Matching you spinning reel to your rod is crucial to get the best casting performance possible.
A badly matched rod and reel will usually feel unbalanced in your hand, make casting all day a pain, and tire you out quicker than it should.
A well matched spinning reel should enable you to make pin point casts over and again all day long.
There are different spinning reel sizes and understanding what they are used for is essential in order to get the best performance out of your gear.
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Just bear in mind that reels are best chosen in ranges as every angler will have a slightly different opinion and use case when it comes to choosing a reel.
The best size reel for bass fishing on light gear may not be the best size reel when you are targeting large saltwater species eve though it would be described as light gear.
Different reel brands and manufacturers will also have slight differences in how they size their spinning reels so one brands 2000 may well be another 2500.
Matching Spinning Reel to Rod
1. Ultralight Setup
An ultralight setup will normally mean a size 1000 or 2000 spinning reel matched to an ultralight rod.
These types of setups are best used with monofilament line in the 2 to 6 lbs range of breaking strain.
Rod length will range from a tiny 5 foot up to roughly 6’6″.
They are used for casting very light lures and bait or bobber rigs in particular for trout although some anglers do use them for ultralight bass fishing to good effect.
2. Light Spinning
Light spinning reels range from 2000 up to a 3000 and are best used for line in the region of 4 to 8 lbs in breaking strain.
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Rod length will be on average 6’6″ to 7′ feet and have a power rating of light to medium/light.
These are best for small jig fishing when targeting fish such as larger trout, walleye and smaller inshore species.
A decent bass rod setup would run a size 3000 reel on a light weight rod. Most bass spinning reels will be in the 2500 to 3500 size range and the best bass spinning rods will be roughly 7 feet in length with a fast action.
3. Medium Spinning
Medium spinning reels start at roughly a size 3500 and go up to a 4500.
Spinning rods and reels in this size range are probably the most versatile in terms of what applications and species you can target.
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At the lower end of the scale a 3500 you can target lots of larger freshwater species and a lot in inshore saltwater fish.
A size 4000 is used a lot in steelhead and salmon fishing for larger fish on big rivers.
And a size 4500 can catch a lot of larger fish species, they can also hold a lot of line.
4. Heavy Freshwater Spinning
A heavy spinning setup is rarely used in freshwater fishing unless you are targeting musky when using a bait rig.
For larger lure work a baitcaster is generally the best bet and it is rare to see a size 5000 being used in freshwater.
The best baitcasting reels will out perform a spinning reel when it comes to casting heavy lures.
5. Heavy Saltwater Spinning
There are some very large saltwater spinning reels available at in general they start at a size 5000 with some brands going up as high as a 25000 size.
These larger reels are suited to species like Tuna and Grouper that need to be hauled up out of the deep. Personally I think a conventional reel is a much better choice when reels need to be this big.
When spinning reels start to get this large it you will usually be better off moving to a conventional or trolling reel.
Saying that some anglers will always choose a spinning reel even if it is not the best choice.