Spinning Reel Sizes – How To Choose The Right Reel Size to go fishing

Are you finding it difficult to comprehend and interpret the spinning reel sizes that would best suit your angling requirements? Well, most people have been there at some point when tasked with fishing.

Spinning reels are currently the most popular of all the types of fishing reels available.  They can be used by both newbies and experienced fishermen.

Most times, you decide to get a new spinning reel, only to get to the reel stores and become spoilt for choice. The multitude of size variations that are usually on offer overwhelm you and you might end up not getting the fishing reel sizes that you require.

Spinning Reel Size Chart

Spinning reels are categorized as either small, medium fishing reels, or large. The sizes are determined by the forms of fish targets and this ultimately determines the monofilament that you use. The types of fishing reel can be a wide range depending on target sized reel or the target species and the type of fishing. There is a range of sizes and personal preference will help one to choose an informed decision of their personal choice. 

It is important to conduct pound tests. For example, you conduct a 2-to 4-pound test monofilament line. The pound test would mean that (the fishing line strength in terms of pounds) can hold 2-4lbs without breaking. A 20-pound test monofilament means that the spinning reel can hold up to 20 lbs without breaking.

Small Sized Spinning Reels (1000-3500)

These reels are suitable for light line applications in the 6-7 foot range.

These are used when targeting small fish species which weigh up to 15 pounds.  They work best with 2-10lb monofilament. You can also use a 4-14lb braid.

These are used both for freshwater fishing and in protected coastal waters.

Spinning Reel SizeRecommended Monoline StrengthRecommended Braid Line StrengthRecommended Applications (Guide Only)Recommended Fish Species (Most Common Species)Recommended Fishing Rod to Use
1000 or 102-4lb equivalent to 1kg to 2 kg4-8 lb 1.81437 – 3.62874 kg These small fishing reels are mostly suited for; Ultralight fishing in freshwater lakes and estuaries, rivers, bays & harborsTrout, Bream, Whiting, Crappie, Bluegill, Yellow Perch6-7ft. 182.88 – 213.36 cm
2000 or 204-6lb equivalent to 2kg to 3kg5-10 lb   2.26796 – 4.53592 kg Ultralight fishing in freshwater and estuaries, lakes, rivers, bays & harborsBream, Bass, Trout, Crappie, Bluegill, Whiting, Flathead, Yellow Perch, Perch, Luderick  6ft-7ft. 182.88 – 213.36 cm  
2500 or 255-8lb equivalent to 2.5kg to 4kg5-12lb 2.26796 – 5.44311 kg Light fishing in freshwater and estuaries, bays & harborsBass, Walleye, Northern Pike, Bream, Trout, Whiting, Flathead, Perch, Luderick.  6-7ft. 182.88 – 213.36 cm  
3000 or 306-10lb equivalent to 3kg to 5 kg6-14 lb 2.72155 – 6.35029 kgLight fishing in freshwater and estuaries, bays, lakes, rivers & harborsBass, Walleye, Northern Pike, Catfish, Bream, Flathead, Tarwhine, KG Whiting, Mangrove Jack.6-7ft 6 inches (182.88 – 213.36 cm)  or 9-10 ft (274.32 – 304.8 cm). rods for the lightweight blackfish reels  
3500 or 356-10lb equivalent to 3kg to 5 kg6-14lb 2.72155 – 6.35029 kgLight fishing in freshwater and estuaries, bays, rivers, lakes & harborsBass, Walleye, Northern Pike, Catfish, Bream, Flathead, Tarwhine, KG Whiting, Mangrove Jack6-7ft (182.88 – 213.36 cm)  rods or light 10ft (304.8 cm) rods (for blackfish and whiting)  

Medium Sized Spinning Reel Types (4000-5500)

Ideally, they utilize the 7-8 foot range rods.

They are mostly used to target medium fishing species weighing approximately 30 pounds.

They work best with the 8-14lb monofilament or the 10-25lb braid.

They are used for catching large freshwater fish or during inshore saltwater fishing.

Spinning Reel SizeRecommended Monoline StrengthRecommended Braid Line StrengthRecommended Applications (Guide Only)Recommended Fish Species (Most Common Species)Recommended Fishing Rod to Use
4000 (or 40)8-12lb (4kg-6kg)8-20lb 3.62874 – 9.07185 kgMedium fishing in freshwater lakes, rivers, bays, harbors, inshore saltwater, and light offshore boat fishingCatfish, Muskie, Snook, Redfish, Snapper, Morwong, Tailor, Mangrove Jack, Cod, Bonefish, Barramundi, Mulloway, Drummer6ft-7ft (182.88 – 213.36 cm) rods (barra/snapper style rod) or 8ft-10ft (243.84 – 304.8 cm )(light surf) rod)
4500 (or 45)8-12lb (4kg-6kg)8-20lb 3.62874 – 9.07185 kgMedium fishing in freshwater lakes, rivers, bays, harbors, light offshore boat fishing and inshore saltwaterCatfish, Muskie, Snook, Redfish, Snapper, Morwong, Tailor, Mangrove Jack, Cod, Bonefish, Barramundi, Mulloway, Drummer6-8ft (182.88 – 243.84 cm) rods
5000 (or 50)10-14lb (5kg-7kg)10-25lb 4.53592 – 11.3398 kgMedium fishing in freshwater rivers, lakes, bays, harbors, offshore boat fishing and inshore saltwaterCatfish, Muskie, Snook, Redfish, Snapper, Morwong, Tailor, Mangrove Jack, Cod, Bonefish, Barramundi, Mulloway6-7ft (182.88 – 213.36 cm) barra or snapper rods, light-med 10-11ft (304.8 – 335.28 cm) surf rod or 8-9ft (243.84 -274.32 cm) general-purpose rod.  
5500 (or 55)10-14lb (5kg-7kg)10-25lb 4.53592 – 11.3398 kgMedium fishing in freshwater lakes, rivers, bays, harbors, light offshore boat fishing and inshore saltwaterCatfish, Muskie, Snook, Redfish, Snapper, Morwong, Tailor, Mangrove Jack, Cod, Bonefish, Barramundi, Mulloway6-7ft (182.88 – 213.36 cm) snapper or barramundi fishing rods, medium class 10-11ft (304.8 – 335.28 cm) surf/rock rods, or 8-9ft (243.84 -274.32 cm) general-purpose type spin rod

Large Sized Spinning Reels (6000-30000)

Their large size range makes them heavy and thus, they are ideal for heavy rods.

You can use them for offshore boat fishing, surfcasting, or rock fishing.

You can also use them to target large fish species weighing about 150 and above pounds.

They work best using the 12-60lb monofilament or 24-100lb braid which can hold a 10-30 kg monofilament line.

Ideally, you can use them for heavy saltwater applications. Often, the largest models are used for catching the pelagic big game species such as sailfish.

The recommended fishing rod to use is dependent on the weight rating of the lines

Spinning Reel SizeRecommended Mono Line StrengthRecommended Braid Line StrengthRecommended Applications (Guide Only)Recommended Fish Species (Most Common Species)Recommended Fishing Rod to Use
6000 (or 60)12-16lb (6kg-8kg)12-30lb 5.44311 – 13.6078 kgMedium fishing in inshore, boat fishing, beach or rock fishing & offshore saltwaterStriped Bass, Salmon, Snook, Redfish (Red Drum), Snapper, Morwong, Tailor, Cod, Mulloway, Aust Salmon, Kingfish, Samson Fish, Mulloway5-8ft (152.4-243.84 cm) boat fishing rods, 8-9ft (243.84 -274.32 cm) general-purpose spinning rods or 10 foot (304.8 cm) rock/surf fishing rods  
6500 (or 65)12-16lb (6kg-8kg)12-30lb 5.44311 – 13.6078 kgMedium fishing in inshore & offshore saltwaterStriped Bass, Salmon, Snook, Redfish (Red Drum), Snapper, Morwong, Tailor, Cod, Mulloway, Aust Salmon, Kingfish, Samson Fish, Mulloway5-7 foot (152.4 – 213.36 cm), 8ft (243.84 cm), 9ft (274.32 cm) or 10ft (304.8 cm) rods for shore-based fishing with most fiberglass rods  
7000 (or 70)14-18lb (7kg-9kg)15-40lb 6.80389 – 18.1437 kgMedium boat fishing in inshore, beach, rock fishing & offshore saltwaterStriped Bass, Salmon, Snapper Snook, Redfish (Red Drum), Morwong, Tailor, Cod, Mulloway, Aust Salmon, kingfish, Salmon Fish, Groper10 ft (304.8 cm) or 12 foot (365.76 cm) beach rods, or even 8-9ft (243.84 -274.32 cm) general-purpose rods.  
7500 (or 750 or 75)16-20lb (8kg-10kg)20-50lb 9.07185 – 22.6796 kgMedium fishing in inshore & offshore saltwaterStriped Bass, Salmon, Snook, Redfish (Red Drum), Snapper, Morwong, Tailor, Kingfish, Aust Salmon, Kingfish, Samson fish, Grouper, Mullowayheavy 9 foot (274.32 cm), 10 foot (304.8 cm) or 12 foot (365.76 cm) fishing rods for shore-based angling  
8000 (or 80)16-20lb (8kg-10kg)20-50lb 9.07185 – 22.6796 kgMedium fishing in inshore, fishing using boats, beach or rock fishing & offshore saltwaterWahoo, Roosterfish, Dorado, Barracuda, Amberjack, Snapper, Morwong, Tailor, Kingfish, Aust Salmon, Samson Fish, Grouper, Mulloway12 feet (365.76 cm) or more in length
8500 (or 85)18-22lb (9kg-11kg)30-50lb 13.6078 – 22.6796 kgMedium fishing in inshore & offshore saltwaterWahoo, Roosterfish, Dorado, Barracuda, Amberjack, Snapper, Morwong, Kingfish, Mulloway, Sharks, Large Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, GT  10 feet (304.8 cm) or longer in length  
9000 (or 90)18-22lb (9kg-11kg)30-50lb 13.6078 – 22.6796 kgMedium fishing in inshore & offshore saltwaterWahoo, Roosterfish, Dorado, Barracuda, Amberjack 
9500 (or 95)20-25lb (10kg-12.5kg)30-50lb 13.6078 – 22.6796 kgMedium fishing in inshore & offshore saltwaterWahoo, Roosterfish, Dorado, Barracuda, Amberjack, Snapper, Morwong, Kingfish, Mulloway, Sharks, Large Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, GT  length of 12ft (365.76 cm) or more  
10,000 (or 100)20-25lb (10kg-12.5kg)30-60lb 13.6078 – 27.2155 kgMedium/Heavy boat fishing in inshore beach or rock fishing & offshore saltwater  Tuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark, Snapper, Morwong, Kingfish, Mulloway, Small Sharks, Large Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Small Tuna10 foot (304.8 cm) or more in length
10,500 (or 105)22-27lb (11kg-13.5kg)30-60lb 13.6078 – 27.2155 kgMedium/Heavy fishing in inshore & offshore saltwater speciesTuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark, Kingfish, Mulloway, Sharks, Tuna, Large Mackerel, GT, Marli.  shore-based rod with a rating of above 24Kg  
12,000 (or 120)28lb+ (14kg+)30-60lb 13.6078 – 27.2155 kgMedium/Heavy offshore saltwater fishingTuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark, Snapper, Morwong, Kingfish, Mulloway, Small Sharks, Large Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Small Tuna10 foot (304.8 cm) or more in length if shore-based or 5-8ft for boats based angling  
14,000 (or 140)28lb+ (14kg+)30-60lb 13.6078 – 27.2155 kgMedium/Heavy offshore saltwater fishingTuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark, Snapper, Morwong, Kingfish, Mulloway, Small Sharks, Large Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Small Tuna, GT12 foot (365.76 cm) or longer beach rod, a heavy 8ft GT Popper Rod, or spin type boat rod.
16,000 (or 160)32lb+ (16kg+) or 36lb+ (18kg+)40-70lb 18.1437 – 31.7515 kgMedium/Heavy offshore saltwater fishingTuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark, Snapper, Morwong, Kingfish, Mulloway, Sharks, Large Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Small Tuna, GT12ft (365.76 cm) or longer for land base fishing styles and size between 5-7ft (152.4 -213.36 cm) for boat fishing
18,000 (or 180)36lb+ (18kg+)40-70lb 18.1437 – 31.7515 kgMedium/Heavy offshore saltwater fishingTuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark, Snapper, Morwong, Kingfish, Mulloway, Sharks, Large Mackerel, Small Tuna, GT12 foot (365.76 cm) or longer surf rod, GT popper rod, spin type boat rod, or jigging rod
20,000 (or 200)40lb+ (20kg+)50-80lb 22.6796 – 36.2874 kgHeavy offshore saltwater fishingSailfish, Tuna (large species), Tarpon, Giant Trevally, Mulloway, Sharks, Tuna, Large Mackerel, GT12-16ft (365.76 – 487.68 cm) for heavy surf fishing  
25,000 (or 250)50lb+ (25kg+)50-80lb 22.6796 – 36.2874 kgHeavy offshore saltwater fishingSailfish, Tuna (large species), Tarpon, Giant Trevally, Kingfish, Mulloway, Sharks, Tuna, Large Mackerel, GT, Marlin12 feet (365.76 cm) or more in length or 5-7ft (152.4 -213.36 cm) in length  
30,000 (or 300)60lb+ (30kg+)80-100lb 36.2874 – 45.3592 kgHeavy offshore saltwater fishingSailfish, Tuna (large species), Tarpon, Giant Trevally, Kingfish, Mulloway, Sharks, Tuna, Large Mackerel, GT, Marlin 

Why is it Important to Choose the Right Spinning Reel Sizes?

Choosing the right size spinning reels is as important as getting the right model.

It needs you to first figure out your purpose and the best-sized reels for it.

The different models usually have a model size associated with them. The number is indicative of the fishing reel sizes.

The main concept used is that the smaller the number, the smaller the reel. Easy, right?

Although there are many factors that should be considered when choosing new reels, you might get tempted to ignore the complexity of this exercise.

So, What Size Spinning Reel Do I Need?

The answer to this question is tied to the fishing you plan to do.  The most important factors you need to be keen on include:

  • The fish type- whether you will be fishing in freshwater or salty water.
  • The size of fish you are planning to catch.
  • The line strength you will use.

In general, the freshwater reels are usually smaller in size as compared to the saltwater spinning reels. The saltwater reels are often larger because they handle larger fish. A larger fish would result in a heavy fish. The fish in saltwater tend to make long ‘runs’ even after being hooked. If you use a small reel for this, then the fish would pull the line off the reel.

Intuitively, you would use a larger spinning reel when pursuing larger fish. For example, if you want to catch crappie, it would make sense if you used a size 100 spinning reel. How about if you wanted to catch a tuna, you would use a larger-sized reel, probably a size 10,000. Do not worry about these sizes as mentioned above. Read on to get more information on the fishing reel size chart below. You will get what works best for you.

Spinning Reel Sizes Explained

When making decisions about fishing reel sizes, you need to understand that there are two different size classifications.

Often, size reels vary from size 10,20, 30, and so on. Depending on the reel manufacturer, there are1000, 2000, and 3000-labeled models that you can choose from. There are types of fishing reels which include lighter reels, class reels, series reels, and game reels  You actually do not need to stress over the two systems of reel classifications. The systems are basically the same. For example, a reel size 10 would correspond to a reel size 1000, a size 20 would correspond to a reel size 2000, and so on.

What this means is that you need to pay close attention to the first two numbers of the reel size without being so conscious about the zeros following. You then compare the number across all brands and models to know what you need.

Having understood that, you need to be conversant with the size ranges to better understand what you have to choose from.

How to Match a Spinning Reel with a Rod

It might be difficult for you as a first-timer to correctly match a spinning reel to a rod. However, you do not have to worry. It is not as difficult as you may imagine. The most important thing specifically for spinning rods is to understand that their designs are different from those of baitcasting rods. It is also important to note that a baitcasting reel cannot be used with a spinning reel and vice versa.

The rods also contain numbers listed above the grip. The numbers identify the length of the rod and the monofilament line weight range as recommended by a manufacturer. For example, a line strength of 6-10lbs would mean that the recommended weight it can hold is 6 to 10 pounds. Upon knowing the recommended line strength on your rod, then you can come back to our reel size chart and choose a spinning reel that matches the line strength- and there you go, you will have matched the rod to the right reel. Finally, put the fishing line on the larger reels and the correct baits.

To get the most out of a spinning reel, you need to understand how to spool a reel correctly. First, lay the spool of fishing line on your working area and hold your reel over the spool.  Fasten the reel onto the rod handle and lay it back on the working area with the bail arm open. Lastly, start spooling the line onto the reel. Understanding this avoids many spooling hassles.

We recommended that you use the aluminum spool as compared to the plastic one. The aluminum spools come as one piece as compared to the plastic spools which have two sharp-edged internal spools that cause your line to rub thus weakening it

Conclusion

Their versatility allows them to be adapted to almost any kind of fishing.

Remember, this is a guide that gives recommendations on the most common applications and therefore, you are free to use the reels with any other applications.

Here, we conclude our fishing reel sizes guide. We hope it helps you choose the perfect size reel that suits your purpose.

How about you reeling in some trophy-sized fish!

Do not forget to leave a comment in case of any questions.

Picture in this post by Zab Consulting on Unsplash

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