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The infinite bounty of the wild blue yonder calls to souls of every ilk.

Be you fishing off a pier, a coastal kayaker, or taking out a boat for a great big sport fish, there is a saltwater meal or trophy with your name on it.

While the game is out there in abundance, without the proper tools—the right reel—those delicious fishes can be awfully hard to catch and eat.

With the wrong reel, you’ll spend more time working out knots, fixing bails, and otherwise not fishing.

But with the right equipment, well, who knows what kind of a catch you can land.

Tie on your leader and lets cast-off to find you, your best saltwater spinning reel.

Penn Battle II

IN A RUSH?

Get this: Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

  • Durable, this rod boasts a full metal body, side plate, and rotor. It’s ready to help you reel in the big saltwater gamefish.
  • Powerful yet smooth drag with HT 100 carbon fiber
  • Instant anti-reverse braking, 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings allow fluid cranking

Powerful, smooth, durable, and all sorts of other accurate if complimentary adjectives. And it comes in many sizes making it the best heavy duty saltwater spinning reel available today. And at under a hundred bucks it simply can’t be beat.

Top Saltwater Spinning Reels on the Market Today

The 8 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

1. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel - Best Overall Saltwater Spinning Reel

If you want an absolute multipurpose saltwater dynamo, you simply can’t beat the Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel. (This best all around saltwater spinning reel is Also available at Basspro.)

Built for battling the big fish in heavy salt spray, this rugged and well-engineered reel is strong, but still pulls in line smooth as silk. And when you are matching wits with masters of salt and surf, smooth is never underrated.

Better still, they’ve options in sizes for any fish or depth you prefer to fish. So pick the Penn that’s right for you, and take on whatever sea monster of legend your nearest body of water holds.

Best yet, this bad boy is surprisingly inexpensive. Making the Penn Battle II the best saltwater spinning reel under $100 on the market.

Pros

  • Durable, this rod boasts a full metal body, side plate, and rotor. It’s ready to help you reel in the big saltwater gamefish.
  • Powerful yet smooth drag with HT 100 carbon fiber
  • Instant anti-reverse braking, 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings allow fluid cranking
  • Braid-ready superline spool with line capacity markers

Cons

  • Some say this spinning reel comes too heavily-greased and reels stiffly first out of the box

Reel Tips: Remember that over-lubricating a reel can cause problems just as bad as not lubricating your reel. Use only a drop of grease or oil on your bearings.


2. Lews Fishing TPI400 TP1 Inshore Speed Spinning Reel - Best Inshore Saltwater Spinning Reel

Tarpon, Bonefish, Striped bass, Redfish, Snook or Barracuda. The pleasure and bounty found in a small fishing boat—or off a pier—can not be overstated.

With the Lews Fishing TPI400 TP1, you’ve got one of the best inshore spinning reels you can find, with features that let you focus on the fish.

Features like an ambidextrous handle, and hardy yet lightweight frame and side plate, an anti-reverse clutch bearing.

Speaking of bearings. Seven of the bad boys and a 33” retrieve make for one of the smoothest pulls on an Lews Fishing inshore spinning reel that one can experience.

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum body and side plate
  • Double-anodized and knurled machined aluminum spool
  • Adjusts for either right or left-handed retrieve
  • Treated with speed lube to provide excellent handling in most weather conditions
  • 1 zero reverse one-way clutch bearing

Cons

  • Reel handle can come loose, may require a drop of Loctite or simply retighten it during regular preventative maintenance

3. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel - Best Small Saltwater Spinning Reel

Whether your piscatorial pursuits have you fishing a stream, river, lake, ice-hole, or on the big blue sea, one delish sport fish can be found readily.

For landing more trout than bargained, little beats the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel line. Most trout species are easily and consistently reeled with model C-10, and that’s pretty great considering it’s their least expensive model.

Okuma precision machines all key components on all models of their reels. That attention to detail produces smooth operation that you can count on. Hence the full year warranty.

So get yours now, and drop a line in the nearest ice-hole.

Pros

  • Precision elliptical gearing paired with a fluid (Up to) 8-bearing drive system
  • Compact Blade Body Design reduces bulk for a refined reel feel
  • Custom EVA foam handled knobs for supreme comfort
  • This sleek design is also corrosion-resistant
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Comments suggest that the line can get caught behind the spool on this reel

Our Tip: To reduce the occurrence of pesky caught lines, don’t fill the spool to/past capacity and try closing your bail manually.


4. SHIMANO ULTEGRA Spinning Fishing Reel - Best Saltwater Spinning Reel for Surf Casting

SHIMANO—a trusted name in Japanese manufacturing in cycling, golf, and other sports for nearly a century—really demonstrates their experience with their globally best-selling fishing reels.

Currently standing tall atop the pack, the SHIMANO ULTEGRA Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel. Sleek but strong materials comprise its G-Free Body for superb balance. (Also available at Basspro.)

Inside, an ultra-durable, cold-forged proprietary Hagane Gear is so well engineered to reduce friction, that when combined with its X-Ship double-bearing pinion support system, grants a long, smooth accurate cast.

For the angler in your life who deserves experienced quality craftsmanship, even if it’s you—especially if it’s you—you cannot go wrong with any SHIMANO reel, and the ULTEGRA—while exceptional—is no exception

Pros

  • Smooth action yet strong enough for both inshore and offshore fishing
  • Equipped with Shimano’s CoreProtect water-resistant technology for reel longevity
  • Improved gear durability reduces friction allowing you to cast well and far
  • Up to 20-pound drag
  • Perfect line lay thanks to Aero Wrap Oscillation

Cons

  • It’s a high-quality reel with high-speed gearing—so it just makes sense that it’s not the cheapest

5. Piscifun Flame Light Weight Ultra Smooth Spinning Fishing Reels - Best Budget Saltwater Spinning Reel

Humankind has slapped a hook on bait and pulled dinner from the sea for over 42,000 years.

Evidence suggests that we've done as such with a line and rod for a hot minute too. Since at least 2000BCE. Barely a millennium into recorded human history.

That makes fishing one of mankind’s oldest skills. One that beckons to us through our history, or instinct, or ancestral DNA, and as such it should not be reserved only for those with the most resources.

With the Piscifun Flame line of Light Weight Ultra Smooth Spinning Fishing Reels, anyone can afford to get out on the water.

Fill your creel, look good doing it, and honor whatever of the wild calls to you.


Pros

  • Drag power up to 19.8-pounds
  • The hollow graphite body makes for a lightweight reel
  • Braid ready spool
  • Aesthetic—good looking matte black body paired with a red aluminum spool
  • Did we mention the price is reely right?

Cons

  • The bail on this reel is a little larger than others if you have big hands—watch your fingers

Pro Tip: For freshwater fishing choose 2000 or 3000 series. For saltwater/bigger game fish jump up to the 4000-5000 models.


6. Cadence CC6 Spinning Reel & Rod Combo - Best Saltwater Spinning Reel Combo

For those looking to grab and go, you can't do better than the Cadence CC6 Spinning Reel & Rod Combo.

Ideal for freshwater fish like bass, walleye, and trout as well as popular inshore species like redfish, speckled trout, and flounder, so long as one remembers to rinse your rod and reel after a saltwater fish.

All 17 models of Cadence Spinning Rods—both 1-piece and 2-piece—are constructed from 24-30-ton carbon matrix graphite blanks. This offers the best mix of strength, durability, and sensitivity without being hefty.

Guides on all Cadence rods are stainless steel to resist corrosion and have a SiC insert for smooth even line control.

The best part? Cadence—and vicariously all Cadence customers—is dedicated to educating and encouraging future angles, and is partnered with a number of charities to that end.

Pros

  • Can be used to fish freshwater and inshore
  • Ergonomic EVA handle for a comfortable grip
  • 24-ton graphite rod and a strong aluminum reel keep the weight down
  • Stainless steel main shaft with a brass pinion gear
  • For every Cadence purchase, their charity partners donate a youth combo so you’re helping the next generation learn to fish

Cons

  • Not ideal for offshore fishing, and remember to rinse off with fresh water after inshore fishing

7. Pflueger President Spincast Fishing Reel - Best Beginner Saltwater Spinning Reel

According to a number of actual customer reviews, the construction on the Pflueger President Spincast Fishing Reel was akin to stepping back in time when craftsmanship was a thing of pride and not just a bottom dollar.

Intuitive, incredibly rugged and reliable, this call back is great if you (or more likely a rambunctious and over enthusiastic kiddo) is like me, and drops or otherwise mangles any delicate or intricate thing encountered.

All the high-end features one can’t do without once spoiled. Like a 5 bearing system with an anti-reverse bearing and titanium pins.

Today's fishing engineering, in the long-lasting design of yesteryear.

Pros

  • Easy to use, good for beginners
  • Aluminum frame and core make for a durable reel
  • Can use braided line on it
  • Instant anti-reverse with spool applied drag
  • Great price point

Cons

  • This reel is a little on the heavier side

8. Okuma Fishing Tackle Hx-35 Helios - Best Lightweight Saltwater Spinning Reel

As mentioned above, Okuma precision machines all key components on all models of their reels. That consistent attention to detail produces smooth operation that you can count on. Hence said full one year warranty.

The Okuma Fishing Tackle Hx-35 Helios Extremely Lightweight Spinning Reel is made out of some of a combination of the most durable and most lightweight materials available today.

While still having all the features of larger heavier duty models.

And while this is a list of saltwater reels, The Helios delivers inland just as smoothly as it does at sea.

Pros

  • Ultralight reel made of long strand carbon fiber with aluminum and brass gear
  • Superior corrosion-resistance
  • Works for both freshwater fishing and saltwater
  • Smooth casting with no backspin
  • Anti-reverse switch

Cons

  • Not the cheapest and doesn’t come with a spare spool

Reeling It In

We shan’t pretend that a reel by itself will catch fish for you. Heck. That doesn't even sound like fun.

Penn Battle II

Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Ree

Nor are we apt to pull old Champy out of lake Champlain with our trusty rod and reel—though with the Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel you’ve got a better chance than without.

We average anglers are not likely to be enshrined in the halls of eternity for our fishing. Because it doesn't leave behind anything but the treasure of memories made with the people we love the most. Memories with a rod and reel in hand.

And THAT is really the point, isn’t it?