Saltwater fishing is an art, and it’s something the one needs to be specific with on everything down to the rod and the bait on the end of the line. The reel is no different and is just as important as the rod and bait to ensure you can reel in the big fish.
But with so many different choices out there, how do you knowing which is the best saltwater spinning reel? Well, I’ve been saltwater fishing for years now, and I’ve used many different reels in my time.
So, I’ve decided to share my knowledge with you on what I think are the best saltwater spinning reels.
The Best Saltwater Spinning Reels
There are a lot of factors that come into play when deciding which saltwater spinning reel is right for you and your equipment. These all need to be weighed before making your final decision so that you get the perfect reel to bring in the best game possible.
Some of the factors you need to consider include:
- Frequency of use
- Deep-sea or inshore
- Type of fish you are reeling in
- Weight of the fish
It really is an art of finding exactly what it is you need, but I have done my best to come up with a variety of spinning reels in order to help you pick what is just right. Just keep these factors in mind as I begin my list and go through them all before making a final decision.
1. SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel
First on my list is the SeaKnight Rapid, a spinning reel that is great not just for saltwater but for freshwater as well. This is a good spinning reel to use when it comes to light saltwater fishing.
If you’re doing inshore fishing or trying for smaller saltwater gamefish, then the SeaKnight Rapid is a good spinning reel to check out. In accordance with its name, it’s fast but also powerful and durable.
The spool is made to be anti-water and anti-dust to attest to its durability, making it great for being used in the water frequently. It’s also anti-corrosive, which is a must-have when you are constantly out there saltwater fishing.
The EVA knob makes reeling in comfortable and easy on your palms, even if you have to put down some pressure to bring in that big bite. Just keep in mind that this isn’t for that deep-sea fishing, and you’re bound to run into problems if you try to go too big with this reel.
It can catch some of the biggest freshwater fish, but we know that’s not much when it comes to what lives in the sea. For optimal use of the SeaKnight, don’t go for anything further out than pier fishing.
- Carbon fiber drag system
- Stainless steel ball bearings
- Sealed aluminum spool and rotor structure
- Oscillating guide
- EVA knob
- Anti-corrosion coating
- Great for freshwater as well as saltwater
- Able to drag up to 33lb
- Smooth reeling
- Resistant to water and sand in the gears
- Fast, durable, and powerful
- Not to be used with deep-sea fishing
- Will break if game is too big
- Not the best for frequent fishing
2. KastKing Sharky III
Now, I’m not going to lie when I say that I have a soft spot for KastKing reels, as they are definitely my favorites by far. That being said, I will keep this list as unbiased as possible and not overload you with nothing but KastKing products.
The Sharky III is not one I can ignore, however. For the price, it is by far one of the best lightweight fishing reels that you can buy without breaking your bank account.
The Sharky III is built tough and can help you to land trophy fish in all matter of conditions. It has a smooth triple disc carbon fiber drag that can drag up to 39.5lbs.
The retrieve on this spinning reel is incredibly smooth, and you’ll be shocked at how easily you can pull up big game. The aluminum spool is even braid-ready, and you won’t have any use for a backing line when spooling with this reel.
Just like with all other KastKing products, the Sharky III is sealed with the KastKing Intrusion Shield System, also known as a K.I.S.S. This keeps it water-resistant and durable, no matter how often you use it.
- Graphite body and rotor
- Reinforced with a high concentration of fiber
- Triple disc carbon fiber drag
- Large stainless steel main shaft
- Sealed with a K.I.S.S.
- Instant lock anti-reverse
- Drags up to 39.5lbs
- No use for backing line while spooling
- Quiet and smooth retrieve
- More line capacity than most other brands
- Made with stainless steel hardware
- Should not be used to catch fish over 40lbs
- Not the best for frequent use
- Does not come with line
3. Penn Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel
When it comes to fishing up the biggest gamefish you can find in deep-sea fishing; you’ll find no better reel than the Penn Battle II and III. Depending on exactly how big the fish you are going for is depending on which of the three styles you should get.
The Penn Battles are made specifically for big saltwater gamefish, and that is why they are some of the best for it. They are made to be durable with high range to get that bite that you so desire.
The body of the reel is made with full metal, and the aluminum bail wire is heavy-duty to ensure its durability. The drag system is made with HT-100 carbon fiber to give a smooth yet extremely powerful drag.
The Penn Battles are great for huge game fish, but they are honestly good for any kind of fishing. Bass fishers will absolutely love this reel as well.
If you need something to pull in large fish but need a high-speed reel as well, there’s even a Battle for that with the Penn Battle III High Speed. This is by far my favorite spinning reel for bringing in the big deep-sea fish.
- Full metal body, side plate, and rotor
- Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag system
- 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings
- Instant anti-reverse
- Superline spool is braid ready
- Powerful yet smooth drag
- Incredibly durable
- Spool requires no backing
- Great for huge deep-sea gamefish
- Cranks fluidly
- Very far-reaching
- More expensive than other reels
- Not good for trolling
- Not ideal for surf fishing
4. Diwa Spinning Fishing Reel
Another great saltwater spinning reel that is perfect for conquering those big gamefish, the Diwa spinning fishing reel, is a great buy. The body, spool, and handle are all made out of aluminum alloy, which makes it incredibly durable.
Its high range is a requirement for catching some of those deep-sea beauties, but it’s the 14 sealed stainless steel ball bearings that will help you to reel them in. All with a fluid and smooth motion that will shock you once you pull out a fish bigger than your entire torso.
One of the best parts about the Diwa is that unlike the Penn Battles, it’s lightweight and won’t wear you out too quickly. This makes it ideal for long days out on the sea when you plan on fishing for hours.
This spinning reel can be used in all types of locations and help to bring up a variety of fish, so it doesn’t just have to be used for your saltwater fishing endeavors. Just make sure that you order the right size reel to meet the needs of what you are trying to use it for.
The Diwa comes in five different sizes:
Obviously, if you are trying to use it for saltwater fishing to pull in bigger game, you’ll want to get one of the bigger sizes. The bigger the fish, the bigger the reel.
- Aluminum alloy body, handle, and spool
- Interchangeable left or right handle
- Instant anti-reverse
- Smooth yet powerful drag system
- 14 stainless steel ball bearings
- Computerized numerical control machined aluminum handle
- Great for all kinds of fishing
- Ultra-thin streamlined body design
- High range spinning reel
- Fluid and smooth cranking
- Lightweight and well-balanced
- Reel sizes seem small compared to others
- Not as smooth as competitors
- Lesser-known brand
5. Runcl Spinning Reel Titan II
Another great spinning reel that does great in saltwater and can handle the large game that comes out of the ocean is the Runcl Titan II. This second generation is made completely of metal, and the surface of the rotor component is coated with phosphate in order to enhance it from wear resistance and saltwater corrosion.
On top of the phosphate coating, Runcl also protects the spinning reel with something known as R.E.S.S. (Runcl Entire Shield System). This system keeps water and sand from getting in the body, spool, and rotor.
The spool is constructed with a metal braid grip to prevent your braid from slipping and eliminate any need for monofilament backing or tape. As you know, this is incredibly useful when you are fighting to bring in a big fish.
The size of the reel you choose is dependent on how many carbon fiber washers are inside of it, so once again, this depends on the type of game you are out to catch. The bigger the fish, the more washers you’ll need, so the bigger of a reel you will want to get.
You can drag up to 44lbs with this reel, which is great for deep-sea fishing. Overall, the Runcl is a great spinning reel that is incredibly durable against the elements as well as able to bring in big fish.
- Full metal body
- Solid brass pinion gears
- E.S.S. for the body, spool, and rotor
- Braid-ready spool
- Sealed drag system
- 3 or 5 carbon fiber washers
- No need for monofilament backing or tape
- Drags up to 44lbs
- Great for fresh and saltwater
- Highly durable
- Very solid reel
- Pricier than some competitors
- Not as good quality as some others
- Take caution going for super large gamefish
6. Cadence Spinning Reel
The Cadence Spinning Reel is a great spinning reel for anyone simply looking for a fun time out in the water. It works perfectly well in saltwater and freshwater conditions, bringing in sizeable game on both accounts.
The reel itself is super light in weight, but that doesn’t stop it from being able to handle reeling in the fish without too much trouble. Its unique torsion control body ensures the reel’s stability and smooth drag, working just as well as a heavy-duty reel that is heavy in your hands.
That’s what I like most about the Cadence. It may not be as good as some other heavy-duty reels, but the results that you get out of it are still pretty impressive. You can still go big without feeling like you did a workout with triple weights from the reel alone.
The drag system is made with superior carbon and can drag up to 36lbs. With the main shaft being made out of stainless steel and the main pinion gear out of zinc alloy, it’s made differently than any other reel that I’ve ever used.
It’s these reasons that I had decided to try the Cadence out for myself, not sure what I should expect when I did. I was pleasantly surprised in the best way when I found out that I could fish just as well with this reel as I could other ones that made my arms tired after a while.
- Meta carbon mainframe
- Machined aluminum spool
- Torsion control body design
- Anti-corrosion stainless steel bearings
- Carbon drag system
- Zinc alloy main pinion
- Ultra-lightweight yet durable
- Comfortable ergonomic EVA handle
- Perfect for fish fighting due to the precision machined pinion gear
- Great for inshore fishing
- Remote casting
- Fast speed
- Not for deep-sea fishing
- Some consider expensive for being a lesser-known brand
- Not ideal for frequent fishing
7. Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel
Daiwa is known to make some pretty solid fishing equipment, and the BG spinning reel is just as good as the rest of its products. It’s a medium-heavy rod that you can expect to pull in some decent-sized catches when out saltwater fishing.
Like the Cadence, it’s a bit different than the other reels on this list, but that is where the similarities end. Just as I said before starting this list, I like to add a bit of variety for my readers to have plenty to choose from.
The housing of the reel is made with black anodized machined aluminum, which is surprisingly sturdy. Add in the oversized digigear system and the air rotor, you’re looking at something completely unique yet entirely effective.
The anti-reverse system is infinite, but if you purchase a reel that is 4500 or larger, you’ll find yourself with a dual anti-reverse system. This comes in handy when you are doing something big like shark fishing, and the game that you’ll be reeling requires some serious power.
Also, when you get the 4500 or larger, you are privy to a manual return bail that is not equipped in most other reels. The Daiwa Bg is one of the best reels to equip you for some serious big gamefish.
- Black anodized machined aluminum housing
- Over-sized digigear system
- Solid screw-in handle
- Aluminum dynamic cut ABS spool
- Air rotor
- Infinite anti-reverse system
- Waterproof drag system
- Fantastic line capacity
- Great for big game fishing
- Braided line ready spool
- Manual bail return for larger reels
- Dual anti-reverse system for larger reels
- Some plastic components on the reel
- Bearings can be weak if proper reel size isn’t used
- 4000 and up can be very heavy
8. Resuntek Ultra Smooth Powerful Saltwater Spinning Reel
Now, I’m not about to leave my readers hanging without a reel that is the best value for their hard-earned money. After all, some fishers are working on a budget, so it’s my responsibility to give you a reel that is affordable and good.
The Resuntek saltwater spinning reel is the perfect choice for the fisher on a budget or just for some light saltwater fishing where an expensive reel isn’t required. You can still catch some pretty decent game with this reel, but it’s not something you’ll want to take deep-sea fishing.
It’s great for boat and rock fishing as well as any freshwater fishing if that’s what you’d rather do with it. It’s a lightweight reel that is made with aluminum alloy, and each of the gears and pieces is made with the metal best for boosting its strength.
The handles are left and right interchangeable and made with full metal, and the computer balance system makes this reel high performance as well as light. This makes it a great choice for everyone, including beginners.
What I like best about the Resuntek is that despite the low price, it’s still high-quality and won’t let you down with what it can take on. Just remember to be smart with it and don’t try to go tuna fishing with this affordable reel; otherwise, you’ll be buying another.
- Made with aluminum alloy
- Double sealed bearings
- Rigidity metal spindle
- Precision brass gears
- Three-piece carbon brush washers
- All-copper spindle rod
- Fantastic value for its worth
- Incredibly smooth transition
- Equipped with amazing braking power
- Comes with precision-machined zinc alloy pinion gears
- Max 41lb drag
- Not for deep-sea fishing
- Requires washing with fresh water after every use
- Can begin to stop spinning if not cleaned properly
9. Dr.Fish Saltwater Spinning Reel
Another popular form of saltwater fishing that I have not forgotten about is surf fishing. This type of fishing requires a tough and durable reel that can handle the game it produces, and it seems hard to find a good reel that can do just that.
Thankfully, there is a great reel that is made specifically for surf fishing. Let me introduce you to the Dr. Fish saltwater spinning reel that comes in 8000 or 9000 with a graphite body to make it able to take on surf fishing adventures.
This is a strong rod that is made to be durable and produces outstanding performance for all kinds of sea fishing, especially surf fishing. If surf fishing is your taste, then I highly recommend the Dr. Fish spinning reel.
The drag disc is made with sealed tripe carbon fiber and can drag up to 35lbs. It even has precise drag adjustments that can be done with every single click, leaving you in charge of the beast you’ll be bringing up.
The power handle is made with Type L aluminum and has brass precision pinion gears to give you the best possible transmission power. Furthermore, with this reel, you will experience smooth casting and retrieving, no matter how often you take it out in the saltwater.
- Graphite-S body
- Sealed triple carbon fiber drag disc
- 9+1 sealed stainless steel ball bearings
- Brass pinion gear
- Type L aluminum power handle
- CNC aluminum spool
- Strong and durable
- Max drag of up to 35lb
- Precise drag adjustment
- Smooth casting and retrieval
- Incredible power transmission
- Line capacity not as long as some competitors
- Some reports of loose handle
- No grip ring on the inner spool
There are so many different reels out there to choose from, and coming up with a list like this one was not easy to do. I took into account not only my own personal experiences with each of these reels, but I also went through pages and pages of reviews to see which was worth placing on my list.
Of course, you are always bound to run into some trouble with these reels, but almost every single one comes with a decent 1-year or more warranty. If something happens to go wrong with your chosen reel, just give the company a call and get your replacement.
Take special care to find out the kind of fish you are after and do the research on the reel you think would be best. One of the worse things you could ever do is overestimate a reel and have it snap on your while you’re in the middle of a day-long fishing trip.
I hope I have been some help by showing you what I think are the best saltwater spinning reels and that you take some of them into account. Good luck with your choice, and happy saltwater fishing!