10 Best Underspin Reels in 2021 Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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In today’s piece, we will take some time to talk about 10 of the best underspin reels that you can find in 2021. We’ve added a buyers guide and a FAQ as well. 

Still, we know that not everyone has the time to read this entire review. So, here is our top pick, the Pflueger President reel. It retails for around 50 bucks. But you will be getting an aluminum reel with a decent drag, IPT, and line capacity. True, it is heavier than most other options. But it is a small fee. 

If you can’t find it, we suggest getting the Daiwa Underspin-XD as it is a good second option. On the other hand, the Zebco 33 is arguably the best option for those looking for something affordable. 

So, with no further ado, let’s get started with the other reviews. 

10 Best Underspin Reels Reviewed

Pflueger President Sizeunder Spin Reel

Features: 

  • Size: 6
  • Gear ratio: 3.4:1
  • IPT: 14.5”
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): 6
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): 90/6
  • Weight (Ounces): 9
  • Aluminum frame
  • 5 Ball bearings 

Pflueger acquires once again a place on our reviews with the one and only President model. It retails around 50 bucks, making it one hell of a deal for those value hunters.

The reel has a machined aluminum frame, and titanium pins hold everything together. Even the President is under a heavy load. The aluminum handle is thick and comes with a delicate rubber knob, something common among underspin reels. The good thing is that you can change the handle from right to left at any time. 

It takes some pressure to activate the plastic release lever. It might look like a bad thing. But it is not. This way, you avoid releasing the spool by accident. 

The spool only holds up to 90 yards of line. Still, it is within the average for this kind of reel. Drag is nothing impressive either. It gets as high as 6 pounds. However, it is very smooth. 

Pros: 

  • Strong frame
  • Smooth drag
  • Light
  • The release lever is perfectly within reach

Cons: 

  • The drag dial is too sensitive
  • Not suitable for thick lines 

Daiwa Underspin-XD Series

Features: 

  • Size: 40 and 80
  • Gear ratio: 4.1 and 4.3:1
  • IPT: 16.1 and 21.8
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): N/A
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): Up to 85/4
  • Weight (Ounces): Up to 9.2
  • 1 Ball bearing

Although it doesn’t look that appealing, the Daiwa underspin series-XD is another option for anglers on a tight budget. It has a rigid aluminum body. The oversized line hole reduces friction; thereby, increasing casting distance. 

A single ball bearing and rugged metal gears are responsible for transferring power from one place to another. They do a decent job. However, it is not as smooth as other options. 

There are two XD sizes: 40 and 80. Naturally, the larger holds more lines. It has a higher gear ratio, line capacity, and IPT as well. Sadly, it is also more expensive. 

Unfortunately, there is no information about the maximum drag. We only know that you can adjust it using the dial at the rear. 

Pros:

  • High IPT
  • Reversible handle
  • Decent line capacity
  • Durable gears 

Cons: 

  • There is no information about the drag
  • Stiff retrieve 
  • The handle loosens after some time

Zebco 33 Spincast Fishing Reel

Features: 

  • Size: 10
  • Gear ratio: 4.3:1
  • IPT: 16
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): 4
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): Up to 90/4
  • Weight (Ounces): 6.4
  • 1 Ball bearing
  • Baite alert

When it comes down to finding the best value, you can’t go wrong with the Zebco 33. It retails around 20 dollars, making it the most affordable underspin reel thus far. 

Unlike the others, the Zebco 33 has a light graphite frame. This way, Zebco manages to keep the weight down at the expense of raw power. That’s why you might notice that the reel flexes under a heavy load. Nevertheless, it is not something to worry about. 

The hole on the front cover is quite small too. It reduces the likelihood of backlashes at the expense of more friction. 

The spool holds up to 90 yards of a 4-pound test monofilament line. Zebco added a bite alert. You can activate it using the switch opposite to the drag wheel. This way, the reel produces sound as the fish takes the line out of the spool. The Zebco 33 offers up to 4 pounds of drag, which is barely enough for small fish. As expected, it is not too smooth. But you will hardly find something better at this price point. 

Pros: 

  • Great value for your money
  • Lightweight
  • Decent line capacity 
  • It has a bite alert

Cons: 

  • Stiff drag
  • The body flexes under load
  • Not suitable for long casts 

Lew’s Speed Cast Underspin Reel

Features: 

  • Size: 10
  • Gear ratio: 4.4:1
  • IPT: 16”
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): N/A
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): 125/4
  • Weight (Ounces): 6.0
  • Graphite frame and handle
  • 2 Ball bearings 
  • Aluminum cone

The Speed Cast features a graphite body and handle. This way, Lew’s managed to cut some weight, something desirable in this type of reel. 

The aluminum cone that houses the spool has a small line hole. Thus, further reducing the chances of backlashes. The line transition was surprisingly smooth during the cast. But not such much when reeling it in.

The oversized handle has a comfortable padded knob. On the other hand, the proprietary Speed Lube helps to reduce friction, allowing the handle to spin more freely. The fact that it is so large was something that we liked. It requires less effort to reel a fish, thanks to the enhanced leverage effect. 

The Speed Cast comes pre-spooled right out of the box. It holds up to 125 yards of a 4-pound test monofilament line, which is much more than the average. 

Although it comes with a drag dial, it is simply too low. Plus, it is quite difficult to adjust. Therefore, you might face some trouble setting the hook right. 

Pros: 

  • Whooping line capacity
  • Oversized handle
  • Smooth casting experience 

Cons: 

  • Mediocre drag
  • The retrieve is not as smooth as the casting

Abu Garcia Abumatic Underspin Reel

Features: 

  • Size: 10
  • Gear ratio: 3.6:1
  • IPT: 19”
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): 9
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): 110/8
  • Weight (Ounces): 9.0
  • Aluminum core

The Abumatic is a superb choice for those looking for a sturdy underspin reel. It has aluminum construction that promises to handle anything you throw at it. On the other hand, the aluminum spool holds up to 110 yards of an 8-pound test monofilament line! Plenty of capacity for panfish. 

But the Abumatic has an amazing hidden secret: The drag system. It yields a whopping 8 pounds of stopping power. Yes, it is quite a challenge to adjust. But everything should work fine once you get acquainted with the dial. In terms of operation, it is fairly smooth. We experienced some jerks from time to time. But nothing extraordinary. 

The casting and reeling are decent. The titanium nitride line guide plays a major role here. It helps with line management, reducing line twists, and keeps it moving at all times. 

In addition, two bearings and oversized gears are responsible for keeping everything running smoothly. While they get the job done, we’ve noticed that performance drops as soon as the reel gets wet; remember to dry and oil it each time. 

Pros: 

  • Smooth casting and retrieving
  • It already comes with spooled with line
  • Superb maximum drag
  • Interchangeable handle
  • Huge line capacity

Cons: 

  • The drag is not that smooth
  • Water decreases performance
  • Heavy

Keenso Fishing Reels

Features: 

  • Size: 20
  • Gear ratio: 4.4:1
  • IPT: N/A
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): N/A
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): 150/4
  • Weight (Ounces): 7.2
  • Aluminum frame
  • Stainless steel cone
  • 2 Ball bearings 

The Keenso underspin reel features an aluminum frame. The cone, on the other hand, has stainless steel built. The overall construction is strong and highly resistant to corrosion. The main problem is weight. Despite being small, it is quite bulky. 

The wide line opening allows a friction-less line release. In addition, two stainless steel ball bearings help to keep things running smoothly. 

The spool holds up to 150 yards of line, more than the average for this reel type. The gear ratio is also higher than the average, with a fast 4.4:1. 

Sadly, there is no information regarding drag and IPT. Still, what we can say is that the drag is not smooth. There are some major jerks during operation. Still, this is something to expect, given the price. 

Pros: 

  • Sturdy construction
  • Long-lasting frame
  • Smooth casting
  • Low profile

Cons: 

  • No information about the drag
  • Heavy 
  • Stiff trigger

VGEBY Fishing Reel

Features: 

  • Size: 35
  • Gear ratio: 3.6:1
  • IPT: N/A
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): 4
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): 120/8
  • Weight (Ounces): 10
  • Stainless steel frame
  • Stainless steel cone
  • 7 Ball bearings 

Although it doesn’t come from a reputable brand, this underspin reel by VGEBY is arguably the strongest model on this list. The stainless steel frame is bulky yet sturdy. The front cone uses the same material. Therefore, it is highly resistant to abrasion. 

The main problem with such a construction is the weight. The VGEBY underspin reel is remarkably heavy, weighing around 10 ounces. But there are some reasons for this besides the material.

The first is the line capacity. It holds up to 120 yards of an 8-pound test line. It is more than enough for any small to medium-sized fish that you manage to catch. Besides, you can use thicker lines if you ever need more power. The VGEBY underspin is compatible with up to 15-pound test fishing lines

Inside the reel, you’ll find seven ball bearings and a set of oversized gears. They keep things running fairly smoothly. But you do notice a significant drop in performance when the reel is under load. 

Pros:

  • Huge line capacity
  • Reversible handle
  • Durable body

Cons: 

  • Delicate trigger
  • Bulky
  • The performance drops when the reel is under load

Mr. Crappie Underspin Reel

Features: 

  • Size: 4
  • Gear ratio: 4.3:1
  • IPT: 12”
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): 6
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): 70/6
  • Weight (Ounces): 4.9
  • Aluminum frame

If you are looking for something small and affordable, then the Mr. Crappie underspin reel is the thing. Despite being made out of metal, the Mr. Crappie underspin reel feels light to the touch. Thus, it is a suitable option to complete your ultralight fishing setup.

The aluminum spool holds up to 70 yards of a 6-pound test monofilament line. You can add a few yards more if you use a thinner line. But it still sits on the low capacity side.

You can easily adjust the drag up to 4 pounds by using the dial. But don’t expect a buttery-smooth performance. Remember that we are talking about a reel that retails for less than 20 bucks. 

The release trigger sits way beneath the reel foot. It is very delicate too. So, try your best to keep the reel from falling or accidentally hit it with something. 

We were not impressed by casting and retrieving. Neither is smooth. But it gets the job done, which is the most important thing, especially for beginners. 

Pros: 

  • It already comes with a fishing line 
  • Small profile
  • Light

Cons: 

  • The casting is not smooth
  • Low line capacity

Daiwa 14 80 Underspin Reel

Features: 

  • Size: 80
  • Gear ratio: 4.3:1
  • IPT: 21.8
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): 6
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): Up to 75/8
  • Weight (Ounces): 9.2
  • 1 Ball bearing

The 14 80 is today’s last option from Daiwa. It is fairly similar to the Underspin-XD series we’ve reviewed earlier. 

The overall construction is 100% aluminum. While aluminum is better than graphite for these reels, it increases weight substantially. The good thing is that it is sturdy. 

The operation is not smooth at all. A single bearing is not enough for a reel of this size. Line capacity, on the other hand, is adequate. You can spool up to 75 yards of an 8-pound test line. Using a thinner line greatly increases capacity. Still, only do this if you are after small fishes only. 

The 14 80 comes with a 4.3:1 gear ratio and 21.8 IPT. So, it sits on the fast side. 

Pros: 

  • Sturdy construction
  • The trigger works well 
  • Decent casting

Cons: 

  • The reel is too powerful for the only bearing
  • The drag dial comes loose 

South Bend Microlight Underspin Reel

Features: 

  • Size: Single
  • Gear ratio: 4.3:1
  • IPT: 20
  • Maximum drag (Pounds): 4
  • Line Capacity (yds/lb): Up to 70/6
  • Weight (Ounces): 7
  • 1 Ball bearing

If you are about to get into the fishing world, then the Microlight underspin reel is a superb choice. It has an aluminum frame and cone. The trigger is the only thing that worries us. It looks like it will bend at a moment’s notice, thus, rendering the reel useless. 

The aluminum spool holds up to 70 pounds of line. It is nowhere near what you get on other, more expensive options. But at least it is enough for small fish. 

The Microlight already comes with a fishing line right out of the box. But remember that monofilament has a lot of memory, which might temper with casting. 

The single ball bearing is barely enough to help the small gears. The performance is smooth. But as soon as things get heavy, it drops considerably. 

Still, the reel is reliable. It will endure many years of abuse. Besides, you will hardly find something this cheap. 

Pros: 

  • Durable and reliable
  • Rust-proof build
  • It comes with a fishing line 

Cons: 

  • Flimsy trigger
  • Performance drops when the reel in under load 

What to Look for On an Underspin Reel

Choosing an underspin reel is like choosing any other kind of reel. You must take a look at materials, line capacity, handle, spool, drag, and bearings. All these features play a major role. That’s why it is crucial to understand how. And that’s what this section is for. 

Here we will talk about each one of these features. Let’s get started. 

Materials

Underspin reels are lighter and smaller than most other reel types. So, brands commonly use graphite or aluminum to make the reel

body. Some even use stainless steel. However, this is counterproductive since it increases weight substantially. Still, you gain durability and corrosion resistance. 

Now, which one is better, graphite or aluminum? Graphite is lighter and corrosion-resistant. However, carbon fiber shards are brittle. So, try your best not to drop it. 

Aluminum, on the other hand, is stronger than graphite. Sadly, it might corrode if it lacks a protective coating. Let the reel air dry after using it. 

Line Capacity

Triggerspin reels aren’t known for their impressive line capacity. They barely have enough to land most panfish. So, you might need to bring some extra spools in the event of running out of line. 

Most underspin reels usually have a 70 or 80-yard capacity. So, anything below it is not worthy. 

Bearings

Ball bearings are two concentric metal rings with balls in between. Their main duty is to transfer movement from one place to another. In theory, the more bearings, the smoother the reel will be. However, this is not always true. 

For example, if the reel comes with five cheap bearings, some will break in due time. Quality is the name of the game here. 

Thankfully, most triggerspin reels come with stainless steel ball bearings. They are cheap, durable, and smooth. However, since they are not shielded, dirt and debris might find their way inside. 

Bearing count is another thing that sets underspin reels apart from the rest. While most others have up to 15 bearings, these only bring up to three. So, try your best to find one with at least two.

Drag System 

You won’t be catching any giants with an underspin reel. So, there is no need for a drag that yields a massive maximum drag. 

Most underspin reels offer up to 6 pounds of stopping power, which is enough for panfish. 

Sadly, most, if not all, brands offer little to no information about the drag system. Sometimes they don’t even show the maximum drag. 

Front Cone

Triggerspin reels have what we refer to as a front cone. It is the metallic case that covers the spool. It has a front opening where the line comes through as you cast and retrieve. 

The front cone also reduces the likelihood of birdnest and backlashes. That’s why triggerspin reels are ideal for beginners. 

Handle

Underspin reels have small handles since you don’t need that much leverage. The important thing is to test whether it has played or not. In addition, the handle should be stiff enough to handle the pressure. That’s why you should look for aluminum or stainless steel handles. 

Underspin Trigger 

Underspin reels have a trigger that releases the spool prior to cast. The line won’t come out if you don’t activate it. Once the pressure on the trigger ceases, the spool stops completely. And that’s the biggest advantage of triggerspin reels. 

Being able to release and stop the spool greatly reduces the chances of backlashes and bird nests. Thus, making this type of reel more suitable for beginners. 

Our Top Pick: Plueger President

There is something about the President line that makes them some of the best reels on the market. And this underspin is no exception. 

It has a strong aluminum frame that is strong enough to pull any panfish out of the water. The gear ratio and IPT allow you to work the lure quickly around the weeds. But what we liked the most is how smooth this reel is. The five stainless steel ball bearings surely do a superb job transferring power in a buttery smooth manner. 

The drag system yields up to 6 pounds of drag. It is more than enough for small fish. Plus, the spool holds up to 90 yards of ]6-pound test monofilament line. In short, a truly amazing reel. You can click here to get yours. 

FAQ

What is an Underspin Reel? 

If a spinning reel and spincast reel were to marry, their offspring will be an underspin reel.

Also known as triggerspin, they sit beneath a spinning pole. But they have a close face, just like a spincast reel. The cone has a hole where the line passes through. 

Its size has a direct impact on the casting range. For example, a large hole reduces friction, thus, increasing casting distance.

They also have a trigger that releases the spool when you are about to cast. 

How to Cast An UnderSpin Reel?

Casting a triggerspin is quite simple. First, you must pull the trigger. Then swing the rod back to your head. Once you are ready, swing the rod forward while releasing the trigger at the same time. 

See, there is nothing special. However, because we know some people are more visual than others, we found this video that explains all the processes.

Why an Underspin Reel? 

Underspin reels are light, sturdy, and easy to use. Three features make them perfect for people who haven’t fished before. They can learn how to cast and maneuver the rod without worrying about birdnests. 

They are also a great option for those looking for an affordable ultralight tackle for walleye and other panfish. However, it is of little use for anything bigger. 

Can I Apply Braid on a Triggerspin Reel? 

Underspin reels are meant to be used with monofilament lines. As a result, the spools lack the necessary backing for braid. 

Yeah, you can add some monofilament for backing. However, since these reels have such a low line capacity, adding a backing is a waste of yards. 

In short, while you can add braid on triggerspin reels, we don’t recommend it. 

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I am an avid life long fisherman, having caught over 25,000 fish over the years. My life-long passion for fishing began when my father taught me how to fish at the age of ten. I started luremefish.com to share my extensive knowledge of all things fishing.

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