Our editors at Finn’s Fishing Tips independently research, test, and recommend the best products to help you make purchase decisions. You can learn more about our review process here. We sometimes get a commission through purchases made via our links.
Looking for the best bass fishing reels for 2020? You’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re fishing a Texas rig for Smallmouth Bass in a crystal clear lake or frog fishing for Largemouth Bass in a southern swamp, we’ve got the best bass fishing reels of 2020 for you. You can even eat freshwater bass if you end up catching a monster!
We’ve spent significant time researching and reviewing the best bass fishing reel options for 2020 and have put together the following buying guide. We take into consideration many aspects of the reel: the price, overall fit and finish, durability, and ease of use. There’s a quick summary of our winners for best bass fishing reels below. Scroll further down for more in-depth reviews of the best bass fishing reels for 2020.
If you didn’t notice already, we decided to only review spinning reels for this bass fishing reel guide. If you’d rather fish for bass with a baitcasting reel, head over to our best baitcasting reel guide! And if you’re also looking for a good line for your bass reel, check out our guide on the best fluorocarbon lines for bass fishing.
Penn Battle II
Overall Bass Fishing Reel Winner. Feature-rich design at a reasonable price. Time tested reel for many situations.
Most Economical Bass Fishing Reel Winner. It has all the features necessary to start fishing for bass!
Penn Slammer III
Best High-end Bass Fishing Reel. Lightweight design with extra bearings for smooth reeling. Professional grade components.
Best Mid-level Bass Fishing Reel. Quality Components at a reasonable price. Graphite body, steel bearings.
Penn Battle II Spinning Reel
When it comes to dependability, functionality, and price, the Penn Battle II Spinning Reel has got it all. That’s why it’s the winner of the overall best bass fishing reels. We did a more in-depth review of the reel earlier this year, but here are some of the highlights. The reel comes in eight different versions with varying drag and line capabilities depending on the type of fish you’re going for. Bass work perfectly with the Penn Batte II 3000 – which is rated at 200 yards of 8 lb test, 165 yards of 10 lb test, and 120 yards of 12 lb test
The Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel comes with an HT 100 carbon fiber drag system that helps with keeping the reel cool while battle aggressive fish such as bass. The drag system also has carbon fiber washers that help with heat build-up
The Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel is built with five shielded stainless steel ball bearings. Even though small and largemouth bass are freshwater fish, it’s important to have internal components that combat rust and oxidation from all types of water.
The main spool system of the Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel requires no backing and is braided line ready. Most bass fishermen prefer monofilament line, but it’s nice to have the option for braided.
The Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel frame is made out of aluminum which keeps the overall weight down. This allows for agility when casting as well as battling smaller fish on a lighter test line. The metal side plate protects the reel from shock and adds to its durability. The Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel 3000 has six bearing and a gear ratio of 6.2:1.
- Durable, time tested design that won’t fail under intense bass battles.
- Built for both freshwater and saltwater.
- It can handle a lot of different test lines.
- More expensive than other options.
The Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel is a great spinning reel for bass fisherman looking to have it all. It’s an excellent reel to add to your collection – or start if you’re just getting into bass fishing and have the budget!
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel
If someone told you they use a $27 fishing reel, you’d probably think it was a piece of junk. But if they’re talking about the KastKing Centron Spinning Reel – you’d be wrong. The KastKing Centron Spinning Reel is packed with everything you need to start your bass fishing hobby, and its price can’t be beaten. As long as you treat it right and don’t do anything stupid, this under $30 reel will help you land almost any bass you throw at it. The KastKing Centron Spinning Reel comes in five different versions, but the Centron 3000 and 4000 work perfectly for both large and smallmouth bass.
The KastKing Centron Spinning Reel is built with a lightweight graphite frame that’s been expertly balanced for smooth reel action. Its superior drag system offers incredible stopping power with up to 17.5 lbs of drag pull. It’s hardened metal shaft with mesh gear drive will withstand intense bass fishing battles and ensure your equipment won’t fail you when it matters most.
The KastKing Centron Spinning Reel has nine ball bearings for smooth spinning. It also has an instant one-way stop for anti-reversing. The casing also comes in a brilliant anodized red or blue colorway that looks good with many different rod setups.
The five different models of the KastKing Centron Spinning Reel have varying specifications. We’ll cover the 3000 and 4000 since they make the most sense for bass fishing. The 3000 can hold up to 330 yards of 8 lb test or 270 yards of 10 lb test. The 4000 can hold up to 310 yards of 10 lb test or 260 yards of 12 lb test. The 3000 weighs 9.1 oz while the 4000 weighs 12.1 oz. Both have a max drag of 17.5 lbs.
- It only costs $27!
- It has everything you need to start bass fishing.
- No extra features.
- Not as durable as other options.
The KastKing Centron Spinning Reel has everything you need to start bass fishing, and it costs less dinner out! The 3000 and 4000 sizes are the most appropriate for bass fishing and come with everything you need to get started. The KastKing Centron Spinning Reel is a great option for bass fishermen on a budget.
Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel
The Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel is our high-end bass fishing reel of choice. It costs double or triple what some of the reels in our test are listed for, but comes with many features that a tournament bass fisherman would want. It’s built for heavy-duty fishing from both boat and shore, and will take on any bass you throw its way. The Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel comes in six different versions, but we recommend the 4500 for bass fishing.
The Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel features Penn’s new IPx6 sealed-gear and drag system that keep water out of the gearbox. This makes it great for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
It also comes with Penn’s updated Slammer Drag System which utilizes the proprietary Dura-Drag material. The Dura-Drag material allows the Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel to stay cool under the highest drag settings. It also bumps the overall drag weight to almost double the competition for the size of the reel.
The Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel comes with a CNC milled brass main gear that adds to the overall durability of the reel. The machined handle also decreases the reel’s weight while adding a stylish adonized gold trim.
The six different models of the Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel have varying specifications. We’ll cover the 3500 and 4500 since they make the most sense for bass fishing. The 3500 can hold up to 360 yards of 6 lb test, while the 4500 can hold up to 320 yards of 10 lb test. The 3500 weighs 13.9 oz while the 4500 weighs 14.7 oz. Both have a max drag of 30 lbs.
- Strong components on a lightweight frame.
- Dura-Drag system is smooth and powerful.
If price is not an issue for you, we highly recommend the Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel. It has features that professional bass fisherman requires, and will perform at the highest levels under pressure.
Pflueger President Spinning Reel
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel is our balanced bass fishing reel winner for 2020. The Pflueger President Spinning Reel has a few more features than the most economical reels but keeps price low by focusing on quality components. The Pflueger President Spinning Reel comes in five iterations with varying line capacity and reel size. The 35X and 40X are the most suited for bass fishing.
For a relatively economical reel, the Pflueger President Spinning Reel comes with many high-quality components. The reel features a 10 ball bearing system with corrosion-resistant stainless steel bearings. This ensures the reel will stay functional for many years of heavy action in both salt and freshwater.
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel’s body is built out of graphite and has a braided line ready spool. The reel’s drag system features sealed washers that stay lubricated for smoothing reeling. Slow oscillation gearing improves the line lay and minimizes twist.
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel is also a great reel for ultra-light rods used for bass fishing.
The five different models of the Pflueger President Spinning Reel have varying specifications. We’ll cover the 35X and 40X since they make the most sense for bass fishing. The 35X can hold up to 230 yards of 6 lb test, 185 yards of 8 lb test, and 155 yards of 10 lb test. The 40X can hold up to 285 yards of 8 lb test, 230 yards of 10 lb test, and 195 yards of 12 lb test. The 35X and 40X both weigh 13 oz. Both have a gear ratio of 5.2:1.
- Great price for the quality of components.
- A little pricier than the most economical options.
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel is another great option for bass fishermen that are just starting out or want to add another reel to their collection. The Pflueger President Spinning Reel has all the features you look for in a bass reel but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. If the Centron is too cheap for you, go for the Pflueger President!
We wanted to highlight a few overarching features we looked for when picking these reels for our top bass fishing reels for 2020.
Gear Ratio and Speed of Retrieval
Bass are very fast fish and love retreating to underwater structures when they feel threatened. Once a bass is hooked, it’s crucial to reel the fish in as fast as possible to prevent it from tangling your line around logs or grass. This means that reels with at least a 5:1 gear ratio are ideal. This ratio and above allow the fishermen to get the bass away from dangerous logs and rocks and into the boat as quickly as possible.
The drag system is responsible for putting pressure on the fish when it tries to run from your boat. A good bass fishing reel should have a max dag pressure of at least 12 lbs. This will help keep a strong bass in check and help you tire them out faster. A rear drag system can also be more useful, as it gives the angler faster access to adjust in the middle of a fight.
Smooth Bearings and Anti-Reverse Switch
Smooth bearings aren’t necessary, but they definitely give you more confidence when fighting a large bass. The more money you spend on a reel, the smoother the bearings. An anti-reverse switch is also important for bass fishing. The anti-reverse switch will help you set the hook effectively and make sure the line doesn’t go slack when battling a large bass.