Reel selection is crucial when angling for a stubborn species like bass. We've made the buying decision easy for you by testing and reviewing the 10 best spinning reels for the bass on the market today. Learn what to look for and get your questions answered in our FAQ section below.
Spinning reels are popular among bass anglers. Why? These reels are easy to use, versatile, and can be used all year round. You can use them for basically any type of technique including jigging or drop shots.
Even beginners can learn very quickly with a spinning reel. No matter what body of freshwater you’re fishing in, be it a stream or a lake, a spinning reel for bass will come in handy.
In this guide, we’ll list the ten top rated bass reel picks, go over buying considerations, and answer some frequently asked questions about this type of reel and bass fishing.
Spinning reels feature an “open face” spool. A rotating bail spins around this spool, winding the fishing line. Because of their appearance, spinning reels are also sometimes called “eggbeaters.” Here are ten of our favorites:
The Abu Garcia Revo SX reel for bass fishing is our top choice. It’s smooth, versatile, and durable. A lot of people like to use braided line with spinning reels, so this has a machined aluminum spool designed to work well with braid. The Rocket Line Management system gives you great control over all kinds of lines.
Casting is very precise. For the body, it’s made from C6 carbon with an X-Craftic gearbox. This gives you durability while remaining lightweight. It’s lighter than previous versions. If you’re hoping to fight strong fish, you can expect great alignment under hard conditions. The gear design is computer optimized. The Carbon Matrix drag system gives you smooth, strong drag.
Other features include a K-Clutch anti-reverse, Everlast bail system with a stainless steel main shaft, and eight HPCR ball bearings. This reel is designed for longevity.
Fishing equipment can be pricey and all the pieces add up. This spinning reel is affordable but doesn’t sacrifice on the features you need. It’s the best bass reel for the money. It has a sealed drag system with lubricated drag washers. That ensures smoothness.
The bearing system resists corrosion and is made from stainless steel ball bearings. Concerned about weight? This aluminum reel is lightweight but still durable. The reel also features rubber cork knobs, giving you a no-slip grip. The spool is braid ready, which means you can tie braided fishing line right to the spool.
The line retrieve is interchangeable and you have a few size options (20, 25, etc). If you choose the smaller size, there are seven ball bearings. The other sizes all feature ten. The max drag also goes up with the size, so if you’re prioritizing a lot of drag, you should get one of the bigger reel sizes.
Shimano is responsible for two of our more budget-friendly picks, but they also offer our top premium choice with the Stradic Ci4+ - arguably the most popular all-around spinning reel at the moment. The body is incredibly strong. It has a metal cover over the line, dragging knob, and a lightweight gearbox cover. Despite its strength, it’s also very lightweight at only 5.6 ounces.
Depending on the specific model you get, it has a drag force up to 25 pounds. Because the reel is so light, it may not be ideal in strong winds. This spinning reel features Hagene gearing, a G-Free Body, and Magnumlite Rotor. This is new to the reel and adds a very light, smooth feel to cranking.
It also gives better force during dragging. There are six ball bearings and one roller bearing. These add smoothness and instant reverse stoppage. When it comes to strength, smoothness, gears, and dragging force, this is a fantastic reel.
If you’re fishing for bass in saltwater, the Penn Battle II spinning reel is a great choice. It’s specifically designed for salty waters, so you don’t need to worry about corrosion. It features a full metal body, side plate, rotor, and heavy-duty aluminum bail wire. The drag system is HT 100 carbon fiber, providing you with great drag and smoothness.
The drag washers are also specially greased (it’s a proprietary blend), so they’re made to last. There are five sealed stainless steel bearings (sealed is important for saltwater) and instant anti-reverse. Cranking is smooth and easy.
The Superline spool is ready for braided line. It even features line capacity rings, so you can always see how much line you have left. No monofilament backing is necessary thanks to the rubber basket fitted into the spool. Reel sizes range from 2000 through 8000. On the 8000 size, you’ll get a maximum drag of 30 pounds.
If you like older versions of the Shimano Sedona, you’ll love the upgrades. There are three notable ones. While the old Sedona FI had a compact reel body, this one has the G-Free body we’ve talked about. As a reminder, this style gets the reel closer to the rod, providing better balance and stability.
They’ve also added Hagene gearing, which lets you go after bigger fish with bigger baits. The old STD rotor is now a Magnumlite rotor. Other upgrades include the propulsion line management system, which improves casting distance. The downside to this reel is there isn’t a reverse direction switch.
All around, this takes the old design and ramps it up in quality and performance. Even with the upgrades, it comes at an affordable price, so it’s well worth considering.
This reel offers features worth knowing about. It’s got a “Hard Bodyz,” which is made from machined aluminum. There’s added corrosion and scratch resistance for added strength. The rotor - Air Rotor - weighs 15% less than most rotors. That’s because of its unique shape and lightweight design.
The ABS spool is also notable as it’s designed for less friction during casting. It’s braid-ready, as well. When rotating the handle, you’ll enjoy great control thanks to the machined aluminum Screw-in-Handle design.
There are seven bearings - six ball bearings and one roller bearing. For sizes 4000 and smaller, there’s an Infinite Anti-Reverse, while the larger models have the Infinite Dual Anti-Reverse. The drag is waterproof.
Solid and dependable, this is a great reel for beginners or experienced anglers. Features include a Rocket line management system, Rocket spool lip design, and an integrated drop shot keeper. The IM-C6 body design and C6 carbon rotor are durable and strong.
The Carbon Matrix drag system has a rubber gasket and five drag washers. Two are carbon composite, two are metal, and one is keyed metal. Together, they provide a smooth drag, allowing more finesse techniques. There are nine stainless HPCR bearings and 1 roller bearing. Depending on the size you get, it can feel a bit heavy, but it’s lighter than other comparable reels.
Other features include a K-clutch anti-reverse round EVA knob on the carbon fiber handle, and a striking purple design. Mike Iaconelli, a professional bass fisherman, designed this reel, so rest assured that it’s a reel meant for bass fishing.
This spinning reel offers a lightweight, smooth operation. It’s actually the lightest Pfleuger reel in its class. It has a magnesium body and rotor, which keeps the reel light but still strong.
The handle, which is made from carbon, is very light, too. The sealed carbon drag system is lubricated for extra smoothness and longevity. The SMARTretrieve makes it easy to get a high-precision line lay every time you cast. There are ten stainless steel ball bearings.
The spool is braid ready and doesn’t require monofilament backing. For comfort while cranking, there are EVA knobs. Keep in mind this reel is on the pricier side.
What we like about the Okuma Ceymar is all the options you get. You can find a model for essentially any type of fishing. The smallest (the C-10) is meant for very small fish and ultra-light fishing rods. It’s even good for small ice fishing. For bass, you’ll go with a medium size (C-30 or C-40). The C-30 is great for drop-shotting bass. Go with the C-50 for inshore saltwater fishing and catching striped bass.
All models feature smooth performance, an 8-bearing drive system, and Okuma’s elliptical gearing. The spool, which is made from machined aluminum, works with both monofilament and braided fishing line.
The rotor system uses Okuma RESII computer balancing which holds up at high speeds. The forged aluminum handle and EVA handle knobs provide superior reel control and comfort. There are seven ball bearings and one roller bearing. There’s also a Quick-Set anti-reverse.
Another cheap top rated reel, this Shimano is versatile, durable, and reliable. It has a 5-bearing drag system and your pick of sizes. The maximum drag is between 7-24 pounds. If you’re anticipating fish that like to fight, you’ll appreciate the Hagene Gear and Body, which provides great rigidity.
Hagene gearing is a special cold-forged 3D cutting technology that saves Shimano money, so you save money. The frame, rotor, and side plate are graphite, which makes this reel below $100 appropriate for saltwater.
The body is G-Free (patented to Shimano), which means the reel is designed with its center of gravity closer to the rod. This helps prevent fatigue during long hours of fishing. The other feature we’re especially fond of is the X-ship gears.
The pinion gear is supported by bearings on both sides, so everything is aligned with the drive gear. There’s no flexing, even when you’re catching a big fish. The reduced friction also means you can cast longer distances, even with lighter lures!
When shopping for the best spinning reels for bass what are the buying considerations you should keep in mind? Here are eight:
This is one of the most important features. If a reel isn’t made from quality material, it won’t perform well and it won’t last long. Most spinning reels are made of graphite composite or aluminum alloy. Metal is stronger than graphite but more vulnerable to corrosion. If you’re fishing in salty waters, graphite is a good choice. Aluminum is also heavier and pricier.
Graphite has the benefit of being cheaper, but it’s less sturdy. Die-cast aluminum is the best in strength if you have the budget. To avoid rust, look for reinforced or iodized frames. Since you can use spinning reels to fish for bass year-round, durability and resistance to the elements is important.
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The weight of your spinning reel matters. If it’s too heavy, it can really take a toll on your shoulders and arms. You want something lightweight without sacrificing strength. Thankfully, there are lots of brands and reels out there that balance these two features.
The weight also matters because if you’re matching a heavy reel with a lightweight rod setup, it creates an imbalance and makes it trickier to cast. Graphite is lighter than aluminum. What the spool is made from also impacts weight.
When you’re looking for reels, you’ll see models offered in different sizes. The size affects weight, power, speed, spool capacity, and drag output. You should match the reel size with your rod.
The spool part of the reel is also essential. It holds the line and affects casting smoothness and distance. Most spools are either graphite or aluminum. Spool size aligns with the size of the reel itself, so if you’re getting a medium-sized reel, the spool will be medium, as well. For most bass anglers, small or medium reels and spools are appropriate.
Line capacity refers to how many yards of line the spool can hold. It’s measured in two numbers. The first has to do with the pound test while the second is the length. As an example, if the line capacity is 10 160, that means the reel is meant for lines up to 10 pounds and it’s 160 yards.
What works best depends on the kind of line you’re using. If you’re using braid line, which is popular with spinning reels for bass, you’ll probably be okay with less line capacity than mono or fluorocarbon line. For best results, stick to line capacity with a pound test of less than 20 pounds.
A reel’s gear ratio tells you how many times the line goes around the spool with one handle turn. For bass fishing, 6:1 is a nice, versatile ratio for different lures and techniques. Larger reels tend to have lower gear ratios.
Most brands have models in a range of 5.2:1 to 6.2:1. If you’re fishing with drop-shot rigs or tube baits in deep water, look for reels that go up to 7.0:1. Using live bait? Here’s what bass like to eat.
Drag is necessary when you’re fishing for larger, stronger fish that you can’t reel in right away. It puts pressure on the fish, tiring it out, and prevents tension from breaking the fishing line and other tackle like your hooks, lures, etc.
Drag ability determines casting, too. A good drag system is easily adjustable with buttons or knobs. It should also be high-quality, so look for metal washers, not plastic.
Anti-reverse handles keep a reel from turning backward and activating the drag system. Great reels will let you turn the anti-reverse off or on as you see fit. Make sure you can easily find the handle and that it has a good grip.
This feature helps the spinning reel’s smoothness, support, and stability. As a general rule, the more ball bearings, the better. If they’re low-quality, how many of them won’t really matter. The best bass spinning reel will have stainless steel ball bearings. Chrome is another common material and is typically found in less expensive spinning reels.
Spinning reels have been around for a very long time and are now very common for bass fishing. Many beginner anglers start with spinning reels.
They’re good for just about any water condition, from areas with heavy cover to clear water. The best spinning reel for bass depends on what you’re looking for.
Great reels will be durable, lightweight, smooth, and easy to use. We just covered ten of our favorites, naming the Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel as the best overall. It’s got everything you need including eight ball bearings, a great gear design, and smooth drag.
For more spinning reels, most of which will work really well for catching bass, check out our guide on the 10 Best Spinning Reels in 2020.
The gear ratio refers to how many times a reel spool turns when you turn the handle. That means a ratio of 6.2:1 ratio means that for each reel handle revolution, the spool turns 6.2 times.
The bigger the ratio, the faster the line retrieve. What ratio is best? As usual, it depends. The best gear ratio depends a lot on what type of lure you’re working with and the techniques you want to use. Odds are, you’ll be using simpler techniques, so a gear ratio between 5:1-7:1 will likely work best. If you’re using crankbait, lower gear ratios are a better fit. Jigs work with higher gear ratios.
Do you like to use plastic worms for your bass lures? Read more about the best plastic worms here.
Spinning reels come in a range of sizes (1000, 2000, 2500, etc). There aren’t any manufacturer standards for weight or dimension. The numbers are useful when you’re matching a reel to a rod, however. It’s all about balance.
If the reel is large and you’re using a smaller 6-foot, lightweight rod, casting will be awkward. Mismatching a small reel with a long rod is also a bad idea. Pair small reels (1000) with a lightweight 6-7 foot spinning rod. With a 2000, 2500, or 3000 reel, up to 7.5 feet works.
For 3500, aim for a 7-10 foot rod. How the rod and reel physically feel in your hand is your best measurement. Looking for a new rod? Our article on the best bass fishing rods is a good place to start
Spinning reels have a few advantages. They work really well with light jerkbaits, crankbaits, and other light tackle.
Another benefit over baitcasting is they’re easier to work with on windy days. They don’t have the kind of backlash (the lure slows after casting while the spool does not, causing a line tangle) that baitcasters do.
The line on a spinning reel also tends to sink more smoothly, so bass nearby aren’t as easily startled. There’s definitely a time and place for other types of reels, but if you’re prioritizing lightness, smaller lures, and ease of use, a spinning reel is better.
The reel is an essential part of your fishing outfit. Spinning reels are great for bass fishing because of their versatility and ease of use. In this guide, we highlighted ten of our favorite picks for spinning reels, including many from Shimano. Other brands included Abu Garcia and Pfleuger.
When shopping for a spinning reel, keep in mind things like construction, weight, line capacity, gear ratio, and the drag system. Balance is critical, so matter what brand you end up getting, trust how the balance between the reel and rod feels in your hand.
Spinning reels work best when lightness is your top priority. They’re great with jerkbaits and crankbaits. If you’re new to bass fishing and deciding between types of reels, consider the spinning reel.
Want to know more about your prey? Do bass have teeth? Click here to learn how to handle this fish.