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Best Ice Fishing Reels of 2021

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Multi-Species Ice Fishing Reels

Many anglers say that an ice fisherman is only as good as the tackle he uses. While this can be interpreted in different ways, we believe in this logic. Ice fishing is a sport where extreme temperatures and conditions are often factors, and the wrong gear can really set you back.

The Ice Fishing Reel is one of the most important and complex pieces of equipment that’s needed. Using the correct reel can help you land the fish species you’re going after, while the wrong reel can leave you skunked for the day. Combining great Ice Fishing Rods with premium reels is the best thing you can do.

One important factor in selecting an ice fishing reel is what species you’re fishing for. If you’re using a small Panfish, Crappie, or Trout reel and hook up to a huge Walleye or Northern Pike, you can basically say goodbye to your flimsy tackle.

To help our angler community catch fish and be successful out on the ice this year, we’ve compiled a list of the six best ice fishing reels. We’ll discuss which reels are better for certain fishing conditions and the products that are worth the money. See our guide to the best bass fishing reels of the year.

Piscifun ICX 5 – Walleye

Piscifun ICX Walleye ice fishing reel

The Piscifun ICX 5 is an Ice Reel that outperforms almost all of the competition. It features a graphite body, graphite rotor, a folding handle, 6 high-quality sealed bearings, a water-resistant aluminum spool, and much more.

This water-resistant aluminum spool is designed to keep water out from the most important reel components. Even with this feature, it’s still able to offer an even and consistent line lay.

6 sealed bearings give the product a smooth and satisfying reeling action that anglers rave amount. Even when fighting larger fish such as Walleye, the reel is as smooth as butter.

While other reels can be a pain to transport, the Piscifun ICX 5 features a quick folding handle to reduce its size greatly. This feature also reduces the risk of damaging the reel when not in use.

KastKing Centron 500 – Northern Pike & Lake Trout

KastKing Centrol 500 spinning ice fishing reel

If you’re looking for a step up in quality, the KastKing Centron 500 Spinning Reel is a premium Ice Fishing Reel. It’s packed full of professional-level features such as the 10 ball bearings, a powerful drag system, and a high tensile corrosion-resistant strength graphite frame.

This reel performs best with the specially designed KastKing braided line. Regardless of line choice, its reeling action is as smooth as it gets, and it never loses fights with even the largest of fish. If you’re a Northern Pike or Lake Trout Angler, the high-quality build of the Centron 500 is just what you need.

Since there are too many features to discuss individually, we’ve included a list below.

Notable Features

  • Anodized Aluminum Spool
  • Attractive Finish
  • Lightweight & Compact Design
  • Effortless Casting
  • High Tensile Strength Corrosion-Resistant Graphite Frame
  • Powerful Drag System
  • Pinion Gear System
  • Right / Left Interchangeable Handle

Eagle Claw In-Line Ice Reel – Large Fish Species

Eagle Claw in-line ice fishing reel

The Eagle Claw In-Line Ice Reel is a high-performance in-line ice fishing reel with a carbon-fiber body. It’s notably different from other reel designs as the in-line style is specifically designed for ice fishing. This can benefit hardcore ice anglers and be a drawback to those who want a versatile reel for year-round fishing.

A benefit of the in-line design is that it provides greater torque and reeling power when used out on the ice. It doesn’t cast, it’s only good as what it’s made to do, and that’s hauling big fish through a hole in the ice.

One notable feature is the smooth Teflon Drag System integrated inside the body. It provides smooth reeling action and will last through many years out on the ice.

Additional Features

  • Nylon Body & Spool
  • Adjustable Spool Tension
  • Free Spool Release Button
  • Drag & Line Clicker
  • Made in America

Pflueger Moniceb Monarch – Panfish, Crappie, & Trout

Pflueger Moniceb Monarch spinning reel for ice fishing

For anglers targeting smaller fish species such as Panfish, Crappie, and Trout, the Plueger Moniceb Monarch is a great option. It’s not as strong as other reels but offers better sensitivity for finesse applications.

Although it has a small profile, Plueger designed a 5 ball bearing system that fits inside the housing. As a result, it has a surprisingly smooth action, given its size. All the components are also corrosion-resistant, which is necessary for the rugged conditions of ice fishing.

The body and rotor are formed from lightweight graphite, ideal for a reel of this size. These high-quality materials give the reel additional strength in areas where it would otherwise be vulnerable to damage.

An aluminum bail is fitted over the spool. It’s made from thicker wire than you’d find on other finesse ice fish reels, which really helps to eliminate the possibility of bending or breaking.

13 Fishing Wicked Spinning Reel – All Species

13 Fishing Wicked Spinning Reel for ice fishing

13 Fishing’s Wicked Spinning Reel has proved to be a versatile ice fishing reel that’s balanced to catch many different species. It has several unique characteristics that make it more appealing than other spinning reel models.

The reel is extremely temperature resistant. It’s treated with Defrost Lubricant while in production, which allows for “consistent performance even in bone-chilling temperatures.” It’s especially durable since the spool is cast from aluminum, and the body and rotor are molded from lightweight graphite.

The most interesting feature about the 13 Fishing Wicked is the spinning reel’s long stem. This actually allows you to operate the reel without taking off your gloves. You can fish while keeping your hands warm, which is especially important when the temperatures really start to drop.

Other Notable Features

  • Aluminum Handle
  • Soft-Touch Knobs (Superior Grip and Comfort)
  • 5 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings (Smooth Retrieves)
  • Instant Stop Anti-Reverse (Dependable Hooksets)

Shakespeare Glacier Ice Reel – Panfish & Finesse

Shakespeare Glacier Ice fishing panfish finesse spinning reel

The Shakespeare Glacier Ice Reel offers many of the same benefits as the Pflueger Moniceb Monarch at a more reasonable price. It’s also best suited for Panfish and Finesse Fishing, but it has some unique qualities from other popular reels.

While it’s not as high-quality as other finesse reels, it provides more than enough rigidity for most anglers’ needs. As a trade-off to this, the reel components are coated with Cold Gear Lube in production to make them somewhat immune to extreme conditions.

We’re impressed by the care that was put into the design of this product. Shakespeare used the perfect reel angle of 15 degrees, which really enhances the performance and line flow while in use.

Other Notable Features

  • Full Body Graphite Frame
  • Aluminum Spool
  • Extended Stem for more Clearance
  • 15 Degree Tilted Orientation (Optimal Line Performance)
  • Cold Gear Lube for Extreme Conditions

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