An Introduction to Big Pit Reels ~ To Big Pit or not to Big Pit?

A little bit of history on Big Pit Reels, where they came from, their evolution from sea into coarse fishing tackle, how they’re used and why they are so effective..

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Big Pit Reels were originally used for sea fishing, but the evolution of carp fishing has led to their explosion on the coarse fishing scene, becoming extremely popular specimen carp reels. They have become a major focal point of development for manufactures, resulting in an ever expanding range of Shimano and Daiwa Big Pit Reels along with many others, constantly racing for the newest technology, advanced features and ability.

Daiwa Basiair - Rated Best Big Pit Reel

The Daiwa Basiair has been rated Best Big Pit Reel but you’ll have to dig deep into your pockets for this one!

The size difference between big pit reels and standard coarse fishing reels is easily noticable, they are often much heavier as a result and reducing these reels so they are more lightweight and compact is certainly a key area for development within manufacturers. However other than this, what else can companies optimise on these reels and what is it that big pit reels can achieve that the others can’t?

Well the first factor to consider is the size in terms of spool capacity. A normal match reel can averagely spool 140 yards of 8lb line (equivalent to about 140 metres of 4lb line) adequately cope with the roles this type of reel needs to fulfill in a match fishing situation. Standard Baitrunner Reels on the other hand can normally spool more line than Match Reels in order to handle the potentially more vigorous roles it is expected to play. Big Pit Reels sit on the larger end of the spectrum, designed to hold copious quantities of line, which can double or even triple the spool capacity of some baitrunner reels! A good example of these huge capacity pit reels is the Daiwa Windcast which holds 440 metres of 15lb line!

There is not a specific capacity to signal the changeover from a normal spool to a big pit spool size, and it’s not expected that every reel with a large line capacity will be labelled a big pit reel, but it’s certainly becoming more common. After taking the capacity readings big pit spools and other types of smaller reel spools, the changeover between different reel types appears roughly when over 320 yards of 10lb line can be spooled onto the reel; it can then be labelled a big pit reel. It is also important to realise that even though big pit reels are largely used as specimen carp reels they do not all have a baitrunner / free-spool function. Several Big Pit Carp Reels rely on their front drag systems to tighten and loosen the clutch for the purpose of runs and playing the fish. However most come with an inbuilt baitrunner function and you can purchase baitrunner conversions for some models.

As a result of the increased spool capacity, big pit reels are often capable of greatly outcasting many other reels, which can be a huge advantage on some venues, but the ultimate casting ability of these reels comes down to the specific reel model. Furthering this the more competent the angler the further they will be able to cast! Along with a greater control and cranking power over fighting fish, these big pits also retrieve line at a faster ratio than other reels. Famed for its retrieve ratio the renown Daiwa Emblem Spod Reels can take in over 120cm of line on every revolution of the handle which is truly impressive! This pertinent characteristic presents some big pit reels as ideal for spodding work with the ability to quickly and efficiently lay a bed of bait over a specific location in a lake, pit or other fishing venue. This has resulted in many big pit style reels such as the Emblem (mentioned above) being designed with spodding in mind.

The impact and popularity of these reels in the carp and coarse fishing scene has led to their increased production, resulting in a superb variety of these type of reels on the market, with a massive range in price varying from as little as £30 to several hundreds of pounds, making choosing a reel challenging. These are some key factors to take into consideration when choosing big pit reels:

  • Which venues you are going to fish? The size of the lakes, pits, or rivers you are fishing, are vital to take into consideration when deciding whether there is any need for a big pit reel, or if a standard spool sized reel will suffice?
  • The size of the fish you are hoping to catch- come on now be realistic! Many anglers believe that the control and extra power brought by big pit reels might just be the difference between landing that monster and letting it wrap you around that snaggy tree!
  • Your angling expertise level and frequency of fishing? This should help you determine whether you need to splash out on a big pit reel that will last for years with constant use, or whether to stick with a more budget reel that will serve a slightly less intense purpose.

Naturally anglers hold different opinions over which companies produce superior fishing reels. Many are faithful to just one trusted brand, but there are a range of manufacturers nowadays producing superb fishing reels to a very high standard. Perhaps at the peak of prices and performance remain Daiwa and Shimano big pit reels for good reason, but TFG and Okuma have developed confidently and now offer a great range of affordable, budget big pit stylereels. Whatever reel you decide on, we at Carp Fishing wish you all the best, and hope it rewards you with that monster fish!

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