What Size Spinning Reel Is Best for Saltwater?


Fishing is an activity many people resort to for their spare time fun yet reaching that part when you’re all set and ready to catch your target is a process that involves several steps and requires the right gear.

Getting the best spinning reel under 100 or even a more expensive model does not mean that you’re done with the gear part and you can now look for a location, baits, and take care of other such aspects. You need to first think of what you want to catch in order to choose the appropriate reel.

One of the first things that come to mind is related to the size of a reel. If you’ve ever wondered about all those numbers reels come with, learn that they are used to express the size of these units and to help anglers know what those reels are best for.

If you’re new to this and can’t make too much out of all that sizing, this post might be of help as we have covered below the most important aspects regarding reel sizes.

Reel size

Since spinning reels can be employed for many applications, they come in different sizes to make sure the angler gets to catch the targeted fish. You can use a spinning reel to catch small fish like trout, bass, or bluegill but also giant fish like tuna.

Here is where the difference in size matters. Don’t expect to use a single spinning reel for all fish categories and catch your target easily and successfully. Such reels come in different sizes and that’s for a reason. Each size should be used for a specific fish size category and we will go into more detail about that below.

Plus, to make sure you enjoy a successful fishing session, you also need to set up the reel with the right line and rod. Now, the way spinning reels are numbered might be a bit confusing since manufacturers rate their products differently. There is no fixed rule as far as reel numbering is concerned but the principle is simple - a small number refers to a small reel and a big number to a big reel.

Some spinning reels are thus numbered 20 whereas others are numbered 2000 yet there is no difference between them when it comes to size. The way manufacturers rate their reels is just different. However, a rod that is numbered 2000 is often the same size as a 20 reel. A 3000 reel should be a 30 and so on.

What you need to keep in mind when looking for a spinning reel includes the fish size category you’re interested in as well as the place where you want to use the reel. While a fishing reel may work great for lakes or rivers, it may prove to be inappropriate for saltwater fishing.


Small reels for small fish

To simplify the whole process of finding the right reel size, we have classified them according to the targeted fish. If you’re interested in catching small fish, then a 500 to 1000 size reel is recommended. Keep in mind that you need to use the right line size as well. A reel that is too big for the line used will affect your casting and not in a good way.

A 500 reel works great with a 2 to 4-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line. Depending on the application you use it for, you can couple it with a 5 to 8-foot rod. Keep in mind the fishing location. If there are branches and bushes involved, a shorter rod is ideal.

In case you intend to fish on a lake or river and that involves long distance casting, then you might want to go for a 7 to 9-foot rod. Just make sure that the rod, lure, and line sizes go well together.

If you’re interested in catching trout, bass, or walleye, then a 1000 size reel is recommended. This size is often paired with a 4 to 8-pound line. If long distance casting is involved, you may want to go for a 7.6 to 9-foot rod. Otherwise, a 7-foot rod should work.

Although some anglers would include the 2500 reels into the medium size category, we would add it to the small fishing class as such reels are ideal for light fishing in harbors, lakes, rivers, and bays.

They are usually used for species like trout, bass, and flathead, and with a 5 to 8-pound line and a 6 to 7-foot rod. A 3000 reel can be used for such applications as well, just that you may want to go up a bit with the rod and line you use.

Medium size reels

When you target fish such as cod, snapper, tailor, and drummer and you want a reel for fishing on lakes and rivers, or for light offshore boat fishing, you might want to try a 4000 reel. Such reels generally work great with a 6 to 7-foot rod and an 8 to 22-pound line.

If you want a 5000 or 6000 reel, then you might want to go up a bit with both the line and the rod. However, these are general guidelines and your specific needs will help you decide and choose accordingly.  


Large size reels for larger fish

As your target goes up as far as the fish size is regarded, so should go the reel size. This is where we reach the literally heavy category. Ideal for beach, rock, and boat fishing, 7000 reels are a good option when you want to catch fish including salmon, groper, and snapper.

Such reels are generally paired with rods ranging from 8 to 12-foot length and the recommended mono should be 14 to 18 pounds. If you want to use braided line, then go for one that is in the 15 to 40-pound range.

In case you want to go up and use an 8000 reel, then make sure you up the line and rod size as well. Commonly used for the same applications as the ones mentioned for the 7000 reels, the 8000 or 80 units work well with a 16-20-pound monofilament or a 20-50-pound braid and a rod that has a length of 12 feet or more.

You will see that reel sizes go even upper. The ones ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 are also used for beach, rock, and boat fishing but they can be employed for larger fish such as tuna, sharks, and large mackerel. For even larger fish, you will also find 30,000 reels. The rule is the same, as your reel size goes up, so should the line size and the rod length.

These are general guidelines and your specific needs such as the targeted fish and the fishing location will help you choose the appropriate line and rod. Many reels come with suggestions regarding the choice of these items.

Many stores that sell fishing gear and the professionals working there should also help you if you’re new to this and don’t know what is best for your angling requirements. Always ask for help if you’re not sure about what pieces of equipment to use. Getting the right gear for your fishing-related purposes is critical to the way a fishing session ends.



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