Best Saltwater Spinning Reels at a Glance
- Shimano Baitrunner OC oceania spinning fishing reel is the best saltwater spinning reel for fishing live bait and cut bait. It is the best saltwater spinning reel under 200.
- Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel is the best saltwater spinning reel for the money right now.
- Penn Slammer III Spinning is the best reel built for excellent performance, power, and durability.
- Shimano Thunnus CI4, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel Editor’s Choice.
- Shimano Saragosa SW, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel.
- Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Spinning Reel is the best inshore saltwater spinning reel.
- Okuma Cedros High Speed Spinning Reel is the best budget saltwater spinning reel.
- Quantum Cabo PT Spin Reel is one of the best and most popular saltwater reels for over a decade.
- Accurate TwinSpin SR-30 is the best spinning reel for saltwater.
- Daiwa 14 Saltiga Expedition 8000H is the best saltwater spinning reel.
- Shimano Stella SW 30000 is the “King” among saltwater reels.
- Penn Torque II TRQ9500S is the best for heavy-duty fishing from both shore or vessel.
- Penn Spinfisher V 10500 is the best reel among durable reels with good castability.
There is a no brainer that the sea fishing environment is harsher as compared to a friendly freshwater fishing outing. The harsh effects include exposure of the fishing gear to salt water and a much more aggressive behavior of marine predators.
These two factors combined cause increased load on the fishing tackle. To target these issues, the saltwater spinning reels are constructed of robust materials and designed with more powerful drag system and drum capacity to stow enough fishing line or fishing cord on the reel.
To keep the device running, all parts of the reel exposed to saltwater must be coated with a special lubricant. When choosing a correct reel for sea fishing consider the following important factors.
Let’s break it all down below:
- Amount of ball bearings. Bearings make the reel operation smooth. That being said, the more bearings built within the reel, the better it works. However, keep in mind that the amount of the bearings makes the reel pricier. Amount of 4 to 6 bearings within the reel will be enough to make its performance reliable. We find this amount as an optimal number in terms of price and quality.
- Gear ratio. The gear ratio is defined as a number of revolutions the spool makes with one full turn of the handle of the reel. The enhanced reels with the range up to 4.6 are designed to catch larger saltwater species. Sensitive high-speed devices are within the range 5.5 and above. The more versatile models are within the range of 4.6-5.5.
- Friction brake. This component is a vital part of the spinning reels designed for saltwater trips. The friction brake can be mounted either on the front part or rear part of the reel. The brake is required to pull out fishing line when retrieving big species. The friction clutch should be pre-set. Engineered this way, the brake control reduces to substantially the load on the rig and helps to avoid its damage with sharp turns or jerks of fish.
The most important factor to look at when purchasing a right spinning reel for saltwater outings is its resistance to salt water. Otherwise, the lifetime of the device will be cut short.
Spinning reel is the most versatile and commonly used type of a fishing reel applicable for a wide variety of fishing environments. If intended for sea fishing, these devices are generally built with extra protection. Typically the sea fishing reels are larger than similar models for freshwater applications (freshwater reels).
Main Features of the Saltwater Spinning Reels
- In sea fishing, the reels are utilized to provide the most casting distance. With further castings, the anglers are able to land cautious fish that usually avoids crossing paths with fishing vessels.
- The casting distance of the fishing line, provided by the inertia-free reels, is explained by the specifics of the reel operation. When launched, the line is being fed off the spool freely.
- Saltwater spinning reels need proper care and maintenance. It is recommended to lubricate reels each season, 1 or 2 times, to ensure reliability and efficiency of the reel during fishing.
- Capacity of the spool is of great importance in sea fishing, as with long-distance casting, there should not be any obstacles for the fishing line to fly freely, in coils, from the reel. Therefore, capacity and size of the spool should be carefully considered when purchasing a right saltwater spinning reel for your fishing needs.
- We have mentioned already that the spinning reels for saltwater outing need to be equipped with friction brake. Without friction brake in place, catching large marine fish will become a challenge.
Saltwater Spinning Reels Compared
|Shimano Baitrunner OC
|3 + 1
Best Saltwater Spinning
Reel For The Money
|8 + 1
|Penn Slammer III
|7 + 1
|Shimano Thunnus CI4
|6 + 1
|Shimano Saragosa SW
|5 + 1
6 + 1
|Abu Garcia Revo
|6 + 1
|4 + 1
|Quantum Cabo PT
Good Cheap Saltwater
|7 + 1
|Accurate TwinDrag SR
|6 + 1
|13 + 1
|Shimano Stella SW
|14 + 1
|Penn Torque II
|9 + 1
|Penn Spinfisher VI
|5 + 1
Best Saltwater Spinning Reels – Reviews
Shimano Baitrunner 8000 OC Review
Shimano BTR8000OC Baitrunner 8000 OC Oceania Spinning Fishing Reel is the best saltwater spinning reel for fishing with both live and cut bait. It is the best saltwater spinning reel in the price category under 200.
As for me, this is a really amazing device. The baitrunner feature is truly outstanding. The feel of it is magnificent as if you hold a finely tuned musical instrument. I used this reel for sturgeon fishing and it worked excellent, then I took it with me for snagging paddlefish during the spring season. Both are VERY tough environments for reels to handle.
Reels that are not that sturdy usually last one season. This year I finally decided to go a little higher-end and purchased my Shimano. I am really happy with it. Very solid device for the value. Get one.
Penn Clash Review
Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel is the best saltwater spinning reel for the money right now. I own several pricier devices, like Daiwa and Shimano, but I must say that this device is an exceptional in all aspects!
Finish and fit are superior, drag is extra smooth, estimates for line capacity are accurate. It is very sturdy because they used carbon fiber in rotor construction. Still, the device is lightweight. Fishing line lays on the spool perfectly.
Reel is equipped with large screws which make do-it-yourself maintenance easy. Despite the reel is not completely sealed, ball bearings are sealed and well lubricated. Ordinary maintenance like rinsing off salt water after each use and regular oiling will keep this reel in good order. Most likely I will buy one more Clash reel, because they are that good.
Penn Slammer III Review
PENN Slammer III Spinning is the best reel built for excellent performance, power, and durability.
I am a shark fisherman. I bought this reel to use for floating off the pier and in the surf for black tips. I set it up and in a little bit landed a shark ray (we call it mud skate) weighing 120 pounds and measuring 52 inches. Let me tell you something …. this reel just stood up to the shark ray.
Pros: Very Smooth Drag, Powerful for the Size, Excellent if you are Doing Surfcasting, Nice Finish, Lightweight. Cons: The cap on that well-crafted aluminum knob needs to be well tightened. Mine came off while I was tackling a big fish and I lost it down in the water.
The amount of drag this reel can handle is unbelievable. It is superbly smooth. If you’re looking for a reel of reasonable price that will handle big fish, I would recommend you to go with the Slammer III.
Shimano Thunnus CI4 Review
Shimano Thunnus CI4 is an Offshore Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel Editor’s Choice.
Shimano Thunnus is a really reliable reel in every aspect of operation. I’ve been using Shimano reels, its 6000 series, for so many years and for this season wanted to get something bigger, but not jumping right away to a reel that you usually see mounted on a surf rod.
The reel was delivered so very well protected for shipping: in the big box, packed in a bubble wrap. I mounted it on my kayak, and it proved that it can withstand challenges in deep waters. Despite very harsh exposures, the reel is still as smooth as it was when I purchased it. So worth the investment!
The reel is well-balanced and reasonably lightweight. The Shimano Thunnus is now my number one choice reel when going for Atlantic striper fishing from the shore. I will also put it to the test this summer in panhandle waters.
Shimano Saragosa SW Review
Shimano Saragosa SW, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel.
I purchased this reel because of the extra power it provides and because of it’s good looks. This reel is butter smooth and has all the features I expected. I paired it with a Tidemaster Travel rod and put Maxcuatro braid on it.
It casts amazingly and retrieves easily. It is big enough sizewise to catch the large fish out there, but still it is versatile for casting out and jigging to catch smaller fish dependent on reefs, like kelpfish.
Love this device. Amazing product, great price. Durability, good drag system, high capacity that is exactly what I was hoping to have in a reel of high-end category, for a bit less money than you will pay for another top-rated brand.
Abu Garcia Revo Review
Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Spinning Reel is the best inshore saltwater spinning reel.
I always use this reel when fishing for channel bass and redfish. The drag can easily handle the runs that red drums make. I also use if for throwing heavy worms and jigs and when I set the hook, it jerks immediately, even the biggest fish. It feels comfortable enough to hold in your hands and use all day long.
I can not count how many stripers and large red drums I’ve caught on this model of Abu Garcia Inshore. I am the owner of the original Revo Inshore, and after a while I got this model. I liked my original Revo so much, I got used to it. However, it seems that Revo Inshore is lower, provides better casts, and it is also more comfortable, as simple as that.
It’s an awesome reel. Very comfortable and powerful. I set my mind to buy another one. Great product that ensures tight lines.
Okuma Cedros Review
Okuma Cedros High Speed Spinning Reel is the best budget saltwater spinning reel.
This is my second purchase of Okuma Cedros. I bought my first Cedros 3 years ago and it had been working without any flaw whatsoever. Every year I go on one-month fishing trips to Florida, targeting tarpon, sharks, and other big and tough fish. I also caught a few 25-something pound stripers.
I wish the handle on it was designed more like a Penn device that is so comfortable to reel. As for maintenance, just rinse with fresh water and apply some water-displacing lubricant.
Overall Cedros performs very well, the design is meticulous, the knob is comfortable. The reel has a superbly smooth retrieve. I have not even started service of my first Cedros and it is not easy to tell which one is my new one. This is the best looking and best performing spinning reel for saltwater trips for the money on the market.
Quantum Cabo PT Review
Quantum Cabo PT Spin Reel is considered of the best and most popular saltwater reels for more than ten years. This device looks awesome, it is constructed and designed perfectly. When I put it into operation, I could tell instantly that it performs smoother as compared to the Stradic FJ that I recently returned for having too much of handle play.
They really saved some weight with Cabo. In addition, it looks fancy. The only flaw I see, there are some small imperfections on the rotor. My guess, it is because it is made of composite material and not aluminum. The wire used to construct the bail is solid and the magnetic bail is just an extraordinary feature for me. If you purchase this reel, you will appreciate the design as soon as you have held it in your hands and have done the first crank of the handle. This device is really sleek.
Tested it today on some big grass carp. Drag is just velvety; with every run of fish the line was released without jerks. One thing I found disappointing is the back play of the spool on the shaft. I figured, it is because it was designed differently than other spool attachments. The rest everything is great. The device is able to tackle large species with no struggle.
Accurate TwinSpin SR-30 Review
Accurate TwinSpin SR-30 is the best spinning reel for saltwater. Accurate TwinSpin spinning reel is the Peterbilt truck of spinning reels, built for toughest conditions and longest challenges.
I put the reel on my Ocean Tackle International Tuna Sniper Popping rod. This way I genuinely got a killer combo for landing big tunas. The reel provides 20-pound of drag on a fish.
Pros: Smooth with maximum drag.
Cons: It is on a heavy side comparing to other similar devices.
But let me tell you something, this reel is constructed to last a lifetime. Great device with an appealing finish and color, very smooth drag, and saltwater resistance.
Daiwa Saltiga Saltwater Spinning Reel Review
Daiwa Saltiga Expedition 8000H is the best spinning reel for saltwater environments. What can I say? The reel is just stunning. What you heard already: Saltiga is the best of the best, it is a Swiss watch among the spinning reels. It is velvety smooth, rigid, durable, extremely well crafted and sealed. So pleased with retrieval rate and gear ratio.
Pros: Cool fit and finish, the product is completely sealed.
Cons: It gives a bit more resistance when reeling. It happens probably because of the complete sealing of the reel. The reel also is makes a little more noise than I am used to with other reels.
This product is a perfect proof of the saying that you get what you have paid for. The reel takes challenges and still performs like brand-new. If you’re interested in purchasing a reel in this category, the Saltiga is your choice. Personally I am happy that I bought it and am really excited to test it. Looking forward to see the next version.
Shimano Stella SW 30000 Review
Shimano Stella SW 30000 is the “King” among saltwater reels.
I think the reason Shimano Stella is superior to other reels — let us say, Penn–is that these devices can withstand being hooked up for long hours with up to 20 pounds of drag. That’s why fishermen up here spend big bucks on these reels. Stella is so worth every single dollar you spend. I give it a 5 star rating.
I own a couple of set-ups with the Stella reels on them (versions 18000 and 20000). I use them for run and gun technique to land bluefin tuna. Let me tell you, these tools all performed flawlessly under immense challenges.
If you can afford to buy this caliber of reel, I highly recommend it. Keep in mind that Stella is a reel made for professionals, not for amateurs. If you do big-game fishing for a living or you plan to own the best item in this specific category, this is definitely your tool.
Penn Torque II Review
Penn Torque II TRQ9500S is the best for heavy-duty fishing from both shore or vessel.
First impression was that the reel provides an extraordinary smooth performance for a sealed reel. Despite being constructed of mostly aluminum, it’s not a “lightweight” device. It looks like Penn Torque is a superbly strong reel. To be honest with you, this is the most rock-solid tool I’ve ever used. The handle design, with the ball on the end, feels uber comfortable.
Two things to bring to your attention. First, there is no line snap to secure the line when it is stored. I found it strange. Second, the handle does not fold down, which makes this quite bulky reel difficult to store.
Overall, I am impressed with the reel, but every on and then I hear an occasional squeak while cranking; the spool has some flaws. If I can get those serviced, I might give this device all five stars. As of now, I have to say that there is some room for minor improvements.
Penn Spinfisher VI Review
Penn Spinfisher VI is the best reel among durable reels with good castability.
Pros: Completely sealed and saltwater resistant. Similar to any other version of Penn Spinfisher, this reel is resistant to water splashing, sand, and the occasional plunging. Very smooth oscillation gear/traverse cam. The spool is designed for perfect line laying that allows to do quality casting with ease. Tangling because of the wind are a thing of the past. Last but not least, this beast of a reel has got serious cranking power.
Cons: It is pretty heavy. It will make you tired if you plan to cast all day long. However, a size of 10500 comes with the territory if you need a powerful device.
Recommendations: Be sure to pair this reel with at least an 11 foot heavy duty power rod to get the most from its operation. A 12 or 13 foot long is ideal. To wrap it up, this is a phenomenally smooth device, so well-crafted. For sure, a great bargain for this price tag.