Serious muskie reels are in a class all their own. They need the strength to heave and retrieve lures weighing up to 16 ounces a few thousand times per day; the capacity to hold 150 yards or more of 80- to 100-pound braided line; and a drag stout enough to stop a 50-plus-inch aquatic freight train. Muskie fishing always means covering lots of water, too, so slower round reels and beefed-up bass gear that pulls a wimpy 20 inches of line per handle turn need not apply. To see how some of the top muskie reels on the market stack up, I tortured the four models below all summer and fall on a variety of waters, from my local New Jersey hotspots to the legendary Lake St. Clair. Every reel was tested with a variety of baits and subjected to the short, powerful runs of 3- and 4-plus-foot muskellunge.