What are Baitrunner Reels?
Baitrunner reels have a secondary clutch which allows fish to pick up a hookbait and swim away freely, hooking themselves in the process. This makes them ideal as specimen/carp reels. The term baitrunner was coined by Shimano, and these types of fishing reel are also commonly referred to as free runner or freespool reels. Find out more on our Fishing Reels Explained Page »

Top 5 Baitrunner Reels

1.The Shimano XT-RB has built upon and refined earlier Shimano Baitrunners to produce an uncompromising new model for an affordable price… [xrr rating=9/10]
Shimano Baitrunner XT-RB Reels

BaitrunnerShimano Baitrunner XT-RB Fishing Reel

This recent edition to the Shimano baitrunner range boasts an improved 2 speed oscillation system for perfect line lay, reduced weight, and comes supplied with a free spool of Shimano line

  • Hybrid aluminium body for strength
  • Double Handle
  • Additional cold forged spool
  • Free Shimano Line

Price Range: £119.99 – £160 View Prices

2.The Shimano Baitrunner DL sneaks second place with Shimano’s unquestionable reliability finished with midnight blue and gun metal grey aesthetics[xrr rating=9/10]
Shimano Baitrunner DL Reel

BaitrunnerShimano Baitrunner DL

The DL baitrunner reel is available in several sizes varying from 140yards / 6lb line » 430yrds / 12lb line, with faultless line lay and a silky smooth baitrunner clutch

  • 3 Shielded BBs
  • Double Handle
  • Super Stopper II & Shimano’s Power Roller

Price Range: £65 – £75 View Prices

3.The Shimano Baitrunner ST fishing reel has a legendary status, being quite possibly the most popular branded baitrunner on the market due to it’s performance and price [xrr rating=8/10]
Shimano Baitrunner ST Reel

BaitrunnerShimano Baitrunner ST Reel

Equiped with the XT7 spool, the Baitrunner ST is a hardy and reliable reel proven over the several years it has been on the market. This reel sets the benchmark for value for money

  • 2 Models: 6000: 265yrs / 12lb line | 1000: 430yrds / 12lb line
  • Double Handle
  • 5 BBs
  • Gear Ratio: 4:6:1

Price Range: £54.99 – £69.99 View Prices

4.TFG has teamed up with Dave Lane (carp angler) to produce one of the best specimen/carp reels in their range; the Speedrunner [xrr rating=8/10]
TFG/Dave Lane SpeedRunner FreeSpool

BaitrunnerTFG Dave Lane SpeedRunner Free Spool Reel

The SpeedRunner freespool reel hasn’t been on the market long, but it’s received some solid reviews from us and other anglers. This reel makes it into 4th spot in lieu of it’s half price cost which is regularly available from Fishtec

  • 10 Ball Bearings
  • Long Distance Spool – Impressive Casting Ability
  • Micro Adjustable Drag
  • Precision Engineered Gears

Price Range: £49.99 – £99.99 View Prices

5.OKuma offer fantastic value for money backed up more than often with a 5 year guarantee for peace of mind. [xrr rating=8/10]
Okuma Interceptor Baitfeeder

BaitrunnerOKuma Interceptor Baitfeeder Reel

The Interceptor is a worthy runner up in 5th place, competing with the Shimano ST on best value for money. This newer model from Okuma has built upon and improved an existing design to deliver a quality baitrunner reel

  • 1 Ball Bearing
  • Dual Balanced Handle
  • Micro-adjustable baitfeeder drag
  • Alluminium Spool with spare Graphite Spool

Price Range: £29.99 – £39.99 View Prices

The Evolution of Baitrunner Reels

As the style and nature of fishing for carp and specimen fish has evolved so too has the fishing reel….

It’s resulted in the now widely appreciated baitrunner reels, also known as freespool or free-runner reels. Baitrunner reels allow carp (or other large fish) to pick up the bait, and swim away freely, ideally hooking themselves in the process.

This fishing technique has become extremely successful and would not be as possible without the invention of baitrunner reels. The range and price of baitrunners varies dramatically, particualrly within big pit reels. We have shortlisted the best baitrunners between £30 and £160. There are second hand baitrunners widely available but partly due to the additional engineering within baitrunner reel mechaisms, we advise purchasing new.

The Brands
Shimano have a strong prominence in the baitrunner reel world, and have built a dedicated customer base through their high performance baitrunner reels. Once again they dominate the top 5 in this years round up of the best.