Best Spinning Reel for Bass
The spinning reel is a popular reel type among bass anglers because of its ease of use and its versatility. You can go out to any freshwater lake or river system in the world, and you’re going to see a lot of spinning reels being used to chase bucket mouths and smallies.
In our article about spinning reels here, we discussed which ones are the best overall. In this article, we are specifically going to take a look at why spinning reels are so popular for going after one of the most popular game fish in the world.
We will examine characteristics that should be present in a bass spinning reel and then take a look at five spinning reel models that we think excel in bass fishing.
|#1||Abu Garcia Revo SX||4.4|
|#2||SHIMANO STRADIC HG||4.4|
|#3||Abu Garcia Orra SX||4.4|
Why Spinning Reels
Spinning reels are a popular option for bass angling for multiple reasons. The first is undoubted that spinning reels are easy to use and just about anyone can become proficient in a variety of techniques and casts with a spinning reel.
They greatly outperform spincast reels and come with a lot fewer headaches than a baitcaster. While a baitcaster has several advantages over the spinning reel, the spinning reel also excels in various categories.
Spinning reels are also popular because of their versatility. While traditionally, they have been thought as finesse fishing reels, able to use a variety of drop shot and jigging techniques, the modern spinning reel is capable of much more.
Reels are out there that are better suited for smaller crankbaits and spinnerbaits where power and speed are critical for a proper presentation.
Bass Spinning Reels Buyer’s Guide
Many reel lines that are put on the market come with several models of varying sizes. While the different sized models are going to share the major features of the reel, the actual size and weight of the reel is going to make a difference.
The size is going to affect weight, speed, power, drag output, and spool capacity, all of which are important when thinking about a bass reel.
And we should be clear that most all models are going to be able to catch bass, the issue is that it has to balance well with your rod.
The largest model on a 9’ rod is going to be cumbersome when fishing for bass while the smallest model on a 5’ rod is not going to get heavy enough lures out far enough or provide the cranking power needed to land an aggressive smallie.
Model sizes that come in between the 10-14oz range have most of the characteristics we like with a bass reel and balance well with the typical 6-7 ½ foot bass rod to help keep fatigue down.
Take a look at this quick video that gives a great overview on reel sizes, especially when it comes to bass:
Most quality spinning reels are made from a type of aluminum alloy or graphite composite material. Metal bodies provide a more durable housing, and it resists frame flex better than graphite, but it is also more susceptible to corrosion and heavier.
Graphite tends to be cheaper but is more prone to flex under the torque of larger fish. As far as bass fishing goes, we don’t think body flex is as much of an issue as the majority of fish are going to fall beneath 5lbs. Spool Capacity
Like most of these different characteristics, the best for bass fishing can be subjective, and a lot of anglers will have arguments for their favorite.
Still, we feel that when it comes to bass fishing, you want a spool that is going to be able to take a minimum of 100 yards of 8lb monofilament. This is a good middle ground for size for serious bass fishing and is more than enough to keep from having the line run out even by the biggest bass in the lake.
It also means that you will be able to spool a very large amount of braided line onto a spool of this size.
The gear ratio tells you how many revolutions of the rotor and line guide you are getting per one turn of the handle.
For a spinning reel to be used in bass applications, a gear ratio in the 6:1 area is a versatile ratio and will allow you to use a wide array of lures and retrieve techniques.
Higher gear ratios often result in less power while lower gear ratios often mean the reel can handle a little more cranking power with throwing off the gearing and making retrieval jerkier.
The largest models will often have much lower gear ratios than the smaller models most often used for bass fishing.
Like any fishing reel, a spinning reel for bass needs a good drag system. The drag applies counterpressure to line leaving the spool when a fish is hooked and is critical to landing a larger fish efficiently.
When looking at a drag system you want:
- enough max drag to stop the biggest fish you might hook up on,
- drag that applies constant and smooth pressure throughout the fight,
- low start-up inertia to protect the line,
- and the ability to adjust the drag throughout the drag range.
When it comes to bass fishing, we like to see at a minimum of 12lbs of drag pressure which is more than enough to work freshwater bass.
Here’s how to set the drag, so it would do the job perfectly:
Bearings and Gear System
The gears within the reel along with the ball bearings providing support are key for a smooth working reel.
Sturdy gears aligned properly are going to maintain their contact better under stresses such as fighting large fish. As far as bearings go, you want to see at least four in the reel’s design, but more important than the numbers is the quality of the bearings.
Quality bearings are going to stand up to wear and tear longer and will keep the reel running smoothly for a longer period than a reel with more, but cheaper ball bearings.
Bass Spinning Reel Model Reviews
|#1||Abu Garcia Revo SX||4.4|
|#2||SHIMANO STRADIC HG||4.4|
|#3||Abu Garcia Orra SX||4.4|
Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel
The Revo SX 40 model is one of our favorite bass spinning reels out there and we must say that Abu Garcia is one of best choices for all fishing needs: for example their SilverMax is a wonderful baitcaster and Pro Max is incredibly light. While both the 30 and the 20 can be used for bass fishing applications as well, we like the metrics of the 40.
These reels are built well with a lightweight but strong IM-C6 frame and X-Craftic (aluminum) gear box. The reel also uses light graphite rotor and an anodized aluminum spool and reel arm.
The gearing on this reel is digitally optimized during the cutting process which gives this reel excellent performance under duress. The gears protected by the housing can withstand the pressures exerted by it by any bass in the lake and keep rolling.
And the 8 HPCR bearings are some of the best in the business and give you a smooth retrieve with heavy lures and heavier fish. The gear ratio is 6.2:1 which is quite fast for this size of spinning reel. It with the larger spool (250yards/14lb braid) give you a phenomenal retrieve rate of 40”.
We also like the casting of the Revo SX. Abu Garcia has put a lot of effort into the spool and rotor design, and it pays off with this reel.
The Rocket Spool lip design features an angled lip that helps line come off the spool more efficiently. When coupled with the slow oscillation rotor, you get a pleasant casting experience.
The Carbon Matrix Drag is a stacked washer drag system commonly seen in spinning reels, and the 40 model can dish out 17lbs of max drag which is more than enough for bass fishing applications.
The adjustment knob gives you very sensitive control over most of the drag range, but you lose some sensitivity in adjustments up around the 15-17 mark.
Start up inertia is negligible, and the washers give you constant and consistent pressure through the run to deal with aggressive smallies.
The gears along with the anodized aluminum handle and large EVA knob give you fantastic leverage power over the fish. You will also enjoy the anti-reverse on this spinning reel.
There is absolutely no back play in the handle and gives you instant hook setting power.
- Flawless casting
- Excellent rotor system
- Housing and gears are top line
- Wonderful feel during retrieve
- Sensitive and smooth drag
- Great handle and grip for cranking power
- You lose fine drag adjustments at high end of range
Shimano Stradic Spinning Reel
We couldn’t discuss bass fishing spinning reels and not give a brief review on the Shimano Stradic FK spinning reel. While there are several model sizes available, we like the 3000 model for bass applications.
While the next size up will give you a little more spool capacity, we like the 3000 because, at 8.3oz, we think it pairs better with bass rods. And the spool capacity is nothing to scoff at with the 3000 model at 140yards of 10lb test mono and 105yards of 40lb test braid.
As far as the body goes, you are not going to have a more corrosion resistant or rugged body with the Hagane concept. Frame flex is never going to be an issue with this reel when talking about bass fishing.
Besides the all-metal body, the Stradic also uses a cold forged aluminum spool that is going to resist warping and line dig.
The Stradic also uses a digitally designed Hagane gear system which not only provides incredible running life but near perfect alignment.
With the Hagane body providing the housing and X-Ship technology which uses ball bearings to keep the pinion and drive gear aligned, the Stradic has unmatched cranking power. There is not a bass out there that you can not force to your will with this reel.
It’s not just power that this reel has, the shielded A-RB ball bearings (6) used in this reel provide a retrieve that is smooth from out of the box to years down the road.
More importantly, the smoothness of this retrieve is not just when retrieving your lure, but also when you have an aggressive fish on the end of your line.
With a gear ratio of 6.0:1 it’s not the fastest spinning reel on the market, but the size of the spool and the Dyna Balance rotor can get line in quick with a 35” retrieval speed.
The Stradic has also had a lot of innovation go into its casting and if you pick up the Stradic next to the majority of other spinning reels of this size. You can tell a difference. You do not feel as much of the friction as line leaves the spool and line twist is minimized as well as can be.
The drag of the Stradic might be the weak point of the reel, but it is still more than efficient at putting resistance to the line leaving the spool. It has 20lbs of max drag, which is almost overkill, but in reality, the drag only feels good up to around the 15lb mark. Past that it tends to get jerky.
- Unrivaled cranking power for a spinning reel
- Greta line capacity
- One of the smoothest retrieves in the business
- Enjoyable casting
- Great rotor and line lay technology
- Excellent anti-reverse
- Very good drag for the range needed for bass
- Higher end price
- Drag at high end doesn’t perform well
- Metal body does add some weight
Abu Garcia Orra SX Spinning Reel
The Orra S models of spinning reels from Abu Garcia is very similar to the Revo SX that found a place in our best ultralight spinning reel choices but slightly stripped down. It is also a more affordable option, and you still get a lot of the same performance as the Revo line of spinning reels.
For bass fishing, we like the S40 model. The main issue with this model is the weight. It comes in at 9.8oz, and while this is still manageable and will still balance with a lot of common bass fishing rods, it can get a little fatiguing.
Going down one size would solve this, but the performance of the 40 regarding cranking power, drag, and line capacity is better suited for bass.
Like the Revo models, the Orra uses a high modulus graphite body and housing (IM-C6) with an aluminum spool and reel handle. Unlike the REVO, the gear system on the Orra is not quite as impressive.
For the vast majority of fish that you are going to run into, the gearing is going to keep running as smooth as ever, but there are times it feels like it is jumping around.
The same goes for the overall retrieval of the reel. It still has six stainless steel HPCR ball bearings, only one shy of the Revo, but we are not sure if the placement is different. It’s still a great working reel, just not top of the line. But for the reduced price, the difference in performance might not matter at all.
It does compete with the Revo line in casting. It also features the rocket line management and spool lip design which does a fantastic job at laying line down and reducing the friction within the spool and as it leaves the spool.
The drag system is also the same as the Revo SX, and we can not tell much of a difference between the two. The same can be said for the instant anti-reverse. You will have no problem getting a powerful hookset with this reel.
- Affordable with good performance
- Excellent line lay and casting
- Well balanced
- Low start-up inertia
- High max drag
- Smooth retrieve
- Gearing is off with heavy loads
- You lose fine drag adjustments at high end of range
Daiwa BG Spinning Reel
The BG from Daiwa is one of the most popular spinning reel models that has ever been produced. There are several model sizes available that are suited perfectly for bass fishing, and we have a hard time narrowing it down.
Because of that, we are going to look at 2500 (9.3oz), 3000 (10.8oz), and 3500 (14.1oz) options.
All of the models feature an anodized machined aluminum housing that gives incredible protection and stability to the internal mechanisms. It also makes it extremely resistant to corrosion and scratching.
The downside to this type of body is that it greatly increases the weight of the reel, but we don’t think it matters too much because of how well designed the reel is. Even though it is heavier, it is distributed well and balances well with the rod.
These three models all feature six quality ball bearings and over-sized gears designed and cut with their Digigear system. This gives you smoothness in the retrieve whether there is a fish on or not and it maintains functionality even when you are generating a lot of cranking power.
The 2500 and 3000 model have a 5.6:1 gear ratio while the 3500 model has a 5.7:1 ratio. While this is slower than other reels on the list, this reel makes up for it in sheer power.
Even with this gear ratio, these models can still get a good amount of line in quickly, and this is due to the ABS spool design used by Daiwa as well as their Air Rotor.
The models have a retrieval rate of 33.2, 37.4, and 38.5 inches respectively. So, when you do hook up on a big largemouth, you can get line in quickly during periods between runs.
This same technology also gives the BG one of the best casting performances of spinning reels, not only in this review but any spinning reel on the market.
While all of this is impressive, the sealed Carbon ATD drag is the highlight of this reel. The max drags range from 13.2lbs for the 2500 model, 15.4lbs for the 3000, and 17.6lbs for the 35000.
While the max drags are not the highest of reels in this article, you have access to the entire drag range and at no point in this range does the drag not perform flawlessly.
It does have a manual return bail, and while most anglers would prefer an auto bail, the manual design helps cut down on line twist. The handle is as sturdy as they come with no play in its movement.
- Several size models available for bass fishing
- Rugged housing
- Optimal gear design
- Fantastic cranking power
- One of the top drag systems available
- Silky smooth retrieve at all times
- Heavier reels
Pflueger Patriarch Spinning Reel
The Patriarch from Pflueger has some unique design decisions that peaked our interest in these reels. There are several models available, and for bass angling, we are going to focus in on the 35X model.
The Patriarch is constructed with a magnesium body and rotor. This cuts down on the reel’s weight. Paired with a highly ported aluminum spool, carbon handle, and titanium shaft and you have a bass fishing reel that weighs in at only 7.3oz, nearly as light as many ultralight reels! Fatigue is not an issue with the Patriarch.
That leads to the question of how capable is this reel standing up to bass and how corrosion resistant is it given that it is magnesium. For the later, the magnesium is treated with three layers of protective sealant to minimize corrosion, but care should be taken to clean the reel.
As for capability in landing bass, it’s pretty impressive. The gearing on the reel feels smooth even under moderate pressure, but there is some unevenness in the retrieve if you have a trophy at the end of your line.
This is possibly more to do with the frame of the reel more so than the gears, but you have to weight it with how light the reel is.
For the vast majority of retrieval, this reel is as smooth as any other on the list. It uses 10 XCR ball bearings which are Pfluegers highest quality bearings, and we can’t find much negative to say about the overall functionality of the reel.
The gear ratio is 5.2:1, and it has a line retrieval rate of 28.8″. While it is slower than the other spinning reels in this article, it’s not necessarily a bad thing you just have to be aware of the applications it is better suited.
The casting on this reel is perfectly fine, nothing extraordinary, but not everything can be. For the most part, the rotor and line guide system do a good job of laying line evenly when dealing with the first 25 yards.
The issue we have come across is line twist and uneven line deeper in the spool which at some point, is going to come back to bite you.
Again, where this reel shines is more finesse fishing techniques where you plan on fishing for hours upon hours. With the lightweight design and comfortable grip, you’re not going to get fatigues with the Patriarch.
- Featherlight reels
- Very smooth retrieval and overall function
- Decent cranking power
- Great for finesse fishing
- Low fatigue
- Steeper in price
- Line lay is suspect at times
Before you leave us to head out to the water, we want to take the five models of spinning reels for bass that we have looked at and pick our favorite. While all five are more than deserving and capable to find a spot in your outfit, there is one that has stood out to us, and that is the Shimano Stradic.
It is going to be more of an investment, but the lifespan you are going to get out of it is going to save you money on reels in the long run. There is so much innovation from decades of experience that has gone into this reel.
From the ruggedness of the body without being cumbersome to the ability to run at peak performance under huge amounts of stress, the reel just never disappoints on the water. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a reel that is as fun to cast as the Stradic.
If you’re serious about bass fishing, the Stradic should be a real option for your next reel.