Nothing works better than a spinning outfit for casting light lures on thin lines to spooky or pressured bass. It’s also the best choice for skipping lures under boat docks, shaking light baits in bass beds, and drop-shotting. Today’s models, with improved designs and materials, are better than ever. Here are the features to consider when you’re looking for a top-performing reel:
**Weight: ** True ultralight spinning reels aren’t built to withstand hard hooksets, and their small spools cause excessive line twist and coiling with the 6- to 10-pound lines typically used for finesse bass fishing. You need a strong reel in the 8- to 12-ounce range. You’ll also want a large-diameter spool that holds at least 90 yards of 10-pound line and has a line-recovery rate of at least 24 inches per turn.
Construction: The most durable reels are constructed from all-metal components or alloys that provide strength and are lightweight. Titanium components are a plus, as they improve durability and reduce line abrasion. Generally, the more ball bearings the better, but the quality of the bearings-typically reflected in the price-is more important than the number.
Drag: You can’t beat the larger surface areas of front-drag systems. Some of the newest, and best, incorporate components made with ceramics, Teflon, graphite, and carbon to improve smoothness and durability.
**Price: **There’s a wide range of prices for the spinning reels shown here (listed from the least to the most expensive) even though they have similar features, such as a roller bearing on the bail, instant anti-reverse, and a gear ratio of approximately 5.2:1. The additional dollars buy better materials, precision machining, and higher-quality bearings.
Pflueger President 6735X (800-347-3759; www.pfluegerfishing.com)
Weight: 10.6 oz. ¿¿¿ Ball Bearings: 9 ¿¿¿ Line Capacity: 120 yd./10 lb. ¿¿¿ Line Recovery: 27 in. per turn ¿¿¿ Drag: Front; stainless steel and oiled-felt components ¿¿¿ Price: $60 ¿¿¿ Comments: Get smooth performance in a comfortably priced reel with a graphite body and machined-aluminum handle. A titanium lip on the aluminum spool resists scratches and dings that can abrade the line.
Abu Garcia Cardinal 772 (800-237-5539; www.abugarcia.com)
Weight: 7.8 oz. ¿¿¿ Ball Bearings: 7 ¿¿¿ Line Capacity: 90 yd./10 lb. ¿¿¿ Line Recovery: 24 in. per turn ¿¿¿ Drag: Front; Teflon-impregnated graphite and stainless steel ¿¿¿ Price: $75 ¿¿¿ Comments: Seven stainless-steel bearings keep this exceptionally lightweight, aluminum-body reel working smoothly even in brackish water, which tends to corrode reels.
Browning Citori 4000 (available exclusively from Bass Pro, 800-227-7776; basspro.com)
Weight: 11.8 oz. ¿¿¿ Ball Bearings: 8 ¿¿¿ Line Capacity: 175 yd./10 lb. ¿¿¿ Line Recovery: 32 in. per turn ¿¿¿ Drag: Front; stainless steel, carbon, and felt ¿¿¿ Price: $100 ¿¿¿ Comments: It’s a well-built, high-speed reel with a die-cast aluminum body and side plate. The titanium nitride¿¿¿coated spool and line roller increase casting distance and prevent line damage.
Quantum Energy E30PTi ** **(800-588-9030; quantumfishing.com)
Weight: 12.7 oz. ¿¿¿ Ball Bearings: 9 ¿¿¿ Line Capacity: 120 yd./10 lb. ¿¿¿ Line Recovery: 25 in. per turn ¿¿¿ Drag: Front; ceramic components dissipate heat ¿¿¿ Price: $130 ¿¿¿ Comments: Expect smooth performance and a long life from this reel, thanks to its aluminum body, titanium coating, and polymer-stainless hybrid ball bearings.
Ray Scott SuperCaster 225 Professional (314-962-9500; www.usreel.com)
Weight: 8 oz. ¿¿¿ Ball Bearings: 8 ¿¿¿ Line Capacity: 145 yd./10 lb. ¿¿¿ Line Recovery: 27 in. per turn ¿¿¿ Drag: Front; stainless steel and Teflon ¿¿¿ Price: $150 ¿¿¿ Comments: Despite its light weight, this unique reel has an oversize 21/4-inch-diameter spool that results in longer casts, less line twist, less coiling, and a smoother drag. Notably for its size, it also manages lines as heavy as 15-pound-test.