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Best Conventional Reel for Bottom Fishing

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updated: 12/01/2020

When it comes to bottom fishing you’ll want the best conventional reel out there. Here at ULUA.COM we love bottom fishing, especially from boats.

and after all the most common of the fishing strategies is bottom fishing. It refers to catching fish that inhabit the sea floor, especially around the reefs, wrecks, and buoys.

Here are our top choices when it comes to having the best conventional reel for bottom fishing. If you want to learn more continue reading. Otherwise, check out our table as we list some of the best conventional reels.

Here is a list of the best reel for bottom fishing

best saltwater reel for bottom fishing

PICTUREBest Conventional Reels For Bottom FishingBrandAVAILABLEPRICERATING
 Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional ReelShimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional ReelSHIMANOYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 Shimano Torium HGA ReelsShimano Torium HGA ReelsSHIMANOYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐
 Penn Squall Level Wind Reel (SQL50LW)Penn Squall Level Wind Reel (SQL50LW)PENNYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 Daiwa SGT50H Seagate Star Drag Saltwater Conventional ReelDaiwa SGT50H Seagate Star Drag Saltwater Conventional ReelDAIWAYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐
 Penn General Purpose Level WindPenn General Purpose Level WindPENNYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐
 Accurate Boss Valiant 400Accurate Boss Valiant 400ACCURATEYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 Accurate ATD PlatinumAccurate ATD PlatinumACCURATEYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 Penn JigmasterPenn JigmasterPENNYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐
 Shimano TrinidadShimano TrinidadSHIMANOYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 Accurate Valiant BV2-400-BAccurate Valiant BV2-400-BACCURATEYESCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Top 10 Conventional Reels For Bottom Fishing

The above table displays our top 10 conventional reels for bottom fishing from major top brands.

Below you will find the individual review of each of the top 10 conventional reels.

If you would like to learn more about bottom fishing and conventional reels the scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel

Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel

Powerful, light and durable, the lever drag TLD IIA reels offer 2-speed versatility, salt-resistant A-RB bearings and all the performance you can handle.

The TLD II conventional reel features include a graphite frame and side plate, ergonomic power handle, aluminum spool, and a clicker.

The shimano TLD reel is approved for use in Saltwater and rated for use with Mono, Fluorocarbon and PowerPro lines.

Shimano Torium HGA Reels

Shimano Torium HGA Reels

Shimano Torium HGA Reels were designed To create a compact rigid and powerful saltwater conventional reel with excellent castability and the durability expected by saltwater anglers.

Features Compact design using S-Compact body Power rigidity durability A key element to the new Torium reels the S-Concept Body.

Feature results in a reel that feels one size smaller in your hand plus offers durability The B side sideplate A side has the handle drag adjustment and cast control knob is all one piece.

Contributing to both rigidity and in-the-hand palming comfort EI surface treatment to improve corrosion resistance.

Giving salt no place to adhere and no chance for corrosion to start Cross Carbon drag giving the reel smother and more durable drag performance.

The ideal material for the high drag pressure setting with smoothness and consistent performance.

Penn Squall Level Wind Reel (SQL50LW)

Penn Squall Level Wind Reel (SQL50LW)

Whether drifting, chunking, sharking, or trolling, the Penn Squall 50 Level Wind Trolling Reel delivers exceptional performance in a variety of saltwater conditions.

This versatile trolling reel is built upon the legacy of the illustrious Penn GT series of reels and offers the same proven performance in a more compact package.

The durable yet lightweight graphite construction delivers exceptional reliability without adding bulk to your rod, while the robust all-metal gear train ensures smooth operation.

Additionally, the fishing reel’s HT-100 carbon fiber drag system offers a potent combination of power and smoothness, giving anglers the performance needed to conquer fierce saltwater gamefish.

And thanks to its Versa-Handle feature, this saltwater fishing reel lets anglers quickly adjust the length of the handle to perfectly suit each situation.

Daiwa SGT50H Seagate Star Drag Saltwater Conventional Reel

Daiwa SGT50H Seagate Star Drag Saltwater Conventional Reel

The Daiwa SGT50H Seagate Star Drag Saltwater Conventional Reel makes use of a corrosion-proof composite frame and side plates to house a rugged, workhorse gear train.

The aluminum spool starts fast but is kept in control by centrifugal brake system. It’s a great, all-around reel at a very reasonable price.

Penn General Purpose Level Wind

Penn General Purpose Level Wind

The 9, 209, and 309 level wind reels are legendary for their versatile performance.

Anglers worldwide have found their reliability and incredible toughness is at home anywhere – fresh or saltwater, casting or trolling.

The popularity of these reels is unwavering, even though the design and look date back to the early 1940s with a simplistic, functional, and durable reel that is extremely capable.

Accurate Boss Valiant 400

Accurate Boss Valiant 400

BV-400 and BV2-400 are built to stand up to tough challenges and the harsh marine environment.

While the walls of these reels are thinner than competitive models, their non-flexing frames and side plates enable them to withstand more stress.

Protected by this tough, durable exterior housing are the highest quality components available.

Precision-cut stainless steel gears mesh perfectly together, while seven Class-5 ABEC bearings and two ARB bearings, sealed for maximum corrosion resistance, ensure smooth, reliable operation.

Accurate ATD Platinum

Accurate ATD Platinum

The Accurate Platinum TwinDrag 2-speed reel was the very first big game reel to have drags on both sides of the spool By dispersing the drag friction over the surface of the two drag plates instead of just one.

The Twin Drag keeps pressure constant during long and drawn out battles Accurate has engineered a fishing reel that will set a totally new standard of performance for big game reels.

This is a serious offshore reel with uncompromised integrity and unfailing quality Please note All Accurate ATD models are available in Black and Silver.

Penn Jigmaster

Penn Jigmaster

The Penn Jigmaster Conventional Fishing Reel delivers exceptional performance whether you’re fishing albacore off the Oregon Coast or angling for Gulf kingfish.

A favorite among serious anglers, this versatile fishing reel features a quick take-apart feature that lets you change spools and line classes while on the water, allowing you to easily adjust your tackle based on how the fish are biting.

With its machined aluminum spool, precision-machined gears, and backlight side plates, the reel resists frame flex and provides valuable leverage when you’re fighting a hard-pulling fish.

The reel’s proprietary greased HT-100 Versa Drag system allows for multiple drag settings and remains cool in the heat of the fight.

And thanks to its counter-balanced handle and oversized paddle knobs, this conventional fishing reel allows you to crank comfortably during long, punishing battles.

Shimano Trinidad

Shimano Trinidad

Shimano Trinidad A Reels features include: High-Efficiency Gearing (HEG), X-Ship Gear Support System for enhanced Efficiency, Power and Smoothness, Dartainium II Drag.

For High Pressures and Durability, Super Free (SF) for incredible freespool and castability, E.I. Surface Treatment for extreme corrosion protection.

Ultra-Lightweight Cold Forged Aluminum Magnumlite Spool with E.I., Compact, One-Piece Cold Forged AL Frame and Left Sideplate Design with E.I.

One-Piece Cold Forged and Machined AL Right Sideplate with E.I., S A-RB (Shielded A-RB Bearings), Super Stopper with Silent Twin Pawl Assist Stopper.

Manual Metal Clutch Lever with Corrosion Prevention Pad, Adjustable Handle Shank, Lightweight Ergonomic Handle Knob.

Chrome Plated Screws, Clicker, Cold Forged AL Drag Star with Micro-Click, Metal Rod Clamp.

Approved for use in Saltwater, and Rated for Mono, Fluorocarbon, and PowerPro lines.

Accurate Valiant BV2-400-B

Accurate Valiant BV2-400-B

The Accurate Valiant series of reels has definitely made a name for itself in a relatively short amount of time Anglers have gravitated to the new line of lightweight powerful single and 2-speed reels.

For their angling needs With the introduction of the BV-300 single speed anglers saw the fit in their arsenal for this little work horse coupled with one of todays lightweight graphite Glass rods.

The 300 weighing in at 99 ounces holds 325 yds of 30 lb braid and gets 38 of retrieval per crank which with its combination of 61 gear ratio larger shaft and new torque arm equated to a little powerhouse.

For a variety of fishing West coast anglers were using them for Bluefin and Yellowfin tuna ranging from 15 to 20lb schoolie fish to 50 to 60lb breezers on both bait and jig.

Rods with a medium to fast tip and a slower backbone were a perfect fit for hanging fish and taking the pressure off the angler and putting it back on the fish.

Light Weight

The light weight of the entire combo made it way more enjoyable yet the cranking power of this small reel was amazing.

The single speed BV-300 was the closest thing to a 2-speed in the minds of many of the anglers.

The ability to wind through the rod keeping it loaded was the key and could not be possible without a more parabolic rod for the job.

We had a lot of loyal Accurate anglers using them for large weedless baits for big calicos and fishing yellows on the flats with live bait.

This reel started a buzz that has continued with the addition of the bigger sizes.

The next Valiant out of the chute was the BV-400 size which was introduced in both single and 2-speed models.

This reel was highly anticipated by the public with the loyal 400 size users looking for a lighter more powerful reel to accomplish their fishing tasks and push the envelope with the influx of new gamefish in the Southern California bight.

What Is Bottom Fishing?

Bottom fishing applies to both fishings onshore or from a boat. Fishing gear or conventional reel for bottom fishing consists of the hook, line, and sinker that can be held by hand lines or a fishing rod with a reel.

The sinker is the weight tied to the line’s end to take it down, and the hook is attached some inches up. When fishing from a boat the weight takes the line straight down to where fish are suspected to be. In onshore fishing, the weight is used to cast the line to a premeditated distance.

Bottom fishing might appear easy but skills are essential which can come only from experience.

Fish at the bottom floor have different predatory habits. The fisherman must have knowledge of which fish he is dealing with.

Then there is the current to reckon also which requires fine-tuning in anchoring or drifting the boat with least disturbance to the fish.

Depending on the size of the fish that inhabit the area the rigs can be set up. The lead singer will take the line straight down, keep it in place because currents down at the bottom of the ocean are strong, and present the bait to lure the fish to it.

Fish that take the bait will swim away but will feel resistance because of the sinker. The startled fish will bolt, sinking its mouth deeper into the hook.

Target Fish When Bottom Fishing

The target fish in bottom fishing are usually Groupers, Red Snappers, Halibuts, Bream, Sea Bass, Catfish, and other bottom feeders.

Among fish, groupers are the stationary ones, seldom chasing prey, making it an easy target for anglers.

Halibuts are flatfish that prey near the seafloor. Fishing for halibut requires settling the bait on the sea floor for some time before gently moving the rod sideways to attract a halibut.

Red snappers are great fighters that demand great skill from anglers.

The sea presents something like a watery desert, with nothing around but the wind, waves and the saltwater.

But there are places like reefs and shipwrecks which must be looked for. These locations are difficult but they present an attractive topography for fish as they are bound to have plentiful food and safety from predators.

That is why these features attract migratory species like tuna, mackerel, cobia, and others as well, making it an excellent hunting ground for the anglers to hone and test their skills and get a good catch. The wind, currents and waves and depth also play critical roles in such locations.

How to use a conventional reel

Buying a conventional reel for bottom fishing will require factoring in the size of the spool that depends on the target fish type; the weight of the reel that depends on the angler’s physical build and the budget.

Of course, personal preference also comes in to play.

Conventional reels for bottom fishing have structures that can withstand much abuse, constructed for heavy duty.

The harsh and contrasting topography of the reefs and wrecks will call for higher cranking power, heavier sinkers, longer line length, and stronger torque, properties all conventional reels possess that makes it easier to reel in the catch.

Conventional reels examples are the Shimano TLD 25, the heavier Penn International among others.

When targeting fish like snappers and groupers that weigh upwards of 15 pounds the ideal reel is one that can withstand at 25 pounds of drag and 50 pounds of line.

Top Conventional Reel Brands

Custom made gear will be a good start. Among the labeled one, the big names are Shimano Torium, Saltaiga, Trinidad, Penn, and Daiwa.

Conventional reels are the most available types with wide-ranging sizes that fit the palm to giant ones to catch big game like marlin and giant groupers. Reels also come with level wind systems or without, as per needs of the angler. Drag systems are of two types, the traditional drag system or the advanced lever drag system.

Conventional Reel Tips

To use a conventional reel you don’t cast with it. The rotating spool will feed the line out and reel it in again. Most reels nowadays come with the two-speed option with two gear ratios, the slower more powerful gear speed or faster retrieval gear speed.

When using the reel you will notice the spool brake or tension brake that slows down the speed by applying pressure through the knob on the side of the reel.

The brake must be set according to the weight of the bait so that it slows down the spool, preventing it from overrunning and tangling.

This way line and spool movement will be smooth and there will be no need of aggressive spooling out while letting the bait down.

Spool Overrun

When bait is dropped it is important not to allow spool overrun.

This is done by using thumb pressure on the lever at the top of the reel to control the speed.

As the sinker hits bottom the spool rotation needs to be stopped and engaged by applying pressure on the knob.

To get a feel of the spool speed rotation.

Using the tension brake system eases the spool rotation speed and allows great control of the reel without the use of the thumb.

Adjustments can be made on the brake according to needs of fishing vertically or by casting.

Either way, the braking system gives good control of the spool taking the weight of the work off your thumb.

The real fight comes once the fish is hooked on the bait.

The rod needs to be kept pointed down, making sure contact with the bottom is not lost.

Then the rod must be brought up straight, with a turn or two on the spool.

The fish will fight but the angler shouldn’t give even an inch of the line to the fish. Get the fish off the bottom as fast, reeling it up 10-15 feet. Then it will be game over for the fish.

Can conventional reels be used for casting?

Despite the easier spinning reel for casting.

Conventional reels have more powerful gears and great rotating spools. This is ideal for big catches which come up after a mighty fight.

Once hooked on the conventional reel the angler finds it an easy tool to handle.

It is more efficient and powerful and the angler will never turn his back on conventional gears ever, especially with gears and systems like secondary, centrifugal braking systems that allow the angler to fine-tune his skills.

Best Level Wind Reel For Bottom Fishing

You may want to check out the PENN Squall Level Wind Reel & Rod Fishing Combo.

best level wind reel for bottom fishing

So I’ve been waiting for a summary on this item to be written, for when I really got to try it out.

we got the Squall 30LW combo and took it on a deep sea fishing trip with us.

To do some snapper and grouper fishing, we went 20-25 miles out. I carried this rod for the mixer. With no issues, A adjusted the drag to completely closed.

He tried it by pulling the line with a friend and it seemed to work flawlessly. I used 60lb of mono, weighing 4oz, to get to the reef. I lowered the line and with no effort, it came off the spool. A 25 inch gag grouper was the first fish.

There was NO problem with this combo cranking up.

I eventually had to put it to the test, and put aside my fear that a decent sized fish would be treated.

The lure was taken by a 35in gag grouper and lost to this reel.

Man, I’m pleased with this combination. He treated the fish as I had hoped, not locking them up. I was able to crank without fault, even under the pressure of a good-sized trout. Throughout the war, the low wind continued to do its job.

The rod would certainly go on any potential trips with me. Anyone looking for a good combo that can accommodate this is (I believe) up to 60lb mono.

There is 20lbs of drag on the reel, and 20-50lb of line is rated for the pole.

The rod and reel both managed incredibly well under the strain with the drag locked down!

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we end this review article. Let’s look at some frequently asked questions.

What size conventional reel do I need?

For fish below 50 pounds, small traditional reels are best, which makes them ideal for many offshore species and applications. For fish in the 25- to 200-pound range, medium-sized versions excel.

How do I choose a conventional reel?

In general, traditional reels have lower gear ratios than baitcasting and spinning reels, which means the spool can crank slower but will still have higher torque for big fish to pull. With a low gear for more torque, two-speed reels provide the best of all and a high gear for quicker line recovery.

Can you cast with a conventional reel?

Yes, Did you know that the first reel designs that were developed and marketed to the public were conventional reels, so many people grew up casting them and still do so.

What is the difference between a bait caster and a conventional reel?

Truly, there’s no difference. “revolving spool” revolving spool. Those that can be cast one hand are commonly considered to be “baitcasters” which is the form used by many bass & inshore folks and typically cast with one hand rods.

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