5 Best Conventional Fishing Reels (Reviews Updated 2022)

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, at no cost to you.
Conventional fishing reels are the ideal reel choice for anglers who want to go after very large fish. They retain the design of older reels, are mounted over the rod similar to baitcasting reels, and are especially suited to saltwater fishing. They also stand over spinning reels and baitcasting reels with superior line capacities, high drag, corrosion-resistance, powerful reeling action, and are ideal for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Best Conventional Fishing Reels

To save you the shopping hassle, we have compiled a list of our top five conventional fishing reels so you can make the right choice quickly.

1. Okuma Cold Water Trolling Reel

Okuma Cold Water Trolling Reel

This conventional fishing reel from Okuma stands out with its line counter, sports a single handle, and comes with 2BB+1RB bearings for smooth performance. It boasts of the best materials for superior durability, is highly corrosion-resistant, and delivers up to 20 lb. of drag. It also comes with a 4.2:1 gear ratio for excellent cranking torque, large ergonomic handle for the most comfort, and a line capacity of up to 430 yards of 25 lb. line, great for trolling.

  • High reeling torque and comfortable to use.
  • Superior durability and drag performance.
  • Easy to use controls and smooth performance.
Check Price on Amazon


2. One Bass Conventional Fishing Reel

One Bass Conventional Fishing Reel

The One Bass conventional fishing reel packs a real punch with its 45 lb. drag and boasts of superior durability with its aircraft-grade aluminum housing. It comes with 14BB+1RB bearings for smooth casting and retrieval, a high-grade carbonite drag system, and a quick-disassembly handle for easy maintenance. It is very compact, lightweight, and comes in two high-torque 5.2:1 and 6.3:1 gear ratio models.

  • Impressive drag and superior durability.
  • Smooth performance and easy maintenance.
  • High torque performance and corrosion-
Check Price on Amazon


3. Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel

Shimano Tld 2 Speed Conventional Reel

The Shimano TLD50A combines a powerful 37 lbs. of drag and 700 yards of 50 lbs. line capacity into a compact, lightweight unit. It comes with a patented 2-speed shifting mechanism, highly corrosion-resistant A-RB bearings for smooth performance, and offset ergonomic Power Grip handles for impressive cranking performance. It also comes with a highly durable graphite frame and side plates, a lightweight aluminum spool, and a loud clicker for when a fish takes your bait.

  • Impressive drag and reeling performance.
  • Compact and lightweight, highly durable.
  • Comes with a loud clicker and a 2-speed mechanism.
Check Price on Amazon


4. Penn 1206096 Squall SQL60LD

Penn 1206096 Squall Sql60ld

The Penn Squall SQL60LD boasts of superior lightweight performance and packs up to 33 lb. of lever drag. It comes with a graphite frame and side plates, an aluminum spool, a Dura-Drag system for smooth movement, and switchable lugs that yield superior line stability. It comes with 6 main bearings with 1 anti-reverse bearing, a three-step spool level indicator, and can accommodate up to 370 yards of 50 lbs. line.

  • Very lightweight and high drag.
  • Smooth movement and line stability.
  • Superior torque performance and line capacity.
Check Price on Amazon


5. Daiwa SGT50H Conventional Reel

Daiwa Sgt50h Conventional Reel

The Daiwa SGT50H comes with a graphite composite housing for lightweight, corrosion-resistant performance, and an anodized aluminum spool that can carry to 350 yards of line. It features 3 main bearings for smooth reeling, supports anti-reverse control, and helical brass gears for the best cranking performance. It also features a centrifugal spool brake to minimize backlash and a large, ergonomic crank handle for the most comfort.

  • Lightweight and durable.
  • Impressive line capacity and smooth reeling action.
  • Efficient braking system and comfortable grip.
Check Price on Amazon


Conventional Fishing Reels Buying Guide

Catching diner-sized fish is great, but if you want to experience the full adrenaline rush of reeling in a monster you will be showing off to your friends for a long time, a conventional fishing reel is your best bet. They are designed with much larger line capacities, can handle large baits, and to withstand the strain of reeling in very powerful fish.

Our buying guide reviews the best conventional fishing reels on the market based on their specified features and tested performance to give you the best options to choose from. We then take it a step further to outline the particular factors you should consider and qualities you should look out for in a conventional fishing reel before you make a purchase.


The material from which your conventional fishing reel is made will determine how easy it will be to handle, where you can fish, how long it will serve. The ideal conventional fishing reel should combine low weight with high strength for the best performance. Conventional fishing reels are also used widely in saltwater fishing and should thus, be highly corrosion-resistant.

Conventional fishing reels usually made from materials like aluminum alloys, graphite, and sometimes carbon fiber.

Graphite is a great material to look out for in conventional fishing reels as it is very lightweight and tough. It is also very resistant to saltwater corrosion. For the best performance, aircraft-grade alloys and carbon fiber conventional fishing reels are the ideal choice but are more expensive.

Note, however, that no conventional fishing reel will come with a single material, and so you should always ensure the least durable material will hold up for a good while in your fishing conditions.

Line Capacity

Another important area where conventional fishing reels stand over other types of fishing reels is in their line capacity or the amount of line they can hold. Line capacities are usually specified as a two-figure value representing the length of a particular load-tested line the reel can accommodate.

So a conventional fishing reel with line capacity 12 lb./165 yard can take 165 yards of fishing line with a maximum rated pulling load of 12 lb. Ideally, conventional fishing reels should be able to hold between 350 yards to above 900 yards of 25 to 50 lb. line.


For conventional reels, the drag is especially important. When a fish takes your bait and is hooked, as it struggles to get away, instead of relying totally on your reeling effort to slow it down which will likely be futile or can snap the line, the drag does the work for you. It uses high-friction discs to generate an adjustable drag against the fish, eventually tiring it out. Higher drag ratings are great for conventional reels and will allow you to step up to the pulling force of large fish. The drag setting, however, should never be set above the load capacity of the line as the latter will snap before the reel is forced to turn.

Gear Ratio

Conventional fishing reels are valued first for their high reeling torque and so, the gear ratio should be considered. It measures how many spins the spool makes for each revolution of the reeling handle. Higher gear ratios allow for quick reeling and are great for smaller fish. Lower gear ratios are ideal for conventional reels and pull the fish in slower, but deliver more torque and power, ideal for larger fish.