A big pit carp reel has become an essential piece of kit for when you are fishing at longer distances, so much so that many anglers have discarded their faithful baitrunner reels in favour of these all-rounders.
Not only have big pit carp reels become essential, but they have also become much more affordable. There was a time when you couldn’t even dream of getting your hands on one for less than £100, now you can spend that money and still have change (in some cases, you can even buy two reels!)
Before we take a look at the recommendations, there are a few factors that you should always consider before parting with your hard-earned cash:
Before deciding what else you want from a big pit reel, you should decide how much you are willing to spend on one. There is no point in deciding that one of the Daiwa Basiair range is the reel for you, and then realising that they are in excess of £800 each!
Big pit reels can hold a lot of line, which are perfect if you are doing really long distance casting or boating your rigs out to their chosen spots. However, if you are only casting around 100yds, you can probably go for a smaller version (or maybe you don’t even need a big pit reel at all?)
This is the odd-looking number that is associated with every reel (i.e 4.6:1). In this instance, it tells you that the spool rotates 4.6 times for each turn of the handle. In some cases, the higher the number is, the more line the reel can retrieve.
If you have a really lightweight rod and a really heavy big pit reel, it can feel slightly alien. On the flip-side, a really lightweight reel can sometimes feel unbalanced. It is definitely worth buying gear that works well together.
You may have heard people say “the more ball bearings a reel has, the better it is”. While that can be true in some cases, in a lot of cases it is absolute nonsense. The quality of the ball bearings in a reel are usually more important than the quantity.
Now that we have a few factors to consider, let’s take a look (in alphabetical order) at some of the best big pit reels on the market for £100 or less.
Avid ACR 12000 Big Pit Reel
Avid are infants in comparison to some of the manufacturers on this list, but their products are excellent in terms of both quality and value.
The ACR 12000 big pit reel can hold 450yds of 0.35mm line (which should be more than enough for most carp anglers) and has a long, tapered spool that can reduce friction when casting to enable you to achieve longer distances. The 4.9:1 gear ratio allows for rapid recovery.
Like the majority of big pit reels, the ACR 12000 has a front drag system that requires less than one turn to engage the reel from free spool mode.
Boasting 7 stainless steel ball bearings, an aluminium handle and a strong casing, Avid has created a reel that is built to last. At 740g, it is one of the heavier reels on this list.The RRP of this reel is often higher than the £100 price cap of this article. However, if you make your purchase from Amazon you can sometimes get the price down a little and Angling Direct often have some fantastic discounts.
Avid ACR 12000 Big Pit Reel At A Glance:
Approx Price: £80
Gear Ratio: 4.9:1
Line Capacity: 450yds @ 0.35mm
Daiwa Crosscast 5000 QD Big Pit Reel
Considering that Daiwa is responsible for some of the most expensive reels on the planet, it is nice to see that they also provide a good quality reel at the other end of the price spectrum.
The Crosscast 5000 QD Big Pit Reel is an excellent reel for the money and features Daiwa’s Quick Drag system, which has been passed down from some of their reels with a more lofty price tag.
The 4.9:1 gear ratio helps to achieve line retrieval of 106cm per turn of the handle, and the sprung line clip is also nice for those who like to fish extremely accurately. It has a line capacity of 330yds @ 0.35mm, though you can increase that to 580yds with the purchase of the LD spool.
3 ball bearings, a machine cut aluminium handle and a spare spool complete what is definitely one of the best big pit reels you can find for under £100.Expect to pay around £75 for this reel, with the best prices usually coming from Amazon or Go Outdoors.
Daiwa Crosscast 5000 QD Big Pit Reel At A Glance:
Approx Price: £75
Gear Ratio: 4.9:1
Line Capacity: 330yds @ 0.35mm
Fox FX9 Mini Big Pit Reel
While Daiwa and Shimano may be known as the unofficial market leaders when it comes to manufacturing carp reels, Fox will almost always be mentioned in the same breath by many anglers.
Fox released the FX9 as the smaller sibling of the FX11, and it boasts many of the same features, but they are packed in a reel that weighs just 560g.
With a line capacity of 300yds, this reel may not satisfy anglers who insist on having half a kilometre of line on their spool “just in case”, but it is enough for the majority of regular casting. With 80cm of line reclaimed with every turn of the handle, it doesn’t take long to recover your end tackle.
A graphite body, 5 stainless steel ball bearings and a grit guard incorporated into the quick-clutch ensure that this reel is well-built, looks good and feels like it should be a lot more expensive than it actually is.The price of this reel doesn’t tend to fluctuate too much and it can normally be ordered from Amazon or Angling Direct for close to its retail price of £95.
Fox FX9 Mini Big Pit Reel At A Glance:
Approx Price: £95
Gear Ratio: 4.6:1
Line Capacity: 300yds @ 0.35mm
Nash BP-10 Fast Drag Big Pit Reel
The Nash BP range consists of four models (BP-4, BP-6, BP-10 & BP-12) and each have their own uses. The BP-4 was created to be used in conjunction with the Nash Sawn-Offs, the BP-6 is the ideal partner for the Nash Scope and Dwarf rods and the BP-12 was created for ultra-long distance fishing.
We will look at the BP-10, as I feel that it is the perfect compromise between size and price.
The gear ratio is 4.9:1 and the aluminium spool is capable of holding 425yds of 0.35mm line, so this big pit reel should be adequate for most carp fishing situations. It boasts stainless steel ball bearings and an oversized line roller.
The fast drag adjustment requires less than a single turn to connect you directly to the fish, and there is an isotope slot incorporated into the handle, which can be folded flat with one touch.Expect to pay around £60 for the BP-10 but be sure to check the current deals on offer from Amazon or England Angling as they regularly offer a significant discount.
Nash BP-10 Fast Drag Big Pit Reel At A Glance:
Approx Price: £60
Gear Ratio: 4.9:1
Line Capacity: 425yds @ 0.35mm
Are you also in the market for some new rods? Why not take a look at our recommendations for the best carp rods under £100
Okuma CB-80 Big Pit Reel
It is now time to introduce one of the cheapest reels on this list – the Okuma CB-80 Big Pit Reel.
I know many anglers who use this as a spod reel, but there is no reason why it should be limited to that.
With a 3.8:1 gear ratio, a massive line retrieval rate of 107cm per turn of the handle and an aluminium spool capable of holding 470yds of 0.35mm line, the Okuma CB-80 ticks a lot of the boxes that carp anglers look at when in the market for a big pit reel.
Boasting stainless steel ball bearings, a matt finish and a balanced, wooden handle, the Okuma CB-80 even comes with a spare spool!The recommended retail price of this big pit reel is around £75, but expect to pay much less than that from most stockists. There are usually some good discounts to be found on Amazon but the best deals are almost always on Go Outdoors.
Okuma CB-80 Big Pit Reel At A Glance:
Approx Price: £50
Gear Ratio: 3.8:1
Line Capacity: 470yds @ 0.35mm
Penn Affinity II 7000 LC Big Pit Reel
As a brand, Penn is better known for manufacturing sea fishing equipment. However, this offering to the carp fishing market was more than good enough to make the cut and appear on our final list.
The LC in the model name stands for Long Cast and the line capacity of 435yds @ 0.35mm should allow you to do exactly that.
This is a very well-built reel that boasts a graphite frame, aluminium spool and 7 stainless steel ball bearings.
Extremely slow oscillation provides excellent line lay, which assists with the intended long-range casting capabilities of this big pit reel. The retrieval rate is an impressive 89cm per handle turn.The RRP of this reel far exceeds the £100 limit of this article. However, Amazon usually have offers that bring the price down below the threshold and Angling Direct also apply regular discounts.
Penn Affinity II 7000 LC Big Pit Reel At A Glance:
Approx Price: £100
Gear Ratio: 4.7:1
Line Capacity: 435yds @ 0.35mm
Sonik Vader X 8000 RS Big Pit Reel
Sonik took the carp fishing world by storm with the release of their Vader X carp rods, and they did the same with their big pit reel namesakes.
Constructed with a graphite body and an aluminium handle, these reels have a better build quality than most others at the same price point.
The aluminium spool holds 330yds of 0.40mm line, which can be retrieved at a massive 110cm per turn of the handle.
There are 2 spring-loaded line clips on the spool and each reel ships with a spare spool included, which is incredible when you consider the price.The RRP of these reels is £55 but you can usually save a small percentage when ordering from Amazon. If you own a discount card, you can sometimes make a really big saving when ordering from Go Outdoors.
Sonik Vader X 8000 RS Big Pit Reel At A Glance:
Approx Price: £55
Gear Ratio: 4.1:1
Line Capacity: 330yds @ 0.40mm
Wychwood Riot 65S Big Pit Reel
The original Riot Big Pit reel is one of Wychwood’s success stories and this new version of the classic does it justice in every way.
The build quality is almost unrivalled at this price and many carp anglers who bought the Riot 65S as a spod reel have ended up buying more to use for their main fishing!
A 4.8:1 gear ratio helps with the rapid recovery and the aluminium spool holds 370yds of 0.35mm line.
The micro-pitch adjustment enables fine-tuning of the drag settings, ensuring that you always remain in control when playing a fish, while the matt black finish and aluminium handle ensure that these reels look as good as they perform.These reels really are a bargain, especially when they tend to be priced around £85. Amazon usually have offers that enable you to save a few quid and Angling Direct usually price this reel competitively.
Wychwood Riot 65S Big Pit Reel At A Glance:
Approx Price: £85
Gear Ratio: 4.8:1
Line Capacity: 370yds @ 0.35mm
Each of the reels on this list is, at the time of writing, priced at under £100, and I believe that they represent the best value for money available.
The Daiwa Crosscast 5000 QD gets my vote, though the Fox FX9 Mini and Wychwood Riot 65S are both options that deserve close attention when making a choice.
If you are on a tighter budget, I don’t think that you can do much better than the Sonik Vader X 8000 RS. It really is a lot of reel for not a lot of money.