Shimano Baitrunner Spinning Reel Review

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Hey guys, welcome back to Beach and Fishing and my Shimano Baitrunner spinning reel review. Now, as you are probably aware, fishing is one of those past times that holds two essential truths:

  1. There are a great number of variations of every piece of equipment, tackle and accessory that you could be looking for.
  2. Everybody has an opinion on which of these variations is best at any given time – which is generally due to the fact that that particular item has helped them catch fish.

So with that in mind, one thing I have tried to do on this site is review the products I use, as well as the ones that are popular at the moment to give you an idea of what may work for you as you head out to the water and chase the big ones.

Hence, for this review, I will run you through:

  • What the product is
  • What I bought if for
  • Pros and Cons
  • Cost
  • My recommendations

What is a baitrunner reel?

Shimano Baitrunner 6000D, Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel
$199.99 $185.99
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02/19/2024 10:59 am GMT

Baitrunner reels are spinning reels that incorporate an extra ‘clutch’ at the back that allows the line to flow from the spool once a fish takes the bait. This clutch allows the line to be spooled without too much resistance even with the bail engaged – meaning less pressure on the drag or reel allowing the fish can ‘run’ without snapping the line.

Once the handle is turned, or the button flicked off, the reel then works as normal with a drag at the front to control your ability to land the catch.

Their main advantages are for those who like to ‘float’ a bait out for hard hitting surface fish such as a Mackerel or Tuna that like to run as soon as they strike. They can however be used for many different species where the rod is left in a holder or the species is big or hard hitting enough that you don’t want to lose it if the drag is not set properly.


As above, one of the main advantages of the baitrunner is that it allows the spool to be released without any pressure on the drag with the bail engaged. In the base models, this is a simple option where the clutch is engaged and the line is released once pressure is placed on it by a fish that has taken the bait.

The higher end models however contain a settings dial at the rear of the reel that adjusts the tension at which the line can be spooled. As with general drag settings on the front of a spinning reel, this allows the user to set how fast the line can be released.

Shimano baitrunner review - rear spool tension wheel

Bait vs Lures

Whilst these reels can work with lures in a cast and retrieve type situation – although I have found them not to cast as well as some others I own – their use with the baitrunner is invariably better when fishing with fresh or live bait than a lure. As above, the baitrunner functions best for allowing a fish to grab and run with it’s ‘meal’ meaning it is generally left to sit rather than be constantly wound in.

What did I buy it for?

I purchased the Shimano 6000 model for use both in the ocean and the surf and at the risk of removing the ‘unbiased’ aspects of this review, I love them. For ocean fishing it is great for both reef action with a paternoster rig as well as ‘floating a pilchard’ off the side for the fast moving surface fish.

In the surf I use it on my big slow rod when chasing bigger species such as Mulloway etc. as I can leave it in the holder with a live bait and let the line spool if a big one jumps on.

I have it spooled with 40lb braid and 40lb fluorocarbon leader which was more than capable landing a nice big Cod as below (ok, I just wanted to brag haha):

Shimano baitrunner review - my black cod

What do you get?

  • Model: Shimano Baitrunner D (models range from 4000 to 12000)
  • Bearings: 3 + 1 Anti rust shielded stainless steel
  • Ratio: 4.8:1
  • Baitrunner function: Tension setting wheel at rear
  • Composition: Fully sealed graphite body with cold forged aluminium spool and Thermoplastic soft handle
  • Drag: front of spool – 6 carbon washers with fully calibrated, sealed setting handle – up to 20lb
  • Anti-reverse switch: Instant


  • Smooth and strong winding action
  • Easy to manage and clean
  • Extremely sensitive drag and tension settings
  • Handles heavy catches without displaying any strain
  • Well balanced
  • “D’ models contain ‘Hagane‘ steel machine manufactured components


  • Not a great casting reel
  • Not great for lures
  • A little heavier than other spinning reels of same size and cost (such as Daiwa BG for example)

How much is it?

I paid $185 however have seen these priced at anywhere between $150 to $220 for the ‘D’ models. The base models are a little cheaper.


What are Baitrunners good for?

Baitrunners are a good option for fast running surface fish that are targeted by running a live or chunk of bait on the water. The idea is that then the fish hits, it has a little more run to play with rather than pulling on the drag alone hence protecting the reel and line from snapping. It also give the fish a chance to take the hook before you pull on it too.

What is the difference between Shimano Baitrunner D and OC?

In short, the OC is the base model whereas the D is higher end. the OC works fine in most conditions however the D presents higher quality in the gearing, a one piece bail wire and a more comfortable handle. The D is also built for a braid load.

Do I recommend it?

As above, I love these reels and with the higher level ‘D’ models it is definitely a case of getting what you pay for. It is smooth to use and whilst spinning reel drags are never as sensitive as a baitcasters, this one is a dream to use and set, especially when you have a fish on. Its only downfall is it is a little heavy (20oz/570g) but for where I use it, it is not really an issue for me.

If you are looking to cast and retrieve, there are definitely better options out there however if you are looking for something to use with live or fresh bait in an ocean or land setting then you could definitely do a lot worse than this one – especially if you like to sit it in a rod holder and enjoy the surroundings.


So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Shimano Baitrunner spinning reel. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below.

Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.

Until next time

Have fun


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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.