12 Best Spinning Reels For Bass Reviewed

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Best Spinning Reels For Bass

Greetings, fellow anglers! Today, we embark on a quest to uncover the best spinning reels for bass.

This has been a pursuit of mine for many, many years. But it was not until last summer that I finally decided to finish the project.

I did a lot of research. Trust me, I really did.

Between my arsenal, some borrowed gear from friends, and new test orders, I got my hands on all sorts of different products. 20, to be exact.

I managed to nail it down to 12 — each boasting qualities that set them apart in the world of bass fishing. I evaluated factors like smoothness, durability, and the overall angler experience. 

I have a confession to make, though. The Shimano Stella FK Spinning Reel has claimed a special place in my heart. Its precision engineering and seamless performance make it a standout choice. I found it fantastic for both novice and seasoned anglers alike.

But fear not, budget-conscious anglers; this list spans a range of options to ensure there’s a perfect reel for every pocket.

Let’s plunge into the depths of spinning reel excellence and find the perfect companion for your bass fishing adventures.

Our Top 12 Picks

  1. Shimano Stella FK Spinning Reel (Best Overall)
  2. Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel (Best Long Casting)
  3. Daiwa Exist G LT Spinning Reel (Best Splurge)
  4. Okuma ITX Spinning Reel (Best Budget)
  5. Shimano Exsence Spinning Reel (Best Sensitivity)
  6. Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reel (Best Ultralight)
  7. Daiwa Ballistic LT MQ Spinning Reel (Best Value)
  8. Daiwa Tatula LT Reel (Best Lightness)
  9. Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Spinning Reel (Best Retrieval Speed)
  10. Lew’s HyperMag Spinning Reel (Best Revo Rocket Alternative)
  11. Lew’s Custom Pro Spinning Reel (Best Customizable)
  12. Pflueger Supreme Spinning Reel (Best Smoothness)

The 12 Reels

Without further ado, I’m gonna jump straight into what brings you here today.

Ladies and gentlemen, here are my top choices when it comes to spinning reels for bass.

Best Overall

1. Shimano Stella FK Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 12+1
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 24 pounds
  • Weight: 9.3 ounces

Today’s first pick is the crème de la crème of spinning reels.

Be very careful with the Shimano Stella FK. Once you get your hands on it, you might not want anything else…

This thing casts and reels like a dream. It’s smoother than anything I’ve ever felt!

What sets the Stella FK apart is how tough it is, despite being incredibly gentle. This is due to the Infinity Drive structure, an advanced version of the X-SHIP design that minimizes rotational torque. With it, you can confidently tackle even the toughest bass without worrying about wear and tear.

Then you have the Infinity Loop technology. That’s responsible for the reel’s exceptional casting performance. It allows the spool to move at an incredibly low speed. A precise winding pattern with minimal friction, perfect for casting light lures with unmatched smoothness.

Now, the inevitable con is the price tag. Yes, it’s on the higher end. High up there. But for anglers committed to top-tier performance, it’s a justified investment. Quality comes at a cost, and the Stella FK delivers on that promise.

It’s the choice for anglers who demand excellence and are willing to invest in the best.

I’ve had the pleasure of using this gem for a good number of years now, and I can truly tell you. If you’re serious about elevating your bass fishing experience, the Stella FK is a game-changer.

Best Long Casting

2. Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 24 pounds
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces

Next up on the list is the Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel.

This reel is a casting maestro, and that is in good part thanks to the innovative Long Stroke Spool technology. It not only boosts your casting distance but also ensures a seamless line lay during retrieval. Extended reach without compromising on performance — I can vouch for that.

I love Shimano. I really do. This was my first Vansford, but I’ve had my eyes on it for a while. A good friend of mine is always out with it and a couple of years ago lent me his rod for a few casts. It did not disappoint, so I ended up buying one for myself.

Its MagnumLite (MGL) Rotor is insane, and reduces rotational inertia by up to 48% (stats, baby). This results in lightning-fast responses during critical moments, a feature complemented by the SilentDrive and MicroModule Gear II technologies. They provide unmatched smoothness while minimizing reel vibrations.

A noteworthy downside of the Shimano Vanford is its lower line capacity compared to other spinning reels in its price range. With a capacity of up to 110 yards of 10-pound test line, it might fall short for anglers requiring larger line capacities.

But the tech behind this thing is reel-y fantastic, so I highly encourage you to give it a go.

Best Splurge

3. Daiwa Exist G LT Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 12+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 22 pounds
  • Weight: 7.3 ounces

Introducing the Daiwa Exist G LT, where unparalleled smoothness meets exceptional durability.

We’re entering an entirely different dimension with this one, this reel is in a league of its own. 

The Exist G LT boasts the Zaion LT body, a high-density carbon strain material that’s both lighter and stronger than conventional materials. The rigid design adds sensitivity, reducing flex during heavy loads for precise control.

But the Magsealed technology is the real hero here. It creates a magnetic oil seal around the rotor and main shaft, keeping water and debris at bay.

This is the height of Japanese engineering, amigos. These features ensure a smooth reel but also enhance its durability by reducing friction and wear on internal components.

The Tough Digigear, a digitally designed and machined gear system, ensures strength and longevity. And the Air Rotor design reduces weight, enhances sensitivity, and minimizes wind knots and line twist for efficient casting. I could go on and on.

But we must address the elephant in the room. And perhaps the main reason why this isn’t my first or second pick. You’ve seen the tag I gave it, so you know what’s coming: the price. This baby is a splurge. Big time.

But it’s a splurge that truly defines excellence. The Daiwa Exist G LT is a top-line spinning reel for the serious advanced angler.

Are you ready to make the move?

Best Budget

4. Okuma ITX Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Gear Ratio: 6.0:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 18 pounds
  • Weight: 8.3 ounces

My next pick is the Okuma ITX, a stellar choice for budget-conscious anglers seeking reliability without breaking the bank.

Even though it might be on the cheap end of the spectrum, this reel’s build is pretty tough.

It boasts a multi-disc, carbon fiber drag system with a Hydro Block gasket, ensuring your drags stay dry and operate smoothly. The Cyclonic Flow Rotor Technology increases air flow, which minimizes corrosion and maximizes drying time.

What sets it apart is the reel’s unique Torsion Control Armor design, a one-piece marvel crafted with Okuma C-40X carbon fiber technology. Its design not only lightens the reel but also maintains near-perfect internal alignment.

Now, the Okuma ITX is obviously not without its downsides. It has a lower gear ratio compared to some peers in its price range. If a faster retrieve rate is a priority, this might not be the ideal pick.

There is heavy startup inertia, and the round shape of the handle is also not as comfortable to use as the paddle handles. But this might be more of a personal thing.

All in all, if you’re not after a finesse setup, this reel sits pretty well for what it costs. It brings a lot to the table without compromising on performance.

Best Sensitivity

5. Shimano Exsence Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 11+1
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 24 pounds
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces

For our next one, picture a reel that is sure to elevate your fishing finesse.

You’re holding the epitome of sensitivity. You’ve just got your hands on the Shimano Exsence!

The first thing you notice is Shimano’s Hagane Gear, a cold-forged wonder that’s not just strong but practically indestructible. Paired with the G Free Body, it shifts the center of gravity closer to the rod, minimizing fatigue and enhancing your casting comfort.

It’s like having a superhero duo—offering not just strength but also a lightweight experience. It guarantees that you’re ​​fishing fresh and sharp. Every single time.

The MicroModule Gear II system delivers clean, faultless retrieves. The super-light MGL Rotor offers quick precision with no gaps. We’re talking superior control on your casts.

But every masterpiece has its quirks. The Exsence proudly wears the badge of a higher price tag too. Yes, it’s an investment, but one that promises rock-solid durability, smooth operation, and exceptional sensitivity.

After hanging out with the Exsence, I can tell you, it’s like fishing with a sixth sense. A choice for those who understand that sensitivity is not just a feature but a way of angling.

Best Ultralight

6. Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 10+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 11 pounds
  • Weight: 4.9 ounces

Meet the Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reel, a true game-changer in the world of ultralight fishing.

This reel is a featherweight marvel, tipping the scales at a mere 4.9 ounces. It’s your golden ticket to seamless, easy handling on the water.

Crafted with an asymmetric magnesium body and a C6 graphite V-compact rotor, the Zenon is not just about being lightweight. It’s about unyielding strength.

With 11 ball bearings ensuring a silky-smooth performance and a Carbon Matrix drag system ready to take on the toughest of opponents, the Zenon is a force to be reckoned with.

However, there’s a catch. Users have reported a learning curve with the line management system. This quirk demands your attention, especially when facing larger fish in choppy waters.

Dive into the thrill of fishing without the burden of heavy gear. Let the Zenon redefine your expectations on the water.

Best Value

7. Daiwa Ballistic LT MQ Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 8+1
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 22 pounds
  • Weight: 6.9 ounces

The Daiwa Ballistic LT MQ Spinning Reel that perfectly balances your budget and your angling aspirations.

It’s the Goldilocks of fishing gear—lightweight, durable, and budget-friendly. Crafted for anglers who want top-notch performance without a premium price tag.

It’s not as cheap as the Okuma ITX, but it’s on a slightly different level in terms of performance.

The Monocoque Body (MQ) design is a game-changer. A one-piece frame that’s not just lightweight but robust, allowing for a more compact form that’s easy to handle. The Zaion-V Body, made from high-density carbon strain material, adds durability and corrosion resistance, ensuring this reel lasts the distance.

The Daiwa Ballistic LT MQ is not just about affordability—it’s about getting more than what you paid for. A compact frame, durability, and smooth operation—all in one reel.

Now, the reel’s got its quirks. Some users have noted that the bail could be sturdier, but it’s a minor hiccup in the grand symphony of its features.

The Daiwa Ballistic LT MQ is your ticket to exceptional value on the water.

Best Lightness

8. Daiwa Tatula LT Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 22 pounds
  • Weight: 5.8 ounces

The next one on the list is a reel that’s practically lighter than a feather—the Daiwa Tatula LT.

Though a tad bit heavier than the Abu Garcia Zenon, this is one of the lightest spinning reels out in the market.

The Tatula is a breeze to handle. If you’ve ever dreamed of effortlessly flicking your wrist to cast, this reel is your wish come true. It’s the go-to choice for those who want to dance with the bass without feeling like they’ve got a brick in their hand.

What sets it apart from the rest is its Zaion Body. Think of it as the superhero suit for your reel. Crafted from a “high density” carbon strain material, it’s not just lighter; it’s tougher too. Less weight, more durability, and corrosion resistance—just like getting a two-for-one deal.

But, and there’s always a but, the drag system is not quite as smooth as it could be. It’s like expecting a luxury sedan and getting a sports car—impressive, but not exactly the smoothest ride.

If you’re all about finesse, crave the feel of a nimble reel in your hands, and don’t mind a bit of a tussle with the drag system, the Daiwa Tatula LT Reel is your wingman.

Best Retrieval Speed

9. Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Gear Ratio: 7.6:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 11 pounds
  • Weight: 7.3 ounces

Now gear up for warp-speed angling. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket.

Its ball bearings ensure a smooth operation even in the heat of action. A rapid 7.6:1 gear ratio propels your retrieve at a blistering 43 inches per handle turn, ideal for high-action lures in covered areas.

Despite its power, the Revo Rocket weighs a mere 7.3 ounces, defying expectations. Abu Garcia achieves this lightweight prowess through the asymmetrical X-Craftic body design, creating a compact frame without sacrificing strength.

What sets the Revo Rocket apart is not just its speed but the meticulous engineering behind it. Paired with its X-Craftic body design, the reel’s enhanced gear system guarantees robust gear strength, maintaining the extreme gear ratio.

However, every hero has its Achilles’ heel. For finesse fishing aficionados, the Revo Rocket’s zeal for speed may pose a challenge. You sacrifice control for velocity.

Having the Abu Garcia Revo Rocket in your angling arsenal is like strapping a rocket to your rod. Embrace the need for speed, and watch as this spinning reel propels your bass-catching adventures to exhilarating heights.

Best Revo Rocket Alternative

10. Lew’s HyperMag Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 11
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 20 pounds
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces

Speeding up into our next velocity reel, we’ve got Lew’s HyperMag. Let’s dive into what makes it a standout choice.

This thing is built with meticulous engineering. The combination of a lightweight magnesium body, a high-strength skeletal rotor, and a forged main gear places it among the lightest high-performance spinning reels in its class.

This distinction is a game-changer in bass fishing, where a lightweight yet robust reel can tip the scales in your favor. It’s a powerhouse that still feels remarkably light.

Yet, every hero has its weakness. The HyperMag’s excellence comes at a cost, quite literally. It’s a high-end investment, which might not align with every angler’s budget. Additionally, some users reported occasional line twist and looping issues, particularly with fluorocarbon lines.

In conclusion, the Lew’s HyperMag Spinning Reel is the top choice for those seeking lightning-fast precision. While it might be a financial commitment, I believe the performance gains make it worthwhile for anglers serious about elevating their bass fishing experience.

Best Customization

11. Lew’s Custom Pro Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 11+11
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 22 pounds
  • Weight: 9 ounces

Today, let’s explore the versatility and power packed into the Lew’s Custom Pro Spinning Reel – a standout choice for bass anglers who value customization.

With 11+1 ball bearings and a 6.2:1 gear ratio, this reel boasts pro performance at a very fair price. Yet, its true magic lies in the design intricacies.

The flush and drain port, a unique feature, allows you to effortlessly flush out any grit or debris from the reel body. A small detail, perhaps, but one that speaks volumes about the thoughtful engineering behind this reel.

The screw-in aluminum handle with a Winn Dri-Tac knob not only adds a touch of luxury but also provides a level of personalization rare in spinning reels. This feature enhances the user’s fishing experience, especially in bass fishing scenarios where conditions can change drastically. 

The ability to adapt your gear to varying conditions can sometimes be a game-changer!

Now, it’s important to note that this level of performance and customization does come at a cost, placing the Custom Pro on the higher end of the price spectrum. There is also some initial roughness, but a quick oiling remedy often solves this minor hiccup.

The Lew’s Custom Pro Spinning Reel is a formidable choice for anglers seeking a reel that goes beyond the standard. If you’re serious about bass fishing and demand versatility in your gear, the Custom Pro is your ticket to a tailored angling experience.

Best Smoothness

12. Pflueger Supreme Spinning Reel

  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 15 pounds
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces

Last but not least, let’s have a look at the Pflueger Supreme Spinning Reel.

If smooth performance is what you seek without breaking the bank, then this reel deserves your attention.

From the moment you engage the handle, the Pflueger Supreme feels like poetry in motion. Its bearing system, combined with an aluminum handle and a carbon-fiber drag star, delivers a smooth and powerful retrieval action even under heavy loads.

It’s a reel that punches above its weight, quite literally. For its affordable price, you get a high-quality, lightweight design with a bearing system that rivals more expensive options.

The lightweight magnesium body and rotor contribute to the overall agility of it. However, there is a slight roughness out of the box. Additionally, while the Supreme is labeled as saltwater ready, the magnesium construction raises concerns about potential corrosion.

Yes, it may not have the prestige of some high-end reels, but it compensates with a stellar performance that won’t dent your wallet.

Investing in smooth performance doesn’t have to be a luxury – the Supreme proves that point with every cast.

Buying Guide

There are several factors that can influence one’s choice when looking for a bass spinning reel. It can feel like a lot, but I’ve tried to break it down for you.

This is what I believe to be essential for any angler looking to get their hands on a decent product.

Quality and Durability

When it comes to bass fishing, the quality and durability of your spinning reel are paramount.

I rely on reels crafted from high-quality materials like corrosion-resistant aluminum or graphite. They not only ensure longevity but can also make the reel a bit more lightweight. And that helps to reduce fatigue during long sessions.

Seek reels made from durable materials with corrosion-resistant properties. This will ensure your investment stands the test of time. And that you can handle the relentless pulls and tugs of spirited bass.

Weight Of The Reel

The weight of your spinning reel plays a significant role in your angling experience.

Choose a reel that balances weight appropriately. One that allows for comfortable use over extended periods without compromising on strength.

I usually go for the medium to medium-heavy range, which will range anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds. My sweet spot is around the 9 mark, but that might be slightly heavier for some of you.

Spool Size and Line Capacity

I always pay attention to these features to ensure I’m well-prepared for various fishing scenarios. Look for a reel with an ample spool size and line capacity, providing flexibility for both sudden bursts and prolonged struggles.

The 2500 size is ideal for lighter applications and finesse techniques, while the 4000 size offers more line capacity for handling larger bass and varied fishing conditions.

Gear Ratio

Precision is key in angling, and the gear ratio of your spinning reel plays a pivotal role in this department.

I usually go for a gear ratio in the range of 6:1 to 7:1 for bass fishing. This sweet spot provides a perfect balance between speed and torque. And it allows for swift maneuvers when needed, providing the necessary power for larger bass.

Bearing System

The bearing system is the unsung hero of a spinning reel. It influences its smoothness and overall performance. Reels with multiple stainless steel or ceramic ball bearings provide a smoother operation during retrieval, which reduces friction and enhances control. They will also usually last longer.

Drag System

A robust drag system is your frontline defense against the power of bass. I personally opt for reels with a sealed drag system, providing a smooth and reliable performance that can handle sudden bursts of energy without sacrificing control.

Anti-Reverse System

An anti-reverse system is a small yet critical detail in a spinning reel. Picture setting the hook, and the bass attempts a daring escape. The last thing you want is a pesky backlash. An anti-reverse system prevents this by keeping the handle from turning backward during critical moments.


To wrap up our piece today, here are some of the most commonly asked questions (and answers) the internet is asking about spinning reels for bass.

What gear ratio should I choose?

Aim for a gear ratio between 6:1 to 7:1 for bass fishing. This range provides a balanced mix of speed for swift maneuvers and torque for handling larger bass.

Why choose a spinning reel for bass fishing?

Spinning reels are versatile and user-friendly, making them ideal for bass fishing. They are easy to cast and control, and are suitable for various fishing techniques.

What size spinning reel is good for bass fishing?

For bass fishing, I go for a medium to medium-heavy spinning reel all the time. My sweet spot is size 3000 or 4000. This ensures a balanced setup, offering both strength and comfort during your angling adventures.

What are the differences between a spinning and baitcasting reel?

Spinning reels have a fixed spool and are user-friendly, ideal for beginners. They cast with an open-faced spool, accommodating various line types. Baitcasting reels, in contrast, feature a revolving spool for precise control, making them suitable for experienced anglers, especially with heavier lures and specific techniques like flipping and pitching.

The choice depends on your preference, skill level, and fishing style.

My Verdict

And there you have it, fellow fishing enthusiasts!

Bass fishing is a pursuit that transcends time. With the right spinning reel, it becomes an exhilarating journey.

I hope this guide was both enjoyable and enlightening. And now you have all the insights needed to elevate your angling experience with the right gear.

For those still lost in the vast sea of options, my top recommendation remains the Shimano Stella FK. If I had to choose a single spinning reel for all my bass fishing endeavors, that would be my unwavering choice.

As you venture forth into the waters, may your lines stay taut and your catches plentiful. Until our next fishing rendezvous!

Photo of author


Reuben went on his first fishing trip when he was 9. That's when he fell in love with fishing. When he's not fishing, he's searching for new gear and ways to fish better.