Big Pit Reels for Carp Fishing – Explained

What are they? Are they needed? What’s so good about Big Pit Reels? There are definite pros and cons to using big Pit Reels for Carp Fishing, we will get to those later on in this article, but first, we will cover the basics of What Big Pit Reels are and if they’re even needed for carp fishing?

What is a Big Pit Reel?

Big Pit Reels are large fishing reels designed specifically for targeting big carp on large bodies of water, designed much the same as big reels anglers use to target large fish in the ocean with big saltwater reels. The larger and stronger parts of Big Pit Reels hold up to the strain of catching big fish at long distances.

Big Pit Reels

Big Pit Reels were ideal for most big carp anglers when they first came out. Over the years, bait runners have advanced quite a bit, and the larger models have all the benefits of a Big Pit Reel. Many anglers prefer Big Pit Reels equipped with a quick drag system, while others swear by Bait Runners. This article will compare the two to help you decide which may suit your angling the best.

How is a Big Pit Reel Different from Other Carp Fishing Reels?

There are many subtle differences between Big Pit Reels and other carp fishing reels. Most of the differences pertain to the size of the reel—gears, handles, spools, etc. Big Pit Reels are suited more to targeting big fish on big waters.

Spod Reel Line Clip

Larger Gears

The added body size of big pit reels allows them to house larger gearing. This is important when fishing large water bodies as they tend to hold bigger fish. The larger gearing will hold up to the wear and tear these fish will put on your kit much better than other carp fishing reels.

Bigger Spools

Big Pit Reels have larger spools which aid carp anglers in two ways. They hold more line for fishing at long distances but the larger spools also have better line lay to allow anglers to cast further easily.

Optimal Line Lay

Slower Oscillation (the speed at which the spool moves up and down during retrieval) allows Big Pit Reels to have better line lay than smaller carp reels.

Larger Handles

Big Pit Reels have larger handles to aid with bringing fish in from the long distances they’re made to cast. This is better for both the fish and the angler. It prevents strain on anglers from the long battles on the big water and allows them to steer fish away from snags and other hazards easily.

Heavy Line Clips

Big Pit Reels are larger than normal carp fishing reels. This allows them to have a larger, more robust line clip. A large solid line clip is essential when casting further and with greater force.

Higher Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of Big Pit Reels is normally higher than other smaller carp fishing reels. This saves much time on the bank, allowing anglers to reel in quickly.

As you can see, many small details are built into big pit reels to make them ideal for carp anglers. One downside is that the bigger reels are more expensive than regular carp fishing reels. Only you can decide if they’re worth upgrading to. To aid in your decision, we will outline a few points on why or when you should use a Big Pit Reel specifically.

Why Should You Use a Big Pit Reel for Carp Fishing?

Although Big Pit Reels are not always required when fishing for carp, such as on small waters with a smaller stock of fish, they are very useful in most locations as carp tend to grow very big quite quickly.

Carp Fishing with a Boat

Fishing with a Boat

When placing their rigs with a boat, anglers can easily target fish at long range. A Big Pit Reel is a must in these situations as the large spools allow enough line to reach areas where the fish are actively feeding.

In Rough Weather

When it is unsafe to use a boat to place your rigs on big waters, big pit reels are a must due to the longer distances they can cast. Anglers can easily cast over 100 yards to present their bait where the fish are.

Targeting Bigger Fish

Using a big pit reel on lakes and rivers is best where carp can grow up to 30 lbs or greater. The larger reels will hold up to the strain these big fish will put on your gear during battle.

To Balance Large Rods

A big pit reel will balance a 12-foot or 13-foot rod perfectly. Many carp anglers opt for longer rods to target big fish, and smaller carp reels can hinder the performance of oversized rods.

There are many benefits to using a Big Pit Reel to target carp. I would recommend for any dedicated carp angler to have a set of Big Pits to be able to adapt and handle conditions on big waters that can change quite quickly.

Big Pit Reels versus Baitrunner Reels for Carp Fishing

The debate on using Big Pit Reels versus Baitrunners for carp angling has been going on forever. Some anglers swear by their bait runners, while others won’t use anything other than a Big Pit Reel. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what reel style you enjoy using the most.

Bait Runner vs Big Pit Reel

Baitrunner Reel Pros

  • Easy for Beginners
  • Dual Drag System
  • Available in Small and Large Models
  • Quickly Engage Fighting Drag

Baitrunner Reel Cons

  • More Parts that Could Fail
  • Smaller Spools
  • Smaller Parts

Big Pit Reel Pros

  • Handle Big Fish with Ease
  • Great for Long Carp Rods
  • Long Casting Distance
  • Hold More Line

Big Pit Reel Cons

  • More Expensive
  • Don’t Pair Well with Small Rods
  • Overpowered for Smaller Fish

I personally prefer Bait Runner Reels more than Big Pit Reels for Carp Fishing. I have three different sets of Baitrunners. Small, Medium and Large. Depending on the conditions or area I’m fishing in, I can switch between them to suit the conditions.

For more detailed information, check out our Full Guide on What to Look for in a Carp Fishing Reel.

What are the Best Big Pit Reels for Carp Fishing?

Many different manufacturers and brands make specific Big Pit Reels for carp fishing. Although most will do the job, some are made of lesser materials to cut costs and should be avoided. A quality big pit reel is a must as they are used in harsher conditions.

You can’t go wrong with the big manufacturers such as Shimano or Daiwa. They have some great options and are available at most retailers. You can check out the Shimano Big Pit Reels at Johnson Ross Tackle.

Check out our Recommended Carp Fishing Reels Resource for specific recommendations.