What Size Spinning Reel is best for Bass Fishing?

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The best size spinning reel for bass fishing is a 3000. Nothing like getting straight to the punch line, right? 

This is just my opinion of course, but there are a trillion or so bass anglers (at least) who share my opinion.

So why has the 3000 become the size of choice for spinning reel bass anglers? 

By and large, it’s all about modern spinning reel technology. A good 3000 spin reel packs a punch well above its size and weight. Great for bigger fish.

A good 3000 is also refined enough so that it never feels like overkill on a smaller class of fish. 

It’s appropriate for a broad target size from barely legal, to PB’s and trophy fish. Note I’ve said a “GOOD” 3000. More about that later.

There are a few exceptions to the 3000 rule of thumb which I’ll address in the following paragraphs. 

I’ll also address the features I look for in a 3000 reel that’s destined for battling bass. 

I’ll wrap the article with a couple of reels you can check out for additions to your spinning reel arsenal.

Spinning Reel Sizes Explained: The Pros Position

Straight away I’ll destroy my credibility by telling you that plenty of pros and sports anglers would argue hard against me. 

A lot of sports and pro bass anglers will use a 1000 or 2000. For them, by the time you hit a 3000, you may as well strap on a game reel.

Lures are the name of the game in modern fishing, feverish casting, with powerful flick sticks that require perfect balancing. 

Once you hit 2500, the butt is a little too heavy.

For the sports angler pro, it’s more about bigger fish with lighter gear. Importantly, most lures will perform better with lighter gear. 

Secondly, the lighter your gear, the less of a chance of fatigue after 3 hours of relentless casting.

The pro and highly experienced sports angler can extract every ounce of performance from a 1000 or 2000 reel.

When a 12 pounder attacks their precisely worked crank, there’s every likelihood they’ll bring it to the boat on only a 4 to 8-pound rig. 

And that’s irrespective of the weed and structure they’ve had to wrestle it from.

In my experience, the average bass angler enjoys a little more forgiveness from their 3000 rigs. 

A 3000 size allows for a stronger rig, without being remotely close to overkill or wrist damaging weight.

Also Read: Best Spinning Reels for Bass Fishing

The Bass Pros Experience

The pro and experienced sports anglers also know that more often than not they are likely to catch average size fish. 

Many of us increase our reel size and rod class just in case Moby Dick takes our paddle tail.

The pro knows this is unlikely, so rigging for the likely catch makes more sense. They are also equipped with the skill to land the great white whale on the lightest of gear.

Chasing Big Stuff in the Structure

So would I use a larger reel? A 4000 or 5000? For the most part, no, but there are certain circumstances and conditions where I would go heavier than 3000.

There are times I will focus on exceptional fish. 10 pounds and beyond. These fish are rare as hen’s teeth but they’re there. 

Remember, a bass of 10 or more pounds is literally the catch of a lifetime. Many would consider a catch of 8 pounds a serious achievement.

Sometimes I’ll get a feeling that a location might deliver a 10 plus monster. Invariably, the weather will be atrocious, and there will be gnarly structure everywhere. 

It’s at this point I’ll use big live baits and a 4000 or 5000 reel.I’m not casting, I’m setting my rod. So the fatigue thing doesn’t come into it.

The heavier rig performs better in the bad weather and gives me some insurance against the gnarly structure that my trophy fish will no doubt use to its advantage.

6 Key Features of a Good Sized 3000 Bass Spinning Reel

Rigidity

A rigid reel inspires confidence. When your spool and rotor sit squarely under load, and when the support arm and handle don’t flex at all, that means all of the reel’s crank power is being delivered to the fish.

Smooth Powerful Drag

6 to 8 pounds of drag is great. But it must be smooth. Unfortunately, the smoother drags come with a heftier price tag.

Lightweight

It’s not a deal-breaker if the reel is a little heavier. Really, we’re talking a few ounces between reels. 5 to 7 ounces is great, but you’ll pay plenty for it. 

More affordable 3000 models can weigh around 11 ounces. Once the weight goes up over 10, you’re limiting your rod choice.

Speed

A personal preference, but I feel better with ratios over 6. I can slow down my crank and keep retrieves consistent. 

It’s possible to get a little erratic while trying to crank a slower reel too fast. Fast certainly helps when I’m fishing droppers deep.

Bearings and Anti-Reverse

In my book, an anti-reverse is essential. They’re brilliant for controlled strikes and hook setting.

Where bearings are concerned you could crank away very happily with a 3 bearing reel and never think anything of it. 

Until, one day, you get to use a reel with 12 bearings. The difference in crank feel is truly something else.

The ‘bottom line’ is the bottom line here. More bearings ensure the reel price will rocket up the scale rapidly with few exceptions.

Will the angler using the 3 bearing reel catch as many fish as the angler using the 12 bearing reel? The answer is yes.

Bearings are about your budget and how much you want the silky smooth feel.

Versatility

I’m an angler of 40 plus years. I’ve had plenty of reels but my current arsenal is relatively small. That’s because I go for quality over quantity.

The right mid to top of the range 3000 spinning reel will cover a huge number of fishing applications.

Refined enough for a smaller class of fish, with all the grunt you need to stop prize fish.

Feeling cashed up? Try the Shimano Stella FJ. For versatility.

A Note About Spool Capacity

Yep, it’s nice to have a reel that holds plenty of line. However, in this class of reel, it’s not a feature I seek out.

In 40 years I’ve been spooled once. I was underpowered fishing the rocks, and heaven knows what it was that took everything I had from an 8000 size spool. 

Apart from that, I’ve not ever been close to losing a spool-full to a fish.

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever get spooled using a reel with modest capacity. If the reel you choose happens to have that extra bit of space for more line…happy days.

Also Read: 5 Good Quality Spin Reels Reviewed

3 Best Spinning Reels For Bass Fishing

Here are the best sized spinning reels for bass

Abu Garcia Revo MGXtreme Reel. Spin 3000

The Revo sits firmly at the top end of mid-priced spinning reels in the 3000 size. The Revo is very compact and super lightweight at a touch under 6 ounces. 

Its diminutive dimensions work in concert with the rocket line management system for effortless, fatigue-free all-day casting.

There are 8 pounds of carbon matrix drag that’s as smooth as Shimano and Daiwa’s top-shelf offerings and at a fraction of the price.

While expensive, this is a spinning reel with the lot. 11 + 1 bearings deliver a silky smooth and powerful crank at a perfect speed.

Salt shield corrosion protection makes it ideal for the saltwater. With the Revo, it’s not all about the bass and the freshwater.

The Revo is smooth, fast, powerful, and versatile. It’s perfect for the bass angler who also chases a larger class of saltwater fish in the inshore fishing grounds.

The Revo also looks awesome and the build quality is exceptional. Attention to detail is clearly evident, with the inbuilt drop-shot keeper being the prime example.

Great reel in anybody’s language but a superb bass spinning reel.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Shimano Stella FJ Spinning Reel 3000

The Stella FJ is reel royalty. And it’s price tag is something akin to the royal lifestyle. For many anglers, the FJ’s hefty price tag cannot be justified. 

However, this is its only drawback. For those with the budget, the FJ is the prince of versatility, and therefore a must-have.

The lightweight refined feel is more like an extension of your arm than a rod and reel. 

It’s brilliant for big bass yet will never feel like too much reel when the class of fish is smaller.

It’s somewhat heavier than the Revo at 9 ounces, but the 20 pounds of drag delivers access to a huge variety of fish and fish sizes. 

The power to weight trade-off is not the slightest issue.

The FJ is jam-packed full of Shimano’s leading technology. It’s their flagship brand and it performs accordingly.

Yes, the price point is aspirational. Yes, this reel will not necessarily catch you more or better bass. 

But it will provide access to a huge range of fishing applications, and unrivaled fishing experiences.

And should you hook a 12-pound largemouth, you have all the power you need to land it.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Lew’s Fishing Mach II Speed Spinning Reels. 3000

In my humble opinion, one doesn’t need any more than the Lews to break bass records. The Mach II is a brilliant looking reel, that performs every bit as well as its sporty good looks.

The 14 pounds of Duramax drag is smooth and powerful. With a spool capacity of 180 yards of 10 pound, the key criteria of versatility are well and truly covered.

At 9 ounces, it’s not the lightest 3000, but it’s speed, robust construction, and 10 bearings more than compensate for the extra ounce or two.

The Lews is a brilliant option for bass of all sizes, locations, and fishing techniques. 

It’s a little too heavy for finesse but is refined enough to handle a lighter class of soft plastic/jig head.

The important thing is that you get a formidable bass weapon for a fair budget. Lews has managed to marry quality, durability, and some well-considered tech inclusions that will enhance your bass fishing experience.

What I like most about the Lews is that it’s suitable for the experienced angler and the complete novice.

It appears to be durable, but I have to say I can’t attest to its longevity as a go-to, every session reel. Happy to get some feedback on that aspect.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

The Bass Spin Reel Wrap

The 3000 reel is increasingly becoming known as the great inshore allrounder. Since the spinning reel technology boom of the last decade, manufacturers have delivered much greater capacity into smaller reels. 

A 3000 reel will catch fish big and small bass.

The 3000 size is ideal for the average bass angler. The pros and sports anglers would disagree and I completely understand why.

High end smaller and lighter spinning reels such as the 1000 and 2000 deliver unrivaled refinement and precision. Two features the pros value very highly.

There’s a skill level that allows pros to extract every bit of performance from these tiny reels, that the average angler might not possess.

A 3000 might be a little heavier but it’s far more versatile and far more forgiving. It’s for these reasons that I would recommend a 3000 size spin reel for the average bass angler.

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Sean Ward

Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’m based in the UK yet I’ve been fortunate enough to catch bass in the States, barramundi in Australia, trout here at home and carp on the Danube delta. If I’m not fishing, or talking about fishing, then….I’m probably asleep.

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