Best Ice Fishing Reel – Top 5 Contenders And Buying Guide

During those bleak, long and lazy winter days, it becomes very easy to fall into the traps of cabin fever. And let me tell you something, once it gets a hold of you it will not let go. Unless you get out of the house and go find a quiet spot among the snow white scenery to fish. 

But when fishing outside in winter wearing warm clothes and boots until you look like a mummy is not enough. You’ll need the right rod and reel to help you of course. Wrong equipment means standing out there for a longer time. Unless of course, you’re ready to lose a finger or toe to frostbite, we definitely wouldn’t recommend that. 

But again laziness is a hard monster to beat. So if you’re feeling too lazy to research today, then throw your worries out the window. Because we’ve done your winter homework for you and reviewed best ice fishing reel. To find out what reel will best serve your purpose, keep reading. 

Why the special treatment?

Now if you’re a beginner then you must be thinking do i really need an ice fishing reel when i already have a regular reel? Isn’t that a waste of money? Well, the answer is yes and no. 

Can you go ice fishing with your old reel? Sure. But the only problem is that your line will freeze right there and your reel will be damaged beyond repair and after that you’ll have no option but to buy a new ice fishing reel. Then why bother with losing one in the first place? Be proactive, buy a new one beforehand. And,no. It’s an essential in fishing. So it’s a perfectly good use of your money. 

Types of ice fishing reels 

Usually if ice fishing reels are not available, anglers tend to use spinning reels in their place. Spinning reels are arguably the most versatile and easy to use reel ever. They’re ultralight, affordable and open faced. Also it’s very easy to balance them with fishing rods. 

These reels can be used in summer or any other season except winter. And for other kinds of fishing as well. Then why not buy a spinning reel? 

Because in extreme temperatures which is typically the case in ice fishing, the results of using a spinning reel can be very unsatisfactory. Because they’re not made to survive the ass kicking ice gives them. Also they’re not tangle free. Tangled lines are a big no no while jigging. 

But with ice fishing reels, Specifically inline reels which are, let’s be honest- not very versatile the case is very different. These reels are designed to be durable in the coldest of temperature. They may not be useful in summer, but in winter they’re a must have. 

Inline reels have earned a lot of popularity in the last few years. As the name says, they’re in-line with the rods. That is why when leaving the rod, ice fishing lines tend not to twist at all. They drop straight, quiet as a church mouse and the angler gets to have their fish. 

And spinning reels which again as their name entails, tend to spin. And they also make noises which makes the fish more alert. And that’s of course not good for the  angler. 

Now that you know the difference between the two, we leave it upto you to choose the one that suits you the best. 

Qualities to look for

In order to choose from the large array of reels available, there are certain factors you need to look out for, like your casting style,  construction of the reel and design of the handle etc. 

Casting style

If you already know what kind of fish you’re going after, then you can skip this point. But if you’re still on the precipice of deciding then you need this. 

If you aim to go after heavier fishes then a baitcaster ice fishing reel might be the best for you. Because these reels tend to use the weight of the bait to capture the game. If you’re going after smaller fishes the spinning reels are the best. They’re equipped with an anti reverse switch, to prevent the fish from taking your line and running away with it. 

Construction Of The Reel

Traditionally reels made out of metals are a crowd favorite. But recently graphite reels have thrown their rings into the hat as well. They’re corrosion resistant, sturdy and they don’t get affected by extreme temperature. You can choose the one that sounds right. 

Design of the handle

In extreme weather, normal sized handles are not your friend. Because they’ll make your fingers sleep and you’ll end up freezing the whole reel by touching it too many times and leaving  condensation behind. 

This is why non- slip, oversized handles are the ideal option. 

Other than these you have to look out for the perfect gear ratio, anti reverse system, shielded corrosion free ball bearings and an antifreeze spool plan as well. 

Now that we’ve gotten the how out of the way, let’s proceed to the which. 

Quick Chits : list of best ice fishing reels

KastKing Summer and Centron Ice Fishing Reels

best ice fishing reel

The first thing you’ll notice about the Summer and Centron Ice Fishing Reels from KastKing is it’s sleek design. It’s lightweight glossy black finish and contrasting dual color spool made out of anodized aluminum make for a very modern art looking reel. 

The graphite frame is not only easy on the eyes, its high on tensile strength and is very durable. It’s corrosion resistance and immune to water damage. These features increase the longevity of the reel.

With its precise pinion gears and max drag power of 17.5lbs,  fishes have no chance against this reel. Big or small. This reel makes fishing more enjoyable.

The ball bearing system consists of 9+1 high quality ball bearings. The nine ball bearings and a single instant stop anti reverse bearing are there to ensure super smooth and effortless operation. 

This reel is easy to set up and easier to maintain. That’s why this one is our top pick for today.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Very affordable
  • Superior drag power
  • Nine ball bearings
  • Interchangeable hand orientation

Cons

  • There weren’t any significant cons. But there is a chance of exposure to toxic substances by California law.

Goture Spinning Ice Fishing Reel

The GT- S series by Goture claims to put a new spin on traditional reels and rightfully so. The reel is available in seven different sizes so you can easily find one that fits your requirements. 

This reel is fitted with a three disc drag system that has Japanese oiled felt drag washers that offer effortless casting and retrieval. 

The bearing system here has 6+1 super high quality bearings that ensure smooth operation. It also contains anti backup bearings preventing any backlash. It also gives excellent braking power to the reel.  

Unlike a lot of other reels, this one has an anti-twist line roller which makes the descent of the line tangle free thus preventing ant wear and tears. 

High precision brass gears combined with the metal housing provide the reel with extraordinary dragging force and make it hard to damage. 

To top it all off, it has a one year warranty. So if by any chance you slip on ice and break your reel, a new one will be provided for you Goture without any additional cost. 

Pros

  • The auto reverse action
  • Anti backlash
  • Extremely durable
  • Variety of models available

Cons

  • Manual reverse is absent.

Pflueger Monarch Ice Fishing Reel

Pflueger has a reputation for mixing affordability with quality and doing it well. If you’re looking for a reel that will not empty your bank but will still hit the mark, then this reel is your guy. 

There’s a reason why it sits in the middle of our list. The reason being it occupies the same position price wise as well. It’s neither very low nor very high when it comes to price. It’s an inhabitant of the middle layer. That’s why most of us can easily afford it. 

Pflueger comes with a super lightweight graphite housing. Graphite is a very durable and tough material. 

The ball bearing system has five bearings. So reeling in a big game will feel effortless. Because of the auto anti reverse there’s no fear of a fish getting away with your line. It has quite a strong line so wear and tear should be minimal. 

The stainless steel bearings are durable to a fault. They’re sturdy and corrosion resistant with a remarkable half life. 

The oversized slip free handles prevent the reel from slipping out of your hand. So maneuvering it is pretty easy and problem free. 

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Corrosion free ball bearings
  • Slip free handles
  • Super lightweight
  • Easily affordable

Cons

  • No manual anti reverse switch
  • Gears has plastic teeth and they’re prone to breakage

Eagle Claw InLine Ice Reel

If you’re searching for durability at an affordable price then instead of opting for a graphite or aluminum body, try out this Eagle claw reel made out of nylon. Due to its nylon body, it’s very light to carry and pleasing to the eyes. 

One of the main features of this reel is the design of the spool. It’s been designed to look like carbon fibre. This spool has a one of a kind spool release button which allows line to descend speedily. 

It has an adjustment setting to tweak the speed and tension of the line so you can have control over it while trying out different types and weights of bait. 

The drag system is made from the same material and it’s not disk. It’s been made that way so the angler wouldn’t have any problem using the reel in cold weather. Which is obviously all the time when you’re ice fishing. 

I’ve been saving the best feature for the last – the oversized aluminum handle. It comes equipped with a non slip grip so that you can operate it while wearing gloves. 

This also means that you don’t have to touch the reel very often as well, so the chances of the reel freezing from condensation is slim. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Tangle free
  • Oversized handles
  • Durable nylon body
  • Well designed spool

Cons

  • Steel housing is much stronger.

Piscifun ICX 5 Ice Fishing Reel

Piscifun ICX 5 Ice Fishing Reel is surely one of the best ice fishing reels out there. 

It is enclosed in a graphite frame making the reel climate resistant and lightweight. The graphite is much stronger than its contemporaries as well. Due to its compact and lightweight body, this neat little reel is very easy to operate. 

It has two unique features, a quick folding handle and an extended reel foot. The folding handle is tough and very durable. It makes moving the reel around much easier. 

It has a very smooth retrieve because of the 5+1 ball bearing system. The bearings are water resistant and fully sealed as well. 

Powerful anti reverse switch and waterproof machined aluminum spool make it pretty much a perfect choice. The spool is designed in a way that stops and other elements from entering the rotor, hence preventing water damage.

Premium carbon fiber multi disc drag leaves the angler with a pretty smooth experience. 

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • High quality build
  • Quality performance
  • Super Lightweight
  • Easy to maneuver

Cons

  • Not suitable for saltwater fishing

Before we go 

In this article we’ve tried to the best of our abilities to provide you with as much information as we can, so that you could choose well. I hope we’ve resolved all the questions and doubts you had regarding this matter. Now, don’t be afraid of the cold, venture into the heart of winter and keep bringing fish home. If you catch a photo worthy one, remember us!  

Thank you for reading.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *