Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

The 10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels Reviewed

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If you’re looking for the best saltwater spinning reel, you’ve come to the right place.

Saltwater fishing requires specialized fishing reels to withstand the harsh ocean conditions and handle the big fishes.

They are made of high-end corrosion-resistant materials that are different from freshwater reels.

With so many options, finding the best rated saltwater spinning reel can get tricky quickly. 

Whether you’re on a budget, like to fish inshore or offshore, have a specific brand in mind or something else, we have got you covered.

In this article, you’ll find:

  • Reviews of the best spinning reel for saltwater.
  • Detailed buyers guide to help you choose the right reel.

Read on; if you want to have a good time reeling in some big saltwater fishes.

Read More: Reviews and Recommendations of the Top Spinning Reels

Overview of the 10 Best Spinning Reels for Saltwater

#1 Best for Bottom Fishing: Shimano Saragosa SW

#2 Best Surf Fishing: Shimano Thunnus CI4

#3 Best Inshore: Shimano Baitrunner D

#4 Best All-Round: Penn Slammer 3

#5 Best Ultralight Saltwater: Okuma Helios

#6 Best for Jigging: Okuma Cedros High-Speed Reel

#7 Best Under $50: Okuma Avenger ABF “B” Series

#8 Best Under $100: Penn Battle II

#9 Best Under $200: Daiwa BG SW Open Faced Reel

#10 Best Saltwater Combo: Plusinno Telescopic Rod And Reel

The 10 Best Spinning Saltwater Reel Reviews

These days, we see several brands offering their top rated saltwater spinning reels.

Some manufacturers have been in the industry longer than others, making them well reputed when it comes to quality.

Others, however, despite being referred to as ‘new entry’ offer options that are not just of good quality, but affordable at the same time.

Still, this is challenging for beginner anglers, in particular, who might not know where to start.

We went through thousands of actual buyer reviews and spoke to a lot of anglers about there fishing reel recommendations.

Took the top products they recommended and added our research to come up with the top 10 spinning reels for saltwater.

01. Shimano Saragosa SW

Shimano Saragosa SW

Pros:

  • Smooth drag system
  • Good line capacity
  • Build sturdy

Cons:

  • Expensive

You may have the best bottom rig setup but without a proper fishing reel, your attempts of bottom fishing may be ineffective.

An ideal bottom fishing reel comes with a high line capacity, high gear ratio and is built sturdy.

Enter Shimano Saragosa SW, an excellent saltwater spinning reel that works well for a lot of fishing applications including bottom fishing.

To begin with, the line capacity of this reel is impressive with up to 630 yards of 65 lb braid you can reach your target depth without any worry.

The Saragosa SW is designed to tackle the toughest offshore species. With a stopping power of up to 44 lbs, you can easily tame most medium to large Snapper, Grouper, and Hogfish.

The gear ratio is at 4.4:1 with a line retrieve of up to 45 inches per turn of the handle. This makes the line retrieve very fast even from the seafloor.

In terms of casting, the Propulsion Line Management System reduces line friction thus increasing casting distance. It also helps reduce line twist, backlash and wind knots from forming.

The reel features an aluminum body and a cold-forged aluminum spool making it lightweight and tough. The S A-RB shielded ball bearing ensures a tight seal that eliminates sand, saltwater or other debris from entering.

The reel comes with a high price tag but keep in mind you’re getting a reel that performs well and will last a long time if taken care of.

The reel lacks automatic bail flip thus you need to make it a habit to flip the bail wire manually.

Model#: SRG25000SW | Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 20/570, 25/490, 30/360 | PowerPro Line Capacity (lb/yds): 65/630, 80/520, 100/440 | Max Drag (lb): 44 | Gear Ratio: 4.4:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 45” | Ball Bearings: 6+1 | Weight (OZ): 33.3

02. Shimano Thunnus CI4

Shimano Thunnus CI4

Pros:

  • Lightweight but sturdy built
  • High line capacity
  • Lightweight but sturdy built

Cons:

  • Expensive

If you like spending hours surf fishing, you’ll need a spinning reel that has high line capacity, strong drag, lightweight but sturdily built.

The body and rotor are constructed of carbon fiber composite making it lightweight and rock solid. This ultralight construction (19.4 oz) ensures a long day on the beach without worrying about fatigue.

The reels dual drag system is smooth and is designed to fight the big saltwater species. Whether you’re fishing bluefish, redfish or a shark, the 20 lbs of stopping power are sufficient and adequate enough.

The reel comes with a high line capacity of up to 265 yards of 20 lb braid or 295 yards of 14 lb mono. The rolled lip design of the spool ensures line flows out smoothly on every cast thus increasing casting distance even on a windy beach.

Additionally, the rotor is well balanced and sturdy which eliminates any chance of spool wobble under heavy load.

The low gear ratio (up to 4.8:1) ensures more power transfer on every crank. Moreover, the reel can pull in about 37 inches of line on every crank.

The Thunnus CI4 uses 6 high-quality ball bearings that make the line retrieve butter smooth. Additionally, the single one-way roller bearing prevents rotor back play and enables instant hook set.

This saltwater spinning reel comes with an expensive price tag but you won’t be disappointed.

A few users reported receiving used reel and the few questioned the durability of the bait-runner switch. However, the majority of the buyers praised the reel for its overall performance and durability.

Model#: TU8000CI4 | Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 14/295, 17/250, 20/195 | PowerPro Line Capacity (lb/yds): 14/295, 16/350, 20/265 | Max Drag (lb): 20 | Gear Ratio: 4.8:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 36” | Ball Bearings: 6+1 | Weight (OZ): 19.4

03. Shimano Baitrunner D

Shimano Baitrunner D

Pros:

  • A smooth dual drag system
  • Buttery smooth performance
  • Excellent casting distance

Cons:

  • The drag may be over kill for small species

Unlike deep sea fishing, inshore fishing doesn’t require huge line capacity, bull stopping drag or a very sturdy heavy reel.

A good pair of lightweight inshore spinning reel and rod combo can combat most species found in the shallow waters.

Introducing the Shimano Baitrunner D, a classic live bait inshore saltwater spinning reel designed to catch and hold on to those reds, tarpons, and bonefishes.

This Baitrunner spinning reel is well known for its anti-reverse feature. The Super Stopper II, Shimano’s proprietary anti-reverse mechanism helps eliminate back-play thus making it accurate all the time.

The Cold Forged Aluminum Spool makes the reel durable and lightweight. This rotor makes use of counterweight for better balance thus reducing spool wobble and vibration.

Additionally, the Propulsion Line Management System helps increase casting distance eliminating backlashes.

The Shimano Baitrunner D is designed to help you fish live bait from your boat or kayak and is highly recommended for fishing the surf, lagoon, pier, or jetty.

It is quoted as one of the best saltwater spinning reels for inshore fishing by users.

It is not the lightest in the inshore class of reels but the weight ensures strength to fight any inshore species.

The powerful drag may be a bit harsh on some smaller fishes.

Model#: BTR4000D | Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 8/240, 10/200, 12/160 | PowerPro Line Capacity (lb/yds): 15/270, 20/190, 40/145 | Max Drag (lb): 15 | Gear Ratio: 4.8:1| Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 28” | Ball Bearings: 3+1 | Weight (OZ): 13.5

04. Penn Slammer III

Penn Slammer 3

Pros:

  • A heavy-duty saltwater reel
  • Extremely powerful drag system
  • Heavy handle and knob

Cons:

  • A bit heavy
  • A bit heavy

Whether you like inshore, offshore or surf fishing, the Penn Slammer 3 has all the features to make a good day of fishing great.

The reel is extremely sturdy thanks to its full metal body, side plate, and rotor construction. The CNC cut brass main gear and brass pinion gear ensures extreme durability, smoothness and cranking power.

Moreover, the high gear ratio ensures greater line draw on every rotation.

The diecast aluminum spool adds a bit of weight but it helps build strength and reduces rotor flex under heavy loads. The braid ready spool offers higher line capacity (up to 845 yards on higher models) which is ideal for deep-sea and bottom-fishing applications.

Designed with the meanest deep-sea fishes in mind, this heavy-duty reel offers a drag system that can stop most saltwater game fishes.

Additionally, the stainless steel ball bearings ensure smooth reel performance every time and the anti-reverse eliminates back play.

The automatic bail trip is an important feature, especially for beginners which the models 6500-10500 lacks. If you are used to an automatic bail trip, a model between 3500-5500 is for you.

The drag is designed to fight the big saltwater boys and is not ideal for the small freshwater species.

The weight of the reel is more than other brands of its kind which makes it difficult to cast all day long.

Model#: SLAIII6500 | Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 12/390, 15/345, 20/205 | PowerPro Line Capacity (lb/yds): 30/485, 40/410, 50/355 | Max Drag (lb): 40 | Gear Ratio: 5.6:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 42” | Ball Bearings: 8+1 | Weight (OZ): 24.3

05. Okuma Helios Lightweight Reel

Okuma Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel

Pros:

  • Lightweight reel
  • Butter smooth retrieve
  • Very durable reel

Cons:

  • Not fully sealed

Ultralight fishing tackle brings in a lot of advantages for beginner anglers.

A lightweight tackle reduces fatigue, easy to handle, can be carried to long distances and adds to the fun of catching smaller species.

A good lightweight fishing reel should weigh as little as possible, should be smooth and sturdy enough to live up to the test of time.

The Okuma Helios HSX-20 is an excellent spinning reel that is loved by many saltwater anglers for lightweight fishing applications.

The reels carbon fiber build helps cut down on weight (6.2 oz) allowing you to cast all day without any feeling of fatigue. It also increases overall reel strength and prevents corrosion.

The line retrieve is made smooth as butter thanks to the stainless steel ball bearings (8+1). Moreover, the single anti-reverse bearing prevents rotor back play and guarantees solid hookups.

The 24.7 inches of line retrieve offered by moderately high gear ratio (5.0:1) makes line/fish retrieval lightning fast.

The HSX-20 comes with impressive drag pressure (up to 6 lbs) which is enough to fight most small to medium saltwater species. Moreover, the progressive drag setting enables you to fine-tune the stopping power necessary for the target species you’re going after.

Lastly, the line capacity is impressive at 130 yards of 10 lb braid you can reach deep into the water. Additionally, the long casting distance ensures you can reach your desired spot without worry.

The reel doesn’t come with automatic bail flip, thus you need to keep in mind to flip the bail close after every cast.

The reel handle switch can be a bit confusing as there is a spacer that needs to be removed along with the handle. However, with a simple push, you can remove the space and switch the handle as necessary.

Model#: HSX-20 | Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 2/220, 4/140, 6/110 | PowerPro Line Capacity (lb/yds): 10/130, 15/110 | Max Drag (lb): 6 | Gear Ratio: 5.0:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 24.7” | Ball Bearings: 8+1 | Weight (OZ): 6.2

Read More: Reviews and Recommendations of the Top Ultralight Spinning Reels

06. Okuma Cedros High-Speed Reel

Okuma Cedros High Speed Reel

Pros:

  • Lightweight but sturdy reel
  • Outstanding drag system
  • Great line capacity and retrieval rate

Cons:

  • Balance issue may cause due to large handle knob

Jigging like any other fishing method requires specialized reel to increase your chances of a successful catch.

If you like spending long days jigging then you need a reel that is lightweight and strong, has adequate line capacity and comes with a tough smooth drag.

Introducing the Okuma Cedros a high-speed spinning reel that is designed for saltwater jigging and is one of the smallest reels of the offshore spinning reels category.

With adequate line capacity (305 yards of braid) and a high retrieve of up to 46 inches of line per crank, allowing deep water jigging and draw the line back in no time.

The large Dual Force drag washers on the small reel are pretty impressive. With up to 33 pounds of stopping power, you can calm any species.

The Elliptical Oscillation System is the soul of Cedro’s open-faced reel. The Elliptically shaped oscillation gears ensure proper line lay and reduce rotor wobbles.

Weighing in at 23 ounces, you get a light reel that enables you to cast all day without worrying about fatigue.

Many users say the Okuma Cedros is one of the best spin casting reels for jigging for tuna, snapper and jack species.

The reel comes in a few different handle knob type each for a specific fishing type. However, for jigging make sure you get the one with the round handle knob for optimal feel and performance.

Model#: CJ-80S | Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 15/420 20/350 25/260 | Max Drag (lb): 33 | Gear Ratio: 5.7:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 46” | Ball Bearings: 4+1 | Weight (OZ): 23

07. Okuma Avenger ABF “B” Series

Okuma Avenger ABF

Pros:

  • Lightweight reel
  • Impressive drag system
  • Grip power handle for more power transfer

Cons:

  • Not fully waterproof

Gone are those days when quality spinning reels would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Today you will find many quality reels that cost around $50 or less but performs like the more expensive options.

The Okuma Avenger ABF “B” is one such reel that is most popular amongst beginner anglers who are just starting out and have a tight budget.

The ABF “B” and ABF “A” series of reels are different in terms of construction and design.

The ABF “B” has undergone a number of upgrades from its predecessors in terms of form and function. The reel is a compact and streamlined design making it lightweight without compromising strength.

The simple to use but the precise bait-feeder system allows anglers to disengage the spool and allow the bait to run freely. The reel also features an additional drag that allows for precise drag adjustment when fishing your catch.

The Avenger has employed machined aluminum spool which makes it sturdy and balanced and helps lay the line evenly. With a line capacity of 190 yards of 4 lbs monofilament, you can expect to reach some deep spots.

The line retrieves (25 inches) aided with a medium gear ration (5.0:1) that ensures quick retrieve and transfers more cranking power. The new Ergo Grip power handle allows for a strong and comfortable hold while reeling in the catch.

Additionally, the line retrieve is made silky smooth thanks to the 6 stainless steel ball bearings and an added anti-reverse bearing to for quick hook set.

The drag on this inexpensive reel is also worth mentioning. With up to 8 lbs of stopping power, you can fight most medium-small inshore species.

Overall the Okuma Avenger ABF-205b is a top of the line saltwater spinning reel that brings great value for money and is priced under 50 dollars.

This beginner-friendly reel can handle most inshore species however, keep in mind not to use it for deep-sea fishing.

Model#: ABF-20b | Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 4/190, 6/110, 8/90 | Max Drag (lb): 8 | Gear Ratio: 5.0:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 25” | Ball Bearings: 6+1 | Weight (OZ): 8.9

08. Penn Battle II

Pros:

  • Budget friendly reel
  • Excellent performance
  • Built to last

Cons:

  • Not fully sealed

What can you expect from a budget saltwater reel under $100? Turns out you can get everything from quality to performance to durability.

Introducing the Penn Battle 2, a budget saltwater spinning reel that proves that quality can’t be determined with the price.

The Battle II offshore spinning reel is the younger sibling of the Penn Battle, Clash and Conflict reels. The reel is full metal construction with an aluminum bail wire making it durable and strong.

The reel’s metal rotor is braid ready, i.e. you can use a braided line without monofilament or electric tape backing. Additionally, the impressive line capacity ensures you get to the deepest points to get your catch.

The Battle 2 features an HT-100 Versa-Drag carbon fiber drag system which delivers a smooth drag on heavy load (up to 15 lb).

This budget saltwater reel offers smooth cranking thanks to its 5 stainless steel ball-bearing. It also features an instant anti-reverse bearing that helps prevent rotor back play.

With 8 available models to choose from (5000 and above priced over 100 dollars), you can confidently select the perfect reel for the species you intend to target.

At under 100 dollars, you get a workhorse of a reel that can cast and retrieve for years to come if maintained.

The Battle 2 is a bit too heavy compared to reels in its price range making it unsuitable for lightweight fishing applications.

Model#: BTLII4000 | Mono Line Capacity (lb/yd): 8/270, 10/220, 12/165 | PowerPro Line Capacity (lb/yd): 15/360, 20/260, 30/185 | Max Drag (lb): 15 | Gear Ratio: 6.2:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 37” | Ball Bearings: 5+1 | Weight (OZ): 12.8

Read More: Reviews and Recommendations of the Top Spinning Reels Under 100

09. Daiwa BG SW Spinning Reel

Daiwa BG Spinning Reels

Pros:

  • Silky smooth performance
  • Built like a tank
  • A very impressive drag system

Cons:

  • Weight is a bit on the higher side

You don’t have to spend a lot on a good spinning reel for your next saltwater adventure.

These days the best saltwater spinning reel under $200 comes with all the bells and whistles to catch and hold your target game fish.

Enter: The Daiwa BG Spinning Reel.

Built for the saltwater anglers looking for a budget-friendly reel that performs well and lasts a long time.

The BG 8000 is well known for its ability to fight big offshore species (like sharks and tuna). This is made possible thanks to its machined aluminum body and side cover which ensures strength and stability.

The reels Black Anodized body and side cover make it corrosion and scratch-resistant. This helps protect the reel when you’re fishing from a kayak, boat or pier.

The BG 8000 comes with the largest drive gear system (Over-sized Digigear). This ensures more gear teeth contact which provides smoother retrieve and extends gear life.

Moreover, the large gear system allows more power to be transferred while fighting large offshore species.

The Air Rotor design helps reduce unnecessary weight (by 15%) making it lightweight. It is designed to help distribute the stress evenly when fighting a had pulling fish.

The reels ABS spool is designed with castability in mind. It maximizes the casting distance and reduces line twist by allowing the line to flow on and off the spool smoothly.

Furthermore, this large aluminum spool reduces line memory and comes equipped with a rubber ring making it braid ready.

The Carbon ATD drag system is fully sealed. With a stopping power of 33 lbs, you can easily wear out those big game fishes. Additionally, the reel features the Infinite Dual Anti-reverse System that ensures instant hook set and ZERO back play.

The reel is not fully waterproof and may function poorly if dunked in saltwater for a long time.

If you’re used to automatic bail return, then this reel might disappoint you as it comes with a manual bail return. Choose a lighter model below 4500 to get an automatic bail return.

The spool is painted and not anodized which makes it prone to scratches. Use it carefully.

Model#: BG8000 | Mono Line Capacity (lb/yds): 20/550, 25/440, 30/370 | PowerPro Line Capacity (lb/yds): 50/730, 65/590, 80/440 | Max Drag (lb): 33 | Gear Ratio: 5.3:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 53.3” | Ball Bearings: 6+1 | Weight (OZ): 30

10. Plusinno Telescopic Rod And Reel

Plusinno Telescopic Rod And Reel Combo

Pros:

  • Best gift for anglers
  • Excellent performance and affordable price
  • Telescopic rod makes it ideal for travel

Cons:

  • Not fully waterproof

A fishing reel and rod combo are ideal for beginner anglers who are unsure of which rod and reel to select separately.

Enter: Plusinno Telescopic Spinning Rod & Reel Combo Kit.

A saltwater telescopic combo that is easy to carry as the rod collapses to a shorter length, lightweight, and affordable.

To begin with, the reel comes with good line capacity (up to 240 meters of 0.2 mm). This ensures you have enough line to reach the deepest points.

With a gear ratio of 5.2:1, you can expect a lot of cranking power necessary to fight the saltwater species. Additionally, the line retrieval is also pretty impressive.

The reels anti-reverse feature works like a charm and is especially useful for anglers who like an instant solid hook on the fish.

The drag system can easily play fish over 10 lbs and the computer balanced rotor ensures smooth retrieves and prevents jerks.

The telescopic rod, on the other hand, comes in 4 different sizes.

The built is a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass which provides the strength to fight moderately large fish (up to 20 lbs).

The rod is loved by anglers for its portability. At an astonishing 17-18 inches in closed length, it can easily fit in your travel bag or luggage.

Moreover, the open length of 1.8 – 2.7 meters makes it a multi-action rod.

Additionally, the complete kit includes:

1 x carrier bag
1 x fishing rod
1 x fishing reel
1 x fishing line
1 x fishing lures

This is a great saltwater combo for beginners and travelers. However, keep in mind not to use it to catch large saltwater species.

Additionally, the reel is not completely sealed, therefore it may seize if submerged in saltwater for a prolonged period.

Conclusion

After summarizing all the features of each of the models mentioned above, no doubt, the Penn Slammer 3 Spinning Reel is the best option that you can take into consideration. The official website of the product highlights all of the features and specifications of this model.

It is a good combination of performance, quality, and affordability. Its high-quality materials and components, availability of sizes, and positive feedback from other anglers make it the best saltwater spinning reel in 2020.

With such high quality-spinning reel at your side for your next fishing trip, you can be assured of an all improved experience.

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