Choosing the best big pit reel doesn’t have to be difficult with the help of my in-depth guide!
Big pit carp reels are a popular tool with many anglers. This is because, due to a larger spool, they can hold a lot of fishing line, making them perfect for long-distance casting.
Furthermore, those with slow oscillation mean you don’t have to turn the handle as much as a free spool reel.
Industrious and strong, they take a lot of repetitive casting and retrieving to seriously damage them.
Join me as I uncover 6 of the best big pit reels for you to choose from.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW TO CHOOSE A BIG PIT REEL
How far will you be actually casting?
There is no need to spool up 500yds of 15lb mono if you’re only going to cast 100 yds max!
Your budget vs how many reels do you need?
Decide if your setup is primarily a 1,2 or a 3-rod setup (us anglers do prefer matching reels!)
Weight and Feel
Go to your local tackle shop and ask for a demo so you can get a good feel of the weight.
Big pit reels can be expensive – quite often a few hundred pounds for a decent setup, and you shouldn’t forget the need for spare spools which can also be costly
Best 'Value For Money' Big Pit Reel
Wychwood Riot Big Pit Reel
The Wychwood Riot ‘Big Pits’ are an incredibly popular choice for anglers stepping up to larger reels.
In fact, they are one of the most successful Wychwood reels to date.
The modern black matte finish, wooden handle and packed full of technology makes them of the leaders in this market.
Credentials include fantastic casting power, smooth line retrieval (the 5 ball bearings really feel silky) and huge cranking power (due to the oversized main shaft) – all required traits of big pit reel construction.
Whether opting to use mono or braid, the anti-twist roller minimises any line damage.
This combined with a robust ACS line clip and multi-disc drag, all add up to a powerful reel that just isn’t going to buckle under constant casting, handle turning or fall down when chucking big weights such as PVA bags and heavy leads.
A tough, industrious reel that Wychwood upgrade regularly to improve what is already a big pit classic.
There are two sizes available; 65S and 75S, with both models supplied with a spare matt black tapered spool.
Wychwood Riot Big Pits In Action
'Editor's Choice' Big Pit Reel
Shimano Ultegra 14000 XTD
The Shimano Ultegra 14000 XTD package includes a spare spool, and four line reducers.
This means carp anglers have the option of using different types of mainline to cover a range of angling situations.
Likewise, the Ultegra has a ‘freespool’ mode, which can quickly be engaged by a minor turn of the handle.
This is a great feature, putting yourself instantly ‘into the fight’ between man and carp.
Other unique reel features of the Ultegra Big Pit reel includes Super Slow Oscillation, High Speed Drag and Aero Wrap II.
You can visit the Shimano website to learn more about these technologies if you wish.
Overall, you can be confident that these reels are well suited to accepting plenty of line, and most importantly, hitting those extreme distances when feature hunting for those sweet spots.
Super Slow Oscillation
High Speed Drag
Includes Spare Spool
Gear Ratio: 4:3:1
Line Retrieve: 103cm
Line Capacity: 0.35mm-550m
Shimano Ultegra In Action
Nash BP-6 Big Pit Reel
A perfect companion to the Nash Scope Sawn-off Rods, these little beauties are ideal for floater fishing, feeders and commercial angling.
A rugged big pit reel that is also at home when fishing for other species such as bream or tench.
The luxurious, matt black finish and aluminium shine gives these a futuristic appearance.
But its under the bonnet were Nash have packed in the features!
The oversized line roller reduces line twist (common when casting long distances) with the line guard reinforcing a tangle free reel.
Even when launching heavy end tackle, the fast drag system allows you to retrieve quicker than ever before, whilst line lay is exceptional due to the level-wind system.
Finished off with a one-touch (and ergonomic) handle – Nash have truly delivered a fantastic big pit reel that also works in other angling areas if required.
Matte Black Finish
Aluminium long cast spool
One touch folding handle
Dual Spot On line clips for precision casting
Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
Line guard spool system
Level Wind line lay
Oversized line roller reduces line twist
CNC machined ergonomic handle with isotope slot
Gear Ratio: 4.9:1
Line Capacity: 273yds of 0.28mm line.
Daiwa Black Widow Big Pit Reel
Packed full of Daiwa technology, these big pits are powerful, robust and great for long distance fishing to features.
The Daiwa ‘Black Widow’ Big Pit Reel makes our best big pit reels list for a few reasons!
Firstly, it looks good (always a plus!) and boasts incredible power and performance and importantly, great value for money.
Packed full of Daiwa’s popular features, it was designed to offer anglers the perfect balance when fitted to the Black Widow Carp Rod.
One of the most intriguing features that stands out above all other big pit reels is the geared down retrieve.
This means that you can retrieve a massive amount of line easily. In fact, for each turn, its capable of reeling in a whopping 85cm of mainline!
As far as capacity goes (big pit reels can demand a lot of line), these hold an incredible 530m of 0.35mm line. Obviously this is far more than ever required, but for those with bait boats, this offers a great opportunity to explore far distances without any problems.
The spool is classic Daiwa – constructed from aluminium, with the rotor and reel body from graphite which is very durable and robust.
Did we mention it’s also lightweight?
Available in three sizes, these are extraordinary big pit reels that will take a hammering and perform very well under pressure.
Available Sizes: 5000, 5500 & 5000LD
Gear Ratio: 4.1:1
Crank: 85cm per handle turn
Line Capacity: 14lb Line, 370m per spool (Size 5500)
Daiwa Black Widow Video Analysis
Daiwa Windcast QDA Big Pit Reel
With a smooth feel, premium looks and increased strength – the Daiwa Windcast QDA is all a big pit reel should be.
At its very core, the unbelievable accuracy of its gear meshing (thanks to Digigear II technology) really puts this reel head and shoulders above most.
Backed up by Air Rotor and Bail technology, which offer a robust inner-strength when casting and retrieving alike.
It does in fact boast huge cranking power of 106cm per turn – that’s a massive retrieval rate!
Other features of the Windcast QDA are the inclusion of a high impact line clip which really grips your line when the clip is hit on the cast.
On top of that is the exclusive ‘QD Drag’, which offers the angler complete control of the freespool function, and fish playing, in one action.
Finally, a spare ‘full-spec’ spool is included – not a plastic moulded spare that can often be thrown in with other reels – but is rarely used due to the poor construction.
There are actually three models on offer here:
These Daiwa Windcast QDA reels are quite expensive, but they are built to last, and perform smoothly when hitting those big distances!
QD (Quick Drag)
1CRBB + 4BB
Manual Bail Closure
Aluminium Spare Spool
5000QDA: Gear Ratio: 4.9:1 Line Capacity: 360m-14lbs
5500QDA: Gear ratio: 4.9:1 Line Capacity: 400m-17lbs
Spod/Marker: Gear Ratio: 5.5:1 Line Capacity: 360m-14lbs
ESP Onyx Big Pit Reel
Next up on our big pit reel list is the Onyx Big Pit Reel.
ESP are new to this area of carp tackle – and their first offering is pretty decent!
Boasting two different ‘drag adjusters’, which are called FD (A fine drag for small adjustments) and RL (rapid lockdown which allows for a free running line to be locked down in half a turn of the reel handle).
The benefits of these means when you’re fishing at long distance, and you hook into a fish, you can adjust the big bit reel quickly depending on how the fish is reacting.
Although this is the main feature that will be of interest to anglers, there are other great benefits to be found on the Onyx.
This includes a foldable handle (should all reels now have this an option?) which means you can quickly pack your setup down when needed for staying as mobile as possible.
The fast retrieve gear ratio and slow oscillation makes a great pairing for fishing at distance too.
All in all – I was very impressed with not just the stylish looks and feel, but the two drag options which really made my life much easier when pulling in a hard fighting carp.
This is definetly one of the best big pit reels in this list!
Machined, anodised long cast taper spools.
Slow oscillation ensures exceptionally smooth line lay which helps distance casting and accuracy.
Two interchangeable drag adjusters
Quick fold handle
Stainless steel line clip
7 + 1 stainless bearings
Machined gears and a 4.3:1 gear ratio for fast retrieve
Front drag grit guard.
Easily accessible large anti-reverse lever.
Stylish matte black finish with subtle red decals.
Standard Editon: Gear Ratio: 4:3:1 – Line Capacity: 300m of 15lb (0.37mm)
Compact Editon: Gear Ratio: 4:8:1 – Crank: 95cm – Line Capacity: 300m of 15lb (0.37mm)
ESP Onyx Video Analysis
Leeda Rogue Big Pit Reel
Whether you’re familiar with the Rogue Series of carp tackle or not, I’ve included this big pit reel purely on value alone.
Features a front drag system, so you can control how much line the carp can take, whilst the retrieve actually felt quite smooth, perhaps due to the 5 + 1 ball bearings.
The soft-grip handle was easy to wind, even with wet hands!
Line lay looked OK when I spooled up, and it dealt with a thumping cast at distance pretty well.
Might make a great little reel for stalking around the margins, or simply as a back-up to your main reels.
If you’re looking or value, rather than quality, then choosing a big pit reel like the Rogue may be a good choice.
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Front Drag System
5+1 Ball bearings
Die-cast power handle
Soft touch handle grip
Korum Zelos Mini Big Pit Reel
Our first mini big reel to feature here is the Korum Zelos, a great little workhorse, suited to a variety of fishing situations.
Let’s jump straight into the features, which include the S-Stroke System, providing superb line lay management, backed up by a smooth drag system that is second to none!
This makes for a reel capable of dealing with heavier lines that you may use when fishing long distances down rivers or on mammoth lakes.
The one-way clutch, with anti-reverse, makes playing fish with control and fun!
Additional features include a classy one-touch folding handle that you fold down into your rod holdall easily, whilst the line friendly clip makes clipping up less stressful and fiddly than traditional clips.
Although I only used this reel for a few hours on my local lake, which wasn’t huge, it felt like a reel that had quality, power and I can see how these mini big pits may have a place in the market for them.
A surprisingly well made little reel that sure does pack a lot of power!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
5 carbon steel ball bearings + 1 needle bearing
Machined and anodised aluminium spool
Line-friendly aluminium line clip
S-Stroke system for perfect line lay
New folding CNC handle with soft touch rubber grip
WHY SHOULD I USE BIG PIT REELS?
As we mentioned, its the capability of loading up a lot of line so you’re able to hit extreme distances.
This is particualrly useful for big lakes such as those over in France!
Big pits are also seen as a very industrious carp reel.
Robust, hard working and capable of hauling carp in at distance.
These days, they are packed full of features and they look amazing!
The option of switching from free spool to drag quickly is a useful feature/
Furthermore, it has massive crank power – which is how much line is retrieved per turn of the handle (gear ratio represents this!)
MAKE SPOOLING YOUR REELS EASIER
The initial part of filling them can be very time-consuming, but there are devices to make spooling easier such as the Berkley Portable Line Spooling Station (see below)
HOW TO SPOOL YOUR REEL: VIDEO GUIDE
HOW TO USE YOUR BIG PIT REELS
It’s no good wasting your hard-earned money on a pair of big pit reels if you’re not sure how, and where, to use them!
Here are a few Carp Hideout tips to get you started when fishing those big gravel pits, or huge carp waters.
As with any carp lake, finding the fish, or signs of fish, should be your first port of call before choosing your swim.
Large waters can be daunting, especially for new anglers, but believe me when I say locating carp first is so important.
Before unpacking your car, take a bucket of pellets or chopped boilies and start your walk around.
Don’t forget to bring a decent pair of polarised sunglasses which will take the surface glare off, making it easier to spot carp.
You should walk quietly on any approach to a swim, or stalking area, because there could be carp close to the margins!
Take a minute to pause, and glance around the whole swim.
Look for any signs that carp could be present, or have recently been in the area.
There could be marginal areas that look clear, which is a sign that carp have been feeding.
Watch out for shadows, bubbles, reed movements or even carp breaking the surface.
I like to take notes on my phone for future use (remember the peg number!)
Walk around the whole lake if you can, but if you have stumbled across a swim with plenty of activity, mark it by placing your bait bucket down and go get your gear!
Another tip would be to talk to any anglers you’ve encountered.
Not all of them will want to talk, but a gentle introduction of “Hello” or “How is it going?” could lead to some helpful information.
Local anglers may even suggest a good area that holds carp, a certain bait or flavour, or let you know how the lake is fishing!
I’m a huge fan of fishing in the margins!
On big waters, there will be plenty of margins to keep an eye on.
I would suggest baiting up to the left or right of you, or even in an adjacent swim.
Keep popping back for any activity that could yield an unexpected bite.
Again, approach margin areas with caution and try to stay as quiet as possible.
3. Feature Finding
Good old fashioned rod and marker work can really prepare you for a confident session.
We’ve mentioned how to go about this previously, but below is another great video on how to do this correctly, which is important on big carp waters.
I really do think that is a myth that carpeting an area with a ton of bait is the only way to go on a big lake.
Yes, you may need to put in more effort – but the principle is the same as for fishing a smaller lake.
I much prefer to start with small amounts of bait and ‘build-up’ my chosen hotspot.
As they say, once bait is in, it can’t be taken out again.
You could try two or three spods over your area every hour to keep a nice flow of bait going in.
WHAT BIG PIT REELS DO YOU USE?
If you already use big pit style carp reels, I would like to hear how you’ve got on with them, and how long you’ve had them!
Drop me a comment below and we’ll discuss.
Until next time – be lucky!
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Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API