Top Saltwater Fishing Reels Reviewed and Compared
If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best saltwater fishing reel. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite is the best because it comes with a durable graphite construction that is resistant to corrosion and a lightweight oxidized aluminum spool. Designed to withstand the rigors of saltwater fishing even the 6 ball bearings are made from rust resistant stainless steel, and this also ensures a smooth and reliable performance. It has a sleek metal body that will make even beginners feel like a professional, and everyone will appreciate how easy the bait feeding system is to turn on and off. To ensure that this is a good value for your money it comes with an extra spool, along with a one year limited warranty. If the Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite is not available, you should consider the Supertrip TM Full Metal Aluminum as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.
Our top choices
This spinning reel from Okuma is designed with durability and performance in mind. It gives anglers the advantage of a spinning and bait casting reel, while still being lightweight and easy to use. The durable construction is backed by a one year warranty, and while this reel might be priced slightly higher it is worth the extra cost when you experience its smooth performance.
This spinning reel is constructed from durable graphite, and since it is resistant to corrosion it is perfect for use in saltwater. The aluminum spool is machined to remove any excess weight, and to allow it to spin freely when the bait feeding system is turned on. The aluminum material is also oxidized to prevent corrosion from damaging its performance. As an added bonus this reel also comes with a spare graphite spool.
To ensure a smooth and consistent performance the reel has 6 stainless steel ball bearings. Designed to last for the life of the spinning reel, you can enjoy smooth and easy casts and retrievals. You also have the advantage of the anti-reverse ball bearing, which ensures your line is taut when you are setting the hook. Beginners and experienced anglers will appreciate how easy it is to turn the bait feeding system on and off. When it is on a fish can run with the line, and a simple flip of the switch turns the system off so you can use the main drag to reel your catch in.
The sleek metal body gives this spinning reel a professional appeal, which includes the aluminum handle. Also resistant to corrosion from saltwater, it is easy to turn when you are reeling a fish in. With Japanese oiled washers and plenty of ball bearings, you can depend on this saltwater spinning reel to deliver the smooth and reliable performance you need to have a successful fishing trip.
With its six stainless steel ball bearings, this saltwater fishing reel provides an impressively smooth retrieve every time. The line gets released and rewound quickly as needed, helping the angler maintain control easily.
The exclusive on/off auto trip bait feeding feature of this awesome fishing reel ensures you won’t miss a fish strike. The reel allows you to feel even a tentative nibble on the end of the line so you can react quickly and play the fish to land the catch.
This bait feeder reel is geared to withstand corrosion and the saltwater. The high 4.5:1 gear ratio enables faster cranking as every turn delivers an equivalent 4.5 rotations for faster line winding. The Hydro Block drag seal boasts a watertight design on this bait feeder reel to deliver years of service.
Catch large fish with this reel that ships with a spare G-tech spool system so you won’t need to do line re-spooling too often. The Quick-Set anti-reverse ball bearing prevents the spool from rotating backward and creating knots and tangles.
One buyer has noticed the shallowness of the pitch of the reel at the point where the spool faces the first line guide.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($47.63)
If you are looking for a small spinning reel that is capable of bringing in salt and freshwater fish, this might be the perfect choice for you. Manufactured by Supertrip, this spinning is priced to fit most anglers’ budgets and will also provide you with a smooth and reliable performance. The interval parts, including the gear are designed for durability, and you will appreciate knowing that the product reviews state that it is stronger than some similar models.
The aluminum metal construction ensures that the reel is durable and lightweight, along with being resistant to corrosion caused from exposure to saltwater. It is still recommended that the reel be thoroughly wiped down to prevent any rust or corrosion from forming. You will appreciate the durable support on both sides of the reel, which prevents it from wobbling and throwing off the balanced feel of your rod. This also makes it easier to retrieve active fish.
This spinning reel comes with 12 metal ball bearings that provide you with a smooth and reliable performance. The reel also has an anti-reverse bearing that keeps the line taut when you are setting the hook. You also have the advantage of the front and rear drag system that is easy to set and adjust. The aluminum spool can hold up to 215 yards of 8 pound line and when this is combined with the reel’s high speed capabilities you can easily keep up with fast moving fish. The handle is reversible for right and left hand anglers, and even folds up for convenient storage.
Featuring a sleek silver and gold design that will appeal to almost any angler, there is really very little not to like about this affordable spinning reel. It should be mentioned that this is a smaller size reel, and it is not designed for deep sea fishing. If you want to successfully land bass, drum and other medium size fish, this spinning reel might be exactly what you need.
This saltwater fishing reel carries an impressively streamlined design. Made of full metal aluminum, this device comes with an attractive gold-and-silver two-tone finish. The reel looks great at any angle because of the remarkable color blend.
This model provides a cutting-edge line lay oscillation system that supports flawless line winding and release to prevent unwanted line damage. The brass pinion gear not only contributes to durability but also contributes to a smooth cranking performance.
The all-metal handle folds easily and has a reversible feature to ensure a balance of pressure on the fishing line. This handle is also switchable from a left to right-handed configuration to suit the needs of the angler.
This high-speed spinning reel provides an impressively high gear ratio of 5.5:1 so every turn of the handle provides fast line release, which is very useful when you are doing battle with the fish. The reel comes with 12 plus 1 ball bearings for smooth cranking and retrieves.
Some buyers found this model smaller than they expected considering the model tier it comes with.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($59.99)
If you have been searching for a spinning reel that can be used in fresh and saltwater, this model might be exactly what you are looking for. It features a sleek and professional appearance, while also being durable and capable of providing you with a smooth performance. It is designed to give you the speed and power you need to bring in bass, fluke, and even slower 30 pound cod and redfish. While some consumers have stated that it is possible to land 100 pound fish with this reel, it should be noted that this is only recommended for experienced anglers who are also using the appropriate hooks and weighted test line.
This Daiwa spinning reel comes with an all metal construction that is durable and resistant to corrosion. While it should still be wiped clean after each fishing trip, it is designed to last for years as long as it is cared for properly. The spool is constructed from an ABS composite material, and you will appreciate the well oiled multiple disc drag system that ensures a smooth and reliable performance. The reel also features a single ball bearing for smooth casts and retrievals, along with an anti-reverse BB so your line stays taut when you are setting your hook.
Beginners and experienced anglers will appreciate the convenient tab that prevents your line from tangling when it’s not rigged, and left handed fishermen will appreciate the reversible handle. The handle is also incredibly easy to crank when there is a fish on the line, and with a gear ratio of 4.6:1 you don’t have to worry about sacrificing speed or power.
Experienced anglers who want to add a durable and dependable reel to their gear will appreciate the smooth performance capabilities of this model, and beginners will love how easy it is to operate. Featuring a sleek metal design that looks great on almost any salt or freshwater rod, this spinning reel might be exactly what you are looking for.
Lightweight at just 1.8 pounds, this saltwater fishing reel ensures effortless functionality and storage for travel. This fishing reel comes with an ABS composite spool for durability and remarkably smooth winding.
The infinite Anti-Reverse feature uses a double stopper system to ensure that the handle does not turn backward unexpectedly when the fish puts up a fight and exerts huge pressure on the line. You won’t have the worry about the reel becoming difficult to control.
The smooth, multi-disc drag system provides smooth operations and the effective prevention of line breakage. The single ball bearing is supplemented with the roller bearing for precise line release.
This saltwater spinning reel delivers heavy action to resist breakage even when the fish struggles in a huge battle with the angler. The ABS composite spool is also a durable component. This reel provides a line twisting reduction buster to ensure the line stays smooth and unknotted.
Initially, the ball arm feels a bit tight and unyielding but eventually will work more smoothly with just a few back-and-forth flips.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($26.27)
Choosing a reel for saltwater fishing doesn’t have to be difficult, if you know what you are looking for. While the type of fish and water conditions will play a role in your decision, your personal preferences should also be considered. In this buying guide you will find the information you need to confidently find the best saltwater fishing reels.
What is saltwater fishing?
Fishing in saltwater requires a reel that is constructed from durable, corrosion resistant materials. The harsh saltwater and strong, heavy fish can easily damage inferior gear. There are several species of fish anglers often cast for in saltwater, and this will also help you choose the right type of reel.
Choosing the right reel type
While spincasting reels are often recommended for beginners, it is not designed for use in deep water. Novice saltwater fishermen often start out with spinning reels, which are easy to operate and ideal for bringing in small and mid size fish. More experienced anglers searching for larger saltwater game fish generally prefer the power of a baitcasting reel. These reels are also designed to hold the heavier lines and lures you need to retrieve tuna, marlin and other large fish.
Saltwater Reels Described
Even though there are differences between spinning and baitcasting reels, the general features you want to look for will remain the same. Regardless of which type of reel you choose, it should be durable, lightweight, and able to provide you with a smooth and reliable performance.
The best saltwater reels come with a sturdy body constructed from graphite or cast aluminum. Graphite reels are stronger and designed to bring in larger fish, while aluminum models are lightweight and generally priced lower. Both materials are resistant to corrosion, which is an important consideration if you are planning on fishing in saltwater.
Spool size can vary according to the reel, and the right one for you will usually depend on what type of fish you are casting for. Larger saltwater fish will require a bigger spool with the capacity to hold heavier line, while smaller models are ideal for beginners and lighter weight lures. Regardless of the spool’s size, you do want to choose one that is constructed from aluminum or graphite to ensure it can withstand the rigors of saltwater fishing.
While baitcasting reels have a rotating spool that winds the line up on retrieval, spinning models require gears. The gears are designed to wrap the line around the stationary spool, and should be constructed from corrosion resistant metal to ensure a smooth and consistent performance. You also want to consider the gear ratio which refers to retrieval speed and power. The saltwater spinning reels review state that you want to choose one with a high gear ratio so you have the power and speed you need to bring in feisty game fish.
The number of ball bearings will determine how smoothly the saltwater reel performs, and it can also prevent the gears from stripping on spinning models. To ensure long lasting performance and prevent corrosion from exposure to saltwater, experienced anglers recommend choosing a reel with stainless steel ball bearings. The number of BBs will determine how smoothly and efficiently it functions, and it is worth the added expense to purchase a reel with two or more ball bearings.
Being able to adjust the tension on the line is an important aspect to consider. Not only will this prevent back lash, it also ensures you can securely set the hook in the fish. The drag system should be durable and easy to operate, especially when you are fighting to bring in heavier marlin and other saltwater fish.
To prevent back lash you want to choose a spinning reel with an anti-reverse handle. Since the handle is used to wrap the line around the stationary spool on saltwater spinning reels, the last thing you want is for the handle to reverse and allow the fish to go free due to lack of tension. Anti-reverse mechanisms prevent the handle from spinning backwards, and most are designed to be mounted on the left or right side of the reel. To ensure complete comfort, you might want to choose an anti reverse handle that comes with a non slip padded grip.
Most bails are designed to close when the anti-reverse handle is turned, which ensures that you never forget about it. When the bail is open the line can be advanced, and it should always be shut immediately after a cast to prevent snarls and tangles. The most common bail is hinged for ease and convenience.
Baitcasting or Spinning reel?
If you are still unsure if you need a baitcasting or spinning reel for your next saltwater fishing trip, here is a brief list of the advantages associated with each type.
Advantages of Baitcasting Reels
- Geared mechanisms provide a smooth and consistent performance.
- Designed for use with heavier lines and lures.
- Ideal for reeling in large saltwater fish in deep water.
- Can also be used for trolling and offshore fishing.
Advantages of Spinning Reels
- The simple design is easy to use, even for first time saltwater fishermen.
- Ideal for hooking small and mid size saltwater fish.
- Can be used with lightweight lines and bait.
- Are less likely to experience back lash.
- Have the advantage of an anti-reverse mechanism.
- Perfect for fishing off of piers and in boats.
Saltwater fishing reels need to be durable and able to provide you with a smooth and reliable performance, and there are several models and styles to choose from. Lightweight aluminum and graphite reels are generally recommended over other materials, though it should be noted that you want to avoid models constructed from corrosion prone magnesium. Once you know what you are fishing for and the location of your next trip, you’ll find that it is easier to choose the right reel for you.