So, you’ve figured it’s time to step your game up a notch and go for the bigger fish. You might even have tried going at it with your current fishing equipment and realized that something is amiss.
Not all fishing reels are made for bass fishing, and it is important to tell them apart.
There are several budget fishing reels that work quite well when fishing for bass. However, new users can’t often tell the difference.
They end up getting a reel that gives in against the weight of big fish. Follow us along as we look into some of the best spinning reels for bass.
Quick Overview – Top 10 Best Spinning Reels for Bass
- Shimano Stradic Ci4+ – Powerful mid-range fishing reel.
- Shimano Curado – Good set of features allowing a smooth retrieval.
- KastKing Royale Legend – Cheap and powerful bass fishing tool.
- Pflueger Supreme XT – Powerful performance on a budget.
- Abu Garcia Revo SX – Premium features at a low price.
- Orvis Battenkill Disc – Simplistic and lightweight bass fishing reel.
- Daiwa Tatula CT – Reliable and innovative upgrade.
- 13 Fishing Inception – Plenty of features to make fishing a breeze.
- Daiwa BG – Innovative fishing reel with a low price tag.
- JEKOSEN AFL – Versatile saltwater fishing reel.
Comparison of Top 10 Best Spinning Reels for Bass Fishing
Best Spinning Reels for Bass Fishing Reviewed
Some of the best bass fishing reels can be purchased on a budget. We tested several dozen fishing reels in our search for the best spinning reel for bass fishing.
1. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ – Best Spinning Reel for Bass Fishing
Shimano never fails to impress with the excellent value it puts into its offerings. The Stradic Ci4+ is not the most expensive offering from the company, neither is it the cheapest.
Sitting at a mid-range price point, this spinning reel delivers excellent pull and drag to tackle any kind of fish.
The Stradic Ci4+ is easily the most unique offering on this list. It has an innovative design that cuts on excess weight but not at the expense of balance.
This may not be the lightest reel on the list, but you don’t really need the lightest reel for bass fishing. You need a reel that becomes an extension of your rod and enhances your control over your catch.
The body of the Stradic Ci4+ is built from Shimano’s patented Ci4+ carbon composite material. Using the material allows the company to make the reel 50% stronger than traditional graphite reels and 20% lighter.
It also increases the reel’s durability due to its weather-resistant capabilities. Because the material does not contain any metal, it is impervious to corrosion and lasts longer.
The reel features a ton of other innovations that give it an edge when fishing. It’s Micro Module Gear System increases the number of teeth but makes them smaller.
This makes for a smoother retrieve. It features an innovative spool design that Shimano calls Super Free Spool.
This removes the friction from the spool cast, allowing the line to travel further with less effort during the cast.
- Micro Module Gear System
- 7-bearing system
- X-Ship pinion gear
- Cold-forged aluminum spool
- Small anti-reverse switch
We tested a number of capable fishing reels for this review and concluded that the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is the best spinning reel for bass.
This mid-range fishing reel implements a number of innovative features to give users a smooth and powerful bass fishing experience.
2. Shimano Curado K – Best Spinning Reel Under 200
Shimano has gathered quite a following in recent years due to its innovative products and excellent value. The company’s Curado K replaces its original Curado I that had been a favorite of freshwater and saltwater anglers specifically for bass fishing.
Shimano builds on the powerful performance of the original Curado lineup and enhances it with the latest technologies. Thus, creating a reel that is lighter and more powerful than its predecessors.
Shimano has released three variants of the fishing reel all of which are similar in size but vary in gear ratio. The smallest gear ratio on this series is 6.2:1, with the highest being 7.4:1.
The Curado K doesn’t boast the bells and whistles of Shimano’s other reels. However, it packs enough performance-enhancing features to make it one of the best reels in its class.
This mid-range reel features an ergonomic design that enhances control. The body is made from cold-forged aluminum which reduces the flex on the device during retrieval. It also keeps the weight to a minimum.
Other performance-enhancing features include a light but strong Ci4 side plate and a Super Free Spool featuring an S3D Stable Spool design. The Super Free Spool eliminates friction so it takes less effort to cast the line further.
The S3D design dampens the vibrations caused by the moving parts. Thereby, users can have a smooth casting and retrieval experience.
- Ergonomic and lightweight build
- X-ship gear system
- 7-bearing system
- Sharp Infinity Brake mechanism
- Slightly tight casting control
Smooth, lightweight and powerful – the Curado K is a delight to use out on the water. The drag adjustments are precise and easy so you can have that extra control you need to reel in a difficult catch. For bass fishing enthusiasts, this is the best spinning reel under 200.
3. KastKing Royale Legend – Best Spinning Reel under $75
When shopping for a budget reel for bass fishing, one name that you will hear a lot is KastKing. The company has cultivated a unique position for itself as the manufacturer of innovative fishing equipment on a budget.
The Royale Legend is the most affordable fishing reel we reviewed for this list. It is also among the few that impressed us the most. We believe it can outperform many of its competitors that cost twice the money.
The reel has a huge 7.0:1 gear ratio that reels in 28 inches on every turn. It is also capable of reeling in 17.5 pounds of fish.
When you look at the numbers, you assume the Royale Legend to be a mid-range reel that will cost you at least a hundred dollars.
Therein lies the reel’s biggest strength – at a fraction of what an average mid-range reel would cost, KastKing delivers a reel with twice as much power. What gives the reel an added advantage is its 12-bearing system.
A 12-bearing system on any reel, even higher-end ones, is rare. To find it on a value reel is a first. Not only does the Royale Legend feature a 12-bearing system, but the system also comprises stainless-steel bearings with enhanced anti-corrosion protection.
This makes for smooth casting and retrieval. Moreover, it ensures that the reel will retain its effectiveness for longer as compared to others at this price.
- 12-bearing system
- Powerful drag
- Dual-brake mechanism
- Sturdy and lightweight
- Requires significant maintenance in saltwater
With the Royale Legend, you don’t have to choose between price and performance. It delivers incomparable performance at a price few can match. This is the best spinning reel under $75 to get you started with bass fishing.
4. Pflueger Supreme XT – Smooth and Powerful
The Supreme XT is a top-tier budget reel that benefits from Pflueger’s extensive history of making high-quality and reliable fishing equipment. Operating since 1881, Pflueger is one of the oldest and most revered manufacturers of fishing reels in the market.
An upgrade of the popular Supreme line of fishing reels, the Supreme XT comes with a braid-ready anodized aluminum spool.
The reel uses magnesium for the main body, rotor, and side-plate. Both aluminum and magnesium are sturdy, corrosion-resistant, and durable, along with being incredibly lightweight.
Despite being small and lightweight, the Supreme XT can easily retrieve fish as heavy as twelve pounds. This is not the highest we have seen but is certainly impressive at this price point.
In addition to the sturdy materials used in the design, which makes this excellent drag possible is the high gear ratio of 6.2:1. This reels in over 33 inches of line on every crank.
It is also important to mention the drag system itself. The Supreme XT sports a sealed drag system made from carbon-fiber. The system is light and sturdy, with additional durability provided by the seal.
The isolated drag system is protected from water, sand, and other elements that would normally reduce its efficiency. This reel features a 10-bearing system.
- 10-bearing system
- Magnesium build, side plate and rotor
- Sealed carbon fiber spool
- Powerful anti-reverse
- Good gear ratio and line retrieval
- Bit difficult to maintain
Once you figure out how to work the Supreme XT, you will enjoy the speed and the smoothness that it delivers.
It may not be the most powerful reel out there, but do factor in the price and reliability – you’ll find it is one of the best spinning reels for bass fishing.
5. Abu Garcia Revo SX – Sturdy and Durable
A relatively new Chinese brand, Abu Garcia, has been giving decades-old established manufacturers a run for their money. Chinese products are usually written off for their lack of reliability.
However, Abu Garcia has been shifting the narrative with its premium-grade fishing equipment.
The Revo SX is the budget variant of Garcia’s Revo series. This budget fishing reel may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but it sports a clean look and a smart design.
Where the reel provides real value for money is in its performance and reliability. The body is crafted from insert molded C6 carbon composite and the rotor is made of graphite.
The choice of these two materials, its alloy frame and the carbon side plates make the reel extremely durable yet lightweight. The reel only weighs 8 ounces but can retrieve 11 pounds of fish.
The gear ratio of 6.2:1 contributes to its retrieval capability. With this ratio, the reel can retrieve 35 inches of line on every crank.
The Revo SX features a carbon-matrix drag system to deliver a consistent drag force. This innovative system comprises of a number of carbon washers that retain the pressure within the system.
The system eliminates jerks that can normally be caused during retrieval. The reel works on a 9-bearing system comprising of eight stainless-steel ball bearings and one roller bearing.
- 9-bearing system
- C6 lightweight build
- Magnet brakes
- Carbon-matrix drags system
- Drag power could have been higher
The Revo SX from Abu Garcia is a strong freshwater performer that delivers more performance than its money’s worth.
The reel is excellent for bass fishing on a budget. It will impress both new and old users with a strong set of features and smooth operations.
6. Orvis Battenkill Disc – Simple and Lightweight
The Orvis Battenkill Disc is as simple as it is unique. It is often overlooked by anglers due to its simplistic aesthetic and small form factor.
However, the Disc is a durable reel that has a lot going for it. For example completely sealed internals, no start-up inertia, and a capable drag system.
The Disk features a mid-arbor design, which is among the reel’s more prominent features. Under the arbor is an efficient drag system, sealed off to protect it against the elements.
This is a conventional reel. It forgoes the advanced features we are used to seeing on new models in favor of small size and lightweight.
A sealed drag system is important to retain the effectiveness and allow for smooth retrievals. The drag system is crafted from a combination of stainless steel and carbon composite.
The two materials work together to enhance the reel’s sturdiness and ensure that it weighs as little as possible. The drag system also allows easy adjustments for added control.
The Disk benefits from a machined aluminum build and spool. Aluminum is light and sturdy. Therefore, even some rough usage will have no negative effects on the reel’s functionality.
The aluminum build also gives a nice balance to the reel so it fits well on most rods. The reel is available in five different sizes and two different design choices to suit your fishing needs.
- Mid-arbor design
- Sealed drag system
- Machined aluminum build
- Simplistic design
- Backing capacity is limited
The Orvis Battenkill Disk is a throwback to the old days of fly fishing. The reel is a unique combination of old-school design with modern performance enhancing innovations.
Pick this reel for a casual weekend trip down to the lake and you will not be disappointed.
7. Daiwa Tatula CT – Upgraded Performance on a Budget
Another promising budget offering from Daiwa comes in the form of the Tatula CT. The Tatula is among the best spinning reels for bass fishing that we have come across.
Despite being an entry-level reel, it impresses with innovative features such as a T-Wing line management system.
The Tatula CT can be purchased in five gear ratios. From 5.5:1 to 8.0:1, Daiwa offers a variant for every fishing style. The 5.5:1 is best for catching some healthy bass.
A high drag capacity of 13.2 pounds adds to the reel’s capability of controlling and retrieving a large variety of bigger fish, be it bass, gator trout or snook.
The reel’s T-Wing line management system allows for longer casting with reduced backlash. It achieves this through an innovative T-shaped opening – this eliminates friction as the line exits through the wide top section of the spool.
The reduced friction allows the line to travel further and require less effort on the part of the user.
The backlash users face during casting is also greatly reduced by Daiwa’s Magforce Z Cast system. When the line is cast, it lifts from the spool in a quick motion and is slowed down by magnets as it nears the end.
This further reduces the effort required to dispatch the line. An air rotor helps make the casting and the retrieval feel smoother.
- Durable and lightweight
- T-Wing line management
- Magnetic braking
- Zaion star drag
- Bearings not corrosion-resistant
The Daiwa Tatula CT is a small reel that packs a lot of power. It has a smaller form factor than other fishing reels of a similar price. With an excellent choice of gear ratios, the Tatula CT is sure to fit the needs of both recreational and professional users.
8. 13 Fishing Inception – Best Live Liner Spinning Reel
The Inception bass fishing reels are affordable and feature-packed offerings. They come from a company that has made quite a name in the budget fishing equipment market.
When it was released in 2016, the Inception was among the first fishing reels to feature new EVA grips.
The Inception reels are available in two gearing ratios, each suited for a particular fishing style. The lower gearing option of 6.6:1 works best for achieving slow and controlled retrieves.
The higher gear ratio of 8.1:1 gives anglers the speed and power required to reel in the big fish. However, even the smaller variant should be sufficient for bass anglers.
The primary build of the reel comprises a high-density aluminum frame supported on both sides by graphite plates for enhanced sturdiness.
The choice of graphite and aluminum allows the reel to retain a weight of just 6.9 ounces without compromising on durability or strength. The reel works on an 8-bearing system of which two are corrosion-resistant.
The Inception features a powerful drag system capable of reeling in 18 pounds of fish. This high drag power is achieved through oversized drag washers made from a combination of felt and carbon fiber.
Apart from being sturdy, they are exceptionally light. The washers maintain consistent drag power and reduce hiccups during retrieval.
- HD aluminum frame
- 6-way braking mechanism
- Even line spooling
- Powerful drag
- Detachable side plate
Not only does the Inception pack a ton of performance enhancing features, it also possesses live lining capabilities.
Anglers can catch and use live bait that attracts more fish to the hook. Not just a solid offering, the Inception is the best live liner spinning reel you can get on a budget.
9. Daiwa BG – Innovative Reel on a Budget
Daiwa is among the top manufacturers of fishing equipment in the market. It is popular for its reliable mid-range fishing gear.
However, the company’s budget offerings are known to deliver a good level of quality as well. One such offering comes in the form of the Daiwa BG.
The Daiwa BG is a lightweight and feature-rich budget spinning reel. It is also among the more durable reels that we have tested at this price. The reel sports an anodized aluminum body and a dynamic-cut ABS spool.
The choice of aluminum makes the reel lightweight as well as durable. The aluminum is also weather-resistant so the reel will stay free of corrosion.
This reel is capable of reeling in almost 15 pounds of fish. This is owed to a couple of factors. The foremost factor is its gear ratio of 5.6:1 that retrieves over 37 inches of line on each crank.
The other design choice that helps with the retrieval is its sealed drag system. The seal protects the internals from harmful elements. This results in more fluid performance and consistent drag power.
The BG works on a 7-bearing system comprising of six stainless-steel ball bearings and one reverse bearing. The bearings are not sealed but come with advanced corrosion resistance so you will not notice any major differences over time.
The reel’s Digigear system also helps makes the retrievals smoother as it increases the points at which the teeth come in contact.
- Braid-ready ABS spool
- 7-bearing system
- Air rotor
- Sealed drag system
- Spool not anodized
The Daiwa BG does not disappoint with its sufficient drag power and the smoothness of its casting spool. Light and durable, this is one of the best reels you can get on a budget to get you started with bass fishing.
10. Jekosen AFL – Best Value Spinning Reel
Jekosen Outdoor is the official partner of the renowned Japanese fishing equipment manufacturer Ecooda.
The company has also introduced an impressive lineup of accessories under its own brand. The Jekosen AFL saltwater fishing reel is one such capable offering from the company.
We have been seeing a lot of budget fishing reels that claim to pack a lot of power at a very low price. Not all budget reels turn out to be efficient and reliable. However, the Jekosen AFL is one fishing reel that lives up to that description.
At less than a hundred dollars, this reel features an 11-bearing system. This puts expensive reels to shame with its smooth retrievals and effortless casting out on the water.
The Jekosen AFL is available in two sizes. The smaller size comes with a gear ratio of 4.7:1 while the larger one offers a ratio of 5.5:1. Not the best we have seen, but it is still capable of reeling in some healthy bass.
It is also an acceptable ratio in this price range. The reel sports a CNC-machined handle that can be collapsed when not in use and can also be interchanged on both sides.
The fishing reel makes use of a multi-disk drag mechanism with felt washers that maintain the consistency in power. The drag system is not sealed but all components of the reel are corrosion resistant.
Combining that with the adjustable cast control makes the Jekosen AFL an ideal choice for hunting the bigger fish out at sea.
- 11-gear system
- Collapsible and interchangeable handle
- Sturdy and lightweight build
- S-curve Oscillation
- Casting heavy weights is uncomfortable
The Jekosen AFL may not be winning any awards for exceptional performance, but it delivers what it promises.
For new users looking to get their feet wet and regular users venturing into saltwater fishing for some seabass, this is the best value spinning reel.
How to Buy the Best Spinning Reels for Bass Fishing
The market is flooded with fishing reels. Not only are there different kinds of reels, but there are also dozens of variations within them.
The choice and the variety is enough to make even the more seasoned anglers take a pause. Hence, it is understandable that newbie anglers would have a hard time traversing these saturated waters.
There are a couple of things that you should understand when searching for the right reel.
The first thing you have to understand is that all the different types of fishing reels are excellent in their own right. However, not all of them are excellent for everyone.
Which type of reel suits you best? That will depend on your application, your fishing style, and a number of other factors specific to you.
Only you can decide which reel will work best for you. And this understanding won’t come without proper knowledge of the types of reels there are and their strengths and weakness.
For this guide, we are focusing on helping you find the right fishing reel for bass fishing. We will go over all the various types of reels that you can buy. We will discuss their benefits and shortcomings with regard to fishing for bass.
Choose the Right Reel
When you are in the market for a bass fishing reel, you will have a choice of four types of reels.
Each of these reels works in a different way and has its own set of advantages over others. We will look at all four to determine which reel works best for bass fishing.
A spin-cast reel is a closed-face reel that works with a push-button. These reels are easy to use as they do not tangle very often and achieve a smooth and long cast.
They house the spool inside a cylindrical cover. The spool is fixed and does not move as the line pick-up pin revolves around it.
Spincast reels are popular amongst beginners due to their low maintenance requirements and ease-of-use. Their biggest limitations are lesser casting distance and weaker drag power.
They also have smaller gear ratios and smaller line capacity. Furthermore, these reels also refuse to take heavier lines. They struggle the most when reeling in bigger fish.
These are open-faced reels that are the most common amongst anglers. Spinning reels also feature a fixed spool. The bail rotates around the spool to pick up the fishing line. These reels are lightweight, easy to use, and easy to maintain.
This is why they are the preference of new users as well as seasoned anglers for most fishing tasks.
The biggest drawback of spinning reels is that the line can tangle and twist often. Since the line is wound around the spool it can settle at uneven intervals which affect the balance of the reel.
Another limitation is that these reels can only take lighter lures and fishing lines. It is possible to fish bass with a spinning reel and a lot of anglers prefer it. However, a baitcasting reel will give you more power against bigger fish.
Baitcasting reels are the toughest of the bunch. They are the most difficult to set up and get accustomed to.
However, once you get used to them, they offer a high level of lure control and better accuracy. Unlike the other two types of reels, a baitcasting reel features a moving spool.
Baitcasting reels can take on heavier lures and fishing lines. They also have a high gear ratio. All of this helps when tackling big fish such as bass. The biggest problem with such reels is the backlash.
If the spool spins faster than the fishing line is being discharged, users experience a backlash. Newer reels feature a magnetic braking system to deal with this issue.
This is the oldest and most convenient form of a fishing reel. A fly reel does not deliver any of the added benefits of the other three types. Its only purpose is to hold the fishing line.
Fly reels are preferred by many recreational anglers as it allows them to test their capabilities against big fish. Their real strength lies in fishing for smaller fish.
These reels are lightweight and often much cheaper than other types of reels. Only purchase a fly-fishing reel for bass fishing if you are an experienced angler and know what you are doing.
Although you should try to get a good quality reel for any kind of fishing, fishing for heavier fish particularly demands a good-quality reel. You want a fishing reel that will hold up to the added stress of reeling in bigger fish.
It should also be capable of holding the right thickness of the line. You should ideally select a fishing reel that not only supports bass fishing but also makes the activity as easy as possible.
Bass fishing demands a lot from your equipment. The fishing reel you choose should be able to withstand the continuous jerks and bangs that come as part and parcel of bass fishing.
Your reel should also be capable of holding its own against external elements as it will be exposed to seawater and other harsh contaminants.
Getting a healthy catch of bass is certainly fulfilling, but it also requires more effort from you and your equipment. There are plenty of reels on the market, but some of them won’t hold up to the pressure of healthy bass.
When considering a reel for bass fishing, select one that is made either from aluminum, graphite, or carbon composites.
Aluminum is the most favored material when it comes to fishing reels. It is lightweight and durable. It may not be as light as the other materials, but it is sturdier and will give you an edge with big fish.
Graphite reels are lighter than aluminum reels. They are also less sturdy but provide a higher level of corrosion resistance.
Carbon composite materials have been on the rise in recent years. A recent addition to fishing reel manufacturing, carbon composite reels offer the best of both worlds.
Each manufacturer will have their own take on this; however, all such reels are incredibly lightweight, sturdy, and offer a good level of corrosion-resistance.
The second most important consideration when searching for a bass fishing reel is how capable it is of reeling in heavy fish.
A reel that does not generate enough power to fight with big fish as you reel them in will result in a lost catch. Ideally, the drag should be smooth and strong.
It should be smooth so that the line flows without facing any jerks. A lot of jerks, while you are fighting a heavy fish, may cause the line to snap. The same goes for a line that faces a lot of friction.
When purchasing a reel, always consider its drag power. Compare the advertised power with reviews from current users and with the average weight of the fish you intend to catch.
Best Spinning Reels for Bass Fishing FAQs
Confusion is common when you are searching for a bass fishing reel for the first time. Take assistance from the online fishing community to answer your burning queries. Here we answer some of the most frequent questions new buyers have.
✅ What Is a Sufficient Gear Ratio for Bass Fishing?
Any reel with a gear ratio above 5.0:1 should hold up sufficiently when fishing for bass. Any reel with a ratio lower than this will give you a hard time during retrieval. If you have the budget for it, we recommend going for a reel with a gear ratio of 6.0:1. The minimum line retrieval should be 30 inches.
✅ Should I Select a Heavy or a Light Fishing Reel?
Any seasoned angler will tell you that light fishing reels are better. A heavy reel may give you a better sense of control, but it will also tire you out sooner than a lighter reel. However, weight is not the only factor to consider when fishing for heavy fish. Some light reels lack the sturdiness required to tackle big fish with ease. Refer to our guide above to choose the right build quality for your reel.
✅ How Much Drag Power Do I Need to Catch Bass?
Drag systems work by exerting pressure on the fish once it is hooked and letting go of the line when you are reeling the fish back in. This results in easy retrieval. We recommend considering a reel with a minimum drag power of 15 pounds.
All of the fishing reels we have picked out for this list have proven their metal against bass and other big fish. Selecting any of these will give you an easy and effortless bass fishing experience. However, do consider your particular fishing style and other equipment you use when selecting any fishing reel.
Our top recommendation, the Shimano Stradic Ci4+, is among the best spinning reels for bass fishing out on the market. It becomes our top recommendation due to a strong set of features, smooth operations, and sufficient drag power. It will make retrievals effortless, allowing you to catch more fish in less time.
For the budget-conscious angler, we cannot recommend anything as unique and as capable as the KastKing Royale Legend. It offers an ultra-smooth experience with its twelve bearings. For bass fishing enthusiasts, it is one of the best spinning reels for bass you can get on a budget.
Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API