The 10 Best Ice Fishing Reels of 2020
Ice fishing is very different from conventional fishing and if you don’t have the best ice fishing reel in your hand then the performance will be great hampered.
Ice is rigid and you need a reel that can reciprocate to the strength. Thus, it is important for these reels to be made of rigid materials.
There are a couple of other factors such as the bearing number, drag capacity, and weight of the fishing reel that contributes in making a successful product.
You will get all questions answered in this review. Also, we will make recommendations of the top models in ice fishing reels to help you purchase the right product.
10 Best Ice Fishing Reels – Review
1. KastKing Centron 2000 (Best Overall)
2. Pflueger MONICEB (Best High-Quality)
3. Eagle Claw ECILIR (Best Inline Reel)
4. Celsius CEL310P/CP (Most-Affordable)
5. 13 Fishing 60612015-LH (Best Product from 13 Fishing)
6. Shakespeare Glacier Ice Reel (Has Optimum Line Flow)
7. Goture Small Spinning Fishing Reel (Multi-Purpose Reel)
8. Ming Yang CL25 (Has Star Drag System)
9. Abu Garcia ICEMAX (Has Reduced Friction)
10. Fiblink Inline Ice Fishing Reel (Comes with 1-Year Warranty)
1. KastKing Centron 2000
2. Pflueger MONICEB
3. Eagle Claw ECILIR
(Best Inline Reel)
4. Celsius CEL310P/CP
5. 13 Fishing 60612015-LH
(Best Product from 13 Fishing)
6. Shakespeare Glacier Ice Reel
(Has Optimum Line Flow)
7. Goture Small Spinning Fishing Reel
8. Ming Yang CL25
(Has Star Drag System)
9. Abu Garcia ICEMAX
(Has Reduced Friction)
10. Fiblink Inline Ice Fishing Reel
(Comes with 1-Year Warranty)
1. KastKing Centron 2000 – Best Overall Ice Fishing Reel
- Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
- Ball Bearings: 9+1
From KastKing, this is the best overall product with high drag capacity of 17.5-pounds and ultra-smoothness due to 9 ball bearings. Also, there is an additional reserve bearing for more seamless performance.
Keeping the price of this product extremely suitable, the makers have given their best shot in form of this product. It comes with graphite frame which keeps the weight on the lower side. The overall weight is 9-ounces which is quite suitable for easy handling.
It comes with lighter and stronger CNC machined aluminum spool with even line lay. Plus, there are internal grooves for lube retention and more line capacity.
All the inner parts are made of highly-promising and cold-compatible material. Lastly, the handle is also very comfortable and left-right hand interchangeable.
This product has got everything right except for the warranty as the brand gave no security of purchase with this model.
2. Pflueger MONICEB – Best High-Quality Ice Fishing Reel
- Gear Ratio: 4.2:1
- Ball Bearings: 5
Every detail about this product speak volumes about its high-quality. To begin with, the graphite frame construction which keeps it lightweight yet temperature-compatible. The second is aluminum bail to keep the design rigid and prevent mist-shaping.
Lastly, the corrosion-resistant stainless-steel 5 ball bearings which helps in effective and robust product. This is one of the most durable products on the list.
It comes in the maximum drag capacity of 6-pounds which is suitable to catch small to medium-sized fish. The handle is also comfortable and spacious enough to help you handle fishing efficiently.
The price is pretty suitable considering the value of the product. Talking about the drawbacks, this product does not come with an anti-reverse feature.
3. Eagle Claw ECILIR – Best Inline Ice Fishing Reel
- Gear Ratio: 2.6:1
- Ball Bearings: 4+1
Inline ice fishing reels are dedicated reels that are used by ice anglers. This product is the best one in the class as it comes in small and manageable profile with total weight of merely 5.6 ounce.
The body and spool are constructed with nylon material. Moreover, there are various spool functions like free spool release button, tension adjustment, etc.
The Teflon drag makes the overall working super smooth. There are 4 ball bearings with one reverse bearing for effective performance. Also, you get a line clicker with the reel.
Another benefit of using the ECILIR ice fishing reel is that you can enjoy its application from right hand as well as left hand.
The downside is that the handles of this reel are not very comfortable. Since you will be wearing gloves, you might have to struggle a little in maintaining the grip.
4. Celsius CEL310P/CP – Most-Affordable Ice Fishing Reel
- Ball Bearings: 4+1
This one from Celsius is the most affordable product on the list and comes with standard features.
First of all, there are 4 ball bearings and an anti-reverse bearing in this product that helps in making its task smooth and convenient.
The aluminum spool not just give an extra benefit of durability but also makes the functionality extremely simple.
Then, there is an extended yoke and wide handle to make holding the reel super comfortable, even while wearing gloves. Unfortunately, there is no feature of tension adjustment in this product.
5. 13 Fishing 60612015-LH – Best Product from 13 Fishing
- Gear Ratio: 2.7:1
- Ball Bearings: 5
13 Fishing is one of the leading manufacturers of ice fishing reels and has gained immense recognition for its amazing features and durable construction. It is designed with CNC machined 6061 aluminum material and has a smooth carbon drag system.
The 5 stainless-steel ball bearings make its performance one of a kind. Then you get the anti-reverse feature plus a bait alarm with this model.
The durability is intended and it gives very comfortable holding to the user. One key thing to keep in mind is that this model is for people who use the reel with left hand. Moreover, it is the best left-hand ice fishing reel with solid construction and great functionality with only one drawback of high cost.
6. Shakespeare Glacier Ice Reel – Ice Fishing Reel with Optimum Line Flow
- Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
- Ball Bearings: 1
The 15-degree tilted orientation give optimum line flow which is also a unique feature of this product. Also, there is extended stem for more clearance.
The construction of this reel is done with graphite material, keeping it lightweight and robust. Also, the spool is made of aluminum material.
To make this product weather compatible, it comes with cold gear lube. This way, it can survive in extreme harsh cold conditions without misting or breaking.
Also, it is suitably priced. The things that you will not appreciate in this model is its heavyweight of 16-ounce. Plus, it comes with single ball bearing, making the overall working a bit challenging.
7. Goture Small Spinning Fishing Reel – Multi-Purpose Ice Fishing Reel
- Gear Ratio: 4.3:1
- Ball Bearings: 3+1
If you are searching for a product that is qualified for multiple applications then choose the Goture Small Spinning reel as it can be used for raft-fishing, river-fishing, and ice-fishing.
Talking about the construction, there are various materials used to create different components of this reel.
It is made with high-tensile strength aluminum spool, zinc alloy body and handle, aluminum bail wire, and reinforced steel shaft.
Furthermore, for smooth performance, there are 3 ball bearings and a one-way clutch roller bearing. You can use this product conveniently with left or right hand. One of the biggest pros is that company gives moneyback if anything goes wrong with the product within 30-days.
The downside is that this is not a dedicated product for ice fishing and it does not come with anti-ice system to prevent seizing.
8. Ming Yang CL25 – Ice Fishing Reel with Star Drag System
- Gear Ratio: 3.8:1
- Ball Bearings: 2
From Ming Yang, this is a basic product that comes with star drag system to perform perfectly well in high tension situation and does not let the line break.
As far as materials are concerned, the main body is made of brass material and it has got aluminum spool and stainless-steel ball bearings.
This product comes with line capacity of 110-yards/8-pounds. The weight is merely 6-ounce. It is suitable for fishes like Muskie Pike Walleye Crappie Sunfish.
To keep handling the reel comfortable, it comes with rubberized handles. The problem with this model is that the brass material is not very good with extreme cold conditions. Also, because of 2 ball bearings, the functionality of this product is a bit difficult.
9. Abu Garcia ICEMAX – Ice Fishing Reel with Reduced Friction
- Ball Bearings: 3+1
Due to the cold gear lube, this product doesn’t just come with reduced friction but is one of the most suitable products to stand out in the wear and tear of extreme cold weather.
The reel is made with graphite material and has an aluminum spool installed in it. There are 3 ball bearings for smooth performance and an anti-reverse bearing.
Another very interesting feature of this product is the adoption of rocket line management that give control of all types of lines in the most effective way.
It is a considerable product except the price which is higher than the competitive models.
- Gear Ratio: 2.7:1
- Ball Bearings: 4+1
The concluding product is from Fiblink that comes with a year-long warranty unlike any other product on the list.
The making of this product is done in a very dependable way with CNC machined aluminum spool. Plus, there is free spool release button.
There is a super smooth drag system and it also comes with an anti-reverse feature. The reel can be used with either of the hands and you also get non-slip EVA handle to keep your hand comfortable while fishing.
The only drawback of this product is that it becomes difficult to figure out the functioning of this product at first. This is not for beginners.
How to Buy the Best Ice Fishing Reel
To enhance your performance in ice fishing what you genuinely need is to be equipped with best of the gears, ice fishing reel being the most important gear.
Here are some tips to help you evaluate the best ice fishing reel.
The frames of the ice fishing reel come in different designs. Considering the aggressive nature of ice fishing, the frames has to be lightweight yet too firm and sturdy.
Also, the frame should be such that it can relate to the demanding environment. These reels are exposed to extreme weather conditions, freezing temperature, and moisture. You wouldn’t want to use a material that can rust or react to these conditions.
The frames are usually made of a handful of materials including graphite, aluminum, nylon, brass, etc. among which, graphite is the most lightweight material. Also, it is largely dependable.
All you need to focus is the robustness of the frame as it is the only thing binding the entire reel setup. Therefore, give a lot of significance to the frame of fishing reel and buy wisely.
In case of spooling, ice fishing is rather simpler than other kinds of fishing. The spool is more inline as there is least twisting required.
This also mean that line will stay on the spool in better way than other reels. While checking out the products, make sure that the reel has large capacity of holding more line because in ice fishing, the casting has to be done in more depth in order to catch the fish.
Since ice fishing is done in extreme weather conditions, you are sure to do it wearing thick gloves. In such a case, altering the handle will be difficult.
The manufacturers understand the situation which is why the handles of the ice fishing reels are generously large and made of slip-resistant material.
Due to the prolonged size of the handle, you will feel the change in cranking of the reel. Also, there will be more torque from the large diameter.
4. Bearing Number
The number of bearings directly impact the smooth performance of a fishing reel. Other than the number, quality of material of bearing will also impact largely.
The task of bearings is to amplify the functionality of the reel. Irrespective of the drag load, the bearings will make sure that you catch the fish without any hassle.
In reels with a smaller number of bearings, there is more undue pressure on the line, making it difficult to catch fish as the line might snap midway.
Therefore, you should look for a product that comes with more ball bearings. One of the decent products to buy with a suitable number of bearings is Pflueger MONICEB ice fishing reel as it comes with 5 bearings.
5. Drag Capacity
When you hear the term “Drag Capacity” what’s the first thing to strike your mind. Well, it is the tension that a line can handle while pulling the fish out of water.
It is an important feature that you need to focus while ice fishing. As the drag capacity of a reel will increase, its versatility will also improve. You will be able to catch bigger and heavier fishes.
The drag capacity can be anywhere between 5 – 20-pounds. It depends what you target while fishing.
One more thing, you are advised to always select a reel with high drag capacity. This way, you get more out of your spent money. Irrespective of the fishing you are most interested in, you will have to liberty to hunt different species of fishes easily.
6. Anti-Ice System
Seizing is a common problem with gears that are used in ice-prone areas. The anti-ice system refers to the material used in the construction of these reels that prevent them from seizing.
The purpose of these reels is to work in extreme weather conditions. An inline reel will be able to deliver the best performance in such cases.
In the best inline ice fishing reels, our best recommendation is the Eagle Claw ECILIR ice fishing reel. It is small, sleek, and extremely suitable for ice fishing.
It takes a lot out of a fisherman to go out in freezing cold to catch fishes. The least they expect from the reel is to break during the catch.
While all the gears that we have recommended in our list are ready to take on the durability challenge, you still need to take some responsibility of selecting the best out of the lot.
The material of a reel speaks a lot about its durability. Make sure that the gear is freeze-resistant and will perform well in the extreme conditions. You should make selection between aluminum or graphite material as these are best in performance.
8. Reduced Friction
Cold can have adverse effects on the gear. That is why, companies these days design their products with cold gear lube so that these reels can withstand the cold.
If you think that you can handle ice fishing with a normal rod then don’t waste your time and money on any such gear because it will break too soon, giving you a reason to feel disappointed.
The Abu Garcia ICEMAX ice fishing reel comes with cold gear lube to conveniently tackle the weather abuse.
There are not enough reasons to explain why you should avoid a heavy weight gear during ice fishing. It will take a lot out of you to handle the gear because your concentration should be on fishing and not handling a heavy gear.
A lightweight gear will sit comfortably on your hand, giving you more scope of effective fishing. It is also very essential while wearing thicker gloves.
Also, such gears will be easy to store as well. The Shakespeare Glacier ice fishing reel is the most lightweight reel on our list with the total weight of only 1-pound.
The best ice fishing baitcast reel is not difficult to find if you have all the supporting arguments ready to determine the products.
Our candid recommendation of the best overall ice fishing reel will be the KastKing Centron 2000 ice fishing reel. This product comes with 9 + 1 ball bearings and have super impressive drag capacity of 17.5-pounds.
If you need a reel that bring some security of purchase then go with the Fiblink Inline ice fishing reel as it will give you a year-long warranty unlike any other product.
On this note, we end this ice fishing reel review and leave the decision on you. Don’t forget to explore the products carefully and note important things before buying.
- 10 Best Ice Fishing Reels – Review
- 1. KastKing Centron 2000 – Best Overall Ice Fishing Reel
- 2. Pflueger MONICEB – Best High-Quality Ice Fishing Reel
- 3. Eagle Claw ECILIR – Best Inline Ice Fishing Reel
- 4. Celsius CEL310P/CP – Most-Affordable Ice Fishing Reel
- 5. 13 Fishing 60612015-LH – Best Product from 13 Fishing
- 6. Shakespeare Glacier Ice Reel – Ice Fishing Reel with Optimum Line Flow
- 7. Goture Small Spinning Fishing Reel – Multi-Purpose Ice Fishing Reel
- 8. Ming Yang CL25 – Ice Fishing Reel with Star Drag System
- 9. Abu Garcia ICEMAX – Ice Fishing Reel with Reduced Friction
- 10. Fiblink Inline Ice Fishing Reel – Ice Fishing Reel with 1-Year Warranty
- How to Buy the Best Ice Fishing Reel