There are some really great Centerpin reel out there and some not so great Centerpin reels that you should avoid. Using one of our guide recommended best Centerpin Reels can make all the difference and help you catch more fish.
As many will already know I have been Centerpin fishing for over 30 years and have been a fishing guide for over 20 years. I have tried dozens of Centerpin reels from mass-produced Centerpin reels to custom one of a kind Centerpin reels.
Quite often I’m giving my guide clients and my friend’s advice on the best Centerpin reels that I have used and this is where I give you that same great advice.
5 Best Centerpin Reels
Let me just say that I have been on the Pro Staff for Raven Tackle for many years and I choose Raven because they had just about all the Centerpin stuff that I needed in one company and because they specialized in Centerpin Fishing, and their products and their service have been excellent.
Because of this, you may see a lot of Raven products on my pages, but, I am no longer on any company Pro Staff ( by my choice ) so now I can freely and honestly give you my opinions on any brand or any Centerpin reel that I want to.
Raven Matrix Centerpin Reels
When talking about the best Centerpin Reels available you know Raven is going to get a good mention.
I have used the Raven Matrix Fully Ported Centerpin Reels for a few years now and I have 4 that I use for guiding and personal use. I am very familiar with and very impressed with this reel.
This is an incredibly smooth and lightweight reel and a pleasure to fish with and my clients love it.
I would consider this Centerpin reel to be the best all-around reel for just about any river and it’s come with an affordable price.
The MXRFPT model is the reel that I use and is the reel that I most recommend to my clients and friends.
If you are looking for the best Centerpin reel at a great price and one that is suitable for most rivers from the east coast to the west coast, then this is the reel for you.
Best High End Reel
Kingpin Zeppelin Centerpin Reels
Some of my clients and friends have brought this reel out and it is one of the nicest reels I have used. Kingpin has a huge following with Centerpin anglers for good reason.
The Kingpin Zeppelin Centerpin Reel provides the smoothest casts compared to others on the market today.
It was designed through precision engineering, utilizing incredible details and performance. This reel is constructed of high-grade aluminum and finished with a durable, scratch-resistant, anodized coating.
I would consider this Centerpin reel to be the best High-End reel for those guys that want the best non-custom made reel.
It comes in a bunch of really cool looking colors too.
Islander Centerpin Reels
I have called this the workhorse of Centerpin reels for years because this reel is solid and durable and keeps on going even after thousands of steelhead landed.
For years and years, this reel has been one of the most popular Centerpin reels and considered the best Centerpin reel by many veteran Centerpin anglers.
It’s heavier than some other reels but that’s what some guys like about it. It feels solid and some say they like the heavier spool for reeling in the line better.
If you are looking for a solid Centerpin reel that is really smooth than this is the best Centerpin Reel for you.
Raven T-5 Centerpin Float Reel
This is possibly one of the nicest Centerpin Reels Raven has ever produced and I think it fishes and feels as good as reels that are over $300 dollars more.
It is incredibly smooth, cast great, and looks great too.
If you want a very high-end reel at a middle-of-the-line price this is the best Centerpin reel for you.
Best Economy Reel
Sheffield Centerpin Reels
This may be an economy reel but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. For the price, it’s a great Centerpin reel.
When I owned my tackle store I put 6 different brands of Centerpin Reels on the counter and spun them all and this one spun longer than Centerpin reels in the $500 to $700 range.
This reel is so good for the price that I guided with 3 of them for a few years with no problems, and that is why I feel very comfortable recommending this reel to anyone looking for a Centerpin reel that’s not going to break the bank.
This is the best Centerpin reel for under $200 dollars.
Cheap Centerpin Reels – My Warning
Now I was thinking about recommending the Okuma Aventa as the best economy Centerpin reel and it is a really good reel for even cheaper, but for the extra $30.00 I think the Sheffield is well worth it.
I have guided clients with the Okuma Aventa and it worked perfectly and it is the lowest priced reel that I would recommend.
I have guided clients that showed up at the river with reels in the $150 and under price range and almost all were just crap!
Some felt clunky, some had rough edges, some didn’t spin smoothly, some had a gap between the spool and the base so big that the line kept getting stuck behind and in the gears and damaged the line and even caused fish to be lost. Don’t be fooled by the knock-offs and junk.
Do yourself a favor and avoid the hassles of cheap no-name and some brand-name Centerpin reels under the $150 price range.
Bearings Versus Bushings
Some of my clients have brought out custom reels with bushings instead of bearing and I spent half the morning trying to figure out what was wrong with the reel before I was told that it’s a bushing reel. For the rest of the day, we spent spinning the reel with one hand to keep it moving and finally switched over to one of my reels.
Bushings are not as smooth as bearing and although some anglers on some talk forums rant and rave about them I do not recommend them. They SUCK in slower water!
The idea is that bushings are great in fast water because it helps slow the line down, which helps control the float speed which is very important (see why HERE) but with practice, you can easily do this with your fingers on a bearing reel. There’s a reason why all the best Centerpin reel brands use super high-quality bearings. A good bearing reel will work in fast and slow water.
Custom Reels Verus Brand Name Reels
I’m not going to say that custom reels are better or worse than big brands like Raven, Kingpin, or Islander reels but….
The problem with custom reels is that you could be getting a beautiful custom one of a kind and very expensive reel which is great but what happens if that guy making it out of his garage disappears in a year or two or decides not to answer his emails or phone calls or becomes ill or dies. If you need repairs or parts you may be out of luck and I have seen this happen with custom rods and custom reels so be careful if you are considering this option.
The bigger brands are a safe bet, and they sell lots of reels, have good customer service and support, and probably aren’t going out of business anytime soon, so I always recommend brand name Centerpin reels for that reason.
Best Float Fishing Line
Some lines are just not that good for float fishing and for Centerpin Reels. Make sure that you check out our post on the Best Float Fishing Lines where I tell you what lines I use and recommend to all my clients.
I also provide advice with setting up your reel properly which will help you with your casting, and with controlling your float, and with fighting fish.
Centerpin Fishing For Beginners
If you are new to Centerpin fishing or even if you have been trying it for years I provide great step by step and some advanced advice on Centerpin fishing on my Centerpin Fishing For Beginners Page.
There I provide you with my 3 most critical things that I tell all my clients, and that all Centerpin anglers must know to maximize the amount of fish they catch.
Some of the advice I provide on that page even some anglers who have fish for over 10 years still don’t know about or do well, and it’s the reason why I say 7 out of every 10 Centerpin anglers aren’t very good and still struggle to catch fish.