Bigger/lighter spinning reels are better

Alan McGuckin

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

I’ve always preferred larger spinning reels than most anglers.

While the majority use the “30” size for their finesse fishing, I’ve leaned toward Quantum’s “40” size for most of my spinning tackle applications.

Sure, there are some disadvantages to the heavier reel but, in my mind, the size advantage trumps the weight difference.

Thanks to the new Quantum EXO Size 40 spinning reels for 2013, that weight difference has been diminished.

Quantum engineers have found a way to reduce the weight in the EXO 40 by nearly 2 ounces, making it one of the lightest 40 reels on the market. They did it without sacrificing quality, performance or durability.

There’s no question that lighter reels balance rods better and make them more sensitive.

Since I’ve begun playing with EXO 40, I’ve noticed a substantial difference in how much better I can feel my bait than I could when I was using older style 40s.

I’m a firm believer in the larger spool because it makes spinning tackle so much easier to use in a variety of applications.

Line management is one of areas. You get far fewer “woofers” – that’s what I call line blow-ups caused from twist or tangles – that occur occasionally with smaller spinning reels. You can also step up your line size without noticeable problems, and casting distance is vastly improved. I often spool a spinning reel with 30-pound braid, and while the diameter is smaller than mono or fluorocarbon of equivalent size, I gain more strength yet retain castability with the larger spinning reel.

Remember, I grew up fishing the Great Lakes and in clear water, where long casts with finesse baits is critical to getting more bites. Casting distance with larger-spooled spinning reels, regardless of line size, is substantially better.

Also, if you have problems fishing fluorocarbon on spinning reels because the line isn’t supple enough, you’ll find those reduced when fishing it on 40 size reels.

Another benefit to larger spools is retrieve speed. While gear ratios certainly impact that, spool size is equally important. With larger spools you take up more line per turn. For example, with the EXO 40, I retrieve 3 feet of line with one turn of the handle. With most 30 size reels, you get about 30 inches of line per turn. With more inches of line per turn, you gain power and speed.

Without question, I prefer baitcast tackle for heavy duty fishing, but spinning allows me to fish lighter baits, especially in the wind, on longer casts. For example, I may throw a small jerkbait, crankbait and even little topwaters on a spinning rod. It enables me to make subtle presentations on longer casts when that’s what the bass want.

I still prefer the EXO 30 for most drop shotting applications because casting distance isn’t an issue and it's even lighter (7.4 ounces). But now that I’ve had some time with EXO 40, I may employ that in my drop shotting.

So, my advice to you is to consider stepping up your size for spinning tackle, especially if you’ve been having line management problems. Just remember that overall spool size is critical and not all spool sizes are equal, even on the size 40 reels. When shopping, compare weights, too.

You’ll become more efficient with a larger spool and lighter reel and that translates to better success.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

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