10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

Saltwater fishing is way more adventurous than fishing in freshwater streams like lakes and rivers. And, without a saltwater spinning reel, it's only going to be difficult to catch your bait.

Your bait is bigger, and the availability of wiggling soft crabs, grass shrimps and squirming eels add a lot of fun than fishing in the old minnows. 

Fishing in saltwater is way more dangerous as well.

You need to prepare yourself against your catch that come in various forms like spear-like bill, razor-sharp teeth or powerful tails.

You also need to pick up saltwater fishing reels designed especially for such conditions where traditional reels don't perform well up to the standards. 

Saltwater fishing is one of my favorite past time and I take a couple of fishing reels every time I hit the water. ​

While there are hundreds of such reels available to select from, picking one to our specification and budget can be tough. 

Well, that's why I've researched and reviewed the 10 best saltwater spinning reels to make it easy for you. ​

Best Saltwater Spinning Reels​ (Top 10)

Why is spinning reel necessary?

As a beginner, I had the same question too. For most of the time when I thought I'd be a professional angler, I believed I'd make my biggest catch with a bait caster.

I was wrong. Saltwater fishing was way difficult than I thought. I had to repair, fight the adverse condition and still keep my catch alive.

When I bought my first spinning reel, the fishing expedition started to become more fun. I was more comfortable and had the flexibility for light-line applications. I could also use several finesse techniques that increased my overall fishing performance in no time. 

On top of that, fishing reels don't harm the live bait and if you are looking to catch and release kind of fishing experience, these are what you need to get right away.

The only problem can be the ambiguous terms associated with spinning reels. Terms like gyro spin, drag or aero-wrap might get you to scratch your head. But, ones you start knowing what they mean, you'll be a good angler for sure.

Things to consider

Finding the right spinning reel for saltwater kayak fishing can be difficult for there are several details one needs to consider. Here are a few things you need to note before making your selection: ​

Reel Size​

Picking the right reel size is just as easy as determining what fish size you are intending to catch. If you are looking to go deep, you probably need something that can hold a large line capacity.

For example, fishing species like tarpon or sailfish will require a reel with large line capacity in order to handle the heat. 

Small to medium line capacity is perfect if you are looking to fish in-shore and not go much deep.

What it means is that the lighter the line you are looking for, smaller the spinning reel size you need to choose.

However, there's no particular rule of thumb when selecting a spinning reel size. That is because each manufacturer has their own rates, which can be different from the other, yet of the same size. In general, the sizes can be in the following order: 

  • Small Reel Size - 10/100/1000 to 35/350/3500
  • Medium Reel Size- 40/400/4000 to 55/550/5500
  • Large Reel Size- Above 60/600/6000

​Water Factor

Fishing in saltwater is much more different than fishing in freshwater. The condition is large and the saltwater might corrode the gear used.

Saltwater reels are specially designed to withstand the harsh environment and corrosion. They are generally made with rust resistant ball bearings and generally are made with graphite and aluminum.

On top of that, saltwater species are more aggressive for which the saltwater reels are designed with enough line capacity to allow long runs with a drag that can handle the fish fight without much pressure on the bait.

Bearings​ and gear ratio

Wherever you fish, the first thing you'd want is that your reel is easy and pleasure to use. You surely would not want noise and vibrations that irritate you because of their poor quality.

The bearings represent the quality of spinning reels. The smoother it operates with good retrieval, less noise and vibration, better the performance. In fact, a reel with four quality bearings performs much better than a reel with 10 poor bearings and when you are in saltwater, it's a mandatory factor. 

Bearings in saltwater reels are hard, smooth and rust-resistant. They are generally prepared with top quality material with lubricants that further make them durable.

The gear ratio is also one of the most important factors that determine the speed and power of fishing reel. With a higher gear ratio, the rate of retrieval increases requiring less power to catch the bait.

When you require more cranking power, reels with lesser gear ratio is required. 

Construction

A good spinning reel needs to be lightweight and should be easy to handle with great stability. It needs to be light and strong enough to cover up the torque to catch large baits. 

This is why the best and high-end saltwater reels use all-metal components with sophisticated alloy to strengthen and yet make it light. Some of them are also constructed using the airframe technique that eliminates a portion of the body to reduce weight.

​All in all, a graphite body in cohesion with all-metal parts will help a lot during heavy battle while also protecting the bearings from overheating and excessive wear.

If you have a fishing reel made with magnesium, it'll corrode when used in saltwater and will break down only after a few uses. Also, the rusting of the material won't make the performance smooth and precise. 

Modern reels designed for saltwater applications come with a hybrid material combination that provides a good longevity.

Drag​

In order to become an effective angler, you need to learn how to catch big fishes without harming them during the process. A spinning reel with a good drag is what makes the task easy and smooth.

Some other details you need to consider when buying a saltwater spinning reel are:

  • Good line capacity.
  • Bails.
  • Matching rods.
  • Comfort and convenience.
  • Price, etc.

10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

Saltwater spinning reels are much more different than the freshwater ones. They need to be strong enough to keep hold of the bait and should not corrode when exposed to sunlight and the salty water. 

I've prepared a detailed review of the ten best saltwater spinning reels that are surely a bang for your buck. Most of these come under $100 and in fact, these reels are those that I've personally used, tested and reviewed depending upon their flexibility, design and overall performance. ​

1. Okuma Avenger Bait Feeder Spinning Reel

Okuma Avenger Bait Feeder Spinning Reel

For beginners to experts, the Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Spinning Reel is one of the best saltwater reels I've ever came across.

It is designed with the Okuma patented live line bait feeding system and tournament grade spinning reel that not only make fishing exciting but comfortable as well.

Be it to catch a walleye, rockfish, catfish or stripers, the Okuma Avenger is perfect for any fish types. Its operation is ultra-smooth as it features six sealed ball bearings and is so precise that the larger fish can be caught with very little resistance.

Made from aluminium and stainless steel, it's extremely durable and corrosion resistant. Since the drag can be maximum which could result in breakage, it comes in six different sizes which are light and great to use for children, men and women of all age.

The spinning reel spool is large, and I've gone on to catch a loggerhead turtle over 200 lbs without a problem. The computer balanced rotor equalizing system is what makes it extremely flexible to operate. 

I particularly love the on/off lever on the rear that gets it disengaged with the baitfeeding system so that anglers can use the main drag system. 

On top of that, the quick set anti-reverse system features great hook sets that eliminate handle plays making it one of the favorite saltwater reels for most tournament pros.

Features I like​

  • Corrosion free construction with graphite body. 
  • Suitable for both beginners and experts. 
  • 6 stainless steel ball bearings for smooth operation.
  • 1 Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing to avoid handle plays.
  • Inexpensive and extremely durable.

2. Penn Battle II Spinning Reel

Penn Battle II Spinning Reel

​From fishing trouts to barracudas, Penn spinning reels have been really popular for saltwater fishing. 

It comes in wide range of sizes, the smallest one being the 1000 and the large one being 8000, and is extremely popular among anglers looking for medium-size bait.

​The metallic body with anodized aluminum spools and handles makes it durable especially in saltwater while it's also extremely precise and reliable. 

Weighing about 20 oz., it has a maximum drag of 25 lbs and comes in 5:6:1 gear ratio with an instant anti-reverse feature that smoothens the fishing experience. 

Perfect for both left and right-handed anglers, the large sized Penn Battle II can hold up to 390 yards of 40 lb braid.

​It also boasts an amazing retrieve rate of 41 and has a greater mono capacity when compared to other spinning reels for the same price. The rubber lining makes for a strong grip and is engineered so well than other usual saltwater reels for the same price. 

​It's also designed so well that it looks attractive with any fishing rod. It's designed to survive in any condition and is considered a fishing equipment that gets its job done. 

Features I like​

  • Greased for longevity.
  • Attractive, exceptionally smooth and functional. 
  • Perfect for both left and right handed positions. 
  • Instant anti-reverse feature to help during fish fighting. 
  • Precise gear alignment, inexpensive and durable.

3. Shimano Sahara Spinning Fishing Reel

Shimano Sahara Spinning Fishing Reel

​If you are looking for a quality ultralight saltwater reel, Shimano's spinning reels are what you need to use. 

With aggressive price point, this gear is a bang for your buck. It's tough, resilient and durable even if you forget to maintain it. 

It has features that all of the expensive models do and is actually 200% stronger than the normal reels because of the graphite frame and side plate. 

It's extremely light, yet super rigid and is a perfect blend of strength and maneuverability. 

The excellent value it adds to fishing experience in saltwater is hailed by several professional anglers I've known. With the Propulsion Line Management and Varispeed II Oscillation System it features, the chances of line issues are greatly reduced. 

Further, the Fluidrive II with three stainless steel ball bearings helps the device to operate smooth with great accuracy and increased casting distance. ​

The "grip" is very well designed than that of the normal plastic handles, and if you find bait,  you're never going to lose it. The auto-lock feature, when reeled, is what makes fish fight totally worth it. 

Further, it also comes with a smooth, beveled crown that makes casting and deploying off the spool smoother. ​

Features I like​

  • Super light, high quality and rigid. 
  • Cold forged aluminum spool with graphite frame and side place.
  • Extremely durable and easy to maintain.
  • Compact body design and smooth line movement.
  • Inexpensive and high quality when compared to expensive models.

4. Abu Garcia Revo STX Spinning Reel

Abu Garcia Revo STX Spinning Reel

​A premium spinning reel for an amazing price, the Abu Garcia Revo STX line of saltwater reels are one of the best that you can find. 

It features one of the most efficient gear system, the amgearing system, that is computer optimized making it operate smoothly while it's also extremely durable.

Available in four different sizes from 10 to 40, it's perfect especially for light saltwater applications. 

It's designed with the Im-C6 body making it lightweight in construction that is perfectly aligned with the gears require for consistent and precise operation. 

It also features the rocket line management system which improves the overall casting, spooling and line management performance. 

Weighing only a little over 6 ounces, the 6:2:1 gear system makes it fast and provides silky smooth drag perfect for light line applications.​

What I particularly love about this product is it's 9 stainless steel hpcr bearings that provide corrosion protection and suitable to catch bigger baits smoothly.

Features I like​

  • Compact, light weight body design. 
  • Computer optimized efficient gear system. 
  • Consistent drag performance.
  • Precise and fast operation for light line applications.
  • Durable. 

5. Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel

Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel

​Hands down, the Okuma Trio is the most dynamic fishing reel you've ever use on the water. 

The graphite and aluminum body is what makes this fishing gear strong, yet light, precise and flexible.

The reel comes in three different sizes perfect for small to large baits, both in fresh and saltwater. On top of that, the gears are extremely smooth and precise, making it better than most of the usual saltwater reels out there.

The precision dual force drag system is one of the strongest drag I've ever seen, plus, it's efficient and smooth as well. 

It features 9 stainless ball bearings with anti-reverse roller bearing to make its operation smooth and stable when catching the bait. It's key feature is also the spool system that utilizes both graphite and aluminum to make it extremely strong yet, light weight. It performs flawlessly and has a very high retrieval speed as well. 

It's attractive, well-prices and so functional that it's my favorite fishing reel when I go kayaking.

Features I like​

  • Light weight, high performance and smooth operation.
  • Powerful and precise dual force drag system. 
  • Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater.
  • Excellent retrieval.
  • High quality bearings for efficient operation.

6. Shimano Spirex RG Spinning Reel

Shimano Spirex RG Spinning Reel

​This spinning reel by Shimano works best in freshwater, however, is also tested to operate on saltwater.

​It features a propulsion line management system which makes fishing precise while the 5:7:1 gear ratio is what makes it operate fast and smooth. 

It also has vari-speed oscillation and features line capacity of 8/240, 10/200 and 12/160. 

The graphite frame and aluminum spool is what makes it light weight while the quick fire II one-handed casting system adds more flexibility to its operation. It weighs about 14.5 ounces. 

The rubber handle grips make it easy to hold the bait during the fight while the 9-pound maximum drag is what gives more control for anglers.

It does not wobble and has a fast drag tuning, which I particularly love. Also, the automatic reposition casting trigger is what makes it one of the best fishing reels for beginners to professionals. 

Features I like​

  • Operates with varispeed oscillation. 
  • Comes in three different line capacities. 
  • Nice drag and good grip. 
  • Can be used with braided line. 
  • 9 pound maximum drag with fast tuning and retrieval. 

7. Daiwa Opus Saltwater Spinning Reel

Fish Hunter Military Grade Portable fish finder for kayaks.

The Daiwa Opus Saltwater Spinning Reel is probably the cheapest spinning reel for saltwater that provides great flexibility for both beginners and experienced. 

It's constructed to be extremely durable and is so versatile with a gear ratio of 4:6:1 that no anglers need to sacrifice either of speed or power.

The ball bearings are also smooth and reliable ​that is designed for the comfort of landing small to big fishes. 

The metal compositive construction is designed to withstand the rigorous saltwater condition while it's also lightweight and stable. 

The composite metal construction with large spool maintains a large line while it also can withstand heavier weights easily. ​

I've tackled successful fish fights up to 100 pounds under heavy pressure ​and this reel was what I thought of when using other reels for the same bait. 

Even with a single ball bearing, the performance is smooth on casts and retrievals. The anti-reversal capability also makes it possible to stay taut every time, however, the hook needs to be set securely for better performance. 

It is also extremely reliable and prevents any kind of slack from developing in the line while also preventing tangles with its convenient tab.

Features I like​

  • Aluminum frame and side-plate to avoid corrosion in saltwater.
  • Strong line capacity of 30 pounds and 300 yards, perfect for any kind of bait. 
  • A little heavy but stable and easy to carry. 
  • Cheap but extremely durable. 
  • Flawless performance, suitable for both left and right handed anglers.

8. Penn Fierce II Spinning Reel

Penn Fierce II Spinning Reel

The Penn Fierce II is an awesome, affordable fishing reel specially designed for saltwater kayak fishing. 

Best known for its toughness and good full metal body and side plate, it comes with precise gear alignments perfect for both light and heavy loads.

It's extremely dependable and has unparalleled power with field-proven oiled-felt drag system that gets to tame the bait. 

It is specially designed to provide unwavering fishing experience for both beginners and experts. The polished, anodized and machined aluminum spool with 3 stainless steel ball bearings make is a good saltwater reel. 

It also features an infinite anti-reverse techno-balanced rotor that has a high performance to make fishing more successful. 

The shielding bearing makes it suitable for heavy conditions with no compromise on the retrieval and fish fight.

The concentric rings on the base help anglers to maintain the line and it's extremely precise, easy to use and durable. 

Features I like​

  • Well balanced rotor with great stability for heavy duty performance. 
  • Precise, extremely reliable and easy to use.
  • Achined and anodized aluminum spool.
  • Perfect sized handle for better performance.
  • Cheap, durable and well engineered.

9. Abu Garcia Finesse Spinning Reel

Abu Garcia Finesse Spinning Reel

While most spinning reels don't play nice with the flourocarbon line, the Abu Garcia Orra Finesse spinning reel is an exception. 

It's extremely compatible and has a great line management. I've particularly loved it's high gear ration and smooth drag which helps to avoid unnecessary play as with several normal saltwater reels. 

​The bail wire stays very close to the spool during disengage which allows coils to maintain the line and reduce twists providing a pleasurable finesse fishing experience. 

On top of that, it also works with the braided line and the small rings cut into the spool is what makes it easy to secure the braid without oscillations or slipping. ​

​It has a solid drag and I've caught several nice bass with this saltwater reel. In fact, it makes all the process really smooth even during the fish fight without putting any pressure on the fish. 

It features a gear ratio of 5:8:1 making its operation pretty impressive. It weighs a bit lesser than 10 ounces making it easy to carry, handle and take it along during kayak fishing. 

Features I like​

  • Good for both right and left handed anglers. 
  • Works really well with the flourocarbon line. 
  • Nice drag and works with braided line as well. 
  • Smooth and consistent with rocket line management system for better casting.
  • Corrosion resistant and durable. 

10. Daiwa Revros Heavy Action Spinning Reel

FishHunter Pro Fish Finder for Kayaks.

The Daiwa Revros Heavy Action spinning reel is well designed for catching bass to cut-throats and rainbow. 

It's constructed with an air rotor that makes it more sensitive and light in weight. It also comes with a composite body. 

The Digi gear digital gear design is what makes it operate smooth and precise in saltwater.

It surely is a great choice for anglers of any levels as it features an infinite anti-reverse with a smooth bearing system. 

The ABS Aluminum spool adds benefit to its drag system and helps to maintain greater pull without keeping the pressure on the bait. 

I generally take it during freshwater fishing in my kayak but it works just as good in the saltwater as well. However, I need to keep it oiled and greased to avoid corrosion which adds more maintenance work. 

Features I like​

  • Infinite anti-reverse feature. 
  • Extremely light weight and precise.
  • Digital gear system for smooth operation. 
  • Great value for price. 

The Verdict

Among all of these saltwater spinning reels, the Okuma Trio spinning reel is my favorite. It's inexpensive than most of the other saltwater reels and is extremely durable. 

Whoever you are, a beginner or an expert, you probably need to look for a spinning reel that can avoid corrosion and has a good longevity. You also should not miss out on features that include better gear performance for smooth and precise operation.

Select one of these saltwater reels and start hitting the water to mark your biggest catch ever.​

James Moore
 

Hey, I'm the founder of Fishing Kayaks Guide. As a professional angler for over 10 years now, I love to hear and share experience and knowledge about kayak fishing and get connected to all of you people who are enthusiastic to hit the water.

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