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Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

Considering all the brands that are widely available in the market, finding the Best Saltwater Spinning Reels can be challenging.

When fishing in saltwater, you need to make sure your reel is up to the increased stress it will be exposed to – both by the fish and the environment.

This article will not only cover the Best Saltwater Spinning Reels but also what to look for while buying. The rod and reel are the most important components of your fishing rig and determine whether or not you have a full creel or empty hooks.

Key Factors When Choosing a Spinning Reel

Saltwater can mean deep water and long runs, even smaller species can speed away when provided a wide open escape route.

An essential feature in any quality reel is the ability to hold enough line to face these challenges without seeing your fight come to an end because you get spooled.

In most cases, you will want to look for a minimum capacity of 300 yards. Even if you are using a braided line, capacity will one day become the difference between a trophy and a fish story.

A braided line offers many advantages that the saltwater angler wishes to have. So it is important that any reel you consider is capable of using this as well as a monofilament.

While almost any modern reel can be spooled with a braided line, the best includes special features designed to take full advantage of this accessory such as those that:

  • limit slippage
  • bails without gaps in which the line can become tangled or snagged
  • components robust enough to withstand the cutting power of this line when under pressure

Buying a deep water trolling rig? No problem! Go with the biggest brass model available since it will spend most of the day in a holder anyway.

But if you are buying a spinning reel, chances are, it will devote more time in your hand than anywhere else. Plus, there will come an instance when you want to cast, retrieve, cast, and retrieve from the time you leave the dock until you return hours later.

When this happens, every extra ounce you hold or swing will count. A lighter reel will make it much easier to get the most out of your day and gear, just do not sacrifice strength to lose a few ounces.

One of the greatest differences between your freshwater and saltwater reels is the ability of the latter to withstand the harsh environment that they encounter.

Hour after hour, day after day, your reel will be exposed to salt which is both corrosive and abrasive. A good reel will be specifically designed to withstand being coated with salt spray and dunked in seawater without missing a beat.

This is the mechanical, adjustable friction that determines the amount of resistance needed to pull the line from the reel. It is important to select a reel with a maximum drag sufficient enough to tire, turn, and eventually land the largest fish you are targeting.

Most experts agree that a drag rating over 30-40 lbs does little regarding accomplishing its intended task as the angler’s arm strength then becomes the weak point. However, a higher drag rating can indicate greater protection from bursts of speed or strength.

The moving internal parts of your reel require protection against the damage caused by metal-on-metal rotation. Inexpensive or lightweight models use bushings but this usually results in lower tolerances and a stop-and-go action.

Quality reels use ball bearings which provide a smoother action especially when under load. The more bearings available indicate a better action.

The gears in your reel act in the same manner as those on a multi-speed bicycle by increasing the power produced with each turn of the handle.

A low gear ratio will be easier to turn but will require far more turns to retrieve the same amount of line as a reel with a higher ratio.

A ratio of 4:1 indicates the spool will turn 4 times for each full rotation of the handle. Likewise, a ratio of 6:1 indicates a faster retrieval with the spool turning 6 times for each rotation of the handle.

The lower gear ratio is best suited for jigging or live-lining bait.The higher gear ratio is better when you are retrieving lures at faster speeds or trying to cover large areas while searching for fish.

5 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels Reviewed

Accurate TwinSpin SR-30

Reels from the Accurate TwinSpin line catch the eye immediately with their gleaming polished aluminum build and beefed-up components.

The TwinSpin line runs up to the SR-50 that can spool 450 yards of 130lb. braid and put on 40 lbs. of drag pressure. We took a look at the mid-heavy SR-30 that offers a slightly faster 6:1 gear ratio and a bit lighter weight while still holding plenty of line – 375 yards of 80lb. braid or 550 yards of 30lb. mono – and featuring a drag that can put 35 lbs. of pressure on big tuna, billfish, and trevally.

Despite its strength, the SR-30 runs smooth as silk on five Class 5 ABEC stainless steel ball bearings.

The reel features Accurate’s unique lubricated twin drag system that puts large drag friction washers on each side of the spool. The drag has a very smooth feel because the twin system eliminates the startup inertia that causes shock on the line and increases lost fish at high drag settings. Drag setting is easy with drag preset registration lines on the top of the spool, and the bold, high-relief drag handle makes adjustment during the fight easy.


This little beauty is the future of saltwater fishing.

The body and spool are constructed entirely from reinforced carbon, zero metal. Not only does this provide superior corrosion resistance, but it also results in an extremely lightweight reel without sacrificing strength & durability.

Add the unique X-ship drivetrain and 7 high-quality ball bearings, and you have one of the smoothest, strongest pieces of fishing equipment available today.

Although its size and somewhat limited spool capacity prevent it from being recommended for offshore adventures, it is perfect for long days of casting for inshore reds or bonefish on the flats.

Penn Battle II

The Battle II is a perfect example of price not being an indicator of quality.

PENN prides itself in offering a full selection of lower-priced models comparable to its more expensive flagship series.

But a lower price does not equal cheap. This reel shares many of the same features found in the Spinfisher V at about 2/3rds the cost. The body, side plates, and rotor are an all-metal construction.

Add a lightweight but still super durable aluminum bail wire, superline-ready spool, and instant anti-reverse, and you have the complete package.

The Battle II is perfect for those entering the saltwater arena as well as veterans looking to increase their options without breaking the bank. With a little care, it will easily give you years of faithful service, far more than competitors that cost twice as much.

Shimano Saragosa SRG25000SW

The Shimano Saragosa SW line of saltwater spinning reels offers Shimano quality in a size range that runs from 22 lbs. up to 44 lbs. of drag strength. We chose the bruiser of the line, the 25000SW, a 4.4:1 torque that holds 440 yards of 100lb. test braid and can lay on 44 lbs. of drag brake.

This is a beefy 6+1 bearing spinning reel that weighs in at 34.2 ounces, and it is built from the ground up to take on tough blue-water sportfishing challenges.

The Saragosa is just as smooth and comfortable as the smaller Shimano freshwater reels. The machined aluminum body with blue highlights looks great on the rod.

The reel leg and frame are beefy and completely rigid. The Paladin Gearing and shielded A-RB bearings run silent and free whether on the cast or on a retrieve under heavy load. The X-Ship bearing system that puts bearings on both sides of the spool for extra support lets the reel crank smoothly through 360 degrees even with a big fish on.

We found the bail action on this reel to be exceptionally sensitive. It opens with a light touch and closes the same way and in fact, may close accidentally with a touch or a bump. But once you get a feel for it, the Saragosa lays out some really long casts for a heavy reel.

Daiwa BG

The BG “Black Gold” 8000 is the heavyweight in Daiwa’s popular Black Gold spinning reel lineup.

Daiwa also appears in one of your Best Spincast Reels.

The machined aluminum body and side cover of the BG8000 house a digitally cut drive gear that is the largest in the history of Daiwa spinning reels.

The gear runs on 6 sealed stainless-steel ball bearings to turn a rotor that is engineered to cut weight while distributing stress evenly throughout the rotor. Another unique feature is a reverse-tapered ABS aluminum spool that allows 100% of the line to be used.

The spool can be filled to the lip, which reduces friction on casting.

This big reel can spool 440 yards of 80lb. braid, yet it only weighs 30 ounces. The drag turns down to 30 lbs. and has a smooth pull at the heaviest setting.