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Most of us would love a bottomless fishing budget to stock our fishing kit with the most expensive fishing reels.
But the question remains; will fishing with the most expensive reels enable us to catch more fish, better fish, and bigger fish?
Maybe, in some circumstances. These days, reels in the $200 to $400 categories are incredibly capable.
In many circumstances, they’re equally capable of landing the same fish as the most expensive reels available.
So what do we get when we spend $600, $800, or $1000 plus on a fishing reel?
What’s the difference between the most expensive reels available and every other reel the budget-conscious use each weekend?
Let’s closely look at the most expensive reels and their place in fishing.
What Are The Differences Between Low Priced and The Most Expensive Fishing Reels in the World
Answering this question with a full and thorough explanation would require many pages. We’re not going down that rabbit hole, tempting as it may be.
On its most basic level, however, the differences are quite simple. The differences between the two are the quality of materials, design, and engineering.
Further to this, reels across the price spectrum will have lists of features.
Features lists go from very basic bare-bones componentry to reels loaded with highly advanced proprietary technologies.
For example. The $20 Shimano IX 4000 is made of basic molded graphite, has no bearings, (bushes only) with a rudimentary drag system.
It lists the Quick Fire II casting system as its only significant feature.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Shimano Stella FK 4000. It has a list of nearly all Shimano’s flagship technologies, 13 bearings, and full alloy construction.
Both reels are 4000 size. However, the results against a battle with a 25-pound GT would be vastly different.
Such a fish would be hard work with the very expensive FK. However, in skilled hands, this precision high-performance reel would prevail.
The Shimano IX would not fare so well. It’s very likely, however, that the reel would be destroyed on the first run.
The heat alone would make mincemeat of the IX internals whereas the FK would be ready to back up for another fish of the same caliber.
This example was to provide an illustration only. While the reels are, by and large, the same size, the IX was never designed to tackle such a fish.
The FK 4000 exceptional design and construction give qualities that will stand up to the power of a rampant 25-pound GT.
Generally speaking, the most expensive reels can handle the toughest of environments and the toughest fish, backing up session after session for years.
In this case, the most expensive reel will help you catch more fish.
And while you will have to maintain it, you won’t have to replace it for a long time, if ever.
The most expensive reels will endure. It’s easy to make a clear distinction between the cheapest and most expensive.
When we compare mid to upper mid-priced reels, the differences between the most expensive reels get considerably greyer.
What are the Most Expensive Fishing Reel Brands in the World?
The flagship reels from Shimano and Daiwa are the most expensive. Their Stella and Saltiga are household fishing names and represent the pinnacle of spinning reels.
Those same brands are used for the most expensive baitcasters, overhead, and game reels as well. Their electric reels break the $3000 mark.
In the fly world, both Orvis and Shilton see prices punching well over the $1000 mark. Ber Float center pin reels offer models that also beat 1000 bucks.
There are other manufacturers with top-shelf performance fishing reels. But these brands cover the most expensive bracket.
What Should You Look for When Choosing The Highest Quality Reel?
First and foremost, any reel assessment should be led by its suitability for purpose. This is the first step regardless of price.
When you’re looking at the most expensive reels it’s prudent to check the warranty. For reels of this caliber, warranties of 10 years are standard.
When you’re paying such hefty prices, you should expect the manufacturer to stand by the product with substantial warranties.
A reel of the highest quality should have a substantial feature list that includes the manufacturer’s most advanced technologies.
Synthetic materials, carbon/graphite, and plastics should be minimal or absent.
Bodies, rotors, and spools should be constructed only with high-tech alloys or magnesium.
Expect bearing counts of 10 or more – they should be shielded and corrosion-resistant.
There should be dedicated water ingress mitigation and extensive sealing. This includes water phobic coatings and corrosion protection coatings.
By and large, the most expensive reel will have superior drag and spool capacities. This is not always the case, especially in reels sized 2500 and under.
However, above these sizes, expect substantial core battle powers.
Some enthusiasts dismantle reels when new, then do it again after several months of heavy use.
Of course, you should do your due diligence and research feedback from users. Pay attention to those who do reel breakdowns.
These boffins, who are often engineers, give excellent insights into performance and durability.
The 5 Most Expensive Fishing Reels
Last update on 2022-08-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. The Shimano Stella
The Shimano Stella SW and the Shimano Stella FK are the flagship spinning reels of the Shimano stables.
The SW is a saltwater legend designed for surf, rock, offshore, and game fishing. Sizes start at 4000 through to the massive 30000.
The SW is designed for tackling everything from dogtooth tuna to marlin, sharks, sailfish, and more.
The Shimano FK is primarily an inshore design. The sizes start at 1000, topping out at 5000 which has a wide range of applications.
The smaller reels are tournament-grade high performers. They’re perfect for everything from bass to trout.
The larger models, 4 and 5000 deliver beach and rock access and are well placed for tackling the largest of freshwater species.
2. Daiwa Saltiga Spinning Reels
Daiwa Saltiga fishing reels are the flagship offering from Daiwa. A direct competitor to the Stella, there is great rivalry between the pinnacle reels from the Japanese fishing legends.
The Daiwa sizing system, while using the same number codes, isn’t really equivalent to the Stella.
If making selections between the two, it’s a good idea to check the specs and even handle them first.
Saltiga sizes start at 8000, topping out at 20000. The 20000 is a big reel designed for tackling the ocean’s biggest, most powerful fish.
Like the Stella, the Saltiga is designed for handling the toughest of conditions, fishing the surf, rocks, and the blue water.
Targets include sharks, marlin, GTs, sailfish, and the big powerful tunas including bluefin, yellowfin, and dogtooth
The Saltiga is jam-packed with Daiwa’s leading technologies.
It’s designed not just to tackle the ocean’s toughest but to do it session after session for a lifetime of power fishing.
3. PENN International 130VIS
The PENN International fishing reel is possibly the most famous game reel there is.
Historically, the international has been seen as the king of all reels and has held countless game fishing records around the world.
In many respects, PENN International has maintained its prestige, even though the all-American PENN company structure has changed radically since its historical dominance.
The 130VIS is a monster of a fishing reel. It’s designed for trolling for the blue water’s biggest trophies, and its specifications are phenomenal.
The sophisticated drag systems deliver 100 pounds of max drag pressure. This is why an angler must be strapped to a game chair for battle.
Its spool holds a whopping 3085 yds of 200lb braid. Just these stats alone provide an indication of the power this reel packs – and the power of the fish it battles.
One of the biggest developments in the International range is the weight reductions that have been achieved.
The use of aircraft-grade alloys keeps 130VIS under 5 kilograms.
This is an astonishing achievement considering the size and weight of the stainless steel gear systems.
4. Daiwa Exist
The Daiwa Exist is a high-performance inshore spinning reel. It’s Daiwa’s answer to the Stella FK and is constructed from the lightest yet strongest materials available.
Sizes start at 2000 and top out at 5000. There are two or more options for each size, with your selection determined by the preferred gear arrangement or ratio.
While compact, these reels are very powerful, with strong drag systems and capacious spools.
If you go for the larger, 4000, and 5000 sizes, you can target the largest of inshore species and targets from sea walls, surf, rocks, and nearshore targets.
Daiwa’s Magseal is present in several locations. While not waterproof, it’s highly water-resistant and designed to handle tough, wet conditions season after season.
Again, durability and the resilience to back up session after tough session is a key feature.
With appropriate maintenance, the Exist will outlast you and be in excellent condition when you pass it on to your kids.
The Exist has one of the best power-to-weight ratios available.
Balanced with an equally high-performance rod, an Exist combo will feel more like an extension of your arm. This is as good as it gets.
5. Daiwa Marine Power 3000 Electric Reels
The MP 3000 belongs in a pretty niche category. This is one of the top expensive game reels designed for taking the ocean’s largest fish from the deepest locations.
While you can use the 1.7 gear ratio to crank your heart out, you can also use its electric capacity to take the strain away.
- Machine-cut aluminum frame, sideplates and spool. Powerful, machined stainless steel gear drive
- 24 Volt System, Momentary winding power = 198 lb, Max winding power = 53lb
- 16 Bearing System ( 1MBB + 1CRBB + 14BB), Magsealed ball bearing (MBB)
- Daiwa’s unique Power Lever for instant control of winding speed and power. Digital readout measures line let out and distance retrieved from the bottom. Programmable Auto Stop feature stops winding when lure reaches the surface
Last update on 2022-08-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The MP 3000 is packed with 16 bearings. I don’t think there’s another that comes close. It will take 1000 yards of 150-pound braid.
Couple this to 90 kilograms of drag, and you’re equipped to wrestle deep ocean dinosaurs.
While this is a precision-powered reel, there’s a considerable level of advanced electronics and computation that manages the automated features.
This accounts for a significant amount of the cost, as does the sealing and other protections that keep sophisticated electronics free of water and impact damage.
The MP 3000 is all about heavy-duty fishing. It’s suitable for trolling and ideally suited for dropping the largest of dead and live baits for massive trophy predators.
One of the great plus sides to the Daiwa Marine Power 3000 is that it allows anglers with disabilities and physical incapacities to fish for the ocean’s biggest fish.
Catching monsters requires incredible strength and endurance.
The automated electronic features of the MP 3000 open up big fish opportunities to those who might otherwise miss out.
While not for everyone, or everyone’s budget, this is an amazing piece of fishing technology we’re likely to see grow in popularity in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Most Expensive Reel That You Can Buy?
The Daiwa Marine Power 3000 Electric Reel is available for approximately around $3500. Prices will vary depending on the supplier.
It doesn’t get any more expensive than this. As stated earlier is a pretty niche market, so it’s not being manufactured in the same numbers as your average KastKing.
There is an exception to this top-of-the-tree price point. Reels deemed collector’s items can go for considerably more.
For example, the Hardy Hotspur Cascapedia reel No 001 was sold for £55,000.
This sale is frequently quoted and is not indicative of its miraculous construction or magical fish-catching properties.
What is the Best Fishing Reel in the World?
My honest opinion is that the best fishing reel in the world is any fishing reel that will assist you in reliably catching fish.
I expect plenty of wily old anglers who will agree %100.
Furthermore, the best reel in the world is the one that best covers your fishing applications.
Is there an outright best reel in the world? I don’t think so. There’s certainly a heap of brilliant reels I’d love to own and own already.
I have my favorites for different reasons. However, most of these reasons are subjective. I tend to think any assertion that this or that reel is the best is a subjective opinion.
Do More Expensive Reels Help Catch More Fish?
In some cases, this might be the case. Take an entry-level 8000 spinning reel and an 8000 Saltiga.
Now put them up against 100 pounds of yellowfin. I can tell you for sure that you’ll want the Saltiga.
With the most expensive reels versus the least expensive in the big fish battles, the most expensive will help you catch more fish.
With small fish, this is unlikely to be the case. I challenge a Daiwa Exist to catch more whiting than a Shimano Sienna.
There are over 750 dollars between the reels, but the Exist won’t catch more fish.
There is a strong argument that the Exist would last longer, therefore catching more fish over its lifetime.
For the average recreational angler, selecting the most expensive reel, thinking it will catch them more fish, is probably the wrong approach to reel purchases.
Why Are Stella Reels So Expensive
A Stella has all of Shimano’s most advanced spinning reel technologies. It’s constructed (generally speaking) from superior materials.
It also has far more exacting tolerances and power for weight. It’s more refined, more versatile, stronger, and more powerful than the average fishing reel.
These differences make up the bulk of the expense, however, there is no doubt an exclusive brand premium.
The Stella won’t be made in anywhere near the same numbers as cheaper reels that are targeted to rank and file anglers.
Therefore there’s likely a higher markup on each unit.