Best Saltwater Spinning Reels 2021

Best Saltwater spinning reels are a lot of fun to use and are effective for catching the majority of saltwater fish. In comparison to conventional reels, these reels are frequently referred to as light tackle. As a result, it is critical to have the proper size spinning reel.

Small reels are ideal for reef and flats fishing, where the ability to feel the fish bite is critical. When offshore fishing, the reel should be large enough to handle wahoo, tuna, and mahi-mahi. Certain spinning reels are even capable of catching yellowfin and Bluefin tuna.

Penn, Shimano, Okuma, Quantum, Diawa, and Van Staal are just a few of the great companies that manufacture saltwater spinning reels. It is customary to use a spinning reel with what Bait runner does when surf fishing. Baitrunner reels are sometimes referred to as live liner reels or bait feeder reels.

Today, a rubber section on the inside of the spool is standard on many spinning reels. This provides a secure grip for a braided line on the spool. Without this braided line, the line can slip into the spool, making it extremely difficult to reel in a fish. When fishing in the ocean, I typically use an 80-pound braid or 30-pound monofilament on spinning reels.

There are numerous other branded options available, but we’ve narrowed it down to the best Top 4.

Our Top Picks

SHIMANO Sedona Fi Spinning Reel

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PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel

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Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel

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Okuma Azores Saltwater Aluminum 

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SHIMANO Sedona Fi Spinning Reel

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Shimano’s Sedona FI spinning reel is Shimano’s most affordable spinning reel equipped with HAGANE Gearing. It is assured that any abuse won’t hinder the outstanding performance of HAGANE Gear over time. 

The Shimano Sedona spinning reel features an updated design and cold-forged HAGANE gears. It offers several significant performance enhancements at an affordable price.

Shimano’s flagship HAGANE gearing provides long-lasting, strong, and durable performance and smoothness, equipping anglers for both inshore and offshore action.

Features machine-cut spools that are double-anodized for increased line capacity while keeping the body compact.

The Propulsion Line Management System allows the boat to be cast farther and prevents wind knots and backlashes.

Pros
  • This reel is a superb freshwater reel that is also competent in saltwater
  • Hagane gearing is strong and durable and will last for years
  • G The unrestricted body design enables you to fosh all day.
  • Varispeed Oscillation System with Double Anodized Machine Cut Spool
Cons
  • The spool is compact.
  • The product does not include spare spools.

PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel

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Constructed for heavy-duty fishing from a boat or ashore, and trusted by charter captains worldwide. Our new IPX6 Sealed System on the Slammer III reels keeps water out of the gearbox and drag system.

The Penn Slammer III series of offshore fishing reels are a popular choice for charter operators and serious recreational anglers. A full metal body, an IPX6 water-resistant sealed gearbox, a sealed Slammer drag system made of Dura-Drag material, and a 7+1 stainless steel bearing system are included as features. Additionally, the 6500 and 7500 sizes are available in high-speed models that retrieve lines at 48 and 50 inches per turn, respectively.

The Slammer III 10500 holds 540 yards of braided line rated at 80 pounds. Additionally, it has a maximum drag of 60 pounds and a rigid metal frame. As a result, the Slammer III series is among the best, if not the best, spinning reels for catching large pelagic fish such as yellowfin and bluefin tuna.

Pros
  • Smooth
  • The infinitely better drag system
  • more line holding capacity
Cons
  • The aluminum knob must be Lok-titted.
  • Minimum Drag

Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel

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It has an IPX5 sealing system, so if it gets hit by a wave or if it is left to swim in the spray for a while, you won’t need to fret about saltwater getting in. The PENN HT-100 drag washers are completely sealed to provide the stopping power required for large saltwater fish. Under heavy loads, a full metal body and side plate keep the CNC gear system precisely aligned.

Pros
  • Outstanding seal against water or/and sand
  • Fully sealed spool and gearbox
Cons
  • Significantly heavier than the majority of comparable reels

Okuma Azores Saltwater Aluminum 

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Saltwater reels like these Okuma Azores spinning reels offer excellent performance on the flats, reefs, and offshore big game fishing. One point to note is that some reel sizes are specified in terms of mono-line capacity in the listing.

Dual force drag utilizes both felt and carbon fiber washers to create a drag that is strong, smooth, and precise in its adjustment.

6+1 high-performance ball bearings, an anti-reverse system, a knurled spool for braided line, a rigid aluminum body, an aluminum rotor, a machine-cut aluminum handle, and a strong oversized main shaft are just a few of the features.

The Okuma Azores is perhaps best known for its dual force drag system. Pressure is distributed evenly with a very smooth drag when felt washers are combined with a secondary carbonite washer underneath the spool. The combination of felt and carbonite washers results in a drag of 28 pounds on the Azores Z-40s and up to 44 pounds on the Azores Z-90s.

When it comes to the Okuma Azores line’s actual performance, anglers will appreciate the presence of a few consistent features that make these reels a joy to use. To begin, all internal and external components are machined and anodized aluminum that has been coated with a corrosion-resistant coating.

Not only do these reels come in five different sizes, but they also perform consistently and are a breeze to install, maintain, and use regularly.

Pros
  • Excellent value
  • Drag is extremely smooth.
  • Hydro-blocks are completely waterproof.
  • The anti-reverse system with dual anti-reverse
  • Price
  • Watertight construction
  • Retrieval with ease
  • Corrosion-proof
Cons
  • A little heavy
  • Not fully sealed

Best Saltwater Spinning Reels:

Those with the best saltwater spinning reels are constructed of premium metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, and brass, and have machined frames made from one piece.

The reels can be chosen from slow-speed reels for bass and redfish, fast-speed saltwater reels for game fish, or even two-speed reels for recovering a slackline if a fish makes a quick turn.

The best spinning reels are available for use with monofilament lines, braided lines, or both, and come in a variety of lengths and test strengths.

What characteristics define a good saltwater reel?

Sealed drag systems, sealed ball bearings, and sealed gearboxes are all features of high-quality saltwater reels. Typically, these areas are gasketed.

This helps keep salt out of internal components that cannot be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water. Corrosion-resistant materials should be used in the construction of saltwater reels.

During a fishing trip, reels are splashed and the wet line fills the reel with saltwater. It is critical to rinse the reels thoroughly with fresh water after each trip.

Saltwater reels must be robust and rigid to handle large fish. The reels must be appropriately sized for the species of fish being targeted. A properly sized saltwater reel will have an adequate drag value and line capacity.

Maximum drag should be at least 50% of the line strength used. This means that if a 50-pound line is used, the maximum drag should be 25 pounds or greater. The drag should be smooth regardless of how quickly the line is drawn off the reel.

Finally, the reel’s spool should be prepared for a braided line. This means that the inside of the spool should have a rubber or knurled section to ensure that the braided line does not slide off.

Which spinning reel size do I require?

Spinning reels are typically sized in the thousand to ten thousand series. There are three primary factors to consider when sizing a fishing reel.

The reel’s capacity for a line is the first consideration. A reel in the 1000 series can hold approximately 100 yards of a 6-pound monofilament line. A Penn Slammer 10500 spinning reel has the largest line capacity currently available, holding 540 yards of 80-pound braided line.

The second factor is the spinning reel’s maximum drag rating. The maximum drag value is critical to consistently add resistance to the fish. This enables the line to be pulled with a constant force less than the line’s strength. Although it appears to be a simple concept, it is quite common for people to use drag above the line’s rated value.

This can result in the line snapping when a large fish is caught. Never set the drag to more than 50% of the total line strength. Generally, the drag should be set to 25-30% of the strength of the fishing line. This helps to explain why the line strength decreases at the knot. Additionally, if a fish makes a rapid burst, the system’s drag may exceed the set value.

Which spinning reel is capable of holding the most line?

The majority of spinning reels are available in a variety of sizes. The amount of line that a fishing reel can hold varies according to the size of the spool and the diameter of the line. Braided line is more delicate than monofilament line.

This means the spool can accommodate a greater amount of fishing line of equivalent pound test. The Penn Slammer 10500 is the largest spinning reel available, holding 540 yards of 80-pound braided line. Such a large spinning reel is capable of catching large sharks, marlin, and tuna.

Can any reel be used in saltwater?

Yes, technically, any reel will function in saltwater. However, if the reel is not designed for saltwater use, the internal components are likely to corrode.

As a result, the ball bearing, drag, or gears will fail much more quickly than expected. Numerous freshwater spinning reels are constructed of graphite, which is impervious to corrosion.

The issue is not with the reel’s exterior, but with its internal components. Gaskets are used on saltwater reels to protect critical components from corrosion.

What factors should I consider when purchasing a saltwater spinning reel?

Numerous factors must be considered when selecting a spinning reel. To begin, there is the spinning reel’s size. It should be large enough to hold enough lines to catch the desired species of fish.

The second factor to consider is the amount of drag. Smaller fish require less drag, while larger, stronger fish require more drag. The 7500 series is the best size saltwater spinning reel in my opinion.

The Penn Spinfisher VI 7500, for example, is capable of catching offshore fish such as mahi-mahi, tuna, and wahoo. Additionally, it can be used inshore to catch snapper, mackerel, grouper, striped bass, and tarpon, among other species.

The reel is capable of holding 400 yards of the 65-pound braid while remaining compact enough to fit on a medium-weight spinning rod with good action and sensitivity.

The use of light tackle can be helpful when targeting yellowtail snapper, sea trout, grunts, porgies, and triggerfish on the reef, inshore, or in deep water. If the tackle is too large, it is difficult to detect the presence of small fish on the line.

Even small fish can pull drag and be enjoyable to catch when using light tackle. This is particularly true for children and novice anglers.

How are saltwater spinning reels distinguished from freshwater spinning reels?

The primary distinction between saltwater and freshwater spinning reels is the presence of corrosion-resistant components and sealed components.

Saltwater spinning reels typically have sealed drag systems, ball bearings, and gearboxes to prevent exposed components from coming into contact with salt water.

Saltwater reels’ frames are typically made of a more rigid material to withstand greater forces being applied to the reel. Additionally, saltwater reels come in larger sizes.

Saltwater reels are interchangeable with freshwater reels. The only drawback to saltwater reels is their high cost and, in some cases, their weight.

It is recommended that you use a reel that is appropriately sized for the species of fish being targeted. For instance, targeting bass with a 7500 series reel spooled with 400 yards of 65-pound braid makes no sense.

Reels for Saltwater vs. Freshwater

Before we discuss using freshwater reels in saltwater, what is the primary distinction between freshwater and saltwater reels? 

The following are the reasons they should not be used interchangeably:

Saltwater reels are typically constructed of corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel and feature solid bodies. This reduces the likelihood of significant damage to its internal components. Freshwater reels lack this level of protection because freshwater is less corrosive than saltwater.

Saltwater reels are also larger than freshwater reels, with larger spots to accommodate more fishing lines. This is intended for saltwater fish species, which have longer runs than freshwater fish such as bass.

When it comes to saltwater fish species, they are larger than those found in freshwater, making them stronger. Saltwater reels have a stronger drag than freshwater reels, which will be unable to handle the force of saltwater fish. As a result, freshwater reels would not be suitable for saltwater fishing. Finally, saltwater reels are more expensive due to the higher quality materials used.

A good freshwater spinning reel may cost less than half the price of a high-quality saltwater spinning reel. That is why freshwater reels are designed to be used exclusively in freshwater, whereas saltwater reels are designed to be used exclusively in saltwater.

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