When it comes to saltwater fishing, whether you are fishing inshore flats, jetties, or on a charter, a saltwater spinning reel outperforms most if not all conventional saltwater reels…
Paired with the right saltwater rod, a pure saltwater setup should last you years and provide endless fishing bliss.
Top Saltwater Spinning Reels:
- Best Surf Fishing Spinning Reel: Daiwa SS Tournament
- Best In-Shore Saltwater Spinning Reel: Van Staal VS150
- Best Penn Spinning Reel: Penn Slammer III
- Best Diawa Saltwater Spinning Reel: Daiwa Saltist
- Best Shimano Saltwater Spinning Reel: Shimano Stradic Ci4+
In this article, I am going to cover several different spinning reels. I am also going to cover many of the ways the two differ. So let’s get started and see which one you prefer.
Saltwater Spinning Reels Overview
Saltwater will corrode cheaper metals in a short amount of time. Therefore, most saltwater reels are made from special alloys which will not corrode as quickly.
It’s important to take care of your saltwater reels with more diligence than freshwater reels. That means rinsing them off with freshwater and drying after each use and making sure they are lubricated correctly.
Bearings, gearboxes and drag systems, among others that are sealed, are not as vulnerable to saltwater induced corrosion.
The seals used, function like gaskets and keep saltwater from reaching the inner components. This will cause the inner parts to corrode and wash away the grease.
Saltwater reels are typically made for heavier lines, saltwater tackle, and fish than freshwater reels are.
There is obviously some crossover between the types of reels, seeing as though you could use the same line and lure to catch a barracuda or a pike.
It’s important to size your reel based on the type of fishing and fish you’re targeting. I’ve seen people pull in tuna using medium-size reels because they used braided line and were careful not to let the fish run out their spool.
Let’s be honest, you’ll probably have a whole arsenal of different sizes if you’re serious about fishing.
Criteria for Picking
We’re looking to make our judgments based on:
- A reel that can hold at least 350 yards of 30lb braid.
- Has a degree of waterproofness for surf fishing and other saltwater conditions.
- Open to both bail and bail-less options.
Best Saltwater Spinning Reels Reviews
Best Penn Saltwater Spinning Reel
PENN Slammer III
- Full Metal Body, side plate, and rotor
- CNC Gear technology
- IP67 Sealed body and spool design
The nice thing about the Slammer III family is that Penn did a good job of designing a reel to keep the saltwater out. It has an IPX6 water resistance rating which means even if you spray the reel with forceful water, it’ll be fine.
This rating doesn’t mean you should go and submerge your reel in saltwater.
Penn states that it’s completely sealed and should be able to handle whatever the surf throws at you. Just don’t go swim with it :P.
The smaller 3500-5500 sizes have automatic bails, but the bigger ones are manual.
A solid workhorse for you saltwater enthusiasts.
Best Surf Fishing Spinning Reel
- Super smooth drag
- Lifetime bail spring
- Long cast machined spool
This is what Sean Woodburn calls
My first choice and best bang for the buck in regards to long range casting reels.
It was designed for long casting in mind and even though it’s older it still holds up just fine for your fishing needs. It’s practically indestructible and you can catch nearly any fish on it.
This reel has lots of records on it and is still being used in the long cast community. It’s been around for 30 years so if you believe that longevity matters, then you need to add this to your arsenal ASAP.
Best Diawa Saltwater Spinning Reel
Diawa Saltist 4500
- Magsealed line roller and main shaft
- "HardBodyz" body and side cover
- Light weight Air Rotor design
It’s hard for us to chose between the Saltist and the BG, but if you want to try something a little more unorthodox, this is a great workhorse reel. It can stand up to abuse.
I know a guy who has been a Shimano fan his whole life and decided to give this reel a shot. He loves the Stradic but hated the cost. After using this reel for a year, he still thinks it’s a solid value. It might be the best reel under $300.
Best In-Shore Saltwater Spinning Reel
Van Staal X Series VS150BXP
These reels are one of the most popular for striper fishing on the East Coast. They are lightweight reels and offer plenty of saltwater protection. Plus their 6061-T6 aluminum housing looks sexy!
They are manual bails and you can purchase a kit to convert them to bail-less.
VS vs VR
The VS is meant to be able to handle submersion. Some say it also feels like a coffee grinder when you reel it in. If you don’t need a reel that bulletproof, then opt for the VR model because it has a smoother reel and can still handle splashes.
To make it easier to pick, if you’re doing serious surf fishing go with the VS otherwise the VR will make a good reel especially for your days on the boat.
Best Shimano Saltwater Spinning Reel
Shimano Ultegra CI4+
- Max drag: x lbs. / gear ratio: x.x:1. / weight: x oz. / line...
This reel is meant more for offshore and surf fishing. It is able to be cast out far and is strong against saltwater corrosion.
It has a manual bail and will need to be opened and closed by hand. It pairs nicely with a 9-foot rod.
This is great for ocean fishing but isn’t meant to be submerged so make sure you keep it out of the water except for minor splashes.
Shimano makes some of the best reels around. If you needed to trust one brand, I’d recommend them.
How to Clean Your Reel
When it comes to caring for gear used in saltwater there a few simple steps that will ensure you get years out of your reels. It is always a good idea to perform preventive maintenance every time you go out.
First, make sure you rinse off your reel after each day out on the water to remove as much salt and sand from the moving parts. Sometimes you’ll need to remove the spool to get into the hard to reach places.
For a Deeper Cleaning
- Tighten up your drag.
- Rinse your reel with water from the sink or hose without much force.
- Spray it down with a reel cleaner. I like using the Penn Rod & Reel Cleaner.
- Let the reel dry and loosen your drag.
Once that is done you can put your reel back up for storage and it will be ready the next time you go out fishing.
Q: What is the best spinning reel under $100?
A: The best spinning reel under would be the Penn Battle II. It’s a workhorse and isn’t expensive.
Q: What is the best spinning reel of 2018?
A: The best spinning reel of 2018 is the Shimano Stradic Ci4+.
Q: What is the most accurate saltwater spinning reel?
A: When it comes to accuracy in a fishing reel it is not the fishing reel that is accurate it is the fisherman.
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