The 6 Best Spinning Reels for Bass Fishing Reviewed ( 2019 Hands-on Guide )

 

Background & Rise Of Spin Reels

Not too long ago, bass fishing was dominated by baitcasters. Every pro had a boat deck littered with rods, and each included the latest baitcasters available.

Amateurs took their cue from their favorite pros and followed suit. Spinning reels were pushed to the rear of the closet, tucked deep in the tackle bag and mostly forgotten.

They never really went away, saved for other species or when friends need to borrow gear, but they were mostly removed from the bass fishing arena.

spinning reel dark

Then pros changed their tune. More and more anglers on the numerous tournament trails realized that there was a place for the spinning reel.

While the baitcaster is ideal for achieving distance or pulling hogs from thick cover, the spinning reel is a better choice when it comes to finessing fish to strike.

Walking a weedless worm through cover or pitching a lightweight lure for timid feeders and you will want a quality spinner available.

But you need to make sure the spinning reel is up to the task at hand. As the popularity of spin fishing has increased, so have the selections available.

Almost every reel makers offer spin models, sometimes several each season. There are dozens of features available in spinning reels, but not all are a top concern when bass fishing.

You need to select a brand and model designed to provide the finesse needed to hook big bass and the backbone necessary to land them. And since you are not sponsored with an endless supply of tackle at your fingertips, you probably want it to last for many seasons to come.

 

Important Choosing Factors

spinning reel, spool, line

Construction

Bass fishing can be hard on your equipment, and each piece needs to be up to the task — capable of withstanding vibrations from long boat rides, harsh changes in temperature and being banged around on a regular basis.

Then there are the fish to consider.

Some of the reasons bass are such a popular gamefish are their ability to grow BIG and extreme fighting ability. Hook a 5+ pound bruiser to the other end of your line and your reel needs to hold its own. If you compromised, you will lose.

The best bass reels are made from aluminum, graphite or the new comer carbon composite material.

  • Aluminum tends to be stronger and provides a tighter fit.
  • Graphite is lighter and provides extra corrosion protection.
  • Carbon composites are growing in popularity and can provide the best of both worlds, especially if they are molded.

Regardless of which material you select, it should be well fitted with no loose parts, and everything should move smoothly — think well-oiled machine.

Although weight may take a second seat to durability, it is still an important consideration as you will be casting, reeling and casting over and over again. Every extra ounce will feel like a pound before long.

 

Drag

Everyone talks about the reel’s drag but very few ever explain exactly what they are looking for. When it comes to bass reels, you want the main features – smooth and strong.

  • Strength will allow you get that little extra “ump” needed when setting the hook or stopping a bass when he makes a last minute run for his life.
  • Smoothness prevents the line from hanging up and possibly snapping under the pressure of the hook set or life-saving run. It also allows you to achieve the light action finesse needed to get the most out of your lighter crank baits, weightless worms, and smaller jigs.

The best spinning reels utilize a front-end drag comprised of multiple drag washers which are either greased or sealed to protect against corrosion and debris.

Regarding drag amount, you will want to look for a maximum greater than the weight of the fish you expect to land (8-10 lbs. for bass).

 

Spool

As with the body, most spools are constructed of aluminum or graphite, although some manufacturers are experimenting with carbon as well.

Again, aluminum tends to be stronger while graphite is lighter and carbon offers better strength than the latter and better weight than the former.

More important in weight is whether or not your spool is rated for use with a braided line which is a must for targeting big bass.

Not only must the spool material be capable of handling braided line, but it should also be “braided line ready” — meaning it can be spooled without the need for backing.

 

Line Capacity

Bass fishing routinely involves long casts and even longer runs. Unfortunately, it can also mean broken lines due to snags or fish who better you. All of these mean the possibility your need to have plenty of line on hand.

The line capacity will be readily listed on any reel, usually on the spool itself, as well as in the user’s manual. This capacity will be listed for both monofilament and braided line and include several different line diameters.

Your bass reel should have the ability to accept 3 or 4 different size monofilament lines as well as their braided counterparts.

You might also be interested in our spinning reel 101 guide.

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