Lightweight Spinning Setup for Bass


Fishing for bass is mostly done on a baitcasting setup using medium to small sized lures. However it is possible to use some very small lures if you have the right tackle setup.

A good ultralight setup is much better than any baitcaster at throwing light lures right where you want them.


In general you are going to want to choose a spinning reel of not more than 3500 in size.

Depending on just how light you want to go a 1000 or 2500 sized reel is best.

You can view a buying guide for ultralight spinning reels on In that article there are a number of different reels ranging from an expensive Shimano down to a cheaper President.

Personally I always find you get the best value out of fishing tackle if you go for the mid-range priced offerings from the main manufacturers.


A rod that is best suited to ultralight fishing is going to be about 6’6″ in length and have a fast action.

You’ll not need a line rating any higher than 6 lbs. Ultralight rods are always spinning rods so if you are tempted to use a baitcasting rod then that won’t work with a spinning reel.


Monofilament is the go to lie of choice for light tackle. Braid is really not that good in really lighter weights.

Rating wise you need to go with 6 pound or less. The rod and line rating should always be matched if you want to get the very best performance from you casting.


The whole point of using an ultralight spinning setup for bass is so that you can use light and small lures.

Spinners, although spinners are mostly used for trout you can still catch bass on smaller inline type spinners.

Look out for Mepps, Short Strikers and Panther Martins are the go to lures here.

You can vary the body color and the blade colors, but in my experience a silver blade seems to work best for small-mouth bass.

Depending on the time of year and the water color you can also use a dressed treble hook on your spinner. This are already included with the Panther Martins. Black and dark olive/green are the best colors to use on the dressing.

Crankbaits in the smaller sizes can be extremely effective for bass right after spawning season as they are quite aggressive when protecting their nesting spots. You can use the usual bass crankbaits only in smaller sizes.

The smaller sized crankbaits will tend to run quite shallow so there are best used close in beside weed beds and other underwater structures.

Other Considerations

Bass fishing using light tackle can be a heck of a lot of fun if you are prepared to get your tackle right and you target the fish in the right spots.

Make sure to always be very quite when fishing with light gear. Chances are the bass are near the surface of the water. Surface fish will tend to spook a lot easier so being quite and not wearing anything that is too bright is the best approach.

You may also want to get a good pair of fishing sunglasses that are polarized to help reduce surface glare.






Topwater Lures for Bass

Fishing topwater lures for bass is definitely one of the most fun and exciting way to target bass.

Nothing beats seeing a lure hit hard from below as a bass moves quickly up from the depths.

Topwater fishing is one of the most visually rewarding ways to fish for bass.

For a lot of fishermen however it can also be one of the most frustrating.

If you have ever targeted bass in this way you will know that you need to use the right lure at the right time and to use it in such a way that the bass cannot help but hit it hard.

When to Use a Topwater Lure

Traditionally the main times of the year to use a topwater lure is late spring and early summer. This is when bass can be at there most active.

The reason why bass are most active during these times is mostly down to water temperature. They tend to be quite inactive below 55 degrees and above 80 degrees.

Between these temps and during late spring and early summer is when bass will tend to reproduce or spawn. During this time the male bass become very territorial and will strike hard at any kind of intruder near their nesting area.

The best time of the day to fish a topwater lure is either dawn or dusk. Bass unlike other fish and mammals cannot adjust their eyes to the changes in light from the sun during the day.

At the height of the sun between morning and evening bass will generally hide in the shade away from the intense bright light of the midday sun.

You can of course target them here but you will have much better luck by getting up early or waiting until later in the evening.

Types of Topwater Lures

There are a number of different types of topwater lures available they all have one thing in common; they try to imitate some form of natural food that a bass might feed on.

You can find a lot of lures that are designed to imitate an injured baitfish that is making small disturbances on the water surface. These can be called poppers/chuggers or walkers.

Then there are those that directly imitate a type of small animal of insect that bass feed on like frogs, small ducks, grasshoppers and jitterbugs.


Chuggers or poppers have a small concave shaped mouth on them that as they are retrieved causing the lure to make a small splash and a little noise referred to as a pop. The pop is caused by the shape of the head of the lure and the noise that the bubbles it forms make.


Walkers as the name suggests are designed to be “walked” along the surface by flicking your wrist as you reel them in. The flicking causing the lure to dart from side to side. The darting makes a small wave on the surface of the water which the bass are attracted to.


Small plastic frogs and other such imitations are really great for bass. The bass will tend to strike these types of lures really hard as they are generally larger than the poppers or walkers above.


Spinning for Bass

Although a lot of fella’s do tend to stick to a baitcasting setup when bass fishing there are times when a spinning rod and reel will make better sense.

For me the advantages of a spinning rig is that you can cast a lot of light weight lures with a good bit more accuracy than on a bait caster.

Lighter lures tend to look a bit more natural than bigger heavier lures. So if it is early season or a very bright day you will want to use smaller lures and lighter lines so as not to spook the bass quite so easily.

Spinning for Bass

When using a spinning setup for bass not only can you use light lines and smaller lures to really target bass, you can also fish with a lot more accuracy if using different types of rigs when using bait or artificial worms or plastics.

During the early season right before the bass begin to spawn you will generally find them in the shallows. The males are preparing nesting area’s with the females moving in latter on to mate.

When fishing for bass in shallow water presentation is everything. That means lighter lines than normal and smaller lures or well presented baits on either a drop shot or a wacky rig. You can use soft plastics on these rigs and also Wacky Worms.


Plastic worms do require a bit more finesse that say fishing with a crankbait.

At this time of the year the bass will strike hard at anything that comes near the nesting area so be sure to have a lighter drag setting than normal.

When you are using very light lines a lighter drag will help to ensure that the line does not snap too easily especially when you strike.

Reel size will generally be from 1500 up to about a 3500. There is not much need to go any higher than the 3500.

With a 1500 sized reel you can use as low as 4 lbs test fishing line which should be as about as low a line you should need to go for bass fishing.

Spinning Reel vs Baitcasting Reel

A baitcaster is great when you need to cast large or medium sized lures a good distance. The main advantage over a spinning reel that you can use your thumb to accurately control the line. As you apply pressure on the spool you can gently or quickly slow the line down.

This type of control is not quite as easy as with a spinning reel.

Baitcasters work best with 8 lbs line and up. Whereas a spinning reel is much better once you want to go below 8 lbs fishing line.

With a spinning reel paired with the right power rod you can throw some very small lures. Small spinners and crankbaits as well as very light soft plastic lures.

When using a baitcaster however, it is not always quite so easy to use the smaller weighted lures.

Trolling for Bass

If you happen to have a larger sized spinning reel you can of course use it for trolling.

If you have a size 3000 or 4000 spinning reel it can comfortably handle 10 – 15 lbs fishing line which is perfect for trolling with.

You can of course use a slightly lighter leader if you are looking for the best presentation possible.

When trolling for bass you are best to troll along the weed beds and other structures that bass are known to live beside.

Trolling with a spinning setup does require a larger reel as mentioned earlier but it also needs a heavier rod.

Look for a rod with a medium to heavy power rating and a medium action on the tip. A lightweight spinning rod is really not suitable when trolling as they are just too light to handle the extra loads that trolling places on your gear.



My Favorite Bass Lures

I’ve been bass fishing for close on 20 years now and along the way I have used a lot of different bass lures.

One thing is for certain bass fishermen are spoiled for choice when it comes the number of different types, colors, shapes and sizes of lures that can be bought.

It’s not uncommon to see a bass fisherman’s boat with up to 5 different tackle box’s all filled with lures.

Different lures are used best at different times of the year and it is usually tied into where and when the bass are moving about on the lakes.

My Top 5 Bass Lures

Here are a few of my top choices, in no particular order:



Spinnerbaits are great as just like cranbaits they can be used to cover a lot of water. They do look slightly odd with their spinning blade and  plastic skirt or head but are still strangely affective.

They are also fairly weedless so if you are fishing beside a lot of weed cover in the summer you can almost be sure that you won’t end up with weed on your hook. The reason they are weedless baits is that the rubber skirt will usually over the hook and protects it from picking up any weed.



I love fishing crankbaits! Cranbaits will almost always be imitating small bait fish that the bass will feed on naturally. And because they imitate small fish that the bass will chase after you can almost always be certain that the bass will hit the crankbaits pretty hard.

This makes for a lot of fun. My favorite types are usually a shade imitator with some kind of natural pattern painted on. Occasionally though the un-natural bright colors can do very well especially in darker waters.

Plastic Worms

Plastic worms work best when the bass are slow moving and you can get it in front of them. Once in front of them a slight twice is what I find best to entice the bass into striking.

You can also get scented ones too but I don’t use them all that often.



Jigs are a bit like worms also in that they can be really affective when the bass are feeling a little bit lazy. A good jig works best as it sinks down or around some kind of underwater structure.

Getting the best out of fishing a jig for bass means that you should be trying to cast as accurately as possible so it sinks right where you want it.

Topwater Lures

Topwater lures are even more exciting than when you are fishing a cranbait. With a topwater you get to see the bass striking the lure.

Topwater lures come in all shapes and sizes and some of them will imitate the different creatures that bass will feed on like small frogs, baby ducks and even large crickets.

Some topwater lures will also have a small spinner on the back. As the lure moves through the water the spinner will causes a wake behind the lure. This is a very powerful attractant to the bass who will generally hunt by sight especially in the top few feet of water.


There you have my favorite bass lures of course the colors and sizes will generally depend on where you are fishing and how bright the sun is on that particular day.

Personally I have hundreds of lures collected down through the years heck my wife thinks I have a slight obsession 🙂

If you are just starting out best to ask an experienced fisherman in your local area and they can try to steer you in the right direction.