.5 best bass lure reels

5 best bass lure reels

So what are our 5 best lure reels? Well, in the real world the majority of fishing websites would promote fishing reels from all ends of the spectrum. However, I have noticed that a majority of the reviews are of the low-end reels. Personally, that would be exactly the price range I would go for.

I have never spent more than £150 on a reel in my lifetime.


The reel I have been using for the last couple of years is the Shimano Exage 3000. I love this little reel and to be fair I have had some pretty good sessions with it and had some great fish. But things have not always been so good. I have had to modify a thing or two to make the reel perform slightly better.


5 best bass lure reels

5 best bass lure reels

Wind Knots

In the wind knot article, I mention about line lay and how it can affect whether you are getting wind knots or not. I had to put a washer on the piston so the line was straighter on the spool. I still wouldn’t say it’s perfect but haven’t had any wind knots since. You can read that article just click this link

Bail Arm

The other problem was the bail arm bearing (the bit where the line goes) was catching the line. I also had to straighten the bail arm but that was maybe me dropping the reel or falling over on the rocks. Shimano makes amazing reels so I’m not being negative, I’m just going to explain that examining the Bassmans reel the ‘Daiwa Exist’ I was absolutely blown away, there was definitely a difference. 


Yes weight, this was an alarming aspect I noticed with the Daiwa Exist. I just couldn’t get my head around the reels weight…or lack of it. Now you would think a £600 reel would have some guts to it. But obviously, like high-end rods, they are extremely light. This is a major factor in justifying the price.

Surface lure fishing.

Surface lure fishing is the Bassmans favourite type of fishing for bass.

Disclaimer: First off, if you are reading this post for the first time and wondering who the ‘Bassman is I suggest you read our homepage. The Bassman fishes all the time (providing conditions) and catches close to 1500 to 2000 bass a year, I’m not joking. I am just the writer of this website and am fortunate enough to fish and share his tactics with you all on this website.

Great action

Whenever I have been surface lure fishing with the Bassman it amazes me how he gets that lure dancing across the surface. The snake-like action he gets from the ‘Walk the dog’ retrieve is awesome. Yes, you or anybody could perfect it my point is that the combination of his rod and reel are microlight. This must make it easier to stay consistent.

The Difference

I have a Major Craft Zalts that quite heavy in comparison to the Bassmans DFR which is a custom made rod. And my reel being the Shimano Exage which is smaller than his Daiwa Exist that is still unbelievably lighter. The point I’m making is I’m always changing the way I ‘Walk the dog’ because it makes my arm ache after a while. Maybe I’m not as fit as the Bassman. Remember though, we are not always surface lure fishing.

So what lure reel should I buy?

So let’s get down to business and guide you to the reel that hopefully is going to suit your needs. The serious more experienced bass fisherman who regularly goes fishing is probably going to favour the high-end reels. This totally makes sense in my opinion.

But if you are like me and are not willing to shed out that kind of cash then we shall cover reels for us, fair weather fisherman, lol.

We are going to cover five-reel that ranges from around the £50 mark to around the £600 mark.

Now we only mention reels that we have/ or are using at this present time so hopefully, there is one in the for you. We wouldn’t promote a reel we do not use ourselves.

So here is a list of our 5 best bass lure reels

  • Daiwa LT Exist 4000
  • Shimano FI XG
  • Shimano Rarenium 4000
  • Shimano Exage 3000
  • Penn Clash 4000


5 best bass lure reels

Diawa LT Exist 4000:

As I mentioned earlier this Daiwa Exist totally blew me away. When the Bassman told me he’d forked out £600 on yet on another reel I was gobsmacked. He already has the Shimano Stella.

Weight: The Daiwa Exist is made from magnesium and is incredibly well designed. The lightness of the Diawa makes fishing a very comfortable ride indeed. The previous Exist was made of some sort of carbon-infused plastic called Xeon.

Drag System: The drag system on the Daiwa Exist features some of the latest reel technology called the ATD drag system. ATD stands for Automatic Tournament Drag. This effectively increases your hook up rate. This is another awesome feature of this amazing reel. The Exist can kick out up to 5kg in drag. Which compared to the old Exist that’s had 2kg this is a massive improvement.


Consistency: Whilst fishing with the Bassman his hook up rate is pretty good, to say the least. He insists the Diawa Exist automatic drag system make an enormous from hooking to powering that 70cm bass with relative ease.

Lubrication. Another amazing thing about this stunning piece of engineering is the fact that it’s only got the one screw holding it all together. Also, the magnetic oil that keeps them gear as running like a dream for years to come.

Casting: Well it wouldn’t worth the money if it didn’t cast amazingly. The LT Exist is ultra-smooth when firing your lure out to the horizon. The line lay is perfection with must be the reason for that silky execution of that line. The bail arm hardly makes a sound when engaged, so depending on your personal preferences you may like a click. Personally I want to know I clicked the bail arm over, we don’t want to snap off that £20 lure do we now.

Conclusion: Freakin awesome, maybe the best reel out there at the mo but the Shimano Stella is up next.

For the best price on Amazon for the Daiwa Exist CLICK HERE
5 best bass lure reels


Shimano Stella 4000

Well, there is definitely something to be said about Shimano reel: The next 3 reels we are going to review all Shimano.

But this Shimano Stella has to be the best out of the bunch. Or is it just plainly the best lure reel out there?

Price: Again, you would expect to pay at least around the £600 mark like the Exist it costs a bomb.  But it’s only expensive if you can’t afford it I was once told.

The looks amazing compared to the Exist but this isn’t a comparison review so let’s get into the performance of the Stella.

Power: This is a powerhouse of a reel with a 6.2to1 retrieve to fight that fish away from all the structure they will try and dive behind.

Drag: The latest Stella’s have all be upgraded for ultimate performance with a drag that is sublime. The Bassmans other favourite reels that have landed him more bass than I could dream about. The Shimano Stella pushes out an 11 kg of drag that is a serious amount of drag to wrestle the fattest of bass.

Weight: The weight is another trademark for the Stella weighing about the same sort of weight you’d expect from the highest of the high-end reels out there. The actual weight for this 4000 is 380g.

Engineering: The Shimano Stella has had major technological advancements so it’s optimum in performance. With its AL Aircraft grade aluminium and a one-piece bail arm and super light power handle who could resist this beauty.

Conclusion: Take out a second mortgage and put all your eggs in one basket.

For the best price on Amazon for the Shimano Stella FI XG CLICK HERE


Shimano Rarenium

Another classic reel from Shimano. Although nowhere near the same sort of spec as the Stella but if you’re just fishing a couple of times a week this is a great choice.

Weight:  Shimano seems to have the weight department in check. The Rarenium is by far no exception. The lightweight spool with its engineered holes makes the reel a comfortable ride. This is a favourite reel at Bass Masters Elite and is the Bassman spare just in case something goes wrong elsewhere. Not that it does but a great backup never the less.

Engineering: For the price,  engineering in the Rarenium is pretty faultless. This has powered in thousand of bass over the years with no hiccup ups. This is down to the Shimano engineering technology that makes Shimano the go-to reel for most lure anglers out there.

Drag: With the high-end reels especially the Daiwa Exist you can pretty much power the fish in with no problem. For me personally, I want to hear that spool screaming as you hook that unstoppable bass.

The majority of the fishing for the Bassman this year has been off our local point (sorry guys I can’t tell you where he’d kill me) to be honest that venue is not for the faint-hearted anyway. He has caught fish around the 65cm stamp. That particular area you would need a powerful reel of the Exist class otherwise you would lose your fish and your lure around the structure. Believe it or not, the fish seem to know where to run for cover. To be honest I loved hearing that reel screaming its little heart out and that Rarenium make a sweet noise…..fish on!

Conclusion: I would definitely get another one.


Shimano Exage 3000

Now if your broke and haven’t got a lot of time to go fishing put this on your Christmas wish list lol.

I’ve had this little beauty since I first seriously started lure fishing. To be 100% honest there has been some issue the more and more I used it that you probably wouldn’t get with a high-end reel. But with that being said all the issues were easily fixed.

One of the problems was wind knots. After experiencing those annoying braid knitting nightmares I realised it was down to the spool. (click here to read about solving wind knots) basically I had to raise the spool by removing it and placing a washer the piston rod that moves the spool up and down.

Bail Arm

The other problem was the bail arm but that could be down to falling over on the slippery seaweed.

Great Tip: These reels do not like being submerged in saltwater. Mine actually sounded like a bag of gravel spinning round rather than a fishing reel. This is probably down to the fact that the water gets into the mechanism…..they are not waterproof….don’t fall over.

Penn Clash 4000

This underrated reel in the lure department as most Penn beach and boat reels have stood the test of time.

Weight: The Penn Clash is not the lightest of reels but Penn famous for being strong and well built. It wouldn’t be my number surface lure reel but I suppose you could get the smaller version. Like my 3000 Exage, although I didn’t take that into consideration when I bought it.

Drag: The Penn Clash has a pretty slick carbon fibre drag which is up there with some of the other drag systems on the mid-range lure reels.Engineering: The guts if the Penn Clash something called the CNC Dura-Gear technology for longer-lasting and smooth gearing. I don’t know what the hell that means and didn’t know before I got the reel. I see it in another review, so thanks for that. It has CNC machined gears so built to last.

Conclusion: Penn? They never let us down and this Clash is of no exception. My first ever reel as a kid was a Penn Seaboy. I took it to bits on that Christmas morning and couldn’t put it back together again. In fact, it didn’t work properly again. They should never have put that spanner/screwdriver in the box lol.