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Often considered a classic bottom fish, grouper is one of the most popular species to go after for beginners and experienced anglers.
Regardless of whether you are pursuing a red, black, yellowfin, gag, or warsaw grouper, you will definitely enjoy the time you spend fishing for grouper.
Found from New England down to Texas and even southern portions of Brazil, the grouper is a unique fish species that has unique behavioral patterns.
As a result, you need to invest in the best grouper reel so that you can land your catch – each and every time.
How to Find the Best Grouper Reel – What to Look For
The information below will acquaint you with the most important features to look for in the best grouper reels on the market.
There are generally three different approaches used to catch grouper – you can fish straight on the bottom, you can free-line live bait, or you can troll slowly.
To bottom fish, you will need a high-quality rod and reel with a fifty-pound test monofilament line.
To fish using a live bait rig, you will need a long leader of monofilament. For the final method, you will need very heavy tackle.
It’s important that you consider which method you are most likely to use and to consider the demands each will place on your rod and reel.
Generally, when you are fishing for grouper, you will need to match the strength and ruggedness of your reel to the desired fishing tactic.
This will help you figure out how heavy-duty your reel needs to be.
If you want to engage in fast and intense fishing for grouper, you will need a six or seven-foot spinning rod coupled with a heavy reel.
Although heavy reels are not required for inshore fishing with live bait rigs, they don’t hurt.
If you are hunted for heavy grouper located offshore, you are going to need a heavier reel.
And it’s better to be over-prepared when it comes to grouper than it is to be underprepared.
The larger the fish, the larger the reel – that’s never truer than it is when you are fishing for grouper. Remember, they can weigh 100 lbs or more!
Low Gear Ratio
Another factor you will want to keep in mind is the gear ratio of your reel.
Low gear ratio usually equates with more power, and when you’re fishing for grouper, power is your paramount concern.
Make sure the reel you purchase has a low gear ratio so that you can use it for all methods of going after these fish, including inshore, offshore, and bottom fishing.
The stronger the reel, the better.
Conventional vs. Spinning
When you are fishing for grouper, you are almost always going to want to use conventional tackle.
Conventional reels will give you a serious edge over spinning reels. This is because conventional rods are positioned with the reel on top so that the line is parallel to the fish.
With a conventional rod, the reel is positioned at the top of the rod instead of the bottom. This will give you more pulling power when the grouper starts to run.
Having a line that is not parallel to your fish is not ideal for going after grouper. It makes it too difficult for you to pull the fish from the areas in which it is hiding.
Although you can easily use conventional or spinning rods to go after grouper, it might be easier for you to use a conventional rod so that you can also use a conventional reel.
This will allow you to exert more strength and precision when it comes to extracting the grouper from its hiding places.
In addition, because the grouper is a bottom-feeder, it is going to require more line to reach it.
You can do bottom fishing with a spin reel, but a conventional reel is going to hold a lot more line.
Top 5 Best Grouper Reels For 2023
Here are our top choices for the best all-round grouper reels on the market today.
Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel
This is one of the best conventional reels for fishing bottom fish of all types (but especially grouper).
Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel is durable, sturdy, and remarkably powerful.
It offers exceptional lever drag, a unique feature that should be praised for numerous reasons.
When compared with its alternative, star drag, lever drag allows you to adjust your preset drag levels more easily.
Plus, you can quickly engage the reel and adjust the drag by just flipping the thumb
The Shimano TLD has a unique design that includes a solid graphite frame as well as a side plate with an aluminum spool.
These contribute to a reel that is lightweight and smooth.
Shift gears easily with the two-speed effect of this reel and know that it has a maximum drag of 42 lbs. A 50 size reel, it has a gear ratio of 3.5:1, a ratio that is perfect for grouper.
You can also purchase it in a ratio of 1.7:1. Weighing less than 58 ounces, this reel is lightweight and comes with right hand retrieve.
It can be equipped with up to 440 yards of 80 lb monofilament line as well as PowerPro and fluorocarbon lines.
A perfect reel for bottom fishing, it can easily be used in saltwater fishing. It is a saltwater grade product that comes with four separate ball bearings that are rust resistant.
With a quick retrieval rate and a line capacity that is far beyond what you could ever need or want, the Shimano TLD is one of the best grouper reels for you to consider.
- Easy to maintain with smooth drag
- Durable and corrosion-resistant
- Has a low gear ratio
- Knob is made out of breakable plastic
Penn Squall LevelWind
Penn is known for producing remarkable and durable reels – and if you’re familiar with the Penn GT series, you probably already have heard of the Penn Squall.
A slight upgrade to the Penn Squall series, this reel is not only robust but it’s also durable.
It has line capacity rings for added convenience, allowing you to determine quickly how much spool line you have.
The Penn Squall Level Wind is corrosion resistant as it is designed for saltwater. It has a graphite body and side plate along with a spool of aluminum.
Lightweight and strong, this powerful conventional reel is perfect for grouper along with other bottom fish and predatory species.
It offers a silky-smooth drag with its patented HT-100 drag system – its max drag is 20 lb.
Don’t worry about fighting big fish with this reel – you’ll be able to hold it together as the tough drag washers keep their cool each and every time.
The gears are made out of durable marine grade bronze alloy.
The reel has two stainless steel bearings as well as an anti-reverse system. Its gear ratio is just 4.0:1 and the reel can be used with either mono or braided capacity line.
- Corrosion-resistant and perfect for saltwater use
- Has a large spool capacity
- A versatile and strong reel
- Single-speed reel
Penn US Senator Casting Reel
The name says it all – this reel is a true leader when it comes to fishing for grouper.
You aren’t limited just to grouper when you use this reel, however, as it can also be used for other bottom fish or large species, too.
Built with a solid aluminum frame, this reel is strong, and resists rust and corrosion. It also has stainless steel components.
The Penn US Senator also has the HT 100 drag system, providing you with all the fishing power you might need.
It can easily land fish past 50 lbs, offering power and user-friendly design.
The reel has an aluminum spool and six stainless steel bearings. It has a power handle that is comfortable to use and easy to hold along with reversible harness lugs.
The gears of this reel are quite large, giving you some serious pulling power. It has a durable gear train and is machine framed, making it more resilient and perfectly aligned.
Best for saltwater this versatile reel has additional bonus features available.
You can add a backlight side plate, for instance, to make it perfect for commercial use. It’s even made in the United States.
- Great for hobby or commercial use
- Excellent for saltwater use
- Has six stainless steel bearings
- Upscale option not designed for beginners
Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Saltwater Reel
Daiwa has a reputation for producing some of the best and most rugged saltwater reels. This corrosion-resistant reel for grouper is no exception.
Known as the Saltiga Lever Saltwater Reel, this product has six separate corrosion-resistant ball bearings.
You won’t have to worry about replacing any ball bearings any time soon, even when you fish daily in saltwater.
It’s also highly responsive to your touch, making it an easy-to-use reel for beginners. It has exceptional speed and power with its one-touch gear shift system.
It also has a machined aluminum frame and plate that make it super strong and resistant even to being dropped!
The Daiwa reel has infinite anti-reverse and a machined aluminum spool. The rod clamp is also made out of machined aluminum.
It has a precision ratchet feature for anti-reverse and a gear ratio of 6.3:1 or 3.1:1, depending on which option you purchase.
With comfortable, ergonomic handles, this reel is a clear winner when it comes to the top grouper reels out there.
- Several sizes and gear ratios available
- Massive stainless steel cut for smooth winding and awesome power
- Corrosion-resistant bearings
- Only comes in a right-hand version
Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel
The Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel has plenty to offer both experienced and novice anglers.
Okuma is the manufacturer of a wide variety of spinning reels, including the C10, C40, and the C30.
If massive grouper is what you’re after, look no further than this reel.
Go for the largest size when it comes to purchasing this reel, which is available in several sizes.
It performs well on fresh and saltwater, offering greater versatility and strength than some of the smaller models.
This reel can be used for both inshore and offshore fishing, but it is best for inshore saltwater fishing. A highly capable reel, it can hold a ton of monofilament or braided line.
If you’re looking for a fantastic fishing experience, look no further than the Okuma Ceymar Reels.
They have sleek designs featuring machined aluminum and an eight-bearing drive system.
This reel has a bail wire made out of heavy aluminum along with an oversized line roller, giving you excellent performance for long term use.
Its rotors are computer balanced so that the reel spins well even at high speed – no annoying wobble here.
The forged aluminum handle will give you ultimate control over your reel, while the custom EVA handle knobs are surprisingly comfortable for hours of use.
This reel is powerful without being bulky, featuring a powerful, multi-disc drag system and machine cut brass pinion gears.
Take it out on the water without worry – it has a corrosion-resistant blade body design and comes with a one-year limited warranty for added security.
- Comes with a manufacturer’s warranty
- Reduces bulk and maximizes efficiency
- Comes with a comfortable EVA handle
- Some users cite problems with the retrieve
Why You Need a High-Quality Grouper Reel
The grouper is known for being a very solitary species of fish – but that doesn’t mean you’re on your own when it comes to fishing for grouper.
Hopefully, this article makes you feel less alone when it comes to investing in the best grouper reel for your needs.
Once you have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision, all that’s left is to master the craft of fishing for grouper.
Whether you’re fishing by slow trolling, free lining live bait, or just straight bottom fishing, grouper are incredibly fun to catch.
Enjoy the process even more with the right gear we’ve recommended for you!