With hundreds of different items in the market, it isn’t easy picking out the best saltwater spinning reel. You will have so many questions on your mind and not every product you see will have the answer to all your questions.
But a selection must be made and it must be the kind of reel that works best for your targeted saltwater species, have all the essential features and of course not cost you an arm and a leg (unless you can afford it).
We have compiled a list of the best saltwater spinning reels which we believe carry great value and are great tools to add to your collection of fishing equipment. These reels are designed to handle the harsh conditions of the environment as well as the beatings they will encounter from a fighting fish.
If you are interested in buying your first reel then you will surely find something from the ones we have reviewed here for you because we have screened, compared, and filtered a great number of reels to come up with our top 10 models.
Related article: Best Spincast Reels
Saltwater Spinning Reel Reviews!
1.Penn Spinfisher VI Saltwater Spinning Reel
The first fishing spinning reel on this list is the Penn 1481260 Spinfisher VI Spinning Saltwater Reel. As the name suggests it is suitable for saltwater fishing and appropriate for regular anglers.
It has an IPX5 sealed body which means if large waves hit the Saltwater Spinning Reel or if it somehow falls into the water, the saltwater cannot get inside the gearbox or the drag system.
The reel has a 6.2:1 gear ratio. It comes with CNC gear technology and HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers which have a fully sealed spool that gives enough power to catch the enormous saltwater fishes.
The reel features a full metal body and side plate that keep the CNC gear system precisely aligned even under very heavy loads. So, you can tell it won’t be broken that easily and is very sturdy.
The bearing count for the reel is 6 and it goes 33 inches per turn, which means it’s easy to pull the string back and the fish comes up smoothly.
The maximum drag or weight capacity of this spinning reel is 15 pounds/ 6.8 kg, so you can catch a giant fish and know that the reel is strong enough to hold it and pull it up. Also, the reel is very budget-friendly and affordable.
- Strong and sturdy
- Sealed body and spool design
- Good for surf fishing.
- Renowned and trustworthy brand.
- Saltwater spinning reel under 200
- Some customers got defective products.
2.Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel
Next on our list, we have the Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel. It comes in 7 different models ranging from 2500 to 8000. The models from 2500 to 4000 are more lightweight than the higher models. The lightest is 2500 which is 9.5 oz. and the heaviest is the 8000 models weighing 30 oz.
The Daiwa Saltist Saltwater Spinning Reel mainly targets fishing large pelagic fishes. You can fish from either a boat or from the beach.
This Saltwater Spinning Reel is rugged and durable and it features a mag-sealed main shaft, line roller, and corrosion resistant ball bearings (CRBB) that ensure the smoothness lasts long enough and gives high performance.
The bearing count for some models is 7/8 CRBB while others are 1 MBB.
The reel comes with a body and side cover made of a metal alloy called “HardBodyz”. The Saltist spinning reel uses the Digigear digital gears that provide high performance and durability.
It features a lightweight air rotor design and the bail is made of what they call Air-Bail and uses a design of the tubular principle to add strength and reduce weight at the same time.
Alongside that, it comes with a dynamic cut aluminum ABS spool. It also features a waterproof carbon Automatic Tournament Drag (ATD) system and an infinite anti-reverse system. The Daiwa Saltist reel is rather expensive compared to the other reels on this list.
- Waterproof drag system
- The product comes with a warranty period.
- Not budget-friendly.
3.Penn Battle II Saltwater Spinning Reel
Best reviews and top-rated spinning reel in the market! This one is called Battle II, and it costs good money. But as you would expect, it offers great performance in exchange!
Battle II, which actually includes reels of different sizes, is specifically designed for catching saltwater gamefish. Hence the heavy-duty design of the reel: it features a full-metal body, rotor, side plate, as well as aluminum bail wire. On the other hand, Battle II is quite heavy, which maybe not such a great thing if your angling tasks require a lot of casts.
Battle II reel has the same HT-100 water-tight sealing that Spinfisher V had. It is quite efficient, but don’t expect it to be completely waterproof.
This fishing reel also features a fluid cranking system equipped with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings, as well as 1 roller bearing for instant anti-reverse action. Overall, the fluid cranking system of Battle II has everything necessary for delivering smooth line retrieving.
Battle II also has the familiar capacity rings that show how much of the line is still left on the spool.
Penn Battle II comes in sizes from 1000 to 8000. The max drag goes from 9 to 30 pounds from the smallest to the largest version. Apart from that, the gear ratio of the 2000 – 5000 sizes is 6.2:1, 5.6:1 for the 6000, 5.3:1 for the 8000, and 5.2:1 for 1000.
- High-quality and durable.
- Water-tight sealing.
- Smooth fluid cranking and drag.
- Equipped with line capacity rings.
- Very heavy.
4.Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reel
The Okuma Azores is a Saltwater Spinning Reel designed for saltwater fishing when targeting medium to big species. The big spool and dependable dual drag system will give you a smooth line retrieve and also enough torque to tackle hard fighting fish with ease.
The dual force drag system with a drag force of 20 kg engages both surfaces of the spool for smooth and even pressure while maximizing the force to the maximum. This also ensures stability and a better balance than single drag systems. With a quick set anti-reverse system you can be sure of a solid hoot-set and increased control.
The Z 65S has a gear ratio of 5.4:1 which is more on the lower end so you can expect a lot of cranking power when trying to bring in the strong and hard fighting species. There are 6 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing to enable smooth movement and frictionless mechanism of the reel.
- Durable aluminum housing with anti-corrosion feature
- The high number of bearing for smoother and low noise engaging
- A sturdy constructed handle with an ergonomic handle knob
- Dual force drag system ensures the balanced drag
- Oversized main shaft
- A few customers reported that the line retrieve was not very smooth when trying to reel in the bigger species.
5.Abu Garcia Revo Inshore
If you find yourself targeting species that tend to get away quickly then you must steer clear of low geared reels because they will give you cranking power but will not do much for you in terms of speedy line retrieves.
Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Spinning Reel is designed for saltwater fishing and is perfect for jigs and big worms, jerk baits, shaky heads, and any lure that you will initially have to engage in with your rod tip. The internal mechanisms are protected with 6 stainless steel hpcr Bearings + 1 roller bearing which keeps things running smooth and also provides you with a noise-free operation.
Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Spinning Reel is corrosion-resistant which is essential when it comes to saltwater fishing equipment.
The rotor is C6 carbon, keeping the reel super light and easy to handle but at the same time keeping the strength on. The carbon matrix drag system works smoothly and allows you to tackle your target without breaking a sweat. Other features include an anti-reverse system and an ergonomic quick side-switch handle on durable lightweight carbon reel housing.
- Strong and anti-corrosion
- Perfect for saltwater fishing
- Saltwater spinning reel under $300
- Adjustable drag
- It does not come with an extra spool.
6.PENN Slammer III Saltwater Spinning Reel
PENN is a popular name among anglers of all skill levels and their saltwater spinning reels come equipped with features that make both boat fishing and fishing from shore a lot more enjoyable.
PENN Slammer III Spinning Reel is designed with a full metal housing, side plate, and rotor for heavy-duty fishing in both freshwater and saltwater. It incorporates the CNC gear technology and the new IPX6 Sealed System which keeps all corrosive agents out of the gearbox.
The drag system is also sealed for protection which enables the reel to withstand all the harsh effects of saltwater. Since the reel is available in a number of different sizes, you just have to match the reel size to your preferred targeted species for accuracy and the best fishing experience.
Despite the great torque, this reel is quite light and very easy to use. If you want a stylish looking reel with high drag power and smooth line retrieves for plugging and surfcasting, then you will not be disappointed with this model.
- Great for freshwater and saltwater fishing
- Ideal for heavy-duty fishing
- Available in various sizes
- Durable housing
- best saltwater spinning reel under $300
- The reel felt a bit stiff for some
- A few customers had difficulty winding the line properly on the spool
7.Piscifun Carbon X Saltwater Spinning Reel
The Carbon X Spinning reel is ultralight fishing tools designed to chase and land big fish. With a 6.2:1 gear ratio, you will be able to retrieve the species that tend to use more speed than power when trying to escape.
The Carbon X protects its internal mechanism and gives the angler a smooth reeling experience by incorporating 10+1 double-shielded stainless ball bearings with anti-corrosion coating, making them ideal for the saltwater activity. The lightweight carbon frame weighs at only 7.8 oz so you can take out your reel for a whole day of fishing without any fatigue.
The sealed drag system comes with a drag power of 22 lbs and is designed with triple premium carbon drag washers for a quick and powerful drag. The direct screw in the handle enables a fast removal, switch, and attachment of the handle from one side to the other.
- One of the lightest spinning reels in the market
- Great speed and smoothness in line retrieve
- High-grade stainless steel ball bearings
- Some customers mentioned that the drag wasn’t as smooth as expected
8.SHIMANO SARAGOSA SW
For over 80 years, Shimano has been a pioneer in creating innovative products with quality components combined with precision engineering, and the Shimano Saragosa SW offshore spinning reel is no exception.
The Saragosa SW reel is a saltwater reel built with high-quality components. This reel incorporates Shimano’s flagship HAGANE Gearing technology that provides incredible strength, performance, and durability for both inshore and offshore fishing. For ultimate smoothness and power, the Saragosa SW is fitted with the X-SHIP technology to deliver the promised results.
The Shimano Saragosa SW offshore Saltwater Spinning Reel offers incredible performance and durability to tackle almost any fishing activity in fresh or saltwater. The X-Ship technology delivers improved gear durability and ablates the friction resulting from the spool shaft and gear. This enhances the overall casting performance allowing anglers to throw longer casts.
In addition, the Saragosa SW is equipped with Cross Carbon Drag for long-lasting and smooth drag which is helpful when countering fast, powerful runs from larger pelagic species. Like, HAGANE Gearing, the Cross Carbon Drag is also an invention from Shimano. This spinning reel also features an efficient 5 ball and 1 roller stainless steel bearing system. The Shimano Saragosa SW is available in 5 sizes.
- Light and smooth reel
- Ideal for heavy-duty saltwater fishing
- The design delivers incredible strength and performance
- Saltwater spinning reel under $300
- Improved saltwater protection was expected
- Stainless steel ball bearings are not sealed
- The reel could have been smaller
9.KastKing Valiant Eagle
Valiant Eagle spinning reel is one of the new and best fishing gear from KastKing. Quality, innovation, and affordability are the hallmarks of the KastKing Valiant Eagle spinning reel and the Valiant Eagle delivers it. The KastKing Valiant Eagle is ideal for anglers who are looking for something reliable and offers useful features while fishing in freshwater and saltwater. With a gear ra6.2:1, the Valiant Eagle is fast and will quickly pull the fish towards your boat.
KastKing’s proprietary Expanded Pinion System promises plenty of strength and consistent performance. In addition, the company’s unique Sliding Stabilizer Rod (S.S.R.) offers long-life durability. The Emerald Eagle Edition has a specialized graphite frame and rotor for added strength and durability.
The KastKing Valiant Eagle spinning reel has a total of 11 stainless steel ball bearings providing anglers with amazingly smooth operation and performance. The spool is machined from aircraft aluminum and anodized for enhanced looks and greater performance. In addition, the aluminum spool includes a sealed and waterproof carbon drag system which makes handling strong fish easier for anglers.
Another unique feature of the Valiant Eagle spinning reel is KastKing’s Patent Pending line management system for delivering consistent long casts which makes it the perfect reel for both fresh and saltwater fishing. The KastKing Valiant Eagle also includes a strong aluminum handle with a lightweight EVA handle knob for added comfort and superior control while fishing in all weather conditions.
- Super smooth operation and great performance when handling fish
- Superior build quality and durability
- Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing Reel
- Great packaging
- Saltwater spinning reel under 50
- The handle needs constant tightening
- KastKing’s patented casting edge technology seems to be overrated when compared to competitors.
10. Quantum Cabo PT Saltwater Spinning Reel
Quantum running its business for about 35 years. It’s a well-known fishing manufacturer in the USA.
When you are going to a Bass tournament you have a need to right gear to fight against freshwater and saltwater condition. Quantum Cabo Pt spin reel is one of them.
Combining the highest quality materials and engineering. It features a sealed magnum clutch, a fail-proof bail system, and also CSC super smooth drag system. The gear ratio is 5.3:1. The super hard PT gear gives you more speed and power. There are 7 + Clutch ball bearing to enable a smooth and frictionless mechanism. A continuous Anti-Reverse system can ensure solid performance and control.
This saltwater spinning reel comes in four different sizes CSP 40/50/60/80.
- continues anti-Reverse system
- Titanium fail-proof bail
- Saltguard protection
- It comes Magnum CSC drag
- Not ideal for big fish
Saltwater Spinning Reel Comparison Table
BRAID LINE CAPACITY
Saltwater Spinning Reel Buyer’s Guide
There are always a few factors to keep in mind when buying any fishing equipment and when it comes to spinning reels for saltwater fishing then you just cannot overlook some factors if you want the best outcomes.
All reels have several common features and functions but when it is about fishing in saltwater there must be some unique traits to the reel for satisfactory performance. Next time you go shopping for a saltwater fishing reel keep the following pointers in mind and you will not be at risk of taking the wrong reel to the waters.
Aluminum is a good choice as it is strong and a durable kind of housing. Graphite is another way to go because it is lighter and comes with corrosion-resistant qualities. But if you want a really sturdy reel and prefer one with an aluminum frame then see that it is anodized aluminum because anodized aluminum can hold up against the negative impacts of saltwater.
Size and Weight
Decide on the kind of fish you wish to target before you pick out the size of your Saltwater Spinning Reel because some fish require more line than others and a larger reel with a bigger spool will allow you to roll in a greater length of line with each turn of the handle. Heavier lines take up a great deal of reel capacity so if you are aiming for fish that will need more line then your reel should have the weight and size to match.
It is best to buy your spinning rod and reel at the same time because not all rods will go with your reel. If you already have a rod then make sure it will work well with the reel you have in mind. When the rod and reel are a perfect match you will notice a great improvement in the performance of your tools, increasing your chances of catching more fish.
Saltwater fishing can be a thrilling experience but there is a lot of hard work involved. The wide and deep escape route gives all species of fish a simple and quick getaway so having a lot of line back-up will allow you to chase and get to your target easily. If your Saltwater Spinning Reel has low line capacity then you will eventually have to give up once you get spooled too fast and there will not be much you can do then. If you wish to have the upper hands in a chase then look for a reel with a capacity of 300 yards at least because that will keep you going until you are ready to retrieve.
Heavier lines will need bigger spools but if the spool on your reel has a low line capacity then you must avoid going over the limit. Having more line than it can hold will cause complications which you must try and avoid at all cost. If your reel can be spooled with a braided line as well as a monofilament then you will have many benefits to enjoy.
A spool that cuts back on slippage and has components that are tough enough to handle the high cutting power of lines is the best kind of spool.
Saltwater Spinning Reels with handles that easily move back are something we would recommend you stay away from if you wish to have greater success in landing your fish. You should be able to stop the reel when you want to and if the handle of your reel moves back even a little then you will not be able to engage the drag well. But having said that, some reels also give you the option to switch between the anti-reverse and ‘back-reel’.
The drag system can be found on the rear of the body of your Saltwater Spinning Reel or on the cap of the spool, depending on the model and make of your reel. It basically adds tension to your line as it is being pulled off the reel, making it difficult for the line to come off the reel.
An adjustable drag will give you the freedom to choose how much of a drag you need for your targeted species. If the drag is too much or too little then you will not be able to fish successfully.
Spinning reels will always have a gear ratio that will determine the speed of your reel when it comes to retrieving your catch. When you turn the handle to retrieve your line the gear ratio will tell you how many times the spool will turn with each handle rotation. The gear ratio can be a number like 4:1 or 6:1 or something more or less.
In case of a gear ratio of 4:1, the spool turns 4 times with a single rotation of the handle while it will turn 6 times on one full handle rotation if the ratio is 6:1. Do not get confused if your reel has a gear ratio that looks like 4.5:1 or 5.5:1, it just means that the spool turns 4.5 or 5.5 times per handle turn. The first set of numbers is always the number of times the spool turns.
Now the information above is needed when you want to decide on how quickly and how much line you will be able to retrieve when you catch a fish that is putting up a fight. Some fast-swimming fish will try to get away even before you can react and if you think you are going to be chasing the quick ones then you need a Saltwater Spinning Reel with a high gear ratio. For example, a reel with a gear ratio of 4.5:1 will be much slower than a reel with a gear ratio of 6:1, simply because of the lower number of spool turns per handle rotation.
But depending on your targeted species, you have to decide whether you want more cranking power or speed in retrieving. Lower gear ratios will provide you with more power, which may be more necessary than speed when it comes to certain kinds of species.
But the number of ball bearings isn’t all that is important; the bearings must also be of high quality if you want the best results. We have used reels with 5 quality bearings which performed much better than reels with 7 or even 10 bearings of lesser quality.
So there should be a good balance between the quantity and quality of the ball bearings for the best outcome in results and protection of all the internal metals parts.
Ease of use
Saltwater Spinning Reels have common features but they may differ in design, size, and weight. There really isn’t the perfect design of a spinning reel because what works for one angler may not work for another. But the reel must be easy to understand and use, especially if you are just starting out with the sport.
Heavy reels may seem robust but think of all the hours you will be spending holding the tool in your hands. When picking out a spinning reel, keep in mind that it should be simple enough to understand the works but also have adequate durability for long-term use.
You will not be able to count the number of different brands that manufacture fishing equipment nowadays and it isn’t easy to pick the best brand from the lot because they all have advantages and disadvantages.
But there are still a few names that come into mind when we talk about fishing reels, mainly because of the reputation they have built over the years. Some well-reputed companies are Daiwa, Okuma, PENN, Abu Garcia, and Shimano. They are many more such names which you can choose from if you are interested in branded reels.
Maintenance Tips: Saltwater Spinning Reel
One responsibility that comes with every item is maintenance. If we don’t look after our tools, then we’d have to rush to the nearest store every now and then to replace the broken or damaged items. The same rule applies to your fishing reels.
Below we have listed a few maintenance tips that will help you keep your spinning reel in good condition, even weeks and months after its purchase:
- Using freshwater to clean your reel.
Very often, people who own fishing gear clean these items by dunking them underwater. However, this is not a very good idea as it barely ever cleans the gear. What you should do instead is, use a spray bottle to wash your gear. The fine mist of water does a much better job of wiping off the dirt from the fissures of your gear than a strong stream of water.
- Use a soft cloth to dry your gear.
Before using a piece of cloth to wipe your fishing paraphernalia, make sure the fabric is soft and clean and does not leave fibers on the reel. If possible, purchasing a microfiber cleaning rag would be really helpful, but other than that, you can use paper towels too.
- Loosen the drag when your reel is not in use, even if it is for a short time.
In order to extend the lifespan of your gear, you need to loosen its drag after every session so that the tension in all the parts is slightly less. Once you’re done with that, store your gear in a suitable place.
All your efforts of maintaining your equipment will go down the drain if you don’t keep your rods and reels in a safe place when they are not in use. Keeping your reels just anywhere and anyhow will greatly increase their possibility of breaking, hence reducing their validity on a large scale.
If you have a fishing boat and like to store your equipment in it then make sure your reel is kept dry and away from dust, water and heat. Although this is a great way to keep your reels in good shape, it isn’t possible if you do not own a boat. You can also buy a good hard-shelled case just for your reels and rods.
- Cleaning the inner side of the reel.
As we’ve discussed earlier, taking proper care to clean your reel is a must after every fishing session. However, only cleaning the outside is not enough. Every once in a while, you need to get the inside of the reel cleansed too, cause dirt particles can still stealthily make its way through to the inside.
To do so, you need to remove and clean off the spool and the surfaces that the spool comes into contact with. In the case of a spinning reel, you can remove the spool by unscrewing the drag adjustment completely. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean all the parts. Make sure all your rod parts are completely dry before you put them back in place.
Saltwater Spinning Reel FAQs
1. Which is the best saltwater spinning reel?
Depending on your personal style of fishing, you must choose a spinning reel that is comfortable to use and is made from durable materials. Of course, they must be corrosion resistant if you will be using them for saltwater fishing.
All the spinning reels which we have mentioned in this post have unique features that make them among the best spinning reels for saltwater fishing. Compare the products and decide on which one would suit your method of fishing.
2. What is the ‘drag’ on a fishing reel?
The drag is made up of friction plates which add tension to the lines, making them harder to pull. This is necessary when you land a fish that puts up a good fight. The drag on a reel is what will help you pull the fish towards you and eventually retrieve it.
3. Is it okay for me to use my freshwater reel in saltwater?
Although you can use your freshwater reel to fish in all kinds of water, it’s still not a very good idea to use it in saltwater, unless it bears features similar to that of a saltwater reel. This is because, due to the high concentration of salts and other dissolved minerals in saltwater, the reel of your freshwater reel is at the risk of getting corroded. Buying a saltwater fishing reel is a better idea as you can use this on both saltwater and freshwater without having to worry much about your reel being damaged.
4. How do I keep my spinning reel clean?
Your saltwater spinning reel requires extra care and cleaning as it is almost always exposed to a very high percentage of salts, which can cause serious harm to the body of the reel even if it is corrosion-resistant. Clean your reel frequently with fresh water and dry it with a soft cloth after every use. It is better if you wash your reel after every fishing session.
5. Is a high gear ratio better than a low gear ratio for a beginner?
High gear ratios provide you with more spool turns per handle turn whereas low gear ratio reels are comparatively stronger. However, using a low gear ratio reel is more suitable for a beginner as it is easier to handle. But in the end, it all comes down to one thing: the type of fish you’re going for as it may require more speed over cranking power or vice versa.
6. Which line is best for saltwater fishing?
You can choose to go with a braided line or a monofilament fishing line to use with your saltwater spinning reel as they both have unique traits but monofilament is recommended for a number of reasons such as they are more abrasion resistant than braided lines, and also has a good knot strength due to the fact that they are thinner and more subtle.
The good news is that monolines are also affordable. In terms of line color, you can go for a high visibility line which will be easier for you to see but bear in mind that clear lines are invisible to the fish which can help you get them hooked. As for the weight of the line, the best saltwater fishing lines are lightweight, because they can be cast further away and will sink faster.
We would like to wrap up by saying that while there isn’t a single product out there that will serve all purposes perfectly, you can still find a reel that has the best balance between features, performance, and price.
No two saltwater spinning reels will be the same but with a bit of comparing you can select the Best saltwater spinning reels for your style, technique, and method of fishing. You will have a wider range to choose from if you can afford the high-end ones but there are lots of high-quality and well-performing reels even within an affordable price range.