The Most Expensive Fishing Reels Money Can (and Can’t) Buy

Most Expensive Fishing Reels

Buying the most expensive fishing reel you can find and heading out with high hopes of catching a monster is easy. The truth is, no reel can teach you the ins and outs of a sport that anglers have mastered over decades of being out on the water.

While the fanciest and flashiest new technology won’t catch fish for you, it can definitely make your experience a lot better if you know what you’re doing. Knowing the top tier of a product allows you to compare other cheaper models to see what you’re missing out on.

The most expensive fishing reel in the world is Graham Turner’s “Holy Grail,” sold at auction for $58,000 in 2011. Aside from the collectibles, the Shimano Stella, Penn International, Daiwa Dendoh, and Tibor Signature are some of the best and most expensive fishing reels money can buy.

Don’t limit yourself to these models though. There are plenty of other expensive reels that boast a variety of different bells and whistles to make them the absolute best of the best.

Whether you’re looking out of curiosity or for a gift, bragging rights, or the highest quality fishing reel you can find, here are some of the most expensive fishing reels available today.

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The 7 Most Expensive Fishing Reels Available

  1. Most Expensive Shimano Reel: Shimano Tiagra TI130A
  2. Most Expensive Freshwater Reel: Shimano Stella FK
  3. Most Expensive Fly Reel: Tibor Signature
  4. Most Expensive Baitcaster: Shimano Antares DC
  5. Most Expensive Daiwa Reel: Daiwa Dendoh Marine Power 3000
  6. Most Expensive Penn Reel: Penn International Electric VI
  7. Most Expensive Spinning Reel: Daiwa Saltiga

You can’t go out to Bass Pro and buy the $58,000 “Holy Grail” of fishing reels. However, you have many other options if you want to trade some serious cash for some serious power on your rod.

Here we’ve listed seven of the best. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are so many expensive reels out there for you to check out, but we’ve tried to determine the absolute best of the best when it comes to expensive fishing reels.

1. Most Expensive Shimano Reel

The Shimano Tiagra TI130A is the reel you strap onto a big game fishing rod and go out into the deep waters with to bring back a champion fish. It makes bringing monsters on the boat easy due to the impressive dual-speed system with heavy cranking ratios of 1.15:1 and a high speed of 2.2:1.

Most Expensive Shimano
Shimano tiagra ti130a Shimano Tiagra TI130A
$1,449.95
Price range: $1,000-$1,500
Where Made: Japan
Type & Use: Big game fishing
Why so expensive: Engineered to perfection for hauling massive game fish.
11/08/2023 02:56 pm GMT

All this to say, if you’re going out on the ocean to go up against one of the strongest deep sea dwellers, the Shimano Tiagra TI130A is the best companion for the fight. It beats out all of Shimano’s other big game reels by a massive margin when it comes to max drag and mono line capacity.

Shimano developed a hydrothermal drag system that rids you of problems with drag setting variances you’ll find on most other big game reels. All this power is housed inside a machine-crafted aluminum frame that allows heavy lines to move smoothly.

This isn’t a reel that a beginning angler will need or really be able to handle. People who go out either professionally or are incredibly experienced in the sport are the ones who will be bringing the Tiagra TI130A home from the store with them.

2. Most Expensive Freshwater Fishing Reel

The Shimano Stella is the reel that changed it all. In 1995, Shimano released the first model of the Stella. The featured technology was the SHIP (smooth and hip-powered system) to significantly increase the gear reeling performance. This was only the beginning.

Most Expensive for Freshwater
Shimano stella fk Shimano Stella FK
$799.99
Price range: $800 +/-
Where Made: Japan
Type & Use: Spinning reel for game, bait, and bass fishing in salt or freshwater
Why so expensive: Backed by years of engineering for a flawless reel
11/08/2023 03:50 pm GMT

The technology moved forward to incorporate the S-system (smooth, silent, strong) in the early 2000s. Then Shimano added R for reliance, bringing about the Stella SR and the SR-3D. In 2014, they added the Micromodule Gear and became the first (but not the last) spinning reel to do so. It was a great success.

Further down the line, Shimano now uses the Hagane and X-Protect technologies to house all of the internal mechanisms that make this one of the best reels on the market, no matter how expensive it is. It’s built for both salt and freshwater fishing.

There are thirteen different sizes of the Shimano Stella that you can grab for your next trip. With one of these, you can head out and troll for marlin before turning around, re-rigging, and bait fishing on the surface with just as much ease.

3. Most Expensive Fly Fishing Reel

Tibor Reels hold over 950 world records, so there’s no surprise that they make the most expensive fly fishing rod to add to your quiver. The Signature Fly Reel came about in 2011 after 35 years of manufacturing and developing the best of the best reels out there. This is the accumulation of tried and true technologies from a USA-proud company.

Most Expensive for Fly Fishing
Tibor signature fly reel Tibor Signature Fly Reel
Price range: $650-$900
Where Made: USA
Type & Use: Fly fishing reel
Why so expensive: USA-made and holder of more world records than any other reel.

These reels are made for professionals looking to dominate the field and bring in the biggest fish without worrying about maintaining the reel that helps them do it.

One of the most beautiful parts of the Signature reel is its simplicity. There are so few moving parts that the reel is likely to outlast you if well cared for. If you do hit a problem, it’s simple to take apart and fix. If you can’t figure out how to put it back together, the reel remains under warranty even after you’ve gone and tinkered around inside of it. That’s near-impossible to find.

It’s easy to see the difference in USA-made products. Look at all the brands you used to love that have been moved to Japan or China. The production quality drops significantly. Tibor isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

4. Most Expensive Baitcaster Reel

Another Shimano flagship, the Antares DC, is one of the more expensive baitcasting reels you can get. This one utilizes the best technologies that Shimano has developed over the ages and brings it all together in a low-profile bait cast reel that is made to impress.

Most Expensive for Bass Fishing
Shimano antares dc Shimano Antares DC
$529.00
Price range: $550-$800
Where Made: Japan
Type & Use: Bait casting reel for freshwater fishing, a favorite for bass.
Why so expensive: Sleek body filled with world-renowned technology.
11/08/2023 02:51 pm GMT

The casting with the Antares is buttery-smooth thanks to the 4×8 DC brake system that allows for a multiplier effect and farther casting distances. This makes the Antares DC versatile for long-casting and big days out on bigger waters.

This is one of the more expensive reels that you can actually afford and get the full use out of. It won’t completely break the bank, and it will be a great addition to your gear.

While the traditional Antares DC is for freshwater use, the Monster Drive model is tuned up for saltwater fishing. It’s sold as the reel to take down to the Amazon when you’re after the freshwater monsters you can only find in South American waters. This is the reel to take on a big trip.

5. Most Expensive Daiwa Reel

Electric reels are still relatively new in the fishing world. They fit into a tiny niche of people who can afford them and feel it’s worth the money to help them bring in big fish. That being said, electric reels are great for what they’re designed to do. If you have the money and feel like spending it, then there’s no reason not to get one.

Most Expensive Daiwa
Daiwa dendoh marine power 3000 Daiwa Dendoh Marine Power 3000
Price range: $3,000-$4,000
Where Made: Japan
Type & Use: Electric big-game fishing
Why so expensive: Electric assistance in big game fishing.

The Daiwa Dendoh Marine Power 3000 is a prime example of an electric big game reel that will make your life much easier in the deep waters. When you go out to bring up deep-sea fish, a long fight is bound to happen with anything you get on the hook. A reel like the Dendoh MP3000 makes the task a whole lot easier.

Even getting your rig set up at the right depth can take ages. The auto stop and line depth measurements make the initial stages of deep-water fishing a breeze.

The electric reel market is just getting a proper start, and we’re bound to see even more start to pop up. Watch for features to boost the experience and make things that much easier for you.

6. Most Expensive Penn Reel

Imagine going out and hooking your phone up to your reel via Bluetooth, determining the depth you want your line at, and your reel doing it all for you. That’s the Penn International Electric VI in a quick and tiny nutshell.

Most Expensive Electric Reel
Penn international electric vi Penn International Electric VI
$5,029.95
Price range: $4,000-$6,000
Where Made: USA
Type & Use: Electric big game fishing
Why so expensive: Bluetooth connectivity, massive capacity for deep water, and big game.
11/08/2023 03:29 pm GMT

The International Electric VI features a digital line counter and level wind in addition to the auto stop functions. Now you can connect via Bluetooth and see the RPMs, depth, and control speed from your phone while sitting back and prepping for the monsters to bite.

If you’ve been big game fishing, you can attest to how physically challenging the sport is. It requires massive willpower and stamina to bring those fish from the depths up onto the boat. This reel is more than just a fun gadget. It helps make that physically demanding task just a bit easier.

While it can really change the game, not many people buy this reel to improve their fishing experience. This is the kind of reel people buy because they don’t know what else to do with their money. It makes things easier, but it probably won’t pay for itself like some other reels on our list.

Penn offers a variety of reels in its International lineup, all of which are considered high-end.

7. Most Expensive Spinning Reel

The Daiwa Saltiga is a much different model than the Daiwa’s Dendoh MP3000. Both can bring in some huge fish, but the Saltiga can do it for a significantly lower, albeit still expensive, price. The Saltiga has gone up against the Shimano Stella as the best spinning reel for a long time, and both are worth mentioning when talking about expensive reels.

Most Expensive Spinning Reel
Daiwa saltiga Daiwa Saltiga
$1,099.99
Price range: $900-$1,200
Where Made: Various countries
Type & Use: Spinning reel for bigger fish, both fresh and saltwater.
Why so expensive: Huge amount of power from years of engineering.
11/08/2023 02:51 pm GMT

The Saltiga was introduced in 2002 and has pushed the boundaries for heavy-duty saltwater spinners ever since. The 2020 model is engineered to bring all of the newest developments into one reel, from Magseal technology to protect everything to a brand new drive gear inside.

With this, you’re paying for the years and years of development that comes together for an outstanding product. A lot of heavy-duty salt and freshwater anglers will use the Saltiga and come home happier because of it.

Are Expensive Fishing Reels Worth It?

Window shopping for expensive fishing reels is easy. The showy features of these flashy reels can make the temptation to get your own almost irresistible. But is it really worth all that money?

Well, a lot of people will quickly say yes. The popular belief these days is that the more expensive something is, the better it is. But that’s not always the case, and you don’t need to spend $6,000 to bring home a big deep sea dweller.

Like everything, there’s a middle ground that tends to hold true. Sure, you can catch monster fish with a $50,000 reel. But you can’t also catch them with a $300 reel and be just as happy. (Especially since you’ll be saving all that money!)

Similarly, you don’t need to buy an electric rod that does a lot of the work for you, but that comes down to personal preference. Are you okay with fighting the tough fight, or do you want or need tech to help you out?

Expensive fishing reels can be worth it at times. More “conservatively expensive” reels like the Shimano Stella and the Daiwa Saltiga bring a lot of bang for your buck and will likely last you a lifetime. You can drop $1,000 on one of these, or you can spend $300 multiple times throughout your life as the cheaper models break down.

Sometimes it’s worth it. If fishing is what you love most and an expensive reel makes it better, then why not?