- 1 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels – Editor’s Choice
- 1.1 1. Shimano Baitrunner D, Spinning Reel
- 1.2 2. Penn Spinfisher V, Spinning Reel
- 1.3 3. Shimano Saragosa SW, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Reel
- 1.4 4. Daiwa Revros, Spinning Reel
- 1.5 5. SHIMANO Socorro SW, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Reel
- 1.6 6. Penn Battle II Spinning Reel
- 1.7 7. KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III Spinning Reel
- 2 Best Freshwater Spinning Reels – Editor’s Choice
- 3 Spinning Reel Buying Guide
- 4 How to Buy an Ultra-Light Spinning Reel
- 5 How to Choose a Saltwater Spinning Reel
- 6 Saltwater Vs Freshwater Spinning Reels
- 7 Benefits and Drawbacks of a Spinning Reel
- 8 FAQs:
- 9 Best Spinning Reels for Salt & Fresh Water Comparison Chart
- 10 Wrap Up:
Did you know the oldest fishhook found was over 45,000 years old? Many anglers before you have been fishing the great fresh and salt waters of this beautiful planet we live on. We don’t need to use a spear to hunt for fish anymore (some still choose to use a spear at times!).
So that begs the question of what are the best spinning reels if I want to fish in a freshwater source or a saltwater one? Like most beginners to the world of angling, you can just start off with a fishing line and hook, hoping for the best.
Due to the intrinsic differences between both water sources, it’s critical that the right fishing reel is chosen so that you don’t end up spending hard earned money on the wrong spinning reel and come back empty-handed with no fish.
Let’s take a look at the following spinning reel reviews which should give you a better idea on what spinning reels are best suited for either freshwater or saltwater sources.
- Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel
- PRICE $$$
- Bearings : 3+1
- Weight : 13.50oz - 21.7oz
- Max Drag : 15lb - 20lb
- Gear Ratio : 4,8:1
- Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reel
- PRICE $$$
- Bearings : 5+1
- Weight : 14.40oz - 43.50oz
- Max Drag : 20lb - 40lb
- Gear Ratio : 6.2:1 , 5.6:1 4.7:1 , 4.2:1
- Shimano Saragosa SW Spinning Reel
- PRICE $$$$
- Bearings : 6+1, 5+1
- Weight : 16oz - 34.20oz
- Max Drag : 22lb - 44lb
- Gear Ratio : 5.7:1 , 5.6:1 4.9:1 , 4.4:1
- Daiwa Revros Spinning Reel
- PRICE $
- Bearings : 7+1
- Weight : 8.30oz - 13.80oz
- Max Drag : 5lb - 13lb
- Gear Ratio : 5.7:1 , 5.6:1
- Shimano Socorro SW Spinning Reel
- PRICE $$$
- Bearings : 4+1
- Weight : 15.50oz - 23.50oz
- Max Drag : 22lb - 27lb
- Gear Ratio : 4.9:1 , 4.6:1
- Pee Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel
- PRICE $$
- Bearings : 6+1
- Weight : 8.10oz - 30.20oz
- Max Drag : 9lb - 30lb
- Gear Ratio : 5.2:1 , 6.2:1 5.6:1 , 5.3:1
Best Saltwater Spinning Reels – Editor’s Choice
1. Shimano Baitrunner D, Spinning Reel
This well-designed reel boasts an incredible number of features.
This reel gives you a high-performance drivetrain as well as the ability to cast further and better. It also offers a reduction in backlash, anti-friction tech for the line retrieval and more comfort in handling the equipment. Also included in Baitrunner reel is a higher capacity with the drag as well as a wider range of settings available to anglers compared to other models from Shimano.
The purpose of the Baitrunner (or free spool) functionality is to provide another drag system which can be manually engaged/disengaged with a simple switch. This allows much more versatility to catch different species of big game fish with ease.
Read the full review → Shimano Baitrunner D
- Gear ratio: 4,8:1
- Ballbearings: 3 S ARB and 1 roller bearing
- Line management technology that prevents friction on the line
- PowerPro line capacity (lbs/yds): 40/295,50/290,65/180
- Line retrieve: 36 inches, max drag force: 20 lbs- High capacity
- Retrieve: reversible
- Higher max drag as well as a wider range of Baitrunner settings than its predecessors- Better control over the experience.
- The reels are versatile and can be used in freshwater- multi-use
- Sturdy graphite frame
- The Baitrunner feature is not 100% necessary for most of the fishing styles and can be costly.
- 3 bearings would be considered too low for this high-quality reel and differ with this feature in other comparable reels.
2. Penn Spinfisher V, Spinning Reel
The Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reel combines incredible fish catching abilities matched with extremely long range castability. With its water-resistant manufacturing, it was purposefully built with the serious saltwater angler in mind.
It has a full metal construction that was designed to last for years of high performance in rough saltwater seas.
Where the Penn Spinfisher V really stands out is it’s being equipped with an HT 100 Slammer drag system which allows for extreme drag range and smooth reeling. This drag system will help you catch that big game fish.
Read the full review → Penn Spinfisher V
- Reliability in saltwater and dusty environments with its watertight spinning reel design
- Strong construction- enhanced longevity is created with the metal body and side plate complimented with a professional strength, aluminum ball wire.
- Sealed HT-100 Slammer drag system provides smooth drag
- Anglers have praised these rods for their durability and resistance to splashing or dunking in highly corrosive saltwater. Go head, Dunk away!
- Near waterproof design
- Quality, sturdy finish
- Great line lay and braking
- Not as waterproof as advertised
- There is some wearing of the gears after heavy use
3. Shimano Saragosa SW, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Reel
The Shimano Saragosa SW, this offshore reel is equipped with a PLMS- which is a Propulsion Line Management System that allows extra-long casting distances while preventing the dreaded backlashes from happening. This is critical for making sure your time is well spent and you are optimally fishing.
Part of the advanced feature set of the Shimano Saragosa line is the X-Ship Technology that improves the durability of the gears and removes from the equation the friction between the spool shaft and gear. This technology allows for enhanced performance when casting longer distances.
This heavy-duty reel can handle 44 pounds of drag- meaning you confidently can catch some of the biggest fish out there.
Read the full review → Shimano Saragosa SW
- Advanced drag system capabilities. – Allows for strong, long drag with its PLM (propulsion line management).
- Equipped with a Propulsion Line Management System- that allows long drag
- Shimano branded X-Ship technology – Ensures protection against wear and tear on the gears and make them more durable. It also reduces friction between the different parts of the reel
- The bearings of this reel are protected on both sides with a strong shield. This reduces exposure to the elements including dirt and debris from getting into the internal components.
- The drag system is waterproof and utilizes gaskets made of rubber to further protect from the elements.
- Nearly Waterproof.
- Very smooth operation- durability
- Allows for big drag.
- Not the highest performer when it comes to drag
- A bit on the higher end of the Price line for similar quality reels
4. Daiwa Revros, Spinning Reel
This reel overperformed with its high count ball bearings system that features an anti-reverse durable all-metal spool. Daiwa has designed a reel that gives the end user a smooth operating device that any angler can rely on. The Revros also has the added features of a branded DigiGear drivetrain that will help with any size fish.
The Revros is the best spinning reel under $100 due to the exceptionally smooth feel with the 8 bearing system that is made with high-quality components. Daiwa has been able to manufacture a quality reel for the sub $100 market that is winning accolades from many anglers.
The air rotor design on this reel makes it lighter and enables better airflow which allows the reel to dry out faster- this adds to the longevity of the device. What compliments the reel for this price point is its exceptionally smooth feeling reel for retrieval and drag, high-end components that make for a long-lasting reel and the digital gear design that stands up to hard fighting fish.
Read the full review → Daiwa Revros
- Air Rotor -lighter weight and greater sensitivity
- Composite body, Body cover & Rotor- lightweight and strong
- Digigear digital gear design- stands up to hard fighting fish
- 8 Bearing System (7 BB + 1 RB)
- ABS aluminum spool
- Smooth operation- versatile use for many different types of fishing
- High-quality manufacturing- Smooth, composite body, cover, and rotor.
- Digigear digital gear design- stands up to hard fighting fish
- Sometimes, if the angler does not pay attention, the line can fly off the spool in the wrong direction and it could cause “rat nests” from time to time.
- Limited spool size- cannot load as many different types of spools as other reels.
5. SHIMANO Socorro SW, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Reel
This high quality yet simple reel is about as back to basics as you can get in a saltwater reel. It can tackle most of anything out there with ease of use and Shimano durability.
The Socorro SW reel provides a lot of versatility even for a basic reel that is suitable for any offshore or coastal fishing environment.
The fundamentals of this reel are based on the famous for its strength, Hagane gearing. The X-Ship technology that comes with this Shimano reel compliments the Hagane gearing by providing for a smooth retrieve and fewer hassles when casting.
Read the full review → SHIMANO Socorro SW
Summary of Reel
- Strong saltwater reel for multi-environment fishing
- Strength, power, and durability
- Gearing system based on Hagane technology
- X-Ship Technology for perfect gear alignment
- Designed well with a 5 (4+1 ) ball bearing system
- Cross-Carbon Drag system, which facilitates enhanced control during operation.
- Strength of the design/ versatility and tech included helping in many different saltwater environments
- Feature packed reel for a lower cost than other comparable reels.
- Not the best saltwater protection like other comparable reels
- The stainless-steel bearings are not protected which goes back to the first point about not having the best saltwater protection
6. Penn Battle II Spinning Reel
This Reel is crafted from strong and long lasting materials and packed with thoughtful design features to help you snag some of the biggest and strongest fish in the water!.
The reel’s advanced carbon fiber drag system utilizes both sides of each drag washer to provide the best drag possible. Also, the instant anti-reverse bearing system removes pullback so that there are no interruptions when you are reeling.
The Penn Battle II also is the best spinning reel for bass due to its exceptional quality and durability. Its powerful drag capabilities and smooth, smooth reeling make it a perfect choice for fighting big game fish. The body, rotor, and side-plate of the reel are high-quality all-metal- this ensures that the biggest of bass will not overwhelm your reel and get away.
- Full metal body, side plate, and rotor and heavy-duty aluminum bail wire offer tremendous durability- You can use this reel year after year.
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag system provides powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness- Helps you catch the big game fish such as bass, easier.
- Fluid and smooth cranking system is guaranteed with its well-designed five sealed stainless-steel ball bearings
- The Superline spool design creates ease of use and less fuss for anglers.
- Non-corrosive metal- not many plastic parts- can add to the longevity of reel.
- Simple and well-constructed locomotive gearing
- Easy to disassemble and reassemble with standard screwdrivers
- Feature rich for its price point
- Lots of small parts that can get finicky, especially when working on the anti-reverse bearing
- There can be issues with spooling the line- lack of ease of use
7. KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III Spinning Reel
This high performing reel has been built to last with its machined aluminum spool, balanced rotor and an anti-corrosion body which adds up to make one heavy duty reel at a great price point. In fact, it’s been so well designed you are able to use this reel in any environment you need it for- either freshwater or saltwater.
The carbon fiber drag washers compliment its existing feature set with an incredibly smooth drag regardless of the fish you are aiming for. Also, with its front and real drag system you don’t have to choose between either/or. Just flip the “switch” and it’s all there for you to use. This adds to the performance to catch even the most energetic fish.
Also, with its 10+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, you can feel safe with the knowledge that your investment won’t be easily won over by harsh saltwater environments you no doubt want to put this reel through.
- The KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III is a unique baitfeeder style reel with traditional front and rear drag functions- It’s a high performing, versatile reel that appears to have all the T’s crossed and I’s dotted.
- Suitable for freshwater and saltwater fishing.
- It has a 10 + 1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and a stainless steel main shaft-this adds to the durability and the ability to withstand punishing saltwater environments.
- These reels have a carbon fiber drag washers that provide a very smooth drag experience.
- It’s also equipped with interchangeable right or left-hand handle- versatile for any of your casting preferences and makes catching energetic fish easy and less of a hassle.
- Durable and built to last
- Smooth drag system
- Front and rear drag options
- Well-designed and at a great price
- Anglers have indicated that this reel can be a bit heavy which can lead to fatigue faster if you plan to fish for a long time.
- Shimano Stradic HG Spinning Reel
- PRICE $$$$
- Bearings : 6+1
- Weight : 6.90oz - 11.30oz
- Max Drag : 7lb - 24lb
- Gear Ratio : 6:2:1 , 6.0:1
- Daiwa BG Spinning Reel
- PRICE $$$
- Bearings : 6+1
- Weight : 8.50oz - 30oz
- Max Drag : 4.40lb - 33lb
- Gear Ratio : 5.7:1 , 5.6:1 5.3:1
- Shimano Sedona FI Spinning Reel
- PRICE $$
- Bearings : 3+1
- Weight : 7.60oz - 10.6oz
- Max Drag : 7lb - 24lb
- Gear Ratio : 5.0:1 , 6.2:1
- PENN Slammer III Spinning Reel
- PRICE $$$$
- Bearings : 6+1
- Weight : 13.90oz - 43.10oz
- Max Drag : 30lb - 60lb
- Gear Ratio : 6.2:1 , 5.6:1 4.7:1 , 5.3:1
- OKUMA Avenger ABF B Series Baitfeeder Reel
- PRICE $$
- Bearings : 6+1
- Weight : 8.90oz - 22.90oz
- Max Drag : 8lb - 33lb
- Gear Ratio : 5.0:1 , 4.5:1
- KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel
- PRICE $
- Bearings : 9+1
- Weight : 6.90oz - 13.93oz
- Max Drag : 11lb - 20lb
- Gear Ratio : 5:2:1 , 4.5:1
Best Freshwater Spinning Reels – Editor’s Choice
1. Shimano Stradic HG, Freshwater Spinning Reel
The Shimano Stradic HG comes with the extremely durable Hagane system. That system includes the gearing and body of the reel which provides rugged performance combined with the smoothness anglers like yourself have come to appreciate from Shimano.
Shimano has built into this reel its Dyna-Balance rotor and Fluidrive II system which when accompanied by Shimano’s PLMS (Propulsion Line Management System) creates an amazing smoothness and casting at the same time as reducing any line management issues you might experience.
Adding to its versatility list is that his reel has the strength for both inshore and offshore action.
Read the full review → Shimano Stradic HG
- Rugged and strong aluminum body creates the perfect protection and support needed.
- Improved gear durability and eliminates friction between- which enabled better casting.
- Advanced gearing system and the metal body provides long-lasting and durable performance
- The built-in Dyna-Balance rotor, Fluidrive II system and PLMS creates smoothness and enhanced casting abilities when put on the lower settings for drag.
- Great price range- feature packed for its class
- Amazing casting abilities and line management system
- Strong and durable design- built to last
- Ease of use
- Little heavy compared to other similar sized reels with its feature set
- Drag not as smooth on the highest end of the drag range
2. Daiwa BG Spinning Reel
This reel is manufactured with a branded “Hard Bodyz” Body & Side Cover aluminum body. This high-quality design provides extra durability and longevity for the reel.
Furthermore, the “Hard Bodyz” technology increases the strength in the form of corrosion and scratch resistance. The strengthening process with anodization reinforcements creates better adhesion to the metal surface and allows the painted reel/rod to not chip or peel easily.
The BG spinning reel Digigear system has an over-sized gear which allows for more teeth to be in contact with each other. That means that you get a smoother retrieve and it will extend the life of your reel. As you can see, each feature added to this lightweight reel has a purpose and place.
Read the full review → Daiwa BG
- “Hard Bodyz” black anodized finish that provides a solid protective layer over the aluminum housing- this will help keep your reel in tip-top shape for years to come.
- Carbon ATD drag system that is waterproof, the air rotor design
- Anti-rust ball bearings create a very smooth retrieve.
- Very smooth reel with little drag
- Very smooth operation- non-jerky motion
- Hard anodized body
- Great strong drag
- Weight- It’s extremely lightweight which is not for everyone
- The body is anodized but the spool is painted- lack of consistency through the manufacturing process
3. SHIMANO Sedona FI, Freshwater Spinning Reel
The Shimano Sedona FI Spinning Reel is an economic reel that has been developed with the latest technology and features. Shimano’s Sedona FL will provide you with the power and strength to throw bigger baits and catch bigger fish.
The (PLMS) Propulsion Line Management System almost guarantees an excellent line management experience that matched with the G-Free body achieves extended casting and free of awful wind knots.
The G Free Body is a great attribute to this fishing reel as it shifts the inner components of the reel closer to the rod. Which provides more comfort for you.
The Shimano Sedona FL, weighing in at 8.5 ounces is a high-quality ultra-light spinning reel at the best price point for a reel with this much functionality.
Read the full review → Shimano Sedona FI
- An updated design provides Shimano another opportunity to introduce a high-quality reel at an affordable price
- Advanced gearing system – Provides strong, long lasting performance with a multitude of water sources and fishing techniques.
- More capacity with the line and the spool being machined and double- anodized. This helps keep the body of the reel smaller and weigh less. This ups the ante on the user experience by providing more of what you want (line capacity) and less of what you don’t want (bulky spool).
- Smooth Drag System- ease of use
- Smooth, easy reeling
- Reliable and durable- manufactured well.
- An economical choice for great performance
- No Anti-reverse switch- which if included, would allow more engagement and options for controlling drag
- The handle can be a bit weak- watch out for it.
4. PENN Slammer III Spinning Reel
Perfect for intense, rugged fishing adventures, The Slammer III reels feature an IPX6 Sealed System which keeps water out of the components of the equipment. Also features an up to date drag System.
This reel comes with high-tech components that ensure a smoother retrieval process which allows for more control over your angling experience.
Along with the stainless steel bearings, the front drag is also sealed to be much more water resistant. This makes this reel perfect for both fresh and saltwater and just adds to the versatility of a well-designed reel.
Read the full review → PENN Slammer III
- Full Metal Body, side plate, and rotor
- Gear technology developed with latest CNC methods.
- Sealed body and spool design
- Designed with a high-performance drag system.
- Made with stainless steel bearings
- Waterproof- IPX6 sealed system
- Available in various sizes- versatility for different fish/ different water sources
- Great Dura-drag system- creates a very smooth drag experience
- Anti-reverse system- Gives you more control.
- Anglers have mentioned that this reel might feel a little heavy for people who are more familiar with other reels in the same category. This “con” seems to disappear quickly after some experience and use.
5. Okuma Avenger ABF “B” Series Baitfeed Spinning Reel
The Okuma Avenger ABF B Baitfeeder Spinning Reels have been much improved over previous models. Some of the enhancements are new Blade Body Design, this body design is compact and streamlined. Also, these reels include the Precision Elliptical Gearing, which provides unprecedented line lay, smoothness, and added long life durability
The Baitfeeder system allows anglers to deactivate the spool and allow their bait to run.
The Baitfeeder design incorporated within the reel allows you to put the rod in a “non-manned” operation mod when using more than one rod. When you switch the reel into Baitfeeder mode it allows the line to go free with reduced drag when the fish eventually is seduced by your bait
Designed into this reel’s drag system are oil soaked felt washers. This drag system design creates a smoothness when the line is pulled off the spool.
Read the full review → Okuma Avenger ABF
- High-quality materials- built to be tough and strong
- A bait feeding system that that can be programmed to be turned on or off, automatically.
- Multi-disc drag system
- Multi-bearing drive tech- provides a very smooth experience.
- Roller bearing system that has an anti-reverse technology built in.
- Brass gears made with a very precisely machined process
- Nice one-handed bait feeding system- ease of use and versatility
- Sealed gearbox- longer life and durability
- Graphite strong body
- Smooth retrieve
- Good price point
- Bit heavy, not as smooth as higher end reels
- Handle takes some time to get used to- that should be an easy learning curve.
- Line does not always lay evenly on the spool.
6. KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel
This spinning and fishing reel includes high-quality bearings along with the other components can make it a powerful fishing reel as you can drag any types of fish easily in any condition with this device.
The compact and lightweight design helps to handle this reel effortlessly. Its graphite frame also resists corrosion due to its strength.
Also, The reel has a strong and lightweight spool made from aluminum to provide you a better even layout of line, more capacity to the line and more retention of lubricant on internal grooves. These detailed and thoughtful additions make for a better fishing experience.
- A design that is lightweight and won’t take up a lot of room.
- An extra strong anti-corrosive frame made from graphite.
- High-performance drag system that allows for serious drag capabilities
- A gear system that is precise and accurate
- Versatile handle that can fit either hand depending on your comfort.
- The handy foldable handle has a unique button to fold it while storing or carrying away
- Can accommodate right or left-handed users- versatile
- Strong construction adds to the longevity of the reel.
- Very light
- Smooth all-around operating.
- Sometimes the manually operated features are not user-friendly. An example would be In order to return the reel in its original position you will have to use lots of pressure while rewinding the loop.
- This can make your hand fatigued.
Spinning Reel Buying Guide
So, you have decided to get into the world of angling? Great! Let’s start off with Spinning Reels, shall we?
First off, are you angling for pleasure or competition? What kind of fish (and size) are you looking to catch?. To pick out the appropriate reel, let’s start by taking a quick look at the components of spinning reels. That’s right, its “Reels 101” time.
Fishing Reel Types Explained
There are 4 different styles of reels available. They differ with their versatility and ability to be used with a wide variety of fishing styles. Some can be quite specialized and purposed for very exact fishing scenarios.
- The fixed spool reel makes for a great general reel. They can be used for different types of fishing such as trotting and specimen fishing. They are known for their versatility for angling.
- Free spool fishing is a more modern design of a fixed reel. They are similar to a fixed spool reel. The only contrast is that they have an extra drag system. This provides the angler to turn set amounts of tension to the reel.
- Centre pin reels: are ideal for waters such as river float fishing due to their design that allows the line to flow with the speed of the water current.
- Closed face reels: The more specialized are specialized of the reels. Mainly used by anglers in water settings that have moving currents because of their light weightiness.
The Top 4 Things to Consider When Buying a Spinning Reel
Drag systems are found in all fixed spools. Found in the front of the reel or in the back ( front and rear drag ) Rear drag systems on reels are the most desired with novice anglers and front drag systems on a reel are considered ideal by more professional fishermen. The 2 drag system perform in the same way, they restrict or loosen the movement of the spool, much like a car’s braking system does to the car wheels.
The smoothness of the reel is really determined by the amount of bearings it has. The more bearings the better. High-quality bearings made of stainless steel also assist with the lifespan of the reel as well and absorb a lot of the wear and tear inside the spools mechanism.
What you should look for in a line lay is that the flatter it is the better. Distance and accuracy are dependent on how flat the line lays on the spool.
How fast the reel retrieves the line you cast out is managed by the retrieve ratio of the design. The most common fixed spool reels are usually designed with a retrieve ratio of around 5.2:1. What you will find when you shop for fishing reels is that in general, reels will have a retrieve ratio that is found between 4.8:1 and 5.4:1.
This comes down to personal choice and what length and shape you personally find desirable.
A spinning reel can be used to catch many different types of small fish like bluegill all the way to giant tuna weighing over 100 pounds. Making sure your spinning reel has the right line and rod combo are critical to the success you will have with fishing.
The line size you choose needs to be correct for the spinning reel you have decided on and the type/size of fish you want to catch.
- Smaller Sized Fish: 500-1000 line sized reel
- Medium Sized Fish: :2500-6000 line sized reel
- Large Sized Fish: 8000-10000 line sized reel
When it comes down to it, there are quite a few options that you have when choosing the right spinning reel for your needs. Ultimately, it’s about how the rod and reel feel in your hand and what type of fish you want to catch. Once those have been decided you can really start customizing your fishing tool to get the best performance possible.
How to Buy an Ultra-Light Spinning Reel
When using the word “ultralight”, anglers are referring to the lightest weight class of any reel available. Ultralight lightweight reels have a more refined and gentle touch which is ideal for catching smaller game fish like panfish, trout, and smallmouth bass.
Advantages of Having a Light Spinning Reel
A reel is considered ultralight if it is under 8 ounces in weight. Ultralight reels are great for those lazy lake trips where you are not looking to catch large fish and will permit you to fish throughout the day without dealing with the physical strain and fatigue that bigger equipment might cause.
When used with a lightweight rod and lightweight lures, this type of reel gives you a true advantage because it allows for a stealthier cast which means the fish don’t get spooked as much.
It can be cumbersome to pick out the right reel for the right fish for the right price. But, with some preparation and a few things to take into consideration, you will be more than satisfied with the end result and have yourself a great reel to fish with.
5 Things You Need to Know to Buy the Lightest Spinning Reel
Some general things to keep in mind when picking an ultralight spinning reel are:
- What’s the type of fish you are interested in catching? – you won’t be catching 100 lb tunas with an ultra-light reel. Think smaller fish.
- What type of water environment will you be on when using this reel? Due to the lightweight characteristics, this isn’t a reel to use in rough, salt waters
- Look for a manufacturer that clearly indicates the drag weight, gear ratio, line capacity, IPT and, CPT.
- Affordability- fishing is supposed to be fun and not to break your wallet. Don’t go overboard and spend a lot of money on a reel that you don’t need. You don’t need an expert reel and rod with the strength to handle hurricane force winds. Don’t spend your money on those.
- Make sure you choose the right rod/lure/reel combo so that one isn’t affecting the other in a negative way
If you’re having second thoughts check out our baitcasting vs spinning reel comparison!
How to Choose a Saltwater Spinning Reel
Unless you live near a coastal area, you would have started fishing in fresh waters like lakes and rivers. Saltwater fishing opens you up to a much larger diversity of fish to catch.
The first thing you should understand is the primary difference between fresh and saltwater fishing, which has to do with the water itself.
Adding salt to the equation can affect negatively the longevity of your fishing gear if it is not maintained improperly.
Factors To Consider When Buying a Saltwater Spinning Reel
One of the most popular species that anglers are after and ask questions about is the famous bass. The factors mentioned below can be specifically applied to this species as well. Factors such as drag, spool, construction, bearing count and line capacity are extremely important to bass fishing. A quality reel with durable parts that are measured correctly is required for even the most experienced bass anglers.
When looking for a saltwater spinning reel there are a few things to keep in mind, which we talk about below.
What kind of fish are you after?:
Sometimes with all the options with fishing gear, the most important part of the experience is overlooked. What kind of fish do you want to catch? Where saltwater fishing is concerned, most people shop a reel because of its quality and tend to overlook the actual fish they want to catch. when it comes to the fish, the main concerns are the size as well as where each of them lives, the natural habitat and the season that they are most active and easily caught.
First-time buyers really need to take costs into consideration. If you are a novice you should buy an entry level reel. Considering you are new to fishing, you shouldn’t spend a lot since you really don’t know if it’s for you yet and how you will really use it. You can get a great one for under $100 that would do the job and will be able to stand up to harsh conditions As you gain more experience, typically most anglers start to purchase more pricey reels that give them more options
Something else to consider when making your purchase is the quality of the spool on your fishing reel. Since you’ll be going salt-water fishing, you should consider getting equipment that is anti-corrosion. Spool options are usually between graphite and aluminum. Typically beginner models will be made with graphite, which should be your choice if you are not sure if this type of fishing will be right for you.
When it comes to saltwater fishing, most of the fish we’ll be dealing with will definitely put up a struggle. It’s ideal if you consider a reel with a high gear ratio as it is a large factor in your comfort level and help reduce fatigue. A higher gear ratio designed reel will allow you to use less effort and pressure when you need to retrieve the line
The Bearing Count:
With bearings, it’s always the higher amount the better. The higher the amount in your reel the more smoothness there is during operation.
What you want from a manufacturer are spinning reels that are light enough to allow for a long cast and are sturdy.
Spinning reels have a front and rear drag system. In most cases, the front drag system is best if you’re after the big fish, The reason being is that the front drag system is of a higher quality typically. The rear drag system, on the other hand, is most suitable if you’re using the spinning reel for the first time because it is easy to adjust the line.
Line Capacity for the Reel:
Whether you are into freshwater or saltwater fishing, line capacity is critical. Depending on the type of fish you’re interested in you’ll have to know the type of line needed.
Comfort of the equipment is not something that should be overlooked. When it comes to saltwater fishing, the ground to cover is vast and you will spend more time out there and the risk of fatigue is higher.
Taking these factors into consideration will help you pick the right reel for your saltwater fishing experience.
Saltwater Vs Freshwater Spinning Reels
These 2 reels are designed for their different environments and it’s important to pick the right one for the right job. By taking these factors into consideration you will have yourself the perfect reel for what you want it for.
Materials Used in Construction:
- Freshwater reels are designed with various metals that are built for freshwater environments. Since they are made for fresh water sources, they have minimal protection against corrosion.
- Saltwater reels which need to handle seas and oceans are made with special alloys that prevent corrosion. They are still made with the same materials as freshwater reels but have a protective coating that helps to withstand the abrasive saltwater’s.
- Freshwater reels can feature sealed components. However, it’s not as common and standard issue for saltwater reels. Sealed components, including bearings, gearboxes and drag systems, among others are not as susceptible to saltwater corrosion. The seals’ purpose is really that they are like gaskets and keep the components of the reel safe and free from damage when saltwater fishing.
Line and Lure
- Saltwater reels are can handle and catch heavier fish in contrast to freshwater reels. This obvious capacity difference is due to the environment and fish differences between the 2 water sources.
- Saltwater reels typically cost more considering the difference in manufacturing compared to freshwater reel and the level of protective elements needed when fishing in the 2 different water sources.
Different Reel Types
- Freshwater anglers use spinning, spincasting, and baitcasting when they are on fishing on rivers or lakes.
- In contrast, saltwater anglers utilize different types of reels when fishing in a different scenario. Specialized, high capacity reels are best suited for offshore fishing, inshore fishing can be handled with general use baitcaster or spinning reels.
Check our roundup of the baitcasting reels for saltwater and freshwater fishing & spincast reel reviews here!
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Spinning Reel
Like most fishing reels, there are pros and cons to using a spinning reel and its different variations:
Benefits of a Spinning Reel:
- A key benefit, in general, is the diversity and the many different types of spinning reels to choose from-
- Many choices for all different levels of experience and interest
- Spinning reels are easy to use, mechanics have a small learning curve- push button and flick
- Economical – won’t break the bank and is a perfect reel for beginners to learn on.
- Versatility- You can use many different types of lures, baits, and tackle.
- Hardly any backlash and easy for casting
Drawbacks of a Spinning Reel:
- Not meant for big game fish- you will need to pay to upgrade to a more suitable line if you want to catch the big guys.
- Construction is not as sturdy as baitcasters typically are. Rod could snap from some use
- The line can twist with the wind- don’t have the same quick reaction time capabilities as other reels.
- Shorter casting distance than other reels- limited range.
Q: How do I know if I need a salt water or fresh water reel?
A: The answer to that is, where are you going to be fishing? Naturally, if it’s at the cottage or summer house and you are by a lake or stream, freshwater reels are the way to go. If you plan to test out your fishing skills near the sea or ocean, Grab yourself a saltwater reel that has been specifically designed to withstand the salty, corrosive environment.
Q: What do I need to consider when buying a freshwater reel?
Weight of the reel:
You don’t want a reel that is too heavy that will affect the fishing experience. You won’t need a heavy one since most freshwater fishing doesn’t require that.
Ease of use when operating:
Reels operate in different ways depending on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers like to increase the options available on the reel thus causing it to be more difficult to operate.
Easy to maintain:
Look to purchase a reel that is easy to maintain and easy to clean- it’s going to be exposed to different, dirty environments and the longevity of the investment depends on how easy it is to clean.
Drag is a very important issue for reels- it refers to the amount of resistance the fish will feel once it’s caught.
Q: What do I need to consider when buying a saltwater fishing reel?
• A: How do you fish? Buying the appropriate reel will depend on where you fish from. Is it from a boat? Ashore? Land? Each reel has its strengths and weaknesses depending on where you will be fishing from.
• What type of fish will you be trying to catch?. Your reel and all the options available will depend on what type of fish you are planning to catch. Pairing the right rod with the right reel and with the right reel is critical.
• Experience- different reels require different experience skillsets- don’t choose one that you are not familiar with or don’t plan to learn more about.
Best Spinning Reels for Salt & Fresh Water Comparison Chart
|Product||Price||Bearings||Weight||Max Drag||Gear Ratio|
|Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel||$$$||3+1||13.50oz - 21.7oz||15lb - 20lb||4,8:1|
|Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reel||$$$||5+1||14.40oz - 43.50oz||20lb - 40lb||6.2:1 , 5.6:1 4.7:1 , 4.2:1|
|Shimano Saragosa SW Spinning Reel||$$$$||6+1, 5+1||16oz - 34.20oz||22lb - 44lb||5.7:1 , 5.6:1 4.9:1 , 4.4:1|
|Daiwa Revros Spinning Reel||$||7+1||8.30oz - 13.80oz||5lb - 13lb||5.7:1 , 5.6:1|
|Shimano Socorro SW Spinning Reel||$$$||4+1||15.50oz - 23.50oz||22lb - 27lb||4.9:1 , 4.6:1|
|Pee Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel||$$||6+1||8.10oz - 30.20oz||9lb - 30lb||5.2:1 , 6.2:1 5.6:1 , 5.3:1|
|Shimano Stradic HG Spinning Reel||$$$$||6+1||6.90oz - 11.30oz||7lb - 24lb||6:2:1 , 6.0:1|
|Daiwa BG Spinning Reel||$$$||6+1||8.50oz - 30oz||4.40lb - 33lb||5.7:1 , 5.6:1 5.3:1|
|Shimano Sedona FI Spinning Reel||$$||3+1||7.60oz - 10.6oz||7lb - 24lb||5.0:1 , 6.2:1|
|PENN Slammer III Spinning Reel||$$$$||6+1||13.90oz - 43.10oz||30lb - 60lb||6.2:1 , 5.6:1 4.7:1 , 5.3:1|
|OKUMA Avenger ABF B Series Baitfeeder Reel||$$||6+1||8.90oz - 22.90oz||8lb - 33lb||5.0:1 , 4.5:1|
|KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel||$||9+1||6.90oz - 13.93oz||11lb - 20lb||5:2:1 , 4.5:1|
As you can see from the information that has been provided in these spinning reel reviews, the world of angling can be extremely overwhelming when choosing the right fishing reel for yourself. From saltwater fishing to freshwater fishing and what environments they consist of, really do help narrow your choices down when looking at spinning reels.
When you have decided on the environment you will be fishing in, you can then choose the best spinning reel that would be appropriate for you based on your intentions, how much money you want to spend and what type of fish you want to catch.
What you will need consist of different types of reels and rods with many options for bait and lures. Do you need a baitcaster reel? A spincast reel or even the best fly fishing reel? These fishing reel buying guides should help you select which one is for you and which one fits best with your personal fishing situation.