The Takeaway:

1. Our Pick: Shimano Curado CU200I

2. Runner-Up: Pflueger Patriarch PATXTSP30X

3. Also Great: Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3-6501

Not long ago bass anglers searching for the best reel for bass fishing were offered two choices – baitcasting or spinning. Modern anglers have a lot more to consider. Not only do they need to choose between the types of reels, but they also need to consider size, gear ratio, and even construction materials. 

A wider selection of gear ratios combined with space age composite materials has allowed manufacturers to deliver more power and greater reliability in smaller and lighter packages than ever before. This means the angler is faced with a growing number of choices, and obviously, some are better than others.

Below we show you our selection for the best reels for bass fishing on the market today, including our top choice, the Shimano Curado 200i Fishing Reel, and why they should each have a place in your tackle box.

Our Pick: Shimano Curado CU200I

Low-profile bait casters are the number one most popular model bass fishing reel on the market today, and Shimano’s Curado CU200i fishing reel is a perfect example of why.

While many competitors have turned to composite materials to gain attention, Shimano has based the 200i on one principle: quality. Although the 200i weighs only 7.4 ounces, its solid aluminum framed and graphite side plates ensure it is solid in your hands and dependable on the water. Make no mistake about it; despite its small size and light weight, the 200i is nothing short of a well-designed bass-catching workhorse.

Super Free Spool, Cross Carbon Drag, Shimano Curado CU200I
Shimano Curado CU200I

Shimano’s new X-Ship technology ensures precise gear alignment and performance under even the heaviest loads. The SVS Infinity Braking System allows for consistent braking and spool control at a level previously unheard of. Finally, the S3D Stable Spool Design allows for impressive casting capabilities through an incredible reduction in spool vibration.

These innovative design improvements and attention to detail, combined with Shimano’s tradition of providing anglers with the best quality possible, explain why Outdoor Life selected the 200i as their 2015 Great Buy, and Field & Stream named it “Best of the Best.” This is also why the 200i is our choice as the best bass fishing reel available.

Runner-Up: Pflueger Patriarch PATXTSP30X

Although bait casters are the leader among bass anglers when it comes to the best reels for bass fishing, every angler should also have a quality spinning reel available. Baitcasters are legendary for their ability to pull even the biggest hawg from deep cover.

Skeletonized Spool, Feather light design, Pflueger Patriarch ​PATXTSP30X
Pflueger Patriarch ​PATXTSP30X

But if you need to place lures on target precisely, nothing beats a quality spinning reel. Pflueger has pulled out all the stops to provide the lightest, smoothest, and most compact spinning reel available, resulting in the Patriarch. Advertised as “the lightest spinning reel on the market,” the Patriarch weighs in at 6.10 or 7.30 ounces, depending on which model you select. This is accomplished by using a combination of modern materials that reduce weight without sacrificing performance.

The magnesium body & rotor and aircraft aluminum skeletonized spool are the reason it is so lightweight. The carbon in the sealed drag, minimal design handles, and inlay rotor reduces weight and provides years of trouble-free performance. One day on the water with the Pflueger Patriarch in your hand, you, too, will want it in your tackle box.

Also Great: Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3-6501

Sometimes “tried and true” is a nice way of saying “old fashioned.” Sometimes it is exactly what it sounds like; the latter is what you get when buying the Ambassadeur C3. Abu Garcia is not only a leader in producing baitcasting reels. They are responsible for introducing America to the design with the original Ambassadeurs in the 1950s.

The C3 is an excellent combination of the powerful, durable classic round design that made bait casters popular and modern materials that reduce weight & increase reliability. Abu Garcia paid a lot of detail to improve casting ability, and the result is the best cast Ambassadeur yet.

The new aluminum line guide, lightweight spool design, and Carbon Matrix Drag have further decreased overall weight without reducing the historical performance. Add a Duragear brass gearing in the popular 5.3:1 gear ratio and a new bent star & handle, and you will find one of the best bass fishing reels available, capable of muscling even the biggest largemouth from the deepest cover.

Honorable Mention: 13 Fishing Concept “C”

The fishing tackle industry is a cutthroat market and a difficult one to break into. Season after season new kids on the block are quickly pushed to the bargain bin because consumers are unwilling to select the unknown over the traditional favorites. But that should not stop you from considering the Concept C model low profile baitcaster from 13 Fishing.

Although relatively new to the bass fishing reel isle, 13 Fishing is an industry leader in specialty rods and ice fishing reels. Now they have taken that knowledge and experience to provide one of the best bass fishing reels on the market. When you first see the Concept C, you will think “sharp,” due in great part to the pearl white finish and polished aluminum drag star and spoon. Once you have it in your hand, the aluminum frame & airfoil carbon side plates will scream “solid.”

Weighing in at an impressive 6.1 ounces the Concept C is also heavy enough to handle everything your favorite bass hole can throw at you, yet light enough to allow you to handle it confidently start to finish. But the Concept C is more than just good looks, operating as well as it looks.

​Tight tolerances in the gears, shaft and plates keep unwanted movement to a minimum and the patented “Dead Stop” anti-reverse system shows no detectable back play. The 6.6:1 gear ration and 6-way centrifugal braking system make the Concept C well suited for a wide variety of baits on both the long cast or short pitch. The 13 Fishing Concept C rises above the competition and should be considered one of the best bass fishing reels available.

What Is The Best Reel for Bass Fishing?

There you have it, the top bass reels on the market. While walking into the fishing reel aisle may still resemble stepping into an endless black hole, at least you can narrow down your search and focus on what you really want – a reliable bass fishing reel that will provide seasons of enjoyment. Hopefully, this information will assist you in ensuring that your next reel is truly the best for bass fishing. Of course, you could always simply pick up your own Shimano Curado 200i, our very own selection, as the best bass fishing reel.

Sources and Official Brand Websites:

Shimano  |  Pflueger  |  Abu Garcia  |  13 Fishing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *