What to Consider When Matching a Spinning Reel to a Rod?

Matching a Spinning Reel to a Rod

Spinning setup is one of the most popular and versatile in the fishing world. Both beginners and experienced anglers use it around the world.

Of course, you can’t simply take any rod and attach a spinning reel to it. To make a perfect combo, there are some things to consider.

Matching spinning reel to rod is important to get the best possible performance and efficiency. Both rods and reels have a series of ratings and features that have to match. Reels have different sizes, rods have power and action, and which ones you will pair depends on targeted species, lures, and technique.

If you are new to all this, it may sound complicated and you may be tempted to get a combo already paired, but trust me, it is not that hard to do it yourself!

By making an improper match, you may be significantly reducing your chances to catch a fish, so get ready to take some notes and do it the right way!

In the following chapters I will tell you everything you need to know.



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Does the Fishing Reel Have to Match the Fishing Rod?

Matching spinning reel to rod is crucial to enhance your fishing performance. Although versatile, spinning reels are still chosen in accordance with targeted fish species and technique. The same goes for your fishing rod. If you are planning to use topwater bass lures you can’t get the slowest reel on the market. The same goes for choosing ultralight rod for tuna with a 10000-size reel. It doesn’t work.

When you make a perfect match, you are ensuring that you can perform the chosen technique, use certain lures, and when the fish bites, that you can successfully land it. Both rods and reels have different features to consider when you are matching them. For reels those are gear ratio, size, and line capacity, while for rods those are length, power, action, and lure weight rating.

There is one thing I didn’t mention here and that is a rod type. For a spinning reel, rods must have line guides along the bottom side of the blank, and reel seat below the handle as the spinning reel is suspended hanging under the rod with is opposite of baitcasting.

Matching a Spinning Reel to a Rod - Chart

Can any Spinning Reel Go on any Fishing Rod?

Rod and reel matching has been briefly explained in the previous chapter, but let’s go into some details. Not every spinning reel can go on any rod, not even any spinning rod.

For example, lets say that you are planning to do some surf fishing, and you get a perfect spinning reel for the job. Huge line capacity, saltwater rated, smooth, almost no resistance on casting… Of course, you need a rod for that too.

Now, in theory, you could mount it on any rod, but the end result will be poor. If you put it on a 6ft boat rod, you won’t be able to fish as you planned as casting will be limited. Surf rods are very long and enable extremely distant casting, so the best way to make the most of your reel is to mount it on a 13ft surf rod. You get my point here.

This is just one example, but it is valid for all situations (like jigging, trolling, ice fishing, etc.).

There are same limitations when it comes to targeted fish size, line strength and lure weight.

Matching a Spinning Reel to a Rod - Buy

How to Match a Spinning Reel With a Fishing Rod? Best Way ...

Now when you learned what not to do, here is how to make a perfect pair! Just follow the steps below.

#1 Decide about fish

Think about targeted fish species and technique you want to do. Fish size is important here.

#2 Consider the reel features

If you plan to fish deep, check for the line capacity. Size of reel is influenced by targeted fish size and drag is important too. Check the line rating as it has to match the required size for targeted fish and technique. Check the gear ratio and match it with a technique. Medium speed is the most versatile.

#3 Consider the rod features

Depending on your choices in step #2, choose a proper rod. Action determines how fast the rod is, and that is important for technique, casting, and rod control. Power is chosen in accordance with the fish size. So, for large and powerful fish you need heavy power. Length is also important. In theory, longer rods are good for casting, while very short are great for boats and dropping baits.

#4 Consider the weight and the feeling

If you can, go to the tackle store and try to pair some rods and reels. See how they feel in your hand. Some techniques can be very tiring for your hands and it is important that the setup is light enough. When you hold it and you get the feeling “this is it”, that is the last step to know that you did it right!

#5 Learn about rod and reel features!

I know listed a lot of features, and as a beginner, you may not understand them all. Internet is your friend here and I advise you to read anything you can. Explaining every single feature here would end up with me writing a book.

Matching a Spinning Reel to a Rod - Consider

So, if you want to know more about rod power and action here is the explanation. Besides power and action, you should know the difference between rod types and about rod parts too.

Spinning reels explained in detail is also important topic, and it is related to gear ratio explanation.

Why am I saying all this here? Well, when choosing equipment, besides the ratings and numbers, you should know how to find a good product and how their parts affect your fishing!

TOP 10 Tips for Choosing and Matching a Spinning Reel to a Rod

Rod and reel matching can easily be done by following these tips!

TIP #1: Make sure that lure you will be using corresponds with rod lure weight rating.

TIP#2: Check recommended line strength for both rod and reel – they have to match.

TIP #3: Avoid pairing large, heavy, and powerful reels with light rods and vice versa.

TIP #4: Choose good brands to get a quality product that will really perform as stated by the manufacturer.

TIP #5: Don’t be afraid to mix the brands. It is ok to have Penn reel and Shimano rod. Or anything similar!

TIP #6: Never buy rod or reel because it is cheap or looks nice, or any reason that is not strictly technical.

TIP #7: If you are a complete beginner, go for smaller reels and lighter rods and target smaller fish to learn how to fish properly. Don’t overestimate your skill as it leads to frustration.

TIP #8: Consider your local waters, average specimen size of targeted species, and see how others catch them. It may narrow down your search.

TIP #9: You may choose versatile options and go for “medium” on everything, but keep in mind that fishing will be better if you make a combo for specific purpose.

TIP #10: If all this is too much, ask more experienced anglers for advice!

What Size Rod for Spinning Reel [Matching Chart]

Matching spinning reel to rod is much easier when you can simply follow a basic rod and reel matching chart, like the one below.

This is focused on reel size and some rod features directly connected to size. When it comes to reel gear ratio or line capacity, you will have to make an informed decision yourself, based on everything stated in the previous chapters.

What Size Rod for 1000 Reel 6-7 ft light or light-medium action 2-4 lb mono
4-8 lb braid
Light fishing in smaller waters Bream, small trout, various panfish, crappie
What Size Rod for 2000 Reel 6-7 ft light or light-medium action 4-6 lb mono
5-10 lb braid
Light fishing in smaller waters Bream, trout, smaller bass, perch
What Size Rod for 3000 Reel 6-9 ft general purpose and medium action
9-10 ft light blackfish rods
6-10 lb mono
6-14 lb braid
Any body of water Bream, bass, flatheads
What Size Rod for 4000 Reel 6-7 ft snapper rod
8-10 ft light surf
8-12 lb mono
8-20 lb braid
Any body of water Snapper, cod, mangrove jack
What Size Rod for 5000 Reel 6-7 ft snapper rod
10-11 ft medium light surf
8-9 ft general purpose and medium action
10-14 lb mono
10-25 lb braid
Large freshwater and saltwater Snapper, bone fish, Barramundi


Matching spinning reel to rod is very important to ensure maximum gear performance and to increase you chances of landing a fish that you want!

Spinning setup is generally excellent for smaller and lighter lures and smaller fish which makes it great even for complete beginners.

To make a perfect rod and reel pair follow all recommendations stated above and check out rod and reel matching chart for a quick overview.

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us


I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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