The Best Shimano Baitrunner Buyers Guide

Best Shimano Baitrunner Reels – Ultimate Buyers Guide

Shimano are the market leaders in free spool reels. This guide to their Baitrunner reels will give you all of the information you need to decide whether a baitrunner is the right reel for you.

By investing in a Shimano Baitrunner, you are investing in a durable fishing reel that will last you for years. 

As well as a leading manufacturer in fishing tackle, Shimano also makes excellent bikes. The technology in bike gears also follows over to their fishing tackle, and in this case, their fantastic reels.

In this guide we will guide you through everything you need to know about Shimano Baitrunners and help you find the most suitable reel for your needs.

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Find The Best Baitrunner Reel For You

Best Reel ForShimano Baitrunner ModelBuy Now
The BEST BaitrunnerDL RB 6000/10000Buy
Commercials & Small Lakes/CarpST RB 6000Buy
Best For Medium Lakes/CarpDL RB 6000Buy
Large Lakes/Carp – Long CastsDL RB 10000Buy
Best For PikeDL RB 10000Buy
Best For BarbelDL RB 6000Buy
The Best Budget BaitrunnerST RB 6000Buy
The SmallestST FB 2500Buy

What Is A Baitrunner Reel?

A Baitrunner is a free spool reel with dual drag that allows the fish to pick up and run with your bait. 

Baitrunners are particularly popular among specimen carp, catfish and pike anglers, where they often fish with more than one rod and will leave their line in the water for hours waiting for a bite. 

When a big fish picks up the bait they will often hook themselves and dart off, without the baitrunner, the rod would end up in the water.

The baitrunner, or dual drag free spool allows the fish to take off line while the rod remains in the rod rest. 

Without a free spool or a very low drag the rod would be pulled into the water if the angler was not next to it. 

The Baitrunner was originally introduced by Shimano in the late 1980’s and the term ‘Baitrunner’ is trademarked by Shimano.

How Does A Baitrunner Reel Work?

When the baitrunner is switched on, this allows the line to flow freely from the reel with little resistance. This overrides the reel’s existing drag settings. 

When the baitrunner is off, the drag settings remain in play and will only allow line to be released as per the drag setting.

Once the angler begins to reel in, the baitrunner element is automatically switched off, or the angler can switch it off manually. 

What Is A Baitrunner Spinning Reel?

A Baitrunner spinning reel is the same as a baitrunner reel. Following the popularity of Shimano’s Baitrunner, other manufacturers have developed similar reels with similar names. 

Other names for baitrunner type reels are spinners, free spool and bite feeder. 

What Is A Baitrunner Reel Used For?

A baitrunner reel can be used for many methods when coarse fishing. The most popular use for a baitrunner reel is for specimen carp fishing and pike fishing.

Anglers who are fishing for specimen carp fishing will often fish for 2-3 days in one go and use three rods at a time. The baitrunner in this instance has a few benefits.

Carp will mostly hook themselves and scream off as soon as they feel the hook. The bait runner allows them to run freely without much resistance. The bait runner gives the angler time to get to his rod and allow it to run before he brings the carp in. 

As specimen carp anglers often have 2 or 3 rods fishing at a time, if they are already playing a fish and get a bite on another rod the baitrunner will allow the carp to swim off without pulling the rod into the water,

When pike fishing, especially when using dead or live bait pike can be very peculiar biters. You would expect a predator such as a pike to attack its bait and eat it straight away. However they will often grab the bait and swim off to eat it in safety and away from other pike that could steal it. 

Without a baitrunner, the pike would feel the resistance on the line and drop the bait before it was hooked resulting in a missed bite.

Another excellent use for a baitrunner is surface fishing for carp. Surface fishing can often lead to some ferocious takes and the fish will scream off before you have the time to strike. If you do not react in time, or your drag isn’t set right then you could lose the fish. Making sure you have the right floater rod and reel is very important.

Baitrunners are fastly becoming very popular in barbel fishing owing to the amazing strength that barbel possess.

It’s not recommended to get a baitrunner simply so that you don’t have to focus and concentrate on your rod – otherwise what is the point of fishing. The baitrunner is there to assist the angler, not to do the job for them.

Should I Buy A Baitrunner?

Well this one is totally up to you. Shimano Baitrunners are fantastic reels and offer great value for money and will last you a very long time. However, do you actually need one?

If you are mainly float fishing or fishing for smaller fish then you do not need a baitrunner reel. 

You should only consider a baitrunner if you are fishing for powerful fish and you have a need for the baitrunner 

SHIMANO Baitrunner DL RB, Size: 6000
SHIMANO Baitrunner DL RB, Size: 6000
Gear Ratio: 4.6:1; Line Retrieve: 85 centimeter / 33.46 inch; Weight: 590 gram - 20.8ounce
SHIMANO Baitrunner DL RB – 0, Size 10000
SHIMANO Baitrunner DL RB – 0, Size 10000
Gear Ratio: 4.6:1; Line Capacity mm/m: 0.30-500 / 0.35-350 / 0.40-250 pound/yds: 10-545 / 12-430 / 14-325
Shimano Baitrunner DL RB, Size: 6000
Shimano Baitrunner DL RB, Size: 6000
Gear Ratio: 4.6:1; Line Retrieve: 87 centimeter; Weight: 550 gram - 19.4 ounce; Bearings: 1 Shielded Stainless Steel
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Last update on 2024-02-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Is The Best Baitrunner Reel?

Shimano make a number of different bait runner reels for different uses. The best bait runner reel depends on what you will be using the reel for.

The best all arounder Shimano Baitrunner is the Baitrunner DL RB, this offers all the best baitrunner technology and is ideal for most types of coarse fishing, whether that be carp, pike or barbel fishing,

There are two Shimano Baitrunner DL RB models, a 6000 or a 10000.

The 6000 is suitable for smaller lakes and rivers, whereas the 10000 is suitable for heavier lines and when longer casting is required for specimen fish.

Shimano Baitrunner DL RB, Size: 6000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.6:1
  • Line Capacity mm/m: 0,30-370 / 0,35-240 / 0,40-140 / 0,45-110 pound/yds: 10/300, 12/265, 14/210, 20/120
  • Line Retrieve: 87 centimeter
  • Weight: 550 gram - 19.4 ounce
  • Bearings: 1 Shielded Stainless Steel

Last update on 2024-02-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Is The Best Cheap Baitrunner Reel?

The best cheap Baitrunner is the Shimano Baitrunner ST RB 6000. This offers the great Shimano technology at a budget price. This is ideal for small commercial waters and small lakes.

There are other cheaper free spool reels available but none of them are anywhere near the quality of Shimano’s range. 

What Is The Smallest Baitrunner Reel?

The smallest baitrunner reel is the Shimano Baitrunner ST FB 2500. This is an entry level baitrunner and still does a very good job. This reel is also available in a slightly larger 4000 model.

However for the small increase in price, we recommend the ST RB 6000 which will be much more suitable for coarse fishing at a very reasonable price.

Can You Use A Baitrunner Reel For Float Fishing

Absolutely, yes. You can use a Baitrunner reel for almost all types of coarse fishing, including float fishing. 

However, you should not use the baitrunner feature when float fishing as this will affect your strike and you are likely to miss the bite. 

Shimano Baitrunner reels are fantastic reels and offer far more than just the Baitrunner feature. They’re superb reels and great for coarse fishing and handling big fish.

If you are looking for a strong reel for float fishing for carp, then these may be better options for you.

What Is The Best Baitrunner For Carp?

Shimano Baitrunner DL RB 1000 is the best reel for specimen carp

When looking for the best baitrunner for carp fishing, it really depends on how you are going to be using the reel and what size carp you are targeting. Here we will take a look at the different options to allow you to choose the best reel to suit your needs.

If you are fishing commercials and small lakes that are only stocked with small carp, tench and bream, then you will not need a heavy duty reel. The Shimano Baitrunner ST RB 6000 would be the best option for you.

If you often frequent larger lakes with bigger carp, then a bigger and stronger reel would be needed. The Shimano Baitrunner DL RB 6000 would be a good option for you as this allows longer casting, stronger line and better winding power than the ST RB model.

For specimen carp and large open water you ideally need a bigger reel to handle the larger carp, then the Shimano Baitrunner DL RB 10000 is an ideal reel for you.

What Is The Best Baitrunner For Barbel?

The best Baitrunner for barbel is the Shimano Baitrunner DL RB 6000. This is the best reel for the majority of situations when barbel fishing. 

Barbel are renowned for their fighting power and the DL RB 6000 is more than a match for barbel. 

The only time you would need to go for the bigger reel is if you plan on fishing on large open water that requires long casting when carp fishing. Purely for barbel however, the 6000 will be absolutely fine for you.

Now that you have found the best baitrunner for barbel, check out the best barbel rods.

What Is The Best Baitrunner For Pike?

The best Baitrunner for pike is the Shimano Baitrunner DL RB 10000. Pike can take their time when they take your bait. Crucially this baitrunner offers zero resistance on the line meaning the pike is free to take your bait and will not notice your tackle until you strike. 

Shimano do offer a dedicated baitrunner predator reel, but at almost double the price of the DL RB which has all the features you need for successful pike fishing.

How To Use A Baitrunner Reel

Using a Baitrunner reel is just the same as any other reel. The only difference is once you have cast out and your bait is settled, you can switch on the bait runner. This means that once you have a bite and the fish picks up your bait and swims off with it, your reel will release line with little to no resistance.

The benefit of this is that if the fish hasn’t yet hooked itself, if it was to feel any tension on the line it would spit out your bait, resulting in a missed bite. Alternatively if the fish has hooked itself and darted off, then the lack of resistance on the line allows the fish to swim off freely giving the angler time to pick up the rod and play the fish.

Do You Need A Baitrunner For Carp Fishing?

A baitrunner is not essential for carp fishing, but they are recommended for certain methods.

Baitrunners were invented by Shimano in the late 1980’s and anglers were carp fishing long before this.

Methods such as fishing the bomb or zigs often require patience and you will usually be fishing with multiple rods, so having a baitrunner is both convenient and allows the fish to run once they have hooked themselves.

If you are fishing with the rod in your hand, then you do not need a baitrunner reel. Similarly if you are fishing in a tight area where you need to have immidiate control of the carp, then you do not need a baitrunner reel.