Spinning and spin-casting reels are probably the most popular and versatile style of fishing reels used by anglers worldwide.
They’re also an excellent option for young anglers or those just learning how to fish, due to their consistent performance, adaptability to any style of fishing rod (spinning, travel rods, telescoping, etc.,) low maintenance, and ease of use.
Spinning reels are readily available from just about any sporting goods store and offer an attractive starting price.
All of these factors combine to make the spinning reel the top choice for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
The 7 Best Spinning Reels with Trigger 2021
Here are the the best spinning reels with trigger on the market today
Last update on 2021-02-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Spin-Cast vs. Underspin vs. Trigger-Spinning Reels?
Anglers use four main styles of bait/lure reels – spin-cast, spinning, baitcasting, and underspin/trigger-spin.
Of these four reels, the spin-cast, and the spinning reel are the two most likely to be confused for their trigger counterparts.
This is because both the thumb-button and trigger version of spin-cast reels feature an enclosed spool and bail system with a hole through which the line is cast or retracted.
Likewise, the open-faced spinning and trigger-spin reels both feature the traditional exposed spool and bail.
The only obvious difference in both the spinning and spin-casting styles is the casting trigger, hence the title, “trigger-spin”.
Reels with a casting trigger feature are often called “underspin” reels as well. Underspin refers to the reel being used while hanging beneath the rod, rather than on top, as many traditional reels are designed.
For the sake of clarity, we’ll stick with the title of “trigger-spin” for both in this article and clarify between “open-faced” and “closed-faced” reels to avoid any possible confusion.
The key differences between a trigger-spin reel and traditional reel are:
The standard open-faced spinning reel uses a bail and requires a finger to hold the line tight against the rod while preparing to cast, while the typical closed-faced spin-cast reel has a thumb-button to activate the bail.
A trigger-spin reel, by comparison, requires the angler to pull a trigger with the forefinger of their casting hand, which both opens the bail and holds the line in place until the trigger is released.
Both trigger-spin-cast and trigger-spinning reels typically come pre-spooled with line weights varying from 6lbs up to 20lbs.
So, Why Use a Trigger-Spin Reel?
When looking at closed-faced reels, the main advantage of a “trigger” which is controlled by the forefinger, rather than by the thumb, is the greater control and release accuracy of the former.
Also, freeing up the thumb on the open-faced models allows for a firmer grip in the rod handle, with less stress on the wrist and forearm, as well as a much smoother cast with less resistance.
Also, trigger-spin reels are generally less expensive than other styles, making them a more affordable option for anglers who want to experiment with casting styles, without a large investment.
Choosing the Right Trigger-Spin Reel
With the variety of brands and styles available, the search for the right trigger-spin reel can become confusing and overwhelming, as it can for many items in the angling world.
Here are a few of the more important factors to consider before purchasing:
Quality of Materials
Like any item of tackle, the first thing you want to look for is the use of high-quality, durable materials that will continue to perform for many seasons to come.
Stay away from reels which use a lot of plastic parts, or that feel flimsy, or rattle, in your hand.
The components that make up the reel should be corrosion-resistant (especially for salt-water use), and of such high quality that the manufacturer is confident enough to guarantee its use with a generous warranty.
Metal components tend to be considered the eco-friendlier choice, as well.
Weight and Balance
You don’t just fish with the reel, so matching your choice to trigger-spin reel with the appropriate rod can make or break (literally) your angling experience.
If you plan to target smaller freshwater gamefish, you’re probably using a fairly lightweight fishing rod.
If this is the case, it’s probably best to avoid reels made with heavier materials like steel or even aluminum and stick with more weight-friendly graphite components.
By contrast, if you’re angling for larger freshwater or saltwater species, you’ll want to balance that heavier stick with a reel that can throw some weight, and put up a fight to match bigger prey.
Likewise, you want to be sure to pick the correct reel for the weight of line you plan to use.
A line that outweighs your reel will underperform in both casting distance and accuracy, while an underweight line can lead to more backlashing and tangles.
Rod/reel/line balance is one of the most overlooked and yet vital performance components to a successful angling experience.
Know Your Target “Audience”
As we touched on earlier, when shopping for a new reel you must consider what you’re planning to use it for. Obviously, you’re going fishing, but fishing for what?
Trigger-spin reels are a great “general” fishing option when targeting a variety of species cohabitating the same area.
Specialized fishing, however, tends to require specialized equipment.
Pursuits like surf fishing, or ice fishing, or fly-fishing, are likely to be more successful when using gear specifically designed for the needs of those environments.
If you generally tend to fish for “whatever’s biting” (trout, bass, panfish, perch, rockfish, etc.,) then a trigger-spinning reel should be more than sufficient for your angling needs.
Like many items of angling gear, sometimes you “get what you pay for”, and sometimes the higher price is just, well…a higher price.
Be sure to compare key features, quality of comparable components, and online customer reviews when determining the best balance of value vs. cost.
7 Best Under Spin Reels Reviewed
Here are the top spinning reels with trigger on the market today
Zebco 33 Gold Micro Trigger-spin
Zebco is probably the most recognized name in push-button spin-cast reels, which makes sense, as they invented them!
In fact, classic models like the Zebco 808 and the original Zebco 33 were the reels many of us learned to fish with.
These days, the company produces every type of fishing reel imaginable, including new takes on some of their old classics.
The ultralight 33 Gold Micro Trigger spin-cast features the latest technology in trigger-spin reels.
Built on a lightweight, incredibly durable graphite frame, it includes a super smooth 3-bearing drive, MicroFine™ dial-adjustable drag system, an ergonomic “easy release” trigger, and Zebco’s patented QuickSet™ instant anti-reverse clutch.
Perfect for targeting your favorite panfish and trout species, the sleek brushed stainless-steel casing isn’t the only thing that will catch your eye.
This modern spin on the legendary Zebco 33 is a downsized under-rod version of the original, pre-spooled with 4-lb. Cajun Line®
- Dual ceramic pickups
- Built-in Bite Alert
- QuickSet anti-reverse
- Average Review: 5/5
Pflueger Trion Spin-cast Reel
Pflueger has been a respected name in the angling community since 1881, when Ernest Pflueger began manufacturing fish hooks under the company name Enterprise Manufacturing Company.
His son later changed the name to the E.A. Pflueger Company, expanding their catalog to include all types of tackle & fishing gear.
Their first spin-casting reel was introduced in 1954, and quickly became one the most popular reels of all time.
Today, the Pflueger® Trion Under Spin-casting Reel carries on that same proud tradition of excellence.
- 2 bearing system
- Aluminum cone
- Aluminum handle
- Dual titanium pins
- Spool applied drag
- Soft-touch knob
- Average Review: 4/5
Shakespeare Synergy Steel Reel
No list of value-driven fishing reels would be complete without an offering from another founding father of modern fishing: Shakespeare.
From their introduction of the first level-wind reel in 1907 to the world-renowned Ugly Stik product line, Shakespeare has long been a well-recognized name in angling innovation, with a simple objective: Make fishing easy and more enjoyable.
The Synergy Steel Spin-cast reel includes a burnished stainless-steel face and line guide, a single steel pick-up pin, and boasts a heavy-duty steel handle and all-metal gears for advanced durability.
- Synst6 filled with 6 lb. line
- Synst10 filled with 10 lb. line
- Average Review: 4/5
Daiwa Underspin Reel-XD
Daiwa’s introduced their first spinning reel in 1955 and began to give Pflueger a run for their money almost immediately.
The Japan-based company is now one of the most successful and influential fishing tackle manufacturers in the world.
Currently based in Cypress, California, Daiwa now offers its product line all across the United States, Canada, Central American, and South America.
Daiwa’s Underspin-XD Spin-cast Reel features the superior balance of a spinning reel, with the added benefit of a spin-casting reel’s ease of use.
The Underspin-XD has developed a huge following among panfish anglers, especially when coupled with longer noodle or crappie-fishing rods.
The XD’s Soft Touch handle grip makes cranking easier and more comfortable, especially in wet weather conditions.
The rotating, Titanium Nitrided line pickup offers easier winding, reduces line wear, and, coupled with an oversized line aperture, greatly improves casting distance.
- Smooth ball bearing drive
- Hardbodyz Rigid Aluminum Alloy Construction
- Rugged metal gearing
- Smooth drag with easy rear adjustment
- Interchangeable handle
- Pre-wound with premium line
- Average Review: 4/5
At 26 years old, Shozaburo Shimano established Shimano Iron Works in February 1921 in Higashi Minato in Sakai City Japan.
He opened his ironworks on the site of a 40-square-meter demolished celluloid factory, where the rent was only 5 yen per month.
Starting with a single lathe that he had borrowed from another company, he went into business.
Hard work and a laser-focused dedication to quality allowed the business to grow and thrive beyond its humble beginnings.
In 1970, Shozaburo’s son, now the president of his father’s company, launched a second business pillar, the Shimano Fishing Tackle Division, with a simple corporate vision of promoting public health by advocating more outdoor activities.
Shimano introduced its first spinning reel, the DUX series in 1971, with the mission of not just providing gear to catch more fish, but with a focus on creating tools to make fishing more enjoyable.
Following in that tradition, Shimano’s Syncopate spinning reel provides a high-quality and highly enjoyable fishing experience at an incredibly low price
Shimano’s patented Quick Fire II technology allows for unbelievably simple and lightning-fast single-handed casting for both those new to the sport, as well as seasoned anglers.
Syncopate’s Varispeed technology maintains a steady spool speed while it’s Dyna-Balance hardware maximizes balance (and reduces wobble) on retrieves by counter-balancing the rotor, enhancing both strike sensitivity and smoothness of retrieve.
Another performance (and enjoyment) enhancing feature of the Syncopate is its unique Propulsion Line Management System which allows for longer casts while at the same preventing backlash and wind knots.
Shimano incorporates computer balancing (much like the balancing technology used on automobile tires) to balance the rotor weight and eliminate vibrations.
- Saltwater approved
- Sturdy graphite frame, side-plate, and rotor
- Forged aluminum spool
- Ported handle
- Four shielded ball bearings
- Average Review: 4.5/5
Shimano IX 4000
Like it’s big brother, (the Syncopate) the ultralight Shimano IX offers the same Quick Fire II technology, lightweight graphite frame, side plate, rotor, spool, and rear drag, which reduces the weight without compromising strength or durability.
Advertised as compatible with saltwater angling as well as freshwater, the IX is rated for mono, fluorocarbon and PowerPro lines.
The, even more, price-attractive IX is ideal as a testing reel for newcomers to trigger-style casting, delivering easy casting and super-smooth reeling, and offering excellent performance at a superior value.
Like the Syncopate, the IX’s Quick Fire II technology provides superior single-handed casting for all levels of angling experience.
A centered trigger offers an easy grasp for the angler’s index finger, and a reversible handle design caters to both right and left-handed casting and fishing.
Average Review: 4.5/5
Pflueger President Spin-cast
Another great offering from our friends at Pflueger, the President Spin-cast Reel, constructed from premium aluminum, is designed with the angler’s comfort and ease in mind.
Featuring a 5-bearing stainless-steel retrieval drive and dual titanium pins for easier line pick up, the President’s soft-touch aircraft-grade aluminum handle makes for comfortable cranking all day long, and for years to come.
The President Spin-cast is manufactured in both a traditional spin-cast model and a trigger-spin version to meet the angler’s preferred style.
- The aluminum frame ensures precise gear alignment
- Aluminum core
- A high-quality machined aluminum front cone
- Thumb adjustable disc drag system
- Instant Anti-Reverse
- Spool applied drag
- Average Review: 4.5/5
While there are many, many other fine trigger-spin reels on the market, these five models have consistently received the highest rankings by angling professionals, and the best reviews from the fishing community.
So, check a few of these out, get a feel for the technique, and research how they perform with your favorite species.
Then, when you find the one that feels right…pull the trigger!