7 Best Star Drag Reels (Top Picks for 2022)

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Pro and tournament-level anglers understand how important it is to have a conventional reel. Star drag reels especially ensure longer casts and make it easier for pro anglers to get their target species.

In addition, with star drag reels, you can engage in different fishing techniques and effortlessly engage in harsh conditions without getting your reels destroyed. In this article, we are looking at some of the best star drag reels.

We have researched a lot of star drag reels, and picked top 7 reels for the money. We took built quality, performance, application , user experience into consideration, and arranged the reels accordingly. You may compare and pick your right gear out of the list.

PENN Special SenatorPENN Special Senator
  • Manufacturer : ‎Pure Fishing
  • Fishing Techniques : All
  • Suggested User : ‎Unisex-adult
  • Warranty : 1 Year
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Best High end Reel
Daiwa Saltist
Daiwa Saltist
  • Manufacturer : ‎‎Green Supply
  • Fishing Techniques : Conventional
  • Suggested User : Unisex-adult
  • Color : Black
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Shimano Torium SWShimano Torium SW
  • Manufacturer : ‎Shimano
  • Hand Orientation : Left / Right
  • Suggested User : ‎Unisex
  • Color : Black
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Budget Friendly
Okuma Classic CLX
Okuma Classic CLX
  • Manufacturer : ‎Okuma Fishing Tackle Corp.
  • Fishing Techniques : Spinning / Casting
  • Suggested User : ‎Unisex-adult
  • Warranty : 1 Year
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Penn Fathom II Star DragPenn Fathom II Star Drag
  • Manufacturer : ‎Pure Fishing
  • Fishing Techniques : Spinning / Casting
  • Suggested User : ‎Unisex-adult
  • Skill Level : All
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Best Overall Reel
Daiwa Sea Gate Star Drag
Daiwa Sea Gate Star Drag
  • Manufacturer : ‎Daiwa Fishing
  • Size : 30
  • Suggested User : ‎Unisex-adult
  • Color : Black
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Penn Squall II Star DragPenn Squall II Star Drag
  • Manufacturer : ‎Pure Fishing
  • Fishing Techniques : Casting
  • Suggested User : ‎Unisex-adult
  • Skill Level : All
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1. Penn Special Senator Star Drag

PENN® Special Senator® Star Drag
  • Weight (oz) : 30
  • Max Drag (lb) : 20
  • Gear Ratio : 3.3:1
  • Ball Bearings : 2

The Penn Senator Star Drag reel rates are among the best reel for offshore fishing. Its origin dates back to 1939 so, you are assured of its quality and reliability. The construction consists of a stainless steel frame and bake light stainless steel side plates. Additionally, the spool is made of aluminum, and the gears consist of a bronze main gear and stainless steel pinion gear. The reels come with low gear ratios giving you enough torque to deal with the biggest species and pull any species from the deep waters.

You are assured of smoothness while fishing owing to the two bearings that let the angler cast freely with minimal backlash. The drag consists of HT-100 drag washers that provide a smooth and powerful; drag even under heavy load. The handle is super comfortable and is convertible to meet your requirements.

Key Features

  • Machined aluminum spool
  • Main grade bronze main gear and stainless pinion gear
  • Side plates with stainless steel reinforcement rings
  • Two stainless steel ball bearings
  • Interchangeable handle
  • Heavy-duty clicker
  • Sizes Available in 5 sizes
  • Drag Material HT-100

2. Daiwa Saltist Star Drag Conventional Reel

Premium Choice
Daiwa SALTIST50H Saltist
  • Max Drag (lb) : 17.6
  • Gear Ratio : 6.4:1
  • Ball Bearings : 4+1
  • Weight (oz) : 15.2

Enjoy long casts and the unmatched performance of Daiwa Saltist Star Drag Conventional Reel. The robust construction of the reels makes them stand out among other reels. The aluminum material that is anodized to ensure corrosion resistance gives you the confidence to explore different saltwater bodies.

You can easily engage in techniques like live baiting as the spool ensures easy line release. Additionally, the 6.4:1 gear ratio makes it possible to engage in different fishing techniques. Finally, the powerful and smooth drag gives you the confidence to deal with different species.

You are assured of the reel’s durability owing to the gear’s technology.  The Digigear is super smooth, light, and corrosion-resistant. These reels also ensure smooth casts due to the 4+1 ball bearings that also help eliminate backlash and bird nests. It also has a large handle that provides enough leverage when dealing with different species and have a comfortable time when fishing.

Key Features

  • Aluminum frame
  • Centrifugal braking system
  • Large neoprene handle
  • Smooth and durable Digigear

3. Shimano Torium SW Saltwater Star Drag Multiplier Reel

Best Star Drag
  • Weight (oz) : 33.2
  • Max Drag (lb) : 17 - 36
  • Gear Ratio : 3.9:1 - 6.3:1
  • Ball Bearings : 3+1

Shimano Torium Star Drag Reels are available in right-hand and left-hand orientation. Do not let the price scare you. Its performance and smooth feel in water make it worth the price. Moreover, it is sturdily built to ensure superior performance and maximum durability.

The HAGANE body is rigid and helps eliminate flex. Additionally, the S compact body design makes the reel smaller and manageable on the angler’s palm. The four-ball bearings provide smooth casts, and the free spool effortlessly releases the line ensuring longer casts.

The gear system is highly efficient and provides maximum durability increasing the power and performance of the reels. Its cross carbon drag also provides a smooth and powerful drag so you can deal with powerful and large inshore species.

Key Features

  • S Compact body
  • HAGANE body
  • Cross Carbon Drag
  • Corrosion-resistant ball bearings
Learn More : Shimano Torium vs Trinidad - Which One is better ? 

4. Okuma Classic CLX Levelwind Star Drag Reels

Budget Choice
Okuma CLX-300La
  • Max Drag (kg) : 6
  • Gear Ratio : 3.8:1
  • Ball Bearings : 2
  • Weight (g) : 414

The Okuma Classic CLX Level Wind Star Drag Reel is our cheapest star drag reel. It stands out due to its sturdy construction consisting of a graphite frame, aluminum handle, and aluminum spool. The graphite frame and side plates ensure the reel’s corrosion resistance while maintaining their lightweight. The anodized aluminum spool ensures smooth line lay and is corrosion resistant. 

You are assured of all-day comfort given the aluminum power handle with T-style knobs. The durable gearing system consists of machine-cut brass and stainless steel gear. This gearing system makes your reel more powerful, and it gives you leverage when dealing with different species. In addition, the gear system is self-lubricating as well, so you are assured of your reel’s durability.

The level wind guide system makes it easier to control your reel when fishing. In addition, the multi-disc Rulidium drag system provides a smooth and powerful drag giving you the confidence to deal with different species.

Key Features

  • Graphite frame and side plates
  • Anodized aluminum spool
  • Aluminum power handle
  • Stainless steel level wind line guide system
  • Multi-disc Rulidium drag system
  • Stainless steel reel foot

5. Penn Fathom II Star Drag Conventional Fishing Reel

PENN Fathom II
  • Weight (oz) : 19.4
  • Max Drag (lb) : 30
  • Gear Ratio : 6.1:1
  • Ball Bearings : 7

Penn Fathom II star drag reels come in six sizes. Their gear ratios are 4.8:1 and 6.1:1, making them perfect for most fishing techniques. Unfortunately, the handle position is on the right-hand side to limit some anglers. The construction, however, ensures every angler enjoys their time in the water.

The full metal body and side plates withstand the hits and harsh conditions in the water—additionally, the fast gear access side plates helps service the gears with much ease. The gears consist of a machine-cut grade bronze and stainless steel pinion gear to ensure maximum durability.

Long and precise casts are assured due to the live spindle with free-floating spool plus 6+1 ball bearings. With this reel, you can tell how much line is left due to the line capacity rings.

Key Features

  • Full metal body and side plates
  • Bronze main gear and stainless steel pinion gear
  • Line capacity rings
  • Versa drag system with HT-100

6. Daiwa Sea Gate Star Drag Reel

Best Overall
Daiwa Seagate Star Drag
  • Max Drag (lb) : 15.4
  • Gear Ratio : 6.1:1
  • Ball Bearings : 3+1
  • Weight (oz) : 15

Whether setting out for inshore or offshore fishing, Daiwa SeaGate Star Drag is the perfect companion. With the corrosion-resistant aluminum frame and side plates, you can ensure maximum durability and strength. The spool is also made of aluminum and is anodized to provide corrosion resistance.

The four-ball bearings let you experience smooth casts and help reduce backlash. The infinite anti-reverse dual system ensures no back play in the handle. Additionally, you can engage different sized species as the Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag provides a powerful and smooth drag.

Key Features

  • Four bearing system
  • Corrosion-resistant frame
  • Rugged brass gears
  • Ultimate tournament carbon drag
  • Dual system antireverse

7. Penn Squall II Star Drag Conventional Fishing Reel

PENN Squall II Star Drag
  • Max Drag (lb) : 20
  • Gear Ratio : 6.1:1
  • Ball Bearings : 7
  • Weight (oz) : 15.3

Available in five different sizes, this reel is perfect for light and heavy-duty applications. Penn Squall II Star Drag Conventional reel features a graphite frame and side plates to ensure its lightness without giving away its superior strength.

The gears feature a high-strength marine grade bronze alloy main gear and stainless steel pinion gear. The gears provide maximum leverage and ensure the reel’s durability. You can be sure of smooth casts and minimal backlashes, given the 6+1 ball bearings. Additionally, you can fish for long hours without experiencing fatigue, given the comfortable handle.

The live spindle design with a free-floating spool ensures effortless line release and maintains longer casts. The drag also is super powerful, featuring the Versa-Drag system with HT-100 washers. This drag system lets you deal with powerful and fighting species.

Key Features

  • Versa Drag System
  • Graphite frame and side plates
  • Live Spindle design
  • Drag Material HT-100
  • The size 15 reel features an upgraded spool bearing and knob mag dial
  • Fast Gear Access side plate
You may also like : Penn Squall 2 vs Warfare : Which one is better? 

What Makes a Good Star Drag Reel?


Star drag reels come in different materials. The most common include stainless steel, aluminum, and graphite. Graphite material usually is preferred for its lightweight nature and corrosion resistance. Stainless steel and aluminum are relatively stronger but are more prone to corrosion resistance. If you go for aluminum and stainless steel, make sure they have a coating to prevent corrosion. Graphite, however, is an excellent choice, but you might be limited on the size of the fish you will target.

Gear Ratio

When using star drag reels, you are probably eyeing the biggest or most vigorous species. For these species, a high gear ratio is not necessary. However, it would be best if you had a lower gear ratio to give you enough torque. A 6.1:1 gear ratio and below will be ideal for star drags.


Saltwater species and big species require that you have powerful drag. Therefore, star drag reels need to have the most powerful drag. The drag material determines entirely depends on the angler’s preference. However, the drag power should give you leverage, power, and smoothness to deal with any species you encounter.


The size of a reel also determines how well it works and how successful you will be fishing. With star drag reels, it is easy to choose the biggest reel because they are the most powerful. However, you need to ensure that you can handle them perfectly and that they will not feel too heavy in your hands.

Bearing Count

Smooth casts are essential when ensuring your fishing success. The bearing count ensures you have smooth casts and an anti-reverse bearing helps eliminate backlash and birds nests. Get reels with a high bearing count or at least ensure the bearing count exceeds five, this way, you are assured of long casts.

Frequently Asked Question

Can you Use Star Drag Reel for Saltwater?

Star drag reels usually are conventional reels, and they are known for their superior strength and ability to withstand conditions other reels wouldn’t. In saltwater, you will encounter the biggest and most fighting species. Therefore, the star drag reels, given their ability to cast far rate among the best reels for saltwater.

Can you Use a Star Drag Reel for Bottom Fishing?

Bottom fishing is a technique that involves catching fish found at the bottom of the sea or ocean. While bottom fishing, you may encounter species like grouper, halibut, and snapper, among other species. A star drag reel is ideal for bottom fishing, first of all, due to its powerful nature and its sturdy construction. Star Drag reels like Daiwa Saltist Level Wind and Penn Fathom II reels are the ideal choices, and they will also ensure accuracy.

Can you Use a Star Drag Reel for Tuna?

Tuna are large saltwater species that can grow up to 1.6 feet long. Therefore, a star drag reel will be a perfect choice for Tuna since you will encounter them while chasing species like yellowfin and Bluefin. Star drag reel within the range of size 2000 to 5000 will be the ideal choice with 40 to 80lbs of braid

Final Verdict

Most people avoid using star drag reels due to work involved. However, once you have mastered controlling the line using your thumb, the procedure becomes second nature. Getting a good star drag reel can be confusing since not many people are accustomed to using them; hence, they do not understand what reels make good fishing companions. Therefore let us help you make the right purchasing decision.


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