I remember White Mountain River trips with my dad, always a promise of various species of large and smallmouth bass. When you’re packing for such a trip, what size spinning reel for bass fishing is an important thing to consider. You want to make sure your spinning reel is as strong as it needs to be without carrying unnecessary weight.
Bass is a cornerstone freshwater sport fish, but leisure bass fishing is for everyone. When determining the right rod and reel for bass fishing, a spinning reel is a great place to start.
According to a study by Future Market Insights, spinning reels continue to be used for bass fishing due to their many popular features. Use the guide below to help you make the right choice when determining what size spinning reel for bass fishing is best for you.
1000-1500 Size Spinning Reels
1000 size spinning reels for bass fishing are for lighter fishing trips. I would often keep a rod and spinning reel this size behind the bench in my truck for bass fishing whenever the mood struck. Small rivers, ponds, and streams and great places to use for lines testing up to about 6lbs for monofilament, and 12lb braided (conservatively). When choosing a spinning reel in this range for bass specifically, I always found that sticking to the higher side was safer. I've only very rarely run into the issue of hooking something too big.
2000-2500 Size Spinning Reels
Need a little more strength? Tackling the next tier of fishing? Conquering the river monster that has claimed many a top-water plug? I recommend having this, or bigger, in your tackle box. Upgrading to a 2000 size spinning reel when bass fishing will open your options to a larger class of fish. A spinning reel this size could be paired well with a monofilament up to 8lbs or braided line up to 15lbs. These size spinning reels are perfect for Smallmouth Bass.
3000-3500 Size Spinning Reels
Once you get into bigger spinning reels for bass fishing specifically, the 3000-3500 sizes are great to make a push into performance. The average rating for monofilament stays roughly the same as the 2000-2500 range spinning reels, but the braid line rating increases to a comfortable 20lb, depending on your specific reel’s specification. Where this size range shines is in its line retrieval rate. Compared to smaller size category reels, the ratio of line retrieval to weight is well worth it. These are great size spinning reels for Largemouth Bass.
Related Article: Smallmouth Vs Largemouth Bass: Key Differences Explained
4000-4500 Size Spinning Reels
Time to break out the big guns. This is the spinning reel that I use for bass fishing when I’m entering a local competition, or when I need to show my father’s friends that I’m not a child who fetches beverages for them anymore. Rated at a much higher 12lbs monofilament, or 15-20lb braided line, moving up into this reel is critical if you’re gunning for bigger bass. This is a great size spinning reel for Striped Bass.
Learn More About: White Bass Vs Striped Bass: Major Differences Explained
5000+ Size Spinning Reels
4500 is the largest spinning reel size I personally have when it comes to bass fishing. Once you get up into the 5000+ range, you’re hunting for the bigger beasts of the lakes, the rivers, and even lighter surf. If you need to reach 25+lbs braided line or 15lb monofilament line, this big boy is for you. Just make sure you have a hefty enough rod for the bass you’re going after.
Related Article: 8 Best Reels For Bass Fishing!
Things To Consider When Choosing The Right Size Spinning Reel For Bass
Like everything else in fishing, size matters. At least it does when I’m telling stories after a weekend bass fishing trip. When it comes to choosing the size spinning reel for bass fishing, keep a few things in mind: the size of the fish, species of the fish, and fishing environment.
What Size Bass Are You Trying To Catch?
This is a great place to start when determining what size spinning reel you need. The larger the bass or harsher the environment (fresh vs salt) will require different oils, cleaning solvents, and line strengths. Generally, the smaller the bass is you're trying to catch, the smaller the reel you can choose.
However, keep in mind the utility mentioned above that you get from the larger size spinning reels. Just because you're casting out there for smaller bass doesn't mean you can't benefit from some of the features of the larger spinning reels.
Related Article: Bass Fishing Tips: How To Catch & Fish For Bass
Is The Reel For Bass Fishing Only Or Will It Be A Multi-Purpose Reel?
This is another great question to ask yourself when determining what size spinning reel you will need. It is important to know what you intend to be fishing for as you make your spinning reel selection, as different fish can be expected to average vastly different weights.
Taking your spinning reel from one environment to catch bass (your friend’s pond) to another environment to catch smaller surf fish may not be suitable for some sizes of spinning reels. Your 15lb braided line in your 4000 size spinning reel may be great for the bigger bass at the pond, but ill-suited for fishing in light surf vs a 5000 size spinning reel with 10lb monofilament.
Do You Want A Heavy Duty Reel Or A Lightweight Set-Up?
This tracks back to what was mentioned before about keeping a lightweight set-up behind the bench of my truck, and a heavier duty set-up for tougher jobs. As reviewed above, the higher the size of the spinning reel, the stronger the rod you need, but the bigger bass you can fish for. Keep in mind your environment, fish size, and line strength/type when choosing between what set-up you take with you this weekend.
Spinning Reel Sizes for Fishing Environments
Of course, in a perfect world, we would have all the room and space we want to store all of our fishing toys, and all your fancy spinning reels for bass fishing are no exception. However, where size and weight must come into consideration, consider these approximations when deciding what size spinning reel will best suit your bass fishing needs.
Learn More About: Best Time To Fish For Bass (By Type, Day & Season)
Small Sized Spinning Reel
Typical smaller-sized spinning reels (1000-2500) will weigh just under half a pound or about the weight of a large apple. Fitting onto just about any leisure fishing pole you have, it's a great size for light bass fishing.
Medium Sized Spinning Reel
Getting into the next size bracket, medium spinning reels (2500-4000) weigh only slightly more than their smaller siblings in the small category. The major upgrade here is functionality, along with a few extra packed punches. This is a great size category for tackling the bigger bass in the lake or showing off to your buddies.
Large Sized Spinning Reel
This is the size category where performance meets muscle. Large-sized spinning reels (5000+) are ideal for bass fishing where you don't have to ask tough questions like, is my spinning reel strong enough? Is this bass too big for my spinning reel? Expect these reels to weigh above ½ lb, and wield them at your next competition.
Spinning Reel For Bass FAQs
Does rod length matter when selecting a spinning reel for bass fishing?
Your rod size and material matter a great deal when selecting a spinning reel. When selecting a reel, a significant chunk of your decision is based on what fish you're casting for. It follows suit that as you go up in spinning reel size from 1000 to 5000, a larger, longer, stronger rod would be appropriate.
What are some top spinning reel brands?
It's important to look for quality, top brands when purchasing a new spinning reel. PENN, Shimano, and Pflueger cannot be overlooked when it comes to large recognizable brands. These brands consistently ranked high in multiple categories.
Is monofilament or braided filament better for bass fishing with a spinning reel?
The braided filament is much tougher and less elastic. A spinning reel can tolerate higher pound test lines if they are braided than they can with monofilament. Monofilament, however, is much more durable (as it is far more elastic). The primary amount of bass fishing I do with a spinning reel is lakes, ponds, and rivers, and therefore I run into very little abrasion. If you're fishing in a rocky area, consider a monofilament with a bit stronger (5000+) spinning reel.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when buying a new spinning reel for bass fishing. We’ve covered everything from line strength and filament type to dimensions and the best species of fish for each rod. Hopefully, you find the guide helpful when selecting your spinning reel and come back and visit us in the future for all your bass fishing needs!