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Are you a big fan of saltwater fishing? Maybe you prefer it to freshwater fishing because you love the sea breeze or get more excited about the stronger, faster species of fish that live in saltwater.
Either way, if you’re already into - or want to get into - saltwater fishing, you don’t want to have a flimsy spinning reel that will decay after only a few uses due to the tough sea air or that will snap off whilst you’re trying to reel in a strong fish.
Luckily many of the modern spinning reels are far more advanced than they used to be and are specifically designed to handle the potential difficulties that could arise with saltwater fishing.
In this guide, we’ll show you the 5 best saltwater spinning reels for both inshore and offshore saltwater fishing, so no pesky, hard-fighting fish will get the better of you!
If you’re looking for something strong, smooth and durable, this third edition spinning reel from Penn’s legacy line of Battle reels is the perfect choice for you!
This spinning reel is extremely popular and comes equipped with CNC gears, which uses CNC technology to cut the drive, pinion and oscillation gears directly from the metal.
This means it’s extremely resilient and durable.
Plus, it has a full metal body and side plate, making it super tough all the way through while also protecting the gears.
Because saltwater fishing needs drag that allows you to work with the fish rather than against it, this reel comes with HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers to help you do just that.
And you can pull in 100 miles of line off the reel without suffering any wear and tear on the washers.
Added to all of that, it also comes with a tailored rubber gasket to keep the super line from slipping!
You can choose a variety of different sizes with this spinning reel, depending on what suits you best.
Also available at: Penn
This KastKing fishing reel is versatile and is a good choice for you if you’re a fan of saltwater and freshwater fishing, as it’s designed for both!
It’s extremely lightweight and super sturdy with a body and rotor made from high-quality fiber-reinforced with graphite.
It also has a main shaft that’s oversized and made from stainless steel, and it has tough pinion gears made from precision mesh manganese brass.
A reliable triple disc carbon fiber drag makes it easier for you to catch your fish, so you’ll be snapping up those saltwater beasts in no time!
To help keep water and grime out, this spinning reel has the KastKing Intrusion Shield System (K.I.S.S.) for its spool, body and rotor, which is water-resistant and is very useful considering how much saltwater splashes up on it when you’re fishing!
You also don’t need any backing when you fish with this reel because it has a braid-ready spool, which will also conveniently prevent the braid line from slipping.
Also available at: KastKing
This Shimano spinning reel is specifically designed for when you want to fish with live or cut bait (hence the name ‘Baitrunner’!).
If this sounds like something you’re interested in then give this reel a go!
It allows the bait to move naturally so the fish will be easily fooled and end up on your hook in no time!
This is done with a secondary drag system, which also allows for free spooling with the bail closed.
It’s extremely durable and will last forever if it’s well taken care of!
An oval oscillation gear gives a consistent spool speed, resulting in an even line lay that makes for great casting and is easy to manage.
It comes fitted with dyna-balance technology, which counterbalances the rotor and eliminates any wobble when retrieving the reel because it gets rid of the vibrations.
The reel is available in four different models, depending what size you want - 4000D, 6000D, 8000D and the largest is 12000D.
This highly rated Daiwa spinning reel is super sturdy and great for saltwater fishing!
It has a machined aluminum body and body cover giving it extra strength and providing stability to its internal parts.
The aluminum is Black Anodized to stop corrosion and provide scratch resistance.
This also means the body won’t chip or peel, keeping it looking modern and stylish no matter how much you use it!
It comes with an oversized digigear, which increases the gear-tooth contact points - this means the gear is smoother and has more power.
A uniquely styled air rotor that weighs around 15% less than a normal one means it’s extremely lightweight, but it also distributes stress more evenly throughout the rotor, giving it a lot of strength as well.
Its ABS spool makes all of the line completely usable, so you won’t be left with any deadline left in the core of the reel.
The line won’t get tangled and is easy to cast, with the casting also being longer than usual.
Designed with sleek style by the Japanese Abu Garcia team, this spinning reel is super tough and durable.
The body of the reel is made from strong, impact-resistant DuraMetal and has an aluminum CNC machine cut handle, making it extra resistant to wear and tear.
It’s very smooth to fish with, as it has HPCR stainless steel ball bearings, a Salt Shield ball bearing in the inner pinion and an oscillating COG that’s designed to be silent.
A water shield hybrid carbon matrix drag system means the drag is seamless and therefore lessens your chance of your fish escaping you.
Plus, the reel has long-distance casting as it features the Rocket line management system, which also improves accuracy, so you’ll be catching fish in no time!
This particular model of fishing reel comes in eight different sizes, so the range is great, and you can choose whatever size will suit your needs best.
Also available at: Pescamania
Getting into saltwater fishing isn’t necessarily the easiest thing in the world, so you really need to understand the requirements for it, particularly before choosing which spinning reel to buy.
Saltwater fish are usually far bigger, tougher, faster and harder-fighting than freshwater fish, meaning the spinning reel you buy will have to be designed specifically for saltwater fishing to take these differences into consideration.
There’s no point investing in a piece of equipment that’s going to break or corrode only a few weeks after buying it.
Luckily, we’ve made a buying guide for you, so you know exactly what kind of things to look out for when it comes to buying the perfect saltwater spinning reel!
The material that your spinning reel is made out of is one of the most important factors to look into when you decide to buy one.
This is because fishing in saltwater is much tougher than freshwater, not just in terms of the fish you catch but also the water itself!
Saltwater is very corrosive due to the amount of salt, which makes it harsher on your fishing reel.
For this reason, you need all the components of the reel to be made from a high-quality, strong and corrosion-resistant material, such as aluminum, stainless steel, carbon fiber or graphite.
You should also look out for reels that have an added element of protection around them.
For example, if a product says it has a protective coating, seals or gaskets, this will provide protection to the inner parts of the reel that might otherwise get clogged up with the salt and dirt from the water and become so seriously damaged that they stop working.
When it comes to the weight of your reel, you really want to be looking for something that’s lightweight but strong.
This may sound contradictory, but don’t worry, because finding something that combines those two features is actually very possible!
All we mean when we say you want something ‘strong’ is that the inner workings of the main body and the gears that hold them together, along with the line itself, are mechanically capable enough to withstand the harshness of saltwater fishing.
So, you can 100% have all of that whilst keeping the actual weight of the reel, particularly the main body, to a minimum.
The main reason you want your spinning reel to be as light as possible is to avert yourself from getting too tired too quickly, meaning you won’t be able to fish for as many hours as you might want to - particularly if you’re on the smaller, lighter side yourself!
The quality of the drag that the spinning reel has is extremely important, and the success of your fishing trips may depend on it!
When you’re coming up against fish that are so strong, fast and hard-fighting, you need the drag system of your reel to be top-notch - a.k.a smooth, sturdy and reliable - because it’s designed to take some of the strain, so the line or rod don’t snap and break against the pull of the fish.
The smoothness of the drag is definitely a big key to fighting fish that are powerhouses.
Plus, having a drag that’s difficult to adjust or won’t stay consistently tight is extremely irritating when you’re trying to fish and will make it much harder for you actually to catch anything!
As with all things in life, spinning reels can come with a considerable price tag!
You can, of course, buy spinning reels for a lower price, but you should make sure it’s still of good quality because you don’t want to be spending more money on another one straight after because the one you bought originally broke within a few weeks.
If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to find one that doesn’t cost too much and can still do the job well.
But equally, if you have plenty of money to spend and really want to invest in a premium one that’s a bit more on the expensive side, that’s completely fine too!
At the end of the day, how much you want to spend on a spinning reel is completely up to you.
The main thing is, that you have to consider the quality of the reel and decide whether it’s worth exactly what you’re paying for it.
Here are a few FAQ's when it comes to saltwater spinning reels.
As a general rule, saltwater spinning reels should be larger than freshwater reels.
For inshore saltwater fishing, you should use medium-sized reels between 4000 and 5500, and for offshore saltwater fishing, you should use large-sized reels between 6000 and 30000.
Generally, spinning reels will last you around six years.
But because reels used for saltwater fishing are constantly exposed to salt and the sea air, they may not last quite as long, as they will corrode quicker.
How often you should oil your spinning reel depends on how regularly you fish and where you fish.
If you fish a lot, you should oil your reel after every second fishing trip, especially if you’re using your reel in saltwater.
However, if you don’t fish too often, you can probably get away with only oiling it around once a month.