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  • Writer's pictureNew Wave Fishing Academy

Best Muskie Bucktail Reel

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

We're in the market for a new reel specific for targeting muskie with blades, any blades, single, double, 7's through 13. We want one reel that can do it all well. If you're in the same boat we thought it would be useful to show you our decision making process to help you pick one too.

georgian bay muskie musky bucktail

The first thing we want to ensure is that we can toss bucktails all day without tiring. At certain times of the year this is all we are going to be doing and in the past it's not something we have been able to do without breaks throwing something easier. Secondly, we want to ensure that we can still get high speeds of retrieve as speed triggers bites; especially early in the year. These are really the only two requirements we have. We will still compare other spec's between reels like price point, amount of drag, and number of bearings but these are secondary to the two main requirements.

First things first. In order to easily reel in big bucktails we will need a lot of power. These blades create a ton of resistance in the water and so our reel will need this power to overcome it. This means a low gear ratio. Currently, we have been using an Okuma Komodo 463 which has an IPT of 33" and a gear ratio of 6.3:1. This is an ok reel for smaller single blades and small doubles but it becomes incredibly difficult as you get into size 9's and up. Long durations of use need to be broken up with swimbait or glide bait use to not kill your arms. So, based on this experience we are looking for a gear ratio below 6:1. After searching the market for a few options we compiled the list below:

abu garcia revo toro muskie reel

Make: Abu Garcia

Model: Revo Toro Beast T3

Power Handle: Y

Gear Ratio: 4.9:1

Line Retrieve Per Turn: 27"

Drag: 25 Lbs

Price: $330 USD

shimano tranx musky reel

Make: Shimano

Model: Tranx 401A

Power Handle: N - Aftermarket $40 USD

Gear Ratio: 5.8:1

Line Retrieve Per Turn: 30"

Drag: 22 Lbs

Price: $320 USD

daiwa prorex muskie reel

Make: Daiwa

Model: Prorex 400

Power Handle: Y

Gear Ratio: 5.3:1

Line Retrieve Per Turn: 28"

Drag: 26.5 Lbs

Price: $340 USD

daiwa lexa musky reel

Make: Daiwa

Model: Lexa TW 400

Power Handle: Y

Gear Ratio: 5.3:1

Line Retrieve Per Turn: 28"

Drag: 28.7

Price: $360 USD

okuma komodo muskie reel

Make: Okuma

Model: Komodo SS 463

Power Handle: Y

Gear Ratio: 6.3:1

Line Retrieve Per Turn: 33"

Drag: 30 Lbs

Price: $290

Note: Currently using this model

The second criteria we have is being able to achieve high speeds if we need it to trigger bites. Comparing the slowest and fastest reels on the list above we get the speeds mentioned below at various retrieve rates:

IPT: 27", 33"

RPM: 2 turn/s x 60s

Speed: 3240"/min (3 Mph), 3960"/min (3.75 Mph)

IPT: 27", 33"

RPM: 3 turn/s x 60s

Speed: 4860"/min (4.6 Mph), 5940"/min (5.6 Mph)

IPT: 27", 33"

RPM: 4 turn/s x 60s

Speed: 6480"/min (6 Mph), 7920"/min (7.5 Mph)

A higher IPT gives much higher speed on retrieve; but it is unlikely we will be able to get 4 turns/second with big blades on 33" IPT reels due to higher gear ratio. From experience we are likely only able to get at most 2-3 turns/second except with single blades. The limit of this speed is similar to 27" IPT at 4 turns/second but would also be much more work.

With the above in mind the best option for our criteria seems to be the Daiwa Prorex. While the Revo Toro Beast has a lower gear ratio it is slower making the speed requirement more challenging. On the other hand, the Tranx has a high retrieve speed but is still difficult to use big blades with (We had to consult with friends on this one).

The middle ground: Daiwa Prorex.

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