Best Shimano Baitrunner Reel

The popular Baitrunner reel from Shimano has been around for a over 30 years now and while it broke technological barriers when it was introduced by Shimano in 1987, the Baitrunner reel has seen some massive advancements since and has grown into an entire range of reels.

With so many Baitrunners on the market, choosing one can be a bit of a headache. There isn't necessarily one Baitrunner that is the very best.

But there are reels that are better suited to certain fishing conditions and angler's requirements.

The aim of this article is to provide you with a roundup of some different Baitrunner reels so you can decide which is the best Shimano Baitrunner for you.

Best Shimano Baitrunner Reel

Best Shimano Baitrunner - Quick View

Best Overall Value!

Shimano Baitrunner ST 10000

4.6:1 Gear Ratio
Dyna-balance system
Stainless steel bearing
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Shimano Baitrunner ST 10000

4.6:1 Gear Ratio
AR-C line management
3 Stainless steel ball-bearings
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Best for Casting Distance!

Shimano XTB Longcast

4.6:1 gear ratio
Aero-wrap 2 line lay system
4 ball-bearings
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Shimano Baitrunner Oceanic

4 sizes
Lightweight XT-7 body
Cold-forged aluminium spool
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What Does a Baitrunner Reel Do?

A Baitrunner's main advantage is that it allows the fish take line from the spool when hooked but still remain under tension via a smooth quick-engage lever.

This lever, which is located at the back of the reel, can be activated to engage the reel into "free-spool" mode. When activated, this means line will can be taken freely from your spool while under tension. You can easily adjust the tension to suit the fishing conditions.

If a fish takes your hook, it can run freely with your line without pulling the rod from your rod podThis is especially handy if you happen to be away from your rods at the time.

The handy quick-engage lever lets you disengage free-spool mode very quickly so you can play the fish using the standard drag system.

In summary, the Baitrunner's main plus-point is the efficiency of being able to set a separate amount of resistance for baits in the water VS. playing a fish without having to constantly adjust and the readjust your settings.

Shimano Baitrunner Reel Reviews

Shimano Baitrunner ST

Best Overall Value Shimano Baitrunner!

Shimano Baitrunner ST 10000


4.6:1 gear ratio
Shielded Stainless Steel Bearings
XT-7 Carbon Construction
Double Handle
Cap Bail
Super Stopper II
Power Roller
Diecast Gear

The ST range of Baitrunner reels from Shimano have become an extremely popular reel for carp anglers and there are a few different options for you to choose from.

The ST is available in both rear drag (RB) and front drag (FB). The front drag can be found on the 2 smaller models: 2500 and 4000 while the rear drag is available on the larger 6000 and 10000 models.

Shimano Baitrunner ST 10000 Rear View

These reels offer high technology at an affordable price so would be ideal for both beginners and more experienced anglers.

My recommendation would be for carp anglers to opt for either the 6000 or 10000 model.

The 6000 is great for smaller lakes and medium-sized carp whereas the ST 10000 provides a larger spool, added casting power and should make it easier to handle even bigger fish.

Shimano Baitrunner DL 6000 & 10000

Shimano Baitrunner DL 10000


4.6:1 gear ratio
3 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
AR-C Line Management System
Cold Forged Aluminium Spool
Spare Spool
Super Stopper II System
Power Roller
Free Spool System
Powerful and Smooth
Precise Rear Drag

The Baitrunner DL range is similar to the previously listed ST reels but there are a couple of key differences.

The main ones being the lightweight spool is made of an aluminium alloy and the DL reels feature 3 ball-bearings instead of the single one on the STs.

Much like the STs, this reel comes in different size options. Again, my suggestion for the majority of carp anglers will be to go for either the 6000 or slightly bigger 10000 model.

Another key feature is the varispeed oscillation, which helps the line to lay perfectly on the spool every time.

It's something that doesn't sound too exciting but it just makes life a little simpler and adds another element of convenience to the reel.

Shimano DL Reels on boxes

My suggestion for the Baitrunner DL reels is to opt for them over the ST model if you don't mind spending a small amount of extra cash for a set of reels that provide a slightly better user experience overall but are unlikely to have a huge impact on your angling versus the STs.

Shimano Big Baitrunner XTB Longcast

Best for Casting Distance!

Shimano XTB Longcast


4.6:1 gear ratio
4 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
A-RB shielded bearings
Aero-wrap 2 line lay system
Large AR-C spool
Slow, Smooth oscillation
X-ship system for optimum power transfer
Ideal choice for large waters

As an avid user of big pit reels and long-time fan of the Baitrunner technology,  a reel that incorporates both is a dream.

The Big XTB Longcast gives anglers the option of using the reel as a standard big pit reel or engaging the free-spool clutch to have a big pit Baitrunner reel.

As the name suggest, this reel is slightly larger than the standard Baitrunner .

It is a robust and powerful reel ideal for those big acre venues where long casts are required to hit the spots where those big carp like to feed.

The massive spool depth means you can load the spool with larger diameter, higher breaking strain lines.

Coupled with a large line retrieval rate of 43 inches per crank and awesome casting performance, the XTB LC reel is perfect for the largest carp waters.

If you aren't fishing on such big venues, you can still make the most of the XTB's technology as there is a smaller version available too: the Medium XTB LC.

Unsurprisingly, this version is designed for medium sized waters. Both the Big and Medium Baitrunner come supplied with line reducers.

If you like the Baitrunner technology but want a big pit reel, the Shimano Big XTB Longcast is the one to go for.

Shimano Baitrunner Oceanic

Shimano Baitrunner Oceanic


4.8:1 gear ratio (4000, 6000, 8000 models)
4.4:1 gear ration (12000 model)
Lightweight XT-7 body
Aluminium spool
Oversized power roller
Dynabalance technology
AR-C line management system
4 available sizes

The Oceanic is a mid-priced Baitrunner that many would view as a sea-fishing reel. However, its versatility and large range of features and size options makes it a great potential option for carp anglers as well.

This real is very hard-wearing and packs a huge amount of features for its price-point, which is why I wanted to include it as a bit of a different option to the others on this list.

The 3+1 ball-bearings make it a seriously smooth reel that's a pleasure to use while the dyna-balance technology enhances control and confidence as you play fish of all sizes.

Shimano Baitrunner OC top view

With 4 available sizes: 4000, 6000, 8000 and 12000, there is an Oceanic reel to suit most angler's requirements.

If you want a compact, durable and versatile reel, this one is certainly worth looking into.

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