Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel for Bass

by Tim Mueller

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Bass fishing is one of the most relaxing sports someone can do (at least for me!). However, there’s some sort of unrest regarding what’s the best way to fish for bass.

Should you use a spinning reel or a baitcaster for bass fishing? Which one is better?

These are among the many questions fishermen ask themselves when it comes to fishing for bass.

This article is our attempt at bringing a bit of light to the topic by comparing baitcasting reels vs spinning reels for bass fishing, specifically.

Let’s begin.

5 Differences Between Baitcasters and Spinning Reels

There’re clear differences between baitcasting reels and spinning reels. These are the most important ones:

  • Weight: Baitcasters are 30% to 50% lighter than spinning reels which makes them more comfortable to use for casting for longer hours
  • Price: Spinning reels are 50% cheaper than baitcasting reels which makes them the perfect option for beginners and fishermen on a budget
  • Difficulty of use: Baitcasters are more complex to dominate than spinning reels. You must re-learn how to regulate the spool speed, how to cast, and even the way of holding the rod!
  • Line capacity: Baitcasters can hold three times the line spinning reels can, which makes them suitable for fishing in serious distances
  • Backslashing: This is a big disadvantage for baitcasters. When casting, if you don’t know how to handle a baitcaster, there’s a big chance that the spool speed is going to go faster than the line which will provoke the so-called “bird’s nest”. This, in other words, means that the line is going to get all tangled up in the spool making a very inconvenient mess

Baitcasting Reels vs Spinning Reels for Bass

The question remains…

  • What’s the best reel for bass fishing? Is it a baitcaster or a spinning reel?

The short answer is: it depends.

 Deciding what fishing reel to use for fishing bass is going to entirely depend on what pound test line you feel more comfortable with.  In case you aren’t already aware, a line’s “pound test” refers to the pounds of pressure the line can withstand before braking. So, the more pounds the test line has, the stronger it is.

Regarding bass, it’s known around the fishing community that the recommended pound test line for bass is from 10 to 20 pounds test line. If you go lower than 10 pounds, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll lose the bass or break the line.

Baitcasting Reels as the Best Option for Bass

By far, the most common reel option for fishing bass are baitcasters.

As explained before, baitcasters are perfect at handling heavier and longer lines. In fact, you can use 10 to 25 lb monofilament or fluorocarbon pound test line and a 30 to 80-pound braid test line with baitcasters.

As already discussed, I recommend a 10 to 20-pound test line for bass. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of losing the fish or breaking the line. In that context, baitcasting reels rise as the best option for bass (so far).

To add to the point of why baitcasters are best for bass, these reels give the fishermen more control in the casting process (once they learn how to use the reel, which tends to be a bit tedious) and are far more lightweight than spinning reels. This, of course, is more convenient for fishermen, especially those that love to cast all day long.

Spinning Reels as the Best Option for Bass

Spinning reels are known for being easier to operate compared to baitcasters.

However, there’re clear disadvantages to these reels. One of them is their lack of capability of handling heavier pound test lines which is essential to catch bigger fishes, like bass.

To be more specific, spinning reels normally can handle up to 6 to 12 lb monofilament or fluorocarbon lines and 10 to 30 lb braid lines.

Taking into consideration that catching bass requires you to use a 10 to 20 lb test line, there’s clear room to use spinning reels for catching bass.

For instance, you could youse 12 lb monofilament line for catching bass or even 10 lb braid line like this guy does:

 This allows beginner fishermen who only know to fish with spinning reels or experienced fishermen who like to fish with lighter test pound lines (10 to 12lb test pound lines) to fish for bass with a spinning reel. 

Conclusion: It Depends

If you asked me 10 years ago, I’d tell you baitcasters are best for bass fishing. However, the years taught me to be more flexible.

That’s how I got to open myself to fishing bass with a spinning reel. Hell, I even like it now.

So, in short, I’d say that if you’re an experienced fisherman who knows his way around a baitcaster, likes to use heavy pound test lines, and loves the control a baitcaster brings to the table, then you’ll definitely be better off with a baitcasting reel for fishing bass.

However, if you’re a rookie fisherman that only knows how to handle a spinning reel or you are a skilled fisherman that likes to use lighter pound test lines, then you’ll definitely be better by using spinning reels to catch for bass.

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Hi, I’m Tim Mueller, a fisherman from Michigan. During all my life I loved fishing and everything that surround this activity. After many months of thinking about it, I’ve decided to create this website to provide the best advice for fishers all around the world.