10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels 2019 – Reviewed Alongside a Buying Guide

Choosing the ideal saltwater spinning reel can be a tough task. This is further compounded by the fact that there are quite a few preferences to keep in mind so one can make an informed bet.

For instance, you need to keep factors such as the kind of water you’re planning to fish in and the species you’re targeting in mind. Saltwater species are particularly known to be very aggressive and, therefore, you want to bank on the most powerful reel available.

Likewise, you want to consider whether the reel is a high profile or low profile one. And ultimately, it’s important to keep factors such as the volume of the line you’re interested in using in mind as well.

As you already know, saltwater can be highly corrosive as well. And, therefore, you’re better off working with a reel that’s corrosion-resistant. With all those factors in mind, let us see what options are available for you.

The Best Saltwater Spinning Reel 2019 - Comparison list 

Which spinning reel should you bank on? Here’s a run-down of the 10 best choices to keep in mind so you can make an informed choice.

10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels – Reviews

1. Daiwa BG Spinning Reels

The new Daiwa BG Saltwater fishing reel was released in the year 2016. Since then, it has gone ahead to dominate the field such that it has received impressively high ratings over the years by professionals.

In this review, we shall guide as to why this particular reel would be a great addition to your fishing gear closet.

Product description

The Daiwa Saltwater spinning reel is available in 10 models as well as three different gear ratios starting from 1500 to 8000. This means that whether you are fishing for the smaller species or the larger stronger species, all your needs and specifications will always be catered for.

It features a black anodized finish which serves to provide a protective layer over the aluminum housing. It also has a waterproof carbon ATD drag system and a super smooth retrieve brought about by the rust-resistant ball bearings.

Other features and benefits

For starters, it has a black anodized machined aluminum housing which is more tolerant of bumps and scrapes and gives the reel corrosion resistant properties. This means that your reel will last for quite a long time to come.

It has an over-sized gear system which means that more teeth are in contact with each other. This is important as it allows you to get a smoother retrieve as well as give your reel more durability since all the teeth will share the pressure.

The solid screw-in handle gives the reel a solid feel when cranking the handle since there will be no play between the handle arm and the main gear.

The air rotor design helps in distributing stress across the reel while the Carbon ATD drag system has carbon fiber washers which provide for a smooth drag.

Last but not least, it has an infinite anti-reverse system to eliminate chances of playback while you set the hook.

Pros

  • Is durable
  • Very affordable
  • Has anti-reverse system

Cons

  • Heavy

2. PENN Slammer III Spinning Reel

One of the main reasons why this model is highly rated by experts and why it would be a great addition to your fishing arsenal is its durability. Its incredible design enables it to withstand the perils that come with saltwater fishing.

Product description

The spool and body of the Penn Slammer III are both sealed by with an IPX6 rating. The drag system is also sealed with a “Sealed Slammer” meaning that you will not have to disassemble the reel after dunking it or dropping it in the sand.

It is available in 8 models so you will be spoilt for choices while you search for the reel that will help you attain your targets.

Other features and benefits

This reel has a fully metallic body, a side plate and a rotor which is vital in ensuring that the pinion and gears are correctly lined up. This will assure you of a smoother retrieve and a durable reel.

The gearing system has been cut using a CNC machine making it precise and strong as it can ever be. You will also have enough cranking power since the gear system features the drive, pinion and isolation gears for efficient functioning.

It comes with six stainless steel ball bearings and an additional anti-reverse roller bearing. The braid ready spools have line capacity rings on both the top and bottom for you to see the amount of line remaining on the spool.

Lastly, you can choose a reel with either the machined aluminum knob or the EVA knob.  If you are hunting for the big fish, the aluminum knob is for you while the EVA knob is meant for you if you value a soft feeling handle.

Pros

  • Is durable
  • Operates smoothly
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The line easily gets caught on the side

3. SHIMANO STRADIC HG Spinning Fishing Reel

Spinning reels are generally easy to cast and also tend to deliver a flawless performance. The Shimano Stradic HG Spinning reel has amazing features and this review should definitely psyche you up to acquire one.

Product description  

Besides its reliable performance, the Shimano Stradic HG Spinning reel has an amazing and unique design. You can comfortably use it in both salt and fresh water bodies while giving you the smoothest retrieve yet.

It is capable of dealing with heavy lines as well as the bigger fish species.

Other features and benefits

The reel body is either made of graphite for the cheaper models or aluminum for the expensive ones or both materials. The graphite makes it lightweight while the aluminum makes the body strong.

The highly rigid and firm metallic body ensures that the firm is durable.

The front drag system is highly reliable and you can use it to drag between 7 and 24 pounds very smoothly.

The Shimano Stradic comes with 7 ball bearings which makes it the best spinning reel in terms of performance and a smooth retrieve.

Finally, it has a reel gear ratio of 6.2:1 which means that you will use minimum effort in dragging your catch out of the water.

Pros

  • It is lightweight
  • Is durable
  • Operates smoothly

Cons

  • Can be noisy

4. Shimano Baitrunner Spinning Reel

This affordable reel from the Shimano franchise is definitely one that you should have in your collection. For one, it is quite effective due to its secondary drag system.

Product description

This reel is available in four models, namely BTR12000D, BTR8000D, BTR6000D and BDR4000D. It is designed to suit both left and right-hand retrieval.

Its notable features include a graphite frame, forged aluminum, anti-reverse stopper, and a propulsion line management system. It has a line capacity ranging from 15 to 80 pounds for braided lines.

With this reel, you are likely to experience less friction on the line, better casting, better line lay, and a more comfortable grip.

Other features and benefits

The first outstanding feature of this reel is its superb anti-reverse mechanism which is as a result of the bearings which ensure that the spool does not experience any playbacks. This implies that the handle will be quite accurate as it will not have any free-play.

Secondly, it makes use of the Varispeed technology that makes the spool rotation to be consistent through the use of an oval can. This, in turn, makes the line lay to be even and enables the reel to make accurate and precise casts over greater distances.

Then, it has the Propulsion Line Management System. This new technology is vital in ensuring that there is no backlash or formation of wind-knots while enhancing the casting distance.

We also find it necessary to point out that with the Baitrunner, you will not have to flip the ball since the reel allows for a temporary free spool condition. You will use a switch to activate the mechanism while the knob will help you set the desired level of line resistance.

Pros

  • Is versatile
  • Has anti-reverse mechanism
  • Has a nice and comfortable grip

Cons

  • It's costly

5. Okuma Cedros High-Speed Spinning Reel

This spinning reel is just for you if you spend most of your time fishing in salty water. It is constructed out of top-notch materials yet it is quite affordable. After acquiring it, you will be surprised at how fast it can perform a retrieve.

Product description

The Okuma Cedros Spinning reel has a gear ratio of 5.7:1 while the gears are coated with a corrosion resistant material. Its drag ranges between 18 to 33 pounds and it varies with the model in your hands. It has a high stopping power due to the dual force drag system. The handle is made out of aluminum and this makes it sturdy and durable.

Other features and benefits

This reel has a number of impressive features. For starters, it has a Dual Force Drag system which helps in distributing the heat evenly in the reel which results in the system having higher pressure. It also ensures that the stability of the drag system is maintained.

The high-density gearing ii technology in all the gears is vital in making them corrosion resistant and thereby be suited to cope with the corrosive nature of salty water.

The gear ratio of 5.7:1 helps in maintaining the smoothness of the brass bearing while the larger size of the pinion and drive gear helps in increasing the power of the reel and offer more leverage. The high gear ratio is important if you want a high-speed retrieval system.

Another important feature is the anti-reverse bearing. This helps in preventing the spool from turning backward and any other reverse movement. This bearing also absorbs the shock and improves the performance of the reel.

The frame is made out of die-cast aluminum and so is more rigid, durable and sturdy. This cast aluminum finish is also easier to maintain.

Pros

  • It is affordable
  • Has anti-reverse bearing
  • Has a smooth retrieve

Cons

  • Breaks apart easily

Also read: Best Saltwater Spinning Rod Reviewed – Everything You Need To Know

6. Shimano Thunnus CI4 Saltwater Spinning Reel

If you are shopping for lightweight and fishing reel with a cut or live bait, then this spinning reel from the Shimano franchise is just what you need. Initially, the Thunnus was avoided due to the extra weight by the aluminum body. However, it was replaced by the Ci4 carbon body which made it lighter.

Product description

This fishing and spinning reel is very versatile and is suited for bait and artificial lures. The baitrunner dual drag system makes it very smooth while it is made out of high-quality parts which are replaceable and make the reel easy to maintain.

It is also quite lightweight yet durable due to the Ci4 body and rotor.

Other features and benefits

First, the frame and the rotor are made out of Ci4 carbon fiber material, which makes both of them quite light and strong at the same time.

It then utilizes a combo of hard brass pinion gear with a cold forged aluminum drive gear to ensure that it operates as smoothly as possible. This combo is also quite durable.

The Propulsion Line Management System lets the line move smoothly off the spool as you cast and as a result, you will be able to cast further without experiencing wind knots and backlashes.

The oversized Septon Grips are reliable not to slip out of your hands while the dual Baitrunner drag system ensures that you have full control over the drag.

The reel comes with six shielded anti-rust bearings which will ensure that you have the smoothest retrieve.

Finally, the super stopper ii one way roller bearing will give you a smooth hook set.

Pros

  • Is lightweight
  • Smooth retrieve
  • Durable and strong

Cons

  • Quite costly

7. HaiBo Saltwater Spinning Reel

This is definitely one of the best long distance surf casting reels. Its amazing power, longer casting range, durability and corrosion resistance are just but a few features which make this reel as awesome as it is.

Product description

The HaiBo Spinning reel has a maximum drag of 61.7 pounds which comes courtesy of the CH-50 and carbon fiber drag washers.  It comes with 6 stainless steel ball bearings which coupled with the anti-reverse system ensure that there is no back play.

The long wheelbase design spool makes it capable of long distance surf casting and also able to cope with the pressure from fighting fish.

Other features and benefits

It has a metallic and heavy duty finish which makes it ideal to withstand the harshness that comes with saltwater fishing.

The high-density foam handles together with the solid-cast crank will give you maximum comfort as you pull out the large and resistant fish species from the water.

Then, the 50-pound carbon fiber drag together with the 375 yards of 80-pound braided line capacity makes this spinning reel to be more than capable of giving you a satisfactory performance in the deeper waters.

Pros

  • Has comfortable handles
  • Durable finish
  • The drag is amazing

Cons

  • Heavy

8. Shimano Saragosa Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel

The most outstanding feature of the Shimano Saragosa is its versatility. You can use it for jigging, bottom fishing, and trolling as well as live bait.

Product description

The Shimano Spinning reel is available in different sizes, ranging from 5000 to 25000 and so you will definitely be spoilt for choice. If you need to do jigging and casting, then the smaller sized models are for you while the larger sized models are meant for dealing with the bigger and stronger fish species.

Other feature and benefits

The reel frame is constructed out of aluminum which has a low density and is resistant to corrosion. As a result, the frame is lightweight and highly durable.

The reel comes with shielded and anti-rust bearings which are easy to clean and maintain to give you an effective performance.

The spool in its part is made out of cold-forged aluminum which is strong and durable and will effectively cope under pressure without breaking apart.

Finally, it has a super stopper ii anti-reverse system which ensures there is no back play.

Pros

  • Has an eye-catching design
  • Has an anti-reverse system
  • Available in different sizes

Cons

  • Pricey

9. Accurate Twin-Drag Spinning Reel

Product description

This amazing reel is manufactured in the USA and we can confidently state that it is the only spinning reel that is designed for heavy-duty angling. It is sturdy and distributes heat evenly in the reel such that you will handle the bigger fish species without much difficulty.

Other features and benefits

The reel comes with the patented twin drag system which is constructed out of high-quality material which offers additional support to the rigid body, while the large friction washers enhance the smoothness of the drag.

It also comes with 6 ABEC stainless steel bearings which are super fast, precise and operate silently. The spool is designed to give you an easy time while pulling out the bigger fish species while the gear ratio of 6:1 gives the reel a high-speed retrieve.

Pros

  • Smooth and powerful
  • Greater casting distance
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not very durable

10. Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Spinning Reel

Product description

This spinning reel has to be among, if not the best inshore fishing reel. Its low profile combined with a variety of other features makes this reel stand out when it comes to inshore fishing.

Other features and benefits

It has a D2 gear system which is quite efficient in its functionality. It is durable and you will not experience any clogs during retrieval. This gear system also has a reputation for being highly durable.

The combination of its constituent materials emphasizes its greatness. For one, it has an alloy frame which results in the reel being corrosion resistant. It also has C6 carbon side-plates which makes it strong and lightweight at the same time.

Then there is the highly efficient Magtrax brake system. This system provides continuous and consistent drag pressure to give you full and absolute control of the casting.

It has a curved angle which has a good grip and is comfortable in your hands. Therefore, however long you hold it, you will not get blisters or muscle cramps.

The Ti coating on the guide reduces friction and enhances the durability of the line.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Highly resistant to corrosion
  • Efficient drag system

Cons

  • Noisy

The Buying Guide

As we have already mentioned, there are quite a few factors worth keeping in mind. Key among them is the style of fishing you intend to use. For instance, if you’re planning to pursue tarpon on the coastline your reel choice would be different from the one that you’d use for the same fish in the deep channels.

The Best Spool Design

You basically want to go for a spool that minimizes friction. This can be done by angling the lip also to reduce friction. At the same time, be sure to confirm that the spool is corrosion-resistant for longevity.

Line on Spool

You want to go for a reel with a decent line capacity. This would provide you with just enough capacity to keep fighting even when you capture a hard-fighting fish species.

Still with line capacity, you simply want to go for a reel that lies flat from the top to the bottom. There should be no humps and bumps to worry about.

A poorly designed spool can significantly affect the orientation of the spool. However, a well-made one would actually come with a factory-made calibrated system allowing you to lay down the line, evenly.

Bearings

Usually, as far as reel bearings are concerned, the more the merrier. In most cases, reels with lots of bearings tend to be easier and smoother to operate.

So, if you’re faced with two different reels with almost similar features, look for the number of bearings. Then go for the one with the most bearings.

While at it, be on the lookout for different kinds of bearings. There are some cheap, chrome-plated bearings which hardly last. But if you want value, you can consider going for stainless steel bearings.

The Kind of Material Used For the Spool

This is an often overlooked factor when it comes to the selection of the best spinning reels for the money. Our general recommendation is that a good spool is one made from aluminum. So, be on the lookout for ones made from graphite.

As you know, graphite can easily crack. And, therefore, if using reels made with such a spool material, they would easily deform especially as the line tightens down. This is especially something to worry about especially when using a monofilament line.

Is It Compatible With A Braided Line?

Braided lines are a must-have especially when saltwater fishing is concerned. So, it’s important that when going for a reel, you settle for one that’s capable of using this kind of line. Of course, it should also be capable of using a monofilament line.

But aren’t all modern reels capable of being used with braided lines? You might be wondering. Well, in our opinion, while all can be used for this role, you want to go for a variety that can limit slippage.

Also, it’s a good idea to ensure that the reel you settle for comes with bails with no gaps. Gaps can easily cause the line to snag or get tangled.

Lastly, one needs to ensure that the components of the reel are robust enough. And that way, they can easily withstand the cutting power of the line even when used under pressure.

Weight

Big brass spinning reels are ideal for deep water trolling. However, if you want to use your hands most of the time, then you want to find a light reel.

Such a reel would enable you to use your hands for long hours without worrying about fatigue. They’d also be extremely easy to retrieve and cast. Best of all, you’d find them easier to pack up and go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know that my reel is best suited for saltwater use?

A: The best way to determine this is by looking at the materials used to make the entire system. A good reel is one made from high-quality non-corrosive metal and alloys. Its bearings should be made of stainless steel in particular.

Q: Which spinning reels should I avoid using in saltwater?

A: Any reels whose parts are components are made from sub-par materials shouldn’t be used in saltwater. Also, as far as the bearings are concerned, you want to use ones made from pure metal, not metal-coated ones.

Q: How can I minimize damage on your reel during use?

A: We all know that saltwater can be a serious enemy as far as the functionality of spinning reels is concerned. So, in that regard, you should avoid immersing or dunking it in saltwater. Also, try to keep the reel from the sand as sand can easily damage the gears.

Which One Is The Best?

The PENN Slammer III Spinning Reel is what, in our opinion, qualifies to be ranked as the gold-standard of saltwater gear. It operates smoothly and is pretty durable. We think it generally represents better value for money than any other choice on this list so far.

Final Thoughts

The intuitive designs of saltwater spinning reels make them a must-have no matter your level of experience as an angler. Hopefully, the list of reviews and buying guide above will help you make a succinct choice.

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