There was a time when a quality fishing reel would set you back at least £100, however, some of the best fishing reels under £50 are truly astonishing. Thanks to improvements in technology and manufacturing processes, you can now pick up something that will offer smooth performance, durability and often a spare spool!
Whether you’re a match or pleasure angler who enjoys float and feeder fishing, a big-fish specialist in search of a freespool model for carp or barbel, or even a lure fanatic, there are some fantastic fishing reels under £50 to choose from.
The best fishing reels under £50 at a glance:
• Best Match Fishing Reel Under £50 - Daiwa 23 Matchman Reel - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle
• Best Baitrunner Reel Under £50 - Sonik Vader X 6000 FS - View offer on Go Outdoors
• Best Budget Fishing Reel Under £50 - Shimano FX - View offer on Angling Direct
• Best Value Fishing Reel Under £50 - Nytro NTR Reel - View Offer on Total Fishing Tackle
Gone are the days you could tell a reel was a budget model. The big manufacturers especially, have realised the demand for a good quality reel with a cheaper price tag and it's safe to say, they have delivered. Here is a guide to some of the best fishing reels under £50...
The Daiwa 23 Matchman Reel is a very impressive item of tackle, it's really hard to believe you
- Great range of reels for all styles of angling.
- 4000 model ideal for any feeder fishing.
- No spare spool.
The front drag on the Shimano Sedona FI 3000 is very light, making it ideal for all float fishing
- Super smooth performance.
- Effortless winding.
- Prone to scratching.
The Abu Garcia Carindal X is a fantastic little reel. Incorporating a graphite body and anodised
- The smaller sizes are perfect for lure fishing.
- Smooth drag system.
- The bail arm is a bit clunky.
The Nytro NTR Fishing Reel is a relative newcomer to the coarse fishing scene but its price and
- Super smooth drag.
- Very powerful reel.
- The handle knob might be a bit oversized for some depending on preference.
5. Shimano FX
Best budget reel under £50
This Shimano FX reel is a great addition to any lure fishing setup, lightweight and compact whilst
- Very lightweight.
- Super smooth drag system.
- Does lack some power for landing really large fish.
You can instantly recognise Maver tackle and their Reality 3000 reel is no different with its
- Superb line lay.
- Line roller prevents any line spin.
- The colour might not be for everyone.
The Okuma Ceymar XT is an ultra-reliable reel that steps up to the plate when needed. Available in
- Lovely all-round reel.
- High speed retrieve.
- High speed retrieve my be too quick for some.
The two Korum Shadow Reels pack a serious amount of winding power into their compact 2500 and 3500
- The transmission between freespool and engaged is seamlessly smooth.
- Lots of cranking power.
- Would be nice to see in bigger spool sizes.
If you want a reel for small water carp fishing the Fox EOS 10000 FD reel could well be the one
- Power in abundance.
- Great for floater fishing.
- No spare spool.
If you're looking for a budget spod reel, you would be hard pushed to find a better example than
- 100cm line retrieval per handle turn.
- Fully loaded with 30lb braid.
- Line clip could be better.
The compact Sonik Vader X 6000 FS freespool reel is perfect for targeting small to medium-sized
- Great cranking power.
- Baitrunner option.
- Not the most precise clutch system.
What to look for in a fishing reel under £50
Just because you don't want to spend hundreds of pounds on a reel doesn't mean you have to compromise on everything. Some of the best fishing reels under £50 are truly amazing in what they offer both aesthetically and performance wise. When choosing a reel there are a few features to look for that will determine which is the best choice for you.
The size of the reel will impact how well it performs certain tasks, if you only fish the float, then look for a reel around 3000 in size. Generally, these reels are smaller and lighter, and balance a waggler rod perfectly. In fact, a 3000 is a great all-round size reel. If you like to use a Method feeder or fish for larger fish on commercials or rivers, it's best to opt for a 4000 or larger. These reels have a bit more cranking power to help you tame those larger fish and control the larger end tackle required more efficiently.
If carp or specimen fishing is your chosen discipline, look for a reel that can hold plenty of line, this will aid you when casting longer distances and give you the reserve line when big fish go on powerful runs. A baitrunner is always helpful when fishing for larger fish, it prevents the rod being dragged in when you get a take, something no angler wants to happen.
Drag/clutch: An adjustable tensioning system that allows a hard-fighting fish to pull an additional line from the reel instead of breaking the line.
Freespool: Similar to a clutch but working at far lower tensions. The Freespool will allow a running fish to take line, preventing a rod on a rest from being pulled in. Once the rod is picked up and the reel handle turned, it will disengage, putting the reel back into 'fish playing' mode with the drag working as normal.
Spool: The cylinder at the front of a reel which holds the line.
Big pit: A reel with a long spool designed for extreme long-range casting by reducing the resistance of the line.
Line clip: A small clip on the spool that line can be placed under, stopping it from leaving the reel. Originally designed to stop lines from falling off in transit, they are now commonly used to repeatedly cast a set distance.
Line twist: Casting, retrieving and using the freespool and clutch adds twist to your line, which can weaken it and reduces casting distance. In extreme cases, the line will bounce off the spool and ball up as it untwists. More expensive reels incorporate various technologies to minimise line twists.
Cranking power: This is the reel's ability to wind under pressure, the better the cranking power the more powerful the reel is.
Frequently asked questions on fishing reels under £50
Can I use one reel for multiple tactics?
Yes, as long as the size is suitable, as too big a reel for waggler fishing, for example, makes a lightweight rod feel clumsy, whilst too small a reel for feeder fishing will restrict casting distance and reduce the winding power needed to retrieve heavy feeders. This is where spare spools become useful. On a 4000-sized reel, one could be loaded with 3lb line for waggler fishing, whilst a second could be loaded with 6lb for the feeder work.
Should I use a Baitrunner reel for barbel fishing?
If you are going to be watching the rod and roving the river, perhaps rolling baits, then a Baitrunner is not essential. However, if you are an angler who likes to sit back and relax, or kip in the bivvy, a Baitrunner reel is essential to stop your rod being dragged in on the take. A barbel bite is typically far more savage than anything any other fish will give.
How can I clean my reel?
A damp cloth and warm water should be enough. Although reels are designed to be as watertight as possible, keep their exposure minimal, as any that gets inside will rinse lubricants from the reel. An old toothbrush can be useful too.
Author Aidan Bordiuk is an enthusiastic angler who enjoys all fishing disciplines from match fishing to beach casting. He is currently occupying the position of Commercial Content Writer at Angling Times.