October 2021

Sizing Up Spinning Reels

By : Mark Hicks

You can’t beat spinning tackle for casting light lures and the gossamer lines that give casting reels fits. Since spinning reels come in a variety of sizes, it’s important to determine which size or sizes you need.

The four most popular sizes for freshwater applications are often designated as 100, 200, 300 and 400, with 100 being the smallest. However, some models designate the same reel sizes in others.

Lew’s TLC2000 and TLC3000 Custom Pro reels handle all the spinning tactics employed by veteran bass pro Mark Davis of Ida, Arkansas. That’s saying a great deal, because Davis claims that he catches 50% of his bass with spinning tackle.

“Lew’s Custom Pro is a great reel for the money,” Davis said. “It’s smooth and has a good drag system.”

Davis opts for the smaller TLC2000 when fishing open water where abrasive cover isn’t an issue. This is typical of northern smallmouth lakes and rocky highland reservoirs.

“I fill that reel with 10- to 15-pound braid and tie on an 8- to 10-pound fluorocarbon leader,” Davis said. “If I’m using straight monofilament or fluorocarbon, I never go heavier than 8-pound test.”

This 2000 size spinning reel serves Davis well when he fishes a drop-shot rig or is casting shaky head worms, Ned Rigs and other light finesse baits.

Because the TLC3000 has a larger spool, it comes through for Davis when he needs to tame heavier lines, make longer casts or impart an upbeat retrieve.

“When I’m skipping docks or fishing some other cover with a wacky worm, I fill that reel with 15- or 20-pound braided line with a 12- or 15-pound fluorocarbon leader,” Davis said.

Although the TLC2000 and TLC3000 have the same 6.2:1 gear ratio, Davis pointed out that the bigger reel has a faster retrieve speed because its larger spool takes up more line with each revolution. This helps when Davis fishes bantam weight crankbaits.

“You can cast a bitty crankbait way farther with spinning tackle than with a casting rod, especially in windy conditions,” Davis said. “I use straight 8-pound monofilament for that.”

Davis also fills the TLC2000 spinning reel with 8-pound test monofilament to increase his casting distance with light jerkbaits, such as Strike King's KVD 100.

“I know guys who use 4000 size reels for things like Carolina rigging and dragging football jigs,” Davis said. “It’s all about what you’re comfortable with.”

He mounts Lew’s little TLC1000 spinning reel on a Wally Marshall Mr. Crappie rod and relegates it to panfishing and stream fishing with 4- to 8-pound monofilament.

Lew’s offers a wide variety of excellent spinning reels, from the value-priced Laser XL at $29.99 to their top-of-the-line Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin priced at $129.99.

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