6 Best Inshore Spinning Reels: Reviewed For All Budgets

by Andrew

6 Best Inshore Spinning Reels: Reviewed For All Budgets

by Andrew

by Andrew

Inshore fishing is a great way for anglers to fish for flounder, redfish, black drum, and other species without a large boat. To catch these larger fish, though, it’s important to have gear that can handle them. Anglers looking for the best inshore spinning reel for the right price should consult this guide for all the information they need.

Preview

Product

Reel Weight

Gear Ratio

Max Drag

Check Price

SHIMANO Stradic 1000FL HG Spinning Fishing...

Shimano Stradic FL

6.5 oz.

6.0:1

7 lbs.

Quantum CSP40PTSE Cabo Spin Reel

Quantum Cabo PT

13.4 oz.

5.3:1

30 lbs.

Shimano Sedona 4000FI XG Freshwater Spinning...

Shimano Sedona Fi

7.6 oz.

5.0:1

7 lbs.

Penn 1422310 Conflict II Spinning Reel, 3000...

Penn Conflict II

9.1 oz.

6.2:1

15 lbs.

Abu Garcia Revo Inshore...

Abu Garcia Revo

9.4 oz.

6.2:1

17 lbs.

Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reels Smooth...

Sougayilang Spinning Reel

9.2 oz.

5.2:1

8 lbs.


Why a Spinning Reel Is Best for Inshore Fishing

Baitcasters might be a favorite for bass fishing, but spinning reels are the best for inshore fishing because they let anglers cast long-distance with much less effort. Spinning reels have smaller, lighter spools, so there is less weight in the way of the angler's cast energy. They are also much easier to use in saltwater because they are easier to rinse off afterward. Baitcasters are more likely to experience backlash in high-wind environments where people go inshore fishing.


Choosing a Quality Inshore Spinning Reel

Size & Type of Fish Targeted

Part of the inshore fishing appeal is that the targets - redfish, snook, black drum, whatever - can potentially be massive. Matching your inshore fishing gear to the targets is critical. 2000 or 3000 size reels are great for smaller and medium-sized fish like trout and saltwater bass, while 7000 and up are best for sharks and other massive inshore targets.

Material & Build Quality

Corrosion is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to inshore spinning reels. Some materials like graphite and aluminum are the most corrosion-resistant. They’re also the most lightweight so that the angler won’t fatigue as easily after casting for long periods. The weight of the reel should match the rod so that the balance of the combo feels right.

Casting Ability

Anglers always appreciate having gear that can cast long distances. When it comes to inshore fishing, it’s likely anglers will be in areas where there isn’t enough room to cast. Reels should hold enough line and have lightweight spools to make casting lures long-distance easier for the angler.

Reel Features

  • Gear Ratio
    The number of times the spool rotates per turn of the handle is referred to as the gear ratio. The lowest ratio for most inshore spinning reels is around 5:1, and it can go up to as much as 7:1.
  • Drag System
    Reels can have drag discs in the front or the rear, with front systems having more power generally. Having dials in both the front and rear makes it easier to adjust the drag system on the fly.
  • Ball Bearings
    Ball bearings are used to make inshore spinning reels operate more smoothly, but they can also cause the price to rise dramatically. Make sure you look at all the reel elements and not just the number of ball bearings.
  • Spool Style
    Older internal spools used to hold more line, but skirted spools were found to reduce line tangles after their introduction in the early 80s, and now almost all spinning reels are built with skirted spools. They’re the best option for inshore angling in any case.
  • Anti-Reverse Handles
    One ball bearing is usually put in place to keep the handle from spinning in the wrong direction. On cheaper reels, the handle will be screwed in, but they can also go all the way through the reel and attach to the other side, which will give them more power and smoother operation.
  • Line Capacity & Retrieval Rate
    Slightly different from the gear ratio, the retrieval rate is a more accurate picture of how much line comes in per crank of the reel handle. If a reel can hold lots of line, you should make sure it can also pull that line in quickly so you don’t spend all day reeling in empty line.

Warranty

It’s rare to find any warranty on inexpensive fishing gear, but once you start to see prices in the hundreds, you should begin to look for some kind of warranty protection. The best warranties last for many years or even the product's lifetime, but it’s more common to see one- or two-year warranties.

Price

Most anglers won’t need professional-grade inshore spinning reels, but there are certainly some benefits to more expensive gear. High-quality materials and better performance are more likely on pricier reels. If you’re chasing big targets, you should try looking at some inshore spinning reels around the $200 range.


6 Best Inshore Spinning Reels Reviewed

1. Shimano Stradic FL

Best Inshore Spinning Reel

Reel Weight

6.5 oz.

Gear Ratio

6.0:1

Max Drag

7 lbs.

Ball Bearings

6 + 1

Hand Orientation

Left & Right

Shimano has built an incredibly strong inshore spinning reel with its Stradic line. They are manufactured with a Hagane steel body, which means they can readily handle any abuse from the harsh conditions of inshore fishing. The body of this reel never seems to flex, not even around the reel foot, which is very unusual for inshore spinning reels. Shimano has also included some innovative design features into this reel, like the cranking power in the handle that can handle any sized target within 100 miles of the coast.

Most standard inshore spinning reels have lots of bulk and weight that throw off the balance of a rod and reel combo, but the center of gravity on this Shimano reel feels much lower, closer to the rod. The drag system is top-notch as well, easily stopping even large targets and forcing them to turn back toward the boat. The overall operation of this spinning reel is smooth. They’ve also treated it with a water-repellent coating to ensure it stays in working condition for many seasons. It should come as no surprise that Shimano has built the best inshore saltwater spinning reel available, but the Stradic is impressive even for them.

Pros
  • Sturdy construction
  • Smooth operation
  • Pre-treated water-repellant
  • Good retrieval rate
Cons
  • Slight reel wobble

2. Quantum Cabo PT

Best Inshore Spinning Reel for Big Fish

Reel Weight

13.4 oz.

Gear Ratio

5.3:1

Max Drag

30 lbs.

Ball Bearings

7 + 1

Hand Orientation

Right/Left

For a pro-level inshore spinning reel, nothing beats this robust model from Quantum. It has a low-profile design, but it’s certainly one of the strongest inshore spinning reels on the market. With a whopping 30 pounds of drag power, there are very few fish this reel won’t be able to handle. However, Quantum has also taken great pains to make sure this reel operates smoothly in addition to all that power. Ceramic washers are helped by the 8 ball bearings placed at crucial points to give this reel effortless and even action.

The reel foot is very well-placed on this model. The balance of its weight is close to the rod, which will help reduce the likelihood of fatigue and also put the power on the angler’s side when a fish bites at the lure. The whole body has been treated with anti-corrosive coatings to make sure the reel doesn’t succumb to salt sprays and other elements that could wreck a lesser model.

This reel works excellently with live baits but casting lighter plastic lures can be tricky without something to weight them down on the line. Still, if you’re going after large targets, this is the best inshore spinning reel for bass and other monsters near the coast.

Pros
  • 5-year warranty
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Well-balanced
  • Strong drag
  • Ceramic washers
Cons
  • Better for live bait

3. Shimano Sedona Fi

Best Inshore Spinning Reel Under $100

Reel Weight

7.6 oz.

Gear Ratio

5.0:1

Max Drag

7 lbs.

Ball Bearings

3 + 1

Hand Orientation

Left/Right

If the entries on this list so far have been outside your price range, look no further than the Shimano Sedona Fi, which is by far the best inshore spinning reel for the money. It still has a smooth operation and enough drag power considering its size, and it’s a much smaller investment. One drawback is that they appear to have removed the toggle switch that releases the spool, which used to be on other models. That can help prevent a line snap and isn’t essential, but it would be a helpful addition.

Other than that, everything an angle needs to haul in some large targets is on this reel. It doesn't hold as much line as some other reels, and it only has 7 pounds of drag power unless you go with the larger 5000 size, which has 24 pounds of drag. The smaller reel is designed more for mid-sized targets or fishing near a dock or boat. If you want to cast further, pair one of the larger reels in this series with a long rod, and you shouldn’t have any problems. For the majority of inshore fishing where bass and flounder are the primary targets, this Sedona works great.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Perfect for mid-sized targets
Cons
  • Lower line capacity

4. Penn Conflict II

Best Value for the Money

Reel Weight

9.1 oz.

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Max Drag

15 lbs.

Ball Bearings

7 + 1

Hand Orientation

Left/Right

The all-black exterior of this inshore spinning reel has a striking visual appeal, and its performance is even more impressive. From its large line capacity to its fish-stopping drag power, the Penn Conflict II is the best inshore spinning reel under $150. It has an excellent retrieval rate for covering long distances, which is ideal because it allows anglers to cast long-distance without any issue. Penn's design lends this reel a smooth operation as per usual. This 3000 size reel pairs well with a 6- or 7-foot inshore rod, and the larger 7000 size works well for longer rods for even better long-distance casting.

One slightly annoying thing about this reel is that it only has a front drag dial. The drag system works fantastically, but if you suddenly need to make adjustments, it can be hard to reach around to the dial. The anti-reverse works very well and doesn’t budge as you might find on some other inshore spinning reels. The handle also offers plenty of torque, which comes in handy with larger, more powerful targets. Although the line capacity is very good on this reel, it might be wise to leave some line off the spool to prevent wind knots when you cast.

Pros
  • Powerful handle
  • Great anti-reverse
  • Fast retrieval rate
  • Long-distance casting
Cons
  • Front drag only

5. Abu Garcia Revo

Best Inshore Spinning Reel Under $200

Reel Weight

9.4 oz.

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Max Drag

17 lbs.

Ball Bearings

7

Hand Orientation

Left/Right

Unlike many other reels of this size, this Abu Garcia Revo pairs smooth reeling action with enough weight to have some felt presence on the rod. That makes it great to have when you have a fish on the line because you can be more aware of the reel without having to look at it. It also has one of the best retrieval rates on the market, a whopping 40 inches for the 40 size. The Abu Garcia Revo Inshore 60 spinning reel has an even higher rate. Either one is great for casting.

Unlike some reels that specialize in either huge targets or smaller ones, this reel can handle mid-sized and larger ones. Pretty much anything you manage to hook other than the biggest sea monsters can be bested with this reel at hand. Both the 40 and 60 have an all-aluminum body that makes this reel durable and fairly lightweight, although it's certainly not an ultralight model. There are drag dials on both the side and front of the reel, which is great for last-minute adjustments. This reel doesn’t suffer corrosion easily, and it's strong enough to last for a long time with relatively minimal maintenance. 

Pros
  • All-aluminum body
  • Casts long-distance
  • Plenty of drag power
  • High retrieval rate
  • Side and rear drag dials
Cons
  • Not low-profile

6. Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel

Best Inshore Spinning Reel for Beginners

Reel Weight

9.2 oz.

Gear Ratio

5.2:1

Max Drag

8 lbs.

Ball Bearings

11

Hand Orientation

Left/Right

This is a great reel for people looking to get into inshore fishing without making a considerable investment. It has many features that are relatively uncommon at this price point, such as the 11 ball bearings included in the body. They make the operation of this reel very smooth so that beginners won’t tire of cranking the handle. The reel isn’t too heavy, so anglers shouldn't have to worry about hand fatigue during long days filled with casting. The manufacturer has also attached a wooden handle rather than the more common EVA foam, which is visually appealing but is a bit less comfortable after a long day of fishing.

Despite that, this cheap inshore reel is the best basic model for newcomers to the sport. It’s as easy to use as any other spinning reel, and it still has enough drag power to bring in some relatively large targets. Like other beginner reels, this one stops short of an amazing performance. In the long run, that's good news because it will encourage beginners to graduate to better reels as they build their inshore fishing skills. This has to be one of the cheapest inshore reels on the market, allowing new anglers to experience inshore fishing without spending an arm and a leg. 

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Smooth operation
  • Good line handling
Cons
  • Uncomfortable handle
  • Basic reel

Baitcasters Vs. Spinning Reels for Inshore Fishing

Many anglers are confused when they hear that a spinning reel is better than a baitcaster for inshore fishing. This is because spinning reels are better in saltwater, have lighter spools for easier casting, and work better with the kind of lures used for inshore fishing. Using a baitcaster in the windy conditions where people go inshore fishing is almost sure to lead to bird nests while spinning reels have no such risk. The only real benefit to keeping a baitcaster around for inshore fishing is if you plan to do some vertical jigging.


Inshore Spinning Reel Sizing Guide

The key to selecting the right size for an inshore spinning reel is to match it with the targets you’re most likely to find. If you want to chase smaller fish, get an ultralight rod and a small 1000 or 2000 size reel. For inshore fishing, 3000 or 4000 is usually the minimum, although you can get 7000 or 9000 reels for sharks and other massive targets.

Make sure to match your line and tackle as well. Light lures need lightweight reels and rods while monster targets will need heavy rods, thick line, and strong spinning reels with a high line capacity.


How to Set Up a Spinning Reel

First, you need to spool the line on the spinning reel. You can do this by attaching the end of the line to the spool and then reeling backward while letting the factory spool spin to feed the line onto your reel.

Most fishing rods connect to spinning reels with twist-close reel seats. Make sure everything is snug. The best bait for inshore fishing is probably going to be live bait, which can be heavy. To cast that, make sure you have your reel settings right, open your bail, and cast with a flick of the wrist. Once the lure hits the water, close the bail if it doesn’t close automatically.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What types of lures and baits are best with spinning reels when inshore fishing?

Live baits are a favorite of inshore anglers. However, you may also have great success with jigs, plugs, and even jerkbaits depending on the water depth and the type of fish around you. Think of your standard bass minnow lures but make sure to get bigger ones to suit your targets.

Are expensive inshore spinning reels worth it compared to cheaper models?

Costlier inshore spinning reels are usually built with better materials and have more stopping power to wrest larger fish out of the water. However, not every angler needs that kind of performance. If you’re mostly a weekend warrior, a mid-range inshore reel might suit you just fine.

Are there any special care and maintenance steps for saltwater inshore spinning reels?

One reason to use spinning reels in saltwater is that it’s easier to rinse the salt off after each use to prevent corrosion. Make sure to do so thoroughly. When storing the reel, take it off the rod and make sure the line is dry and the hook secured.

How can I cast a spinning reel further?

If you want to cast an inshore spinning reel further, get a longer rod. You should also note the wind and its direction, the weight of the line you’re using, and the type of lure. Heavier lures can be cast further up to a point.

Where can I buy these saltwater inshore spinning reels?

The best place to find inshore spinning reels from leading companies like Shimano is Amazon. Many come with additional accessories, and the warranties still apply the vast majority of the time. It’s also much easier to compare different reels, and you're more likely to find them in stock on Amazon.


Conclusion

To catch fish inshore, you need a corrosion-resistant reel with lots of drag power that casts easily. The Shimano Stradic FL is the best inshore spinning reel because it has all of these features and a silky smooth operation that makes casting and retrieval a cinch.

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