Spinning rods & reels are fine for most smallmouth bass situations. Because many of the top smallmouth bass destinations have clear water, anglers usually use very light line and medium to light action spinning rods with 6 to 8 pound test line are the gear of choice. You can definitely go heavier too, but since smallmouth bass are usually around rocks, you don’t need the heavy gear that you would need for targeting largemouth bass in the weeds or wood. For most smallmouth situations, you can use spinning rods and reels with line in the 6 to 10 pound class and be just fine. Spinning rods and reels work well for live bait fishing and artificials.
Baitcasters work great when fishing for smallmouth bass. For the anglers that prefer the baitcaster, these rods work great for fishing with some of the heavier lures that you’ll be using. You probably won’t be fishing in too many situations where you’ll need the real heavy gear like with largemouth bass, but if you’re fishing 10 to 20 pound line with jigs, crankbaits, swimbaits and some of the other heavier lures, a baitcaster will definitely get the job done.