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If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best spinning reel for bass fishing is, then our #1 recommendation is the Shimano Stradic CI4+.
Any fishing reel will work for catching bass, but having a specialized reel will make catching them easy and more efficient.
A baitcasting reel may be the top choice of most pro bass anglers. But a good spinning reel and rod setup are well worth your investment.
Spinning reels are easy to use, have little to no learning curve, and can easily be used for most bass fishing techniques.
But which spinning reel will be right for you?
Well, in this guide, you’ll find our picks of the top 8 bass spinning reels and the features that you should look at when selecting your bass fishing reel.
01. Best Spinning Reel for Bass Under $50: Penn Pursuit 3
“A great starting point for anglers looking for their first reel.”
02. Best Bass Spinning Reel Under $100: Okuma Inspire
“A good bass reel for both fresh and inshore saltwater species.”
03. Best Premium Bass Fishing Reel: Van Staal VR
“A high-end spinning reel with all the premium features for serious anglers.”
04. Best All-Rounder Bass Fishing Spinning Reel: Shimano Stradic CI4+
“Our #1 recommendation for all level bass anglers.”
05. Best Ultralight Spinning Reel for Bass Fishing: Abu Garcia Revo MXG
"The featherweight of the reel makes casting all-day fun."
06. Best High Speed Reel for Bass: Abu Garcia Revo Rocket
"A reel with a high line pickup rate for those specific situations."
07. Best Reel for Big Bass: Daiwa Tatula LT
"Sturdy build, powerful drag to fight and stop a bull."
08. Best Spinning Combo for Bass: Johnny Morris Rod and Reel
"Cut the hustle of matching a balanced bass rod and reel."
What to Look for in a Bass Fishing Reel?
Every aspect of a spinning reel is important. However, there are a few features that are an absolute must-have when picking the right spinning reel for bass fishing.
Let's take a look at each.
The gear ratio of a fishing reel generally indicates the speed at which the reel picks up the line. A fishing reel with a gear ratio of 6.2:1 simply means, for every turn of the handle, the line is wrapped 6.2 times.
The higher the gear ratio, the more line you will retrieve on every turn and vice versa.
However, when selecting a spinning reel for bass fishing, there is no 1 size fit approach for the gear ratio. It depends on the type of lure you'll be using and the size of bass you'll be fishing often.
Generally, spinning reels come in a gear ratio between 5.0:1 to 6.2:1. While some manufacturers nowadays offer reels with a higher gear ratio (7.0:1 and high) for bass anglers.
If you plan to fish with deep diving crankbaits, then a spinning reel with a low gear ratio will be an excellent choice. On the other hand, high-speed reels can do wonders in situations when skipping with buzz baits.
In any case, you'll need to determine what you aim to do with the reel. For a beginner bass angler, a gear ratio of 6.0:1 - 6.2:1 is a great starting point.
In our reviews of the top bass spinning reels, you'll find spinning reels with the most common gear ratios (5.0:1 to 7.0:1). However, if you're looking for gear higher than 7.0:1, then a baitcasting reel for bass fishing is your best option.
Bass are aggressive fish and often make long runs once hooked. As such selecting a fishing reel with adequate line capacity is the key.
The line capacity of a fishing reel determines the amount of fishing line a reel can hold without any line management issues. The line capacity on a spinning reel can be found on the spool and is denoted by two numbers (8/200 or 200/8).
Here the smaller number represents the strength, and the larger number represents the length of the fishing line. It is 8 pounds of 200 yards line.
There are three main types of fishing line, braid, monofilament, and fluorocarbon. However, manufacturers usually mention the line capacity of the two most commonly used fishing lines, i.e. Braid and Monofilament.
When selecting line size for bass fishing, anything above 10lb of mono or fluorocarbon is too heavy for a spinning reel and will hinder reel performance. A general rule of thumb is, 6-10lbs of mono or fluoro and 10-20lb of braid is the perfect option for spinning reels for bass fishing.
Your drag rating is the next most important that you need to consider when selecting a top bass spinning reel.
Bass are hard-fighting fish, and once they start running you need a reliable drag system to tire them and prevent your fishing line from breaking. A fishing reel drag system works by creating resistance when the fish is pulling your line out.
In our recommendations of the best spinning reels for bass fishing, you'll find reels with max drag ratings from 8-26lbs. You have a wide range of drag pressure to select from depending on the size of the fish you're after.
The weight of the spinning reel is something you should consider before selecting your bass reel.
A heavy reel can seriously impact your casting arm on long fishing trips. Plus, if you're a beginner, a heavy reel will put your cast off-balance and make it difficult to learn.
Choose a spinning reel that isn't too heavy or too light without compromising on strength. The spinning reels we have recommended are constructed with high-quality materials that don't add extra weight and helps strengthen the reel.
The 8 Best Spinning Reels for Bass Fishing Reviews
In this section, you'll find our recommendations of what we found to be the best spinning reels for bass fishing divided into various price points and angler needs.
We didn't buy all the reels we have reviewed in this section. We researched every aspect of the reels from the manufactures and other eCommerce sites to produce this list so you can spend more time fishing and less looking for the perfect gear.
If you're looking for an inexpensive spinning reel for bass fishing then the Penn Pursuit 3 will not disappoint you.
The reel comes with an oiled felt drag system that is smooth and reliable producing up to 12lbs of resistance that is enough to fight most bass species.
With a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and a retrieval rate of 35", you have a reel that comes with the perfect balance between power and speed. The corrosion-resistant graphite body makes the reel fit for both freshwater and saltwater.
The line capacity of this $50 spinning reel is pretty impressive. With 15 pounds of 250 yards of the braided line, you will never have to worry about running out of line during long runs.
Additionally, the 4+1 ball bearing ensures smooth performance and the large ergonomic handle helps fight the most notorious bass with ease.
Overall, this entry-level reel is easy to use and build to last. It is the heaviest and the cheapest bass fishing spinning reel on our list.
Reel Size: 3000
Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 8/200, 10/165, 12/120
Braid Line Capacity (lb/yds): 15/250, 20/180, 30/130
Max Drag (lbs): 12
Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
Inches Per Turn: 35”
Ball Bearings: 4+1
Weight (OZ): 11.8
When it is time to upgrade from a $50 reel you may want to look at the Okuma Inspira, a good spinning reel for bass under $100.
The reels carbon fiber drag system has a stopping power of about 13.2lbs, enough to keep most aggressive bass pinned. The smooth progressive system hands you the ability to fine-tune the drag easily during a long fight.
At a 5.0:1 gear ratio, the reel picks up fewer lines but produces serious power on each crank. If you're planning to use heavy jigs or looking to fish with deep diving crankbaits, this is the perfect reel.
The reels carbon fiber construction makes it lighter, stronger, and corrosion-resistant. Additionally, the 8+1 ball bearings along with a balanced rotor and a large bail arm make line retrieval smooth and create fewer line management issues.
Overall, the Okuma Inspira is a top-rated bass spinning reel for under $100 that is ideal for large fresh and inshore saltwater species.
Reel Size: 40
Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 8/270, 10/190, 12/170
Braid Line Capacity (lb/yds): 30/215, 40/150
Max Drag (lbs): 13.2
Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
Inches Per Turn: 30”
Ball Bearings: 8+1
Weight (OZ): 9.4
If the price is not one of the deciding factors when selecting your next bass fishing reel then take a look at the Van Staal VR spinning reel.
To begin with, the reel comes with a high line capacity. Now you don't have to worry about running out of line when you hook an aggressive bass that loves to make long runs.
The reel is waterproof and can be submerged completely. The waterproof drag is extremely smooth and powerful featuring a micro-click system for fine control. The 25 lbs of even drag pressure can easily tame the most aggressive striper bass without a sweat.
The casting and retrieval on this reel are made butter-smooth thanks to the 13+1 stainless ball bearing. The shielded ball bearings are corrosion resistant so go fresh and saltwater fishing without any worry.
Finally, the reels lightweight aluminum construction provides the strength to fight monster sea bass and makes it durable. All models of this reel come with a bail less kit except for the model we reviewed here (VR50)
Overall, if you're looking for a premium spinning reel for bass fishing that you can rely on all your bass fishing trips, then the Van Staal VR is for you.
Reel Size: VR50
Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 10/240
Braid Line Capacity (lb/yds): 20/360
Drag (lbs): 25
Gear Ratio: 6.3:1
Inches Per Turn: 37”
Ball Bearings: 13+1
Weight (OZ): 9
The Shimano Stradic CI4+ is our top choice of the bass fishing reel because of the value, performance, and ease of use it provides for all level anglers.
The carbon fiber construction makes the reel super light without sacrificing strength. Up to 25% weight is reduced making it one of the lightest reels on our list.
The X-Ship technology eliminates gear friction thus ensuring smooth gear function and long life. The smooth gear functionality means you get enhanced casting performance resulting in longer and more accurate casts.
A balanced rotor along with a solid bail arm mitigates a line twist when reeling in your fishing line. The cold-forged aluminum spool is very sturdy which prevents wobbles under heavy loads.
At 20lbs of max drag, you can tire out any sized bass. At a 6.0:1 gear ratio, you're at a sweet spot and with the line pickup of 35 inches per turn, you can easily reel in 100's of yards of fishing line in no time.
Overall, the Shimano Stradic CI4+ is my favorite reel for bass fishing due to its high-quality build, featherlight weight, and the value you get for your money.
Reel Size: 2500
Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 6/200, 8/140, 10/120
Braid Line Capacity (lb/yds): 10/150, 15/145, 30/100
Max Drag (lbs): 20
Gear Ratio: 6.0:1
Inches Per Turn: 35”
Ball Bearings: 6+1
Weight (OZ): 6.7
A lightweight reel for bass like the Abu Garcia Revo MXG can be very rewarding on long fishing days where making 100's of casts is the norm.
This reel is all about ultralight fishing beginning with a one-piece magnesium alloy gearbox along with a carbon re-enforced bail arm that reduces weight without sacrificing strength. At 170 grams, this is our lightest pick for all your finesse needs.
The braid ready aluminum spool prevents line slippage. Plus the Rocket line management and spool lip design make 100% of the fishing line usable while increases casting distance.
The reels 10+1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings make retrieval silky smooth and the single anti-reverse bearing prevents rotor back play resulting in instant hookset.
With a gear ratio of 6.2:1 along with an anti-slip EVA knob, you have a lot of cranking power for all your ultralight bass fishing needs. The carbon drag system is pretty impressive, it's smooth and can produce up to 14lbs of stopping force.
Additionally, the package comes with a spare spool and a protective fleece bag for your convenience.
Overall, the Abu Garcia Revo MXG is an ultralight reel for bass that anglers love for its performance and value for the money.
Reel Size: 20
Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 6/185, 8/130, 10/110
Braid Line Capacity (lb/yds): 8/190
Max Drag (lbs): 14
Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
Inches Per Turn: 33”
Ball Bearings: 10+1
Weight (OZ): 6
With a high-speed reel, you may not have the extra cranking power but you can keep up with a fast-moving bass that causes line slack by running towards your boat with the bait.
The Abu Garcia Revo Rocket comes with an AM gearing system that ensures a smooth operation and durability. The reels 7.0:1 gear ratio can pick up line at blazing fast speed with up to 40 inches per turn.
The Rocket line management system lays the line evenly on the braid ready spool which helps increase casting distance and accuracy.
The reels 9+1 stainless steel ball-bearing makes cranking butter smooth. The Carbon Matrix drag system is pretty impressive, producing up to 11lbs of fluid stopping force.
At 7.7 ounces, you have a slow oscillating lightweight spinning reel that feels perfectly balanced with most bass fishing rods.
Overall, if you use a few bass fishing techniques and baits that require high-speed spinning reels then the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket will be worth the investment.
Reel Size: 30
Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 6/225, 8/175, 10/140
Braid Line Capacity (lb/yds): 10/180
Max Drag (lbs): 11
Gear Ratio: 7.0:1
Inches Per Turn: 40”
Ball Bearings: 9+1
Weight (OZ): 7.7
Big bass are very demanding, they require special fishing reels like the Daiwa Tatula LT to withstand the torture and the power to reel in the fish.
The reel is constructed out of high-density carbon material that cuts on weight but doesn't compromise on strength. Now you have a sturdy spinning reel that can take the beating from those monster bass.
With an impressive drag pressure of 26.4 lbs along with a line capacity of 220 yards of 10-pound braid, you can tire out the hardest pulling monster without worrying about bearing or running out of line.
You'll also love the smooth functionality of the reel thanks to the oversized Digigears and 7 stainless steel ball bearings. The Air rotor along with the hollow air bail makes this reel surprisingly lightweight for the work it does.
Overall, the Daiwa Tatula LT is an extremely lightweight, responsive, and strong reel that is engineered for serious bass anglers looking to reel in a big trophy bass.
Reel Size: 4000
Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 10/210, 12/160
Braid Line Capacity (lb/yds): 10/220, 15/185
Max Drag (lbs): 26.4
Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
Inches Per Turn: 39.1”
Ball Bearings: 6+1
Weight (OZ): 7.4
A good spinning combo for bass can be an ideal pick for beginner anglers who don't want to go through the hustle of matching the rod and reel.
The Johnny Morris Platinum Signature combo from Bass Pro Shop is one such setup that you can buy and reel in a boatload of bass.
The 1-piece solid aluminum frame makes the reel solid and durable. The weight of the reel is kept pretty light thanks to the feather-light rotor and stainless steel hollow bail wire. The fishing line twist is virtually eliminated thanks to the premium line roller.
The 11 bearings along with the Micro-Pitched gearing systems ensures smooth functionality. The waterproof drag system can produce up to 8.8 lbs of even drag pressure.
The rod is a fast action medium power which makes it extremely versatile. At 6'9", you have the perfect length to generate long casts and fighting power.
The rods premium graphite build makes the blank lightweight and strong.
Other features include nonslip comfortable grips, a line keeper to prevent line tangles, and sturdy line guides.
Overall, if you want a quality bass spinning combo but don't have the time to spend on matching a rod and reel separately, then you trust this setup for the quality and value it provides.
Reel Size: 2000
Line Capacity (lb/yds): 8/110
Max Drag (lbs): 8.8
Gear Ratio: 6.0:1
Inches Per Turn: 31”
Ball Bearings: 10+1
Reel Weight (OZ): 9.2
Rod Length: 6’9”
Rod Power: Medium
Number of Pieces: 1
Spinning reels are very popular amongst bass anglers. However, not every spinning reel on the market is designed to successfully land you your next trophy bass.
In this guide, we've reviewed the 8 best spinning reels for bass fishing keeping in mind most new to intermediate bass angler's needs. However, if you're still confused and looking for just one suggestion for your bass reel, then the Shimano Stradic CI4+ is my #1 recommendation.