YOSHIKAWA BAITFEEDER REVIEW

PROS

  • Great gear ratio to bring them in fast
  • High line capacity allows you to work a larger fish
  • Corrosion free ball-bearings for long term use
  • Multi disk drag system just keeps going
  • Easy to operate drag system
  • You can buy 4 of them with shipping for the price of 1 Shimano Baitrunner
  • Strong, durable aluminum handle

CONS

  • Some reviews say they break easily
  • It’s not a Shimano or any other $150 reel
  • No complaints or issues in the past 4 years of use
yoshikawa baitfeeder

Table of Contents

WHY THE YOSHIKAWA BAITFEEDER?

The Yoshikawa Baitfeeder is a great reel for someone looking to get into just about any kind of fishing. If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on the newest gear, you can still get a great setup to start fishing.

Yoshikawa has produced a reel with both front and rear drag setting to make bait-and-wait fishing a breeze. The rear drag setting is great to let the fish grab the bait. When they start to run you start to reel.

Within half a crank the drag will switch from rear to front and your fighting drag takes control. Be careful though, you can set the drag too tight and a big fish will snap your hook from the shock.

Baitfeeder reels were originally designed for carp and catfish. They have since found use from the pond out back to surf fishing. You can use these reels from crappie to carp to salmon.

yoshikawa baitfeeder features

PERFORMANCE

A lot of reels now look shiny and elegant, but that doesn’t always mean they work better. Just because you buy the newest most expensive reel doesn’t put fish on your line. The most expensive gear in the world can’t make the fish bite.

The Yoshikawa baitfeeder reels have packed a ton of value into a very small package. They have several different reel sizes to fit any use you could have. I went with the 5000 series and can fit nearly 300 yards of 50lb braided on them.

HOW IT WORKS

The Yoshikawa baitfeeder system allows you to set a lower rear drag setting than your front “fighting drag”. When fishing for carp, this allows you to keep the currents from pulling out more line, but allows the fish to run when it feels the prick of the hook. Paired with freshly sharpened hooks and a rod pod, I haven’t had a runner that wasn’t netted.

The 5.5:1 ratio makes for fast, secure retrievals. The Shimano Baitrunner comes in at a 4.8:1 ratio. Not enough to be a decision maker, but certainly a factor.

Yoshikawa Baitfeeder reel side view showing controls and drag knobs

FEATURES

The structure and design of this reel make it perfect for experienced anglers and amateurs alike. The dual drag settings give you a lot of control and are very simple to use.

The line capacity is really quite amazing with these reels. Paired with lower diameter braided line and a shock leader, my reels have hurled 6oz leads across a river. Plenty for any fishing I intend on doing. I don’t know of any fish in New York that can run 3 football fields with 50lb braided line.

The Yoshikawa Baitfeeder is really built to last. Sealed bearings, Stainless steel shaft, a graphite side plate, and an aluminum spool. They put an ambidextrous handle on it for left or right handed people and can be switched in seconds.

Ever had a fish take all your line? I had one strip over 100 yards of 10lb braided line and then snap the shank of the hook when it hit my knot at the end of the reel. That was the day I ordered these reels.

I have never had the worry about running out of line since. Their 3000 model is a great medium sized reel, great for pond and lake fishing. The 6000 can handle just about anything freshwater can throw at it. I have been using my three 5000 series reels for almost 4 years now without a single malfunction.

yoshikawa baitfeeder illustrated features

They come with a 10+1 bearing setup which makes them very smooth for the price point. The line-lay leaves a bit to be desired, but it has never caused a tangle.

Need to run line through your eyelets? Just pop it into runner mode and feed the line through with just enough resistance to make life easier. I can have 3-5 rods set up before my buddy has his 2 done.

There is a free spool mode as well which will have zero drag. Great for when you want your bait to drift for you. So zero drag, low drag, and fighting drag all at the flip of a lever. How much better does it get?

yoshikawa baitfeeder free spool closeup

HOW TO USE IT

I use a 1-6oz lead depending on where I’m fishing and set the rear drag knob just tight enough so the water isn’t pulling my line out. To do this you have the front/rear selector switch down. Cast your line using your front drag as the runner drag may not hold heavier rigs.

Push the selector up and you’re ready to run. This is when I put my rod in my pod and set up my bite indicators. The low drag makes setup take seconds.

When you hear the drag start spooling, it’s time to pick up the rod and go to work. Just pick the rod up and start cranking. In less than one turn, the reel will automatically kick over to your fighting drag setting.

yoshikawa baitfeeder close ups

If you sharpen your hooks properly, this is an instant hook set. Now it’s safe to adjust your front drag without as much risk of snapping the hook or line.

These are great reels for anyone on a budget that wants to catch some bigger fish and not be worried about it. Amazing value for a “cheap Chinese reel”. Who said that had to be a bad thing?

LONG TERM USE

I got these reels for weekend carp fishing. A friend told me if I reeled in a 25lb carp on his Ugly Stik ultra-light he would buy me the rod I had been looking at.

I threw one of these reels on his rod and gave it a go. I now have three of those rods for my rod pod with three Yoshikawa reels. Several 30+lb carp and 4 years later, these reels are still going strong.

The front and rear drag system makes bait-and-wait fishing a breeze. When setting up the rods and running my line, I adjust the front drag setting to my fighting drag. I found with experience it’s better to adjust this BEFORE there is a 35lb carp on the line.

These reels have even seen light ocean use with me. A good rinse after use with some freshwater and they’re ready for the next use. From ponds to rivers as well, this reel earns it’s place on my rods every time. More information on a beginner carp fishing setup here. You can also get a free trial for Amazon Prime right here.