Best Ice Fishing Reels
To save you the shopping hassle, we have compiled a list of our top five ice fishing reels that tick all the boxes outlined above and don’t cost a fortune.
The KastKing Centron is a great fishing reel for both the newbie and experienced angler, comes in a compact, lightweight graphite frame for the most convenience, and is very compatible with ice rods. It delivers up to 17.5 lbs. of drag, is highly durable, and runs on nine ball bearings for smooth, quiet operation. It also comes with an anti-reverse system, a power launch lip that allows for further casts, and sports an overall sleek design.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Impressive drag, convenient to use.
- Easy to mount, sleek finish.
The Eagle Claw ice reel comes as an inline reel and features a unique nylon body and spool. It boasts of smooth drag control, spool tension adjustment to prevent twists, and free spool release control. It also features a line clicker, a low-profile design, and a double-handle crank for convenience.
- Lightweight and durable.
- Excellent line and drag control.
- Sleek design.
The Okuma Ceymar spinning reel sports a sleek Blade Body design for compactness and comes with a 110 yards/4 lb. line capacity. It features a quick-action anti-reverse control, high-ratio brass gears, and is built from lightweight, high-grade aluminum making it very lightweight. It is the smallest in the Okuma C-10 series, features a two-toned anodized spool, 8 bearings for smooth performance, and sports a highly ergonomic EVA handle for comfort.
- Excellent controls with impressive line capacity.
- Lightweight with a high gear ratio.
- Low-profile, Blade Body design, highly durable.
The Piscifun ICX 5 comes as a spinning reel and features a graphite construction for lightweight, tough performance. It sports a unique folding handle for portability, runs on 5+1 bearings for smooth performance, and comes with a 5.2:1 gear ratio. It is also water-resistant for reliable performance and comes in different colors for aesthetic variety.
- Lightweight, high-strength performance.
- Very portable, smooth operation.
- Great variety, water-resistant.
The Fiblink inline ice fishing reel stands out with a sleek gold and black design and a powerful 2.7:1 gear ratio for large fish. It boasts of smooth drag, anti-reverse control, and excellent line control with a spool release and cast braking system. It runs on 4+1 bearings, comes with a large line capacity, and features dual-grip cork handles for comfort.
- Superior reeling power.
- Sleek design, excellent controls.
- Impressive line capacity, ergonomic design.
Ice Fishing Reels Buying Guide
Ice fishing reels are specially designed to handle the slight complexities that come with ice fishing. With limited space for reeling techniques, the ideal ice fishing reel must be exceptionally efficient to bring in catch quickly.
Our buying guide reviews the best ice fishing reels on the market based on the specified features and performance to give you the best options to choose from. We then take it a step further to outline the necessary factors to consider and the qualities to look out for in an ice fishing reel before you make a purchase.
The first factor you want to consider is the type of ice fishing reel you want to go for. In general, ice fishing reels take the form of either spinning reels or inline reels. Spinning reels are easier to use, are the most versatile, come with higher drag ratings to handle larger fish, and are more affordable. Inline reels are better than spinning reels at techniques like jigging, are less prone to line twists, and are less prone to the effects of water infiltration.
The line capacity of your ice fishing reel is another important factor to consider. The more line your ice fishing reel can hold, the more allowance you have for reeling techniques and the deeper you can reach. Line capacities are usually specified as a two-figure value representing the length of a particular load-tested line the reel can accommodate.
So an ice 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.
The gear ratio of your ice fishing reel will determine how quickly you retrieve your catch and the size of fish you can target. Lower gear ratios mean lower retrieval speeds but more reeling torque to handle larger fish. Higher gear ratios mean quicker retrieval speeds and are more suited to handle smaller fish.
Another important specification on an ice fishing reel is the drag rating. When ice fishing, the right reel with the right amount of drag will help you conserve your energy and minimize the risk of your line snapping. Instead of relying totally on your reeling effort to slow and tire out your catch, the drag does this for you allowing the line to unspool under resistance. The drag rating will determine the size of fish you can reel in. Higher drag ratings will allow you to work larger 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.