5 Best Freshwater Drum Fishing Reels (Reviews Updated 2021)

While they are not popular as sporting fish, the freshwater drum species is actually really stubborn and quite large, and always give anglers a worthy challenge. The best reel options for freshwater drum should be powerful spinning or baitcasting reels, as reels with flimsy drag systems might get damaged when pitted against these ever-fighting fish. Also, lighter reels are generally more comfortable than heavier counterparts, so you should aim for a rod that weighs little without sacrificing quality.

Best Freshwater Drum Fishing Reels

Listed below are five of the best reels for freshwater drum and the great characteristics that set them apart from other reels.

1. Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel

Penn Slammer Iii Spinning Reel

The Penn Slammer reel offers high standards of durability, as its body, side plate, and rotor are all fully made from metal. On the interior, the reel’s sealed drag system with Dura-Drag and its CNC Gear technology provide enough drag to overpower struggling freshwater drum. The reel’s 6+1 bearing system and IP6 sealed body and spool design both ensure smooth performance and resistance to corrosion.

  • 2:1 gear ratio.
  • 30 lbs. maximum drag.
  • Size-3500 reel.
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2. KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel

Kastking Royale Legend Ii Baitcasting Reel Review

Within this reel, the bearing system contains 11+1 stainless-steel bearings, resulting in reduced friction and seamless reeling action. The reel’s strength is boosted by hardened aluminum main gears, brass pinion gears and worm gears, and stainless-steel kick levers, all providing sufficient power to handle freshwater drum. Other features include comfortable rubber handle knobs, CNC aluminum handle and spool, and 5 element magnetic brakes with 10 elements for minimizing backlash.

  • 3:1 gear ratio.
  • 64 lbs. maximum drag.
  • 45 lbs. reel weight.
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3. Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel

Among this reel’s remarkable features are its black anodized machined aluminum housing and its dynamic cut ABS spool. The combination of the waterproof drag system and 6+1 bearing system provides sufficient drag and smooth action when tackling freshwater drum. In addition, the reel’s quality is boosted by its air rotor, solid screw-in handle, and oversized Digigear system.

  • Infinite anti-reverse system.
  • Braid-ready spool.
  • 6:1 gear ratio.
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4. Shimano SLX DC Baitcasting Reel

Shimano Slx Dc Baitcasting Reel

The strength of this reel is bolstered by its rigid Hagane metal body that prevents flexing, directly transmitting the angler’s efforts into cranking action. The Super Free spool of the reel is built to eliminate friction and is equipped with S3D technology for smooth performance while reeling in freshwater drum. Finally, the SVS Infinity feature allows anglers to easily control the spool’s speed, providing precise braking for effective casting.

  • 4+1 bearing system.
  • 3:1 gear ratio.
  • 475 lbs. reel weight.
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5. Abu Garcia Revo IKE Spinning Reel

Abu Garcia Revo Ike Spinning Reel

This reel provides undeniably smooth performance due to its bearing system that contains 9 stainless-steel HPCR bearings and one roller bearing. Its IM-C6 body design and C6 carbon rotor make the reel lightweight, and the IKE designed EVA knob provide elevated comfort. The AMGearing system and Carbon Matrixdrag system both provide the reel with sufficient power to take on freshwater drum.

  • 2:1 gear ratio.
  • Instant anti-reverse.
  • 475 lbs. reel weight.
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Freshwater Drum Fishing Reels Buying Guide

The freshwater drum is one specie that doesn’t get enough credit for its impressive fighting strength. Vastly abundant and well-sized, they are an excellent mark for both newbie and experienced anglers.

In the descriptions above, we have given a rundown of the best freshwater drum fishing reels 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.

Reel Type

When scouting for a fishing reel for freshwater drum, the first factor you want to consider is the reel type. Of all the reel types, spinning and baitcasting reels are the most suited and come with their ups and downs.

Spinning reels are more versatile and merge with spinning rods to give impressive casting distance and ease of use.

With a baitcasting reel, you have a little more reeling torque and can make more precise and accurate casts. Baitcasting reels also give a more hands-on feel of the fight.

Line Capacity

The line capacity on your freshwater drum fishing reel is another important factor to consider. As stated earlier, the freshwater drum fights hard, and you want enough lengths of decently rated line to accommodate all the unspooling and reeling action you’ll be putting in.

The line capacity, however, directly determines the overall reel size and weight and should therefore, be well chosen.

Drag and Gear Ratio

The drag and gear ratio on your freshwater drum reel also stand atop the list of factors you want to consider. With enough frag, you can effectively tire out your catch without having to do too much cranking.

A moderate gear ratio is also ideal. Too high, and you can sacrifice reeling torque for retrieval speed, and too low, and you can take too long to bring in your catch.


Most freshwater drum reels on the market today will come with graphite, aluminum, or composite constructions. While graphite reels are lighter than aluminum reels, the latter are the more durable. Some composite reels come with carbon fiber constructions that boast of the best combination of lightweight and high-strength performance and are the best choices you’ll find today.