Spinning Reel Sizes Guide: What Size Spinning Reel Do You Need?

If you want to have a perfect fishing trip, it is essential to have the right gear. This includes choosing the right fishing reel. So you go out, go to the fishing shop, and get overwhelmed with the many spinning reel sizes available!

Deciding on reel size can be a daunting task, especially for beginners. Do not worry! You will get something that works for you through this guide.

What Size Spinning Reel Do I Need?

Choosing a spinning reel size depends greatly on the type of reel you want to handle. In addition, you will need to consider the following factors:

  • How big of a fish are you going to catch?
  • Are you going to fish in saltwater or freshwater?
  • What line strength will you use?

In most cases, you will need larger reels for saltwater fishing as they need to handle larger fish and stronger lines. Furthermore, strong saltwater species tend to run long after being hooked. This will exceed the endurance of a small reel.

Of course, you will need a larger reel to handle the larger fish. For example, if you want to catch bluegill or crappie, a size 1000 reel is perfect. Also, it is essential to choose a much larger reel to handle tuna, such as a 10,000 size reel.

The easiest way to determine the right reel size for your purposes is based on the reel size chart we provide below.

Spinning Reel Size Chart

1. Small Spinning Reels (1000 – 3500)

This reel size is perfect for 6- to 8-foot rods. You can use them to handle small-sized fish up to about 15 pounds. These reels work well with 4-14lb braid or 2-10lb monofilament. Experienced anglers often use them for freshwater fishing.

Reel Size Recommended Applications Recommended Braid Line Strength Recommended Mono Line Strength Recommended Species (North America)
1000 Ultralight fishing in bays & harbors, estuaries, or freshwater. 4-8lb 1-2kg (2-4lb) Trout, Bluegill, Crappie, Yellow Perch, so on.
2000 Ultralight fishing in bays & harbors, estuaries, or freshwater. 4-8lb 2-3kg (4-6lb) Trout, Bluegill, Crappie, Yellow Perch
2500 Light fishing in bays & harbors, estuaries, or freshwater. 5-12lb 2.5kg-4kg (5-8lb) Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, so on.
3000 Light fishing in bays & harbors, estuaries, or freshwater. 6-14lb 3kg-5kg (6-10lb) Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Catfish, so on.
3500 Light fishing in bays & harbors, estuaries, or freshwater. 6-14lb 3kg-5kg (6-10lb) Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Catfish, so on.

 

2. Medium Spinning Reels (4000 – 5500)

This reel size is perfect for 7- to 8-foot rods. You can use them to handle medium-sized fish up to about 30 pounds. These reels work well with 10-25lb braid or 8-14lb monofilament. Anglers often use them for inshore saltwater fishing or freshwater applications.

Reel Size Recommended Applications Recommended Braid Line Strength Recommended Mono Line Strength Recommended Species (North America)
4000 Medium-size fishing in inshore saltwater or  freshwater 8-20lb 4kg-6kg (8-12lb) Catfish, Snook, Muskie, Redfish, Snapper, so on.
4500 Medium-size fishing in inshore saltwater or  freshwater 8-20lb 4kg-6kg (8-12lb) Catfish, Snook, Muskie, Redfish, Snapper, so on.
5000 Medium-size fishing in inshore saltwater or  freshwater 10-25lb 5kg-7kg (10-14lb) Catfish, Snook, Muskie, Redfish, Snapper, so on.
5500 Medium-size fishing in inshore saltwater or  freshwater 10-25lb 5kg-7kg (10-14lb) Catfish, Snook, Muskie, Redfish, Snapper, so on.

3. Large Spinning Reels (6000 – 30000)

These heavy-sized spinning reels are the perfect pick for offshore boat fishing, rock fishing, or surfcasting. They allow you to handle species that weigh 150 kg or more and work well with 24-100 lb braid or 12-60 lb monofilament. They are good choices for the largest models or heavy saltwater applications.

Reel Size Recommended Applications Recommended Braid Line Strength Recommended Mono Line Strength Recommended Species (North America)
6000 Medium-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 12-30lb 6kg-8kg (12-16lb) Redfish (Red Drum), Snook, Salmon, Striped Bass, etc.
6500 Medium-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 12-30lb 6kg-8kg (12-16lb) Redfish (Red Drum), Snook, Salmon, Striped Bass, etc.
7000 Medium-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 15-40lb 7kg-9kg (14-18lb) Redfish (Red Drum), Snook, Salmon, Striped Bass, etc.
7500 Medium-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 20-50lb 8kg-10kg (16-20lb) Redfish (Red Drum), Snook, Salmon, Striped Bass, etc.
8000 Medium-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 20-50lb 8kg-10kg (16-20lb) Wahoo, Dorado, Barracuda, Roosterfish, Amberjack, etc.
8500 Medium-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 30-50lb 9kg-11kg (18-22lb) Wahoo, Dorado, Barracuda, Roosterfish, Amberjack, etc.
9000 Medium-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 30-50lb 9kg-11kg (18-22lb) Wahoo, Dorado, Barracuda, Roosterfish, Amberjack, etc.
9500 Medium-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 30-50lb 10kg-12.5kg (20-25lb) Wahoo, Dorado, Barracuda, Roosterfish, Amberjack, etc.
10000 Medium-/Heavy-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 30-60lb 10kg-12.5kg (20-25lb) Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Shark, etc.
10500 Medium-/Heavy-fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater 30-60lb 11kg-13.5kg (22-27lb) Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Shark, etc.
12000 Medium-/Heavy-offshore saltwater fishing 30-60lb 14kg+ (28lb+) Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Shark, etc.
14000 Medium-/Heavy-offshore saltwater fishing 30-60lb 14kg+ (28lb+) Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Shark, etc.
16000 Medium-/Heavy-offshore saltwater fishing 40-70lb 16kg+ (32lb+) Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Shark, etc.
16500 Medium-/Heavy-offshore saltwater fishing 40-70lb 18kg+ (36lb+) Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Shark, etc.
18000 Medium-/Heavy-offshore saltwater fishing 40-70lb 18kg+ (36lb+) Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Shark, etc.
20000 Heavy offshore saltwater fishing 50-80lb 20kg+ (40lb+) Sailfish, Tarpon, Tuna (large-sized), Giant Trevally
25000 Heavy offshore saltwater fishing 50-80lb 25kg+ (50lb+) Sailfish, Tarpon, Tuna (large-sized), Giant Trevally
30000 Heavy offshore saltwater fishing 80-100lb 30kg (60lb+) Sailfish, Tarpon, Tuna (large-sized), Giant Trevally

How Do You Match a Spinning Reel With a Rod?

First, you need to read all the parameters from the manufacturer that are printed on the rod. For example, it gives you details about the rod’s length or the recommended strength of the line. Based on those numbers, you can use the charts above to choose the spinning reel that suits you best.

For example, if your fishing rod has a 10lb to 20lb rating, and you prefer surf fishing and rock fishing, you should choose a 5000 size spinning reel.  

On the other hand, if your rod rating is 10,000 to 20,000, and you plan to go offshore boat fishing to catch tuna and other heavy fish, choose a 10,000+ sized model.

What Size Fishing Reel Should You Get if You’re Just Starting Out?

If you are a beginner, the chances are high that you have not identified your preferred fishing style. So, it is best to try a few different sentence styles to determine your preferred one.

Of course, we don’t recommend spending a lot of money on several different reels, at least not initially. Hence, your perfect pick is a medium-sized reel that will help you fish lighter fish in freshwater or estuaries or heavier species in the ocean.

What Is the Best Size Spinning Reel for Bass Fishing?

Bass is one of the favorite targets of anglers. Unfortunately, the best reel size for bass fishing is not fixed to a single size. Instead, you need to refer to the chart below:

Spinning Reel Size for Bass Chart

Reel Size Recommended Mono Line Strength Recommended Braid Line Strength
2000 2-3kg (4-6lb) 5-10lb
2500 2.5-4kg (5-8lb) 5-12lb
3000 3-5kg (6-10lb) 6-14lb
3500 3-5kg (6-10lb) 6-14lb

Choosing a reel size for bass depends more on your technique. For example, for finesse fishing, you should choose a size 2000 reel, which works well with ultra-light lures.

On the other hand, if you prefer larger lures, like a crankbait, choose a larger size like 3000 or 3500.

If you are unsure which size to choose, you should choose 2500 or 3000.

What Is the Best Size Spinning Reel for Surf Fishing?

The ideal size for surf fishing is usually somewhere between 5000 and 8000. The most common choice is the 6000 size reel

So, why does the surf fishing reel need to be larger?

The reason is that they require a large spool with an extensive line capacity to allow for more considerable casting distances.

They allow you to handle fish of various sizes, such as small snappers,  striped bass, or even medium-sized sharks.

In general, it is difficult to make specific recommendations for the surf fishing reel size that works best for you. So, it is best to adjust the reel size according to the species you want to handle.

What Is the Best Size Spinning Reel for Rock Fishing?

Similar to surf fishing,  reels for rock fishing have to withstand salt spray and some rough treatment, like being dropped on the rocks multiple times.

In general, 5000 is a wise size to handle larger fish.

Always remember that rock fishing can be a dangerous task. Therefore, safety should be a top priority. We recommend using a PLB when fishing on remote rock platforms. It allows you to activate a distress call in case of an emergency.

What Size Reel for a Telescopic Fishing Rod?

In most cases, you will want to apply a small-sized reel to your telescopic fishing rod. The most significant advantage of this rod is the ease of movement, So it would be unreasonable to attach a giant reel to it.

What Size Spinning Reel for Kayak Fishing?

When it comes to Kayak fishing, you should choose a reel size of 2000 or 2500. It is small enough to attach to the lightweight rods needed for kayaking. By bringing a 6-7ft spinning rod and this medium-sized reel, you’ll have the perfect  Kayak fishing trip.

What to Consider When Choosing a Fishing Reel

1. Saltwater vs. Freshwater

Reels used for freshwater fishing do not require perfect protection against solid corrosion caused by exposure to seawater. In comparison, reels intended for saltwater fishing are, no doubt, more expensive as they come with corrosion-resistant materials, such as steel or anodized aluminum.

2. Bearings vs. Bushings

Inexpensive models often come with bushings on their rotating parts because they are easy to manufacture and cheap. In contrast, high-quality reels come with ball bearings, resulting in significantly smoother action.

3. Pick the Correct Spinning Reel Size

Choosing the size of the fishing reel is as easy as determining the line size you intend to use. Specifically, the lighter the line you intend to use, the smaller your fishing reel will be.

For example, if you prefer smallmouth walleye and bass, you’ll want to use an 8-pound test fishing line. So, you need to choose a medium-sized fishing reel rated for 6, 8, and 10-pound lines.

4. Adjustable Drags 

The drag system is another critical edge factor to consider. Without a smooth, quality pull, your line will break, and you will lose fish. So, ensure that the reel you choose comes with a non-constrictive, smooth drag. Then, depending on the fishing reel, you can adjust the drag with a star gear, knob, or lever.

5. Spool Capacity

When choosing a fishing reel, make sure its weight and capacity are appropriate for the species you are after.

Skirted, deep, or V-shaped spools can take the sustained or longer line. Meanwhile, shallow spools are easier to cast as the fishing line comes off easier.

How to Care for Your Fishing Reel?

Getting the reel size that best suits your rod and fishing style will help you have the best fishing experience.

To improve the lifespan of your reel, it is essential to clean it thoroughly after every fishing trip, especially dirty freshwater, brackish, or saltwater fishing trips. Also, you should remove the spool and handle and oil any moving parts from time to time.

Conclusion

Hopefully, by now, you’ve got some ideas on how to choose spinning reel sizes

In general, this requires some testing. Then, once you know which style of fishing you prefer, you will know which reel size is right for you through the charts mentioned above.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. We would love to clear your queries. Also, please share this article with other anglers. That means a lot to them and us.

Thank you for reading. See you in the next updates.

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