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9 Best Surf Fishing Reels on The Market

Written by James Schulz

If you are into surf angling, you know how important it is to find the best surf fishing reels.

You need the reels to make your experience satisfying and enjoyable.

The best surf fishing reels must perform in the best possible way under harsh conditions like friction, water, and a tremendous force.

In addition, surfing reels need to withstand any weight the water throws its way.

If your saltwater surf fishing reel does not perform as well as it should, or you’re not knowledgeable about the specific surf fishing reel you are using, it could be a problem in the ocean.

Although, don’t worry!

We have you covered!

This article will recommend you the best surf fishing reels available and share everything you might need to know about surf fishing reels.

Keep reading!

At A Glance

Top 9 Classic Surf Fishing Reels of 2022

1) Best Surf Fishing Spinning Reel: PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel

PENN Slammer III

The Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel includes a fully machined metal body, side plate, and rotor. CNC Gear Technology makes it durable and features an incredibly smooth gear train that doesn’t fail.

In addition to its powerful air rotor, it also comes with an enclosed slammer drag system named Dura-Drag.

Penn’s Dura-Drag lets the reel endure heavy and regular usage and can quickly and easily withstand temperatures generated during prolonged periods.

Dura-Drag also has an adhesive agent that helps prevent corrosion and premature degradation of the materials.

With these attributes, you can be sure that Penn Slammer III will be there for you for many years.

Pros

  • Well-engineered
  • Durable
  • Well-built drag system
  • P67 Sealed System prevents water from entering the gearbox and drag system
  • Great value for the money

Cons

  • The bail system may not always be the most efficient
  • The knob is too large compared to the reel itself

2) Best Waterproof Fishing Spinning Reel: Van Staal VR50 Spinning Reel

Van Staal VR50

Van Staal VR50 Spinning Reel is the correct surf fishing reel if you are looking for an entirely waterproof and sealed construction.

Van Staal VR50 is a highly stunning spinning reel intended for coastal fishing. It’s exceptionally light, manufactured, and forged from 6061-T6 aluminum.

It comes with thirty pounds of drag, with an aluminum spool containing 360 yards of 20lbs braid.

The carbon fiber drag system is stable, smooth, and reliable under load. Inside you’ll discover a stainless-steel spiral bevel gear system, as well as a titanium-based center shaft.

Everything is supported through 13 stainless bearings that provide the silkiest smooth and strong-feeling crank.

These reels are also equipped with the option of converting to a bail-less kit for those who require that.

So if you’re looking for a surf fishing reel that will last longer, then you take a look at one of these!

Pros

  • Durable
  • Sand proof
  • The drag and body are waterproofed and sealed

Cons

  • The oil leaks out of the handle’s shaft
  • No line clip on the reel
  • Bail closure is manual

3) Best Conventional Non-Mag Reel: Daiwa Sealine SL-X-SHA Series Conventional Reel

Daiwa Sealine SL-X-SHA

The Daiwa Sealine-X SHA is excellent for shore fishing and upside casting from a boat. Daiwa Sealine has four distinct models: X20SHA, X30SHA, X40SHA, and X50SHA.

The Endurant XC is equipped with three ball bearings that are corrosion resistant with a gear ratio of 6.1:1 and a displacement of 746 cubic centimeters.

Other characteristics differ based on the models.

The retrieve rate at 6.1:1 is relatively swift. The enormous power handle and CRBB further enhance this feature.

It also makes fishing more comfortable in challenging circumstances.

The soft-touch grip and the power handle provide everything you need for longer fishing sessions and allow your hand to rest against the handles for prolonged durations of time.

Sealine-X SHA gives a consistent casting experience and a more smooth feel.

In addition, the free-floating system lets the spool separate from drive systems, which reduces friction.

As a result, it is the least amount of friction and the spool’s highest speed while allowing longer castings.

Pros

  • Well-designed
  • Aluminum spool with lots of pull
  • Water-resistant high-performance drag
  • The frame is constructed of a highly durable, lightweight composite
  • The system is made of corrosion-resistant bearing
  • High gearing ratio guarantees rapid retrievals and casting

Cons

  • The plastic structure has durability issues

4) Best Conventional Mag Reel: Daiwa Millionaire M7HTMAG Surfcasting Reel

Daiwa Millionaire M7HTMAG

 

Daiwa M7HTMAG is the most conventional mag reel available that can last for a longer time and could reach a speed of 30,000 RPM when casting.

In addition, it comes with fully adjustable controls and gives anglers a real sense of control. Therefore, anglers of all abilities can utilize it with no issues.

Its Magforce Z technology is integrated into the reel and references the magnetic brakes.

When the spool is at its maximum speed,  the brakes are applied swiftly and without delay, which prevents overruns.

This will also ensure accurate casting because of the quick spool this reel offers.

Mayhem is a shootout machine with a seven-ball bearing.

Most of the ball bearings used in this loader are simply induction-hardened, while seven of them are high-speed steel (HSS) ball bearings.

However, HSS balls will wear down over time and become brittle due to saltwater corrosion of gears and components.

The aluminum frame is one piece, which enhances the experience.

M7HT7 weighs 12.2 grams that can cast hours without exhausting due to its lightweight.

In addition, thanks to its high ratio gear ratio (5:8:1), it is possible to quickly retrieve your line following casting with a rapid recovery ratio of 5:8:1.

It has high-quality brass gears that allow it to surpass its competitors. Moreover, its stainless steel gear is a perfect match for its brass gear.

You can use the reel for 300 yards for 15 pounds and 200 yards for the 20-pound test.

Furthermore, it is an excellent all-around fishing reel, thanks to its quality and performance.

Pros     

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Outstanding retrieval speed
  • Can launch for great distances
  • Magforce Z Technology provides accuracy and control

Cons     

  • Less drag capacity

5) Best Ultralight Spinning Reel: Penn CFTII5000LC Conflict II

Penn CFTII5000LC Conflict II

Penn Conflict II is a light surf fishing reel as it uses carbon graphite in its significant parts.

Penn has created their own carbon fiber blend known as RR 30, and both the rotor and frame for this model are constructed.

The handle is aluminum and has an EVA round knob, contrary to the structure. Many anglers agree that the Conflict is among the most attractive Penn spinning reels.

However, one thing to be aware of is that it is not a sealed reel.

If you immerse the reel in saltwater and do not open it up and clean it immediately, it will likely seize up.

One significant benefit of the Penn Conflict model is its equipped with CNC machined gears.

This offers higher quality machining process, and the gear’s performance is also more stable and durable.

In simple terms, this means it’s a more smooth spinning reel that is less likely to warp when pressure is high.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent casting manners
  • Significant Drag and Spool capacities
  • Powerful and smooth drag and crank

Cons

  • Loss of strength due to change to a synthetic body
  • The body may flex and twist when under the heavyweights
  • The impact could cause internal damage
  • More lubricants could improve the efficiency of the crank
  • A spare spool might be needed
  • Slightly more costly compared to the features provided

6) Best Long Stroke Surf Fishing Reel: Okuma Reels Rockaway Surf

Okuma Reels Rockaway Surf

Okuma Reels Rockaway Surf reel is made from graphite and metal construction that allows long-distance casting.

The reel is durable, lightweight, and features a graphite body, rotor, and side plate.  It also has a massive line capacity of up to 375 yards of 12lb monofilament.

It doesn’t have an external sealant that prevents water from entering the internal workings of the mechanism.

Still, the rotor is a proprietary technology developed to remove water from the mechanism.

At the same time, the external plates protect against corrosion.

The drag weight can go up to 26 pounds. Overall, it’s an exceptionally well-constructed reel, with no blemish in its casting capabilities.

In addition, the gear system is fast in its retrieval, so if you feel that you are getting tired more often by winding your line instead of casting, this reel is an ideal option.

Pros

  • Cyclonic Flow Rotors
  • Metal handle with EVA knob
  • High line capacity
  • Good Max Drag Aluminum construction

Cons

  • Some wobble on the spool in high-stress cranking times
  • The reel is relatively lightweight and isn’t made to handle heavy lines

7) Best Strongest Surf Fishing Reel: KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

KastKing Sharky III has a powerful drag system, allowing for relaxed fights against the most important fish species while fishing.

Its carbon fiber drag system gives you a substantial 39.5 pounds of drag power.

The main rotor is constructed from machined stainless steel, and the brass gears have been built with durability in mind.

KastKing Sharky III features the ten ball bearing system with a seal and is saltwater certified.

In addition, it has a good line capacity for surf fishing and features a smooth and easy retrieval system.

The bail line roller and wire are durable when working with braided and high-pressure lines.

Sharky III is easy to clean even after being submerged in saltwater and rolled through the sand all day.

Sharky III is robust and sturdy.

If you encounter large fish (or even sharks) when you go surfing, the superior drag keeps you in the battle while safeguarding your reel, rod, and line.

This is an excellent choice for the demanding conditions of surfing fishing.

Pros

  • This is made specifically for saltwater usage
  • Comes with an efficient sealant system designed to safeguard its internal systems.

Cons

  • This is a sturdy product, but it requires care in maintaining its endurance.

8) Best Long Distance Casting Spinning Reel: Okuma Surf 8k Surf Fishing Reel

Okuma Surf 8k

The Surf-8K long-casting surf spinning reel by Okuma is equipped with the most advanced technology for surf casters to give the most distance with every cast, whether it’s pitching large baits or large plugs in the surf.

Nowadays, anglers require lightweight reels cast for hours and feature massive line capacity to provide the best distance.

The unit was designed to be the best caster in its class and delivers on its promise.

The Surf-8K includes side plates, a graphite-based rotor, and a frame for lighter performance and durability.

In addition, the tapered aluminum spool provides the least resistance to line release, creating extreme distance.

A further key component of this reel model is the prolonged oscillation system which offers a fantastic line lay when you retrieve it and is specifically designed for use with braided lines.

The Surf-8K also features a machined aluminum screw handle and machined aluminum anodized spool with LCS lip, which helps reduce knots in the wind.

Lastly, the unit comprises six ball bearings made of stainless steel and includes a substantial fish-stopping forty pounds of drag force using carbonite drag washers.

Pros

  • Quick set anti-reverse roller bearing
  • CFM cyclonic flow rotor
  • Slow oscillation system
  • Fast drag system
  • Two stainless line clickers

Cons

  • Handle flexes easily under load, especially when fighting big fish

9) Best Saltwater Fishing Reel: Diwa Fishing Reels

Diwa Fishing Reels

Diwa’s KCN3 spinning reel has remarkable up to 70 pounds/31 kg of smooth, durable aluminum gear and premium carbon fiber frame.

The new and innovative design of Diwa KCN3 spinning reels catches the biggest fish when saltwater surf fishing.

KCN3 are fantastic fishing reels made with high fiber carbonate reinforced body and rotor.

The KCN3 Intrusion Shield System protects the spinning reels, which offers a unique waterproof design for its body, spool, and rotor.

It also assists in keeping dirt and water out.

You’ll be amazed by the smooth, quiet, smooth retraction that comes with the KCN3.

Also, thanks to the unique Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool, you don’t require a backing line when spooling braid fishing line.

As a result, the line will have more capacity to catch big fish.

Pros

  • Can take a saltwater beating
  • Has aluminum gear
  • Instant lock anti-reverse
  • Stainless steel hardware
  • Significant drag and line capacity
  • Sand and dirt can be cleaned easily with water
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Might be heavy for some
  • Can be confused with the brand Daiwa

Buying Guide

Types of Fishing Reels

There are mainly three types of fishing reels for surf fishing: the spin-cast reel, the spinning reel, and the bait-cast reel.

Even though each fishing reel is perfect for surf fishing, they all have specific capabilities and features.

Let’s look at these so you can buy the most suitable one for you.

1) Spinning Reel

The Spinning Fishing Reel is the most frequently used and purchased fishing reel in the market. It’s the preferred choice of professionals and with good reason.

The spinning reel has an open-faced design that allows more precise casting, has an excellent line capacity and gives you the flexibility to fish in deep trenches of the water.

You easily adjust the spinning reel’s drag by turning the dial on the front of the spool.

The spool comes directly in line with the fishing rod’s central axis and is suspended beneath it, unlike other reels that rest on its surface when used.

Another advantage that spinning fishing reels offer is that they’re multiplier reels.

A single rotation of the handle causes the spool to turn more than once. This allows you to turn the spool further than one revolution.

2) Baitcasting Reel    

The baitcasting reel has a unique mechanical design; therefore, its only used by experienced fishermen.

It may be too difficult to handle or understand for beginners.

Even though baitcasting reels are the toughest fishing reels to master, they let you cast the most precise line and length with a smooth drag.

The reel also has a quick and efficient retrieval, making them perfect for catching heavier and big fish.

3) Spincast Fishing Reel    

This Spincast Fishing Reel features a closed-faced design that ensures that all essential components are securely stored within the nose cone.

Its mechanics are simple: press the button while casting a fishing line and release it once it’s at the distance you’d like.

This is an excellent feature for beginner anglers.

Overall, Spinning Reels is often selected as the most effective reel for surf fishing. It is easy to clean, cast, and then set up.

In addition, they allow long-distance casting compared to the other two, which is beneficial to cast along oceanfront beaches.

Your choice of surf reel can make or break your capacity for catching fish.

A wide range of reels is available, from basic models to more advanced technological models.

What to Consider While Buying A Surf Fishing Reel?

Now that you understand the difference between fishing reels, you can select the best surf fishing reel out of the lot.

However, there are still some factors you should consider before buying yourself one.

These are the things you should consider and know about:

1) Saltwater Vs. Freshwater

Surf fishing instantly brings up saltwater in most cases due to the word “surf,” but technically, you can use it to describe both.

Therefore, the first question to determine is whether you’re looking at freshwater or saltwater fishing.

The salt and spray from the ocean are likely to require an even more robust surf reel.

Again, carbon and graphite alternatives will be ideal for this; however, should you have a metal body or parts, be sure to look for any kind of protective coating.

If you’re targeting freshwater fish, you won’t have a problem using a surf fishing rod designed explicitly for saltwater; however, it’s possible to be less selective in terms of exterior construction and protective coatings.

2) Drag Weight

If you’re looking to catch large fish, the typical top choice for saltwater surf fishing, you’ll likely need powerful drag weight.

The same applies to freshwater decisions, but for the big game fish, as you’re likely to be on a boat, it’s better to have a smaller drag weight.

If you’ve mastered your techniques and genuinely appreciate the thrill of a long flight, you could opt for the lighter drag weight.

Generally speaking,  you’ll most likely require something between 20 and 30 pounds.

If you require greater or lesser than this, you have an idea of who you are and why you’ll need it.

3) Weight of the Reel

If you’re fishing on the shoreline, you’re likely going to be spending more time surfcasting reels than you’re fishing from the boat.

However, it’s not always so; there are exceptions, but keep this in mind when thinking of a general rule of thumb.

Also, considering that surf fishing rods are usually more than 10 feet, meaning you’ll start experiencing any additional weight.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you must always go for the lightest rod. However, your search should be heading in that direction.

Some tradeoffs need to be made regarding the strength of a reel vs. weight, line capacity, and other factors will also come into the equation.

The best option is to secure these features first and then choose the lightest rod that matches the requirements.

A reel with an appropriate central point of gravity will reduce the weight if you go for a more heavy option.

4) Line Capacity And Gear Ratio

Several aspects determine what you’re looking for in gear ratio and line capacity.

In terms of line capacity, long-distance surfcasting won’t be the first factor to come into the equation.

Even the smaller reels available have a range of more than 200 yards.

So what you need to look at instead is how heavy of a line you’ll need and the amount of play you’ll need to catch the fish you’re hoping to fight.

If you’re going to hook something that appears to be running like the dickens, you require more.

But, on the other hand, if it’s going to be making its best impression of a cinderblock, then you will be able to get by with less.

On the other hand, gear ratios will be used to determine the speed at which your line will be reeled in.

In this case, you need to look at two aspects: how often you’ll have to reel in casting and the length of time, you’ll need to reel in after you’ve caught a fish on the line.

A high gear ratio is recommended if you frequently make a long cast.

It’s the same when you’re fishing for an aquatic species that gives you short time windows when you have to reel in quickly.

Lower gears are more effective if you’re primarily reeling in a line slowly or in an ongoing fight.

5) Materials

The materials are reduced to two main choices: aluminum and graphite.

Both are lightweight; however, aluminum is generally less expensive and more durable, while graphite is heavier.

Graphite is the best preference if you’re fishing regularly in saltwater since it’s more resistant to corrosion than aluminum.

Anodized aluminum is stronger against breakdown and is used in the top-end reels.

How to Maintain and Care for A Surf Fishing Reel?

To prolong the life of your rod, ensure that you give it a thorough clean after each saltwater or filthy freshwater fishing trip.

The easiest method to clean the reel can be to wash gently, using freshwater.

It is advisable to unhook the handle and spool and give the moving parts a bit of oil now and then.

A bit of TLC can make a massive difference in prolonging the life of a reel.

Do not open any reel casings because they’re packed with tiny springs, washers, and cogs. Losing one could be painful.

Instead, let a licensed technician handle this task.

What Is A Surf Fishing Reel, and Why Do You Need It?

A surf fishing reel is specially designed for surfcasting, making your casting more effective.

However, surf fishing is not without challenges, and they are distinct when fishing from boats, so it requires equipment specifically designed for the job.

This is particularly relevant for saltwater surf fishing.

Anglers typically surf fish off the beach, but similar strategies and gear are also available for fishing on any coastline.

The reels for surf fishing usually feature a tall spool that allows for long-distance casting.

For example, Baitrunner reels feature a low drag system that lets the fish swim alongside the bait before setting the hook.

However, remember you’ll require a rod and fishing line specifically designed to meet the demands of surf fishing.

Why?

Because if you don’t connect a surf reel to a top-quality rod and surf fishing line, it’s a waste of money.

Surf fishing rods are generally quite long to permit wide casting.

Most surf rods measure 9-13 feet long.

You can use any rod; however, longer rods allow more casting, which is usually beneficial when surf fishing.

Additionally, you can also use a surf fishing rig.

The rigs are equipped with the lead weight connected to the slider. A barrel swivel joins the leader line with the hook.

You can catch sharks with sharp teeth using a shark rig. Surf fishing can be accomplished using spoons, jigs, and plugs, as well as topwater poppers.

You have a higher success rate if you have all the equipment mentioned above on your surf fishing trip.

So, increase your chances for victory by having the best equipment with you for fishing.

Conclusion

A lot goes into consideration when picking the perfect reel for surfing.

The most important thing to remember is to choose a reel that is easy to handle, durable, and long-lasting.

If you’re a beginner, remember your purpose of fishing and buy the one that fulfills your need.

But if you are a pro and looking to upgrade, choose the option that’s closest to the one you’ve become familiar with.

All options provided by us are perfect for your fishing experience that will meet most of your needs.

Surf fishing is an enjoyable experience.

It’s just a matter of having more advanced and appropriate equipment for a successful fishing trip.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of reel is best for surf fishing?

A spinner reel is generally the most effective choice. They cast powerfully and smoothly and reel in fast. In addition, the majority of their mechanism is external, which means it can dry quickly, snags are efficiently dealt with, and you can stop corrosion with coatings.

You'll want a product with a decent capacity for line and a lower weight within this category because you'll be casting far and often. Also, you'll want something with the capacity to carry a significant amount of drag to tackle larger fish that aren't likely to go to shallow waters after they've been in trouble.

The ideal reel will depend on the location and what you're looking for, but a spinner reel is a good option compared to saltwater spinning reels that generally require more robust and more waterproof.

What size reel is best for beach fishing?

We can't stress the importance of reel size when fishing. It's all dependent on what fish you'd like to catch; it's crucial to have a durable and robust reel that is prepared to retrieve a fish after it strikes. Reel size corresponds directly to the line capacity. This means that the bigger it is, the more tremendous the line it can spin around its spool.

The reel's size depends on the type of water you're fishing in, such as its density, depth, and the kind of fish you're trying to catch. There are reels in various sizes, ranging from 1000 to 9000 plus. A 1000-3500 (10-35) size reel is perfect for catching smaller fish examples include Trout, Perch, Bream, and the Luderick. It is also ideal if you love throwing lures.

4000-6500 (40 65) is the perfect reel to catch medium-sized fish like Cods, Snappers, Barramundis, and Drummers. If you're an experienced fisherman seeking a giant haul, such as the Kingfish, the Tuna, or the Mulloway, it is essential to have the right fishing gear that can endure and withstand the pull and drag of these types of fish.

This is especially true if they rip your line off as they attempt to get away from the hook. In this regard, the 7000-9000+ (70-90+) reels will not disappoint you. In general, the larger the reel, the more powerful and better. So if you're willing to spend an extra few dollars for a top-quality reel, it's worth purchasing the largest reels for future fishing ventures.

Is a 6000 reel good for surf fishing?

Yes! A 4000-6000 spinning reel paired with 15#-25# braided lines for general purpose surf fishing is a good option.

What is the best gear ratio for surf fishing?

In simple terms, the gear ratios are related to the speed used by a reel to pull its line. For example, a 5.1 or 6.1 ratio is effective in all fishing conditions. The greater your gear, the quicker you reel in fish.

How to spot a good surf fishing reel?

You can distinguish a good surf fishing reel by checking out the reel's drag power, strength, ball bearings, and anti-corrosion features.

Drag Strength

In simple words, the strength of a reel's drag is measured by its capacity to reel in fish that may fight hard. The bigger the revolution, the more powerful its drag, so it's all down to the kind of fish you're trying to catch. The reel drag is crucial because it lets you catch fish easily while also protecting the fishing rod against breaking when pressure is applied. 

Ball Bearings

The amount of ball bearings on a reel determines its overall support, smoothness, and performance. The higher a reel's bearing count, the more smooth a reel will be. Ball bearings typically vary between 3 and as high as 12 per reel.

Anti-corrosion capability

Since most of us fish in saltwater, corrosion poses a severe threat to our fishing reels. Therefore, when purchasing a reel, it is essential to ensure you're selecting the one that's 100% stainless steel and corrosion-resistant to protect the reel's capabilities.

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