Top 10 Best Surf Fishing Reels Reviewed

Best Surf Fishing Reels

Surf fishing is one of the most difficult types of fishing. The hardest conditions will put you against the largest fish. As a result, a surf fishing reel’s strength, durability, lightness, and distance casting are particularly crucial. That’s why I built my selection of the top 10 surf fishing reels on those standards.

Having spent two decades fishing, I can quickly gauge the quality of a reel with just a glance. When I laid my eyes on the Penn Battle III, I immediately knew it was no ordinary reel. Its robustness, durability, impressive casting distance, and remarkably lightweight construction set it apart. The best part is, it comes at a highly affordable price, just like the other exceptional surf reels included on this list.



Top 10 Best Surf Fishing Reels

  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-10000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-7.0:1
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❤️ Most Reviewed
  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Reel Size: 3500-10500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-6.2:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 8+1
  • Reel Size: 2500-8000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3-5.7:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Reel Size: 4000-7000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.3-4.8:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Reel Size: 3000
  • Gear Ratio: 6.0:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 2500-10500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-6.2:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 10+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-5000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Reel Size: 6000-8000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Reel Size: 14000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.6:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Reel Size: 4000-8000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.9-5.3:1
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The 10 Best Surf Fishing Reels

I’ve included surf reels of every price in this list. If you find a reel too costly, keep reading, there’ll be more affordable reels down the list.


Penn Battle III Spinning

Best Surf Fishing Reels


Penn Battle III Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-10000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-7.0:1

1. Penn Battle III Spinning

Penn Battle III Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-10000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-7.0:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 9-40 pounds
  • Weight: 7.8-38.8 ounces

Introducing the Penn Battle III, the winner of the 2020 ICAST Best Saltwater Reel award. This surf fishing reel is a true powerhouse, offering smooth performance, lightweight design, durability, and versatility. Let’s dive deeper into its features.

Smoothness is a top priority in any reel, and the Penn Battle III excels in this aspect. With its 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings, this reel delivers buttery-smooth operation. The stainless steel construction ensures durability without compromising on performance, and the number of bearings strikes the perfect balance between smoothness and cost-effectiveness.

Weight is another standout feature of the Penn Battle III. Thanks to the HT-100 carbon fiber drag system, this reel is incredibly lightweight. The carbon fiber drag washers provide a powerful yet lightweight drag, allowing you to cast effortlessly for extended periods.

Durability is a key factor when it comes to surf fishing, and the Penn Battle III doesn’t disappoint. Its full metal body and sideplate offer exceptional strength and corrosion resistance, ensuring longevity even in harsh saltwater environments. The sealed bearings add an extra layer of protection, preventing sand and water from infiltrating the reel and causing damage.

When it comes to target species, the Penn Battle III is more than capable. With a maximum drag weight of 25 pounds on the size 5000 reel, you can confidently take on any fish in the ocean. This means you don’t need an excessively large or heavy reel to tackle a wide range of surf-dwelling species.

To enhance convenience, the Penn Battle III features line capacity rings. These rings provide a quick and easy way to gauge how much line is remaining on your spool, eliminating the guesswork during intense fishing sessions.

In conclusion, the Penn Battle III is the ultimate all-round surf fishing reel. While there may be lighter or stronger options available, they often come at a higher price point. The Penn Battle III offers everything you need at a very reasonable cost. Even for casual surf anglers, this reel provides excellent value for the money.

2. Penn Slammer III Spinning

Penn Slammer III Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Reel Size: 3500-10500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 30-60 pounds
  • Weight: 13.9-43.1 ounces

When it comes to surf fishing reels, the Penn Slammer III is an impressive upgrade over the Penn Battle III. It offers enhanced smoothness, exceptional durability, and a much stronger drag system that can handle even the largest ocean monsters.

The Penn Slammer III takes smoothness to a whole new level. With 2 additional ball bearings compared to the Penn Battle III, this reel operates with unparalleled buttery-smooth performance. You’ll feel like a king when handling the Penn Slammer III.

Durability is where the Penn Slammer III truly shines. Its full metal body, side plate, and rotor make it one of the most rugged surf fishing reels available. Additionally, the IPX6 sealed body and spool provide complete protection against sand and water. To top it off, the reel features the Dura-Drag system, known for delivering the toughest, smoothest, and longest-lasting drag ever developed. These features combine to create an exceptionally durable reel that can withstand the harshest saltwater conditions.

One of the standout features of the Penn Slammer III is its unparalleled max drag weight. With a staggering 30 pounds of drag on the size 3500 reel, it surpasses all other surf reels on the market. This incredible drag capability allows you to use smaller and lighter reel sizes even when targeting large fish.

However, it’s important to note a few drawbacks. The product page may contain inaccurate information, such as the listing of 6+1 ball bearings instead of the actual 7+1 bearings. Additionally, due to the high max drag weight, the minimum drag weight may be higher than usual, requiring the use of heavier lines.

Perhaps the most significant consideration is the price. The Penn Slammer III is priced at 1.5 times that of the Penn Battle III. While it certainly offers 1.5 times the value, it is considered a premium reel. For most surf anglers, the Penn Battle III already provides everything they need at a more affordable price point. The Penn Slammer III is a luxury reel for those who have the budget to invest in top-tier equipment.

In summary, if you’re targeting the largest ocean monsters and have the means to invest in a premium surf reel, the Penn Slammer III is an exceptional choice. However, for most surf anglers, the Penn Battle III offers an excellent balance of features and affordability.

3. Daiwa Saltist Spinning

Daiwa Saltist Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 8+1
  • Reel Size: 2500-8000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3-5.7:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 15.4-33.0 pounds
  • Weight: 9.5-29.6 ounces

For those seeking unmatched rust resistance in a surf reel, the Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel is the ideal choice. When it comes to durability, it truly stands apart from the rest. With its completely waterproof spool and corrosion-resistant ball bearings (CRBBs), this reel offers exceptional protection against rust and corrosion. The innovative waterproof system, formed by solidifying a special liquid using magnetic force, creates an impenetrable barrier against water and dust. Even if minor cracks develop over time, the CRBBs remain safe from rust, ensuring long-lasting performance. With the added benefit of CRBBs lasting up to 12 times longer than standard stainless steel ball bearings, the Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel provides a double layer of protection against the elements.

However, durability is not the only outstanding feature of this reel. With its 8+1 ball bearings, it delivers a silky smooth operation comparable to the Penn Slammer III. Although the maximum drag power may be slightly lower, the size 6500 reel is more than capable of handling any fish encountered in the surf.

When it comes to enduring rugged conditions, no other surf reel compares to the Daiwa Saltist. If durability is your top priority, look no further than this exceptional reel.

4. Penn Conflict II Spinning

Penn Conflict II Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Reel Size: 4000-7000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.3-4.8:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 13-22 pounds
  • Weight: 13.7-23.2 ounces

Up next is the Penn Conflict II Spinning Reel, the champion of long-distance casting. This reel is specifically designed for anglers who often struggle to cast far enough.

The key feature that sets the Penn Conflict II apart is its Rigid Resin RR30 Rotor, which is exceptionally lightweight. This lightweight rotor allows the spool to spin at a higher speed during casting, resulting in longer casting distances. If you’re looking to maximize your casting distance, the Penn Conflict II is the ideal reel for you.

In addition to its long-distance capabilities, this reel offers smooth and durable performance with its 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings. It is also lighter than the Penn Battle III and comes equipped with line-capacity rings. These features make the Penn Conflict II a versatile choice for surf fishing.

If you frequently encounter difficulties with casting or simply want to achieve greater distance with less effort, the Penn Conflict II is a top contender for the best surf fishing reel.

When selecting the reel size on Amazon, be sure to look for the “lc” (long cast) designation. For example, you will find both reel sizes 5000 and 5000lc on the product page. Make sure to choose the one with the “lc” label to ensure you get the long-casting version of the reel.

5. Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning

Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Reel Size: 3000
  • Gear Ratio: 6.0:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 19.8 pounds
  • Weight: 6.7 ounces

The Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning Reel is truly a testament to lightness. Its weight is so remarkably low that it almost sounds too good to be true.

Just how light is it? Well, it weighs approximately half as much as the Penn Slammer III reel of similar size. Yes, you read that correctly. Half the weight. And yes, I am comparing reels of comparable sizes.

Now, you might be wondering if achieving such lightness comes at the cost of compromising other aspects of the reel. The answer is no. This high-quality surf reel excels in all other areas as well.

However, it’s worth noting that the maximum drag weight of the Shimano Stradic CI4+ is not as high as some other reels. At size 3000, it offers a maximum drag weight of 19.8 pounds, which is quite respectable. Nonetheless, it may fall short for those targeting monster fish. It’s a trade-off that comes with the remarkable lightness of the reel.

Despite this limitation, the Shimano Stradic CI4+ remains the obvious choice for those prioritizing weight. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find a reel lighter than this, unless you start removing essential components like the handle, which is not recommended. After all, a reel without a handle wouldn’t be very functional.

6. Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning

Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 2500-10500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 15-50 pounds
  • Weight: 10.7-38.6 ounces

The Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel can be considered as a more affordable alternative to the Penn Slammer III. While there are a couple of differences between the two, the Spinfisher VI still offers a solid performance and value.

One distinction is in their sealing capabilities. The Penn Slammer III has an IPX6 seal on its body and spool, making it highly resistant to high-pressure water sprays. On the other hand, the Penn Spinfisher VI has an IPX5 seal, which offers protection against low-pressure water sprays. Unless you anticipate encountering high-pressure water streams, the Spinfisher VI should be sufficient for most fishing conditions.

Another difference is in the number of ball bearings. The Penn Slammer III has one additional ball bearing, making it slightly smoother than the Spinfisher VI. However, it’s important to note that the Spinfisher VI is still a smooth reel in its own right, just not as smooth as its counterpart.

Aside from these distinctions, the Spinfisher VI shares many similarities with the Slammer III. It features the same HT-100 carbon fiber drag system and stainless steel ball bearings, delivering reliable performance. In fact, the Spinfisher VI even has the added advantage of line capacity rings, which the Slammer III lacks.

If the Penn Slammer III is beyond your budget but you’re still drawn to its qualities, the Penn Spinfisher VI is a suitable alternative that offers good value for the price.

7. KastKing Sharky III Spinning

KastKing Sharky III Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 10+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-5000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 33.0-39.5 pounds
  • Weight: 7.4-10.6 ounces

The KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel stands out for its exceptional value proposition. It offers all the qualities found in higher-end reels, but at a remarkably affordable price point. With its impressive features, it’s a reel that provides excellent performance without breaking the bank.

One of its standout features is its smoothness, thanks to the 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings. These bearings ensure a silky-smooth operation, enhancing the overall fishing experience. Additionally, it boasts a respectable maximum drag weight of 30+ pounds, making it capable of handling various fish species.

What sets the KastKing Sharky III apart is its lightweight design, surpassing even the Penn Battle III and Penn Slammer III in terms of weight. This lightweight construction makes it comfortable to handle and reduces fatigue during long fishing sessions.

It’s important to note, however, that the KastKing Sharky III requires regular maintenance. Unlike other reels on this list that are fully sealed or corrosion-resistant, the Sharky III’s ball bearings are only shielded from water and sand. Additionally, the materials used in its construction are of slightly lower quality. To ensure optimal performance and longevity, it’s recommended to rinse and oil the reel regularly.

Considering its features and its significantly lower price compared to other reels, the KastKing Sharky III represents a tremendous value. It offers exceptional performance and is an excellent choice for budget-conscious anglers seeking a reel that provides great bang for the buck.

8. Okuma Rockaway Surf Spinning

Okuma Rockaway Surf Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Reel Size: 6000-8000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 26-35 pounds
  • Weight: 17-20.7 ounces

For those who found the reel sizes of the KastKing Sharky III to be insufficient, the Okuma Rockaway Surf Spinning Reel offers a solution. Continuing where the KastKing reel left off, the Okuma Rockaway Surf reel provides larger sizes, catering to anglers who require bigger reel capacities.

Starting from the 6000 size and upwards, the Okuma Rockaway Surf reel offers increased line capacity and strength compared to the KastKing Sharky III, making it suitable for handling larger fish or fishing in surf conditions. Despite the larger reel sizes, the Okuma Rockaway Surf maintains a similar price range to the KastKing reel, ensuring affordability for anglers seeking a budget-friendly option with extended capabilities.

Please note that the specific reel sizes and pricing may vary, so it’s recommended to check the product details and pricing for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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9. Shimano Ultegra XTB Baitrunner

Shimano Ultegra XTB Baitrunner
  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Reel Size: 14000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.6:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 44 pounds
  • Weight: 27.9 ounces

If you’re seeking a reel specifically designed for beach fishing with multiple rods, the Shimano Ultegra XTB Baitrunner is the perfect choice. It is tailored to meet the requirements of anglers who utilize multiple rods simultaneously.

One of its standout features is the “teaser lever,” which engages the secondary drag system. This feature enables a light drag setting that allows fish to swim with the bait without feeling excessive resistance. As a result, you can confidently leave your rods unattended until the fish takes the bait and starts running with it.

If you’re planning to fish with multiple rods and desire a reliable and efficient reel, the Shimano Ultegra XTB Baitrunner deserves your serious consideration.

10. Quantum Cabo Spinning

Quantum Cabo Spinning
  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Reel Size: 4000-8000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.9-5.3:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 30-41 pounds
  • Weight: 13.4-24.9 ounces

For surf anglers seeking a low-maintenance option, the Quantum Cabo Spinning Reel is the perfect choice. It boasts an impressive 5-year warranty, which is the longest warranty among all the reels available.

This extended warranty offers a valuable advantage, especially for anglers who may find themselves too tired or occupied to give their reel regular maintenance. While neglecting reel maintenance can lead to corrosion and damage in other models, the 5-year warranty of the Quantum Cabo provides peace of mind. It allows anglers to take breaks from the rigorous maintenance routine without worrying about losing their surf fishing reel.

Whether you consider yourself a lazy angler or simply appreciate the occasional respite, the Quantum Cabo Spinning Reel is a reliable option that offers convenience and durability.

Buying Guide

As you might have realized, some of the surf spinning reels have different reel sizes and gear ratios. This buying guide is here to help you make the right choice. 

I’ve also included a few other things you should consider. In the future, when you see a surf fishing reel that’s not on this list, you’ll be able to assess whether it’s a good reel for surf fishing.

Line Capacity

Line capacity refers to the amount of fishing line that a reel can hold. It is directly determined by the size of the reel, with larger reels generally having greater line capacity.

Line capacity is important for two main reasons: casting distance and the ability to target different fish species.

When it comes to casting distance, having more line capacity allows you to cast further. With a greater amount of line on the reel, you can achieve longer casts, reaching areas that are farther away from shore or where the fish may be located. The extra line provides more flexibility and range in your casting capabilities.

In addition to casting distance, line capacity also affects your ability to target different fish species. Having a reel with higher line capacity allows you to handle larger fish that may require more line during a fight. It provides the necessary reserve line to handle the strength and endurance of bigger fish, preventing them from stripping your line completely. This opens up opportunities to target a wider range of fish species, including those that are larger and more challenging to reel in.

In summary, having greater line capacity in your reel generally results in increased casting distance and the ability to target a broader range of fish species. It provides you with more flexibility and ensures that you have enough line to handle the fight and land your catch successfully.

Drag System

For beginners, the concept of drag system may be unfamiliar. The drag refers to a mechanism inside your reel that controls the release of line when a fish pulls on the fishing line.

The drag system consists of small steel plates or washers that create friction on the spool. By adjusting the drag setting, you determine the amount of resistance required for the line to be released from the spool. When the force applied by a fish exceeds the set drag weight, the spool will rotate, allowing the line to be released gradually.

The purpose of the drag system is to prevent the fishing line from breaking under the strain of a strong fish. By setting the drag appropriately, you can tire out the fish gradually without risking line breakage.

It’s important to note that the strength of your drag system should be balanced with the strength of your fishing line. A stronger drag system will require a heavier line that can withstand the increased resistance. The drag system provides resistance to the fish’s pull, making it harder for them to swim away and tiring them out more effectively.

As a general guideline, it is recommended to set your drag weight to approximately one-third of your fishing line’s pound test. For example, if you are using a 30-pound test line, your drag weight should be around 10 pounds.

It’s crucial to avoid setting the drag too high, as the tension increases when more line is released from the spool. This could potentially result in the line snapping under excessive pressure. By adhering to the 1/3 guideline, you can maintain a safe and effective drag setting.

In most cases, a drag weight of 25 to 30 pounds is sufficient for handling even vigorous fish. However, exceptionally large fish may require higher drag weights.

Ball Bearings

Ball bearings play a crucial role in reducing friction and enhancing the smoothness of a fishing reel. When evaluating a reel, it’s important to consider both the quantity and quality of the ball bearings it contains.

Having more ball bearings generally leads to a smoother retrieve. The additional ball bearings reduce friction and allow the reel to spin more effortlessly. However, it’s worth noting that a higher number of ball bearings often comes with a higher price tag. As a good balance between cost and smoothness, reels with 5+1 ball bearings are commonly recommended. Beyond this point, the incremental increase in smoothness becomes less noticeable, providing diminishing returns on investment.

For beginners, the distinction between 5+1, 7+1, or even 9+1 ball bearings may not be discernible. Therefore, starting with a reel equipped with 5+1 ball bearings is a sensible choice for those new to fishing.

In addition to quantity, the quality of the ball bearings is crucial, especially when fishing in saltwater environments like surf fishing. Saltwater exposure can lead to corrosion and damage to the ball bearings. To combat this, it’s important to ensure that the ball bearings are corrosion-resistant. Sealed ball bearings are highly recommended as they offer superior protection against saltwater intrusion. Alternatively, stainless steel, ceramic, or other corrosion-resistant materials are suitable for non-sealed ball bearings.

By considering both the quantity and quality of the ball bearings, you can select a reel that offers a balance of smoothness, durability, and corrosion resistance for your surf fishing needs.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of a fishing reel indicates how many times the spool turns with one complete rotation of the handle. For example, a gear ratio of 5.2:1 means that the spool will make 5.2 rotations for every full turn of the handle in a clockwise direction.

To better understand gear ratios, let’s consider an exaggerated comparison. Suppose you have two reels, one with a gear ratio of 10:1 and the other with a gear ratio of 2:1. With the first reel, a single turn of the handle would result in the spool spinning 10 times, allowing you to retrieve a significant amount of line. In contrast, the second reel would require 5 turns of the handle to reel in the same amount of line.

In general, a higher gear ratio enables faster line retrieval. A reel with a 4:1 gear ratio is considered slow and is suitable for smaller fish species such as panfish. This gear ratio is ideal when surf fishing near the shore. On the other hand, a 6:1 gear ratio is considered fast and is best suited for targeting larger, more aggressive fish species.

Another factor to consider when choosing the right gear ratio is the type of lures you use. If you primarily fish with faster-moving lures, a higher gear ratio like 6:1 would be advantageous. Conversely, if you use slower-moving lures, a lower gear ratio like 4:1 would be more suitable.

While gear ratio is an important consideration, it is not the most critical aspect of a reel. A 4:1 gear ratio requires more effort compared to a 6:1 gear ratio, but it primarily affects the speed of line retrieval. Choosing a gear ratio of around 5:1 provides a balanced option that works well for casting at different ranges and using both slow and fast lures.

Ultimately, the choice of gear ratio should align with your fishing style, target species, and the type of lures you prefer to use.


Durability is an essential aspect to consider when evaluating a fishing reel. While ball bearings are crucial, it’s important to focus on the durability of other components as well, such as the handle and reel body.

Although handles generally don’t rust easily, the reel body requires more attention. When surf fishing, both saltwater and sand pose significant threats to your reel’s durability. Sand can become trapped in the small crevices between the moving parts of the reel, leading to internal scraping and reduced smoothness during use. Additionally, sand can cause your reel to become dirty over time.

In the worst cases, constant grinding against sand can lead to damage to the reel. To mitigate these issues, regular cleaning of your reel is essential. If feasible, consider investing in a surf fishing reel with a sealed body, like the Penn Slammer III, which provides added protection against sand and water intrusion.

Apart from combating the challenges of saltwater and sand, your surf fishing reel should be built to withstand the test of time. This necessitates the use of durable materials such as aluminum and graphite, which offer excellent resistance to corrosion and wear.

By considering the durability of the reel’s components and its ability to withstand the rigors of surf fishing, you can assess a reel’s suitability for your needs. Now let’s move on to the next topic.

Spinning Reels VS Conventional Reels: Which Is Better For Surf Fishing?

When it comes to surf fishing, spinning reels have distinct advantages over conventional reels. Here are the reasons why spinning reels are generally considered better for surf fishing:

  1. Ease of use: Spinning reels are generally easier to use, making them more beginner-friendly compared to conventional reels. Their design allows for simpler casting and line management, which is beneficial for anglers who are new to the sport or prefer a user-friendly experience.
  2. Sand and waterproof: Spinning reels are typically more resistant to sand and water intrusion. The sealed construction and design elements of spinning reels help to keep out sand, saltwater, and other debris. This makes them well-suited for surf fishing, where exposure to sand and water is inevitable.
  3. Casting accuracy: While conventional reels can offer greater casting distance and potentially higher casting accuracy in skilled hands, the difference in casting accuracy between spinning reels and conventional reels is not significant for most surf fishing scenarios. The additional casting distance provided by conventional reels may not be necessary for surf fishing and may come at the cost of increased complexity and difficulty of use.
  4. Versatility: Spinning reels are versatile and can handle a wide range of fishing situations, including surf fishing. Their ease of use, reliability, and ability to withstand the elements make them a popular choice among surf anglers.

While conventional reels have their own strengths and may be preferred in specific fishing situations like bass fishing, for surf fishing, spinning reels are generally considered the better choice due to their ease of use, resistance to sand and water, and overall versatility.

What Materials Are Good For Surf Fishing Reels?

When it comes to the material used in surf fishing reel bodies, both aluminum and graphite are commonly used and have their own advantages.

Aluminum reel bodies are known for their strength and durability. They offer excellent rigidity, which helps to maintain gear alignment and withstand heavy loads. Aluminum reels are generally more resistant to impact and can handle rough conditions encountered in surf fishing. They also tend to have a higher weight compared to graphite reels.

Graphite reel bodies, on the other hand, are lighter in weight, making them more comfortable to handle and reducing fatigue during long fishing sessions. They also provide good corrosion resistance and are less prone to rusting. Graphite reels can be a suitable choice for anglers who prioritize lightweight and nimble equipment.

Both materials have proven to be effective for surf fishing reels, and the choice between aluminum and graphite ultimately depends on personal preferences and fishing conditions. Some anglers may prefer the durability and solid feel of an aluminum reel, while others may opt for the lighter weight and increased comfort of a graphite reel.

When To Use Braided Lines And When Not To Use Them?

Choosing between braided lines and monofilament lines for surf fishing ultimately depends on individual preferences and fishing conditions. Here are some factors to consider:

Braided lines are known for their tautness and durability. They have less stretch compared to monofilament lines, allowing for better sensitivity and enhanced hook-setting power. The thin diameter and high strength-to-diameter ratio of braided lines make them suitable for casting long distances and handling larger fish. They also have high abrasion resistance and perform well in deep-water fishing scenarios.

However, braided lines have some drawbacks. They are opaque, which may make them more visible to fish in clear water. Additionally, their lack of stretch can make them more prone to line breakage if not properly managed. Braided lines are generally more expensive than monofilament lines.

Monofilament lines are easier to handle, making them suitable for beginners or anglers who prefer a simpler setup. They offer more forgiveness due to their stretchiness, which can be beneficial when dealing with aggressive or powerful fish. Monofilament lines are also typically more affordable than braided lines and come in a variety of colors, allowing for better visibility underwater.

However, monofilament lines are less durable compared to braided lines. They are more susceptible to abrasion and tend to deteriorate over time, requiring more frequent line replacements.

Ultimately, it’s important to consider your fishing style, target species, water conditions, and personal preferences when choosing between braided lines and monofilament lines for surf fishing. Experienced anglers who prioritize sensitivity and strength may opt for braided lines, while beginners or those who prefer forgiveness and ease of use may prefer monofilament lines.

Surf Fishing Reel Brakes

Before we proceed, if you’re using a surf fishing spinning reel, you can skip this section as it pertains to conventional and baitcasting reels.

Reel brakes play a crucial role in preventing backlash, also known as a bird’s nest, when casting with conventional or baitcasting reels.

Without reel brakes, after casting, the line on your spool would continue to flow out faster than the lure can sink or travel. This results in tangled and looped line, causing frustration and wasting time.

Reel brakes are designed to control the speed of line release, slowing it down to match the descent or travel of the lure. This helps maintain a smooth and controlled casting motion, reducing the likelihood of backlash.

There are two main types of reel brakes: magnetic and centrifugal. Magnetic brakes use magnets to apply resistance to the spool, while centrifugal brakes rely on adjustable pins or brakes that retract or extend during the cast to regulate line speed.

The specific type of reel brake and its adjustment methods may vary depending on the reel model and manufacturer.

By utilizing reel brakes effectively, anglers can minimize backlash and achieve more accurate and controlled casts with their conventional or baitcasting reels.

Magnetic Brakes

Magnetic brakes, as the name suggests, utilize magnets to create resistance and slow down the spool rotation during casting.

One advantage of magnetic brakes is their wide range of adjustable brake forces. Unlike centrifugal brakes, magnetic brakes offer varying levels of braking force at different spool speeds. At high spool speeds, the brake force is smaller, while at low spool speeds, the force increases.

This means that during the initial phase of the cast, when the spool is spinning faster, the magnetic brakes allow for a higher casting speed. However, as the lure approaches the water and the spool speed decreases, the braking force increases, helping to prevent backlash and promote a controlled landing.

Magnetic brakes are particularly useful when casting in challenging conditions, such as against strong winds, where more deceleration is required.

Additionally, magnetic brakes are easier to adjust since the brake settings can be modified from outside the reel. In contrast, centrifugal brakes typically require the removal of the side panel for adjustment.

It’s worth noting that magnetic brakes can never be completely turned off. Even at the lowest setting, there will still be some residual braking force present.

Centrifugal Brakes

Centrifugal brakes are advantageous for maintaining a consistent casting range.

When using centrifugal brakes, you’ll notice that the casting distance remains relatively constant, regardless of the force applied during the cast. This is because the braking force is highest when the spool speed is at its maximum during the cast.

In practical terms, if you exert more force while casting, the significant braking force will effectively match the extra force, resulting in a comparable initial spool speed regardless of the casting force.

While magnetic brakes are typically preferred for surf fishing due to the likelihood of encountering windy conditions, centrifugal brakes can still be effective. Don’t worry if your reel doesn’t have magnetic brakes; centrifugal brakes can still get the job done.

If you value a consistent casting distance and prefer to have greater control over your casting range, a surf fishing reel with centrifugal brakes may be a suitable choice.

The Right Fishing Line Diameter

It’s true that many anglers don’t give much thought to fishing line diameter, but it does have some significance, albeit to a limited extent.

Thinner fishing line offers certain advantages, such as faster cutting through water, increased sensitivity, and enhanced attractiveness to fish. However, it can also be more prone to being affected by waves and can be more challenging to cast due to its lighter weight.

When choosing the ideal line diameter, consider your casting skills and the strength of the waves you’ll be fishing in. Weaker waves and less proficient casting may warrant the use of thinner line, while stronger waves and better casting abilities can accommodate thicker line.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that fishing line diameter isn’t a critical factor that will heavily impact your surf fishing experience. While it does matter to some extent, there are other more important aspects to prioritize.

If you’re looking for good surf fishing rods to pair with the best surf fishing reel you’ve found from our review, here’s our list of the best surf fishing rods

Final Verdict

Surf fishing indeed requires reels that are durable and capable of casting long distances. Not every reel is suitable for this type of fishing, but fortunately, we have curated a list of options for you.

All the reels on this list have been carefully selected, so you have a range of choices to consider. However, if I had to recommend just one, it would be the Penn Battle III Spinning Reel. It offers a great balance between affordability and the necessary features for surf fishing.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your personal preferences and specific needs. Once you have selected the right surf fishing reel from this list of top options, I wish you the best of luck in your surf fishing endeavors!