What Size Spinning Reel for Bass?

If you’re new to fishing for bass, you might have a lot of questions. Where can you find bass? What sorts of bait do they like? And perhaps most importantly – what size spinning reel for bass?

Although the answer to this question can vary, each angler will have his or her own preference on what size reel to use. 

Personally, I find that the best size spinning reel for bass is somewhere in the 3000 range.

Not only will this give you the guts and gusto to handle bass of all sizes, but it will also let you target larger species of fish, such as salmon, walleye, and even a few saltwater species like reds and snook. 

What Are the Reel Sizes You Can Use for Bass?

If you’re new to shopping for fishing reels, you might be confused by all the lingo – what in the world does 1000, 2000, 3000 mean? 

It’s pretty simple. Most spinning reel companies will rate the reel’s size and ability by a number that is somewhere between 1000 and 10,000. 

This is the most common rating system, although there are a few companies that use 20, 30, 40, etc. Generally, the smaller the number, the lighter the load (or fish size) the reel is meant for. 

Therefore, if you wanted to fish shark or bluefin tuna out on the deep blue sea, you wouldn’t want to use a 3000 size reel. 

On the other hand, if you wanted to go after bass, a 9000-size reel would be way overkill – and it would make it very difficult for you to cast accurately for bass.

Although you could use 1000, 2000, 3000, or even 4000 size reels for bass, I wouldn’t recommend going any higher than that – I’ll tell you why in the next section.

Why You Should Go With a 3000 Spinning Reel for Bass

A 3000-size spinning reel is a perfect size for bass, particularly if you are looking for good value for your money. 

At this size, a 3000-size reel will help you go after all kinds of smaller fish, like panfish including bream, but you can also go after bigger largemouth bass and small inshore saltwater species like snook and redfish.

Therefore, when you buy this size reel, you don’t have to worry about wasting money on a reel that can only be used for one species of fish. 

You’ll have a more versatile reel in your fishing arsenal that can be used for a myriad of applications and fishing techniques. 

Personally, I’m all about saving money and getting more bang for my buck, so I think this is the best way to go. 

The 3000 size reel is best used with rods ranging in length from six to seven and a half feet. Usually, you’ll be able to use a braided line that’s a 6 to 14-pound test or a monofilament line that’s a 6 to 10-pound test. 

A 3000 reel should feel comfortable in your hand and its larger spool will make it easy for the line to come out.

Plus, it saves a lot of space. When I travel with my 3000-size reel, I don’t have to worry about not being able to fish at a moment’s notice. I have a reel that will work well for just about any kind of fish I decide to go after. 

There are very few downsides to using a 3000 size reel, except for the fact that it might feel too big in smaller hands. If you want a more lightweight reel, you may want to scale down a little.

Other Reels Sizes That Can Be Used for Bass

1000 Size Reels 

A 1000 size reel is the smallest and most lightweight reel – and it’s the absolute minimum when it comes to fishing for bass. 

The benefit of using a 1000s size reel is that you can use it for smaller freshwater fish. However, it also has a smaller, narrower spool, which can pose problems when it comes to tangling. 

You may also have difficulties when it comes to retrieving your line.

However, there are some significant advantages to using a reel of this size. With the lighter weight you will have more control and increased sensitivity. 

There’s less strain on your wrist, too. You will be limited in going after larger fish and you won’t be able to store as much line, though. 

You also will have more room for the line to tangle and you won’t be able to retrieve quite as quickly as you would if you were using a larger reel.

2000 Size Reels

A 2000 size reel is a step up from the 1000 but offers similar results. Again, it’s a good option if you value versatility and minimal strain on your wrist. 

However, the downside of using a reel of this size is that it can’t reel in quite as fast as a 2500 size reel. It’s best used with a rod that’s about six to seven and a half feet in length.

2500 Size Reels

A 2500 size reel is really starting to get into the sweet spot when it comes to fishing for bass. This reel is one of the most popular since it’s one of the most versatile. 

It’s not so large that it’s cumbersome to use, but it’s large enough that you can use a wide line spool that will not tangle – and will extend exactly as far as you need it to. 

2500 is a good choice for bass fishing, ideally if you want to use a 5 to 12-pound braided line.

3500 Size Reels

A 3500 size reel is great for anglers who tend to do most of their fishing for bass on large bodies of water, such as big lakes. 

It can support a rod of up to ten feet in length and is great if you spend most of your day trolling.

You will not only be able to cast further, but you can reel in faster. You won’t have to worry about the line tangling with a wider spool and your braided line will come out smoothly.

However, since this reel is so large, you might have trouble holding it if you have smaller hands. It can feel too big and might be bulky after a long day on the water.

Of course, beyond 3500, there are other sizes for you to choose from, too, but I wouldn’t recommend any of these for bass. 

4000, 5000, and larger reels are going to be way overkill – these reels are better for going after large saltwater game fish.

Saltwater Reels

You might be wondering whether you can use a saltwater reel for bass. In most cases, you can.

Really, the only difference between a saltwater reel and a freshwater reel is that a saltwater reel usually has a few added features that allow it to hold up better to the pressures of the ocean.

Namely, a saltwater reel is going to have some additional protection against the elements. 

Usually, these reels are made out of corrosion-resistant materials so that you don’t have to worry about them being degraded by harsh saltwater. 

Sometimes they also have sealed elements, like sealed stainless steel ball bearings. This helps keep the saltwater out and the reel clean and protected. 

If you plan on doing lots of saltwater fishing in addition to bass fishing, go ahead and upgrade to a saltwater reel. 

However, if you’re not sure whether you actually want to use this reel in a saltwater environment, you may want to skip it.

The reason I say this is that saltwater reels, due to their added protection and bonus features, can be a bit more expensive. That kind of protection really does add up!

If you’re landlocked and don’t think you’ll be headed out on the ocean any time soon, stick to a typical bass reel like one of the others I’ve mentioned above.

Considerations When Shopping for a Bass Reel

Man holding a fish


There are plenty of fishing reels for you to choose from, and with dozens of reel manufacturers out there, it can be tough to know which ones are the best – after all, they all claim to be the best!

How do you cut through the marketing and gimmicks?

Honestly, there’s no single fishing reel brand that is better than others. It comes down to a matter of personal preference, style, and budget.

I will say that, when it comes to spinning reels for bass, I prefer to buy either Shimano or Penn reels. 

Both are made out of high-quality materials and offer the kind of longevity and durability you’d expect out of a premium product.

I would stick to reputable brands like Shimano, Penn, or even Daiwa when you’re looking for a reel for bass. 

Steer clear of the bargain bin, as these reels don’t tend to last and they also don’t come with the same generous warranties and customer service programs you’ll find from some of these other leading brands. 

When in doubt about which brand is right for you, feel free to swing over to your favorite sporting goods store and give one a try! This is the best way to figure out which kind of reel you are best suited to.

Ease of Use and Versatility

There are all kinds of people who will say that using a baitcasting reel is better for bass. In most regards, I would agree with them.

Baitcasting reels are ideal for anglers with a bit more experience. If you’re serious about fishing for bass – for example, if you enter a lot of tournaments or consider yourself a more serious bass angler – you will want to go with one of these reels.

However, for the “average Joe,” a spinning reel is the way to go. They are just so much easier to learn how to use than baitcasting reels. 

Although baitcasting reels will allow you to finesse your technique and land some nice trophy bass, spinning reels can help you land fish that are just as big – without all the hassle.

Learning how to use a baitcaster appropriately can be a serious pain, even if you’re more experienced. Just think about how difficult it will be for you if you don’t have any experience!

Spinning reels are also known for being more versatile. They are perfect for beginners and can be used in more places than baitcasting reels. 

When you invest in a good spinning reel for bass, you’ll be rewarded with a reel that is flexible and can be customized for use in a myriad of settings. 

Bait Type

Next is the type of bait. You can use both live and artificial baits with bass. Unfortunately, most baitcasting reels for bass are meant to be used when casting artificial lures only. 

That’s great, but not if you want to use live bait.

A spinning reel that is designed specifically for bass will allow you to fish any kind of bait you want. You can cast live bait, artificial lures, or even sometimes flies that are meant for fly fishing.


Finally, you will want to consider how much line your spinning reel of choice can hold. One of the nice things about fishing for bass is that they won’t run as long as other game species of fish. 

Even a 3000 spinning reel will hold enough line to handle bass of most sizes. Take a look at the line capacity of the spinning reel you choose before you invest your money in one. 

That way, you can make sure you are buying a reel that will hold braided or mono lines (depending on your preferences) in the exact quantity you want.

What Size Spinning Reel for Bass? It’s Up To You

Spinning reels are, without a doubt, some of the most common types of fishing reels used by anglers of all backgrounds and skill levels. 

While baitcasting reels used to be the reels of choice for bass anglers, that is no longer the case.

Spinning reels are now considered the way to go. Not only are they incredibly versatile, meaning you can use them all different kinds of fish in addition to bass, but they’re also easy to use, particularly for beginners.

You can use just about any size reel for bass, but I think a 3000 size reel is the way to go. 

You’ll have all the power you need without any of the headaches – plus, you can use this reel on other kinds of fish to help you maximize the power and versatility of all the equipment in your fishing arsenal.

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