What are Big Pit Reels?

Big Pit Reels offer distance casting, extra cranking power and in the coarse fishing world are mainly used at large venues for specimen fish. They are often regarded as carp fishing reels due to these features.
It’s important to bear in mind that not all big pit reels come with a secondary baitrunner clutch. Several models rely on just one clutch such as the TFG Front Runner. It states on each reel below whether or not they have a baitrunner / freespool mechanism.

What is a baitrunner? Read our Fishing Reels Guide to find out.

For more information on big pit reels read When/Why should I use a Big Pit Reel?

Top Five Big Pit Reels

As tackle enthusiasts we’ve picked out the best big pit reels and ranked the top 5. Occasionally we are able to offer exclusive discount codes to give you free shipping or a further 10% off the products listed. Sign up to get alerted and we’ll send you a little message when this becomes available.

1.Even Shimano fans have succumbed to the beauty of our number one rated reel; the Basiair…[xrr rating=9/10]
Daiwa Tournament Basiair Reel

Big PitDaiwa Tournament Basiair

Heading up Daiwas’ Tournament range, the Basiair sets the standard for all big pit reels…

  • Air metal alloy lightweight body: Just 445 Grams
  • 8 Ball Bearings
  • 45 mm super long double anodised spool
  • QD Drag engagement
  • Infinite Anti-reverse

Price Range: £695 – £850

2.The Aero Technium has been rated number one for it’s superior casting, smooth line release and overall silky performance [xrr rating=9/10]
Shimano Aero Technium XT-B Reel

Big Pit / BaitrunnerShimano Aero Technium XT-B Pit Reel

Stunning in terms of looks and function, another Shimano masterpiece with several advanced technological features and baitrunner functionality…

  • Baitrunner Functionaility
  • 525yrds of 12lb line
  • 11 BBs
  • Gear Ratio 4.3:1
  • Cold forged spool
  • Unbelievable Distance Casting!

Price Range: £500 – £550

3.The Shimano Aero XT-A Reel holds on for second spot ensuring Shimano dominance at the top of the table…
Shimano Power Aero XT-A Baitrunner Reel

Big Pit/ BaitrunnerShimano Power Aero xt-a Reel

Shimano Big Pit Reels are known for their reliability and superb engineering making long distance casting easy, combined with the legendary Shimano baitrunner drag system…

  • Baitrunner Function
  • Gear Ratio: 4:4:1
  • 460 yrds of 12lb line
  • 7 BBs
  • 2 Aluminium spools cold forged & anodized
  • Wooden Torpedo handle grip

Price Range: £500 – £550 OUT OF STOCK
Replacement Reccomendation: Shimano Ultegra C14 XT-A

4.The Daiwa Tournament range is a close contender with Shimano’s top end big pits, and the Basia QDX is used by some of the top UK anglers
Daiwa Tournament Basia QDX Big Pit Reel

Big Pit / BaitrunnerDaiwa Tournament Basia QDX

Daiwa reels are the first choice for many anglers, with incredible range and retrieve this Daiwa big pit reel proves why, another beauty from Daiwa…

  • Capacity: 240m of 12lb line
  • Stainless steel air bail & magnesium alloy body
  • QD Drag engagement
  • 7 BBs
  • 2 line clips (high impact)
  • Infinite Anti-reverse

Price Range: £500 – £600

5.The Daiwa Windcast S makes it in to the top five big pit reels on account of it’s affordability (under £100) combined with performance [xrr rating=9/10]
Daiwa Windcast S Reel

Big PitDaiwa Windcast S Reel

The Windcast just dips in for fifth place mainly due to value for money. A very tidy reel with strong casting and smooth line lay. This reel is available in 2 sizes, along with a third model (the 5000LD) for extreme distance casting holding 530 metres of 15lb line!

  • 440 metres of 15lb line (5500 Model)
  • 4 BBs
  • Gear Ratio: 4:9:1
  • Lifetime® Bail Spring and Line guard
  • Incredible Distance Casting

Price Range: £89.99 – £99.99

Next » Read Top Big Pit Reels under £100

Big Pit Reel Brands

Most Tackle manufacturers have seen the rise in popularity of big pits and this has resulted in a massive range of reels from Daiwa, Fox, TFG, Shimano and more…

Shimano Big Pit Reels

Shimano build some of the highest quality big pit reels, combining solid construction with the latest technology. They create some of the most durable reels on the market, that won’t let you down when called into duty! One of the best is the legendary Shimano Aero Technium Reel ranked at Number 2 in our listings


Daiwa big pit reels set the benchmark for many other manufacturers. Their most popular reels include the Infinity and Tournament ranges, which come in various models and are highly regarded as some of the best big pit carp reels on the market today. The Daiwa Emblem Spod Reel is another favourite, and is a great example of the casting and retrieve ratio these reels are capable of.

TFG Big Pit Reels

TFG are a relatively new manufacturer of fishing reels , but they’ve made a reputation with their big pit carp reels. They offer some of the cheapest on the market starting at £35, and representing superb value for money in some cases. However the quality of TFG’s mechanics is sometimes questionable so bear this in mind…

Big Pit Carp Reels – The When & the Why?

When visiting a large fishery/big pit venue and long distance casting is required, you need a reel that will match the job; this has resulted in the evolvement of Big Pit Reels.

Originally big pits were designed for sea fishing, specifically for beach casting in order to launch a bait over the initial sea surf, which other reels couldn’t achieve because they didn’t have the casting power. They are now widely used in coarse angling, particularly carp fishing and many models are now labelled as big pit carp reels. Their growing popularity has lead to constant development by several manufacturers resulting in a range of big pit reels. Some of the best have been built by Daiwa but Shimano Big Pit Reels have also gained a great reputation, along with several other manufacturers.

Big Pit Reels have huge capacity spools combined with extra cranking power, often with a secondary baitrunner clutch. This means they can cast unparalleled distances, and provide greater control and power over stronger fighting fish, making big pit reels ideal for larger venues and specimen fishing. They also make effective Spod Reels due to their rapid rate of retrieve.

Essentially big pit reels are best used on large venues, where casts of over 100 yards are required, and when you are targeting larger specimen fish. This takes advantage of the casting ability, and the extra control and power that big pit reels provide.

Read the best big pit reels for under £100 »