Reels are somewhat of a personal preference for many but one thing we all have in common is we are always looking for a good deal so in this article I am going to show you the best carp reels for all budgets.
Whether you’re on a budget or have a good wedge to spend, reels should be one of the first things you are comfortable and confident with so making sure you make the right choice is pivotal.
There’s hundreds of reels on the market, many with features that even veteran carp anglers are unsure of, but what is certain is the reels you choose will need to be up to the job, be reliable and last you a few years minimum.
We’re going to look at 3 different budgets, first up is the reels under £50 each.
In each section we have highlighted 2 brand new reels you can get for that price as well as your best second hand option.
Best carp reels under £50
WYCHWOOD RIOT BIG PIT 65 – These reels have almost cult status amongst carp anglers, although they are cheap, they don’t have some of the technologically advanced features of other reels, they certainly pack some serious punch, they are work-horses and true brutes. Many anglers use the as spod and marker reels, simply because they are super-strong and won’t let you down. For less than £50 a reel, who could ask for more.
TF Gear V10 Big Pit – These reels from TFG divide anglers, many will simply not by a reel that isn’t made by an industry ‘expert’ but TFG have certainly been getting some serious praise for these reels. The long-base spool is great for casting, they look the part and I’m yet to hear a bad word about them, for TFG, we salute you.
Daiwa Emcast Evolution – If you don’t mind getting a second hand set of reels and would prefer something a bit more pricey but not as shiney then the Daiwa Emcast Evo’s are a great place to start. They come with all the Kudos of a Daiwa reel, all the looks, all the grace and all the reliability as standard. You can’t go far wrong with any reel from the Daiwa stable, the Emcast evo’s are no different and perfect for someone on a budget of around £50 a reel.
Best carp reels under £100
As we get slightly higher in price, the quality of reel definitely jumps significantly and so do the features, look and feel of the models available in this price bracket. Many veteran carp anglers don’t spend much on reels, they just want something that they like, can rely and most importantly does the job.
Daiwa Tournament SS2600 Whisker – Love them or hate them, these old-school looking reels are the marmite of the carp reel industry. If you like the look of them then for under £100, there is no reel that touches it. These bad-ass looking reels are the born from the same era as the cult classic SS 3000′s and the 5000 T’s but come at a third of the price. Many top-name anglers use these reels more than they let on, small, compact, reliable and a joy to work with, a true classic.
Daiwa Crosscast X Big Pit Reel – These bundles of power are a very good foil to the SS2600′s above, if you don’t like the old-school appeal of them, you’re sure to love the Crosscasts. Sleek, smooth and large-spooled to aid casting, these beauties are fast becoming a popular choice amongst anglers looking for value for money. They perform far above their pay-grade and except for the weak clutch ‘ticker’ they are as solid as you need (can be replaced for a few pence and doesn’t effect use if breaks).
Fox 12000 S Reel – Fox reels are for many, the best around but many more will tell you they don’t like them. All I can say is that I love fishing at distance (130 yards plus), I love reels that will never let me down and I love reels that you don’t see everyone with on the bank. The Fox 12000 S’s are the best casting reels I have ever used, bar none. I battered mine constantly, they landed thousands of brutal fighting carp from fast-flowing Candian rivers and didn’t so much as get scratched. For that, they are priceless.
Best carp reels under £250
This category is absolutely full of cracking reels but we had to choose just the best 3, these bad boys are smooth, long lasting, won’t let you down and will pack a punch in any carp fishing situation you find yourself in.
DAIWA 5000 T – My personal favourite, these reels only fall behind the awesome SS 3000′s in cult status and for good reason. Solid, ever-lasting, good looking and becoming more rare on the bank the 5000T’s are the reel of choice for many hero’s of the angling fraternity, the fact that you can still buy a new one for £235 is beyond me, these should be owned by everyone.
Tournament Entoh 5000 QDA – The Entoh’s offer all the class, all the drama and all the style of the top-end Daiwa reels without the £400+ per reel price tag. Though their close cousins retail at almost twice the price, there is little to choose between them on the bank. Supreme line-lay, classic smooth motion and in perfect balance with many carp rods.
Shimano AR-C Aero Ci4+ – Though I have never personally been a fan of the Shimano breed of reels these work-horses deserve a mention, great lookers and great all-round performers these reels were born for the sea fisherman, for retrieving heavy weights from hundreds of feet down and it shows, the cranking power and the ultra-smooth osculation is beyond brilliant. If there was one reel that I would think twice about owning other than a 5000 T, it would be these.
Of course there are loads of reels that are either too expensive or didn’t make the list, there’s nothing wrong with them, we just feel that these are the best you can buy in these price ranges.
If money was no object, the Aero Techniums or Basiairs would probably be your choice, but realistically, most of us anglers can’t push that sort of dollar in to a purchase (get it past the misses).
If you have any recommendations or experience (good or bad) with any of these reels, add them in the comments below.