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What Size Fishing Reel To Use For BASS FISHING (Spinning and Baicaster)

best fishing rods for baitcaster reel

What Size Fishing Reel To Use For Bass Fishing

Have you just graduated from bluegill and channel catfish to largemouth bass? If so, you’re probably worrying about your reel. After all, the size and design of your reel has a lot to do with what type of fish you can pull in.

Both smallmouth and largemouth bass put up a tough fight, and a lot of smaller reels won’t handle the big boys. Don’t think that you can just run out and grab the most powerful reel possible, though.

Bass fishing is one of the most complex forms of fishing in America, and if you want to enjoy the experience properly, you’ll want to buy the right reel for the job. The following sections will teach you everything you need to know about picking the right reel for Bass fishing.

Selecting The Right Size Reel

Before you pick the size of reel that you’ll be using, you’ll want to pick the type of reel you’ll be using. As a rule of thumb, I’m going to steer you away from your daddy’s Zebco 33 that you learned to catch less feisty species on. It won’t work here.

Spincast reels aren’t going to be a great choice if you’re targeting anything that weighs more than a couple of pounds. They just don’t produce enough drag to handle it.

However, you can use spinning reels and baitcasting reels with great results. Let me tell you about each type and how each type helps you fish.

Spinning Reels

Spinning reels are the reels that your old man called “open-face” reels while you were growing up. 

They’re great for throwing lightweight soft-plastic baits and smaller lures. They won’t handle the heavier lures very well, but the only reel that can throw lighter lures better is a fly reel.

We’ll get into which size you’ll want to choose for bass fishing later. Right now, all you need to know is that these work best for lighter lures, and they’re strong enough to pull in large bass if you pick the right size. 

Baitcaster Reels

Baitcaster reels look like something you’d see in a sci-fi movie. They’re sleek, elegantly designed, and incredibly powerful. However, they’re harder to use than your run of the mill spinning reel.

These are great for tossing heavier lures very far distances, and they’re unmatched when it comes to fishing in ponds full of moss and other obstacles. They’re strong enough to simply rip your lure right through all of the messy stuff you’ll have to contend with.

What Size Reel Should You Use For Bass Fishing? 

So, now you know what type of reel to use, but you still need to now what size of reel you should use. Well, that depends on what type of bass you’re going after, and we’ll highlight the details of that in the following sections.

If you just want the short answer, you’ll be happy to know that you want to go for something in the middle of the vast range of reels available if you want a general-purpose reel.

If a reel is too light, you’ll end up having a really tough fight, and you might even burn out a reel or two. If your reel is too powerful, you’ll just end up flopping great bass all over the bottom of your boat or all over the bank. It’ll look like you’re skipping rocks sometimes, and it’s just not challenging.

Spinning Reel Size For Bass

When you’re fishing for bass on spinning gear, you have to balance the weight of the lures you’re using against the size of the bass you’re trying to catch.

If you’re going to go for smaller bass on lightweight lures, you’ll want to stay within the 1000 to 2000 range for spinning reels. Those reels will allow you to toss lightweight line and lures very far distances, and they’ll easily drag in smaller bass. However, they’ll suffer when you hook those 15-pound monsters most fishermen target.

If you are targeting those trophy-sized bass, you’ll want to stick to reels in the 3000 to 5000 range. Don’t go any further than that. Most reels above size 5000 are meant for much more demanding applications.

A heavier spinning reel will allow you to reel in those half-ounce spoons and swimbaits like they’re nothing, and you’ll be able to reel in bigger bass. If you want to have a solid all-purpose reel, you’ll want to choose one that has 2500 printed on it.

That’s the middle of the road for spinning reels, and it’ll give you the most options. You can reliably throw the majority of lures with a 2500, and it won’t burn out if a monster bass bites your line.

Baitcaster Reel Size For Bass

If you want me to tell it to you honestly, you don’t need a super powerful baitcaster. A massive baitcaster will skip decent bass across a pond like they’re smooth rocks, and that’s just not fun for serious fishermen.

Baitcasters are several times stronger than spinning reels, and I recommend sticking to the 100 to 200 range for casual bass fishing. That’s more than enough power, and reels in that range aren’t too heavy.

If you go for a round baitcaster, look for reels labeled 1000 or 2000. They’re the same size as low-profile baitcasters labeled 100 and 200.

If you want to toss really heavy swimbaits, you’ll want to go with a 300 or 3000 reel depending on if you choose a low-profile design or a round design.

The upside to using these larger baitcasters is that you can use the same reel for moderately sized catfish and muskie. You can’t reasonably expect to catch 50-pound flatheads on 300-series reels, but they’re still great if you like to switch up your targets in the middle of a fishing trip.


Final Thoughts

Picking the right size of reel depends on the type of fishing you plan on doing. We hope we illustrated that in our guide.

If you need a quick recap, you’ll want to use reels that are smaller for tossing light lures and catching smaller bass. If you want to go after the big boys with huge swimbaits, go for something a bit heavier.

You should also consider the type of challenge you want to face. If you’re particularly brave, you should attempt to use a lighter reel and line to pull in trophy-sized bass. The challenge is exhilarating, and you’ll lose a lot of fish, but each catch is exponentially more satisfying.

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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