Finding the best saltwater spinning reels can be tough for new anglers. There are so many options for a variety of prices. Plus, the manufacturers’ features under their products are sometimes really hard to make sense of. Here I have compiled a list of this important fishing equipment based on my research and years of personal experience.
My personal favorite saltwater spinning reel is the Daiwa Saltiga Spinning Reel Magseal. Although quite expensive, this has the perfect sealing technology against corrosive seawater and a superior drag system. Making it last long and come out victorious in all sea battles.
However, the Daiwa Saltiga Spinning Reel Magseal isn’t your only option. There are less expensive spinning reels and other brands that can perform just as well for you. All you need to do is make informed comparisons between the different options.
The Best Saltwater Spinning Reels On The Market
Spinning reels are critical equipment for a fisherman. The success and performance of a fishing expedition depend greatly on the reels. What follows below comes from my lifelong experience as an angler. Here, I am describing things as I have seen and felt them.
1. Shimano Stella SW C Spinning Reels
Shimano is a well-known global brand. So, it’s no surprise that their reels are mentioned on this list. The Shimano Stella SW C is considered by fishermen as one of their best reels to date. And for excellent reason.
The metal construction of the body is highly rigid (the manufacturer calls it ‘Hagan’ body), providing impact resistance and less flex. In addition, the cold-forged X-rigid gears ensure long-lasting high performance of the reel. Also, the X-protect and X-shield technology protect the gear from the hazards of saltwater.
I noticed the spool doesn’t get too heated even during rough use. For this, the credit goes to the Heatsink technology. Significant optimization of the winding torque gives you a better winding experience. As a result, the Stella SW C is lightweight and easy to handle despite the strong metal built.
This spinning wheel is costly. So, I never really got around to purchasing it. But I had the chance of angling with this gear on multiple fishing trips. The most notable feature is the smoothness. The body of the reel is extremely rigid. Therefore, you don’t lose any strength on casting.
- The Bail material is solid nickel-titanium, giving excellent durability
- Anti-reverse clutch or micro-click technology
- Accuracy of tuning
- Cast far into the water and at the same time have total control over it
- It can be a bit heavy.
2. Van Staal VS X Series Bail Spinning Reels
The Van Staal VS X is another pricey spinning reel. But the price is well worth it for the performance and features you are getting.
Firstly, the higher drag settings are critical in reeling your prey when you are fishing from the shore. Secondly, the anti-reverse clutch system. This system lets you reel in thirty to forty inches of line with only one quick turn of the handle.
The completely sealed body ensures resistance against water. The spiral-bevel main gear is made from stainless steel. The body of the reel is aluminum and fully machine-forged. All these qualities provide long-lasting use and power.
Spool and flyer are designed for no-flex strength, resulting in better line laying. Plus, the center shaft and line roller are titanium-nitride treated. Thus, this spinning reel can withstand extreme drag-loads without tears in the line.
I would like to point out that this reel is super dense. For its size, this reel is one heavy boy. For some, this weight might actually be a good thing. I’ve met a good number of people who actually like the feel for wielding a dense reel. But if you want lightweight reels, the weight could be considered.
- The Bail material is solid nickel-titanium, giving excellent durability
- Anti-reverse clutch or micro-click technology
- Accuracy of tuning
- Cast far into the water and at the same time have total control over it
- It can be a bit heavy.
3. Daiwa Saltiga 2020 Spinning Reels
The first noticeable thing about the Daiwa Saltiga Magseal reel is the smoothness. The rotation of the handle is super light and smooth as butter. Users have explained that their reels retain this smoothness even after years of heavy use. So, you can imagine how well this reel is designed.
The Magseal system, Magseal bearings, and single-shell body provide advanced water resistance. This system protects the internal structures from saltwater impact, giving longevity. Plus, the use of Magseal prevents saltwater intrusion and, at the same time, doesn’t compromise smoothness, unlike rubber seals.
For those who don’t know, Magseal is a magnetic oil. It repels saltwater. When the magnetized oil is combined with magnets, it creates an effective seal.
What I really love about this is the extended warranty. With the Daiwa Saltiga Magseal, you are getting 5 years, and that speaks how confident Daiwa is with this reel. That itself should provide buyers the confidence and assurance they need when investing in such an expensive reel.
- Protected by the Magseal system
- Automatic rotor brake maintains the stability of the open bail
- The spool is made from lightweight ABS Aluminium
- Maximum drag is twenty-six pounds
- Air Bail makes the gear lightweight handle
- Very expensive for novices
4. Daiwa Saltiga Bay Jigging
The Daiwa Saltiga Bay Jigging is a more budget-friendly option from Daiwa for all the hobbyist surf anglers out there. While still not cheap, it has a much more reasonable price considering the previous reals I’ve discussed.
But cheaper does not mean less quality. The Daiwa Saltiga Bay Jiggling still provides solid performance while lacking a few bells and whistles of the more premium brands.
It has a single-piece Monocoque design that gives more strength to the body and superior water resistance. The side plate is threaded rather than being screwed, which allows the lightweight body to hold a relatively larger gear perfectly in place. Therefore, you get a strong, sturdy, and yet easy-to-handle gear in your hand.
While it is quite lightweight, the power this reel provides is actually astonishing, to say the least. This reel probably has the best weight to strength ratio in the market right now. It’s also powered by Daiwa’s DIGIGEAR technology. DIGIGEAR is Daiwa’s digitally engineered gears that are super strong while also butter-smooth, providing performance to compete with even more premium category reels.
- Thirteen bearing system
- The main shaft has Magseal technology,
- Gear ratios are 5.7 to 1 and 4.9 to 1
- A vital and rigid bail that carries minimum weight.
- Fishers accustomed to heavy and tight reels might have some problems.
5. Daiwa Exist LT
The Daiwa Exist LT is another great spinning reel from Daiwa. I really loved the Daiwa Exist LT because the system has no extra cover. Rather, it uses an engine plate to directly screw into the body. As a result, the reel shows greatly enhanced rigidity and can hold a comparatively larger drive gear.
The lightweight and smooth rotation of the reel is very impressive. The credit goes to CRBB of the Daiwa Exist LT, which lasts twelve times longer than the common stainless-steel bearings. Digitally cut gears also contribute to this smoothness.
The body of the spinning reel is made of magnesium. This results in an ultra-light body that is way lighter than most reels in the market that use some form of allowing. Magnesium is also very corrosion resistant. Making perfect for saltwater fishing.
- Very lightweight
- The gearing system is digitally cut into machines
- Single shell easily handled body
- Line casting is effortless and accurate
- Prevents fatigue in your hands
- Very expensive
6. OKUMA MAKAIRA SPINNING REELS
Okuma is another leader in the spinning reel industry. With their worldwide reputation and history in the market, you can be sure that you are getting pristine quality reels when you buy from Okuma.
The Okuma Makaira Spinning Reel is built to be a powerhouse. The first thing that should be mentioned is the 17 – 4 grade machine-cut gears. These high-quality gears allow surf fishers excellent reel strength. That is why I always recommend this reel for big game catchers.
The main gear is forged from stainless steel. This translates to more power for the surf angler. Plus, flex reduction by a huge stainless-steel pool saves you from using excessive force when reeling in. Also, drag is carbonite and high output. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about line-break while catching monsters like the Yellow Fin Tuna.
Another great thing about the Okuma Makaira is its dual anti-reverse. Anti-reverse is a must-have feature for even the most veteran anglers. It’s not uncommon to accidentally spin in reverse and miss your catch. Having an anti-reverse system ensures you don’t make that mistake.
- Machine cut body
- Cyclonic flow rotor
- Dual anti-reverse system
- Differently designed handles on the left and right
- The rotation might feel a bit tight if you are used to the Saltiga or Stella reels
- Compared to the reels mentioned above, it may feel a bit heavier
7. Shimano Stella FJ Spinning Reels
The first thing that is great about the Shimano Stella FJ is the number of options it provides. You can choose from a vast range of sizes. So, whatever you are planning to fish, you will find the right reel from this lineup.
Also, there is no doubt when it comes to durability as well. By now, I’m sure I’ve established how well Shimano reels are built. And the Shimano Stella FJ is no exception. It has excellent water and corrosion resistance. And it should last you for a long while before you need to get a replacement.
The main gear and pinion gear uses micro-teeth. This results in more power and better torque for the surf angler. Plus, the handle fits straight into the drive gear. So, there is no loss of power from your arms. As a result, you can catch more fish with less expenditure of physical energy.
So, if you are searching for a spinning reel that grants you superior control, accuracy, and longevity at a moderate price, then look into this one.
- Precise alignment of the inner machinery
- Water repellent coating and channels
- No line lash-back or knotting
- Ideal for open water fishing
- Some delivery issues
8. Penn Torque II Spinning Reels
Penn is an American company that has been in business for almost a century. Imagine the sheer amount of experience that goes into the making of each and every one of their reels. The Penn Torque II results from almost a century’s worth of research and engineering. And this latest reel from Penn proudly boasts its pedigree.
The build quality is the first thing you will notice on the Penn Torque II. The excellent sturdy body, rotor, and plate are useful in catching stubborn and wild fish.
Plus, the spool has excellent water resistance. In addition, the adequately sealed body ensures the long life of the spinning reels. The brand has used a Slammer Drag system sealed against the corrosive water splashing into fishing boats. So, you can say it is perfect for saltwater fishing.
The anti-reverse features are another great addition to the reel. Ensuring you don’t miss a single catch due to simple mistakes.
- Nine plus one stainless bearing
- Smooth speed in reeling out and back
- The anti-reverse bearing will help you maintain more control
- Superline spool ideal for larger saltwater fishing sites
- Reeling can be a bit stiff.
9. Visser Spinning Reels
The Visser Spinning Reels is the best saltwater spinning reel for fishing in waist-deep water. The reason is, this is one of the only spinning reels that can carry on its duty smoothly even when submerged in water.
Thirteen ball bearings provide the angler with speed and smoothness. And, the twenty-six to forty-four pounds of drag lets you catch the fiercest of the saltwater monsters without worrying about breaking the line. Moreover, `bail actuator mitigates the possibility of accidental bail flips.
The digital CNC cut gears ensure pristine quality and precise gears that provide excellent strength during large catches.
One thing surf fishers like about the Visser Spinning Reels is their simplicity. Visser goes for a straightforward “It just works” kind of design without complicating their system with a bunch of unnecessary bells and whistles. This simplicity also means that maintenance is super easy with this reel.
So, you like a fishing reel that you can just pop out and start fishing without any extra hassle, then the Visser Spinning Reel is the one to get.
- Anodized aluminum and hardened stainless gears
- Submergible in coarse saltwater
- Titanium spool edge with an anodized coating
- The handle can be switched to your preferred side
- Some anglers say the spool too small.
10. Daiwa Certate SW Spinning Reels
Daiwa has really outdone themselves with the Certate SW Spinning Reel. It is one of the most robust reel designs in the market. Its massive gear and large handle provide absolutely unbelievable levels of power and control.
The single shell body has an engine plate rather than the traditional side plate. Inside is a gigantic Duralumin drive gear. This combination gives superior power and strength to surf fishers.
This spinning reel is strong and incredibly lightweight at the same time, thanks to Daiwa’s Zaion lightweight design. As with other Daiwa fishing reels, this also boasts a Magseal body and line roller, which ensures protection against corrosive water and smoothness at the same time. Also, its multi-layer Carbon drag makes it more durable and stronger than past models.
The combination of washer design and aluminum drag increases heat dissipation. Thus performance doesn’t decline even under heavy load. The knob is grip-friendly and soft, allowing the angler’s hands the optimum comfort and control when fishing. All of this makes it an optimum choice for large catches.
- Very durable design
- Multi-layer Carbon drag
- Great heat dissipation
- Decent protective paint finishing
- A little noisy sometimes.
11. Shimano 2021 Twin Power SW C Spinning Reels
By now, it is clear that I am a fan of Japanese Shimano technology. So, I was really excited when I realized that they had brought a new reel where the Shimano technology had been combined with X-Ship technology. And the Shimano 2021 Twin Powers really delivered according to my expectations.
The combination of Shimano’s special rigid metal body or HAGANE body, along with X-ship technology. Provides the much-needed power you need to catch the fighting sea monsters. In addition, Shimano’s X-protect and X-shield technology gives you high-level water resistance.
Light gear, smooth rotation, and water-repelling properties make this one of the most ideal spinning reels for off-shore fishing. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the spool getting too hot when fighting with big catches. For that, thanks to the heat sink drag technology of this spinning reel.
This feature keeps the heat off the spool as much as possible to avoid heat damage during high drag scenarios. Making it the perfect spinning reel for anglers who target large catches.
- Light gear, smooth rotation,
- Ideal spinning reels for off-shore fishing
- Heat sink technology
- Performs great in freshwater
- I found the drag knob to be a bit noisy.
12. Shimano Ultegra CI4 Plus Spinning Reels
The SuperSlow Oscillation line lay and a Propulsion Line Management system let you cast at long distances with speed and ease. Plus, the Hi-Speed Drag gives instant adjustment when you are angling very fast. And, the stainless SA-RB bearings, along with a Shimano Roller bearing, make your fishing experience smooth and enjoyable.
The X-protect technology of the Ultegra features a ‘labyrinth design.’ This includes a rubber seal. It makes for an effective water-resistant system without compromising the lightness of rotation.
The Shimano Ultegra C14 Plus Spinning Reels has a compact build. Combining that with the ‘CI4 plus’ makes the control of rod speed easier for the anglers when they cast at long distances. Plus, the HAGANE gear and X-ship technology increase the winding performance.
The X-Ship design also keeps your pinion gears precise. It adds durability by providing support from both sides of the gear. This will reduce gear shifting while reeling in heavy catches and reduce friction between the gear and spool shaft to reduce heat production and damage.
A feature that really caught my attention was the G-Free body. This feature pulls the center of gravity of the reel closer to the hands of the surf fisher. This means the reel is much easier to control when reeling in and reduces fatigue.
- Long-stroke spool with a large diameter
- Forty-one inches of the spool can be retrieved in each crank
- Fish for longer periods without fatiguing your hands
- Rubber-seal technology for water-resistance
- You cannot fish at long distances easily.
13. Van Staal VR Spinning Reels
Van Staal has spinning reels that cost around a thousand dollars. However, if you are short of a couple of hundred bucks but still want a Van Staal spinning reel, this one is for you. Despite the lower price, any angler who’s been using it can attest that this is one of the best saltwater spinning reels currently available.
The rotor, spool, and body have fine and precise cut-outs throughout them. This helps to reduce the reel’s weight. In addition, ‘Drag adjustment knob’ with alleged ‘Micro Click’ technology permits fine-tuning and increased control.
The body of these spinning reels is forged from 6061-T6 Aluminium. This provides excellent rigidity under extreme pressure. Moreover, the main shaft is made from thick stainless steel. This lets you engage in a hard battle with the saltwater monsters without a flinch or a flex.
The best thing about the VR series is the options. There are many variations in the VR series, and you will definitely find something perfectly suited for your needs.
- Saltwater resistant, sturdy, and lightweight spinning reels
- Great for fly fishing in waist-level waters
- Excellent spinning reels at a reasonable price
- A bit tight compared to other models in this list
14. Van Staal VR175 VR Series Spinning Reel Gen1
Another relatively low-priced spinning reel from Van Staal. The great thing about this reel is that you can go beyond waist-level water and still have excellent smooth rotation.
The Van Staal VR175 VR Series Spinning Reel Gen.1 has superior sealing and can be fully submerged underwater. The spool shaft is solid titanium. Plus, the Aluminum body is designed to give maximum rigidity in heavy-duty situations. Moreover, these reels come with both conversion kits for bail and non-bail options.
The lightweight design is another reason this reel is ideal in surf fishing. You can battle for hours without tiring out your hands, giving up soon.
The best aspect of this fishing reel is that it is fully submersible. Yes, that’s not a rare feature to have among fishing reels. But for the price you are paying, such features were unheard of even just a few years ago. It’s awesome how technological advancements and competition have made reels with such useful features more affordable.
- The handle feels weightless because of the use of a Delrin ball knob
- The Water-resisting properties of the drag system are similar to the expensive VS X-series
- Cheap compared to the extreme fishing action they can handle
- There are many fake products in the market.
15. Daiwa Certate LT Spinning Reels
This is a cheaper option for the Certate. Costs a couple of hundreds less. However, there is no compromise in quality. The Daiwa Certate LT Spinning Reels are very powerful equipment for fishing. You can have excellent and successful fishing days with this reel for many years.
These reels hold a larger gear, thanks to the Monocoque body. The large gear translates to supreme torque and winding power. Inside, the Tough Digigear is larger and has precise robotic cuts. Plus, you can get Daiwa’s signature features like Magseal, Long Cast ABS Spool, Air Rotor, and others at a very low price.
The price is the main factor that got the Certate LT spinning reel on this list. For the performance, you are getting, and it’s a very affordable price, I would say it’s a great reel for the hobbyist to upgrade from their entry-level reels. You also get tons of options to choose from to get the reel that fits your target game and fishing style.
- Remarkable longevity for a less expensive piece of equipment
- Daiwa’s most recent technologies are integrated into this fishing reel
- Strict Single shell aluminum body makes it unwavering to even the fiercest fishes
- Online availability is not satisfactory.
16. Tsunami SaltX Spinning Reels
One of the best low price saltwater spinning reels out there is the Tsunami SaltX Spinning Reels. I would say it’s a great fishing reel for entry-level enthusiasts who have just become serious about surf fishing. But why is that? – You might be asking.
First of all, the build quality is excellent for the price. The body is made from high-performing aluminum alloy; therefore, it is strong, lightweight, precise, and tough. The bail system is designed for heavy-duty and controllable by a rotor brake. In addition, a high-performing saltwater resistant Aluminium Spool lets you cast smoothly at long distances.
The reel is also saltwater corrosion resistant which is a must feature to look out for when shopping for a new surf fishing reel.
The Tsunami Saltx can perform very well even in extreme sea conditions. Even during rough weather, it provides satisfactory fishing success while casting from boats, jetties, or the shore. The rigid body and superior drag ensure that this reel does not give up in battles with the most stubborn fishes.
- Designed to withstand crashing waves, spray, and other water impacts
- Strategically placed 14 internal seals
- HAMMER carbon fiber drag system
- Seven stainless steel bearings
- Rotation may feel a bit tight.
17. Shimano 2020 Saragosa SW A Spinning Reels
This is the cheapest Shimano spinning reel on this list. But cheap doesn’t mean less performance. In fact, the Shimano 2020 Saragosa SW A Spinning Reels can be a great performer in the right hands. This reel has a long list of useful features that can provide you with an advantage on your next surf fishing trip for such entry-level pricing.
The Strong HAGANE gears in these reels assure high performance. Plus, forty-four pounds of powerful X-Tough Drag system lets you win the heroic battles against the fiercest saltwater fishes like bass, snook, tuna, etc.
The lightweight build keeps your hand from tiring out. In addition, the top-quality gear ratio and bearing provide speed and smoothness. These reels also have both right and left retrieval. Moreover, the Aluminium Frame Graphite Rotor is specially designed for Saltwater fishing.
The Shimano 2020 Saragosa SW A spinning reel really emphasizes durability when designing this reel. You’ll enjoy several protective features like X-Protect and X- Shield, which work together to provide extreme water resistance.
As a result, the 2020 Saragosa is rated IPX-8, which indicates it can be submerged to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes without damaging the reel. Yes, I know that you won’t be reeling anything submerged under 1 meter of water. But it does point to a superior water-corrosion resistance that will keep your reel functional for a long time.
- Despite the low price, these reels are equipped with IPX8 rated water resistance
- Rigid unwavering body
- Built to perform for long periods
- It can perform as good when submerged in water
- Lack of a user manual
18. Daiwa Saltist MQ Spinning Reels
The list ends with a cheaply priced option from Daiwa. The Daiwa Saltiest MQ Spinning Reels is one of the best saltwater spinning reels you can get at an incredibly low price.
A heavy-duty aluminum frame and single-shell body make a sturdy spinning reel. Inside, the reel is equipped with a larger gear, contributing to power and longevity. Also, the 360-degree screw-in side-plate makes the traditional side-plate screws obsolete. This translates to more compactness and impact resistance.
These spinning reels have many of Daiwa’s necessary features on its more expensive options. The Magseal, the ATD drag, ABS spool, and the other much sought-after features are included in these reels. Anyone looking for an affordable Daiwa fishing reel needs to buy this. I’d recommend these to people who have just become interested in the world of surf fishing and looking for a good reel to begin their journey in their hobby.
- Zaion Air Rotor for effortless rotation
- Magsealed main shaft
- Corrosion repelling ball bearings
- Aluminium ABS spool
- Waterproof Carbon ATD drag system
- A bit on the heavy side
Things To Consider When Buying A Saltwater Spinning Reel
Your spinning wheel must have certain qualities for a successful fishing experience in salty sea waters. Even a less expensive spinning reel can serve you fine for a long time if you know what features to seek. So, let’s have a look at the things you should consider when buying a fishing reel.
Sealing: the first thing you should make sure of is that your spinning reel has a proper seal against the natural impacts of the sea. Sand, salt, and water constantly try to damage your reels when fishing in bay areas. If your reels cannot stand against these forces, they will wear out in a few days.
Spool length and quality: The length and quality of your spool in very important when you are fishing in open waters. Long-distance casting is not possible if your spool is short. In addition, the durability of your spool is also important. Make sure the spool material is strong enough to withstand harsh natural conditions.
Max drag: You need a high-quality drag when you are looking to reel in stubborn fighter fishes. It can be very frustrating when you lose your battle at the last moment just because ‘the line’ couldn’t take it anymore. Therefore, a strong drag is a must if you want to engage the bigger and stubborn fishes of the sea.
Weight: when you are going to hold onto the fishing rod for long periods, the spinning reel’s weight becomes an issue. Lightweight reels will put less load on your hands. As a result, you can comfortably fish for longer periods. On the other hand, a heavy spinning reel can quickly tire you out and decrease performance.
Retrieval: As with the weight, having the proper retrieval that suits your handedness is also important for long-duration performance. You want the retrieving crank on the right side if you are left-handed. Otherwise, you will experience diminished performance after some time passes.
The rigidity of the body: A saltwater spinning reel has to perform under serious pressure. The prey is strong, the weather is rough, and the sessions are pretty long. So, you will want your fishing reel to be really strong and unwavering in front of the perils it faces.
Bearings: Usually, a good number of ball bearings is nine to thirteen. At this range, the reel can perform with good speed and smoothness. Also, make sure the bearing is made from wear-resistant material. So, it will serve you for a long time without compromising quality.
Handle: The spinning reel handle should be friendly to your grip. At the same time, it should be light enough to not add much extra weight to the overall structure. The perfect handle will let you perform with more accuracy and a longer time.
Submersibility: This is particularly important for anglers who fish in waist-deep waters. In that case, the spinning reel is submerged in salty water most of the time. You have to make sure that the reel rotates as smoothly underwater as it would otherwise.
Spinning reels are an expensive yet essential aspect of angler fishing, and it can be scary to pick the right one for yourself. In this article, I’ve talked about a bunch of them at various price points. So, you must have found something that suits your requirements and your wallet.
If I had to pick one, I’d say go for the Daiwa Saltiga Spinning Reel Magseal, as it is my personal favorite as well. Although it is costly, it can be a good investment for anyone into serious fishing.
The magnetic oil sealing is the best feature of this reel. After even three to five years of constant use, the reel will still feel smooth as the first day. When this combines with the supreme drag, speed, and lightweight, you got the best equipment possible for extreme sea battles.
This list is by no means an exhaustive one. You can always find something that is better and more suited for you. However, please consider the features I mentioned seriously when buying a spinning reel for saltwater. You can only decide which reel fits you the best. Wish you safe and successful fishing.