Surf fishing is such a fun sport, but if you aren’t using the right fishing tools, it will never be that fun!
As an angler, a surf fishing reel that withstands saltwater, friction, pressure and extreme conditions is a lifesaver.
There are many factors that make a good reel for surf fishing, including water tightness, corrosion resistance, gear ratio, reel size, and ball bearings.
In this review, you will find a bunch of the best reels available on the market right now in terms of the pre-mentioned factors. All you gotta do is to pick up the surf reel that suits your needs and budget the best!
List of the Best Reels for Surf Fishing
- PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel– Best overall
- Penn Spinfisher VI Live Liner Surf Reel –Premium Choice
- Okuma Reels Rockaway Surf 4Bb + 1Rb 5.3:1 – Great Value
- Penn Fierce III Live Liner Surf Fishing Reel – 4000 – Plastic Clam
- Quantum Cabo Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel– Magnum CSC Drag System
- SHIMANO Thunnus 8000 CI4 Offshore Saltwater Spinning Reel-Strong Performance
- KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III Spinning Reel – Carbon Fiber Drag
- Penn Wrath Surf Fishing Reel – Ambidextrous
- TROUTBOY Fishing Rod and Reel Combo– For Outdoor Travel
- Daiwa SSaltist Spinning Reel– HardBodyz
Best Reel for Surf Fishing
- Full Metal (Diecast Aluminum) Body/Rotor Construction
- (IPX6 SEALED) Improved Gear Box Sealing
- (IPX6 SEALED) Sealed Dura-Drag System
- CNC Gear Technology (All Brass)
- Spare EVA Handle Knob Included in Box
PENN Slammer III spinning fishing reel is one of the best reels for surf fishing for all the right reasons.
First, the total frame is made of acute metal that is gonna offer you a solid reel that’s gonna stay with you for years to come. even when it is dropped, dipped underwater, or even shattered against a gun whale!
In fact, this is one of the topmost quality big game surf fishing reels. as it comes with different measurements options that can work for standard size freshwater fish to the bluefin tuna.
Many sellers try to label their products as “waterproof,” but the IP rating system tests these products to find out if they are really waterproof or not.
And you will love to know that this IP6 rated body and reel can protect the drag system and gearbox from saltwater. Do you know what does this mean? It means that you will be having a surf fishing reel that stays with you for years to come.
Not only this, but the stainless-steel bearing system is rust-resistant, which makes it more durable and reliable.
6+1 Ball Bearings
Also at the same time, the 6+1 ball bearings set up a smooth spinning of the reel. to protect you from facing any sudden jerking or knocking off your surf fishing reel.
Offering a super smooth drag even while hunting large fish. and blocks jerking, especially during the hunt fight while catching a big fish.
The material used in designing the Dura-Drug system has a phenolic bonding agent, which protects the carbon fiber component from breaking down.
This carbon fiber component also acts as a barrier for stopping water from entering the drag system.
- Innovative CNC gear technology
- Waterproof gearbox and drag system
- Improved durability
- Models 6500 and 10500 don’t come with an automatic bail trip
- A little bit heavy for smaller catches
If you are a surf fisherman looking for a saltwater fishing reel that is great for catching both small and larger fish through inshore fishing and surface casting, this surf fishing spinning reel is undisputedly the best choice to make.
- Full Metal Body, sideplate, and Techno Balanced rotor
- CNC gear technology
- IPX5 sealed body
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
- Six sealed stainless-steel ball bearings
- Line capacity rings
- Superline aluminum spool
Whether you are an experienced surf fisherman or a beginner surf angler, Penn’s Spinfisher VI is guaranteed to take your surf casting to the next level!
This long surf casting reel is made for saltwater fishing. That’s why it comes with a rubber gasket within its cylinder, protecting the edge line from spinning on the cylinder.
Balance and Versatility
Penn reel uses accurate machining to help you cast over extremely long distances. And you will be delighted to know that you can also adjust the presets.
You will also appreciate the all-metal body coated with the special IPX5 coating, which means that the surf fishing reel is totally protected from grime and spray.
Not only this! But you will be also getting a sealed drag system, isn’t that just awesome?
One more notable feature is that using this bail-less design is perfect for fishing from a pier or the surf, specifically with plugs.
Taking the line out of the roller and hooking it on the end of your finger while turning it is such an effortless task with this surf fish reel. Since the usage of the bail-less roller can result in a learning curve while getting the surf reel back in.
But it still makes the casting out effortless.
When it comes to the price, this surf casting reel is much more affordable than PENN Slammer III.
- Multiple sizes available, including new 2500 model
- New IPX5 sealed spool and body design
- Being bail- less
- Super even line lay
- Paint starts to chip after a while
- Bail arm may loosen over time
This surfcasting reel from Penn is versatile, durable, and long-lasting. if you are a fan of Penn and wanna upgrade your existing reel at a reasonable price. This saltwater reel is highly recommended.
- Graphite construction
- CFR: Cyclonic Flow Rotor
- Zirconium inserts so you can use braid or mono
- Rigid metal handle / EVA knob
- Gear ratio: 5.3:1 (40.9” retrieve)
- Maximum drag: 26-lbs
- Weight: 17.0 ounces
Let me tell you that Okuma Rockaway reels are new surf spinning reels, they have shown on the market for the first time in 2020, but till this very moment, they are more popular than many reel brands that have been around for years.
When you get this spinning reel, you will first notice the crispy surf rod that has amazing responsiveness. and it is constructed from:
- Brass pinion gear
- A graphite body
- Rigid metal handle
- Anodized aluminum spool
Combining metal and graphite for delivering a long-distance, lightweight, and durable casting rig. With a huge line capacity, up to 375 yards.
Unlike other reels that use external mortar for preventing moisture from getting into the inner workings, this surf casting reel uses a single rotor technology that sweeps water away from the reel’s mechanisms.
Graphite External Plates
For a unique fishing experience and long-lasting durability, this Surf Fishing reel features graphite external plates, for resisting rust over the long term.
You will also love to hear that the drag weighs up to 26 pounds, which puts it at the higher end of the products on our list.
Not only this, but the fishing gear system also has a fast retrieve.
- Short and Maneuverable
- Admirable fore and rear grips
- Easy to use
- Breaks easily
- Distance casting is not always accurate
If you are looking for a solidly constructed Surf Fishing that is durable enough to companion you in your surf fishing trips at an affordable price, we highly recommend Okuma Surf Fishing reel for you.
- Full metal body and sideplate
- Saltwater ‘spinning’ reel
- Adjustable free spool drag
- Techno-Balanced rotor
- 4 shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- Instant anti-reverse bearing
- HT-100™ carbon fiber drag washers
The PENN Fierce III Live Liner Spinning Reel is the favorite surf fishing spinning reel for many anglers for many good reasons. Let me go in-depth in features.
First of all, it features a drag system, adjustable and automatically disengages, excellent for the bait fishing experience.
Second, its rod features
- One-piece stainless steel Dura-Guides
- A graphite composite blank
- Finger grooves in the EVA grips
So you will enjoy extra traction while fighting larger fish. At the same time, the Dura drag system will provide an additional pull power, which is more significant than other powers offered by the other Penn spinning reel models.
IPX6 Water Sealing System
Featuring IPX6 water sealing system, which makes this surfing fishing reel more watertight than Penn Spinfisher VI Live Liner Surf Reel.
You are gonna love how functional the ‘Live Liner’ will be when you are fishing with a live or dead bait. This is how it works:
You need to release the Live Liner lever and when a smaller fish or big picks up the bait, it can run with it without having any resistance feeling (like a super light drag).
And when you reel, it will be flicking the live liner lever off. Engaging the proper drag system and allowing you to set the catch.
This helpful feature became very popular with anglers who fish using live or dead bait. And it made this reel one of the most durable and reliable fishing reels on the market.
What about corrosion? You don’t need to worry as this saltwater fishing reel features high-quality corrosion-resistant components, just like the IPX6 water sealing system that prevents saltwater from getting into it and damaging it over time.
- Full metal body that doesn’t bend
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag system
- Overall great value for the price
- Heavier than the other reels for surf fishing
- No corrosion-resistant ball bearing
- Not great for people who use artificial lures
All in all, If you are a surf fisherman who uses live or cut bait and looking for an affordable and durable reel for offshore fishing and ocean fishing, this surf fishing reel is such an excellent pick.
But if you tend to use artificial lures and make dozens of casts in a day, Penn Fierce III won’t be the best choice to make, as it is heavier than most inshore reels.
- SCR alloy body and side cover
- SCR alloy rotor on 60 and 80 models
- 8 PT ball bearing
- Carbon Fiber composite rotor on 40 and 50 models
- SaltGuard 2.0 multi-layer corrosion protection
- Sealed Magnum CSC Drag
- Sealed Magnum Clutch
Quantum Cabo Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel is such an excellent fishing reel, built with saltwater fish in mind.
You will love the fact that this fishing reel is fully sealed while using mechanisms that shed the water.
Constructed of an alloy material known as SCR. This material is used for marine engines to handle the heat, and pressure that eventually wears down most of the components.
Here is the interesting part; the formation of this surf fishing reel is alternately titanium, ceramic, and carbon fiber.
Not only this but it also showed, different versions of Cabo PT between 30 and 50 pounds of drag weight.
But the drawback is that these materials make this surf fishing reel so heavy.
Saltwater Fishing Reel
This surf fishing reel is mainly designed to withstand harsh saltwater conditions when catching larger fish. That’s why it also features a smooth drag system.
When holding this fishing reel for the first time, you will feel how it is perfectly made with lots of line capacity and super smooth reeling.
Whether you are a pro surf fisherman or an amateur surf angler, this spinning reel will take your fishing to the next level.
- Superior water protection
- Smooth retrieve
- Massive drag
- Super-hard PT gears
- Service port
- LMS line management system
- Advertised ceramic bearings are not found
- Not fully sealed
Everything about I Quantum Cabo delivers a great and long-distance casting experience.
So if you are a surf angler who likes to muscle your way through challenges, this spinning reel is highly recommended.
- A CI4 Carbon Fiber Construction
- Dartainium II Drag and Cross Carbon Washers
- Aluminum on side plates and some other parts
- Line Capacity and Management.
- Unique Drag option
- Hagane Gear
- Follows SR Concept
Another excellent option on our list is Shimano Thunnus Ci4. It is a Baitrunner reel that’s excellent for surf fishing. Let me tell you more about it.
While dealing with aggressive sea creatures, drag power is such an essential thing. That’s why the drag system of this surf fishing reel is not only durable but also super duper smooth in operation.
The unique drag system features a front primary drag and a second rear drag. While the force line management system contributes to further casting and helps in preventing the line from being tangled.
Catching big fish is a challenging task, isn’t it? That’s why the surf fishing reel cannot fall behind on tricks, allowing you to pick up the main pull or the baitrunner drag.
So if you want the fish to move along with the bait with no fighting with the main drag, all you need to do is flip the switch and then you will find the main pull power disappearing.
For absolute smoothness and ease of use, this surf fishing reel features 6+1 bearings and follows the SR concept.
What does SR concept mean? The S letter stands for strength, silence, and smoothness. And the R letter stands for turning the dream designs into reality. which is what this fishing reel already does.
You are also gonna appreciate the lightweight carbon fiber body this reel features, as it will make it easy for you to deal with larger fish.in fact, this fishing reel is so much lightweight than Quantum Cabo Spinning Fishing Reel.
For a comfortable surf fishing experience, the reel comes with a machined aluminum handle.
One more thing, you don’t need to worry about corrosion, as this reel has Corrosion-resistant parts that will keep the reel in great condition for long years.
- Corrosion-resistant parts
- Excellent drag power and super smooth drag operation
- Good line capacity
- Versatile options for drag
- Easy to cast
- Affordable price range
- Not very quick
- The baitrunner switch isn’t so durable
Shimano Thunnus reel is a high-quality reel at a low price. It is durable, smooth, and solid enough to give you the best fishing experience every time
- Sharky fin power spool with braid ready feature
- Suitable for freshwater and saltwater
- Premium carbon fiber drag washer
- Aluminum spool & spare graphite spool
- 5.5:1 gear ratio Precision alloy gears.
- Shielded stainless steel 10+ 1 bearing system
- Premium quality inner parts
- Recoil Eliminator
KastKing Sharky III is designed for those looking for lightweight spinning reels.
It comes with a foam handle, you know what it means? It means that you will be facing no problems while taking it out for a long fishing trip.
This spinning reel does not only look awesome, but it is also very tough, making it easy for you to get your trophy fish in both saltwater and freshwater.
Equipped with a bait feeder rear drag system and classic front drag system for the live bait or the drifting cut bait.
You will appreciate the powerful and durable construction of this surf fishing reel. It is made of:
- High modulus graphite body
- Stainless steel main shaft
- Precision matched gears
- Brass drive gear
- Aluminu handle
- CNC aluminum spool
Not only this, but it also features a lightweight graphite build, computer balanced rotor, and a T-handle. which will provide a sure grip, and make it much easier and comfortable to cast and retrieve.
Shout out to the sturdy build and 10 ball bearing system, the reel mechanisms are so freaking smooth but to be honest not as smooth as the SHIMANO Thunnus reel. In addition to its being braid friendly and won’t need backing.
Carbon Fiber Drag System
It also comes with a powerful carbon fiber drag system of up to 26.5 pounds of drag power. making this surf fishing reel capable of withstanding heavy baits and large species like catfish.
A lot of anglers also praised the manganese brass alloy gear, as it offers a high level of accuracy and functionality.
- Super handy and quality engineering design
- Enhanced Cutting Tolerance
- The maximum drag is 26.5 lbs.
- Double handle equipped.
- Gear Support System
- Connected by a poor-quality clutch
- Very poor line lay
KastKing Sharky III reel offers you one of the best fiber strengthened frames on the market, a unique highly effective triple disc carbon stainless steel ball bearing. and a functional aluminum reel of prepared braid fishing line that you can hardly find in other competitors.
So if you think that this is all you are looking for, then you should go for this fishing reel.
- Lightweight and corrosion-resistant graphite body
- Machined and anodized aluminum spool
- Instant anti-reverse bearing
- 2 shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- Line capacity rings
For every surf angler or surf fisherman looking for a lightweight reel that offers him enough durability and absolute confidence while searching for small or medium in size game fish species, Penn Wrath is the solution!
Since Penn Wrath Reel first hit the market, it made quite a splash with professional and beginner fishermen and surf anglers. It became popular worldwide and you can find it being used for catfishing from freshwater or chasing the black drum fish in the coastal areas of the USA.
While comparing this surf fishing reel with other spinning reels from the same price range, the Penn Wrath reel will be the winner when it comes to internal components.
As a matter of fact, many other cost-effective models simply can never match up to what this reel offers.
Lightweight and Durable
You will be surprised, how can such high-quality materials gather in such a lightweight reel. which also results in complete smoothness and toughness.
One of the things that set Penn brand apart is the premium toughness and durability of all its products.
Constructed of the highest-quality graphite material, which is meant to be tougher than other reels made from graphite.
For high protection from the damaging effects of saltwater, the reel has corrosion-resistant features and a charcoal body
You will be glad to hear that the reel’s internal mechanisms are also designed to have corrosion-resistant characteristics, giving you a long-lasting surf fishing reel.
Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
One more notable feature is the two stainless steel ball bearings, that is made to offer an extra-tight and strong drag system. These two shielded stainless steel ball bearings will help you enjoy a super-duper smooth reeling experience.
Not only this, but it also features an anodized aluminum spool, for helping anglers to withstand any type of saltwater or freshwater fish.
- Corrosion-resistant material
- Stainless steel ball bearings
- Instant anti-reverse bearing
- Anodized aluminum spool
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Slightly loose handle
Just like all Penn products, Penn Wrath is such a popular, durable, functional, and smooth surf fishing reel.
It makes a perfect choice for beginners because it offers incredible performance in any kind of environment at a relatively low price tag.
No exaggeration! This reel features high-quality, solid, premium components that will definitely take your reeling to the next level.
- 24 ton carbon fiber and E-Glass construction that can deadlift up to 10 pounds
- EVA Fore Grip for comfort
- CNC machined aluminum Reel Seat
- Great for backpackers and campers
- Collapses for easy storage and travel.
TROUTBOY Fishing Rod and Reel Combo reel is not just a simple telescopic trout fishing rod, but it is one of the most versatile rods on the market.
What sets this combo reel apart is its great value, as it comes with a reel so all you will be doing is to take the reel combo to the fishing spot.
Perfect for beginners
This reel combo is excellent for beginners; shout out to its features and materials that are perfect for any angler or fisherman who just started.
One of the things that you will really love about this spinning rod is that it has enough flex for taking your fishing technique to a higher level. Not only this, but it will also offer extra sensitivity and durability.
For withstanding a lot of pressure for extended periods of time, this spinning rod is constructed of carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass materials.
While the surf fishing reel is constructed of double anodized aluminum, providing it with the long-lasting durability and stability you are looking for.
EVA Fore Grip Handle
For a comfortable fishing experience every time, the reel combo comes with an ergonomic handle wrapped with EVA foregrip. which will reduce the chances of slipping while catching fish in long sessions.
9 Different Versions
This reel combo is available in 9 different versions and models, to make it easy for you to pick up the version that suits you the best. There is also an adjustable handle model.
The drawbacks are that it is a little hard to attach the fishing line and the reel when you open it. And the same as most telescopic rods, if any sand or dirt got inside the grooves, it will get stuck.
You will get a 6-month warranty, which is enough time to check the surf fishing reel carefully at your favorite fishing hole.
- Heavy duty but lightweight
- Great value for money
- Perfect for beginners
- A great mix of flexibility and sturdiness
- Multiple available options
- Comes with a decent reel
- 1-year warranty
- Telescopic segments can get stuck
- The adjustable handle version can easily break when handled roughly
Troutboy Surf Fishing Rod and Reel comes fully extended and longer than most of the other reels in the same class.
We highly recommend this product for adults having lots of overhead room to cast, and also for those looking wanna use their telescopic rod as a fly reel!
- “HardBodyz” body and side cover
- Light weight Air Rotor design
- Magsealed line roller and main shaft
- Waterproof Carbon ATD Drag System
- Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS spool
- Air Bail–tubular stainless for lightweight strength
Daiwa Saltist is the favorite reel for many surf casters around the world. They praise its functionality and premium performance in catching monster fish from the shore. Such as roosterfish and many more monsters lurking far out beyond the waves!
Let me tell you more about it.
This reel features oil that can change its shape and density when there is a magnetic field is applied. This oil belongs to the new generation of Nano Fluids. Which makes this surf fishing reel a unique one!
Corrosion Resistant Ball Bearings
You will be glad to know that this reel from Daiwa features corrosion-resistant ball bearings that can stay up to twelve times longer than the standard stainless steel bearings found in other competitors.
Featuring an air rotor that is 15% less in weight than regular rotor designs. With a unique shape that reduces any unnecessary weight as distributing stress evenly throughout the rotor for ultimate power.
One more notable feature is the ABS spool. This spool’s maximized core diameter and reversed taper offers a 100% useable line.
Do you know what it means? It means that there will be no “dead” line buried in a deep core. with the ability to fill it with a line right up to the spool lip’s edge without any worries about tangling.
For longer and easier casting, this ABS spool gives less casting friction. As the spool’s huge diameter line flows freely in larger coils while giving less line memory coil at the same.
- Magnetic Oil
- Corrosion Resistant Ball Bearings
- Waterproof Carbon ATD Drag System
- 15% less in weight than regular rotor designs
Daiwa Saltist has everything you are looking for in a surf reel. It features corrosion-resistant ball bearings, a lightweight Air Rotor design, and a smooth, waterproof carbon drag system.
Nothing can go wrong with this reel from Daiwa. It is excellent for those who don’t need a crazy amount of drag.
FAQ About the Best Reel for Surf Fishing
1. What does a reel size mean?
Well, the reel size simply means its line capacity, which means that the bigger the number you find on the reel, the larger it is and the more line can be put on the reel’s spool
You also need to know that the bigger the reel is, the stronger and heavier it becomes.
In fact, a big reel has more gears, ball bearings, plates, and washers, that’s what makes it heavier.
Almost every reel manufacture use 2 or 4 numbers to describe his reel size. But actually, the first 2 numbers usually refer to the same reel size.
Let me explain, suppose the number on a reel from is 2500 and the number on another reel is 25. Then both reels are the same size.
Here are the 9 main sizes of surf fishing reels:
- 10, 1000 (Small-sized)
- 20. 2000 (Small-sized)
- 25, 2500 (Small-sized)
- 30, 3000 (Small-sized
- 40, 4000 (Medium-sized)
- 50, 5000 (Medium-sized)
- 60, 6000 (Large-sized)
- 70, 7000 (Large-sized)
- 80, 8000 (Large-sized)
2. What are the disadvantages of a too large surf fishing reel?
Okay, a larger surf reel will offer you good control over the fish, good casting distance, and an excellent line capacity, and unfortunately unbearable hand fatigue!
Don’t ever underestimate hand fatigue. In fact, it plays an important role in your success as a surf angler.
No fatigue doesn’t only offer more time on the beach, but also more casts, more bites, and accordingly more catches.
We don’t recommend going over 60 or 6000 surfing reel, who wants a heavy reel with all the fancy features but still leave the beach so soon?!
One more thing you need to pay attention to, a too-large spool will surely need an extra line layer, which most probably you will never be using.
3. What are spinning reels ideal for?
A Spinning reel is ideal if you are looking for:
- A simple way of casting
- A powerful fishing reel with a powerful pulling power
- A fishing reel with drag adjustment
- A modern and efficient fishing reel
4. What kinds of fish can be caught surf fishing?
Well, while surf fishing, you can’t really expect what you are gonna be catching, but in general here are the species you will be catching.
- Spanish mackerel
- Striped bass
- Speckled trout
- Spotted Seatrout
- Sea mullet
The best overall surf fishing reel in our list is undisputedly PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel.
Why? Because it features a solid construction, an improved, waterproof gearbox sealing and drag system, and long-lasting durability that will help you become the better version of the surf angler you are!
Our premium choice is the one and only Penn Spinfisher VI Live Liner Surf Reel.
It features a high-quality full metal, IPX5 sealed body, innovative CNC fishing gear technology, and excellent six sealed stainless-steel ball bearings, suitable for both experienced and beginner anglers.
And the best budget on our list of “best surf fishing reels” is Okuma Reels Rockaway Surf 4Bb + 1Rb 5.3:1.
It is a lightweight, smooth, easy-to-use, maneuverable surf fishing reel that is made of high-quality materials and comes at an affordable price.