Finding the Right Size for a Spinning Reel: Tips and Tricks (Summer 2022)

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to buy a new reel. Out of all the options for reels such as center point reel, flying reel, or the ever-popular bait caster reel, you need a new spinning reel for your tackle box. Once you’ve decided to shop around for a new reel, spinning reel size is the first thing to figure out. To add to the decision-making proves, each size has a slightly different function and purpose. Combined with all the other factors to consider while searching for the perfect spinning reel or reels, there are more levels of complexity that you may not have anticipated.

Keep in mind that choosing the right size is just as crucial as getting the right mode. Don't worry, and it's not as complicated as it might seem. Follow this guide, and our spinning reel size chart below, to find the perfect size and model you need in a spinning reel.

How to Choose the Spinning Reel Size?

What do you need to consider when it comes to shopping for a spinning reel? What size should you get? Are there spinning reels that can be used for both freshwater and saltwater? What size is better if you're traveling to Delaware to enjoy the parks’ surf fishing? Which reel is the best for traveling around North America following a bass-catching competition circuit? Which size of spinning fish reel should you bring while traveling across Europe?

There are so many questions that you have when it comes to spinning reels and which ones to choose. With so many distinct types of reels, how do you know what size reel to get? It can be confusing for beginners because of the sheer number of options. This shopping can also be stressful for advanced or professional fishers because of the number of improvements and updated models that come out every season. Although it can make the prep harder, these updated models make fishing an absolute breeze.

Spinning Reels Sizes Explained

Anything with additional sizes can be confusing. This is because those varied brands and manufacturers categorize the size classifications differently. Some manufacturers start reel sizes in the tens, such as 10, 20, 30, etc. Others utilize thousands as the baseline, including sizes 1000, 2000, 3000, and so on. Spinning reel sizes can be a little confusing. The easiest way to maneuver these classifications is to avoid the last digits and only focus on the first two numbers.

The two systems are basically the same. For example, a reel size 10 is the same as a reel size 1000, and so on with all of them. Use this to compare the number across all potential models you're interested in. Each of these sizes differs in weight, type of fish best suited for the size, and type of fishing. Check out our various sizing charts below to determine which size is best for you and the specific fishing trip you have in mind.

Spinning Reel Size Chart

Don’t let the variety stop you from trying something new. Whether you fish recreationally, commercially, or for subsistence, it’s important to figure out what works best for you and your goals. With the vast number of models, it can be difficult to narrow down. Below, we’ll look at the assorted sizes of spinning reels to make your decision of which one or ones to buy much easier. Let us know in the comments below which ones you’ve tried and how they’ve worked for you.

Size Of Spinning Reel

Sizes

Suggest Weight of Fish

Ideal Species

Type Of Fishing

Fresh Or Saltwater

Small Sized

10 - 35

0-15lbs

Bass, Walleye, Northern Pike, Catfish, Trout, Crappie, Bluegill, Yellow Perch

Ultralight To Light Fishing

Fresh Water

Medium Sized

40 – 50

15 Lbs. To 35 Lbs.

Catfish, Muskie, Snook, Redfish, Snapper

Medium Fishing

Both

Large Size

65 - 300

150lbs and up

Striped Bass, Salmon, Snook, Redfish, Wahoo, Roosterfish, Dorado, Barracuda, Amberjack

Medium To Heavy Fishing

Salt Water

Small-Sized Spinning Reels

These small-sized reels are between 1000 – 3500 or 10 -35. These are ideal for lightweight rods measuring between 6 and 7 feet long while working with 2-10lb monofilament or 4-14lb braid. When you're fishing for small species, about 15 pounds, this weight of fish can include bass, walleye, northern pike, catfish, walleye, bass, trout, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, trout, and even chain pickerel. Typically, the smaller reels are used for freshwater fishing, and they can also be used to fish in protected coastal waters.

Reel Size

Suggested Monoline Strength

Suggested Braid Line Strength

Suggested Uses Applications

Type Of Water

         

10

2-4lb

4-8lb

Ultralight Fishing

Freshwater Estuaries

Bays

Harbors

20

4-6lb

4-8lb

Ultralight Fishing

Freshwater Estuaries

Bays

Harbors

25

5-8lb

5-12lb

Light Fishing

Freshwater Estuaries

Bays

Harbors

30

6-10lb

6-14lb

Light Fishing

Freshwater Estuaries

Bays

Harbors

35

6-10lb

6-14lb

Light Fishing

Freshwater Estuaries

Bays

Harbors

Medium-Sized Spinning Reels

These are typically between 40 and 55. Medium-sized spinning reels are ideal for rods in the 7–8-foot range using 8-14lb monofilament or 10-25lb braid. They are best for targeting mid-sized species up to about 30 pounds which include catfish, muskie, snook, redfish, snapper, and many more options. This specifically sized reel is a great middle-ground for weight categories, style of fishing, and type of water. Take these medium spinning reels for heavy freshwater applications or even in inshore saltwater fishing.

Reel Size

Suggested Monoline Strength

Suggested Braid Line Strength

Suggested Uses Applications

Type Of Water

     

 

 

4

8-12lb

8-20lb

Medium Fishing

 Freshwater

Inshore Saltwater

45

8-12lb

8-20lb

Medium Fishing

Freshwater

Inshore Saltwater

550

10-14lb

10-25lb

Medium Fishing

Freshwater

Inshore Saltwater

5

10-14l

10-25lb

Medium Fishing

Freshwater

Inshore Saltwater

Large Sized Spinning Reels

Large-sized spinning reels are fantastic for those that are looking for heavy reels for their heavy rods. Specifically, these reels are used for offshore boat fishing, surf casting, and rock fishing. They are great for targeting large species up to approximately 150+ pounds, such as striped bass, salmon, snook, redfish, wahoo, roosterfish, dorado, barracuda, and amberjack. These work amazingly with12-60lb monofilament or 24-100lb braided line. Ideal for heavy saltwater applications, these are heavy-duty. Some of the largest models for spinning reels are used to catch huge game species such as sailfish.

Reel Size

Suggested Monoline Strength

Suggested Braid Line Strength

Suggested Uses Applications

Type Of Water

       

 

60

12-16lb

12-30lb

Medium Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

65

12-16lb

12-30lb

Medium Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

70

14-18lb

15-40lb

Medium Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

75

16-20lb

20-50lb

Medium Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

80

16-20lb

20-50lb

Medium Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

85

18-22lb

30-50lb

Medium Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

90

18-22lb

30-50lb

Medium Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

95

20-25lb

30-50lb

Medium Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

100

20-25lb

30-60lb

Medium Fishing

Heavy Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

105

22-27lb

30-60lb

Medium Fishing

Heavy Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

120

28lb and up

30-60lb

Medium Fishing

Heavy Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

140

28lb and up

30-60lb

Medium Fishing

Heavy Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

160

32lb and up

40-70lb

Medium Fishing

Heavy Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

165

36lb and up

40-70lb

Medium Fishing

Heavy Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

180

36lb and up

40-70lb

Medium Fishing

Heavy Fishing

Inshore Saltwater

Offshore Saltwater

200

40lb and up

50-80lb

Heavy Fishing

Offshore Saltwater

250

50lb and up

50-80lb

Heavy Fishing

Offshore Saltwater

300

60lb and up

80-100lb

Heavy Fishing

Offshore Saltwater

How to Match a Spinning Reel with a Rod?

The next step is to match your spinning reel to a rod or match a rod to a spinning reel. There are specific rods for spinning reels as there are for flying reels or bait casting reels. As their designs are vastly different from one another, it means that a spinning reel can’t be used with a bait caster rod, and vice versa.

As an example, look at this bait caster reel from Abu Garcia Pro Max. This Max Pro Low Profile Bait Cast Fishing Reel doesn’t have the same design structure as a spinning reel would. There are other features such as a machined double anodized aluminum spool, power disk drag system, DuraGear brass gear, MagTrax brake system, compact bent handle and star, and recessed reel foot. Although it’s a fantastic reel for a baitcasting rod, it’s not going to work with a spinning rod.

On most rods, you’ll find a few specification numbers listed right above the rod’s grip. The numbers include the length of the rod and the recommended strength of the line. A line strength of 8o to 100 pounds means that they recommend using it with a test line that’s between those two weights. Unless specifically stated, this number is referring to the monofilament line.

With the recommended line strength on your rod, you can use the above reel size chart to choose a spinning reel that works well within the same line strength. Now your rod and reel are paired and ready to go.

Which Spinning Reel Size Should You Choose for Catching Bass?

Spinning rods are commonly used for bass fishing. But it can be hard to know exactly which size to use. There are various species and thus varied sizes of bass. Here's the best size of a reel for bass, depending on the line strength of your chosen fishing line.

Spinning Reel Size

Mono Line Strength

Braid Line Strength

     

20

4-6lb (2-3kg)

5-10lb

25

5-8lb (2.5-4kg)

5-12 Lb.

30

6-10lb (3-5kg)

6-14 Lb.

35

6-10lb (3-5kg)

6-14 Lb.

Some folks think that all you need is the largest-sized reel for catching bass. The thought behind it is the larger the reel, the more powerful the cast. That may work for some types of fishers.

The best size spinning reel size for bass depends actually on technique. For heavy and powerful casts, heavier bass, and heavier lures, it's better to have a larger reel. However, if you’re a finesse fisher, you’ll want to use the smaller end of the spinning reel size. This works ideally with ultralight lures.

If power is what you’re looking for, a bait caster reel may be another option to explore. According to most reviews, the sturdiest model must be The Low-Profile Fishing Reel from Cadence Essence, which, thanks to its durable construction and quality manufacturing, is the most reliable option out there for bait caster reels. It's hard to go wrong with added features such as eight corrosion-resistant bearings, 20 lbs. Carbon fiber drag with high speed 7.3:1 gear ratio.

What Spinning Reel Size Is the Best One for Surf Fishing?

Surf fishing is an umbrella term for pursuing fish that come close to the shore. This is a highly popular fishing activity for tourism throughout the world along coastal areas. There's a wide range of potential catches, such as small snappers, striped bass, and much more. This means that there are a lot of adjustments required to find the best model, as a specific recommendation is difficult. You'll need to adjust the size according to the species that you want to catch specifically.

Surfcasting reels usually require spinning reels between 50 to 80. The most common choice is 60, which is near the midground. This means that the surf casting reels are best in between the medium to large sizes. The best spinning reels for surf fishing are the high end of the medium size or the low end of the large size.

What Reel Size Works Best for an Ultralight Rod?

It’s no surprise that the ideal size for ultralight rods is also light rods. The ideal reel size for ultralight rods is between 10 and 25. A 1000 reel has the advantage of being the lightest option, which provides a great benefit to ultralight right. Unfortunately, this can significantly smaller line capacity, which limits overall casting distance. While fishing mostly in small creeks or ponds, a 1000 reel will deliver enough casting distance without sacrificing weight.

While a 2500 reel is a bit more extra weight, the extra line capacity is helpful in the casting distance required. This is perfect for casting lures off its spool, making it a better choice if you need to cast lures in open water.

Final Thought

Now you've found the ideal spinning reel for you and your fishing style. Check out some of our other articles if you're still curious about the types and styles of different fishing reels. We've got you covered. Small spinning reels, although much lighter, are perfect for ultralight fishing and catching smaller fish. Medium spinning reels are the perfect middle ground for when you don't want to sacrifice weight for casting distance. Large spinning reels are fantastic choices for harder casting and heavier fish.

You've got all the information you need to pick the perfect spinning reel size. With everything you need to catch the perfect fish, it's time to head out. The weather is perfect; sunny, warm with a slight breeze. It's time for the perfect fishing trip.

 

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