Your Guide to the Best Spinning Reels for Bass

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The best spinning reel to use for bass fishing is one of the many heavily debated topics among anglers.

Each has their own opinion as to what makes the “best” spinning reel for bass. One theory is that the old tried and true reels are the best.

Man fishing for bass using a spinning reel
Picking the right spinning reel is the difference between an enjoyable day fishing and a regretful one.

It is true they hold up well. However, with the design and durability of today’s newer reels, it is a good idea to check out some of the advancements that have been made over the years.

Bass is one of the hardest fighting freshwater fish you can hook onto. Larger, and sometimes smaller, bass can strip a reel, break a pole, or both.

For more information on catching bass, check out our article on bass fishing tips.

With more anglers entering bass tournaments, as well as the weekend angler, in mind, I am going to cover several of the best spinning reels for bass.

I am also going to cover how to care for your reel, general maintenance, storage, and much more.

Types of Reels

Spincast Reels

Remember the spincast reel? It was the first reel many of us started out fishing with as kids. As a whole, the spin cast reel is known for being an inexpensive reel. It is also an easy reel to use and a great reel to use for the first-timer just getting started. This is mainly because it requires minimal investment. The spin cast is commonly used by children and casual anglers.

Spincaster bass reel
Here’s a spin caster reel we all grew up on fishing.

There is a push-button release on this reel for simplicity. This reel provides decent casting accuracy and is also one of the easiest reels to untangle. For example, if you have any stubborn tangles in your line, all you have to do is open the bail of the reel and pull on the line.

Disadvantages of Spincast Reels

However, it is important to realize that, like each reel, this reel does have a couple of disadvantages that come with using it. One of the major disadvantages of the spincast reel is that you do not have much room for line capacity. This means that sometimes you cannot cast as far as you would like.

This reel is also somewhat limited when it comes to a heavy test line. This means that it will be more difficult, if not impossible, to fish for big game fish using this reel. Do not expect to haul in tuna with this. It is meant for small fish.

Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting reels are favorites with millions of anglers for good reason. Let’s look at some of the advantages of using baitcasters. Well, for one, there is no line twist (tangled lines, or bird’s nests, are another matter, however) during the release of a cast, which makes it a great reel in itself.

With a baitcasting reel, you will also get more power for greater distance casting. They come in light and heavy versions, depending on what you are fishing. This type of reel will give you more control and accuracy in casting but requires a little more skill than spinners.

Bass fish near grass in a lake
A bass near some grass in a lake. Source

A baitcasting reel is an outstanding reel for big game fishing because it can handle heavier-pound test lines. The one possible negative of using the baitcasting reel is that it does take some time to get used to.

After you get the feel for it, however, you will want to use this reel frequently due to its high casting accuracy. Again, just keep in mind there’s a slight curve in learning how to use a baitcaster.

Baitcasting Reels Basically Fall into 2 Sub-Categories

Round Baitcasting Reel: This reel will have a larger spool, which makes it ideal for holding more lines. Ideal when you want to cast a line as far as you want. There are few things more satisfying in life than a long-distance fishing cast. Also, a few things in life are as disheartening as a cast that is cut short due to a shortage of lines.

Low-Profile Baitcasting Reel: This is an increasingly popular type of baitcasting reel. It is ergonomic, lightweight, and easy to handle. You can catch a wide variety of gamefish with the low-profile reel. As a bonus, it also greatly reduces line twists.

Spinning Reels

There is a debate around baitcasters and spinning reels regarding which one is better. One thing’s for sure, spinning reels are a top choice for many anglers. Whether they are fishing bass on the lake or targeting tarpon along the beach. The way you cast a spinning reel is you flip up the metal bail wire, which releases the line for a cast.

Then you flip the metal wire down, and it locks the line in place. This type of reel spins as your line is being retrieved, which is how it got its name. The setup with the spinning reel is straightforward and easy, and It is also an easy reel to learn to use.
The spinning reel is another good choice for beginners who want to skip over spincast reel because, again. It is easier to use. These reels can also be equally affordable depending on the type that you purchase.

Bass fish underwater
Another freshwater bass is ready to be caught. Source

They also make a good choice for the seasoned angler looking for versatility, who may want to work light artificial lures or fish live baits.

Surf Fishing Reels (For Targeting Striped Bass)

Both baitcasting and spinning reels can be used for surf fishing. It really comes down to the angler and which type he or she prefers. The best surf reels are designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the surf, among which salt water, sun, and sand are but a few.

Good surf fishing reels are made of either anodized aluminum, graphite, or both materials. They also have sealed stainless steel ball bearings for maximum corrosion resistance.

In addition to durability in the surf, they must also be able to hold a lot of fishing lines and provide accurate and long casts.

Surf reels should also be versatile as they are used for a broad range of fishing techniques and fish species. The surf fisherman will want a reel that can handle fishing different types of artificial lures, as well as live and cut baits. This is while chasing everything from speedy Spanish mackerel to big, powerful striped bass in the surf.

Offshore Reels

Offshore reels are made tough! They can be baitcasting or spinning reels. These durable, often more expensive reels, are designed to handle harsh offshore conditions. Conditions that would decimate other reels. They not only are built to battle monster-sized fish. They also must stand up well to the frequent saltwater splashes that come with the territory.

Traditionally offshore reels were baitcasters. However, today we have many quality offshore spinning reels on the market. Because of the enhanced saltwater corrosion protection they offer, It is not uncommon to pay over $1,000 for a good offshore fishing reel.

Conventional  and Trolling Reels

The conventional or trolling reel (or casting reel as it’s often called), is generally used in deep-sea or offshore fishing. Whether trolling or bottom fishing for big game fish in the deep blue or just a deep lake, conventional reels are useful.

The important things to look for in a good trolling reel are heavy-duty graphite or machined aluminum construction. Also, a smooth and powerful multi-disc drag system. Along with a large line capacity to handle prolonged combat with bigger and more powerful fish.

Best Spinning Reels for Bass lake
Use whichever reel is comfortable for you and the conditions you’re fishing in. Here’s a spinning reel on the lake.

They have to not only be able to handle more fishing lines, but they also have to be able to pack on heavier test lines.

Conventional reels come in either star or lever drag systems. Other features to look for in trolling/casting reels include a dual-speed reel. This lets you easily switch from fighting large, reel-smoking brutes like tuna and marlin. To power-cranking up big fish from the bottom with the flick of a lever.

A loud audible clicker will also come in handy, so you can hear the line being pulled over the engine noise.

Fly-Fishing Reels

Fly fishing reels were designed with precision in mind. When fly fishing, you need to have accuracy in order to cast the line to your desired spot. Fly fishing reels offer some of the most accurate castings you can find.

There is also a variety of different styles of reels for fly fishing. For example, you have certain reels that were designed specifically for trout fishing, and then you have other reels that were designed to catch salmon.

With fly fishing reels, you also sometimes have large arbors on the reel, which increase the retrieval speed.

Fly fishing reels are simple, reliable, and durable, with an emphasis on durability. It is not uncommon to see certain fly fishing reels that have been around for over 40 to 50 years still being used today.

Centerpin Reels

The center pin, or centrepin reel, which dates back to the early 19th century, is a type of fishing reel that runs freely on its “center pin” or its axle. The reel’s large diameter spool typically sits perpendicular to the fishing rod and allows for long-distance casts.

The center pin reel, an essential tool of the “float fishermen”, was at the height of its success during the 1960s in Great Britain. During that time, it was not at all uncommon to see people fishing with them.

Today, the center pin reel is still fairly common among Australian and European saltwater and freshwater anglers. It also remains popular with some anglers who fish the many rivers around the Great Lakes, both on the U.S. and the Canadian side.

Otherwise, this reel is not as widely used as many of the others and is a reel that is mainly used nowadays for coarse fishing.

Best Spinning Reels For Bass Reviews

Best Spinning Reel for Bass

Cadence Fishing CS8 Spinning Reel

The CS8 Series Reel from Cadence is built from materials that bring strength without weight. The foundation of the CS8 is a light magnesium frame with a carbon rotor, all gliding on 10 corrosion-resistant bearings.

The machined aluminum spool prevents your line from slipping. It houses a carbon fiber drag system that delivers consistent pressure. Weight is further reduced with an ergonomic EVA handle knob.
Premium materials, along with its availability in different sizes, make it a great all-purpose spinning reel.

Ideal for gamefish, including freshwater fish like bass, walleye, and trout. As well as popular inshore species like redfish, speckled trout and flounder with a rinse after fishing.

The CS8 series of spinning reels will exceed your expectations with features, quality, and design. This is what you would appreciate in spinning reels costing almost twice as much.

Best In-Shore Fishing Reel for Bass

Pflueger President Spinning Reel

Probably one of the best reels on the market for bass fishing.

Features include:

  • 10 bearing system – corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings.
  • Graphite body and rotor – lightweight graphite reel construction. Braid-ready spool – allows braid to be tied directly to spool.
  • Sealed Drag System – Sealed drag washers are always lubricated and always smooth. Slow oscillation gearing – improves line lay and minimizes line twists.

Smooth performance at a great value! The President delivers features and performance that will impress over and over again.

Best Spinning Reel for the Money

Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

Arm yourself for the most punishing saltwater battles with the Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel. Crafted from durable materials and packed with fish-fighting features. This saltwater reel is engineered to catch fish year after year.

From the full metal body, side plate, and rotor. To the five sealed stainless steel ball bearings, each component is designed to help you land your catch. The reel’s HT-100 Versa-Drag carbon fiber drag system leverages both sides of each drag washer to provide maximum drag. Its instant anti-reverse bearing eliminates pullback, so you reel without interruption.

Additionally, the drag washers are treated with proprietary grease. This is to ensure long-lasting performance.

Suitable for use with Berkley or Spiderwire Superline. The spool is fitted with a rubber gasket that prevents the Superline from slipping under pressure. Meaning anglers can use braided lines without a monofilament backing.

And thanks to its line capacity rings, the spool displays at a glance how much line is remaining.

  • Durable, high-range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater gamefish.
  • Full metal body, side plate, rotor, and heavy-duty aluminum bail wire. These offer exceptional durability.
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag system provides powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness.
  • Fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti-reverse bearing.
  • Superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity.
  • Spinning Reel, High Speed 7.1:1 Ice Fishing Reel Inshore Bass Fishing Freshwater,
  • Unique Designed Shallow Spool Quick Retrieve

Best Shimano Fishing Reel for Bass

SHIMANO Sienna FE, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel

The M-Compact Body moves the oscillation gear closer to the rod, creating a new center of gravity and a more balanced feel. Incorporating the Propulsion Line Management system for longer casts and reduced backlash. The Sienna FE uses Super Stopper II for instant anti-reverse with no backplay.

Available in sizes from 1000 to 4000, the Sienna FE is perfectly suited for everything from freshwater to inshore fishing. Every individual who has owned and enjoyed using Shimano tackle has a reason to thank a Japanese visionary named Shozaburo Shimano.

In 1921 declared, “I aim to make Shimano’s products the best in Kansai, then the best in Japan, and finally the best in the world.”

For over 80 years, Shimano has concentrated on precision engineering, one step at a time. Creating the most innovative products and processes you can hold in your hand today.

Features include:

  • Perfectly suited for everything from freshwater to inshore fishing. The Sienna spinning reel features a variety of upgrades and improvements.
  • Encased in a new M-Compact Body that moves the oscillation gear closer to the rod, greatly improving the balance of the reel. Also reduces angler fatigue.
  • Equipped with a Propulsion Line Management System that provides longer casting distances. while preventing backlashes and wind knots from forming.
  • Utilizing Super Stopper II technology for instant anti-reverse. With no back play as well as Dyna-Balance to eliminate wobble during the retrieve. By counterbalancing the rotor to enhance sensitivity and smoothness.

Good Fishing Reels for Bass

Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel

Truly, one of the best spinning reels for the price. Penn took everything into account when they built the V & VI spinning fishing reel.

Penn has become synonymous with bass fishing. This spinning reel just goes to prove that when it comes to catching bass, Penn has you covered.

Features include:

  • A watertight spinning reel performs reliably in saltwater and sand environments
  • Durable construction with a full metal body, side plate, and rotor and heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • A sealed HT-100 Slammer drag system provides robust, silky-smooth drag. While friction trip ramp prevents premature bail trip when casting
  • Fluid cranking with 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti-reverse bearing

Superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity

How To Care For Your Spinning Reel

Spinning reels have several internal “working” parts that are primarily metal. It is no secret that metal and water, especially saltwater, do not mix.

Many manufacturers use the latest in corrosion-resistant material. And in some cases, completely seal the inner workings of the reel. There is still a chance for corrosion over time.

Storage and Care

The best way to prevent this is proper storage and care. When you are ready to store your spinning reel after a fishing trip, make sure it is completely dry.

Water can easily get into the smallest area but be quite difficult to get out. Wipe your spinning reel down to dry it, and allow it to “layout” before storing it to evaporate any moisture that may be trapped.

It is always a good idea to keep your spinning reel lubricated. A marine-type lubricant works best.

Store your Spinning reels in a dry area where they will not continuously be exposed to moisture and harsh conditions.

These few tips can help preserve your spinning reel for years to come. Think of it as protecting your investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best Shimano spinning reel?

The best Shimano spinning reel is the Sienna FE for bass fishing.

What is the top fishing reel?

The top fishing reel for bass is the Abu Garcia Revo (baitcaster) or the Sienna FE (spinning).

What is a good high-speed spinning reel?

A good high-speed spinning reel is the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket with a 7:1 gear ratio, which is one of the fastest.

What is the best budget spinning reel?

The best budget spinning reel is the Daiwa Regal for bass fishing.

Final Thoughts

Even if you have a spinning reel that has been passed down through generations, or if you just like “old school”, there are many new models that you may want to take a look at.

You do not have to replace your old reliable, but you will probably find out that a changeup is not so bad.

Spinning reels like the ones covered in this article are designed to hold up and bring in the really big fish.

If you are in the market for a new spinning reel, want to keep up with the competition, or just want to try out something new, give one of these reels a try.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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