Shimano's Baitrunner reel offers spin anglers a free spool feature which allows the user to leave the reel out of gear while a large fish swims off with the bait. When you think the fish has the bait, turn the handle and your reel is in gear. The Baitrunner comes in three sizes from 13.5 to 21.7 ounces and retails for $160 to $180.
The Stradic model offered by Shimano comes in seven sizes, and the lighter models let you fish all day long without tiring. These smooth-operating reels weigh 7.4 to 21 oz. and are priced from $160 to $200.
Shimano's line of Stella reels is made for the serious angler. The Stella can take a beating on the beach, and the largest of the six sizes can handle giant tuna offshore. The Stella ranges from 14.3 to 30.2 oz. and retails from $790 to $1,000.
Shimano offers several low-profile bait casting reels which are well suited for casting light lures.
The Curado weighs 7.6 to 10.6 oz. features a maximum drag of 15 pounds. Available in five sizes, the Curado costs $180 to $250 and is a lot of reel for the money.
The super light Chronarch comes in three models, each weighing just 7.6 oz. and priced at $300. The CH100D5 is built with a 5:1 gear ratio, while the CH100D7 and CH101D7 have a 7:1 gear ratio. The difference between the two reels is the CH101D7 is the left-handed model.
The Calais is the top bait casting model offered by Shimano. Priced at $400 and offered in five different styles, the Calais is built with 10 ball bearings and one roller bearing and has zero back play at the handle. The Calais comes in four different gear ratios, from 5.8:1 to 6.2:1, and includes one left-handed model.
The Shimano Calcutta has been the go-to reel for anglers for many years. With 10 Calcutta models priced at $200 to $300, there is something for everyone. Maximum drag capabilities range from 7.5 to an eye-popping 16.5 pounds.
The Cardiff is an inexpensive, but good quality, conventional reel. With six models priced between $110 and $120, the Cardiff is a good all-purpose inshore reel.
Shimano improved on their Calcutta with the TE edition. The CalcuttaTE comes in 11 models priced from $350 to $410. The big brother of the standard Calcutta, the TE is made to the tightest tolerances possible, and the frame is drilled wiffle-ball style to keep weight to a minimum.
Article Written By Stephen Byrne
Stephen Byrne is a freelance writer with published articles in "Nor'East Saltwater," "Sportfishing" magazine, "Pacific Coast Sportfishing" and "Salt Water Sportsman." As a fishing charter captain, he was also interviewed for a feature in "Field and Stream." Byrne studied environmental science at the State University of New York at Delhi.