5 Best Fishing Reels for Smallmouth Buffalo (Reviews Updated 2022)

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Often mistaken for the common carp, the smallmouth buffalo is a large-sized member of the suckerfish family that is often found around heavy aquatic vegetation. Capable of growing up to 46 lbs., it is no surprise that smallmouth buffalo can be difficult to pull in, particularly if you are using a flimsy fishing reel. For successful hunting, the best reel for smallmouth buffalo should have a powerful drag system that is capable of overpowering these large fish.

Best Fishing Reels for Smallmouth Buffalo

To save you from the stress of endless searching, below is an informative guide on the very best reels for smallmouth buffalo.

1. KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel

Kastking Sharky Baitfeeder Iii Spinning Reel Review

This reel is an outstanding piece of innovation, and its body and reel are made from graphite, making the reel both lightweight and powerful. Among the reel series, the size-3000 option is a great pick for smallmouth buffalo, with its oversized stainless-steel main shaft and triple-disc carbon fiber drag providing a maximum drag of 33 lbs. Other features of the reel are the high-grade manganese brass pinion gears and 10+1 bearings for smooth performance.

  • Braid-ready aluminum spool.
  • Instant lock anti-reverse.
  • I.S.S waterproof design.
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2. Penn Battle III Spinning Reel

Penn Battle Iii Spinning Reel

The Battle III reel provides undeniable strength and durability, as both the body and side plates are made from full metal. Easy, flawless action is guaranteed with this reel due to the bearing system that contains 5+1 bearings. In terms of drag power, the reel is more than strong enough to pull in smallmouth buffalo, as its HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers and CNC gear technology deliver a drag of 25 lbs.

  • Size-5000 reel.
  • Line capacity rings.
  • Instant anti-reverse.
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3. KastKing Centron Spinning Reel

Kastking Centron 3000 Spinning Reel

KastKing promises excellence and high performance with this good-looking reel, as it has a narrow graphite frame for lightness and a computer balancing system. The reel’s interior consists of a hardened metal main shaft, precision-matched pinion gear, and perfect mesh gear, all providing enough drag to tackle smallmouth buffalo. The size-5000 reel’s bearing system contains 9 ball bearings and 1 instant stop one-way anti-reverse bearing, ensuring totally smooth action.

  • 20 lbs. drag power.
  • 5:1 gear ratio.
  • Anodized aluminum spool.
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4. Shimano Stradic FL Spinning Reel

Shimano Stradic Fl Spinning Reel

First among this reel’s features is the highly rigid metal Hagane body that provides protection and eliminates flexing, allowing the angler’s efforts to be transmitted efficiently. For smooth action, there are 6+1 corrosion-resistant bearings within the reel, and they are shielded from sand or salt for effective performance. The reel has a Cross Carbon drag system that is seamless and provides a maximum drag of 24 lbs., which is ideal for handling smallmouth buffalo.

  • Size-5000 reel.
  • 4 lbs. reel weight.
  • 2:1 gear ratio.
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5. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

The Ceymar reel is equipped with several outstanding components including an oversized line roller and a heavy-duty solid aluminum bail wire for quality performance. Its RESII computer balancing allows the reel to spin without wobbling, while the multi-drag system of the size-6500 reel delivers a maximum drag of 20lbs. The 7 ball bearings and anti-reverse roller bearing make the reel’s action sleek, and the reel’s Body Blade design is resistant to corrosion.

  • Comfortable EVA knobs.
  • Machined aluminum spool.
  • Brass pinion gear.
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Fishing Reels for Smallmouth Buffalo Buying Guide

If you are targeting large species like the smallmouth buffalo, the specifications of you reel become very important. With an impressive bulk and a good fighting spirit, the smallmouth will put up a good challenge for any angler and ensuring your gear is in order is a must.

In the descriptions above, we have given a rundown of the best fishing reels for smallmouth buffalo that stand above most options on the market and what they are good for. Now, we take a look at some of the deciding factors we considered and you should too to give you confidence in the products we chose and find the best match for your budget.

Line Capacity

The line capacity on your fishing reel for smallmouth buffalo is one of the most important factors to consider. To hold enough high-rated line that can bear the reeling tension, your reel should come with a large spool capacity. Too small, and you may not have enough line to accommodate the getaway stunts your catch may play or may hold enough of line that isn’t rated to handle the reeling tension.


The drag on your reel for smallmouth buffalo is another important factor to consider and works hand-in-hand with your line rating. The drag system allows the line to unspool under resistance as your catch tries to flee, effectively tiring it out.

Bearing Design

The number of bearings and their design in your reel plays an important role on its smoothness and decibel rating. The higher the number of bearings, the smoother the reel runs. Higher bearing numbers, however, mean extra noise and should thus be balanced.

Some modern reels also come with sealed bearing constructions to prevent infiltration by the elements that may shorten the unit’s life.


The ergonomics on your fishing reel are a worthy consideration. You want a reel with padded handles and a ling crank handle to minimize the reeling effort.