Things to look for when choosing a Bait Runner Reel

For most choosing a reel is an important part of the fishing experience, when it comes to bait runner reels we have a large selection and differentiating between them can be difficult. Here are answers to a few questions I commonly get asked.

What is a bait runner reel?
Bait runner reels come in a variety of sizes from 2500 through to 20000, each manufacturer has its own sizing scheme. This sizing is usually an indication of the size and capacity of the line it will hold. A bait runner reel is an egg beater or fixed spool reel with a drag in the front and a second drag in the back of the reel that is activated with a lever at the back. This adjustment allows the user to set the drag to hold the bait in the current so it does not run out. The rear drag can be adjusted up and down using a knob on the back of the reel. The Bait runner reels are also known as Bait feeder, live liner and bait teaser. Each of these reels features is very similar in construction but has slightly different internal configurations.

How do we use a bait runner reel?
Bait runner reels are great for stray lining and live baiting, the concept behind the bait runner feature is that when it is activated it allows the user to apply enough drag the bait will barely hold in the current. It also allows the fish such as snapper to pick the bait up, move away from the school and devour the bait without feeling any resistance. If the snapper feels the resistance of the drag it will drop the bait and you won’t have the opportunity to set the hook.

What fishing styles are bait runner reels used for?
Live baiting, stray lining, surf casting and rock fishing. 

What effect does the bearing count have on the reel?
Why do bearings make the difference? Bearings are strategically placed within the reel distributing the load within the reels housing, this has 2 effects a smoother retrieve and reduction of noise and vibration within the reel.
what is the difference in body construction?
There are 2 main types of housing for Bait runner reels, graphite and aluminium, both have advantages and disadvantages. The graphite bodies are light weight and will not corrode, while the metal body reels don’t flex but are heavier than graphite versions. An exception to the rule is the Okuma Trio Bait feeder reels that have a combination of Billet Aluminium for strength in load bearing areas and carbon side plates and rotor parts where strength is not needed. 

Are there any differences in the bait runner system?
There are a few variations of the Bait runner drag system most of them are internal, with the exception of the Penn Live liners, the live liners are the only reel that the bait runner drag can’t be backed off completely.

Do drag materials effect the reel performance?
The majority of the bait runner reels have a combination of oiled felt drag washers and stainless steel plates, this washer combination has been used in reels for years, it has very good stop/start and initial drag performance but changes in longer runs, and under higher drag pressures becoming a little sticky and jerky. The Fin Nor reels have a carbon drag washer system which performs well under higher drag pressures, and longer loads.

Bait Runner Comparison chart 

   Bearings  Gear Ratio  Housing  Sizes  Price Range
 Okuma Tundra  1 AR only  4.5:1  Graphite  50, 65, 80  $49 - $79
 Okuma Ceymar  2 + 1 AR  5.0:1, 4.5:1  Graphite  40, 55, 65  $69 - $89
 Okuma Avenger  6 + 1 AR  5.0:1, 4.5:1  Graphite  30, 55, 65, 80  $89 - $119
 KIlwell RXB  9 + 1 AR  5.5:1,  Graphite  65, 85  $99
 Fin Nor Bait Teasers  4 + 1 AR  4.9:1  Metal  60, 80  $199
 Penn Fierce  4 + 1 AR  6.2:1, 5.6:1, 5.3:1  Metal  2500, 4000, 6000, 8000  $139 - $219
 Okuma Trio  9 + 1 AR  4.8:1  Hybrid  65, 80  $209 - $219