Bass is a fantastic fish that will always provide a lot of entertainment for fishermen either at sea or on freshwater. This species can easily grow up to 5 lbs; therefore, you must be equipped with robust gear that will tolerate such fights. The fact that they live in both salt and freshwater gives fishermen considerable versatility.
When fishing for bass, you can pack up your bass reel and head to your closest waterfront to practice no trouble whatsoever. We want to help you with that, which is why we have created this list, which has the best bass spinning reels of 2021 ordered from the best to the worst.
Table of Contents
List of the Best Bass Spinning Reels:
- Shimano Stradic Ci4 – Best Overall
- Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 – Best Rod and Reel Combo
- Abu Garcia Revo SX – Best Technology
- Penn Battle II – Best Saltwater Bass Reel
- Pflueger Supreme XT- Most Lightweight
- Shimano Spirex FG – Best Budget
|Spinning Reel||Weight||Maximum Drag||Ball Bearings||Gear Ratio||Braided Line Capacity||Price|
|Shimano Stradic Ci4||8.1 oz.||24 lbs.||6+1||6.2:1||15/280 lb./yard|
|Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2||1.11 lbs||20 lbs.||3||5.2:1||10/120 lb./yard||CHECK PRICE|
|Abu Garcia Revo SX||9.2 oz.||17 lbs.||8+1||6.2:1||14/250 lb./yard||CHECK PRICE|
|Penn Battle II||12.3 lbs.||15 lbs.||5||6.2:1||20/180 lb./yard||CHECK PRICE|
|Pflueger Supreme XT||6 oz.||8 lbs.||10||6.2:1||4/110 lb./yard||CHECK PRICE|
|Shimano Spirex FG||10.6 oz.||15 lbs.||5||6.2:1||10/95 lb./yard|
The 6 Best Bass Spinning Reels in 2021
1. Shimano Stradic Ci4 – Best Overall
This reel is chock-full of features and advantages that will help you when chasing bass. It boasts a carbon-fiber G-free body design along with a Magnumlite rotor, which all make this reel 25% lighter than it would’ve been. Plus, it’ll assist in delaying the onset of fatigue on your hands.
It has 6+1 stainless steel ball bearings with a Super Stop anti-reverse switch, which can come in pretty handy. It is also supported by the paladin gear system. This system was designed intricately, combining a cold forged-aluminum drive gear with hardened brass pinion gear.
Its job is to give anglers the smoothest fishing experience that they have ever witnessed. In addition to that, the X ship components allow your cast to be incredibly accurate.
Although it is not the lightest reel, it’s also not extremely heavy as it weighs only 8.1 oz, has a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and an impressive maximum drag of 24 lbs. The spool here is spacious and can take braided line up until 15/280 lb/yard, 30/170 lb/yard, and 50/150 lb/yard.
- Many options
- Fewer birds nests
- 6+1 ball bearings
- 24 lbs.maximum drag
- Small anti-reverse switch
As you can see, this reel takes care of the tiniest details. It is a reliable device that will get you through tons of bass along with other fish species. It is completely designed with the aim of giving you a luxurious experience when you are fishing.
Hence, if you can get over the slim drawbacks such as it being a little bit heavy, loud, and having a small anti-reverse switch, then this reel would be perfect for you.
2. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 – Best Rod and Reel Combo
This combo is designed so that it can fit all levels of expertise. It is affordable, durable, and quite comfortable to have in your hand. Furthermore, it’s made out of both graphite and fiberglass to ensure durability, strength, and lightweight. In addition to that, it boasts a clear tip, which allows for quick action in order to snap that bass.
Besides, it has EVA handles designed for the comfort of anglers. The spool on this reel is quite impressive as it is made out of double anodized aluminum and enjoys an oversized bail with compression springs.
Moreover, this combo’s weight is not shocking at only 1.11 lbs, but don’t let that fool you as it has a maximum drag of 20 lbs. and a gear ratio of 5.2:1.
The 3 ball bearings here might seem too little, but they are of high quality and include an anti-reverse bearing, which adds a lot to the smoothness and strength of the combo. One last thing is that it has a line capacity of 10/120 lb/yard.
- Relatively lightweight
- Spacious spool
- Oversized bail wire with springs
- Not sealed
This combo will save you a lot of trouble; one purchase and you are ready to head out onto your waterfront and start chasing bass. The one thing that you have to take care of is that you need to wash your equipment quite thoroughly after each use to reduce the probability of it rusting.
3. Abu Garcia Revo SX – Best Technology
This reel is an upgrade to the bait casters of the same name. It was designed with an alloy frame plus carbon housing, handles, and side plates in order to make it as resistant to the elements as possible. Add to that the C6 body design and graphite rotor, and you will have an extremely robust reel, which is lightweight at only 9.2 oz.
Moreover, it has the power stuck carbon matrix drag system, which is quite impressive as it is composed out of a group of carbon washers that preserve and maintain the consistency of the resistance that is being pushed out against the fish. It has a maximum of 17 lbs. and a gear ratio of 6.2:1.
On another note, it enjoys 8 stainless steel ball bearings in addition to a roller bearing, K-clutch anti-reverse system, and an infinite magnetic brake system that all work together towards the smoothness and sleekness of the fishing process. In addition to that, they work on eliminating backlash and any unnecessary noise.
The spool here is quite spacious as it is designed with the rocket system and rocket spool lip, which manages to keep your lines straight. Those said lines can go up to 14/250 lb/yard.
- Rocket spool
- Carbon matrix hybrid drag with a maximum of 17 lbs.
- X-Craftic gearbox
- Rocket spool
- 8+1 bearings
As you can see, this reel is designed to eliminate all the discomforts that may come with fishing in order to give you an experience that’s enjoyable in all its aspects. However, that does not come for a small price, which is why the only disadvantage to this reel is that it is quite pricey. Consequently, if money is not a problem for you then going for this reel will not disappoint you.
4. Penn Battle II – Best Saltwater Bass Reel
Penn is universally known for creating pro-level equipment that are simple enough for amateurs and beginners to work with, in addition to them being quite affordable. That’s precisely what this company has done with this specific model.
The motor itself is supported by a rubber gasket in order to keep the line in its place and allow fishermen to load braided line immediately without the need for loading mono first. This reel is straightforward and easy to put together.
It weighs only 12.3 oz. and enjoys a capacious spool with capacity rings that give you all the needed information about how much line you have left. This spool can take 20/180 lb/yard of braided line easily.
It is quite durable thanks to its metal body, sideplate, rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire.
Moreover, it enjoys an HT-100 Versa-Drag carbon fiber drag system with a maximum of 15 lbs. and a gear ratio of 6.2:1. This system allows for just enough resistance to make the retrieval process both fast and smooth enough.
Speaking of smoothness, this reel has 5 stainless steel ball bearings in addition to an instant anti-reverse one, which all contribute to the sleekness of the process in general.
Hence, all of these features make this reel exceptionally prepared to take on saltwater and the damage that it can wreak on fishing equipment. Nonetheless, there have been some complaints about the sealing being faulty at some spaces and the fact that the spool might lock in place. However, these complaints have not been remarkably consistent.
- Sealed bearings
- Metal build
- Large spool capacity
- Corrosion resistance
- Aluminum bail wire
- Revolutionary drag system
- Spool locks
- Seal can be faulty
This reel is designed for everyone; both amateurs and experienced anglers can wield it. Plus, it is quite affordable. So, if you are trying your hand at fishing in general, you can go for this reel. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and you will have a pleasant experience without making everything seem too complicated.
5. Pflueger Supreme XT– Most Lightweight
This specific reel is designed to extend your time on the waterfront as much as possible. It is the lightest on our list and perhaps one of the lightest on the market, which is definitely a huge advantage.
It is designed with a magnesium body frame and side plates, which boost strength and tolerance while reducing its weight. Inside the reel, you would find a variety of carbon and graphite components, which also contribute to its lightweight.
It has 10 corrosion-resistant ball bearings that allow for smooth casting and retrieval. The spool is made out of high-quality materials and can take braided line up to 4/110 lb/yard. Plus, it has an aluminum bail wire.
The drag system is a sealed carbon inlay one with a maximum of 8 lbs. which gives you enough strength to reel in the bass.
Lastly, the handles are quite comfortable as they are made out of EVA. This reel weighs only 6 oz. and has a gear ratio of 6.2:1, which allows for a fast process.
- EVA handles
- Carbon drag system
- 10 ball bearings
- Magnesium body
- Seal might allow some sand and debris in
Although this reel is not below $100, it is quite affordable and brings an impressive package to the table. Just the fact that it is lightweight and comfortable to hold in your hand might finish the deal for a lot of anglers as comfort is paramount when you are fishing.
Hence, if you can get over the fact that the seal might allow some sand inside and clean your equipment regularly, then this would really be an excellent choice for anyone.
If you are looking for light reels, you should definitely check out our guide to the best ultralight spinning reels here.
6. Shimano Spirex FG – Best Budget
This reel enjoys an impressive number of Shimano technologies that are mostly seen on higher-end models. It enjoys a fully sealed graphite frame, rotor, and side and weighs 10.6 oz.
It has been designed with the one-handed quickfire casting system, which boosts casting accuracy and efficiency. Retrieval has also been updated by the Varispeed Oscillation and the Fluidrive systems, both of which allow for maximum control.
This reel has a maximum drag of 15 lbs. and a cold-forged aluminum spool, which is braid ready up to 10/95 lb/yard, 15/85 lb/yard, and 20/65 lb/yard, plus an auto position casting trigger. It can be easily removed by just the press of a button.
This reel has 5 ball bearings, a gear ratio of 6.2:1, and a propulsion line management system that keeps your line where it should be and prevents it from tangling.
Lastly, it has been designed with a double paddle handle, which is mostly a feature of bait casters; however, Shimano has experimented with it on this model in order to give anglers maximum comfort and practicality.
The only downfall to this reel is the fact that it does not come with an anti-reverse system, which helps the drag system a lot.
- No anti-reverse
This reel, although not the most revolutionary, brings a ton of options and features that may not even be present on higher-end models. And, in relation to such models, the price of this reel would be mere pennies.
So it is quite an attractive piece of fishing gear, and if you are on a budget and want something that will withstand a lot of abuse and give you an efficient performance, then this reel is the one for you
How to Pick a Bass Spinning Reel
Now that we have shown you our six top bass spinning reels, we will walk you through some options and features that are crucial to conducting your research and digging out that perfect spinning reel for bass fishing.
Logically, the structure and construction of the reel would be our first point. Bass is a sly species and a strong one too, which is why you need a reliable reel that will not snap on you to pull it in. as Saltwater Spinning Reels and Bass Spinning Reels
The primary three materials that fishing reels are made of are aluminum, graphite, and the newest addition to the market, carbon composite.
Now, aluminum will give you a lot of strength, yet it is a little bit on the heavy side and will need a lot of sealing and anti-corrosive work to be done in order to be able to withstand saltwater.
Graphite, on the other hand, is a little low on the strength aspect, yet it gives you a lot of flexibility, lightweight, and can work with both saltwater and freshwater. No sweat whatsoever.
Our last and certainly not least material is the carbon composite, which represents the best of both worlds. It is strong, anti-corrosive, versatile, and lightweight, which’s why a lot of companies are switching and creating as much fishing equipment out of carbon composite as they can.
This point is relative to the previous point, which is the material. Aluminum is a little bit on the heavier side, while graphite and carbon composite are relatively lighter. However, this is also a point that is dependent on your own preference. Plus, the fact that the higher the quality of the reel, along with its internal components, the heavier it will be.
Consequently, you’ll have to strive to strike that balance between what you need and what you can handle because you will be holding that reel in your hand in addition to the weight of the rod for long periods. Hence, you’ll need something that will not wear down your arms, back, and shoulders in the process.
Reels come in all sizes, some even start at 1000 and end at 8000. So, you will have a lot of variety on your hands, especially with the spinning reels since they are the most common type.
Nonetheless, when you are bass fishing, you want a smaller size reel so that you could have a lot more control over it. A reel that’s around 2500 will be perfect as it will be easier for you to cast in those narrow spaces where bass prefers to stay.
Drag is the power of resistance that your reel puts up against the fish in order to prevent it from escaping. Therefore, it is a crucial element of any reel. Our general advice is to go as high as possible to give yourself versatility to work with different fish species. We also recommend going higher because it gives you the ability to work with varying sizes among the same species whether in freshwater or saltwater.
Of course, the quality of the drag itself is essential, and we advise you to go for an adjustable carbon fiber system with oiled felt washers, which will serve you well. It won’t slip on you, and you will not regret it. One last thing is that 15 lbs. will be an excellent drag maximum for a bass reel.
5. Gear Ratio
Gear ratio is the number of spins that your spool will make per one full crank of your handle. So, with a finicky fish like bass, you will need fast retrieval to prevent it from escaping. Try to go for a higher gear ratio to save yourself a lot of trouble.
This is where your line goes, and it’s one of the reel components that are most exposed to the elements when you are fishing, which’s why the material that it’s made out of has to be of high quality. Just like the rest of the reel, it will be made out of aluminum, graphite, or carbon composite, and we would advise you to go with the carbon composite.
Bass will put up quite the fight, so you will need a lot of line to give and take with the fish before you reel it in successfully. Hence, always go for a roomy spool that will provide you with just enough thread and a little bit more.
One last thing about bass is that, as we have said over and over again, it is a strong fish. Given this piece of information, we always advise you to go for a braid- ready spool that will take braided line. It is the best choice for bass.
This point relates to the previous one, which is the spool. The line that we layer on this spool ought to be a braided one in order to be able to tolerate the back-and-forth between you and the fish without snapping, bending, tangling, or forming birds nest. Braided line offers you a lot more strength and flexibility than a standard monofilament line.
8. Fishing Spot
Try always to scout the area that you’re going to be fishing in as bass likes to hide in sheltered nooks and corners to be safe from anyone. Therefore, make sure that you are aware of your waterfront and what it will require.
That can include the way of casting, how far you will cast, and the presence of obstacles such as trees or animals that will obstruct your way. All of these factors will affect your choice of reel.
9. Reel Sensitivity
Again, base is a tricky fish; it can move around your bait, touch it briefly then escape. So, it will take you a lot of time to catch it, which’s why we would always advise you to go for a reel with high sensitivity. It will alert you if there’s something just moving around so that you can take quick action.
10. Ball Bearings
Ball bearings are the cogs working inside of the reel to make sure that everything is going smoothly. Rule of the thumb is that the more, the merrier so always try to go for the highest number of ball bearings possible.
Yet, do not let that overcome the quality of the ball bearings. It’s better to go for a lower number of high-quality ball bearings than to go for a high number of low-quality ball bearings. In any case, they ought to be stainless steel or at least painted entirely with anti-corrosive paint.
11. Ergonomic Design
Always keep in mind that you will be holding this for extended periods. So, before you purchase any reels, go out, try them to see how they fit in your hand, and make sure that you are comfortable enough with them before making the actual purchase.
One of the most important parts that contribute to the comfort of the fisherman is the handle. Hence, try to go for an EVA handle, which is proven to be a lot more comfortable than any other material.
Add to that, a foldable interchangeable handle that will eliminate the difference between a right-handed fisherman and a left-handed one. You can just unscrew the handle and screw it on the other side quickly.
So, as you can see, we have tried our best to simplify this guide so that you’ll be able to reach a solid choice about which is the best bass spinning reel for you.
Our research has brought the Shimano Stradic Ci4 to our attention as the best bass spinning reel. It offers you both strength to bring in a fish while maintaining lightweight for your comfort and sensitivity to be able to catch the fish in the first place.
Nonetheless, if you wish to save yourself a lot of trouble and go for a combo that will work perfectly then, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 will be an excellent choice for you.
Lastly, if you are on a budget and wish to go on a fishing trip to clear your mind, the Shimano Spirex FG is the bass reel for you as it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.