7 Best Baitcasting Reels For Saltwater: Reviewed & Compared

by Andrew

7 Best Baitcasting Reels For Saltwater: Reviewed & Compared

by Andrew

by Andrew

Angling in saltwater environments requires durable gear that will perform exceptionally well now and years down the line.

Whether you prefer surf fishing, deep-sea fishing, or inshore fishing, finding the right rod and reel for your fishing environment and target fish is a crucial first step. It’s necessary to invest in a fishing reel that is well-constructed but also corrosion-resistant.

A baitcasting reel is an excellent piece of gear to have on hand when setting off on your next saltwater fishing trip.

Preview

Product

Reel Weight

Gear Ratio

Ball Bearings

Check Price

Shimano Torium 30 HGA Saltwater Star Drag...

Shimano Torium SW Saltwater

1.9 lbs

6.2:1

3 BB + 1 RB

Okuma Fishing Tackle Okuma Komodo SS Low...

Okuma Komodo SS Low Profile

0.49 lbs

6.3:1

7 HPB + 1 RB

Daiwa CLTW200HS Coastal TWS Reel, 7.3: 1 Gear...

Daiwa CLTW200HS Coastal TWS

0.51 lbs

7.3:1

7 CRBB + 1 RB

Shimano Chronarch G SW Baitcasting Fishing...

SHIMANO Chronarch G SW

0.2 lbs

7.1:1

8 BB + 1 RB

Abu Garcia REVO4 INS-L REVO INSHORE LOW...

Abu Garcia REVO Inshore Low Profile

0.5 lbs

6.6:1

6 HPCR + 1 RB

Piscifun Alijoz Size 300 Baitcasting Reels...

Piscifun Alijos Size 300

0.71 lbs

5.9:1

8 BB + 1 RB

Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind

Penn SQL50LW

1.85 lbs

4.0:1

3 BB


Benefits of Using Baitcasting Reels for Saltwater

There can be a slight learning curve when mastering baitcasting reels, but after a time or two out on the water, you’ll see the benefits immediately. 

This type of reel is versatile in ways that some spinning reels aren’t. For instance, baitcasting reels can be adapted to freshwater or saltwater environments rather seamlessly, whereas only some spinning reels are well-suited for saltwater fishing.

From accuracy of line casts to stronger drag capabilities, baitcasting reels are excellent for large target fish because an angler can handle the fish's fighting power and reel in the catch without worrying about the equipment's durability.


Choosing the Right Saltwater Baitcasting Reel

Type of Fish & Fishing Style

Baitcasting reels come in various sizes, power, and action. This variety allows anglers to choose the right reel for their fishing style, environment, and target species. Baitcasting is a more advanced technique that can be suited from lighter to heavier target fish when an angler has some angling experience under their belt.

Reel Features

This type of reel is solidly constructed, and anglers can find reels made from materials such as graphite, aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon fiber. When it comes to the highest quality reels, we prefer a reel with an aluminum body and stainless steel features. Baitcasting reels tend to have a heavier weight but come in different sizes and varying gear ratios.

When considering purchasing a reel, remember that size impacts the reel’s line capacity and line weight while gear ratio impacts how quickly an angler can reel in a catch.

Drag System

A reel’s drag system is a subject of controversy for some anglers. When it comes to choosing between front drag and rear drag, there are pros and cons to both. Front drag is the traditional, tried-and-true option that anglers can depend on for a smooth drag. On the other hand, anglers might find that it is a simpler process to engage rear drags.

Ball Bearings

The number of ball bearings that a baitcasting reel has can impact how smoothly an angler is able to reel in a catch. The ball bearings work to reduce friction, so the more ball bearings that a reel has, the better. We recommend keeping an eye out for reels that use stainless steel ball bearings because these will be corrosion-resistant.

Hand Orientation

Most baitcasting reels on the market today are oriented for right hand use, but more brands are creating models that appeal to anglers who prefer left hand orientation. In some instances, baitcasting reels are designed to be entirely ambidextrous, and this is an option that can be accessible and adaptable to anyone’s fishing habits.

Spool Size & Style

Spool size varies and depends largely on your baitcasting reel's size and the type of saltwater fishing you’ll be doing. A reel’s spool style is either internal or skirted. A key difference between the two is that internal spools are more likely to lead to line tangles when casting than skirted spools.  

Anti-Reverse Handles

Reels that include anti-reverse capabilities can prevent a reel from turning backward when fighting a fish. In some cases, the reel will include a switch so that the angler can choose whether or not to engage this feature.

Line Capacity & Retrieval Speed

Because baitcasting reels tend to be larger than spinning reels, there will be more line capacity and a further reach when casting. Larger spools will be able to handle a heavier line, which makes this type of spool optimal for saltwater fishing.

A reel’s retrieval speed goes hand-in-hand with gear ratio. Most baitcasting reels have gear ratios that range from 7.1:1 to 9.1:1, and the higher the gear ratio, the quicker the retrieval.

Warranty

Most brands will offer a warranty plan when you purchase a baitcasting reel. Warranties can vary from one-year to lifetime coverage and will protect your investment in the case of manufacturing malfunctions or issues.

Price

Baitcasting reels typically come at higher price points than spinning reels, but purchasing a baitcasting reel is one of the best decisions an angler can make. In return for your purchase, you receive value. 


7 Best Saltwater Baitcasting Reels Reviewed

1. Shimano Torium SW Saltwater

Best Baitcasting Reel For Saltwater

Reel Weight

1.9 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Max Drag

24 lbs

Ball Bearings

3 BB + 1 RB

Hand Orientation

Left hand

Among other contenders, the Shimano Torium SW Saltwater stands out as the best baitcasting reel for saltwater fishing. Weighing in at 1.9 pounds, this reel is lightweight with heavy-duty capabilities.

The reel has four bearings constructed from stainless steel that have been treated with anti-rust properties. Because of this specific feature, the bearings are ten times more corrosion-resistant than most stainless steel bearings you’ll find on the market.

A cross carbon drag system ensures a maximum drag of 24 pounds, so anglers will be able to handle resistance and target heavier fish species. The gear ratio of this particular reel is 6.2:1. The anti-reverse function works alongside the quick retrieval speed to set the hook and reel in an angler’s catch.

This reel is powerful and compact with all the right features. Anglers in saltwater environments can target inshore species and deep sea dwellers. The solid build and efficient design make this reel the best option for saltwater fishing.

This model has been specifically designed for anglers looking for a reel with a left hand orientation. Not only is this reel accessible and adaptable to more people, but it has also been constructed with an ergonomic grip to further improve an angler’s comfort.

Pros
  • High-efficiency gearing system
  • Target wide range of species
  • Anti-rust bearings
  • Cross carbon drag
  • Anti-reverse
Cons
  • Learning curve for anglers who prefer right hand orientation

2. Okuma Komodo SS Low Profile

Best Low Profile Baitcasting Reel For Saltwater

Reel Weight

0.49 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.3:1

Max Drag

30 lbs

Ball Bearings

7 HPB + 1 RB

Hand Orientation

Left hand with models for right hand

The lightweight feel of the Okuma Komodo SS Low Profile paired with the high-quality construction makes it the best low-profile baitcasting reel for saltwater. This reel is equipped with top-notch material, functions, and corrosion-resistant properties.

The stainless steel body and features make this model exceedingly durable, ensuring that you'll get long-term use out of this reel. When paired with the stainless steel material, the corrosion-resistant coating prevents signs of rust buildup regardless of how many months or years you spend saltwater fishing.

Though this baitcasting reel weighs less than some other reels in our review, this reel packs a serious punch with a maximum drag of 30 pounds. A multi-disc carbonite drag system contributes to the reel’s drag capabilities, and the quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing also aids in a smooth angling process.

This particular model has a left hand hand orientation, but Okuma offers right hand-oriented models as well. Additional features include an On/Off clicker helpful when bait fishing, Zirconium guide inserts, and a stainless steel spool.

Okuma offers a three-year warranty plan for all Komodo SS reels, so if you come across issues with the reel’s function and performance, you will be able to remedy these problems.

Pros
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Multi-disc carbonite drag system
  • Stainless steel
  • Eight bearings
  • Anti-reverse
Cons
  • Expensive

3. Daiwa CLTW200HS Coastal TWS

Most Durable Baitcaster For Saltwater Fishing

Reel Weight

0.51 lbs

Gear Ratio

7.3:1

Max Drag

15.4 lbs

Ball Bearings

7 CRBB + 1 RB

Hand Orientation

Right hand

When it comes to saltwater fishing, knowing which baitcasting reel will deliver the most durable performance is crucial. We rank the Daiwa CLTW200HS Coastal TWS as the most durable baitcaster for saltwater fishing on the market.

The lightweight structure doesn’t take away from the reel’s strength and durability. The eight bearings reduce friction, which is incredibly important since the reel has a high gear ratio at 7.3:1. The ability to retrieve your catch quickly and smoothly is noteworthy in a reel, and this model has one of the fastest retrieval speeds of our reviewed baitcasting reels.

This reel has a swept handle with EVA knobs that create an optimal comfort grip and an A7075 aircraft-grade aluminum spool that allows for more line capacity than a smaller model. These features shouldn’t be overlooked. The craftsmanship of this Daiwa baitcasting reel contributes to the smooth functionality and durability that is needed when angling in saltwater environments.

The ultimate tournament drag (UTD) system equips the reel with a maximum drag of 15.4 pounds, significant when saltwater fishing.

If you’re an angler looking to invest in a baitcasting reel that is lightweight with a quick retrieval speed and a durable structure, the Daiwa CLTW200HS Coastal TWS is a great choice.

Pros
  • Aluminum material
  • A7075 aircraft-grade aluminum spool
  • Eight bearing system
  • Lightweight
  • Strong and durable
Cons
  • Limited availability

4. SHIMANO Chronarch G SW

Top Of The Range

Reel Weight

0.2 lbs

Gear Ratio

7.1:1

Max Drag

11 lbs

Ball Bearings

8 BB + 1 RB

Hand Orientation

Right hand

The SHIMANO Chronarch G SW baitcasting reel is top of the range among other reels we’ve found on the market. Many anglers are drawn to this reel for its small size and lightweight feel. Fatigue from handling heavy gear can be a deterrent for anglers who might otherwise spend more time on the water. It’s important to have options when it comes to saltwater fishing, which is why we’re so fond of this reel.

SHIMANO offers three different models for this reel, with gear ratios ranging from 7.1 to 8.1. Whichever model you opt for, you’re guaranteed to have a reel with quick retrieval speeds.

This reel is equipped with micro module gear, which improves sensitivity and smoothness when retrieving the line. The brand includes SVS Infinity brake technology to give you more control when casting. A nine bearing system constructed from corrosion-treated stainless steel ensures the longevity of this reel’s lifespan.

The Chronarch G SW is well-suited for inshore fishing and target species such as trout, redfish, and flounder. The cross carbon drag system has a maximum drag capacity of 11 pounds, which means that this reel wouldn’t function as well for saltwater fishing that requires more drag power. For this reason, this reel wouldn’t be optimal for deep sea fishing or targeting larger fish.

Pros
  • Nine bearing system
  • Micro module gear
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Fast retrieval speed
Cons
  • Expensive

5. Abu Garcia REVO Inshore Low Profile

Best Baitcaster For Inshore Fishing

Reel Weight

0.5 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.6:1

Max Drag

24 lbs

Ball Bearings

6 HPCR + 1 RB

Hand Orientation

Left hand and right hand models

While other reels in our review like the SHIMANO Chronarch G SW Aluminum can be used for inshore fishing, the Abu Garcia REVO Inshore Low Profile is ultimately the best baitcasting reel for inshore fishing.

The reel's body is constructed with aluminum and carbon fiber material for an overall long-lasting and durable structure. The seven bearings are designed with stainless steel to combat any corrosion and rust buildup risk on your gear. Abu Garcia took into consideration the qualities especially suited for inshore fishing and included features like the duragear brass gear and D2 gear design to extend the reel’s use and improve strength.

Weighing in at 0.5 pounds, this reel is on the lighter side of the baitcasting reels in this review while maintaining a fast retrieval speed. The gear ratio of 6.6:1 allows anglers to respond quickly to movement on the line and efficiently hook a fish. This brand offers orientations for both right hand and left hand use, so depending on your preference, you’ll be able to select a model that works best for your fishing style.

This reel is an excellent option for inshore fishing but might not be as well-suited for saltwater fishing in deeper waters.

Pros
  • Seven bearing system
  • Options for right hand and left hand orientation
  • Lightweight
  • Great material
  • Corrosion-resistant
Cons
  • Expensive but comparable to other reels on the market

6. Piscifun Alijos Size 300

Best Budget Baitcaster

Reel Weight

0.71 lbs

Gear Ratio

5.9:1

Max Drag

33 lbs

Ball Bearings

8 BB + 1 RB

Hand Orientation

Right hand

Without a doubt, the Piscifun Alijoz Size 300 is the best budget baitcasting reel on the market to date. A price point of just over $100 makes this reel a more affordable option for anglers trying out a baitcasting reel for the first time. Anglers will be able to test out this type of reel without prematurely committing to a more expensive reel.

Constructed with aluminum material and stainless steel bearings, this reel has a bit more weight to it than some other reels like the Abu Garcia REVO Inshore Low Profile. This reel can handle target fish on the heavier side with a maximum drag of 33 pounds. Likewise, the retrieval speed is impressive, with a gear ratio of 5.9:1.

The eight stainless steel bearings are joined with one anti-reverse bearing that leads to smooth line action without loud vibrations, which can be an issue with other reels. Piscifun offers another model with a higher gear ratio if you’re looking for a reel with a faster retrieval speed.

Additional features of this reel include an effective magnetic braking system, an inner-wrapped thumb bar pad, and different handle options. The reel has been ergonomically designed so that any angler can spend a day out on the water with ease. 

Pros
  • Impressive max drag
  • Nine bearing system
  • Magnetic brake system
  • High line capacity
  • Corrosion-resistant
Cons
  • Heavier than some other reels

7. Penn SQL50LW

Best For Big Game Fish

Reel Weight

1.85 lbs

Gear Ratio

4.0:1

Max Drag

20 lbs

Ball Bearings

3 BB

Hand Orientation

Right hand

The Penn SQL50LW baitcasting reel is one that stands out as the best for big game fish. Designed with a graphite frame and bronze main gear, this reel is a heavy-duty option that can hold its own whether you’re inshore or deep sea fishing.

Equipped with stainless steel pinion gear and a carbon fiber drag system, the reel is well-constructed with high-quality materials. The Penn SQL50LW has earned a reputation for being a dependable option when angling for heavier target fish. Along these lines, the reel has a maximum drag of 20 pounds with a carbon fiber drag system.

A unique detail in the reel's spool includes marked capacity rings that let an angler know when the line has reached full capacity on the spool. This can be helpful, especially for novice anglers who aren’t as familiar with limitations to line capacity.

This reel stands out also because it is a level wind trolling reel. This means that the reel’s line guide moves back and forth when the angler retrieves the line. As a result of this function, the line is evenly distributed throughout the process, and there is less risk of issues with the line. 

Pros
  • Carbon fiber drag system
  • Three bearing system
  • Line capacity rings
  • Marine-grade bronze alloy main gear
  • Stainless steel pinion gear
Cons
  • Heavier construction

Baitcaster vs. Spinning Reel For Saltwater

Baitcasting reels are different from spinning reels in many regards, beginning with reel orientation on the fishing rod. A baitcasting reel is situated on top of the rod while a spinning reel is attached to the underside. This affects the position of the line and an angler’s approach when controlling the line.

Not all spinning reels are a good fit for saltwater fishing, though they come at cheaper price points. However, baitcasting reels are highly dependable options when taking a fishing trip in a saltwater environment. Both reel types must be cleaned and maintained regularly.


Saltwater Baitcasting Reel Sizing Guide

When it comes to understanding the different baitcasting reel sizes, it’s helpful to think of it in terms of low-profile and round design. Low-profile reels, such as those we’ve included in this review, are great for smaller saltwater fish species. These reels typically have smaller spool sizes, which, in turn, means that there will be less line capacity than a round design reel. When you’re selecting a baitcasting reel that suits your preferred fishing techniques and environment, take into account whether your target fish species requires a light or heavy-duty approach.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Is braided line good for baitcasters?

Braided line is a great line for baitcasting reels and, specifically, for trolling. In some cases, it’s a good idea to use a monofilament backing.

What do magnetic brakes do on a baitcaster?

Magnetic brakes essentially regulate the spool’s rotation speed when casting and provide anglers with more control over the line.

Can I use a low-profile baitcaster for saltwater?

Yes, a low-profile baitcaster can certainly be used for saltwater fishing. However, we would suggest that a low-profile baitcasting reel be used for inshore fishing rather than deep sea fishing.

What types of lures and baits should I use with my baitcasting reel for offshore fishing?

With a baitcasting reel, you can use jigs, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits when offshore fishing.

Where can I buy these saltwater baitcasting reels?

Amazon is an excellent source for familiarizing yourself with different brand’s baitcasting reels and finding one that best suits your lifestyle. Purchasing through Amazon is a simple process that simplifies shipping. Another good option would be to buy directly from a brand’s website.


Conclusion

Navigating the many baitcasting options on the market today can be daunting for any angler, so it is helpful to know what features and functions to look for. Among our favorite reels, the Shimano Torium SW Saltwater is a standout for our top product because every feature has been methodically and ergonomically designed.

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