8 Best Musky Reels Reviewed

8 Best Musky Reels Reviewed

Choosing the right musky reel can greatly enhance your fishing experience, so it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences. If you’re looking for the best musky reels, the Shimano Tranx is a top choice. It offers exceptional performance, durability, and smoothness, making it perfect for both beginners and experienced anglers. 

For those who prioritize lightweight reels, Lew’s SuperDuty 300 is a standout choice. Lastly, if you’re on a budget, the KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel offers excellent value for the price. 

Musky fishing requires specialized equipment to handle these formidable apex predators, known for their size, strength, and cunning nature. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming for anglers to choose the right reel that combines durability, power, and smooth operation.

In this comprehensive review, we will delve into the world of the best musky reels and highlight the top eight contenders on the market.

Whether you are a seasoned angler or a novice looking to venture into musky fishing, this article will serve as your guide toward selecting the best musky reel that suits your needs and preferences.

The Shimano Tranx Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 8+1
  • Reel Size: 3000-4000
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.8-7.6:1

Shimano Calcutta D Round Reel

  • Reel Size: 3000-4000
  • Weight: 11.6-11.8 ounces
  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.1-5.6:1
Abu Garcia Revo Toro Rocket

Abu Garcia Revo Toro Rocket

  • Weight: 14.6 ounces
  • Gear Ratio: 7.6:1
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 6000

The 8 Best Musky Reels Reviewed

The 8 Best Musky Reels Reviewed

Discover the top 8 musky reels for avid anglers. These exceptional baitcasting reels are the ideal choice for musky fishing due to their superior casting capabilities, especially with larger lures. Get ready to explore the best options available and enhance your musky fishing experience. 

Let’s dive in!

The Shimano Tranx Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 8+1
  • Reel Size: 3000-4000
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.8-7.6:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 17.6-22 pounds
  • Weight: 11.6-12 ounces

The Shimano Tranx, our top pick for the best musky reel, showcases exceptional strength and durability through its incorporation of technologies such as the Hagane Body, S A-RB bearings with shields, and X Ship pinion gear alignment.

The Hagane Body is constructed from lightweight yet sturdy materials like aluminum and magnesium, ensuring a rigid body that can withstand immense pressure without flexing or bending. This results in maximum energy efficiency during cranking.

The S A-RB bearings with shields protect against rust and debris, prolonging the lifespan of the reel. Additionally, the X Ship technology supports perfect alignment between the pinion gear and drive gear under extreme pressure.

With an aluminum side plate further enhancing its durability, the Shimano Tranx is built to handle monster muskies. It also boasts a maximum drag of 22 pounds and weighs only 11.6 ounces, making it easy to cast. With 5+1 bearings for smooth reeling action, this reel offers commendable performance in musky fishing techniques.

Shimano Calcutta D Round Reel

  • Weight: 11.6-11.8 ounces
  • Gear Ratio: 5.1-5.6:1
  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Reel Size: 3000-4000

Featuring a robust design and advanced corrosion-resistant surface treatment, the Shimano Calcutta D Round Reel offers anglers an unparalleled level of durability and longevity for their musky fishing endeavors.

With its incorporation of Shimano’s EI surface treatment, this reel is equipped to withstand even the harshest conditions, making it significantly more durable than its counterpart, the Shimano Tranx.

The Calcutta D boasts notable features such as the Hagane Body, S A-RB bearings, X Ship technology, and an aluminum side plate. 

These elements contribute to its exceptional performance in terms of lightness and smoothness, rivaling that of the Tranx. However, it does fall short in drag power with a maximum capacity of 15 pounds.

Nevertheless, for those willing to splurge on a high-end musky reel, the advantages of investing in the Shimano Calcutta D Round Reel include unmatched toughness and longevity compared to other reels on the market.

Abu Garcia Revo Toro Rocket

  • Weight: 14.6 ounces
  • Max Drag Weight: 25 pounds
  • Gear Ratio: 7.6:1
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 6000

In terms of line capacity, the Abu Garcia Revo Toro Rocket stands out as a top choice for musky anglers due to its larger size and ability to hold a significant amount of line. 

With its aluminum spool, frame, and sideplate, along with stainless steel bearings and handle, this reel is built for durability and can withstand heavy abuse. 

While it may not match the cutting-edge technology of Shimano reels in terms of overall toughness, the Revo Toro Rocket still offers impressive ruggedness.

Where it excels is in drag power, boasting a 25-pound stopping force that allows anglers to target even bigger species like tuna. 

Weighing 14.6 ounces, it is slightly heavier than Shimano reels but still falls within the lighter range for musky reels. The 5+1 bearings ensure smooth operation, while the extended handle provides added leverage and reduces fatigue. 

Musky anglers looking for a reel with excellent line capacity should consider giving the Revo Toro Rocket a try.

Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast

  • Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 25 pounds
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 6000

An alternative option that presents a compelling rival to the Revo Toro Rocket is the Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast, offering similar features with different gear ratios.

The Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast is considered one of the best musky reel alternatives due to its impressive performance and top-notch features.

 Just like the Toro Rocket, it boasts an aluminum spool, frame, and sideplate, as well as stainless steel bearings and an extended handle. Additionally, both reels share a maximum drag of 25 pounds and 5+1 bearings.

The main difference lies in the gear ratios; while the Toro Rocket emphasizes speed with its high gear ratio, the Revo Toro Beast provides lower gear ratios for those who prefer power over speed. 

With its large line capacity and robust construction, this reel is an excellent choice for anglers targeting muskies.

Daiwa Lexa WN

  • Weight: 16.9 ounces
  • Gear Ratio: 7.1:1
  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Reel Size: 4000

Moving on from the Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast, we now come to the Daiwa Lexa WN musky reel. This reel offers a more affordable option for casual anglers who don’t require the high-end features of previous models.

The Daiwa Lexa WN boasts an aluminum frame, side plates, handles, and bearings, ensuring durability and longevity. With 25 pounds of stopping power, it provides ample strength for musky fishing. While it may not be as smooth as some of its counterparts with only good-quality bearings, it still performs well in terms of smoothness. Weighing in at 16.9 ounces, it is slightly heavier but remains easy to cast.

Although the Daiwa Lexa WN doesn’t excel in any particular area, its well-rounded design makes it a suitable choice for casual anglers seeking a reliable musky reel

Lew’s SuperDuty 300

  • Reel Size: 3000
  • Reel Size: 1000-4000
  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Gear Ratio: 6.5-7.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 24 pounds
  • Weight: 9.2 ounces

With its remarkable lightness achieved through the use of graphite and carbon fiber materials, the Lew’s SuperDuty 300 reel offers musky anglers a unique combination of lightweight performance and durability.

The reel is equipped with an aluminum spool and handle, stainless steel bearings, and high-strength brass gears, making it rugged enough to withstand the rigors of musky fishing.

The use of graphite in the side plate and carbon fiber in the drag system contributes to its exceptional lightness. While these materials may not be as tough as metals like aluminum and stainless steel, they enable the SuperDuty 300 to be one of the lightest reels available for musky fishing.

Anglers who prioritize lightness above all else will find this reel worth considering.

Okuma Coldwater Low Profile Line Counter Reel

  • Reel Size: 3500
  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.4:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 25 pounds
  • Weight: 12.5 ounces

The Okuma Coldwater Low Profile Linecounter Reel stands out as an exceptional choice for musky anglers looking to engage in trolling, thanks to its robust construction and reliable line counter feature.

Trolling techniques involve dragging lures or bait at varying depths behind a moving boat, and the line counter on this reel allows for precise depth control and accurate lure placement.

Compared to other musky reel types, low profile line counter reels provide several advantages. They offer a compact design that reduces overall weight while maintaining durability, enabling anglers to fish comfortably for extended periods.

Additionally, Okuma Coldwater’s aluminum construction ensures corrosion resistance even in harsh environments, making it suitable for long-term use in freshwater or saltwater conditions.

With its impressive features and reliability, the Okuma Coldwater is undoubtedly a top choice for serious musky trolling enthusiasts.

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

  • Weight: 11.6-22.1 ounces
  • Max Drag Weight: 15-30 pounds
  • Gear Ratio: 3.6-5.3:1
  • Ball Bearings: 4/6+1
  • Reel Size: 4000-9000

An alternative option to consider is the KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, which offers a more budget-friendly choice for anglers in search of a musky reel. Despite its affordable price, this reel still comes with some top features.

 It boasts an aluminum spool and side plates, providing durability and strength during fishing activities. 

Additionally, the stainless steel bearings ensure smooth operation and efficient performance on water.

However, it’s important to note that there are some drawbacks associated with this reel. Firstly, it is heavier and bulkier than expected, which may affect overall comfort during use. Secondly, users may experience backlashes every three or four casts, causing frustration and inconvenience. 

Furthermore, the clicker is quite soft and difficult to hear in noisy environments. Lastly, the reel has a reputation for being exceptionally noisy when compared to other models on the market. Considering its low cost, it’s not surprising that this round reel has a relatively short lifespan of approximately one year.

Nonetheless, for anglers on a tight budget or those who don’t frequently engage in musky fishing activities, the KastKing Rover serves as an economical option worthy of consideration.

When choosing a musky reel, there are several factors to consider such as drag power, gear ratio, line capacity, and overall durability. Each angler has their own preferences based on their fishing style and target species.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Musky Reel

When choosing a musky reel, there are several important factors to consider.

First, you need to decide between a baitcasting reel and a spinning reel. Baitcasting reels are known for their accuracy and power while spinning reels offer more versatility and ease of use.

Additionally, reel size is crucial as it determines the overall weight and balance of your setup.

Line capacity is another crucial consideration as it determines how much line you can spool onto the reel.

The drag system is also an essential feature to evaluate as it affects the smoothness and strength of your retrieve.

Finally, gear ratio plays a significant role in determining the speed at which you can retrieve your lure or bait.

Baitcasting VS Spinning

In comparing baitcasting and spinning reels, it is evident that baitcasting reels are more suitable for musky fishing due to their ability to cast heavier lines and lures with greater accuracy. 

Baitcasting reels excel in handling heavier tackle, allowing for the efficient casting of larger lures commonly used in musky fishing. On the other hand, spinning reels are better suited for lighter lines and lures, making them less ideal for the heavy-duty requirements of musky fishing.

Although a spinning reel can still be used by limiting the choice of lures or using lighter ones, it may not provide the same level of performance as a bait caster. 

Therefore, considering that most anglers opt for heavier tackle when pursuing muskies, a baitcasting reel is recommended for its superior casting capabilities.

Reel Size

A careful consideration of reel size is essential for optimizing musky fishing strategies. When choosing a musky reel, it is important to balance line capacity and weight. 

While musky is not known for their ability to run down the line, it is still necessary to have enough line capacity to handle any potential runs.

It is recommended to opt for a size 3000-6000 reel, with size 3000 being sufficient in most cases. 

However, if you prefer to err on the side of caution or if you are new to musky fishing and anticipate the need for more line capacity, then a size 4000 reel may be appropriate. Reels larger than that should generally be avoided as they can become heavy and cumbersome.

Considering the best musky reels in terms of reel size ensures that anglers are well-prepared without unnecessary extra weight.

Line Capacity

Line capacity is an important factor to consider when selecting a musky reel, as it directly affects the angler’s ability to handle the size and strength of the fish; for instance, a size 4000 reel can typically hold around 200 yards of line.

Musky reels in the range of 3000-6000 are recommended, with size 3000 being sufficient for most situations. 

However, it is advisable to opt for a size 4000 reel as a precautionary measure. Reels below size 2000 should not be used due to their limited line capacity.

It is crucial to have enough lines on your reel to accommodate the potential runs and power of musky. 

By following these recommendations and choosing an appropriate reel size, anglers can ensure they have adequate line capacity while pursuing muskies.

Drag System

The effectiveness of a musky reel’s drag system is crucial for preventing line breakage and exhausting the fish during the retrieval process. A weak drag system can make it extremely difficult for even skilled anglers to reel in muskies. 

When considering the best musky reel, it is important to find one that can withstand the strength of these powerful fish.

While there are differing opinions on the exact amount of drag needed, I have found that 17.5 to 22 pounds is usually sufficient for most situations. 

However, it is always better to err on the side of caution and look for a reel that can produce at least 25 pounds of drag.

To set the drag, aim for around 1/3 or 1/4 of your line’s pound test, such as 6 or 8 pounds for a 24-pound line. With a reliable and strong drag system, you will be well-equipped to handle any challenging musky encounter.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratios in musky reels determine the retrieval speed, with a higher gear ratio like 6.3:1 allowing for faster line retrieval, making it ideal for lures like jerk baits and crankbaits that require quick retrieves.

When considering the best musky reels on the market, it is important to pay attention to the gear ratio as it can greatly affect your fishing experience. 

A higher gear ratio allows you to retrieve more lines per handle rotation, providing a faster retrieval speed. This is especially beneficial when using fast lures such as jerk baits and crankbaits which require a rapid retrieve to mimic natural prey. 

By opting for a musky reel with a higher gear ratio of 6.3:1, you can ensure that you have the necessary speed to effectively fish these lures.

Ball Bearings

One important factor to consider when selecting a musky reel is the number of ball bearings employed in its construction, as this can significantly impact the smoothness and overall performance of the reel. 

Muskie reels with more ball bearings tend to offer smoother operation, reducing friction and allowing for effortless reeling.

However, it is crucial to find the right balance in terms of the number of ball bearings. From my experience, 5+1 bearings seem to be the sweet spot for musky fishing. 

With fewer ball bearings, there is a noticeable decrease in smoothness and performance. On the other hand, adding more than 5+1 bearings only yields a marginal increase in smoothness without significant benefits.


When considering the construction of a musky reel, it is important to assess the durability and protective features offered by materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, etc., in order to ensure its ability to withstand pressure and provide long-lasting performance.

The best musky reels are made from hardy materials like aluminum, stainless steel, or titanium. These materials are known for their strength and resistance against wear and tear.

In addition to the material used, it is also beneficial to have some additional protection in place. This can come in the form of shielding or sealing to further safeguard the reel from external elements that could potentially damage it.

By investing in a musky reel with sturdy construction and added protection, anglers can enjoy good musky reels that can withstand the rigors of fishing and provide reliable performance over an extended period of time.


After reviewing the top 8 musky reels available on the market, it is clear that these reels offer exceptional performance and durability for avid anglers.

With features such as high drag capacity, smooth retrieves, and sturdy construction, these reels are designed to handle the challenges of musky fishing.

Whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting out, investing in one of these reels will greatly enhance your fishing experience.

Remember, ‘A bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work.

Joshua Collier
"Joshua Collier is an experienced angler and writer based in Florida. With over 10 years of experience fishing in freshwater and saltwater environments, Joshua has become an expert on everything from fly fishing for trout to trolling for marlin.