Top Reels for Striped Bass Fishing
Striped bass are one of the most popular game fish to target. Whether you’re fishing for saltwater fish along the coast or targeting freshwater striper species, you must be prepared with the right equipment.
This guide discusses the eight best striper fishing reels of 2021 and outlines each product’s qualities. For other gear discussions, check out our guide to the best striper fishing rods.
Spinning, casting, jigging, and trolling are a handful of the most popular ways to fish for stripers. We discuss reels for all technique-specific applications and include recommendations in every price range.
From +$500 professional equipment to beginner options that cost well under $100, we’re confident there’s something for everyone. However, you’ll need something heftier than a cheap bass fishing reel, regardless of the stripers you’re targeting.
While there are plenty of decent-quality fishing reel manufacturers, you’ll notice there’s one brand we discuss the most. Accurate is a legendary brand in the striper fishing community, and many anglers don’t even consider other models.
We discuss multiple brands and models with varying price tags. New members of our community should know we never write biased reviews, and Accurate reels are only featured multiple times because they’re the best-of-the-best.
Accurate Valiant Reel – Best High-End Reel
5 Stars | <5 Angler Reviews
The Accurate Valiant Reel might be expensive, but it’s well worth the money to passionate striped bass fishermen. This is our go-to model for live bait fishing, which we almost always fish on a soft-tip rod.
This model features a “twin-drag” system and is the only reel in the world with the technology. It functions similarly to the brake calipers on your car, where two clamps apply pressure evenly to the spool.
The crazy amount of power isn’t the only selling point for Accurate’s “twin-drag” system. Experienced anglers who frequently target striped bass know how important a consistent drag can be.
Even on light drag settings, such as one or two pounds, the Valiant reel doesn’t suffer from variance. Your rod won’t bounce up and down when fighting larger fish, which is all too common in cheaper reels.
You’ll appreciate the Valiant’s low gear-ratio when fishing with bait. Higher gear ratios sacrifice power, which is less than ideal for large presentations and landing goliath striped bass.
Accurate Boss Fury 400X – Best Value Striper Reel
4.9 Stars | 10 Angler Reviews
If you call yourself a striped bass angler, the Accurate Boss Fury 400X is a must-have. Whether you fish freshwater or saltwater, the Fury has you covered in nearly every possible situation.
There are two types of striper fishermen, the ones that use accurate reels and the ones that don’t. You simply cannot find the same level of quality from any other brand.
Fury 400X vs. Valient
This reel isn’t as expensive as top-tier Accurate models because it doesn’t offer the exclusive “twin drag” system the brand is known for. However, it’s made from the exact same materials and offers more than enough performance for 95% of striper anglers.
Like the Valient model, the Fury 400X is carved or machined from a solid block of aluminum, eliminating the weak-points other reels suffer from.
The gigantic drag system offers top-tier performance. Even though it’s not the famous “twin-drag” system, there’s certainly nothing to complain about.
With a loud clicker and incredibly affordable price-tag, this is the best option for first-time Accurate reel buyers. From fishing gizzard shads and razor shads to drifting eels, we’ve never been let down by the Accurate lineup.
Accurate Tern 400XL – Best Jigging Reel
5 Stars | 6 Angler Reviews
Our favorite Jigging Reel is the Accurate Tern 400XL Model. With a built-in star drag system, it gives you exceptional control over your presentation. The narrow profile helps you quickly send your bait to the bottom.
Star Drag System
We found the Accurate build-quality we expected from the 400XL reel. The star drag system is lightweight, easy to handle, and offers more power than traditional designs. You’ll have the strength to battle stripers of all sizes, from freshwater tanks to saltwater behemoths.
It’s also important you consider the handle as it determined the amount of leverage you can expect. This model has an extended handle, helping you get fish to the boat faster, which is crucial when pulling a fish all the way up from the seafloor.
Abu Garcia Revo Beast X – Best Casting Reel
4.7 Stars | 35 Angler Reviews
If you’re after a high-strength baitcaster for stripers, the Abu Garcia Revo Beast X is a phenomenal option. While it’s mostly used as a bass reel and as a pike fishing reel, the Beast X is so solid that stripers don’t stand a chance against it.
Baitcasting setups are fun to use and highly effective when fishing large plugs, topwaters, swimbaits, and many other dynamic baits. When you’re casting for fish in both saltwater and freshwater environments, the Beast X provides power, accuracy, and the durability that’s needed.
The level-line pays out in reverse, keeping it straight on your spool, so you don’t have to worry about getting “crossed-up.” There’s nothing more frustrating than losing a fish because your reel jams.
Casting Rod Pairing
We’ve paired this reel with many topwater rods and have even fished it on crankbait rods with surprisingly positive results.
If you’re the type of angler that gets excited and frequently sets the hook too early on big surface blowups, crankbait rods will naturally give the fish more time to swallow your bait. However, topwater rods such as “frog rod” models will give you more power for fighting larger fish.
Daiwa BG – Best Spinning Reel for Striped Bass
4.7 Stars | 1,794 Angler Reviews
You won’t find a better spinning reel for stripers than Daiwa’s BG Spinning Reel. It’s the most popular saltwater and freshwater fishing reel because it’s affordable and built with Daiwa’s unmatched quality.
If you’re after big saltwater striped bass or intend to surf fish on the beach, the largest 8000 BG Model is your best bet. For the most versatility, consider the 6500 BG and 5000/4000 Daiwa BG reels are large enough for smaller freshwater species.
With twice the power of other spinning reels, there’s no question you’ll fall in love with the BG as we have. The spool has a ton of line capacity, its handle has a great feeling in your hand, and the waterproof Air Rotor Drag System gives it buttery-smooth cranking.
Rod Pairing Guides
Shimano SLX XT – Best Budget Casting Reel
4.7 Stars | 232 Angler Reviews
Some anglers aren’t looking to spend top-dollar on a professional level baitcaster. If this sounds like you, the Shimano SLX XT is the best budget casting reel for stripers. For under $200, this is by far the best quality reel with the most fish-stopping power.
Shimano is known for its high-quality products; however, they’re usually more expensive. The SLX reel is affordable and has the “buttery” drag system expected from this elite brand.
This model features an oversized handle giving you more leverage. While it’s mainly used as a bass fishing reel, this increased power combined with Shimano’s S3D spool makes it perfect for striper fishing.
You’ll feel a significant reduction in vibrations compared to any other reel in this price range. Consistent braking force, speed control, and advanced precision for the money make the SLX XT stand out.
KastKing Sharky III – Best Budget Spinning Reel
4.6 Stars | 2,581 Angler Reviews
There are also budget spinning reel options that are powerful enough to fight big fish. The KastKing Sharky III is ultra-affordable with multiple qualities that make it a decent striper spinning reel. For less than $100, it’s hard to beat the value.
KastKing is known for its quality and has recently gained a ton of popularity. Anglers of all experience levels have realized the absurd amount of performance the brand offers for their prices.
This model is ideal for freshwater stripers; however, it can stand up to larger saltwater fish. The 5000 Sharky III reel is the most versatile, and the 3000/4000 Sharky III models are strong enough for freshwater species.
With a reinforced body, lightweight design, and carbon fiber drag system, KastKing’s reel offers “quiet, silky-smooth retrieves.”
Daiwa Dendoh – Best Electronic Striper Reel
4.7 Stars | 146 Angler Reviews
The Daiwa Dendoh is an electronic fishing reel with an LCD stuck to the front. It’s a great reel for kite rods or when trolling heavy sinkers. This power assist reel is packed full of features, helping you land those monster fish.
This reel has an automatic jigging feature that will keep your bait moving on its own. Serious anglers love this as it allows them to jig multiple presentations at once when the bite turns on.
A built-in line counter helps you stay in the strike zone, and the depth memory feature keeps your bait in the right spot. If you’re a boat captain taking beginners out on the ocean who don’t have the strength or experience to fight 50lb stripers, the Dendoh reel makes their experience far more enjoyable.