Aliexpress BFS Fishing Gear
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The Complete Guide to Budget BFS Fishing Gear from AliExpress: 41 Top Picks

FIshign gear can be expensive. Bait Finesse gear is no exception. But Aliexpress offers a large selection of budget BFS Fishing gear. Here’s my top picks after years of buying from what is essentially the Chinese version of

History of Bait Finesse System (BFS)

Bait Finesse System (or BFS) is using baitcasting reels that are typically considered ultralight to cast light lures. The best of these reels can cast a 0.5g fly – on what looks like down-sized bass fishing gear! There are a lot of reasons to use BFS equipment, but the most important for me it this: It’s so much fun!

Within the BFS community, there’s a lot of discussion on various aspects of the system, but the one thing that is almost universally agreed upon is this: It originated in Japan. Mr. Motoyama coined the phrase in 2000 in a book about trout fishing.

After that things get a bit confusing. First of all, this is in part because we automatically compare anything new to what we already know. I often describe it as using “ultralight baitcasters” and break it into 3 typical ranges of BFS fishing, for ease of understanding.

  • Ultra-Finesse: Anything below 2 gram lures (under 3/32 oz)
  • Standard BFS – 2g-10 gram lure weights (3/32 – 3/8 oz)
  • Power BFS – Lures up to 15 grams (call it 1/2 oz)

But there are many folks who believe it’s only for bass or trout fishing. Only up to 8 grams. But in reality BFS fishing gear comes down to the reel – shallower spool (typically), and capable of casting light line and lures.

Shimano apparently trademarked the term. Some folks believe only UL rods qualify – yet there are many ML Bait Finesse rods from Japan. It’s easy to get confused, which is in part why I’m writing this guide.

One other thing BFS enthusiasts agree on: using a spinning reel doesn’t fit with BFS. It’s always a baitcaster. Always. I go so far as to put companies on my personal blacklist who sell spinning gear marketed as bait Finesse – because it’s clear they are just chasing the money and not developing products for the BFS enthusiast (looking at you Kastking and Phenix).

Why Bait Finesse System

I already said it’s more fun. I didn’t enjoy trout fishing until I started chasing them with BFS fishing gear. I also find it to be more effective. I caught 12 PB’s in my first full year of BFS, including Largemouth Bass, rainbow trout (broke it 3 times!), and brook trout.

It’s more effective for at least 4 reasons:

  1. You can throw smaller lures on lighter line, making it easier to fool large, wary fish who have seen it all.
  2. I find BFS fishing gear to be more accurate than spinning gear
  3. One-handed casting with BFS gear allows you to be more efficient.
  4. You can still achieve a very flat cast when needed, so getting beneath branches or obstructions is easier than using spinning gear.

One other great reason to consider BFS is that is you already use baitcasters, you can throw the same set-ups you would typically use your spinning gear for on BFS. I haven’t picked up a spinning rod other than to clean out the garage in over 2 years. BFS can do it all for me.

Lastly, most BFS reels have a drag clicker. As a YouTuber, I love the added touch to my videos so the viewer knows when a fish is pulling drag. But it also has a practical purpose.

Because you are using light line an BFS, setting the hook and a large bass, trout, redfish, pike, etc can often exceed the strength rating of your line. So the drag is not as strong as a typical baitcaster. hearing that click gives you one more sense to help fight what might be a fish of a lifetime – or at least a personal best!

Long-time bass anglers often over-look this feature as a novelty. But they’re also running 50# braid on a 22# drag and have it cranked tight. There’s no finesse involved.

That’s Why I use BFS fishing gear. You might have other reasons for being interested in BFS. If you do, drop a comment and let me know.

Why Buy BFS Fishing Gear from AliExpress

If Japan is the origin of bait finesse-style fishing, why buy from AliExpress, which is in China? It mostly comes down to one word: cost. You can get really good BFS fishing gear for a fraction of the cost of JDM equipment.

But, there’s also a lot of potential garbage. So this buyer’s guide shares what I have found to be the best values after making over 50 purchases of BFS gear from Aliexpress.

Pro Tip: Add items to your wishlist, and usually AliExpress will send you an email when the price drops!

The Best Budget BFS Reels

The reel is the heart of BFS; you can use practically any finesse rod, and as long as you are using a bait finesse reel you have a BFS combo. BFS is ALWAYS a casting reel. If you ever see a company selling a BFS spinning reel (or rod), just avoid them. They are only chasing the trend and don’t understand bait finesse, so likely their gear will under-perform. I don’t want you to waste your money.

In traditional terms, these are essentially ultralight baitcasting reels. Most are equivalent to a 50-size reel.

And since we’re talking about budget BFS fishing, let’s get right to the best budget BFS reels you can buy on Aliexpress.

Doviello Acura

At the time of this writing, this is the king of the Chinese Domestic Market (CDM) BFS reels. The current “Pro” version with the short spool shaft can usually throw 1g on the right rod, and I’ve throw Power BFS set-ups on the deeper-spool as well.

It typically includes both spools, and it comes in at under $40 most of the time.

It’s hard to beat until you start spending about $100 or more. Check the current price here. It’s also sold as the Soloking Accura.

Tsurinoya Dark Wolf Ultra

For me this is the OG CDM BFS reel that really made it popular. It’s like the Tesla Model 3 of the bait fiensse world. it is affordable, very good performance, and seems to have great durability.

Prices fluctuate a bit, but it is typically under $80. This is the real that hooked me on BFS, and I still use my original one from time to time.

Kingdom Micro Monster

This is another of the Dark Wolf Ultra “clones”, which includes the Doviello accura. I found it to be the longest-casting variant of the group.

It’s also often in the $70 range, but sometimes great deals can be found. And the pink or purple accent colors might be for you as well.

Edit: Here’s and example of the types of sales AliExpress runs. From the Summer 2024 Sale:

Kingdom Baitcasting Fishing Reel 135g Micro Monster Shallow Spool

Original price: USD 100.26

Now price: USD 35.72


Pure Lure Silver Feather

When this reel was announced in late 2023, there was s a lot of speculation. It seemed to good to be true. As one of the first to get the reel, I can tell you this: It’s not too good to be true.

It’s a great value. Maybe the best, most forgiving brake system in the CDM reels. It’s also capable of casting very light – usually under 1 gram on the right rod.

My only real knock on it is the knobs on the handle; I don’t care for the thin, metal knobs. But it has;t stopped my from using it, and you can always upgrade them. This one is often closer to $110, but I find it for less (mine was $88 during the annual 11-11 sale).

Haibo Arise Air

The Haibo Arise Air is the Asian market-variant of the Ark gravity BFS. It typically sells for $120 vs $150 for the Ark Gravity. For many people, this is their favorite BFS reel. period.

It casts light weights, handles Power BFS weights, and has exceptional casting distance.

It’s a great value, even at $150. If you’re willing to wait a couple of weeks, save the $30 and order the Haibo.

Shimano Curado BFS

For a couple of years, I would not buy the larger brand name reels from AliExpress. I assumed they must be counterfeit/fake, or it was just a Big Freakin’ Scam (not what BFS stands for!).

But, the fact of the matter is, you can sometimes find a good deal on Shimano, Daiwa or other JDM brands on Aliexpress. The Curado BFS is one example.

You might even save $50 or $60 this way. If you’re unsure, watch my video about how to do your best to protect yourself from a potentially bad seller on AliExpress. In over 50 orders, I’ve never been cheated.

The Curado BFS is a very good reel. It doesn’t do well below 2 grams, and it’s definitely a bass or saltwater-focused reel rather than chasing trout or panfish. But for targeting bigger fish on BFS fishing gear, it’s one of the best deals.

Daiwa Tatula 80 with Gomexus Spool

One more option to consider: If you’re a Daiwa fan, the Tatula 80 TW is a great option when you pair it with the Gomexus aftermarket shallow spool. And this is exactly how most of the old-school bait finesse pioneers got started: they dropped an aftermarket shallow spool in something like an Abu Garcia Ambassaduer 2500 to get the light-weight capability.

I often forget that this is not a BFS reel right out of the box, because it’s casting performance is so good. The one downside is there is no drag clicker. I have installed an aftermarket clicker kit, but it’s not as smooth as all the ones that come with it installed from the factory.

If you know of a great clicker kit, leave a comment below! The Tatula 80 with the Gomexus spool will likely be a similar cost as the Curado BFS, totaling around $160.

Bait Finesse System Rods

When it comes to budget bait finesse fishing rod selection, the primary question to ask is this: what size lures do you want to throw? This is the biggest factor in picking the correct rod for your fishing adventures.

To get the most out of your BFS combo, the rod must be able to cast the lures properly. For light lures this means being able to load well enough to actually bend and get good casting distance. For heavier lures it means having enough strength or “backbone” to accurately cast the lures without risking breaking the rod.

The second question is what species of fish will you often target? Smallmouth and largemouth bass (or saltwater species like speckled trout or redfish) have much more power than many other species. That same backbone needed to cast lures can also be important when fighting a fish.

A third, less important question is the type of lure you are using. Moving baits vs bottom contact. Single hook vs treble hooks. If you have multiple set-ups, you can consider these items, but for the average fisherman, one good set-up will do well in most cases.


These budget BFS fishing rod options are going to be the most versatile for the typical bass fisherman. All of them are carbon fiber or graphite rods. They can also be used to catch trout and panfish, but they will be optimized for targeting bass.

Now, as someone who has designed premium USA-made BFS rods, these are not going to compare to the best rods in the world. But, I am picking them because the performance for the price is excellent. If I’m only taking 1 rod on a trip, it’s usually one of my Kistlers.

But, not everyone wants to spend hundreds of dollars on one rod. So whether you want just one good one or are a gear junkie like me and would rather buy 6 good rods for different purposes instead of one amazing rod, here’s my top picks.

Handing Magic L

This rod is a crazy good value. Decent backbone and sensitivity at a great price. The 4 or 5 handing rods I’ve used all had good workmanship as well. This often sells for around $30.

It’s sometimes available for less on Amazon, too.

Ace Hawk CU Double

This rod has been selling for about $37 the entire time I’ve been into BFS. It’s great for your typical multi-species fisherman. it also includes 2 tips, the lighter of which also works well for trout and panfish, or pushing the envelope and using tiny lures for big bass.

Handing Miracle Bass

This is kind of the big brother to the Handing Magic L. They are mostly in the Power BFS range, and the color pairs very well with the pure lure Silver Feather in my opinion. Like most budget rods, it gives up a little in sensitivity, but gets great casting distance on lures in its rated range.

And also like the Magic L, this one is often available on Amazon as well.

Edit: I can’t find this rod on AliExpress at this time!

Second Edit: Man this thing has shot up in price! I think it’s a good buy at $65, Great if you can get it below $50. Current prices are $90+. I probably wouldn’t recommend it at that price. 🙁

Obsession Mojo Bass

This is still one of my favorite BFS rods on Aliexpress. the two potential negatives are the shipping cost and the sensitivity. After shipping, it’s usually close to an $80 rod. But I have yet to find a better value for chucking up to 1/2 ounce spinnerbaits and crankbaits on BFS fishing gear.

Tsurinoya Dragon II

This might be the best all-around rod on Aliexpress. After shipping it’s often $80, but in my experience, Tsurinoya is the closest thing to entry-level JDM gear you can find from china.

Whether it’s reels, rods, or lures, they make good value products. it’s also got classic styling as well. This is probably the closest thing to the traditional bass rod on the list, just designed for BFS.

Bone Voyage

While I normally fish with 1 piece rods, and most of the rods on the list are 2-piece rods due to the cost of shipping 1-piece rods, sometimes you want something more compact.

I like to keep this one in the truck. I’ve also taken it on family vacations when the car is packed. And I wish I had this when I was traveling he world on business trips.

The Bone Voyage isn’t cheap, but I have found this 4-piece travel rod to be up to the task of fishing for larger-than-average fish. Also I see it available more often on ALi than I do on the manufacturer’s website.

Bait Finesse System for Trout and Panfish

These rods typically have a lighter power, with more of a parabolic-type action to help keep those crazy trout pinned when they start jumping 15 times or when they just start doing that initial death-roll upon feeling the hook.

I have caught bass on many of them, but it’s rarely an easy fight unless it’s just a dinkfest! But even the lightest of these have landed 20″ trout, even in swift water.

Lemoren Windshadow

This was the rod that got me hooked on BFS and trout fishing. I have kept it paired with the same TSurinoya Dark Wolf Ultra reel, and continue to use it a few times per year for trout.

This is a 4 piece, glass rod. It’s very “whippy”. It is the closest thing to a JDM ‘flick’ rod I’ve found. It is short at 4’6″, but it can cast in very tight quarters.

the white rod is very distinctive, the handle is also unique. S0me might say gaudy. 🙂 Get the Fuji guide version for around $50.

Ace Hawk Venom

Great performance. But delicate. That’s how I sum up the ace-hawk venom.

I’ve only broken 3 BFS rods in the last 3+ years (none in the last year or more), but two of them were Ace Hawk Venoms. The good news is, I bought from Ace Hawk directly and they covered the failures.

Due to that and the simply amazing light lure capabilities on a budget rod, I’ll keep it on the list. Just remember – it’s potentially the least durable of the group.

I did a full review of this rod here.

Mavllos Delicacy

This is another rod that offers two tips. I’d argue it’s the best value of the lighter-style rods. It doesn’t do anything amazing, but it also doesn’t constantly remind me it’s a really inexpensive rod.

It simply gets out of the way and catches fish. Typically available for $40 (or less). as a bonus, one of the tips is white, which makes visibility much better.

I did a full review of this rod which you can read here.

Obsession Trout Sensation

I bought the trout sensation because of my experience with the Mojo Bass. Probably my favorite feature is the high-vis tip. I’m not sure why more companies don’t incorporate this feature!

Of the trout and panfish -focused rods, this one will handle larger fish. I accidentally hooked a carp that barely fit in my net with his one, and it did just fine. Long fight, but it ended with me landing the fish!

Like the Mojo Bass, this one has more expensive shipping, but it’s often available for under $50. Pair it with the DovielloA cura and you’ve got a killer combo for under $100!

Mavllos Plume

Usually closer to $60 the Mavllos Plume is a lightweight performer. The modern looks have matched pretty much every reel I’ve put on it. It can definitely thow 1 gram lures, but even 1/4 oz is probably too much on the high end.

It’s main selling point is the very light weight. the carbon grip has also been surprisingly functional, especially in cold conditions.

Tsuirnoya Intruder

This is the third “travel” rod in the guide. It’s definitely great for trout, but seems to stand up well to the occasional bigger game fish.

Typically found for under $80, it kind of like 80% of the performance of the Bone Yoyage for 40% of the cost. It’s even better than the Voyage if smaller, multi-species fishing is your main thing.

Bait Finesse System Fishing Line

I’m not a huge fan of budget lines in general. The hooks and the line are really your only direct connection with the fish. If either of these fail, the fish gets away. I share more about that and why braid is the preferred type of line to use for BFS in this article.

But, there are a few good options for budget lines that work well for BFS. I’ll share recommendations of Braid for your mainline and then some good Flurorcarbon to use for your leader.

Whichever line you choose, remember to spool only about 50 yards of line on your spool. Even if the capacity is rated as higher, use only about 50 for most applications. This will give you better control, less backlashes or “bird nests”, and more distance overall.

Best Budget BFS Fishing Lines – Braid

I’ve used many budget lines, and these are the best in my opinion. But, I’d rather spend a bit more on the premium line if I’m throwing $15-$50+ lures. But for the everyday $4 and under stuff, these could be a good choice for you.

Kingdom MicroFLy

Handing Blast 8

Note: handing may be transitioning to Amazon primarily. Still a great deal.

LSP Thunderstorm

And it’s Pink, my favorite color braid!

Tsurinoya X8

Best Budget BFS Fishing Lines – Fluorocarbon

I will 100% say I haven’t purchased budget fluorocarbon – but these are the two that folks I trust recommend.

Mavllos Fluorocarbon

FTK FLurocarbon

Setting up your BFS Combos

Before we set up your first BFS combo, let’s talk about casting technique. I find BFS to be best with a smooth cast. It’s a one-handed flip of the rest or a sidearm swing of the rod, rather than a 2-handed cast. That’s what I prefer and how I get the most out of my BFS fishing gear.

This smooth casting style also prepares you well for making tight flip casts – which are all in the wrist.

You CAN go two-handed, but these lighter rods, finesse lines, and shallow spools really don’t benefit from the extra effort. Think about it: ‘finesse’ is in the name.

This is how I like to set up a new combo before I use it the first time. It seems to work well on every BFS rod and reel I’ve tried – which is dozens of each (and counting – I love new gear).

I also usually start with a lure that is in the middle of the rod’s rated range. This ensures the rod loads properly, so you are only seeing the reel’s reaction to the casting. Dialing in a combo for the lightest possible weight in an entirely different discussion – but it starts exactly as I describe below.

  • Set your brakes to zero.
  • Next set your spool tension so your lure drops steadily to the ground without your line fluffing up as it hits the ground.
  • Next turn your brakes up to maximum if you’re worried about backlashes, or 50% if baitcasters are a way of life for you. 🙂
  • Make a short, smooth cast. Be prepared to use your thumb to stop the spool when it hits the water / ground if necessary.
  • If it pulls left, reduce your brakes (2 clicks if they click)
  • If you get a little backlash 9or miss right), increase the brakes
  • Keep making these test casts until the cast goes straight with no backlash

If you do get a little “fluff up” of lose line at the end, tighten the spool tension a bit. Libe overruns at the end of the cast are typically from low spool tension, while backlashes mid-cast are usually from the brakes being set too low.

With most reels, you should adjust the spool tension and rate of fall when you change lure weights. But the brakes often remain the same.

Pro tip: if you are casting into wind or casting a little harder, turn your brakes up a couple clicks.

As you become more skilled you will be able to back off the spool tension to get more casting distance. As you get a smoother casting style, you can lower the brakes for even more distance. But backlashes will happen more frequently as you push the limits.

Pro Tip: The closer the lure is to the tip of the rod when casting, the more accuracy you will have.

Bait Finesse System Lures

Inline spinners, soft plastics, jerkbaits and minnows. There are all kinds of lures on Aliexpress. Often the quality is a little lacking. the action sub-par compared to the mainstream gear.

But, there are a handful of options I find to be great values. before I get into specifics, I’ll say that the following brands usually offer good products in general: Tsurinoya, Spinpoler, Letoyo, and Blux.

Bait Finesse Hard Baits

If you’ve ever looked at the prices of lures, you may have had a bit of sticker shock. For me, that’s where AliExpress shines when it comes to lures. For many of these, I’m not convinced they are not the same as the “popular” brand. And others seem to be a unique design that just works.

One caveat: for many of these, the hook quality is suspect. So it may make sense to upgrade the hooks with non-aliexpress hooks. For example, after 3-4 fish on the Blux Jack Claw below, it’s not unusual for me to see 1/3 of the treble hook missing. But truthfully, I had the same thing happen on a JDM lure this winter after only 2 fish.

Micro GLide Baits

Over the past year I have really enjoyed throwing micro-sized glide or swimbaits on BFS fishing gear. One of the kings of this category is the Gan Craft Jointed Claw 70. This lure sells for between $17 and $35 dollars, and is often hard to find in stock.

The Blux Jack Claw was released last year in both floating and sinking versions, and is a very close approximation to the Gan Craft. It routinely sells for about $4, and I have caught way more fish on them than the Gan Craft, probably in part because I’m not afraid to risk losing them!

The D1 Jointed Glide is another copy of a popular glidebait – the Jackall Baby Giron. My experience has been if you don;t buy the Jackal l – again for around 430 – won’t he winter, you are likely to not find it in stock for the Spawn when it’s is an absolutely killer lure. So the D1 is a good substitute.

The Jackall baby Giron does offer much better sight fishing visibility though, and knock on wood I have yet to lose one. but the D1 is a viable low-cost option.

Finally, Asinia Hurricane is a longer, slender jointed swim / glide bait that might be an original design. It kind of looks like a smaller version of the Berkley Nessie, but in hard plastic form.

If you want a budget microglide that’s not a direct knockoff, maybe it’s the right choice for you!

Trout Lures

So far I haven’t found any inline spinners that are truly worth it from Aliexpress. the Blux ARS is decent, but they’re not much less than the Smith ARS I get our of Japan, so I just go with the original on those. And I’ve found nothing to replicate the US Panther Martin series.

But, there are a few trout lures I do enjoy using from Aliexpress. The first is the Letoyo Egg Nuts. This is their copy of the Jackall Egg Nuts, and it works almost as well. If you’re fishing for hatchery-raised trout, this lure might catch some of your biggest fish.

On the minnow side of things, the Tsurinoya Intruder Minnow reminds me of the Ryuki Spearhead, but it doesn’t seem to be a direct copy. It’s a very popular and good-performing lure.

Then there’s the MingYan Minnow, which is essentially a copy of the Great Hunting Humpback minnow. I routinely buy the GH48 from Japan, but I will pick up some of these 51mm Mong Yan minnows as well. They’ve also done well for white bass too. As a bonus, they’re usually around $1.50 vs $15 for the GH48.


For topwater, here’s another Jackall knock-off: the Micro Pompadour. This one seems to be an exact copy with similar performance. I feel like Jackall needs to up production, because there’s still one more of their lures coming up in this buyer’s guide!

No topwater selection is complete without a popper and a plopper! For a BFS opper, the Tsurinoya Catcher Popper 40F is a great value at under $4 and offers around a dozen color combos. And then the Hookon Whopper Plopper is a great WP90 substitute. They offer a lot of colors, but no bone or black! But I do have the perch color which has performed well. Not bad for under $2.50!

Realis 63SP Jerkbait

This is a copy of the Duo Realis Rozante 63SP jerkbait. It’s one of my favorite jerk baits. However, this copy is usually slow sinking instead of truly suspending and doesn’t have quite the action as the original. It’s a good value, but it likely catches less fish, especially when conditions are at their worst.

LTHTUG Flapani Flatsided Micro Crank

Ahh, another Jackall lure. This one I buy from AliExpress purely because it can never find the Original Jackall Timon FlaPani in stock. So I can’t offer a comparison other than to say the budget colors look similar, and it definitely catches fish.

Bait Finesse Soft Baits

In general, I find the bigger brand soft plastics to be a better value overall. Either in terms of durability or simply fish-catching ability, just spend the extra dollar or two on the mainstream brands like Z-Man, Mule Fishing, Yamamoto, or Nikko. Plus if I order from Fish USA, I often have them within 2 business days instead of 2-4 weeks.

But, there are a few potential exceptions.

Blux Dice

My argument for the Blux Dice is that the OSP Dice have been so popular they are never in stock, or when they are they’re over $20. These are around $4.

SpinPoler Diver

These are made of stretchy TPR material. Similar to Elastech it seems. But what I really like about these is the plastic box they come in vs the bag that most lures come in. Plus it’s salted, and buoyant. Great versatile lure.

Dr. Fish Minnow

If you’re into hover strolling, or want to try it out, these are your lure. Similar performance to a Fish Arrow Flash J. Pair it with these Samolla hover rig hooks, and maybe you’ll land your biggest largemouth in a couple of years like I did this spring!

Spinpoler Jointed Glidebait

I bought these because I’ve been on a glidebait kick, and they are a much less expensive option than the Gan Craft soft plastic glide. I picked mine up for under $3. There’s a ton of ways to rig these, and it’s just something different to have on those days when they aren’t hitting all the normal options.

Summary of Buying BFS Fishing Gear on AliExpress

At times, I find buying and trying out BFS fishing gear from Aliexpress to be almost as fun as the act of going fishing in general. I’ve sorted through some stuff that didn’t amaze and I’m just sharing the winners for you here.

If you have any other questions, leave a comment and I’ll answer them – and maybe update this guide. Your questions will help others with similar questions I’m sure.

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  1. Dear Aaron,

    You helped create a financial monster.

    I used yesterday the Handing Miracle light baitcasting rod for the first time since it was gifted to me a month or so ago. Good enough to purchase another for $39, I thought.Well: No longer sold at Amazon and at Ali/Handing it is now $105 with $53 shipping.

    Despite your positive (which is why I purchased the rod) review, no sane person is going to spend that much for the rod. Rod review update may be in order.

    Dennis White

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the comment. Blog post was updated. I’ll probably mention the prices in my upcoming videos about all the combos I currently use. Those proces are higher than the M1, which I’ve been testing for the last 6 weeks.

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