What Spinning Reel Size Should I Use for Bass Fishing?

When trying to answer the question of what spinning reel size to use for bass fishing, the first thing to remember is that at the end of the day, any size spinning reel is going to catch fish. When deciding which reel size is right for you, it’s all going to come down to personal preference. With that said, there are a variety of factors to consider when deciding which reel size is best for bass fishing.

Throughout this guide try to answer the following questions:

  • What size bass am I looking to catch?
  • Am I using this reel specifically for bass, or do I want it to be a multi-purpose reel?
  • Do I prefer a reel with some heft to it or a more lightweight setup?

When choosing a reel size for bass fishing, you’re going to have five main options to pick from:

  • 1000 (10)
  • 2000 (20)
  • 2500 (25)
  • 3000 (30)
  • 3500 (35)

Some manufacturers refer to different sizes by the four-digit number, and others by the two-digit number. The lower the number, the smaller and more lightweight the reel will be. There are both larger, and smaller reel sizes on the market, but these five will be the best options available for bass fishing.

Part of picking out a new reel size is matching up the reel to your rod. If you already have multiple rods for different types of fishing, then you don’t have to worry as much about pairing up a new reel to match your rod. However, if you only have one or two rods, you want to be sure to choose a reel that will fit well with that rod.

Reel Size: 1000 (10)

This is the smallest and lightest reel you’ll want to use for bass fishing. The proponents of the 1000 size will say that you can fish for any size of freshwater fish without any issue on a 1000 size reel. While that may be true, there are disadvantages to the 1000 size reel which include a smaller spool capacity, which can sometimes mean a narrower spool. Smaller spool sizes can also sometimes be more prone to tangling and aren’t able to retrieve the line quite as fast as larger reels.

With that said, there are also many advantages to the 1000 size, the most obvious of which is that it’s the most lightweight. Despite its small size, a 1000 size reel is perfectly acceptable for bass fishing and will show no lack of strength when it comes to hauling in a fish.

Suggested Pairings

  • Rod size to pair with: 6’ to 7’
  • Monofilament line to pair with: 2 to 4-pound test
  • Braided line to pair with: 4 to 8-pound test

Pros

  • Lighter weight gives the user more control.
  • Finesse rod can be more versatile.
  • Increased sensitivity.
  • Less stress on your wrist.

Cons

  • The user is somewhat limited in the size of fish to go after.
  • There is less capacity for line in the spool.
  • More chance for line tangle.
  • Can’t retrieve as fast as larger reels.

 

Reel Size: 2000 (20)

The 2000 size reel is not as prevalent as the slightly larger 2500 size but provides similar results at a lighter weight. Consider a 2000 size reel as the slim version of the versatile 2500 size of reel. In fact, a 2000 from one manufacturer may be just as large as a 2500 from another manufacturer, so be sure to pay attention to the individual specifications of each reel size.

Suggested Pairings

  • Rod size to pair with: 6’ to 7’ 5”
  • Monofilament line to pair with: 4 to 6-pound test
  • Braided line to pair with: 5 to 10-pound test

Pros

  • Perfect option for those that value the versatility of the 2500 size but want a little more control over the rod.
  • Less stress on your wrist.

Cons

  • Slightly less versatile than the 2500 size reel.
  • Can’t reel in as fast as larger reels.

Reel Size: 2500 (25)

The 2500 is the most popular size of spinning reel due to its ultimate versatility. The reel is not too big that it becomes cumbersome but is big enough to allow for a wide spool of line that won’t tangle, and can extend as long as you’ll need.

The 2500 size reel is excellent for bass fishing, but the true value in this size of reel lies in the variety of species it allows you to fish for.

Suggested Pairings

  • Rod size to pair with: 6’ to 7’ 5”
  • Monofilament line to pair with: 4 to 8-pound test
  • Braided line to pair with: 5 to 12-pound test

Pros

  • Ultimate versatility in spinning reel size, you can buy this reel and not have to worry about buying another.

Cons

  • Not as specialized as the 1000 or 2000 size reels.

Reel Size: 3000 (30)

When you reach the 3000 level, you’ve entered the large size of spinning reels for bass fishing. One of the benefits of a larger reel is the bigger the spool, the farther it allows you to cast. A large spool also allows the manufacturer to make the spool wider, and a wide spool is an important feature that bass fishing pros are always looking for. A wider spool tends to provide a smoother overall feel with your line and reel. Wider spools are also less likely to tangle, and work effectively at throwing braided line with ease.

Suggested Pairings

  • Rod size to pair with: 6’ to 7’ 5”
  • Monofilament line to pair with: 6 to 10-pound test
  • Braided line to pair with: 6 to 14-pound test

Pros

  • If this size feels right in your hands, you’ll benefit from the larger spool and additional strength.
  • A bigger spool makes it easier for line to come out.

Cons

  • Could be unnecessarily large in certain hands.
  • Those that prefer the lightest weight options will probably want to size down.

Reel Size: 3500 (35)

If you do the majority of your fishing on large lakes, the 3500-size reel may be your best option. The 3500 size of reel can support a rod up to 10-feet long and is a good choice for trolling for big fish on a large lake.

If you do a lot of fishing on average sized lakes or aren’t fishing for especially big fish, you’ll likely be better off with a smaller option.

Suggested Pairings

  • Rod size to pair with: 7’ up to 10’
  • Monofilament line to pair with: 6 to 10-pound test
  • Braided line to pair with: 6 to 14-pound test

Pros

  • Ability to cast further, and reel in marginally faster.
  • There’s less chance for the line to tangle with a wider spool.
  • A braided line should come out smoothly.

Cons

  • Heaviest weight option could feel bulky throughout the day.
  • Could be unnecessarily large in certain hands.
  • Those that prefer the lightest weight options will probably want to size down.

While you could technically go bass fishing with an even bigger reel, a 4000 or 4500, those reels are ideally used on larger fish, most likely in saltwater. Examples of fish you would be going after with a 40 or 45 are Cod, Snapper and Bone Fish, among others.

The most significant factor to consider when searching for a new spinning reel is, what am I going to be using this for specifically?

If the answer to that is “everything” then a 2500 size reel is the right choice for you as the most versatile option, featuring a lighter weight and reliability.

If the answer to that question is more like “bass fishing on a small pond” then you may want to consider a 1000 size reel that will be the most comfortable to cast and the easiest to control in tight spaces.

Or, maybe the answer is that you want to cast as far as possible in a large lake, or you’re doing drop shots and jigging hundreds of feet down, in that case, you’d be looking at the 3000+ size of reel.

Most professional bass fishers want the lightest weight options that they can get away with. So, when in doubt, the smaller, lighter option is probably the right choice.

If you choose a reel size and later decide that you’d prefer a different model, think about the bright side: you can still use this old reel, you just need to find a more specialized use for it.

My recommendation would be to go with a 2500 size reel. Not only is it the most versatile, and most likely to be a reel that you can use long into the future, it also perfectly balances the pros and cons of the larger and smaller options. The fact that most anglers from bass pros to Joe schmoes all tend to agree that the 2500 size is the best option isn’t just a coincidence.

With that said, at the end of the day, the size of reel you should choose for bass fishing ultimately comes down to what feels best in your hands. Some prefer a reel with some weight to it, while others want the lightest weight possible. No matter what size of reel you ultimately choose, it is going to feel fantastic once it’s attached to a rod, strung up with line, and casting a lure out onto the water.

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