Looking to get past all the options in fishing gear. These are a few of the top choices for 2021 in bass fishing gear. The choices take into account performance and cost. Anglers want performance, plus want to save on the price. These choices are a balance of cost and performance.
The equipment must perform or it is not worth any cost. In contrast, spending a lot is not a guarantee of performance. Plus, using equipment too big or small is not suitable. The equipment needs to fit the intended use.
Anglers new to fishing will get overwhelmed with recommendations to buy a specific rod or reel. The majority of rods and reels are comparable at the same price point. This article focuses on the equipment that stands apart considering performance and price.
In other words, these are the best deals. Feel free to ask others’ opinions on the suggestions on any social media. The vast majority of experienced anglers will agree with the choices I suggest below.
Top Choices in Fishing Gear for Bass
Bass anglers have the most choices in fishing gear. All manufacturers target this demographic. That said, some of the equipment stands out from the others. These pieces of tackle perform above the others at the price.
People have brand loyalty with fishing tackle. There is usually nothing wrong with loyalty. Yet you may not be choosing the best option for your tackle. Consider these other options in tackle choices.
Top Choices of Reels for Bass Fishing
An Angler needs to choose what type of reel they want for fishing. Do you want a spinning or baitcast reel? Both types are suitable for bass fishing. The reel types do perform better using different presentations and lures.
Finesse fishing a spinning reel tends to be the better choice. Hard cranking or casting all day a baitcaster is likely the better option. Plus, the gear ratios have an effect. Do you need a fast retrieve or more power? Higher ratios bring in line fast but sacrifice power with the cranking.
Note; Buying a cheaper baitcast reel is asking for problems with casting. They have poor brakes compared to the ones listed below. Save yourself a lot of grief. The Daiwa Fuego is the only reel under 100 worth buying in baitcast reels.
Shimano SLX DC
The Shimano SLX DC is a solid choice for a baitcasting reel. It is built on the same frame as the regular SLX. The advantage comes from the DC system. The DC system is digitally controlled braking. The system monitors spool speed and adjusts the brakes during a cast. DC brakes are not fool-proof but do help. The reel will need properly set up.
The setup is slightly more advanced on a DC model reel. You need to select the line type inside the brake cover. Afterward, the tension knob and brake dial on the outside are the adjustments. It is not hard so do not worry. The reel is easy to learn and cast.
- Compact Frame
- 3 gear ratios
- long power handle for cranking
- 11-12 pounds of drag
- All-metal Hagane body
- slightly more involved set up
- DC system raises price too much
The majority of anglers will not have any problems with the line capacity. It may limit distance for angler casting long distances with spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Plus if you regularly catch large pike or musky while bass fishing. A hundred yards is not much line after a long cast.
Daiwa Tatula SV TW
The Daiwa Tatula SV TW reel boasts a few more features than most reels at its price. The reel uses a T-wing guide reducing the line angle of the reel. This improves casting distance. It also has a lightweight spool to aid in the distance. These models have the easiest setup on a baitcast reel.
Daiwa sets the tension knob in the factory. This requires the angler to not have to adjust or very little with the tension knob. The magnetic brakes are set with the dial. Daiwa uses Mag-Force braking.
This style of braking creates a magnetic induction field to control spool speed. On a harder cast, the field is stronger. You still need to adjust the brakes for lure weight. It is very simple on this reel.
- Compact design
- 3 gear ratios
- drag 13 lbs.
- 90 mm. handle
- T-wing guide
- SV concept improves casting
- Palm friendly
Slightly high priced for class of reels, but not bad for the features
Although the price is higher. The reel does have more features. Anglers seeking more distance and ease of casting will like the benefit for the price. The Daiwa Mag-force braking is simple and does reduce backlashes. This is a beginner-friendly reel in the baitcaster style also.
The Shimano SLX is the base model. This model does not have any extra features. All the features are standard on modern baitcast reels. It does have an affordable price for budget-conscious anglers. That said, the performance will be slightly less in terms of casting distance. Plus without the DC system expect a few more backlashes on a harder cast.
- Compact Frame
- 3 gear ratios
- long power handle for cranking
- 11-12 pounds of drag
- All-metal Hagane body
Lower performance braking, but still good brakes
Overall this is a good entry-level reel. It has the same frame and many other components as the DC model. The main difference is it does not have advanced braking. Anglers needing to save money will like the price.
Daiwa Fuego CT
The Daiwa Fuego is the best budget-priced baitcaster reel on the market. The reel performs at a level equal to reels costing 30-40 dollars more. The reel has Daiwa’s Mag-Force braking. The braking is a big plus at the price. The braking keeps backlashes to a minimum. This aspect makes it a great reel for beginners to baitcast reels.
- Compact frame size
- Aluminum frame and composite side plates
- Magforce Z cast control
- 90-millimeter handle with comfort knobs
- Palm friendly
- Drag 13 lbs.
- Lacks T-wing
- Limited ratios available online.
- Available may be an issue ( they can be hard to find in stock).
A beginner will have good success with the reel. An experienced angle likely is seeking more features. The Daiwa Tatula CT is an option with the T-wing guide system. The cost does increase. The Tatula CT model will allow a few more yards casting. Plus flipping and pitching will have slightly better accuracy. This is due to less drag on the guide with the T-wing system
Spinning reels are used for bass fishing. Pro anglers use spinning reels for finesse presentations. These reels will work for any type of bass fishing. You will lose performance with high resistance or heavy lures. An angler throwing big spinnerbaits or crankbaits a lot will notice the difference. Otherwise, a spinning reel is fine. These are the top choices in bass fishing gear.
Shimano Stradic CI4+ FB Spinning Reel
The Stradic is the top choice in spinning reels. The reel cranks effortlessly and smoothly. It is ideal for finesse fishing, plus works for other styles. The reel is lightweight. A big factor in reducing arm fatigue. The reel uses modern materials and design to achieve strength and lower weight. The design places the center of balance closer to the rod. This improves the feel and balance.
Anglers using the lighter rigs will see a great performance from the reel. Using wacky rigs, Ned rigs, or drops shots for bass? This is the best reel to use. The balance, feel, and smoothness all enhance the use of lighter rigs. You can easily feel the bites or bring up the slack for a hook set.
- Upgraded with the latest Shimano technology
- Magnumlite Rotor is 25% lighter than previous styles
- Delivers a light, almost-effortless feel when winding
- G-Free Body design: maximum comfort, minimum fatigue
- Advanced CoreProtect water resistance
- Super-light, strong CI4+ carbon body
- Ultra-hard Hagane® cold forged drive gear
- X-Ship pinion gear support system
- 7-bearing system
- 6 S A-RB shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- Super Stopper II anti-reverse roller bearing
- Advanced AR-C spool design plus Power Roller
- 1-Piece Bail for unimpeded line flow
- Availability, it is usually out of stock. It will likely be a backordered product.
The reel boasts a lot of features. The downside is availability. The reel is out of stock at a fair price. Popularity creates high demand. As a result, some vendors charge 30-40% more if they have it in stock. In other words, you will likely have to wait a month or two to get the reel at the suggested price. Plan on buying early to get a better price.
Daiwa Fuego LT Spinning Reel
The Daiwa Fuego is a great value at the price. The reel uses the light but tough design concept. Granted the reel is not as light as the Stradic but does cost less. The performance is smooth. The reel is an all-around performer. It works well with finesse fishing. Plus can handle spinnerbaits up to 3/8th of an ounce and jerkbaits easily.
Anglers looking for one reel to fit a wide range of presentations will like the Fuego spinning reel. It is light enough to limit arm fatigue for all-day fishing.
- Lightweight, sturdy carbon-infused housing
- Air Rotor with Air Bail
- DigiGear computer-driven gear design
- Magsealed technology protects the main shaft
- Buttery smooth 7-bearing (6+1) system
- An extremely powerful drag system
- Ergonomic machined aluminum handle
- Drag may be inconsistent when set high for heavier lines
- Erratic prices between vendors
The reel has the features to perform well in most applications. Using the reel with a higher strength line may cause the drag to hang slightly at times. This is likely not a problem for freshwater fishing. In saltwater with a stronger line, it may cause an issue. The price does vary greatly amongst different vendors.
Shimano Sedona FI Spinning Reel
The Shimano Sedona has an exceptional line retrieve rate. Fishing rigs and jigs are easier with the reel. A turn of the handle brings up the slack. The 3000 size reel balances nicely with a medium power rod about 7 feet long. This combo is accurate and gives a good distance for finesse fishing. Anglers looking for a finesse set-up at a reasonable price will like this reel.
The reel works very well for presentations with slack in the line. Throwing light rigs or jerkbaits is ideal with the reel. Using big spinnerbaits with Colorado blades or deep diving crankbaits. You will feel some resistance while cranking. Once a fish is hooked it will bring them in fast.
- Significantly upgraded performance, affordable price
- Lighter, stronger, faster, and more durable than ever
- Lighter weight G-Free body construction
- Super-lightweight Magnumlite rotor
- Cold-forged Hagane gears for ultimate durability
- Higher gear ratios (except 1000 size)
- Increased drag power (except 1000 size)
- Smooth, trouble-free 3+1 ball bearing system
- Lacks cranking power for high resistance lures. Large bladed lures and crankbaits are hard to reel.
- Does not have an anti-reverse switch, unable to reel backward if the need arises.
The reel performs solidly for the price. A better performing reel will cost more. This reel is best for finesse style fishing with lures creating some slack in the line.
Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel
Anglers looking for good performance, all-around use, and a budget-friendly price. Will be satisfied with the President. The reel is very popular among entry-level and budget-minded anglers. It has good performance at the price point. I consider the reel the best beginner spinning reel on the market. Achieving better performance requires spending more money.
- Light and smooth
- Aluminum main shaft is 30% lighter than stainless steel
- Aluminum pinion gear weighs 60% less than brass
- Strong carbon handle is 21% lighter than aluminum
- Corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings
- Instant anti-reverse
- Smooth, reliable sealed drag system
- Braid-ready spool
- Questionable lubrication from the factory, recommend lubing prior to use.
- Needs regular maintenance to prevent corrosion on aluminum parts
The reel is a good performing model. The all-around use is a plus. The maintenance is the downside. You need to keep water out of the reel and clean it more often with regular to heavy use. There is always a trade-off with lower-cost equipment. Doing proper maintenance the reel will last for years.
Daiwa Regal LT Spinning Reel
The Regal is a low-cost reel for all-around use. This reel will not hurt the budget. This is considered a workhorse reel. It is slightly heavier by an ounce or two. But it has solid construction in a value-priced reel. Entry-level or occasional anglers will be well served by the reel. This is a reel for trying out fishing or for a low-cost back-up model.
The Daiwa Legalist is comparable and slightly lighter. If weight is a concern, look at the legalist model. The slightly lighter weight will help limit arm and wrist fatigue.
- Redesigned workhorse reel
- Part of Daiwa’s Light but Tough series
- A rigid, lightweight true carbon frame
- Balanced Air Rotor with Air Bail system
- Smooth 9+1 bearing system
- ATD drag for smooth power
- Machined aluminum handle
- Limited sizes
- lower quality components
This reel is for value-minded anglers. It performs well for the intended use. Anglers fishing a few times a week and throwing lures mainly should look at a better quality reel. That said, if you fish less often and use live bait it is a very good choice in a budget reel.
A rod is the most important piece of equipment for bass fishing. The rod must be sensitive to feel light bites, ticks off rocks, and what the lure is doing in the water. In addition, the rod requires a good backbone. The backbone is a mix of power and action.
The power for bass fishing is either a medium or medium-heavy power. In a few presentations, a heavy bass rod is best. Those are larger swimbaits and lures weighing over 3/4 of an ounce. The fast action is the all-around choice. An angler throwing lures with treble hooks may want a moderate-fast or moderate action.
The general rule for action. Single point hooks use a fast or extra-fast action. Multi-point hooks use a moderate to moderate-fast action. Choose action based on the number of hook points. If in doubt use fast action rods. In regards to rods, these are the top choices in bass fishing gear.
The following rods come in spinning and casting models. A few offer one and two-piece options. Two of the rods are in the moderate price range. The other four are in the lower cost range. All have good performance and sensitivity for their price range. You have to decide which are your top choices in bass fishing gear.
Note: anglers using bargain combos need to be aware. The bargain rods tend to be durable. They do lack in performance. The better performing rods will break easier with poor habits. High sticking and other poor habits will break a rod.
G. Loomis E6X Rod
G. Loomis is the elite of fishing rods. The base model comes in as the top choice on the list. The rod has exceptional sensitivity to feel every nuance at the other end of the line. This rod uses high-quality components to add to the experience. The rod is the entry-level rod for superior performance rods.
These rods are technique specific. You choose the power and action based on presentation and lure type. The Mag-Bass is more or less the overall use version. Plus the rod comes in pitch and flipping or crankbait versions. The rods come in several powers and actions. Also, the length can be chosen for your specific needs.
- Affordable technique-specific models
- Lightweight with tremendous strength
- Amazing sensibility
- Reduced guide sizing
- Full cork grip handles,
- Slim, contoured grip design
- Fuji® aluminum oxide guides
- Great with braided lines
- Fuji ECS reel seats
- Price, it is an appropriate price, but some angler will find over their budget.
The grip is comfortable in the hand. The sensitivity is easily felt due to the reel seat, blank, and handle. The models have smaller guides for better line control on the cast. The light eliminates arm and wrist fatigue for long days of fishing. The price is fair for the quality of the rod. It is more than the average angler generally likes to spend.
Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Bass
Temple Fork Outfitters was founded by Gary Loomis. The same G. Loomis with the name on the rod. These rods excel in performance. The Tactical Bass is their entry to the bass market. The rods are affordable and perform. At the same cost as a few other rods, it is the top performer. Plus a lifetime warranty on the rod.
Any angler will enjoy the lightweight responsive design of the rod. The rod does well flipping, pitching, frogging, and throwing cranks or spinnerbaits. It will fit into an anglers set-ups for these reasons.
- Technique-specific fast-action bass rods
- Exceptional sensitivity and responsiveness
- Lightweight yet durable
- Premier intermediate-modulus carbon fiber blank
- Pac Bay Minima Stainless Steel SV guide
- Feel-through skeletal reel seat
- Premium split cork grips
- EVA foam butt cap and accent rings
- Mfrs. lifetime warranty
- Limited length options
- Limited action options
The skeletal reel seat delivers phenomenal sensitivity for any presentation. The grips feel good in the hand. The guides add to the lighter weight and sensitivity. The only drawback is the lack of lengths and actions. A shorter rod would be better for many shore anglers. The only action is fast. A moderate-fast would be nice for treble hook lures.
St. Croix Mojo Bass Rod
The St. Croix Bass Mojo is a popular choice. Anglers looking to upgrade from the entry-level like this rod for the next step. It has a moderate price. An additional advantage is availability in one or two-piece construction. Angler tight on the room will like a rod that breaks down. The rod can be transported in a small car also. The rod comes in many lengths, powers, and actions. There is a glass blend model for the serious crankbait angler.
- Premium-quality SCIII graphite
- Technique-specific bass series designed and built for superior performance
- Kigan Master Hand 3D guides
- Fuji ECS reel seat/black hood on casting models
- Split-grip/premium-grade cork handle
- Two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish
- 5-year warranty
- Handles could be better quality
All the options in power and action will fit any need of the angler. One model boasts a 1-4 ounce lure rating. You can throw the large swimbaits with ease. Looking for finesse, they have it covered as well. Check for the lure rating and action that fits your needs.
The only knock against the rod is some anglers having issues with the handles coming loose. It appears to be rectified in 2020 but only time will tell.
St. Croix Bass X Rod
Bass X is St. Croix’s entry-level model. This is one of the top choices in bass fishing gear for beginners. An experienced angler will find the rod a good choice also. The rod comes in medium to heavy power. The actions range from moderate to extra-fast. The sensitivity is slightly less than the Mojo model. It is still good but not at the level of the higher priced rods.
The options in power and action fit most needs for an angler. The majority will work with any lure at an acceptable level. A crankbait specific choice is a moderate or moderate-fast action available on 3 models. Also, the models include one for swimbaits rated at 1-4 ounces.
- Legendary quality, wallet-friendly price
- Premium SCII graphite blanks
- Black-framed aluminum-oxide guides
- Split-grip handle design with premium-grade cork
- Fuji ECS reel seat with a black hood
- Finished with 2 coats of Flex-Coat slow cure
- 5-year warranty
Limited options between powers, lengths, and actions.
The rod is a good choice for all-around or specific presentations. However, the choices are limited. The lengths of a few of the specific use rods are long. There are no options for a shorter version. This could be a problem for shore anglers.
Fenwick HMG Rod
Fenwick rods are a great choice for beginners or anglers on a budget. The sensitivity and backbone perform well. You feel what the lure is doing easily. The rods provide a solid hookset without a hard jerk. These two aspects are key in bass fishing. The rods transmit the feel of the lure at a level equal to rods costing 40-50% more in price. Plus the lightweight is a pleasure when casting for hours.
- High-end lightweight blank technology
- Carbon Bound spiral-wrapped
- Fuji guides with Alconite inserts
- Positive Lock soft-touch reel
- Premium-grade cork handle
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Limited options
- All-purpose models only
Although an exceptional performing rod for the price. The lack of options limits the rod. There is not a swimbait model and only one suitable for crankbaits. An angler using a variety of lures will do fine in light of the limited options. This is a very good rod for beginners or an extra rod for experienced anglers.
Fenwick HMX Rod
The HMX is a lower cost option to the HMG. It has a good selection in the spinning model. Yet the casting model only has two choices. This rod is good for finesse fishing or when a lighter power is desired. The sensitivity is good, better than other rods at the price. It is lightweight and responsive. The rod performs better than any other rod below a hundred dollars. Anglers on a strict budget will do well with the HMX.
- Exceptional action with great sensitivity
- Modulus carbon fiber blank construction
- Sea Guide stainless steel guide frames
- Zirconium oxide inserts
- TAC and cork handle
- 5-Year warranty
- Limited option in the casting model.
- Lower quality handle but has a good feel.
The casting models are too limited, but the spinning models are good with the options. Anglers will find the sensitivity and responsiveness performing well above the price. Looking for an all-around rod or finesse specific model. This is a good choice in the spinning options.
The top choices in bass fishing gear for 2021 do have limited choices. The items are chosen to exhibit better performance at the price point. There is a lot of gear in the price ranges. These were chosen due to cost versus performance. In other words, these items perform the best in their price range.