Best Surf Fishing Reel 2023

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  • Post category:Fishing Reels
  • Post last modified:June 14, 2022

Surf Fishing Reels

What Is Surf Fishing?

Surf fishing is a type of fishing in which you fish while standing on a pier, shore, or something else on the shore. By surf fishing, you can catch bluefish, blackfish, mackerel, perch, and many other types of fish. The main types of lures that are used here are forks, spoons, and jigs.

Which Reel To Choose For Surf Fishing?

Choose baitcasting or a spinning reel. This is one of the most commonly used and effective options. The effectiveness of the reel used will also depend on which fishing rod you use it with, with what tackles. And also, from your personal fishing experience and preferences. Spinning reels are set at the bottom of the fishing rod. They are very popular, especially among beginners, because they are very easy to use. This is the best option when you use a heavy and long line for long distances.

surf reels

Saltwater spinning reels are capable of casting larger weights and are fortified to deal with larger saltwater fish. Baitcasting reels, on the other hand, are set at the top of the fishing rod. They are very popular among more experienced anglers. With these reels, you get much more control over the bait. These reels can throw heavyweights over great distances with the right casting technique. But baitcasting reels sometimes create backlash when casting. Especially when casting is done by an inexperienced angler who hasn’t set up the brake. Therefore, they are so disliked by beginners.

PENN 1338215 Battle II 1000 Spinning Fishing ReelPENNBuy on Amazon
SHIMANO Stradic CI4 2500FB HG Freshwater Spinning ReelSHIMANOBuy on Amazon
Daiwa BG6500 BG Saltwater Spinning ReelDaiwaBuy on Amazon
Seaknight Rapid II Saltwater Spinning Reel, 4.7:1,6.2:1 High Speed, Max Drag 33Lbs, Smooth Fresh and Saltwater Fishing ReelSeaknightBuy on Amazon
Spinning Reel Saltwater Fishing Reels for Inshore Beach Surf Casting Saltwater Spinning Reel, Offshore Boat Jigging Saltwater Reels or Sea Kayak Bass Fishing Reel - Heavy Duty Surf Fishing Reels 9000HAIBOBuy on Amazon
Pflueger PRESSP30X President Spinning Fishing ReelPfluegerBuy on Amazon
Okuma HP 6+1BB 5.8:1 Azores Spinning Reel, 270/8, MulticolorOKUMABuy on Amazon
Quantum Cabo Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel, Size 60 Reel, Changeable Right- or Left-Hand Retrieve, Magnum CSC Drag System, SCR Aluminum Body and Side Cover, Silver/BlueQuantumBuy on Amazon
Fin-Nor LT60 Lethal Spinning Reel, 240-Yards, 14-Pound Mono Line Capacity, 30-Pound Maximum Drag, Gray and Black FinishFin NorBuy on Amazon
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Round Baitcast Fishing ReelAbu GarciaBuy on Amazon

Best Surf Fishing Reels on the Beach

A good reel can work for a long time, bearing the heavyweight of fish and bait. Constant saltwater exposure, banging against rocks, being dropped in wet gravel, or blasted by wind-blown sand are all in day’s work for a surfcasting reel.

Our best winners for quick selection:

Surf fishing is an exciting activity for anglers but very abusive on fishing gear especially reels. One of the most important properties in a reel for surf fishing is strength and toughness. The best surf fishing reels are built strong and corrosion-resistant to be able to withstand the abuse by strong fish, pounding waves, jagged rocks, salt-water corrosion, and wind-blown sand present in a marine environment and last long without losing their efficiency.

They are also equipped with powerful and smooth drag systems, larger line capacities, and quality bearings allowing to cast long distances and easily handle large fish that put up a big fight. Once you find the right surfcasting or surf spinning reel for you, pair it with a strong fishing rod so you have a well-balanced outfit and are ready to hit the surf for the exciting part!

Buyer’s Guide – Choose 10 Best Reels for Surf Fishing

types of fishing reels

Surf fishing is one of the most amazing types of fishing, if not the most. It is picturesque and you can never predict whether you will hook a bluefish, a redfish, or a shark. One of the essentials to having a great experience is having the proper gear and a reel is one of the most important pieces of equipment. On surf fishing, you need a reel that can cope with large and strong sea fish.

If you’re looking for the best saltwater surf fishing reel, your search just got easier. We analyzed hundreds of spinning and baitcasting reels and selected the ones best suited for surf fishing. They have all the features to cast long distances and handle the large and strong inshore species. Due to their durable construction, they hold up the constant exposure of saltwater and have a high rating in surf fishing. Check them out below.

1# Penn Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel – Our Top Pick

Penn Battle II Fishing Reel

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We chose Penn Battle II as the best reel for surf fishing, as there are so many features in it that distinguish it from the other reels. Penn Battle II – this is the reel that is perfectly designed for surf fishing. It’s in great demand among fishermen, and the brand has long been on the market. The body, side panel, rotor, and bracket are made of corrosion-resistant aluminum and will withstand the effects of saltwater. To fight especially large species, the reel is equipped with the HT-100 drag system, which works very smoothly and easily. Also for this, 5 stainless bearings and 1 anti-reverse bearing are installed. The reel has a large line capacity. You can use a braided fishing line without using mono backing. at 4000, the gear ratio is 6.2:1. But there are also large sizes (5000, 6000, 8000) with a correspondingly large gear ratio and line capacity.

  • Smooth and powerful drag

  • Sealed bearings

  • Corrosion-resistant body

  • No need for mono backing

  • Affordable price

  • Heavy

  • Not completely sealed

2# Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB Spinning Fishing Reel – Editors Choice

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ Fishing Reel

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Shimano is known for making excellent reels. And surf fishing reels are no exception. This is one of the most innovative models of surfing reels. It is equipped with a Dyna-Balance rotor, a Fluidrive II system, and Propulsion Line Management System, which provides maximum casting and smooth control. Hagane gearing and body and X-Ship technology provide the reel with sufficient strength and strength to fight the heaviest and largest. Carbon construction and rotor lighten the reel and reduce its weight. The reel is equipped with 6 bearings and 1 roller bearing for smooth retrieval and casting. The maximum drag in the reel is 20 pounds, which feels balanced and not tight. The reel copes well with intensive use in seawater. Depending on your preference, you can choose 1 of 4 models.

  • Strong and durable construction

  • Smooth performance and drag

  • Lightweight

  • High-quality

  • A bit noisy at times

  • No anti-reverse switch

3# Daiwa BG Spinning Surf Fishing Reel – Best Value

Daiwa BG Spinning Fishing Reel

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Daiwa BG is perfect for those who are looking for a high-quality surfing reel at an affordable price. In terms of price and quality, this is the best choice. The reel is projected for durability and uses in an aggressive saltwater environment. The sizes that you can get are from 1500 to 8000. Larger sizes are equipped to deal with more serious saltwater fish. Stable and powerful drag, 6 bearings, and double anti-reverse systems provide the reel by all means for successful surf fishing. Despite the heavy, corrosion-resistant aluminum housing, the air rotor gives the reel lightness and reduces its weight. The drag system is waterproof, and the handle eliminates the possibility of backlash.

  • The spool minimizes line issues

  • Durable and corrosion-resistant construction

  • The powerful and smooth gear system

  • A lot of sizes

  • Anodized body but painted spool

  • Weight

4# SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Surf Fishing Reel

SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel

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Another budget option if you need a surf reel, but you don’t have much money to buy it. Even with its low price, Rapid is smooth, powerful, durable, and corrosion-resistant. At an affordable price, it has pretty good features. An aluminum spool and a dynamic rotor are installed in the reel, which is hermetically protected from external influences. For the same purpose, bearings are shielded so that saltwater, sand, or dust doesn’t damage them. The lightweight design and EVA handle gives your hands a pleasant feel. If we talk about the fight with fish, then this reel copes quite well with coastal species and some large fish. The maximum drag power in the reel is 33 lbs. Here are installed 10 + 1 stainless steel bearings with a gear ratio of 6.2:1.

  • Solid corrosion-resistant body

  • High-quality shielded bearings

  • Powerful drag

  • Inexpensive

  • Not offer a spare spool

5# HaiBo Saltwater Spinning Surf Fishing Reel Corrosion Resistant Conquering

HaiBo Saltwater Spinning Reel

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The reel with one of the most powerful drags – 61.7 pounds with tremendous performance and smoothness. The HaiBo design is made of anti-corrosion aluminum with carbon washers and CH-50 inside. Also inside are 6 stainless bearings and an instant anti-reverse system to prevent backlash. The reel design is completely made of metal. A machined gear train, heavy-duty bracket and spool, and a sealed bearing system and drag allow this reel to fight even the largest fish species.

  • Powerful drag

  • All-metal construction

  • Long cast distance

  • Comfortable handles

  • Heavy

  • Needs  more line capacity

6# Pflueger President XT Low Profile Baitcast Surf Fishing Reel

Pflueger President Fishing Reel

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If you are a fan of baitcasting reels that give you much more control over your fish while surfing, then Pflueger President is what you need. The reel is one of the best surf reels not because it has a very famous brand. It has a very great demand among fishermen around the world and has repeatedly proved its effectiveness in water. For smooth operation, the Pflueger is equipped with a powerful but smooth drag system, 9 bearings + 1 anti-reverse, and a magnetic brake. If you stumble upon a fast swimmer, the gear ratio 7.3:1 won’t allow him to swim away from you. The reel is available in three sizes and can accommodate quite a lot of mono or braided lines. The low profile design and lightweight side panels with an aluminum soft-touch handle are very well felt in the hand. The anti-corrosion bearing system provides the reel with great durability and the ability to withstand saltwater. The only drawback in this reel is the not very large drag power and cast range.

  • Low profile and lightweight

  • Soft-touch handles

  • Double shielded bearings

  • Smooth casting

  • High-quality

  • Short casting distance

  • Low drag

7# Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Surf Fishing Reel

Okuma Azores Saltwater Fishing Reel

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The first thing that attracts attention in this reel is the surprisingly smooth drag that is created by the double force drag system. The reel is made for use in saltwater and has a structure that resists corrosion and seawater. But the reel isn’t completely waterproof. Inside the reel are 6 bearings and 1 anti-reverse roller bearing with a ratchet retrieve system. Okuma has an excellent gear ratio of 5.8:1 with a maximum retrieve speed of up to 46 inches per 1 turn of the handle. Many anglers change the felt washers in the reel to carbonite to create even smoother drag and increase durability, and it really works. If you don’t hunt heavy fish more than 40 pounds, then this reel will be an excellent tool for constant use in your fishing arsenal.

  • Low price

  • Smooth retrieve and drag

  • Corrosion-resistant

  • Heavy

  • Not fully sealed

8# Quantum Cabo PT Spin Surf Fishing Reel

Quantum Cabo PT Fishing Reel

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Since 2015, the design and construction of the reel have been completely redesigned. They added a lot of nice features and made a more comfortable handle. For fishing in salt-heavy water, massive drag is set here, corrosion protection in several layers, and the thing that the manufacturer calls Performance Tuning. This is where the name PT comes from. Depending on the size of the fish you going to catch, there are models with gear ratios of 5.3:1 for small sizes up to 4.9:1 for larger species. Line capacity starts at 270 yards for 30 pounds of line and ends at 400 yards per 100 pounds of line. Regardless of whether you fish from a boat or the beach, the reel has enough drag corrosion resistance and hybrid bearings so you can do it effectively in any case. In general, this reel will feel great in saltwater conditions and fight well with large sea species without any problems.

  • Massive drag

  • Corrosion-resistant

  • Hybrid bearings

  • High-quality materials

  • Not fully sealed

  • No ceramic bearings

9# Fin-Nor Offshore Spin Surf Fishing Reel

Fin-Nor Surf Fishing Reel

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Yes, drag is not the most basic parameter in the reel, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised that the maximum drag here is as much as 60 pounds. This will be enough to pull out most of the large marine fish species. In general, this reel is intended for this. A gear ratio of 4.4:1 and a casting range of 540 yards of a 20 lb. a monoline can easily get any heavy bass or king salmon. Inside the reel, there are 4 bearings + 1 anti-reverse. The washers inside are made of stainless steel and carbon fiber. The construction material is stainless steel, so the reel is quite heavy. Almost 40 ounces excluding the line. This is a reel for those who want to hunt for more difficult species, but do not want to spend most of the budget on it.

  • Long casting distance

  • Huge drag

  • Corrosion-resistance

  • Large line capacity

  • Heavyweight

10# Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Blue Yonder Surf Fishing Reel

Abu Garcia Fishing Reel

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For saltwater fishers, it’s extremely important that the reel at the same time can fight large species of fish (catfish, carp) well and catch small but fast runners. Abu Garcia is one of those. The entire reel is made of stainless steel to ensure durability and long life in heavy saltwater conditions. A carbon matrix drag system will constantly create drag pressure and increase its range. In addition to an excellent drag system, other equally high-quality parts of this reel are a handle, stainless steel bearings, and a brake system. In the hands of an experienced fisherman, this reel is able to do a lot and pull almost any fish out of the water.

  • Carbon matrix drag system

  • Centrifugal brake system

  • Convenient handle

  • Stainless steel bearings and body

  • Flimsy clicker

  • No bait runner

How To Choose A Quality Surf Fishing Reel

different types of fishing reels

As with any kind of reel, in surfing, there are several factors that distinguish a high-quality reel from a poor-quality one. If you can’t decide which model to choose, then when buying, pay attention to the following features.

Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are needed in the reel for smooth operation and retrieval. The number of bearings determines the smooth operation of the mechanism. Therefore, the more bearings in the reel, the smoother it’ll work. It is good if there is an anti-reverse bearing in the reel. It’ll allow excluding backsliding when you install hooks.

Sealing & Corrosion Resistance

Surfing reels are mostly used in saltwater. And salt has a very bad effect on unprotected metal and causes corrosion in it. As a result, rust appears and the reel very quickly fails. Therefore, if you are going to fish in saltwater, it’s very important that the reel has good anti-corrosion resistance. Or so that even the internal components are protected from the effects of saltwater and rust. Protecting the reel more effectively with protective pads on the body and side panels of the reel. But even if you choose a reel with excellent corrosion protection, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to be cleaned and taken care of. Periodically, the reel still needs to be completely cleaned. Cleaning greatly prolongs the life of the equipment.

Line Capacity

Surf fishing involves longer casting distances. Therefore, the standard line capacity in the reel may sometimes be missed. Make sure that the reel can hold as many lines as you need. Capacity is always written on parts or reel packaging. For heavier species, a braided line is needed. It’s slightly heavier than the standard mono line and with the same line length, the capacity of the braid will be less.


It is clear that every user wants his reel to work as long as possible. To do this, it must be made of quality materials. A reel for a couple of dollars is not a reel. This is a piece of cheap metal at best, but most often plastic, as I always said. You can save on drag, bearings, or capacity, but you can’t save on material quality. Always look for durable reels made of quality materials. The best options have all-metal constructions and can withstand some falls, etc.

Drag Power

The drag in the reel is necessary in order to pull out a large fish or a fish that strongly resists. Or a large fish that is very resistant. So, you get the point. The greater the drag power, the easier it will be for you to do it. The dimensions of the reel directly affect the drag force. Larger drums have more drag power. Drag and durability are inextricably linked because a low drag reel can easily break under high pressure.

Gear Ratio

And the last point to consider is the gear ratio. This ratio shows how many turns the spool makes per 1 turn of the handle. A high gear ratio reels up the fish much faster, but this doesn’t mean that the higher the gear ratio in the reel, the better. There are a couple of nuances. A lower gear ratio gives you more torque. And this is much better for dealing with large fish. If you want to catch large fish that are actively fighting, it’s best to sacrifice speed to get more torque. If you are hunting for both large and small fish, it’s better to choose some average value.


Spinning or Baitcasting Reel?
If you are not sure if you should use a spinning or baitcasting reel, then first evaluate your skills. Baitcasting reels are much more difficult to manage, but they give you more control over bait and fish. But to use a baitcasting reel, you definitely need some experience in fishing. Otherwise, you’ll encounter eternal tangling of the line, tearing the fish off the hook, etc. If you are a beginner or not sure that you can cope with baitcasting reel as with your second hand, then it’s better to start with something simpler. Take the spinning reel. Spinning reels can cast long distances without entanglement or any special skills.
What Reel Size To Choose?
Surf fishing is demanding for larger reels. They have greater drag power, spool size, and capacity. What is it for? In saltwater, heavier species prevail, with which small reels simply can’t cope. Therefore, if you go offshore fishing with a small and weak reel, then you risk breaking it and losing the money spent.
How to Care for The Surf Fishing Reel?
Caring for an offshore reel is no different from other types of reels. It consists of regularly washing the reel with water and brushing or toothpicks. Especially if you recently worked this reel in salt-heavy water. For greater durability, lubricate reel parts with special fluids and oils. And don’t disassemble the reel if you are not sure that you can then assemble it back correctly.

Few Words In The End

In surf fishing, mainly three types of reels are used: baitcasting, spinning, and the most rarely used – side casting reels. For a long time, spinning reels remained the most used in surf fishing because of their simplicity and convenience. In the right hands, they can make huge casts and pull out very large fish. But now, baitcasting reels are gaining more and more popularity. They use innovative production technologies and with such reels, you get maximum control over the fish and bait. And with good experience, the casting range is not inferior to spinning reels.

Side cast reels are very rarely used, but it’s worth talking about them. The most common use they received in Australia. Because they cope well not only with large and strong fish that live there but also with huge and strong waves. They are very durable and withstand very heavy lines. And of course, corrosion protection and durability are no worse than in baitcasting or spinning reels. Anyway, choose the reel that suits your requirements and needs. And then no one strong or fast runner will hide from you. Tell your friends if you liked this article and share it on social networks! Have good fishing!

Tags: #best surf fishing spinning reels / #best surf fishing reels / #best saltwater surf fishing reels / #best surf fishing reel for the money / #best surf fishing rod and reel / #best surf fishing rods and reels / #best surf fishing spinning reel for the money


Sergio Smirnoff
Sergio Smirnoff
Professional fisherman with 40+ years of experience.
Fishing and the ocean is a passion of my life. I am passionate about all kinds of sea fishing: fishing from the shore (spinning, float, baitcasting), from a boat, and spearfishing day and night.

I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for the last 10+ years and share my daily fishing experiences on my website. Many years of personal experience as a fisherman and the vast experience of my friends allow me to write professionally on any fishing topics (from choosing a flashlight and equipment to deep-sea fishing).

All of my advice is based on practical real-world experience and will be useful to both novice anglers and professionals. Read more about the author.

Affiliate Disclosure: sometimes gets paid for listings, through sponsors or affiliate programs like Amazon, Ebay, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, Shimano, Daiwa, Rapala, Renn, Okuma, KastKing, etс. Clicking a link helps keep free, at no extra cost to you!

About the author: Each article is verified by the fishing expert Sergio Smirnoff. The articles are written by professional and amateur fishermen with 20+ years of fishing experience.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency. The articles are for informational purposes only, share your opinions in the comments and join the fishing discussions, let's share our fishing experiences together!

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7 months ago

When making your first steps in fishing, don’t buy a legendary reel like the SHIMANO Stradic CI4 2500FB HG Reel. It’s like a Porsche car. You have to come to this. An inexperienced fisherman should learn from the simplest and cheapest models. He will not be able to appreciate their advantage. The main thing is to buy a decent brand variant.

As an experienced fisherman, I would like to point out that the type of fishing reel you use depends on your personal preference and the type of fish you are trying to catch. If you are a beginner, a spinning reel is recommended. Saltwater spinning reels are best for casting large weights and catching large saltwater fish. More experienced anglers prefer to use bait reels because they provide more control over the bait. However, lure reels can be difficult to use and often create backlash when casting. Therefore, it is important to have experience before using this type of reel.

Product Name
SHIMANO Stradic CI4 2500FB HG Reel
Graham Hill
Graham Hill
7 months ago

I think the only option to fish from shore is with a spinning reel. That’s what most people do. Your list is professionally compiled. Pick anyone and you won’t have any problems, breakages, and tangled lines. If the budget allows, for your hobby choose a reel from such an article. I have so far bought a Vont LED Headlamp IPX5 Waterproof night fishing light based on your recommendation. Satisfied and really space technology. It’s over 5 years old now!

Product Name
fishing reel