You would be better off staying away from the Caius and Caenan (their low profile models). Since you are fishing in a river you may get a fish in the current and the small low profile reel may not have the line capacity necessary. While a low profile reel will cast better because of the lighter spool. The new small round baitcasters will work just as well. The (Cardiff) 200 and 300 size are better casting due to the lighter spools.
You may want to look at the Calcutta B or D models. They are pricier but they will cast like a low profile reel and they are extremely durable."
Thank-you for your email. For the fishing application you are doing, we suggest to take a look at our Revo Toro Series (their higher end low profile reels). The Black Max would be too light for this application. If you are wanting a round reel, we would suggest our 6500C3 or 6600C4. The only difference between these two is the thumb bar, gear ratio and bearings. We hope we are not confusing you with all of this information. If you have any other questions, please email us back or contact us directly by calling 1-800-228-4272."
So, to sum it up, they both think I should go with a "round" reel and stay away from the low profiles. I was hoping to stay around $60 since I'm not even 100% sure baitcasting will be for me. The Shimano Cardiff is about $100. It's doable, but they recommend the Calcutta B ($200) and D ($340-$380 depending on size). Abu's Revo they recommended is about $280. I'm really curious about the Ambassadeur in 4500 and 5500, whereas they recommend the 6500 or 6600. I've never held one yet, but I can't help but to think their recommendation just might be overkill for my needs. If I'm drift fishing, I'll never cast anything over 2oz., but 99% of my time, I'll be using 3/8-3/4oz. lures. As Jason said, aren't I just gaining a ton more line that I'll never get to the bottom of by going to a larger reel in the same model? I understand they're trying to sell me something of higher quality where the gears won't shred on me, but can't I gain that with the Cardiff and smaller Ambassadeur's? I think my next step is going to our local Sportsmans Warehouse and talking to their fishing guys and feel their display models.