smallmouth bass
  • Kentucky Spotted Bass,
  • Walleye
  • Bluegill
  • Lake Trout
  • Muskellunge
  • Crappie
  • Crap

While there, be sure to visit Fontana Dam, which is the tallest dam on the eastern seaboard. When you are not fishing, it is worth the trip to take in this wonder. Be sure to check out Fontana Village for a bite to eat while you are there, too.

2. Jordan Lake

jordan lake

image by pixabay

Jordan Lake is a 13,940 acre reservoir in the New Hope Valley just west of Raleigh. It is a popular destination for those who want to get out of town for some quality fishing time.

It has a depth that averages 14 feet and maxes out at 38 feet, so this is a shallow lake in an area that gets hot in the summer. While Lake Fontana has shoreline does not enable easy access to the lake, Jordan lake’s 180 miles of uninterrupted shoreline can meet every fisherman’s needs.

Thanks to the many campgrounds, local shops, restaurants, and accommodation opportunities, you can either come alone or bring the whole family with you. There’s something fun and engaging to do at Lake Jordan for everyone, from junior to grandpa.

You can hook these types of fish at Jordan Lake:

  • Largemouth and smallmouth bass
  • Channel catfish
  • Black or white crappie
  • Bluegill
  • White or striped bass
  • Yellow perch

Largemouths are usually huge due to the generous aquatic vegetation that sustains and feeds the species. On average, a largemouth weighs more than 6 lbs, with the largest specimen ever caught at the lake weighing slightly over 14 pounds.

3. Lake Norman

Lake Norman is a 32,000 acre lake that draws in many anglers because it is an excellent place to fish for bass. While there are some big catfish in this lake, it also has an abundance of white perch.

Although this lake can be crowded at times, you can get good results when you put in a day fishing here. With 500 miles of shoreline, you can go off by yourself to fish and get away from the popular spots.

Excellent access and a variety of catfish means this is one of best fishing spots in North Carolina to wet a line. The types of fish you can catch at Lake Norman include:

  • Largemouth, striped, white or spotted bass
  • Channel, blue or flathead catfish
  • Black crappie
  • Bluegill
  • White and yellow Perch

The bad news is that you’ll need a fishing license to catch fish at the lake, the good news is that there are no seasonal restrictions when it comes to bass, you can catch it year-round. Striped bass should be no larger than 16″ while black bass and crappie should not exceed 14″ and 8″ in length, respectively.

For more info on the permit and fishing limitations, check out www.ncwildlife.org.

4. Lake James

Lake James is a 6,800 cold-water lake that boasts depths of 120 feet below the surface or more. This makes Lake James the home to many different species of fish, including those enjoying cool water. This lake is a great fishing spot especially in summertime.

For those of us who want something beyond the typical bass fishing experience, there is the thrill of chasing Northern pike or tiger muskies on this beloved North Carolina lake. But the most spectacular catches are smallmouths, which are often surprisingly big.

Lake James is popular for a lot of reasons beyond fishing. It is easy to access and has plenty of boat rental and camping facilities. It also has more than one marina, unlike a lot of lakes.

Plus, thanks to the amazing scenery and its crystal clear water, Lake James is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Old North State.

Here’s what you can expect to find at the end of your line at Lake James:

  • Largemouth, white or smallmouth bass
  • Blue catfish
  • Black or white crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Northern pike
  • Tiger muskie

5. Lake Chatuge

Lake Chatuge 7,480 acre scenic lake located in the Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains along the North Carolina and Georgia border, which offers anglers over 7,000 acres of water surface in the summer. Spotted bass, white bass, largemouth bass, and hybrid bass are the most common fish you will find there.

But don’t be surprised to see a walleye on your line, too. You can use a Georgia or North Carolina fishing license, so it is a popular spot for anglers from both states.

Here are the species of fish you can catch at Lake Chatuge:

  • Largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, or hybrid striped bass
  • Channel catfish
  • Black Crappie
  • Bream
  • Bluegill
  • trout (nearby Chatuge Dam)
  • Walleye
  • and 22 more fish species.

Historically speaking, Lake Chatuge used to be the best place in Georgia to fish for smallmouth bass, but the species experienced a rapid decline after the illegal introduction of spotted bass into the lake. The blueback herring has also been an unwelcome guest in the lake since the ’90s.

Today, the most common species is the bass. The largest hybrid bass to be caught in Chatuge stood at a whopping 25 lbs 8 oz, an official state record that hasn’t been shattered to this date. Also, the lake is known for hosting the largest walleye ever caught in the state (13 lbs, 8 oz in 1986).

6. High Rock Lake

High Rock Lake is 15,180 acres and the deep-water lake hosts some exquisite schools of bass and crappie. The large size means there is a lot of room to find your own special fishing hole to reel in the big ones. With 365 miles of shoreline, there is
so much for everybody to explore.

You don’t even need a boat to wet a line thanks to the lake’s jaw-dropping 336-mile-long shoreline.

But if you really need a boat, you’ll want to check in on the boating regulations depending on what type of watercraft you plan to use. There are numerous marinas to supply your every need. You can also rent a boat to get out in the deeper parts.

Here’s the fish species that dwell in High Rock Lake:

  • Largemouth, white, and striped bass
  • Channel, flathead, and blue catfish
  • Black and white crappie
  • Bluegill

Be wary that unlike the previous two lakes on our list, the water is not clear, so make sure that you stockpile plenty of brightly colored lures and spinnerbaits.

Here’s a gentleman’s experience while boat fishing for crappie on High Rock Lake.

7. Ocracoke Island Outer Banks

If you want to get away from it all and enjoy some great deep sea or offshore fishing, go to Ocracoke. This remote community was once a popular hangout for pirates like the infamous Blackbeard.

While there, visit Teach’s Hole for some great swimming time near the shore and bountiful fishing further out.

Ocracoke is not for the faint-hearted due to its remoteness. There are a lot of vacation rentals on the island. However, they book up fast because it is a beloved place to escape the everyday insanity of big city life.

Anglers can count on catching:

  • Drums
  • Sharks
  • Bluefish
  • Flounder
  • Spanish mackerel
  • Pompano
  • Spots
  • Croaker
  • Sea mullets

On your way to Ocracoke try fishing near Swan’s Quarter. Most people take the ferry to get to Ocracoke. However, the remoteness and tranquility of Swan’s Quarter are worth fishing, if you have the time.

8. Smoky Mountains National Park

With thousands of miles of streams to fish along, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great place to explore. You may know this is the most visited park in the entire National Park system.

However, most visitors only venture a few feet from their cars, leaving many places to drop a line in the water. You can discover many trout fishing spots by getting on the trail and fishing further out than most people dare to venture.

A backpacking-style fishing rod that collapses can help you have a more comfortable fishing expedition.

However, before going to the Smokies, you must purchase a state fishing license from either North Carolina or Tennessee first if you aged 13 or older. Kids aged 12 or younger are allowed to fish at no charge if they are with an adult that has purchased a permit of license.

The cost of the license largely depends on the type of fishing and the area you plan on visiting and you need to buy it before arriving at the park as you cannot buy it from the National Park Service.

All licensed anglers are allowed to fish from half an hour before dawn until half an hour after dusk (the official hours) year-round. There’s a limit to how many smallmouth bass and rainbow trout, brook, and brown trout you are allowed to take home (juts 5
per day per adult and 2 per day per kid).

9. The Tuckasegee River

If you love to fly fish, head to the Tuckasegee River, which fans have nicknamed, “The Tuck.” This gorgeous river is home to some great fly fishing.

In fact, it is one of the best fishing spots in North Carolina. For the bass fishing enthusiast, “The Tuck” offers some of the biggest smallmouth bass in the Smoky Mountain Region. This means you could catch bass that are close to eight pounds and 16 to 20 inches long.

This is a family-friendly river with good access. When you are not fishing, you can take rafting or tubing trips to cool off. Anglers on the river also enjoy catching the steelhead from Lake Fontana that start running into “The Tuck” in April.

You’ll spot trout and many other types of fish in the Tuckasegee, which is one of th ebest places in North Carolina to fish trout. However, don’t be surprised by the size of Tuckasegee River (around 40 to 100 yards in width).

The Catch-and-release period starts on Oct. 1st and continues through early June. It is a great fishing spot for beginner and advanced fishing enthusiasts alike that don’t mind catching mostly medium-sized fish. There are also many other great fishing spots nearby, like Fontana Lake and the Nantahala River.

10. The Nantahala River

Just down the road from the Tuckaseegee is the Nantahala River, one the best 100 trout-fishing rivers in North America and a popular place for national fly fishing championships.

It offers hands-down some of the best trout fishing experiences the state has to offer but you’ll need a state fishing license from NC with a trout stamp on it first.

This family-friendly river provides excellent fly fishing. You’ll want to avoid some parts of the river frequented by rafting trips, but there are plenty of choice spots.

This is a cold river, so you will want to wear some good waders. You’ll also need some outdoor clothing, even during the spring and summer months. This river is especially a great place to cool off from the summer heat.

The most common fish species here include:

  • Wild/stocked brown trout
  • Wild/stocked rainbow trout

The hatchery-supported ares are closed in March.

Last-Minute NC Fishing Tips

Sometimes the best fishing spots in North Carolina are where you must hike to. People fish out the easy to reach spots sooner.

So, if you can, try to catch fishing holes that require a 30 minute to one hour hike to reach. Here are some more fishing tips for you:

  • Pay attention to individual area rules. Fishing in N.C. is great but there are some areas that have different rules than others. Catch and release-only areas can sometimes be on one section of a river while on another, you can keep your catch if you meet the size limits.
  • Some spots are becoming more crowded. North Carolina is a beautiful state that is wonderful to live in and the secret is out. With more people deciding to make their home in the area or vacation to N.C., some of the choice spots are crowded. Going at non-peak times can help, too. You can also find a spot closer yet far far away from the crowd.
  • Book lodging, guided trips, and boat rentals well ahead of time. During busy times of the year boats and lodging, as well as guided fishing trips can book up quickly. If you are determined to go to a certain popular place, the sooner you book the better. Guided fishing trips can be hard to get, especially if you have just shown up. Check out Airbnb and VRBO for affordable rates on local lodging.
  • Expand your fishing knowledge. There are a lot of great places that offer lessons and chartered trips if you want to learn a different way to fish or get out from the shoreline. If you have never fly fished, sign up with a local guide to learn the best techniques.

If you have any spots that you think we’ve missed, feel free to drop us a line on Facebook or by email (subscribe to our list) and let us know!

Featured image by: Pixabay

Top 10 Best Fishing Reels

The right reel will make fishing a pleasure, and if properly cared for, it should give you years of service. Today, we’re going to discuss the two most popular types of fishing reels and give you our list of the best fishing reels available.

As you set your sights on being the best fisherman you can be, you’re going to want the top equipment. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is which reel to buy. 

Fishing is one of the most fun and relaxing pastimes you can choose. A beautiful day on the water, a good friend (or some peaceful solitude), and a lunker on the end of your line means life doesn’t get much better. If you’re lucky, you might even come home with dinner.

Once you’ve taken up fishing as a hobby, you’re bound to get more serious about it as time goes by.





fishing tool box

Image via Freepik

When we put our list together, we spent many hours researching dozens of reels, both spinning reels and bait-casters, made by many manufacturers. We reviewed data compiled from professional testing, looked at opinions from expert anglers, and put many models through their paces under varying conditions.

We looked at available features, quality of construction, ease of use, and price. We feel confident we’re giving you a choice of the best fishing reels on the market.


Spinning Reels

  • OKUMA Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel
  • Daiwa BG Spinning Reel
  • Shimano Spirex FG Spinning Reel (6.2:1)
  • Lews Fishing Mach Speed Spin MS300 Reel
  • Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel
  • Abu Garcia Pro Max Spinning Reel

Bait-casting Reels

  • SHIMANO Metanium MGL 6.2:1 Casting Reel
  • Abu Garcia Revo MG Xtreme Reel
  • Ardent Apex Elite Fishing Reel
  • Daiwa Tatula CT Bait-cast Fishing Reel
  • 13 Fishing Concept A3 8:1:1 Gear Ratio Fishing Reel


Let’s look at some specific features and discuss pros and cons of what makes our top spinners some of the best fishing reels you can own.



This model is beautifully designed, operates smoothly, and is priced very competitively.

The C-40X graphite and aluminum construction make this reel very light but also sturdy. 

Even with a large fish on, there is little flex, particularly for a reel this lightweight. Overall, this reel is loaded with features and technology you’d expect from a more expensive model.


  • Very light but sturdy

  • Excellent drag mechanism

  • Good balance

  • Competitively priced


  • Not many cons. The light weight might make it feel a bit flimsy (but we assure you, it’s not)


This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.



This reel comes in a host of models for freshwater or saltwater fishing.

It features Daiwa’s “Hard Bodyz” black anodized finish, which is a solid protective layer covering an aluminum housing. 

A waterproof carbon ATD drag system and a smooth retrieve are made possible by the anti-rust ball bearings. See our full review here


  • “Bullet-proof” body construction

  • Smooth cast and retrieve

  • Solid drag system


  • It’s a bit heavy

  • The spool is not anodized


This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.



This light-duty reel features Shimano’s S-Concept, which means smooth operation and a relaxed retrieve.

Drag performance is top-notch, and the Varispeed oscillation reduces issues with line lay. 

It has an SR one-piece bail wire, the frame and rotor are made of graphite, and it uses anti-rust ball bearings.


  • Smooth, consistent drag

  • Easy casting for a spinner

  • Inexpensive


  • Double handle feels odd


This reel is backed by a two-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.



This reel features an 8 ball bearing system with a zero reverse clutch bearing, yielding excellent cast and retrieve qualities.

A skeletal graphite rotor is encased in a graphite body to keep weight down while still giving you solid construction and performance. Continuing with the quality build theme, a double anodized knurled aluminum spool and heavy-duty aluminum bail wire finish things off.


  • Good gear ratio

  • Solid rotor operation

  • Good price


  • Drag settings not as precise as some


This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.



Offering a smooth-running seven bearing system and a braid-ready spool, this reel is a performance winner.

The sealed carbon drag is powerful, and because it is sealed, it keeps dirt out for years of reliable fishing. 

This spinner features an aluminum shaft that is 30% lighter than stainless steel, reducing the weight without lessening its strength.


  • Spool is braided line-ready

  • Drag is sealed for protection

  • The handle is made of carbon fiber


  • Has a cork knob


This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.



Featuring a light graphite frame/rotor combination, this reel comes with the company’s Rocket Line Management System, including the Rocket Spool Lip design for distance casting and less knotting from the wind. 

Its seven ball bearing system keeps it smooth, and the Slow Oscillation system reduces line management problems.


  • Graphite construction

  • Good casting range

  • Bargain priced


  • None


This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


Now, let’s look at some specific features and discuss pros and cons of what makes our top bait-casters some of the best fishing reels you can own.



Operating with a low moment of inertia, this reel improves casting distance by 20% and gives cranking a light and smooth feel.

Its MAGNUMLITE spool design is made of magnesium and aluminum and all but eliminates flex, warp, and distortion.

Finally, its SVS Infinity technology gives consistent spool control and brake system.


  • Top-of-the-line construction

  • High-end features

  • 10 + 1 bearing system


  • Quite expensive


This reel is backed by a two-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.



This is the lightest Revo model ever produced. It weighs just 4 1/2 ounces.

It uses a new Super Lightweight Concept (SLC) spool design and hybrid-ceramic ball bearings. 

Features include a one-piece X-Mag alloy frame, C6 carbon plates, Infinitely Variable Centrifugal Brake (IVCB), and a Carbon Matrix Star Drag system.


  • Super lightweight

  • Top-of-the-line technology

  • Surprisingly durable


  • Very expensive


This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.



This reel uses a 13 ball bearing set-up and weighs under 6 ounces.

The Deep V 6061 T6 machined aluminum spool increases line capacity and helps to reduce weight. 

The adjustable 270-degree magnetic brake system allows for quick adjustments while using. A carbon fiber swept handle with EVA grips gives you superior cranking leverage.


  • Strong aluminum construction

  • Aluminum star drag

  • Great warranty


  • More plastic than top-end models


This reel is backed by a three-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.



This small but versatile reel comes in 4 speeds.

It is built on a one-piece aluminum frame, fits easily in your hand, and is a smooth performer. 

With an Air Rotation spool and T-Wing Levelwind system, it produces good line flow at reduced angles for elite casting capabilities. It uses an 8-bearing system with instant anti-reverse.


  • Easy-turning air rotation spool

  • Excellent fit, strength, and castability

  • Great price


  • Reports of durability issues


This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.



This reel gives you great power from a low profile platform. It is very strong, with H.A.M. gears cut from hardened brass.

 Its Bull Drag System creates 30 pounds of stopping power, its foundation is a HD aluminum frame with anti-reverse stopping system, and it adds an Arrowhead line guide system. 

It uses a seven ball bearing design and holds up to 240 yards of 12-pound braid.


  • Bulldog drag system

  • Japanese Hamai Cut Gearing

  • Trick Shop Compatible


  • Cork handle grips


This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


There are several types of fishing reels available, but we’re going to focus on the two most popular varieties used by freshwater and saltwater fishermen.

Spinning reels and bait-casting reels are versatile, durable, and are sure to start a friendly argument about which is better. The truth is, they’re both excellent choices for most fishing conditions.

man fishing

Image via Freepik

Spinning Reels

This type of reel has a fixed, open spool which is positioned underneath and in-line with your rod. The spool is stationary with a rotary line guide that spins around the spool. This type of reel is held in the right hand while the crank is operated by the left. Some models have the ability to be reversed according to the user’s handedness.

Spinners are some of the best fishing reels for beginners and seasoned anglers because they’re easy to use and are great in- a lot of fishing circumstances. They’re best for a light line where you need to cast either a very light lure or don’t want to damage your live bait when casting for distance. They’re available to fit any budget and are the most popular type of fishing reel on the market.

Bait-casting Reels

This type of reel has a revolving spool, a trigger handle, and sits on top of your rod. It’s really the opposite of a spinning reel. It gives a fisherman the ability to use certain techniques and presentations when wanting to use a heavier line.

Some less experienced anglers avoid bait-casting reels because they’ve heard stories of the line tangling on the spool; this is called a “bird nest.” They’re actually easy to get used to with some practice and are considered some of the best fishing reels by advanced anglers.

Bait-casting reels come in both left- and right-handed models. Handles cannot be swapped out like they can with spinning reels, so be sure to know what you’re after before buying. Like spinning reels, there’s one available for all budgets. The more features you want, the larger your budget will need to be.

Some Key Differences Between the Two

Both types made our list of the best fishing reels because they both offer advantages and features that make them solid choices when buying a reel. There are a few general differences between them—other than appearance and set-up—that might tip the scales one way or the other.

Spinning reels are easier to use and, therefore, more popular with inexperienced or casual anglers. They are better when using light line and light lures, and they all but eliminate backlash when casting.

They’re a solid choice for all-around fishing. Bait-casters are better when casting precision is needed around obstacles like docks, low hanging limbs, and lily pads. While they do take some practice to master, they generally will cast farther and more accurately than a spinner. Whichever type you choose, you’ll end up with one of the best fishing reels available.


Man fishing by the lake

Image via Freepik

Choosing one of the best fishing reels is a tall order. There are so many variables, including what fish you’re targeting, what features mean the most to you, and the size of your budget.

We’ve provided our list of the best fishing reels on the market to appeal to anglers of all skill levels and budgets. We hope you’ll use this information to make the choice that’s right for you and to fall more in love with the best pastime there is.

Featured Image via Freepik

What’s The Best Ear Protection For Shooting? Top 10 Revealed

Get this. Research shows that the sound of gunfire is one of the most dangerous non-occupational noises most people have to deal with in their life. The best ear protection for shooting can be a life-saver!

Did you know that most firearm calibers fire decibels as high as 140 and more? If you like shooting or shooting is a part of your career, it is necessary to have the right protection.

A single shot without wearing the best ear protection for shooting can cause permanent hearing loss and other related complications such as ear humming, hissing, or tinnitus.

The fact that your previous shots never affected you negatively does not give you the guarantee that your next shot will be safe. Any sound above 85 dB is considered dangerous and given that every gunshot has an average of about 157 dB, it is needless to say that every shooter needs to have the best ear protection at all times.


We understand how important it is to keep your ears protected against damaging gunshots. We also know the joy that comes with finding the best product online as well as the pain that comes with spending your money on the wrong one.

For these reasons, we invested a lot of energy and time to research and come up with a list of the best ear protection for shooting to make the work much easier for you. Our focus was on products’ features, pros, cons, price, where to buy, as well as the noise reduction rating to help you land the best ear protection for shooting easily.


Ear protection for shooting varies significantly in terms of the features and this affects the price of different products. We found out that some ear protection ranges between $12 and $100. Higher priced models have advanced features such as high efficiency in reducing the noise.

man shooting using shotgun and wearing earmuffs

Image by freepic.diller via Freepik


Here is the list of the best ear protection for shooting that we reviewed.

  • Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Protection Muffs
  • Peltor 97451 3M Tactical Sport Earmuffs
  • Fnova Professional Ear Defenders for Shooting
  • Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Shooting Earmuffs
  • Pro For Sho Shooting Ear Protection
  • Walker’s Game Ear Alpha Quad with NXT Camo
  • Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Safety Earmuffs
  • 3M Peltor Optime 105 Over-the-Head Earmuffs
  • Homitt Sound Shooting Earmuffs with Noise Cancelling
  • Howard Leight by Honeywell Sport Electronic Earmuffs




The Walker’s Razor Slim earmuff stands out in terms of profile and features ultra-thin rubber cups.

The cups are easy and comfortable to wear even for long hours of use. 

The noise reduction rating of 23 dB gives you the ability to shut off any sound in 0.02 seconds whenever the louder noise is more than 89 dB. The Walker’s Razor Slim muffs have a standard jack for connecting with most devices including your smartphone.


  • Comfortable

  • Great noise cancellation abilities

  • Ultra-thin rubber cups

  • NRR of 23 dB


  • Relatively expensive

  • Non-omni directional





The Peltor Tactical Sport electronic earmuff runs on digital chip technology. It features the ability to shut off any dangerous noise impulse. 

It can amplify sound allowing you to hear any low-level sounds. This earmuff has a noise reduction rate of 20 dB. Its design is comfortable and fits all individuals. The ear cups are well-contoured to cover the ears perfectly and comfortably.


  • Compatible with other devices

  • NRR of 20 dB

  • ASIC chip technology

  • Comfortable

  • Ergonomic design

  • Contoured ear cups


  • Might appear tight

  • warranty

3-month warranty




The Fnova Professional Ear Defenders for Shooting are comfortable on the head, easy to fold when storing, and take pride in having the best de-noising effect.

It is designed for kids aged 5 years and above. 

Its two layers of dampening foam give it a top noise reduction rating scale. In addition, it has high sealing cups and its double-shell technology aids in blocking high and harmful sounds.

The first shell of this ear defender filters out the sound wave prior to reaching your ears. The second shell filters the sound further to a maximum of 34 dB. This earmuff has padded swivel cups with an outline of soft foam, ensuring that your ears and head remain comfortable during the entire wearing period.


  • Comfortable

  • Padded swivel cups

  • Soft foams for comfort

  • An NRR of 34 dB

  • 2 layers of dampening foam

  • Double -shell noise filtering technology

  • Adjustable headband


  • Not ANSI certified

  • Uncomfortable if used continuously


2-months warranty




The Howard Leight Earmuffs feature a design ideal for handgun shooters. It is quality and superior safety-wise. 

It comes with a distortion-free amplification feature that filters sound and blocks any sound with noise above 82 dB. Its headband is padded for extra comfort and is designed for a custom fit.

The earmuffs come with an external audio jack that doubles as an audio source and a stereo headphone. It is foldable for ease of storage whenever not in use.


  • Comfortable

  • Ideal for handgun shooters

  • Filters noise above 82 dB

  • Padded headband

  • Foldable


  • Runs on battery

  • Tight

  • Some users report control knob can get stuck in the on position


3-months warranty




Pro For Sho Shooting Ear Protection comes with a noise reduction rating of 34 dB. It does not require batteries to operate. It features a compact and lightweight design. 

It is foldable which makes it quite easy to store this ear protection when not in use. The earmuff is made of high-grade foam that is soft and makes the muffs feel comfortable. It has been tested and certified by ANSI.


  • Lightweight

  • Compact and solid

  • Foldable for ease of storage

  • High-grade foams

  • VersatileNRR of 34 dB


  • Small size


3-month warranty




The Walker’s Game Ear Alpha Quad with NXT Camo comes with 2 independent volume controls that help you adjust sounds. 

It has a noise reducing rating of 24 dB and anti-microbial ear pads. The earmuffs have a high frequency and are precise in terms of sound directionality.


  • Comfortable

  • NRR of 24 dB

  • Anti-microbial pads

  • High-frequency earmuffs


  • A bit tight


2-month warranty




The Mpow 035 safety earmuffs come with a lot of outstanding features to boast. They have been certified for use in Europe and America. 

This product has the capacity of filtering down harmful sounds from 22 dB to 33 dB. The pads of the Mpow 035 have high-grade foam that dampens noise.

The earmuffs come with a flexible and retractable stainless steel headband making them ideal for any individual—kids and adults—to wear comfortably. In addition, it is made of soft and lightweight material ensuring that it does not pressure your head or the ears hence, ideal for long hours of use.


  • Comfortable

  • Perfect performance

  • Retractable headband

  • High-grade noise dampening foams

  • Effectively filters noise down to 22 dB

  • Ease of storage


  • Tight

  • warranty

18-month warranty




The 3M Peltor Optime 105 is the best ear protection for shooting that is relatively affordable.

With a noise reduction rating of 31 dB, these earmuffs shut up noise distractions to give you a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. 

The 3M Peltor is impact resistant and highly durable. It is comfortable on the head. These over-the-head earmuffs have twin headbands that ensure there is no heat buildup as is the case with flat headbands on other models of ear protection. The mental components of the headband are made of non-conductive materials.


  • NRR of 31 dB

  • OSHA compliant

  • Stainless steel double headband

  • Affordable

  • Good balance and fit

  • No heat buildup


  • Not adjustable

  • Heavy

  • Big earcups

  • warranty

2-month warranty




The Homitt Sound Shooting Earmuffs are considered one of the best ear protection for shooting devices because it is designed to use the latest noise cancellation technology. 

It is comfortable and flexible making it ideal for use by women and kids. Its design allows a comfortable fit on any size of the head. The earmuffs are lightweight and compact and can be folded easily when being stored.

The Homitt Sound Earmuffs feature a 34 dB noise reduction rating. This is because of its double shell cups that have breathable and soft foams that eliminate noise with ease.


  • Comfortable design

  • Noise cancellation features

  • Fits on any head size

  • Expandable headband

  • Double shell cups

  • Compact and lightweight


  • Tight

  • Small ear cups


12-month warranty




Howard Leight by Honeywell Sport is one of the best ear protection for shooting that you can consider.

It blocks gunshot noise of more than 83dB. 

With a noise reduction rate of 22 dB, Howard Leight is ideal for people exposed to long hours of shooting noise. It comes with a low-level sound amplification feature and can filter any harmful and loud noise from reaching your ears.

The Howard Leight earmuff comes with a built-in directional microphone for blocking any sound that exceeds 82 dB while at the same time adjusting other sounds such as people’s voices. In addition, this ear protection for shooting is compatible with most devices such as your smartphone.


  • Comfortable to wear

  • Adjustable volume knobs

  • Versatile

The Top 8 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

Looking for the best ultralight spinning reels is an exercise many anglers will engage in at some point. Now, most anglers are big-fish hunters at heart and would love to land a massive record-breaker at some point.

That said, ultralight fishing is considered by many to be the ultimate angling discipline. It’s definitely one worthy of passionate pursuit.

This is all well and good, but what is ultralight angling? Also, what sort of gear does one need to get started? Learn some of the basics before selecting one of the best ultralight spinning reels.

Definition of Ultralight Tackle?

fishing reel

Image via Pixabay

Primarily, you may broadly classify ultralight angling as “fishing with the lightest possible tackle for any given type of fishing.” Of course, that’s pretty vague, but there are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to making an accurate definition.

The majority of the reels we’ll look at here are suitable for rods with 2- to 6-pound test curves. Some are a little heavier, but we’ll focus on the 2- to 6-pound range. This is generally accepted as being the lightest of all tackle classes and is suitable for both freshwater and inshore saltwater angling.

What Makes Ultralight Fishing so Great?

Perhaps the most significant thing about ultralight angling is how accessible it is. In other words, folks of all ages, physical abilities, and levels of fitness can get involved with ease. Since the gear is light, and the physical demands are negligible, it’s a game for just about everyone.

Additionally, ultralight fishing is also affordable. For instance, the best ultralight spinning reels cost far less than mid-range heavy reels. And the same goes for the rods, line, and terminal tackle. Consequently, it’s possible to put together and maintain a comprehensive arsenal of ultralight tackle on an equally light budget.

Above all, ultralight fishing expands your angling horizons. So, when the lunkers go off the bite, you can break out the ultralight gear and go after the small stuff. Also, so many waterways that were previously of little interest now house hordes of worthy opponents.

Honestly, once you start fishing light or ultralight, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get started. It’s definitely the most fishing fun you can have without getting arrested!

What Defines the Best Ultralight Spinning Reels?​

Essentially, ultralight angling is all about finesse, skill, and technique. And this reflects in the requirements of the gear, particularly the reels you’ll use. First, let’s take a look at what defines the best ultralight spinning reels.

green fishing reel

Image via Pixabay


Foremost, ultralight fishing tends to be sight angling. This means you’re working your bait or lure within or just out of direct sight. Additionally, the fish you’ll be targeting are unlikely to strip masses of line by making long, drag-busting runs. Consequently, you won’t need hundreds of yards of line to keep all the bases covered.

Notably, spinning reels that balance well with ultralight rods are physically small. And the 1,000 sized models are the most common. The average 1,000 size reel will hold between 110 and 150 yards of 2-pound line and between 80 and 100 yards of 6-pound line. In general, 100 to 125 yards of line is more than enough for the best ultralight spinning reels.


Again, you won’t need massive amounts of drag when choosing the best ultralight spinning reels. On average, most ultralight reels have between 4 and 10 pounds of maximum drag.

In reality, you’ll probably never get anywhere near locked-down drag numbers using ultralight line. So, 6 to 10 pounds is all you’ll ever need. As always, the smoothness of the reel’s drag system is more important than the maximum figures.


Markedly, you’ll seldom subject your ultralight reels to the same kind of punishment that their bigger siblings have to endure. Nevertheless, they’ll get dunked and dropped. And if lure fishing is the order of the day, you’ll cast it hundreds of times on any given day. As a result, the best ultralight spinning reels have to be as robust and well-constructed as bigger reels.

Fortunately, most reputable reel manufacturers post comprehensive product descriptions on their websites. With this in mind, use these resources and do a little legwork before you decide on the best ultralight spinning reels. Notably, points to consider would be sealing systems and the materials used for frames. Also, note the spools and internal components and the type and number of bearings used in the reel.

The 8 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

So, in no particular order, here is our lineup.


Cadence Spinning Reel,CS5 Ultralight Carbon Fiber Fishing…

  • 【What You Get from…
  • 【Super Light Weight】Reel…
  • 【Ultra-Smooth】Unique…
  • 【Powerful】CS5 Spinning…
  • 【Great Value】The CS5…

Cadence is a fairly new tackle manufacturer that is quickly building a reputation for supplying quality, affordable products. One such product is the CS5 1000 sized ultralight spinning reel.

The CS5 reel range includes corrosion-busting features such as carbon composite frames, aluminum alloy pinion gears, and stainless steel main shafts. Corrosion-resistant stainless steel bearings and machined aluminum spools complement these features. 

A smooth and powerful carbon fiber drag system and comfortable oversized EVA handle round off the reel’s feature set.


Here are some important numbers for the CS5 1000.

  • Monofilament line capacity: 110 yards of 6-pound
  • Braid line capacity: 115 yards of 10-pound braid
  • Bearing count: 8 CRBB plus one roller bearing
  • Max drag: 10 pounds maximum
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • Retrieve rate: 25 inches
  • Weight: 6.7 ounces
  • Handle: Reversible
  • Anti-reverse: Instant anti-reverse


Amazon customer reviews of the CS5 1000 were predominantly positive, with 137 positive and 12 critical reviews with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 stars.


  • Corrosion-resistant materials throughout
  • Lightweight
  • Good drag system
  • Low price point
  • Good line capacity
  • Smooth and robust


  • Some might find the anti-reverse switch difficult to access


Cadence CS8 Spinning Reel, Ultralight Fast Speed Premium…

  • 【What You Get from…
  • 【Light Weight】…
  • 【Ultra-Smooth & Fast】…
  • 【Powerful】CS8 Spinning…
  • 【Great Value】Cadence…

Staying with Cadence fishing tackle, our second reel is their CS8 1000 ultralight spinner. This reel shares some of its CS5 siblings features with the addition of several refinements. These include an aluminum handle arm and one-piece aluminum bail and one extra ball bearing making for a total of 10 bearings.

The CS8 1000 frame is constructed from corrosion-resistant lightweight magnesium material, and the rotor and side plates are carbon composite. Internal gearing and components are aluminum alloy and stainless steel.


The CS8 1000 specifications at a glance.

  • Monofilament line capacity: 110 yards of 6-pound
  • Braid line capacity: 115 yards of 10-pound braid
  • Bearing count: 9 CRBB plus one roller bearing
  • Max drag: 11 pounds maximum
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • Retrieve rate: 25 inches
  • Weight: 6.3 ounces
  • Handle: Reversible
  • Anti-reverse: Instant anti-reverse


The CS8 1000 has received 112 Amazon customer ratings in total. Of these, eight were critical and 104 positive. The average rating for the reel was a solid 4.7 out of 5.0 stars.


  • Good corrosion resistive construction throughout
  • Smooth, powerful drag system
  • Good line capacity
  • High bearing count
  • Excellent reliability


  • Priced relatively high


Okuma Helios SX HSX-20 Lightweight Spinning Reel

  • Made of highest quality…
  • Manufacturer: Okuma
  • Helios SX spinning reel 5.0:1…

The Helios HSX 20 sports a wealth of features such as lightweight C-40X carbon fiber frame, side plates, and rotor. The machined aluminum handle, nine stainless steel bearings, and aluminum bail further enhance the reel’s corrosion-resistant features. As do the precision-cut brass pinion gear and aluminum alloy main gear train.

Other great features of the HSX 20 include Okuma’s LCS line control system, computer balanced Cyclonic Flow rotor, and Quick-Set anti-reverse. The TCA reel frame is designed to resist twisting under load. This feature makes this reel extremely rigid, keeping internal moving parts perfectly aligned at all times.


The Helios HSX 20’s pedigree looks like this.

  • Monofilament line capacity: 220 yards of 2-pound and 110 yards of 6-pound
  • Bearing count: 8 stainless steel ball bearings plus 1 stainless roller bearing
  • Max drag: 6.6 pounds maximum
  • Gear ratio: 5.0:1
  • Retrieve rate: 23.9 inches
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Handle: Reversible
  • Anti-reverse: Instant anti-reverse
  • Spool: Braid ready


Independent customer reviews of the Helios HSX line of reels laud them for their outstanding feature sets and reasonable pricing. Amazon customer reviews are similarly positive, returning an impressive 4.9 out of 5.0-star rating.


  • Excellent build quality and engineering
  • Very smooth drag
  • Very rigid and stable frame
  • Excellent overall balance of feature set and price


  • The foot piece is a little long and may not fit some smaller reel seats


Pflueger PRESSP20X President Spinning Fishing Reel, 100/4

  • 7 bearing System – corrosion…
  • Graphite body and rotor -…
  • Sealed Drag System – Sealed…
  • The “B” at the end of the…

Pflueger is a trusted name among anglers the world over. It’s a perennial favorite with many guides and charter operators, which says a lot. The 20X is the smallest of the President line of spinning reels and boasts some great features at a very attractive price point.

Durability and corrosion-resistance are a given, with graphite frame and rotors, sealed drag systems and machined aluminum handles and bails. Seven sealed bearings and a proprietary slow oscillation gearing system ensure butter-smooth operation under all conditions.


Let’s see what makes this reel go round.

  • Monofilament line capacity: 200 yards of 2-pound and 80 yards of 6-pound
  • Braid line capacity: 180 yards of 4-pound and 100 yards of 8-pound braid
  • Bearing count: 7 bearings
  • Max drag: 6.0 pounds
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • Retrieve rate: 20.2 inches
  • Weight: 6.2 ounces
  • Handle: Reversible
  • Anti-reverse: Instant anti-reverse
  • Spool: Braid ready


The Pflueger website customer ratings score the 20X at an overall 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. And this sentiment is echoed by independent reviewers. Customer reviews on Amazon were equally encouraging, with 187 positive and 19 critical reviews. Amazon review averages returned a very decent 4.7 out of 5.0-star rating.


  • Extremely smooth operation
  • Smooth drag system
  • Very good build quality
  • Outstanding reliability
  • Very good value for money


  • Bail mechanism clearances make using very thin braid lines difficult


Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel Size 10 – 5Lb Max Drag Pressure

  • Multi-disc, oiled felt drag…
  • Quick-set anti-reverse roller…
  • Precision machine cut brass…
  • Machined aluminum, 2-tone…
  • Monofilament line capacity…

The second of our Okuma reels in our best ultralight spinning reels review is the Ceymar C-10. Much like the Helios reel, the C-10 is a feature-rich reel at a very reasonable price.

The reel’s build features include a graphite composite frame, forged zinc handle with an EVA grip, and solid aluminum bail. A machined aluminum spool, precision brass pinion gear, and elliptical main gears make this a really smooth operator during casting and retrieving.

Other features include a balanced rotor, multi-disc oiled felt drag system, and Okuma’s Quick-Set anti-reverse.


Here are the C-10 reels specifications.

  • Monofilament line capacity: 210 yards of 2-pound and 70 yards of 6-pound
  • Bearing count: 6 CRBB plus one stainless steel roller bearing
  • Max drag: 6.6 pounds
  • Gear ratio: 5.0:1
  • Retrieve rate: 22 inches
  • Weight: 6.0 ounces
  • Handle: Reversible
  • Anti-reverse: Instant anti-reverse
  • Spool: Braid ready


Independent reviews of the Ceymar C-10 spinning reel are very positive, with very few negative points surfacing. Amazon customer reviews consisted of 31 critical reviews as opposed to 254 positive opinions. The average rating for the little Okuma was a respectable 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.


  • Okuma’s expected high build quality
  • Very smooth operation
  • A smooth and reliable drag system
  • Good corrosion-resistance throughout
  • A very reasonable price point


  • Several reviewers experienced frame flex


Our second Pflueger offering is a slightly bigger reel than the customary 1000 series we have reviewed thus far. Nevertheless, the Supreme XT 25X is still on of the best ultralight spinning reels. And as one would expect from Pflueger, it’s loaded with a bunch of great features.

The moving parts of the XT 25X ride on 10 bearings, making this a seriously smooth operator. The magnesium body and rotor, carbon composite handle, and braid-ready aluminum spool make the reel extremely durable. In addition, the sealed carbon fiber drag system is smooth and powerful, and the EVA handle and ergonomic design makes for effortless operation.


Here are some manufacturers specifications for the XT 25X.

  • Monofilament line capacity: 200 yards of 3-pound and 85 yards of 8-pound
  • Bearing count: 10 bearings
  • Max drag: 8.0 pounds
  • Gear ratio: 5.0:1
  • Retrieve rate: 22.8 inches
  • Weight: 6.0 ounces
  • Handle: Reversible
  • Anti-reverse: Instant anti-reverse


The independent reviews we considered were largely positive as were Amazon customer reviews. Amazon customers gave the Supreme XT 25X a good 4.3 out of 5.0-star average rating.


  • Very good build quality
  • Sealed drag is reliable and smooth
  • Exceptionally smooth operation
  • Highly corrosion-resistant
  • Very lightweight


  • A little expensive
  • Ported spool can collect dirt
  • Very thin braided line can get caught in the bail roller


Daiwa Exceler LT 5.2:1 Left/Right Hand Spinning Fishing Reel…

  • Carbon light material housing
  • Machined aluminum screw-in…
  • Air rotor and airbail

As one of the industry’s most well known and respected manufacturers, Diawa will need no introduction for most anglers. Their Exceler LT 1000D is a reflection of that heritage and one of the best ultralight spinning reel options on the market.

Essentially, this is one of Diawa’s budget reels. The Exceler LT 1000D boasts a range of features that belies its minuscule price point. These include Diawa’s Carbon Light frame, a machined aluminum handle, and Air Rotor and Air Bail designs. Five ball bearings and one roller bearing ensure butter-smooth operation.

In spite of its really svelte dimensions, the LT 1000D houses Diawa’s oversize precision DigiGear main gear for unparalleled smoothness and strength. Also, the drag is typical of Diawa’s generally excellent drag systems delivering smooth, predictable pressure across its range.


Here are the LT 1000D’s specifications.

  • Monofilament line capacity: 250 yards of 4-pound and 110 yards of 8-pound
  • Braid line capacity: 320 yards of 6-pound and 200 yards of 8-pound J Braid
  • Bearing count: 7 bearings
  • Max drag: five CRBB ball bearings and one roller bearing
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • Retrieve rate: 25.5 inches
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Handle: Reversible
  • Anti-reverse: Instant anti-reverse
  • Spool: Braid ready


Amazon customers gave the Exceler LT 1000D a thumbs up with an average of 4.0 out of 5.0-star rating. Now, we tried to find a good independent review of the LT 1000D specifically but couldn’t. What we did find was a useful review of the 3000D. Although this is a different model, it shares all the features of the entire Exceler LT lineup and should be pretty definitive.


  • Outstanding build quality
  • An excellent full range drag system
  • Very smooth operation
  • Extremely robust and reliable
  • Very well priced


  • Some customers had problems with the handle knob binding


Shimano Stradic 1000FK HG Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel

  • The Stradic spinning reel…
  • X-Ship technology provides…
  • Incorporates Shimano’s…
  • The built-in Dyna-Balance…
  • Max Drag: 7 lbs. / Gear Ratio:…

Shimano is another top drawer tackle manufacturer and known for exemplary quality in their products. The Stradic HG 1000 is no exception, and this little ultralight spinner is a sure bet with a host of award-winning features.

The most significant of these is the Shimano X-Ship dual support pinion gear. This feature allows excellent casting distance and outstanding smoothness in operation. Also, the reels feature the ultra-rigid HAGANE metal bodies, Aero Wrap II oscillation spool, and HAGANE main gear technology — not to mention seven bearings, Propulsion Line Management spool design, and smooth, consistent drag.


This is what the HG 1000’s specifications look like.

  • Monofilament line capacity: 270 yards of 2 pound and 110 yards of 6-pound
  • Braid line capacity: 95 yards of 10 pound and 65 yards of 20-pound braid
  • Bearing count: 6 CRBB ball bearings and 1 roller bearing
  • Max drag: 7.0 pounds
  • Gear ratio: 6.0:1
  • Retrieve rate: 31 inches
  • Weight: 6.9 ounces
  • Handle: Reversible
  • Anti-reverse: Instant anti-reverse
  • Spool: Braid ready


The Stradic HG 1000 got some solid feedback from Amazon customers who returned average ratings of 4.5 out 5.0 stars. This includes 31 critical and 203 positive reviews. Not surprisingly independent reviews were equally positive.


  • Very smooth and stable
  • Smooth, predictable drag
  • Excellent build quality
  • Outstanding engineering features
  • Durable and reliable


  • High price point

Summary: Finding the Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

So, that’s a wrap for our best ultralight spinning reel review. Truth be told, choosing a champion here is a tough call, indeed. Well, it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

In our opinion, the front runners are the Diawa Exceler LT 1000D, the Pflueger President 20X, and the Okuma Helios HSX20 in that order. We base this on an aggregate summary of features and value for money. That said, please let us stress that all of these made our list of the best ultralight spinning reels. So, they all represent money well spent.

Good luck and tight lines!

If any of you fine folks have any input or questions regarding this list of the best ultralight spinning reels, please feel free to use the comments box below.

Featured Image via Pixabay

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