10 Best Surf Fishing Reels 2020: Review and Buying Guide

Unless you are fully equipped with one of the best surf fishing reels, there’s a chance you will be unable to make catch something. If you’re an experienced in surf fishing, you already understand that many factors such as strong winds, deep currents, big fish, and the corrosive impact of saltwater place a significant amount of stress on the reel. This is the primary reason you must choose your surf fishing reel carefully.

Generally, surf fishing can be a more demanding activity on your preferred fishing gear compared to other forms of fishing. In our search for the most reliable surf fishing reels, we identified some essential features that you must consider when choosing one. We have emphasized on some characteristics such as capacity, size, gear ratio, weight, bearings, max drag, and other notable features that are worth mentioning.

These are some of the features that are the most important components that go into the construction of a functional fishing reel. According to experts, you should choose a product that offers many years of seamless surf fishing.

Surf fishing reels: A comparison chart

Here’s a comparison chat illustrating the top surf fishing reels, their top features, and other essential elements. Based on in-depth research, our editors managed to analyze various products in the market and created a comparison chart to help compare different products at a glance. Be sure to check the comprehensive buying guide at the end.

Picture
EDITOR'S CHOICE
Daiwa SS Tournament 5.1:1 Long Cast Whisker Spinning Reel -...
Penn 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 FB Spinning Fishing Reel With...
SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel, 4.7:1,6.2:1 High...
Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel
Okuma ABF-90 Avenger Baitfeeder Spinning Reel (30lb/330yd)
Product Name
Daiwa SS Tournament 5.1:1 Long Cast Whisker Spinning Reel -...
Penn 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 FB Spinning Fishing Reel With...
SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel, 4.7:1,6.2:1 High...
Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel
Okuma ABF-90 Avenger Baitfeeder Spinning Reel (30lb/330yd)
Dimension
7 x 6 x 7 inches
5 x 4 x 3 inches
6 x 5.1 x 3.5 inches
5.5 x 5.1 x 3.5 inches
6 x 6 x 4 inches
7 x 6 x 4 inches
Weight
11.2 ounces
16 ounces
10.4 ounces
12.8 ounces
32 ounces
22.4 ounces
Prime Status
-
-
-
-
EDITOR'S CHOICE
Picture
Daiwa SS Tournament 5.1:1 Long Cast Whisker Spinning Reel -...
Product Name
Daiwa SS Tournament 5.1:1 Long Cast Whisker Spinning Reel -...
Dimension
7 x 6 x 7 inches
Weight
11.2 ounces
Prime Status
-
Check Latest Price
Picture
Penn 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Product Name
Penn 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Dimension
5 x 4 x 3 inches
Weight
16 ounces
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 FB Spinning Fishing Reel With...
Product Name
Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 FB Spinning Fishing Reel With...
Dimension
6 x 5.1 x 3.5 inches
Weight
10.4 ounces
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel, 4.7:1,6.2:1 High...
Product Name
SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel, 4.7:1,6.2:1 High...
Dimension
5.5 x 5.1 x 3.5 inches
Weight
12.8 ounces
Prime Status
-
Check Latest Price
Picture
Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel
Product Name
Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel
Dimension
6 x 6 x 4 inches
Weight
32 ounces
Prime Status
-
Check Latest Price
Picture
Okuma ABF-90 Avenger Baitfeeder Spinning Reel (30lb/330yd)
Product Name
Okuma ABF-90 Avenger Baitfeeder Spinning Reel (30lb/330yd)
Dimension
7 x 6 x 4 inches
Weight
22.4 ounces
Prime Status
-
Check Latest Price

The 10 best surf fishing reels - reviews

1. Penn Battle II Surf Fishing Reel

This surf fishing reel is highly rated for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. The product’s balance between its cost, quality, and functionality is quite amazing. According to experts and verified purchase reviews on Amazon, this Penn Battle II Fishing Reel is one product that will offer a bigger bang for your buck compare to most options out there.

This fishing reel boasts of a full metal body, a rotor, and sideplate. This makes it heavier and boosts its ability to withstand the pressure associated with big fish. That means it doesn’t flex easily and is ideal for heave use even on a charter boat. Its HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers are believed to extend the lifespan of this fishing reel. Besides, it offers a smooth non-jerky drag even when subjected to load from a retreating big fish.

The Penn Battle II, Surf Fishing Reel is equipped with a super-line spool. This is one of the top features that have made this reel a favorite item among many anglers. The addition line capacity rings on the reel’s spool ensure that you know the amount of line remaining in the spool. Besides, the rubber inlay on the pool makes it possible to load the spool directly with a braided fishing line, and you don’t have to back it with mono.

Fishers looking for a solid fishing reel can rely on this Penn Battle II Surf Fishing Reel. Whether you are an avid weekend fisher or a local charter captain, you can rely on this fishing reel for an outstanding angling experience.

Pros

  • The solid metal body frame enhances the reel’s durability
  • The product is made of corrosion-resistant materials
  • It is associated with reliable drag power

Cons

  • This surf fishing reel is a little bit heavier for its size.

2. Daiwa Sealine-X SHA Fishing Reel

This fishing reel from Daiwa is perfect for trolling or jigging. The freedom of the reel’s free-floating spool allows the user to fire a live bait or lure with ease whenever an inviting target pops into your view. Besides, the free-floating spool is intended to separate the spool from the gear train on outcast for minimal friction, long casts, and fast lure drop.

The fishing reel has 3 CRBB rust-resistant ball bearings, sex-element sealed drag for better fishing experience. Other outstanding features include sturdy marine-rated bronze and stainless steel gears. The reel’s spool is made of high-tensile aluminum spool that is super-strong and lightweight. This ensures the user feels comfortable whenever fishing.

Pros

  • The fishing reel is made of high-quality materials to enhance durability
  • It is lightweight for ease of use
  • The reel is rust-resistant, making it perfect for saltwater fishing

Cons

  • It lacks the anti-reverse, and that means you must stop the line with the lever manually

3. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB Spinning Fishing Reel 

If you are looking for a surf fishing reel that lasts longer and gives you value for your money, then Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is the right reel to go for in the online market. This surf fishing reel weighs 5.60 ounces, only making it suitable for older anglers. This mono-line capacity fishing reel is built to perfection and is ideal for long-distance fishing.

It comes with a gear ration of 6:0:1, which makes it smooth and effective for fishing. The bearing system is rust-resistant and durable. The reel is a water repellent coat, which prevents water from getting inside.

It also supports a maximum drag force of up to 7 lbs ideal for catching the most stubborn large fish that your bait can catch. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ comes into play whenever you are looking for a reel that offers you value for your money.

Pros

  • Comes with a smooth 6:0:1 gear ration for efficiency
  • Lightweights and suitable for older anglers
  • Has a Magnumlite Rotor that improves its rational stability
  • Has a good drag power
  • Water-resistant
  • Offers four different sizes you can choose

Cons

  • It is a sturdy reel

4. SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel

If you are looking for a surf fishing reel that saves you money but offers you the quality you need, then SeaKnight Rapid should be your perfect choice. This fantastic mono-capacity reel comes with a gear ration of 6:2:1 that makes it smooth and efficient. It has a maximum drag force of about 10 Kg, which is enough to drag any large and stubborn fish from the water.

It weighs 10 oz, which makes it ideal for old anglers who prefer lightweight surf fishing reels. It features an aluminum spool and rust-resistant coating. This feature makes it last longer, even in the harsh water environment.

SeaKnight Rapid is useful for long-distance casting because it uses a monofilament fishing line. Forget about the low price; this fishing reel gives you more than you deserve at such a price. It has a maximum casting capacity of 250 yards, making it suitable for different fishing styles.

Pros 

  • Has an excellent dragging capacity, which makes it suitable for deep-sea fishing
  • It is lightweight
  • Built with a rust-resistant body to last longer than ordinary reels
  • Offers you great value for your money

Cons

  • It does not have a spare spool

5. Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel 

Penn Clash is the perfect surf fishing reel for a technical and professional angler. It comes with a CNC machined gear ratio of 4:7:1, which makes it smooth and efficient for long-distance fishing. Most anglers prefer using this reel in saltwater because it has a corrosion-resistant body. Its entire body is metal, and the ball wire is aluminum.

It covers up to 335 yards, which makes it convenient for seawater fishing. The fishing reel uses a 15-pound monofilament line that can be useful when handling large fish species. It can also use braided fishing lines. You can get a 15 pounds drag and 315 yards cast when using a braided line on this surf fishing reel.

It comes with an 8-steel ball bearing for flexibility. The instant anti-reverse system is useful for reeling big and stubborn fish from the water. The technology and value attached to this product make it stand out in the market.

Pros

  • Best for anti-tangling
  • Lightweight
  • Good casting distance
  • Made of non-corrosive material
  • Good for smooth retrieving
  • Does not permit braided line tangles

Cons

  • It can make a lot of noise when in use

6. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel

Okuma Avenger is a six-ball bearing surf fishing reel that you can rely on for quality and durability. It comes with a Bait-feeding System for a free-running line and disengagement of the spool. The bait feeding system has an on/off switch, which makes it easy to use. You can disengage the reel without having to open the ball. It also comes with a multi-disk drag system that improves its efficiency.

The reel comes with oil-soaked washers and an efficient drag system. The washer makes it faster and smoother to pull the fishing line out of the spool. Unlike most reels, Okuma Avenger has a closed gearbox. You can clean the gearbox to remove the dirt and sand that may find its way inside.

Okuma Avenger body and rotor are made of graphite. Graphite is more durable than aluminum. That means you should expect this reel to last longer than your typical reel. It also comes with a reversible retrieve making it easy to switch between right and left hand.

Pros

  • Efficient and extra smooth retrieve
  • Has a graphite body for durability
  • Made of a rust-resistant material
  • Has a sealed gearbox
  • Comes with a bait-feeding system

Cons

  • The spool does not support braided lines
  • Some parts of the body plastic, which can wear off with time

7. Daiwa BG Spinning Reel 

Daiwa BG is not your ordinary surf fishing reel. This is probably the best surf fishing reel from Daiwa. The company has given the fishing reel a magnificent construction that matches its price.

Most saltwater bass anglers prefer this fishing reel because of the high technology the manufacturer has used to make it unique. It has a waterproof drag system and an aluminum body, which makes it last longer than most reels available in the market.

The reel performs better on different lines, such as fluorocarbon and braid. The fishing line slides off and spins on the reel easily. The better line management and smooth spool make the reel unique.

The drag system used on this reel is water sealed to last longer. It adjusts smoothly with the smallest correction making it more efficient. If you are a technical angler looking for a lightweight reel, then Daiwa BG is your last option. You can use this reel for long without feeling any load on your hands.

Pros

  • It looks great
  • Great price
  • Sturdy and comfortable on the hands
  • Made of durable material
  • Gives an awesome drag
  • The bail open easily   
  • Has an excellent spool design

Cons

  • Expensive

8. Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reel

Okuma has designed Okuma Azores specifically for saltwater fishing. The reel comes with a Dual Force drag system, which makes it suitable for long-distance casting. It has felt drag and carbonate drag washers that add more stability when fishing.

Also, the gearbox is sealed to prevent sand and dirt from entering and closing its anti-reverse system. You can easily set the drag accurately when casting using the reel’s precision click-drag adjustment feature.

This reel assures you the comfort you need when fishing. Apart from being lightweight, it also comes with a machine spool and handles, which makes it easy to use. The steel bearings are coated with stainless steel to last longer and withstand the harsh water conditions.

With this reel, you can get more line on your spool. It has a knurled spool design that stops the braided fishing lines from sliding or slipping. The Dual Force Drag system used to make the reel is useful when catching large fish species.

Pros 

  • Comes with accurate bait hooks
  • Made with the Dual Force Drag system for efficiency
  • Great handling system for comfort
  • Made of rust-resistant stainless steel

Cons

  • The drag weight is low when used in long-distance fishing

9. Quantum Cabo PT Spin Reel 

Quantum Cabo PT is one of the most stable surf fishing reels available in the market. It comes in different sizes ranging from 4000 – 8000. The most sought size is 4000 because of its unique features. This fishing reel has an excellent construction that will give you value for your money. Apart from being durable, it is more efficient for different fishing styles.

It has a comfortable crank knob that gives it a fantastic drag weight and makes it comfortable on your hands. The reel is built with a titanium-grey design, which makes it a bit heavy for an older angler. When using a braid fishing line, you can pump up to a 30-pound drag force and a distance of 270 yards.

On a monofilament line, you can cover up to 230 yards and make a 10-pound drag when spooling. This compact reel gives a more extended casting range on any fishing line of your choice. It also offers a smooth gear ration of 5:3:1, which makes it more efficient.

Pros

  • Uses both mono and braid lines
  • Easy and comfortable to use
  • Made of quality and durable SCR aluminum material
  • Gives a maximum drag and casting distance
  • Comes in a variety of sizes to choose

Cons

  • It is heavy especially for the older angler

10. Daiwa SS Tournament 

If your fishing style involves light fishing in saltwater, then this is the right fishing line for your budget. Daiwa SS Tournament is one unique fishing reel in the market. It comes in different sizes ranging from 700 – 2600. Most bass anglers prefer size 1300 because of its unique technology and features.

The reel comes with a stainless steel bearing that makes it easier to retrieve and reel. It weighs 8.10 oz, making it suitable for longer fishing. With a maximum drag force of 24lb, you can rely on it for pulling even the stubborn big catches.

This fishing reel offers the best fishing performance any reel can meet. It produces a precise winding and a super smooth drag that is just effective for catching smaller fish. Also, the reel comes with a cut-proof SiC line roller that makes it more efficient. The long-cast machined spool used in the fishing reel is more comfortable when used for saltwater surf fishing.

Pros 

  • Comes with a sealed gearbox
  • Resistant to rust and water
  • Has a good gear ration of 5:1:1
  • Suitable for long casting in saltwater
  • It is made of durable material
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • It is tough
  • Expensive for beginner anglers

Buying Guide

Probably you’re wondering why surf fishing is so popular. First, you don’t need a boat. After all, you can easily access surf fishing if you live near an ocean. It is easy to fish from the beach, rocks, and pier, and that means you can catch fish while standing on the land. So, you don’t have to incur additional expenses associated with acquiring a boat.

Different species of fish found in deep waters are likely to be found near the shoreline. This is because larger fish hunt small fish that’s likely to be found on the shores. Thus, there are better chances to catch various types of fish depending on your location and the type of bait you’re using.

Another reason surf fishing is becoming so popular is that oceans and other large water bodies have a greater variety of fish. Besides, the size of fish you catch varies significantly compared to the ones you’re likely to catch on the streams and your local pond. Depending on geographical location, there is a good chance you will catch snapper, flounder, mackerel, sheepshead, sharks, and more.

Though baitcasting reel is a good option when it comes to casting for long distances, a spin reel is a better option for surf fishers. Your choice will depend on your skill level and preferences. Note that the fish you will catch is likely to be bigger and heavier than the types you can catch on freshwater. Besides, you must handle the power of the deep ocean waves, and so, you require a strong fishing reel that can handle the extra weight.

What makes a great surf fishing reel?

After analyzing ten different spinning reels ideal for surf fishing, it’s time to get into details about the aspects of a good fishing reel. There are factors you must consider when choosing a reel for your surf fishing activities. For instance, you need to decide the specific type of fish you intend to catch. If you want to catch heavy ones, then, you should buy a fishing reel with a max drag weight of about 12 pounds.

The quality of the materials used in making the reel is another important consideration you should make. Fishing reels made of high-quality materials withstand the corrosive properties of saltwater, prevent regular maintenance or costs associated with replacing fishing gear and help protect your investment. Here are the essential considerations you should make.

The size of the reel

Are you trying to figure out the right fishing reel for your surf fishing trips? Picking the right reel size will depend on the specific type of fish you want to catch. Different size categories of fishing reels include large, medium, and small. Anglers in need of small reels should choosing any reel whose size ranges from 1000-4000. Such a reel is ideal for bream, bass, trout, and whiting.

For medium fishing reels, their size falls between 4000 and 6000 and is ideal for tailor, cod, snapper, morwong, and other similar fish species. On the other hand, larger spinning reels are 6000 and higher. They are ideal for fishing salmon, mulloway, salmon, mackerel, kingfish, and other bigger catches.

Mono and braided fishing line capacity

The specific type of fishing line you choose depends on your preference. However, you must ensure that it is robust enough to stand the pressure of large fish you intend to catch and strong waves. Braided and monofilament fishing lines have both benefits and limitations.

For example, monofilament fishing lines offer better user experience, and they’re the most recommended for people who are still learning the art of fishing. This is because these lines are easy to use and tie a knot. On the flip side, this type of fishing line requires in-depth knowledge about different types of fish and the fishing activity in general.

Studies show that having a braided fishing line allows you to cast for a great range. This is the main reason these lines are considered better than monofilament fishing lines. Besides, braided lies can withstand a higher level of drag tension even at longer distances.

The number of bearing

Surf fishing reels have a varying amount of bearings, and this doesn’t mean that the best fishing reels have more bearings. There’s a lot that goes into the recommended number of bearing and functionality of a fishing reel. You need to analyze the overall quality of the bearings as different materials resist corrosion differently. Choose a reel made of high-quality materials that can withstand corrosion for many years.

A fishing reel with many high-quality bearings can cast for long distances with easy, smooth reeling. The most recent surf fishing reels feature high-quality ball bearings made of stainless steel. This guarantees durability and a better user experience.

Materials and construction

As mentioned earlier, the top saltwater surf fishing reel must be made of top quality, corrosion-resistant material. The saltwater environment is harsh, and having a sturdy fishing reel means many years of seamless fishing. Besides, you don’t need frequent maintenance services, and the reel will end up saving you a lot of money – you don’t need to purchase a new reel every few months.

A growing number of manufacturers are shifting from the old graphite reel constructions. The most current surf fishing reels are made using a combination of high-quality materials, including aluminum, carbon, and titanium. All these materials are durable and lightweight, and so is your reel.

Sealing and anti-corrosive coating

Among the challenges associated with surf fishing, corrosion tops the list due to the salty environment. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a reel made of rust-resistant materials. Besides, the product must be perfectly sealed to prevent sand, water, and dirt from getting inside. Today’s markets offer countless reel options equipped with rust-resistant properties. So, choose wisely.

The gear ratio

This refers to the number of spool rotations for a single turn of the handle of the surf fishing reel. It is the overall measure of how fast the reel can pick up the fishing line. For example, a reel with a 6.2:1 gear ratio means that the spool must rotate 6.2 times per a single complete turn of the reel’s handle.

A reel with a higher gear ratio means that you will be trying to pull in a fish a lot faster, and the catch needs to be a light load. In the case of a heavy catch, you need a reel with a lower ratio. This will effectively accommodate the high weight drag. Generally, a reel whose gear ratio ranges from 5.2:1 to 6.2:1 is recommended.

Drag power

Drag power refers to the amount of resistance or catch’s weight felt when being pulled in on the fishing rod. A higher level of drag power lets fishers catch bigger fish. Understanding the specific drag power associated with your fishing reel allows you to determine how much tension the spool’s plates can withstand. These settings should be made manually before casting your fishing line, and the drag tension needs to be measured in pounds. Generally, as the casting increases, the overall drag tension gets a little bit lower.

The reel’s weight

The weight a fishing reel varies depending on the reel’s size. Note that the overall weight will impact the rod’s balance and comfort, as well. Bigger reels are associated with higher weight due to the density of the material they are made of. Some fishing reels have a size of 8500 or less, and since they are big, they’re likely to weigh about 38 oz. On the other hand, lighter reels are likely to have a size of 4000. If they are made of lighter materials such as carbon, the product is likely to weight 8.1 oz.

Durability

There is a good chance your reel will be against extra power. Thus, the product’s durability is an essential factor you must consider. The fishing reel of your choice must be built to withstand different levels of pressure associated with surf fishing in a saltwater environment to avoid snapping off under a load of larger fish. The reel’s moving parts must be well-sealed, made of rust-resistant materials, and coated to ensure each part continues to work effectively even when used in harsh saltwater fishing areas.

Brake types

Some reels use a centrifugal brake system, while others use magnetic braking systems. Reel brakes help slow down the spool on baitcast reels so that the fishing line and lure don’t move faster than the spool. This prevents backlash or the line getting tangled.

The primary difference between brake systems is that the centrifugal braking system requires you to remove the side from the fishing reel to effectively set the brakes. On the other hand, magnetic brakes are adjusted using a dial on the side of your fishing reel.

Price

Sure, price isn’t the sole determinant of a product’s quality, but it is an important consideration you must make. The prices of surf fishing reels vary significantly, and that means buyers must look at the overall quality of the materials used, brake types, durability, weight, and other important factors. After all, there is no point in spending a lot of money buying a substandard product that will need to be replaced every few months.

Wrap up

Surf fishing is an exciting and fun way to catch different species of fish. The thousands of United States coastline makes surf fishing an easily accessible sport and can open up your fishing adventures to countless fish species. Don’t forget that this form of fishing is impacted by strong ocean currents and involves catching big fish. So, you need a robust fishing reel that can stand a lot of pressure.

If you have been looking for one of the best surf fishing reels, now you know what makes a good reel, different options in the market, and what will suit your needs best.

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