Finding the best spinning reel for bass fishing can be a challenge. Spinning reels for bass need to have a good balance, sensitivity and durability.
The right combination of these traits will help ensure you have the best chance of landing lunker bass.
So, keep reading and learn about the latest and greatest spinning reels for bass fishing.
1. Shimano Stradic FL
The Shimano Stradic FL was released in 2019 as a replacement for the Stradic FK.
One of the key improvements in the FL is the introduction of Micromodule Gears. This is a set of gears with more closely spaced teeth. This leads to a much smoother cranking feel.
Additional improvements include the improved X-Protect water intrusion protection. This includes part coatings that repel water. X-Protect also includes a labyrinth of passages that prevent water from reaching key components. This not only protects from water. It protects from salt and dirt intrusion.
The Shimano FL 2500 size is the size I like to use. It comes in at 7.9 ounces. It has a total of 7 ball bearings. The gear ratio is 6:1. This will bring in 35 inches of line per reel crank.
I like to use 15 pound braided line. The Stradic FL will hold 145 yards of it. It has a main frame constructed with Shimano’s Hagane cold forged aluminum. This gives the reel a solid feel that is less likely to flex.
- Solid construction and durability.
- Water repellent materials.
- Very smooth cranking and drag.
- A bit pricey.
- Not the lightest reel in this list.
2. Shimano Stradic Ci4
If a lightweight reel is a must, then check out the Shimano Stradic Ci4+. This reel comes with a Magnumlite Rotor. This makes the reel feel super light when you’re cranking it.
If you’re comparing the Stadic FL and the Ci4+, the difference in weight is just .2 ounces for the 2500 size.
Also, note that the Ci4+ is going to be a bit more expensive than the Stradic FL
The G-Free body will bring the center of gravity up closer to the hand. This also works to make the reel feel lighter than it actually is.
The Ci4+ also comes with 7 ball bearings including the pinion support bearing.
Adding a pinion support bearing is a Shimano technology known as X-ship.
Just like the regular Stradic, the Ci4+ has a 6.0:1 gear ratio. in the 2500 model. This will bring in 35 inches of line per crank. It will also hold 145 yards of 15 pound braided line.
So, if you want a reel that you can cast all day and is less likely to cause fatigue, then this is the reel for you.
- Light rotor makes for effortless cranking..
- Balanced for less fatigue.
- Very smooth drag.
3. Daiwa Ballistic LT
The Daiwa Ballistic LT is a fantastic spinning reel for those looking for a lightweight reel. It’s designed to be lighter and not compromise reliability.
The 3000 size and above models feature a smaller body to help it maintain a smaller profile.
The body is made of Zaion. Zaion is a high density carbon composite that is made for reel housings and rotors. This is the key to the Ballistic’s light weight.
The main gear is made from machined aluminum. The reel also incorporates Magseal technology to help keep debris and water out.
The reel comes with 7 ball bearings which is standard for this class.
The 2500 model weights just 6.3 ounces. That’s more than half an ounce less than the Stradic FL.
There are two gear ratios in the 2500 series. Tthe first is the 2500D model, featuring a 5.3:1 that brings in 29.6 inches of line per handle turn. The 2500D-XH model features a 6.2:1 gear ration and can retrieve 34.5 inches of line per handle urn.
As for line capacity, the Daiwa models with a D in the name have a deeper than average spool. The result is that the 2500D models can hold 185 yards of 15 pound braided line.
Overall, this reel is lauded for its toughness and light weight. Many anglers use 3000 sizes and above for saltwater applications and the reel performs well. I prefer the 2500 size for bass. This reel will do just fine for your drop shoting and finesse fishing needs.
- Solid construction and durability.
- One of the lightest reels in its class.
- Compact design in 3000 and up models.
- Deep spool available.
- Uses bushing is some locations.
Best Spinning Reel Under $100
4. KastKing Sharky III
The KastKing Sharky III spinning reel is the best spinning reel for bass that you can get for about 50 bucks. When you factor in all the features, you’ll find that for the price it’s hard to beat.
This reel features a graphite body and rotor. This helps keep rigidity up and weight down.
One of the big selling points on the Sharky III is the drag. It’s rated to go up to 39.5 pounds. Keep in mind that such a high drag pressure will only be useful with the largest models that can handle heavy line. Because, even with 50 pound test line, you might not want to put almost 40 pounds of drag pressure on that line.
Another good point on the Sharky’s darg is that it is built with carbon fiber discs. This helps with weight reduction and durability.
It also features a stainless steel main drive shaft. This will prevent corrosion and make cranking feel solid.
There is also a KastKing intrusion shield system that helps keep water and dirt out of the reel’s internals.
The Sharky III also comes with eleven double shielded ball bearings. The bearings are made out of stainless steel to further enhance corrosion resistance.
The small model of this reel is the 1000. It will hold 170 yards of 8 pound test mono or 200 yards of 20 pound test mono. This should be enough line for most bass fishing applications. So, you can go ahead with the 1000 model.
The 1000 model comes in at 7.4 ounces and features a 5.2:1 gear ratio. With this ratio, the reel will bring in 27.8 inches of line.
- Best Value Spinning Reel.
- Carbon Fiber Discs Drag.
- A little heavy.
- Sizes are a little strange.
5. Pflueger President
If you need a spinning reel for bass fishing that won’t break the bank, check out the Pfleuger President. With 100 dollars, you can get the reel and some line to go with it and still have some cash left over for a lure or two.
I remember getting my first spinning reel for bass fishing and I didn’t want to spend too much money.
The Pfueger President features a graphite body and an aluminum spool, bail, and handle.
The drag discs are made of stainless steel and oiled felt.
I have the 30x size. It weighs 8.8 ounces. This is pretty heavy when compared to some of the other reel in this round up. Some, anglers don’t mind this.
But keep in mind that is you’re going to be casting all day and fatigue is a factor, you may want to think about a lighter reel.
The President 30x model comes with a 5.2:1 gear ratio. This results in 25.2 inches of line retrieve per handle turn.
This model will hold 190 yards of 8 pound test braided line or 145 yards of 6 pound test mono.
Overall, this is a great starter spinning reel that will last for years if you take good care of it. Like all reels, you want to make sure it does not get submerged. If it does, dry it out and re-oil the internals.
- Great value for the money.
- Will last a long time with regular maintenance.
- Line capacity not very high.
Why Use A Spinning Reel For Bass Fishing?
There was a time when spinning reels were falling out of fashion with most bass anglers. The cranking power and distance that could be achieved with baitcasting gear was well established.
But the need for finesse techniques was evident.
Special situations arose in which finesse very light lures would be needed. This caused a resurgence in spinning gear.
A key driver in this resurgence was the drop shot technique.
The drop shot technique is really well suited for spinning gear. What’s more, it has been responsible for winning big time cash for tournament anglers.
But why do you need a spinning reel?
Light lines are preferred for finesse techniques because they’re harder for bass to detect.
Say you’re dealing with very clear water and pressured fish. If you go in with thick 20 pound line and heavy baits that make a large splash, you could be lowering your chances.
Bass can get accustomed to excessive fishing pressure and start to ignore the same old lures.
To counter this many anglers switch to light fluoro lines. Fluorocarbon lines have the same refractive index as water. This means that they’re almost invisible underwater.
Anglers will use ,6 pound fluorocarbon line for example. They combine this lighter line with a light lure like a 1/8 ounce weight on a 4 inch worm.
But to use a lure like this, it helps to use spinning gear. Spinning reels will make it much easier to cast light lures. This is especially true when you’re trying to cast into the wind.
So, you’ll need a reel that can handle a good amount of light line and still be lightweight.
So, what should you be looking for in the construction of a spinning reel intended for bass fishing?
Most modern spinning reel manufacturers will use either graphite or aluminum. These materials will be used to construct the body of the reel as well as the rotor.
You can feel pretty comfortable with either of these. Just make sure that if you go with a graphite reel that is comes from a reputable manufacturer.
Spinning reel spools are almost always made out of aluminum. This goes for the handle as well.
The internal gearing on most spinning reels is usually made of some type of metal. This can be brass, steel or aluminum. This could be a consideration if your reel will be doing double duty is saltwater.
But if it will be primarily used for bass in freshwater then the metals used should not be a big deal.
When it comes to reel drag marketing talk will emphasize drag strength. While drag strength is important, most modern reels have more that enough drag to handle bass.
Drag Resistance – This is often expressed in pounds. It tells you how many pounds of resistance the reel’s drag can place against a fish taking line. Barring line stretch, when drag resistance reaches the breaking strength of your line, your line will break.
So, if your reel has a max drag of 30 pounds and you are using 12 pound line, you won’t be able to use the most of your drag strength.
The next important aspect of your reel’s drag is how smooth it is. If you’re fighting a fish and your drag sticks it could cause the amount of resistance on your line to jump up. As you can imagine, this could easily snap your line.
So, what should you look for when deciding what type of drag is best for you?
Well, drag systems are made by stacking washers of different materials. When you tighten down your drag, these washers get compressed. This compression is what resists against the spool turning.
These washers are made from metals and usually felt or carbon fiber. Sometimes felt drag washers are oiled to help them retain a smooth action.
When it comes to durability you want to go with carbon drag washers. and protection against drag sticking over the long term,
Drag Smoothness – Carbon fiber drag is more durable than felt drags. It’s less likely to stick over time.
Spinning Reel Spools And Line Capacity
Most manufacturers make spinning reel spools out of aluminum. Some use graphite but at the moment aluminum is the preferred material. The main reason for this is that aluminum is generally stiffer.
Most spinning reel spools can be loaded with braided line without the need for backing. In the past spools with very smooth surfaces needed some backing for the braided line to grip against.
If you loaded them with braid and no backing, the braided line could slip on the smooth surface of the spool. This means that the entire load of line would rotate around the spool. As you can imagine, this is not desirable in any type of reel.
Now manufacturers have developed spools with ridges on them. This provides a surface against which the braided lines can grip.
If you do find yourself with a spool that is not ready for braided line, you can add some electrical tape to the spool. This will provide a surface for the braided line to grip against.
Spinning Reel Line Capacity
Bass anglers using spinning reels often use finesse techniques. This means lighter lines.A reel that can handle about 150 yards of 6 pound test mono line should be fine for your finesse setup. This should make most 2500 size reels adequate for your bass fishing needs.
Some anglers prefer the larger 3000 series so it can do double duty with heavier lines. But I prefer the light weight of the 2500 series. This is especially true for finesse techniques.
Some brands don’t use the 1000, 2500, 3000, 4000 model numbering scheme. If that’s the case, just keep in mind that a reel that holds about 150 yards of 6 or 8 pound mono should be adequate.
Spinning reels for bass fishing have come a long way. Finesse techniques that require light lures are much easier to cast with spinning gear.
This list of the best spinning reels for bass will help you get started with the right equipment to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass.