Saltwater anglers who need a dependable reel for big ocean fish will find an excellent selection of saltwater reels!

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If you are like me, then there is no experience better than heading out on the water and tying to haul in the biggest fish. Whether your favored fishing point is a boat, jetty, pier or surf, saltwater fishing can be compared to no other.

Over the last few years there has been a quiet revolution in the quality of saltwater spinning reels designed and manufactured, with brands like Okuma, Penn, Shimano, and Abu Garcia leading the pack.

That is why we have scoured high and low to find the best spinning reels available, in order to make your job easier when you go out shopping for your next fishing trip.

So go ahead and get ready for an in-depth saltwater spinning reel review.

Things To Consider

There are several factors that will determine the type of saltwater fishing reel to select:

  • Type of fish
  • Fishing location
  • The taste and preference of the angler
  • Your fishing method and fishing experience

Type of Material

Not all the fishing reels are designed for use in saltwater fishing. It is important to go for a fishing reel that will not corrode with salt water in order to provide you with a long-lasting use.The fact is:

  • Fishing reels that are made of magnesium will easily corrode. Despite magnesium being lightweight and common in many fishing reels, you shouldn’t choose it for saltwater fishing because it easily gets damaged.
  • Aluminum, on the other hand, is a great material for making saltwater fishing reels. It is lightweight, sturdy and lasts for an extended period of time.
  • There are some other brands that are made of graphite because it is durable, lightweight and very strong.
  • Some fishing reels like the Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel are designed with a hybrid construction, which is a combination of graphite and aluminum components making it very strong and corrosion resistant.

Size of the reel

The size of your reel will determine the size of the line to be used when you are fishing. If you are fishing anglerfish and viperfish, which are found in deep-water, you definitely require a large-sized fishing reel that will hold a large line capacity.

If you are fishing in-shore, a medium to large-sized fishing will work perfectly well because you do not require a large line capacity.

So how will you determine if a reel is large sized or medium? There is no fixed rule of thumb for fishing reel size. Some manufacturer rates their reel as just 20, or some do it as 200, or even 2000. But both are of the same size. So here is the final size:

  • Small– 10/100/1000 – 35/350/35000
  • Medium – 40/400/4000 – 55/550/5500
  • Large – 60/600/6000 and upper


keeps the line in place. Some of the common materials that are used to make the spool are aluminum and graphite. These are materials that will not corrode, in fact these makes the spool durable. Graphite made spools are lighter compared to aluminum spools.

Gear Ratio

You do not want to spend the whole day without catching your species. If you are a serious angler looking for an ideal saltwater fishing reel, you need to look for a reel that has more gears. This will determine how fast you catch the fish.

A fishing reel with more gears will be faster at drawing the line back.

Drag Adjustment

The drag adjustment system in saltwater spinning reels will work well just like other drag devices. This ensures that the speed at which the line can be pulled off the spool is controlled after the fish takes the bait.

For instance, if you are catching larger fish like the Blue Marlin and Tuna, the drag will help to prevent them from snapping the fishing line.

Sturdy Frame

Fishing in saltwater is challenging, you are not sure what you are going to end up catching. You might be reeling a2-pound snapper and end up with a 6-foot barracuda (Frank Ross, Saltwater Reels Author).Frames can be made from graphite or aluminum.

The type of frame construction reduces the torque on the spool and reel when you are struggling with big fish.

Ten Best Saltwater Reels Available

As I mentioned in the intro paragraph, I have chosen the best saltwater spinning reels on the market based on the quality of their components, the value of their craftsmanship, the versatility of their fishing function, and the overall standard of their performance.

Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel

Editor Rating:

Okuma has always been a popular choice when it comes to spinning reels, and with the Trio High Speed you can now see why.

To begin with, the Okuma spinning reel comes in three different designs, that is the 30-S, the 40-S and the 55-SS.

These different sized spinning reels are all affordable, and manage to provide superior performance to every saltwater angler.

Additionally, the Trio spinning reels feature a unique hybrid construction, with a combination of aluminum and graphite components.

While the one-piece stamped reel stern and rotor arm are made out of sturdy aluminum, the side plates are made out of lightweight graphite. This means that you have an excellent crossover of weight saving and strength.

Additionally, the spool of the spinning reel houses an accurate Dual Force Drag system (DFD) in its aluminum drag chamber, ensuring that you have optimal stability when you are fishing and maximum smoothness when reeling in your line.

This smooth feature is complemented by ten stainless steel ball bearings and an anti-reverse roller bearing, which guarantee that your spinning reel does not catch when you are hauling in your fish.

Highlighted Features

  • Hybrid spool design with graphite arbor and aluminum lip
  • Crossover aluminum and graphite hybrid body and rotor design
  • Precision Dual Force Drag System (DFD)
  • Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing

Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reel

Editor Rating:

When you hear the name Penn in the fishing industry, you know you cannot go wrong.

The highly popular Penn Spinfisher V is a saltwater marvel, with a waterproof design that ensures that you can fish in any water of your choosing.

This spinning reel is made up of 6 seals that efficiently prevent spray and water from entering your drag system and your gear box, ensuring that the components that make up the aforementioned reel parts do not get corroded by the salt in the water.

Furthermore, the 5 stainless steel bearings found on this model are shielded, ensuring that they can perform effectively in all conditions.

These bearings are supported by three HT-100 drag washers, which have been greased to ensure that your fishing is smooth and that your reel will last for a long time.

Other than the sealed drag system of the Penn Spinfisher V, this spinning reel is also known for its line capacity rings that give you endless adjustment possibilities when you are letting your line out.

Additionally, the full metal sideplate and body construction ensure that you can reel in heavy fish without compromising the reel.

Highlighted Features

    • Enhanced gear ratios on smaller sizes
    • Spinfisher V Fishing Reel SSV3500, Boxed
    • Water Tight Design

Shimano Curado Baitcasting Reel

Editor Rating:

The Curado is perhaps one of Shimano’s most successful reels, offering all anglers a smooth, durable and lightweight fishing experience.

This reel only weighs 11.5 ounces, due to its solid aluminum frame construction and lightweight graphite sideplates.

When it comes to the smooth features of the reel, you have one S A-RB ball bearing, five shielded stainless steel bearings and a single roller clutch bearing.

These seven drag bearings work seamlessly to ensure that you can reel in your catch without exerting needless effort on your line.

Additionally, the Curado boasts of a high-efficiency 6:9:1 gear ratio and a right retrieve, which guarantees that your retrieval speed is lightning quick.

No more waiting for ages to get your catch from the water to your fishing kayak or your boat, with this powerful drag system you will be hauling faster than you ever have before.

Highlighted Features

    • Ball Bearings: 1 S A-RB Ball Bearing/5 S SUS Ball Bearings/ 1 Roller Bearing
    • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
    • Weight: 10.5 Ounces

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3

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The Amabssadeur C3 is a right-hand retrieve reel that sports a free spool baitcast construction, which works to make your saltwater fishing experience much easier and more enjoyable.

This round reel comes in two main sizes, the first being the 9.9 ounce 5500C3 and the second being the 11.3 ounce 6500C3. While the features of these two reels are similar, they differ in weight and spool capacity.

This confidence boosting reel is composed of a stable 5:3:1 gear ratio, which guarantees that you can fish with unparalleled accuracy and cast to long distances without hesitation.

When you also consider the fact that the Ambassadeur C3 comes with anti-reverse via its stainless steel roller bearing and an adjustable centrifugal brake for switching ranges, there is no way you can go wrong with the reel.

On the other hand the reel boasts of 3 ball bearings which are part of a carbon matrix drag system, which provides an extremely smooth fishing performance.

What you have when you buy the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 is an easy to operate, smooth to cast, and powerful to hook baitcasting reel.

Highlighted Features

    • Carbon Matrix Drag system
    • Unrelenting power and premium performance
    • Six-pin centrifugal brake

Abu Garcia Revo Premier Spinning Reel

Editor Rating:

When it comes to high-quality spinning reels, there is no match for the Abu Garcia Revo Premier.

This spinning reel is in simple terms a saltwater beast, with top notch components and expert craftsmanship that will leave you in wonder.

The most amazing feature of the Revo Premier is its crossover NanoShield body and spool construction, which provides all the lightweight properties of graphite and the strength properties of a full metal body spinning reel.

The NanoShield stem construction is 300% sturdier than a graphite stem, but does not suffer from the extra weight that is associated with aluminum stems.

Additionally, the NanoShield spool is 50% lighter than an aluminum spool, and can withstand the corrosion that usually occurs during saltwater fishing.

The result of this crossover construction is an exoskeleton that is lighter than aluminum and stronger than graphite. What more can you ask for?

Additional features of this spinning reel include a sealed carbon matrix drag system with 12 stainless steel ball bearings, which provide extra protection against corrosion, and smooth and consistent reeling.

The heavy-duty Revo Premier is also quick, powerful, lightweight and durable, ensuring that you will be having superior fishing experiences for a long time to come.

Highlighted Features

    • 12 Ball bearings
    • 5.8:1 Gear Ratio
    • Line capacity 12 pound test/180 yards
    • Sealed Carbon Matrix Drag System

Shimano Stella Reel

Editor Rating:

The Stella STL2500FE spinning reel from Shimano is a top grade 8 ounce reel, and is the previous winner at the 2010 ICAST awards.

This Stella FE reel is popular for its top of the line features, which provide excellent fishing experiences time and time again.

These high-performing features include an X-Ship drivetrain, which allows you to turn the handle of the reel with ease with and without load.

This means that when you are out fishing you will not be spending your energy trying to operate the reel, and you can therefore focus on bringing in your catch. In fact, the X-Ship feature is so efficient that you can feel the lightest bites from your fish.

Furthermore, the Stella FE reel has an advanced computer balanced rotor for increased efficiency, and a pinion gear supported by bearings for longevity on the water.

When you also take into consideration the fact that the spinning reel is constructed with a magnesium frame and sideplate, you have yourself a lightweight reel that will provide premium performance over and over.

Highlighted Features

    • Gear Ratio: 5.7:1
    • Line Retrieve: 96.52 cm / 38 inch
    • Weight: 435 g – 15.34oz
    • Bearings: 14 S-ARB

Shimano Thunnus Saltwater Spinning Reel

Editor Rating:

The Thunnus TU6000CI4 from Shimano is an extraordinary surf reel that should be top on your bucket list.

This 18 ounce reel is heavier than most, but provides supreme performance that will make you forget its weight.

If you are wondering about the name of this reel, Thunnus means tuna in Latin. This saltwater fishing reel is exceptionally smooth, amazingly strong, and incredibly durable, and all of these properties are as a direct result of its aluminum body and rotor construction as well as its waterproof drag system.

This construction and design ensures that your gears are always aligned when you fish, so that you can have an easy time reeling in the fish.

Additionally, the Thunnus has a one of a kind baitrunner feature, which functions as an additional drag system. With this feature you have the ability to feed out your line with superior control from your free spool, so that you can fish live bait like never before.

Highlighted Features

    • Weight: 18.0 oz
    • Retrieve: Right-Hand
    • Max Drag at Full: 20 lb.
    • Line Retrieve Per Crank: 35″
    • ​Line Capacity
    • Mono: 300 yds./10 lb.

Abu Garcia Hi Speed Revo MGX Baitcast Reel

Editor Rating:

The Abu Garcia Hi Speed Revo is a spectacular and revolutionary baitcast reel, which combines a compact and lightweight design with an innovative, durable and high-performing fishing system.

Firstly, this popular reel weighs a mere 5.4 ounces, which is achieved through an X-Mag alloy frame, an aluminum gear and a carbon C6 sideplate.

All of this weight reduction does not sacrifice the strength of the baitcast reel, as the one-piece frame of the reel is exceedingly strong.

The Revo MGX reel also has an innovative Infinitely Variable Centrifugal Brake (IVCB-IV) system, which can be adjusted and fine-tuned to your preference so that you are comfortable when out on the water.

Additionally, the baitcast reel has 9 stainless steel HPCR bearings and an additional roller bearing, which allows for improved protection against corrosion while ensuring that your reel is smooth when fishing.

Comfort, smoothness, castability, durability and precision are also guaranteed via an Infini II spool design, a Carbon Matrix Drag system, a bent carbon handle, and a recessed reel foot.

Highlighted Features

    • Abu Garcia’s popular REVOlution reel line continues with the
    • Lightweight 5.4-ounce Revo MGX
    • Compact design combines with innovative X-Mag alloy frame
    • C6 carbon sideplates for lightweight, durable performance
    • Infinitely Variable Centrifugal Brake (IVCB-IV) system

Shimano Stradic CI4+ Reel

Editor Rating:

When it comes to otherworldly spinning reels, the ever popular Shimano Stradic CI4+ takes the cake.

This reinforced carbon fiber reel is definitely the future of Shimano, with top grade construction that is 250% stronger than the Shimano CI4 material, and 20% lighter than XT-7 graphite.

The construction of the Stradic CI4+ contains zero metal, meaning that the frame, sideplate and rotor of the reel will not rust even when in constant contact with saltwater.

Apart from the amazing strength and lightweight properties of this 9 ounce reel, the Stradic CI4+ is also efficient due to its X-Ship drivetrain which has a gear ratio of 5:8:1 and a maximum drag of 20 lbs.

This efficiency is supported by the 7 ball bearings which make handling the reel much smoother, and a propulsion line management system which guarantees that you can cast your line without any hassle.

Additionally, the rounded and ergonomic EVA handle grip ensures that you will not lose hold of the reel while you are fishing.

Highlighted Features

    • Max Drag at Full: 15 lb
    • Weight: 7 oz.
    • Line Retrieve Per Crank: 34″
    • Line Capacity – Mono: 200 yds./6 lb., 140 yds./8 lb., 120 yds./10 lb.
    • Gear Ratio – High: 6.0:1 Line Capacity – Braid: 170 yds./10 lb., 145 yds./15 lb., 95 yds./30 lb. Details: 6+1 Bearings

Penn Gold Label Series Conquer Spinning Reel

Editor Rating:

The Conquer spinning reel is a fantastic model in the Gold Label series, and it comes in multiple sizes including the CQR2000, CQR4000, CQR5000, and the CQR7000.

Each one of these reels has been constructed with amazing detail and impressive quality, keeping with the tradition of top notch Penn craftsmanship that has been in effect for over 7 decades.

Whether you are using this reel in-shore or near-shore, the excellent design of the Conquer spinning reel ensures reliability, durability and smooth operation in saltwater.

The gear box has been constructed with one-piece machined aluminum, and the aluminum spool is forged, machined and anodized to give you spectacular casting distance possibilities.

Other remarkable features of the spinning reel include an eternal alloy spool lip, which is exceedingly strong and resistant to scratches, dents and nicks.

The Conquer spinning reel also has an Easy Access System (EAS) which allows anglers to lubricate their gears and bearings for a consistently smooth operation.

Highlighted Features

    • Superline Spool – no backing needed because of the rubber gasket keeps superline from slipping
    • Patented one-piece machined aluminum gear box
    • Forged, machined, and anodized aluminum spool
    • Easy Access System allows maintenance
    • Eternal Alloy- The spool lip is made from a proprietary metal that resists dents and scratches

Final Verdict

As you can see from the detailed reviews above, Shimano, Okuma, Abu Garcia, and Penn reign supreme when it comes to the world of saltwater fishing. All of the saltwater reels described above are leaders in the angling market, and will offer you superior and consistent performance each and every time you are out on the water.

So if you are looking for a value for money investment, then select one of the ten reels given above. You will not regret it!