A Complete Guide To Baitcaster Reel Sizes (Tips From Experts)

how to choose a baitcaster reel size fishing

Are you considering buying a new baitcaster reel but not knowing where to begin? It’s a good idea to start with choosing the size.

Choosing the right baitcaster reel size can be difficult for most inexperienced people. Many people make the mistake of thinking that size does not seem to matter as much as some other factor. Then, at the end of the day, they get a reel that’s too big or too small for their needs.

So, if you want to get the best results on your fishing trips, you must choose the right size for your baitcaster reel. So today, we will explain how to choose the right baitcaster reel size for your needs by discussing the different baitcaster reel sizes.

Baitcaster Reel Sizes Explained

Baitcaster reels are typically sized from 100 to 400. But some models come in sizes under 100, including 50 and 70. So to make sure you buy the right reel size for you, it’s essential to pay attention to the first digit when choosing a baitcaster reel.

As mentioned above, the baitcasters reel size starts at 50, and the maximum is 400. However, remember that these reels are not highly standardized, leading to significant variations between manufacturers. In other words, depending on the manufacturer, size increments may vary a bit. For example, one brand’s size 200 reel may be the same specification as another brand’s size 100 reel.

On the other hand, specifications can also vary within a brand or manufacturer. For instance, a size 400 baitcaster in one Daiwa series can be very different from another size 400 Daiwa baitcaster.

Also, there are a few manufacturers that do not even follow a size convention. Abu Garcia baitcasting rolls are a prime example of this. So, if you want to choose the size, you need to utilize their own line capacity rating.

However, most manufacturers still stick to standard sizes. As a rule, a smaller number indicates a smaller-sized reel. As the number increases, the size of the reel also increases. So it is essential to look at these numbers to find the best model for your purposes.

Baitcaster Reel Size Chart

Baitcaster reel sizeWeight (oz)Max drag (Pounds)Line capacity (lb/yd)Retrieve rate (ipt)Recommended use
505 - 6,5 7 - 1012/65From 23" to 29"Ultralight fishing for bass and trout
705,5 - 77 - 1012/85From 23" to 32"Finesse fishing for bass
1006 - 7,58 - 1412/120From 26" to 34"Suit most bass fishing applications
2007 - 9,510 - 1512/200From 26" to 36"Heavy bass fishing applications
3008 - 1112 - 1812/260From 26" to 36"Inshore saltwater fishing
40010 - 12+16 - 2212/330From 26" to 38"Inshore saltwater fishing

Small Baitcaster Sizes – Under 100 Size 

The fact of the matter is that most baitcaster reels are available from size 100. However, there are still plenty of baitcaster reels smaller than size  100, namely 50 and 70.

The 50-size baitcaster reels are the smallest available on the market. Therefore, they are perfect for ultralight fishing for bass and trout in ponds and creeks.

Also, the 70-sized models are large enough to allow you to handle larger fish and perform longer casting distances. As a result, they work well as finesse baitcasters for bass fishing if the anglers need to downsize their baits as well as tactics.

In fact, many bass anglers prefer to equip a lightweight casting pole with a size 70 reel for their bass fishing journey.

The 100 Size Baitcaster

Baitcaster enthusiasts often love the size 100 baitcaster reel. It is the standard size and is widely used for many inshore applications.

There is no denying that this baitcaster reel size is best suited for low-profile baitcasters. It is usually utilized to handle sea bass and is suitable for most bass fishing applications.

You will be able to hold the 100 size reel with ease. As a result, the casting goes smoothly, allowing you not to lose track of your casting during intense sessions.

The compact size also makes this reel a great choice for handling smaller species. Plus, it is very easy to use for people with small hands. It never seems to overwhelm anglers, even if they target small fish. Thus, it is true to say that it is a versatile reel. That is also why so many anglers prefer to use reels of this size.

Some manufacturers also offer reel sizes 150, such as the Shimano SLX and Tatula 150. These reels are the perfect pick for those who prefer to use slightly stronger lines or cast sustained lures.

If you are a bass angler, you will probably enjoy 150 size reels when fishing close to cover because they allow you to spool sustained braid.

The 200 And 300 Size Baitcaster

This reel size is excellent for heavy bass fishing applications when you need to spool 65 or 85 lb test braided line. 

One of the things we like most about these reels is that they come with a significantly greater line capacity than the smaller reels. That means they allow anglers to achieve greater casting distances.

A wider casting distance is usually not essential for bass fishing. However, it can be a big plus when handling large flats and open water bass. Moreover, thanks to its ability to provide extended casting distances, the 200 size reel is ideal for some bass anglers who prefer fishing frogs on grass flats.

300 size reels are perfect for handling saltwater fish thanks to their significantly higher line capacity as well as higher drag pressure compared to smaller-sized reels. In other words, they allow you to throw larger lures over greater distances and catch larger species.

Thanks to greater line capacity, this baitcaster reel can provide you with longer casting distances, making it sometimes used in freshwater.

What Is the Best Baitcaster Reel Sizes for Bass Fishing?

Baitcaster Reel Sizes For Bass Fishing

A 100 size baitcaster reel is the perfect pick for bass lines. It is small enough to provide a comfortable grip, allowing you to fish all day without fatigue. But this reel has enough capacity to spool enough lines. Thanks to that, you can handle the big bass as easily as pie.

If you prefer to throw bigger lures or fish around heavy cover, you should consider a 150 size reel because it will allow you to spool sustained braid.

If you want to fish on extended grass flats, the 200 size reels might be the right choice as they will let you achieve longer casting distances.

Eventually, for anglers who want to use finesse tactics for bass fishing but do not want to use a spinning setup, 70 size reels are ideal choices because they are small enough to throw lightweight lures.

See also: Check out the top baitcasting reel for Bass fishing?

What Size Reel Should You Use for Surf Fishing and Saltwater? 

Size Reel Should You Use for Surf Fishing and Saltwater

The 300 and 400 sized baitcaster reels are perfect for inshore saltwater fishing.  They come with a lot more drag power, which is essential to handle hard-fighting fish like bluefish and trevally.

300 size baitcaster reels are primarily used for saltwater fishing because of their significantly higher line capacity as well as higher maximum drag pressure compared to smaller reels. This allows you to throw larger baits over greater distances and fight monster-sized fish. These reels are also sometimes used in freshwater.

The recommended options are:

  • Shimano Tranx 300
  • Shimano Curado 300
  • Daiwa Lexa 300

Similar to the size 300, the size 400 reel is mostly suitable for saltwater fishing. They are typically constructed of all-metal construction and feature shielded ball bearings. Thus, they can be resistant to the corrosive environment of saltwater fishing operations.

Here are the recommended options:

  • Daiwa Lexa 400
  • Shimano Calcutta 400
  • Shimano Tranx 400

See also: How do I choose a saltwater baitcasting reel?

What Size Reel Should You Use for Trout Fishing?

Size Reel Should You Use for Trout Fishing

Baitcaster reels of old were bulky and oversized reels. This is contrary to the aspirations of anglers who love finesse fishing.

There is no denying that trout fishing is considered finesse fishing because of trout’s behavior and size.

While you can handle salmon over 20 inches, it is not as common as catching those in the 6 to 12-inch range. However, modern technology has helped reduce the size and weight of the baitcaster reels, making trout fishing a viable option.

Hence, if you want to catch trout with a baitcaster reel, you need to use the smallest, lightest model you have. What’s more, some trout are called “weakfish” as they don’t fight as hard as other species. So, ideally, use baitcaster reels that are smaller than 100, such as sizes 50 and 70.

If you utilize the baitcaster reels, which are bigger and bulkier, you can still catch trout. However, you will encounter more challenges and difficulties. It is correct to say that a lighter reel is more effective when anglers need to use skillful techniques.

Here are the recommended options:

  • Daiwa Fuego CT Casting Reel
  • Daiwa Tatula SV TW Baitcast Fishing Reels
  • Shimano CURADO DC, LowProfile Baitcasting Freshwater Fishing Reel
  • SHIMANO (Shimano) Reel 17 Scorpion DC 100HG Right Handle
  • Shimano Aldebaran Mgl Low Profile Reels
  • Daiwa (DAIWA) Bait Reel Steez CT SV TW 700XH 2019 Model

Bonus Tips for trout fishing with a baitcaster reel:

  • Pick up the smallest and lightest weight baitcaster if you want to use it for trout fishing. 
  • Use a reel under 6 ounces.
  • Use a rod 10 ounces and under. 
  • The 4-pound test line will work well. 

What Size Baitcaster Reel for Beginners?

Size Baitcaster Reel for Beginners

If you are a novice angler looking for your first baitcaster reel, it is essential to choose the right reel. Choosing the wrong model can lead to a lot of unnecessary frustration.

Beginner anglers often start with spin-casting or spinning reels to gain experience and learn different fishing techniques and gear handling.

After a while, they will “upgrade” to baitcaster reels. Even if you have a lot of previous experience, the chances are high that you will still be a beginner when it comes to these reels.

Traditionally, baitcasting reels are challenging to master because their spool rotates rapidly while casting. Therefore, they are considered unsuitable for beginners who do not know how to control spool rotation perfectly. 

Fortunately, many manufacturers have recently developed advanced spool braking technology, which can minimize or specialize in this problem. Thanks to that, baitcaster reels have become more suitable for beginners.

It can be challenging for those just starting with baitcaster fishing to decide which reel suits their needs. However, do not let anyone stop you if you feel like you can manage.

We recommend using the size 100 or less, but 100 baitcaster reels are ideal. The compact size makes the 100 size baitcaster reels an excellent choice for beginners, especially people with small hands.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, it is a versatile reel. That is why many anglers prefer to use reels of this size.

In addition, beginners should consider models with the following key characteristics:

  • Affordable rate
  • Easy to use
  • Come with effective anti-backlash technology

Here are the recommended options:

  • Piscifun Phantom
  • Kastking Spartacus
  • Piscifun Torrent
  • Abu Garcia Revo SX
  • KastKing Speed Demon

Frequently Asked Questions

Specifications within reel sizes vary across brands and sometimes radically. Even the specifications also vary within a brand or manufacturer. In fact, each reel size tends to cover a range of specifications. In general, manufacturers attempt to maximize strength and spool capacity while reducing the bulk and weight of each predetermined reel size. As a result, product specifications will vary, and the rigid industry-wide size standards would not work.
The answer is the 100 size baitcaster. As mentioned above, it suits most bass fishing applications. For many anglers, this is a go-to size for various inshore applications. Moreover, this reel is ideal for various applications on estuaries, rivers, ponds, creeks, land-based, or aboard. The 100 size seems to be suitable for many users, including children. It can fit entirely in the palm of your hand, even compact enough for small hands to manage.
This depends on your needs and preferences. If you want to handle smallmouth and largemouth bass in rivers, ponds, and lakes, a 100 size is the perfect option. On the other hand, if you prefer fishing for big bass around heavy cover, a 150 or 200 size baitcaster reel would be a better pick for you. Finally, both a 300 and 400 size reel is the best choice for inshore saltwater fishing.

Further reading: A Quick And Easy Guide To Buying Your First Baitcaster

Wrap Up

Understanding baitcaster reel sizes can be a bit difficult for the inexperienced. Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the aspects involved in choosing a baitcaster reel.

As for the final advice, always remember to use big reels for big fish and small reels for small fish.

Thank you for reading! Please share this article with other anglers. It means a lot to us.

Further reading: How to Choose the Right Size Spinning Reel

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