Top 10 Best Surf Fishing Reels (2020): High-Grade Aluminum Build Models With CNC Gear & Stainless Steel Balls for Tackling Heavy Catches Tested & Reviewed (Buyer’s Guide Included)
- Simon Michel
When surf fishing, this type of specialized reels offers you the opportunity of dragging a large and strong catch to the shore with little effort. If you’re planning to haul in the ocean while standing on the shore, you’ll need this tackle. It is strong, reliable, durable, and can perform at maximum efficiency irrespective of the condition of the water.
This in-depth review, made by the Fisher Reel team, is packed with everything you’ll need to know to zero in on the best surf fishing reel you’ll always be happy with. We will be covering some of the factors you’ll have to consider before your purchase as well as our shortlisted products.
So, sit back, and let’s enjoy the ride.
What You Will Get Here
- Best Surf Fishing Reels Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
- Why You Should Trust Us
- Our Product Selection Process
- Our Top 10 Best Reels for Surf Fishing
- Top Choice: Penn Battle II
- Also Great: Penn Spinfisher V
- Value for Money: KastKing Sharky III
- Our Baitcasting Reel Choice: Okuma Avenger ABF B Series
- Top Conventional Non-Mag Reel: Daiwa Sealine-X SHA
- A List of 5 Other Products We Reviewed
- Other Notable Brands & Teste Models
- Which Type of Reel is Better?
- Best Surf Fishing Reels - A Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Care & Maintenance Tips
- Wrapping It Up
Best Surf Fishing Reels Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
Penn Battle IIRead Full Review
Penn Spinfisher VRead Full Review
KastKing Sharky IIIRead Full Review
Okuma Avenger ABF B SeriesRead Full Review
Daiwa Sealine-X SHARead Full Review
SeaKnight RapidRead Full Review
Fin-Nor OffshoreRead Full Review
KastKing Speed DemonRead Full Review
Quantum Cabo PTRead Full Review
Daiwa SS Tournament 5.1:1 SS1300Read Full Review
Why You Should Trust Us
You may find it confusing to differentiate between fake and original reviews among hundreds of online review sites. We also had a hard time choosing the right product depending on the reviews when we started our journey 5 years back. Only original reviews can help you make a good decision in this regard.
You can put your trust in us as we are an experienced team of passionate anglers who have been using and reviewing different fishing equipment for quite a long time now. We learned so much during this time period through hands-on experience. We use this hard-earned knowledge to help our readers find the right choice for them easily.
You won't find any biased reviews here since we have no affiliation with any manufacturers. As no financial gain is involved, we can review from an objective view, taking only the user ratings, performance, features, and prices into account. Thus, we make a comprehensive buying guide along with a list of top ten models to assist our readers in buying a suitable product.
Our Product Selection Process
After hours of thorough research, we made a comparison among the top-rated products on the internet and shortlisted only the 20 deserving products to be tested physically. It was a grueling task to narrow down the options, but we ran the extra mile to make it a fool-proof review.
We engaged our expert volunteers in the testing process. They put all these models to the test under our close supervision. We collected the reports from the volunteers once they're done with the testing. Then we collated their data with our findings and made a list of the top ten products.
We contacted other industry experts in our locality before finalizing the list. They shared their expert opinions with us and suggested a few changes. We considered their suggestions and made adjustments to come up with this final list. That's how we believe we've made the most comprehensive guide on the best surf fishing reel reviews you may find online.
Our Top 10 Best Reels for Surf Fishing
If you’re planning to take part in this exciting sport, here is our shortlisted choices for you so you can easily find your right match without any confusion.
The Penn Battle II is designed to meet all your expectations for a great fishing session. It has consistently proved its worth to both amateurs and professional anglers.
The first thing we liked about this product is that it is available in different sizes of 1000, 2000, 2500, 3000, 4000, 6000, and 8000. With this, you can obtain a size that will suit the type of fish you intend to catch.
The Penn Battle II is crafted from strong and durable materials making it capable of withstanding heavy fish. It is capable of performing in extreme conditions year after year without fail.
One of the greatest advantages of this model is that the frame, rotor, and side plates are made from metals to enhance its durability and reliability.
This product is equipped with aluminum bail wire that does not only enhance its durability but makes it ready for the catch anytime.
Moreover, the Penn Battle 2 is designed to function efficiently in saltwater, thanks to the anti-corrosive paint which is used on the body.
It will interest you to know that this model features six sealed ball bearings which are made from stainless steel to enhance its durability while allowing you to operate smoothly and easily.
You’ll appreciate its unique line capacity ring with markings that allow you to estimate the length of the line used and what has remained. Moreover, its line capacity for both mono and braid lines are more than 150 which implies that it is capable of being used for longer casts.
You cannot think of a long cast spinning reel without considering the drag system. The Penn Battle II features a carbon fiber drag system with drag washers on each of the sides to enhance its performance. In addition, the quick anti-reverse bearing helps you to engage the fish with confidence without having to be concerned with reel interruptions from a pullback.
Interestingly, the spool is designed to be used with Spiderwire Superline or Berkley and can hold a max. line capacity of 350 yards. In addition, the spool is equipped with a gasket that keeps the super line intact irrespective of the pressure.
The Penn Battle II is lightweight and durable. It has a gear ratio of 6.2:1 which offers a faster retrieve and is suitable for surfing with spoons or plugs.
- Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 3 inches
- Weight: 1 pound
- Reel Size: 4000
- Bearing count: 6
- Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
- Braid Capacity YD/LB: 360/15; 260/20; 185/30
For the price, Penn Battle II is an excellent long-distance reel that should be integrated into your fishing gear. It is made from aluminum and is available in various sizes that match your fishing technique.
It is capable of handling large fighting fish. The stainless steel bearings are resistant to corrosion making it suitable for use in both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
With its exciting features, durability, reliability, and lightweight; this is one of the best surf fishing reels that is worth the investment.
Ever since the Penn Fishing Tackling Company was established by Otto Henze in 1932, it has been regarded as one of the most renowned manufacturers of today’s fishing reels. The Penn Spinfisher V is among the most widely used reels from the Penn production line.
This amazing spinning reel is lightweight and long-lasting. Also, it is available in way more diverse sizes than the Penn Battle II, providing you with several options to choose from based on your style of angling and condition of the water.
It has a full metal body that is durable and capable of withstanding the impact of tough fighting fish. In addition, it features a CNC gear system that aligns itself completely under heavy loads.
The sealed bearings are made from stainless steel, which is a mark of its durability and ability to perform smoothly under any water condition. With a gear ratio of 6.2:1, you’ll enjoy a fast and smooth retrieve which will increase your rate of catch and make the activity more productive.
One of the most interesting features of this model that is worth noting is that it comes with IPX5 sealing that allows it to maintain optimal performance irrespective of its level of exposure to saltwater. It is sealed completely to prevent saltwater and sand from damaging the delicate parts like the drag system and gearbox.
Just like the Penn Battle II, the Penn Spinfisher V features the HT-100 drag which is equipped with carbon fiber drag washers to ensure that it can withstand the shock and pull from a powerful fish. It has a maximum drag of 20lb making it capable of handling many of the large fish in the water.
You’ll appreciate the Superline spool system that is equipped with a rubber gasket that keeps the lines from slipping. It allows you to enjoy a smooth big game surf fishing operation irrespective of the size of fish that you’re battling with.
The Penn Spingisher V is one of the most durable long cast choices you’ll find on the market. It has a maximum mono and braid line capacity of 425 yards.
- Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 4 inches
- Weight: 3.52 ounces
- Size: 4500
- Gear ratio: 6.2:1
- Bearing count: 6
- Mono Line Capacity YD/LB: 425/8 320/10 235/12
- Braid Line Capacity YD/LB: 390/15 320/20 250/30
- Inches Per Turn: 40”/102cm
- Max Drag: 20lb/9.0kg
Being reasonably priced and packed with top-notch features, users usually give it a high rating and so did we. It features 6 sealed bearings that are made from stainless steel and can function effectively in saltwater. If you’re eager to catch a big game without much effort, this is the choice to make.
Sharky III is a brand new design from KastKing production line which is built to the taste. It is designed to be used on the tough fighting fish in any fishing condition.
One of the things you’ll love about this model is its maximum drag power of 39.5lb/18kg, making it capable of engaging the larger fish with ease. It operates smoothly and reliably, thanks to the carbon fiber drag and oversized stainless steel main shaft.
It will interest you that the KastKing Sharky III has a metal body that is completely sealed with the KastKing Intrusion Shield System to protect the body, spool, and rotor by keeping water and dirt out.
In addition, it operates quietly and smoothly a feat that is complemented by braid ready aluminum spool. Moreover, you don’t have to rely on a backing line to enhance the operation using a braided line. Interestingly, this model is much lighter than the Penn Battle II.
Another feature of the KastKing shark reel that is worth mentioning is its high-rating stainless steel ball-bearing which is very durable and capable of retrieving smoothly against the large fighting fish. Still, on the design, it is equipped with an anti-reverse bearing which helps to limit pullback while enabling you to work smoothly.
The whole frame is made from steel while the handle is aluminum making it one of the most powerful, light, strong, and durable reels you’ll ever find. The handle is coated with EVA polymer to help anglers have a firm hold of the reel in wet conditions.
If you’re looking for a model with the capacity to hold a large line, the KastKing Sharky III is the product to buy.
- Size: 3000
- Weight: 9.2 ounces
- Max Drag: 33lb
- Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
- Inches Per Turn: 29.7
- Line Capacity (LB/YD): 8/220 10/175 12/130
The KastKing Sharky III has a durable construction that can perform with precision in both freshwater and saltwater environments. It is the surf fishing spinning reel for the money.
It features anti-reverse bearings that help it to operate smoothly without any interruptions or pullback.
One of the greatest advantages of this model is that the handle is padded with high-density EVA grips to prevent it from slipping off the hand when it is wet. We think it’s a great catch under 100 bucks!
If you’re a surf fishing enthusiast, then you should consider the Okuma Avenger ABF. One of the greatest assets of this model is the Okuma baitfeeder technology which offers the ultimate fishing solution to the angler. It allows the fish to hold the bait securely without experiencing any resistance from the gear and the fishing rod.
You’ll appreciate the ease with which the baitfeeder switch disengages the main drag system to keep the tension on the line under control. Once the fish has finished consuming the bait, by turning the reel handle, the baitfeeder system is disengaged while the primary drag system comes alive to lure the fish to the shore.
Achieving the optimal casting distance is a must for a pleasant rock fishing experience. It offers a great casting distance like other Okuma products such as Okuma Surf 8K.
Okuma Avenger ABF is designed with strong and durable materials to offer a better and complete fishing experience. It can handle different saltwater fishing species irrespective of the weight and size.
Interestingly, it comes with 6 ball bearing and 1 ring bearing drive system that allows it to drag smoothly and easily. Moreover, it is equipped with 1 quick-set anti-reverse bearing that enhances the performance of the retrieve operation by eliminating all pullbacks.
Okuma Avenger ABF has a line capacity of 205 yards, making it one of the ideal options to improve your catch rate.
It weighs 12.8 ounces and has a very comfortable feel in the hand. This reel is recommended for amateur and professional anglers who intend to enjoy a smooth and effortless surf fishing operation.
- Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions: 6.5 x 5 x 4 inches
- Line Capacity: 205/12 yds/lb
- Bearing: 6BB + 1RB
- Okuma baitfeeder technology
This is a high-quality surfing reel at its price. It comes with the Okuma baitfeeding technology that aids in the effective and smooth capture of different species of fish.
It is among the budget options for sale with advanced features to give you a thrilling fishing experience.
If you’re interested in investing in a surf fishing reel that will stand the test of time, the Okuma Avenger ABF is the choice for you.
If you prefer the conventional type, the Daiwa Sealine-X is the ideal choice for you. It comes with a free-floating spool that allows you to cast a lure with ease. Moreover, the spool is made from aluminum which is strong, durable, and lightweight.
The gears are made from stainless steel making it strong enough for longer casts and smoother lure drops. It is equipped with a 3 bearing system with a massive six-element sealed drag, which is responsible for its powerful and consistently smooth cast and retrieving operation.
One of the things we liked about this product is that it comes with a rod clamp that allows you to fish without holding the rod every time. In addition, it is equipped with a two-position power handle with a high-quality grip that allows you to fish all day without feeling pains in the muscles of the hand.
The gear ratio helps to inform you of the times the spool will rotate at each rotation of the handle. It reflects the speed at which the line will retrieve as well as the power of the crank. One of the most interesting things about the Daiwa Sealine-X is its 6.1:1 gear ratio which is balanced enough to retrieve quickly and can handle heavy fish as well.
This one of the best reels for surf fishing that can handle anything like an 8-foot shark to even a small bluefish. It feels really good and can handle long distance casts effectively. You’ll never regret trying this fishing equipment.
- Gear Ratio: 6.1:1
- Bearing: 3CRBB
- Mag-free Spool
- Bronze and Stainless steel gears
The Daiwa Sealine-X provides you with the opportunity to own a reliable conventional to solve your angling problems. It comes with a free-floating spool which is separated from the gear train to reduce friction in the moving parts.
It is strong, lightweight, and durable. It is capable of making longer casts and the retrieve speed is awesome.
This model is recommended for those anglers with some years of experience with different reels for surf fishing.
A List of 5 Other Products We Reviewed
SeaKnight came into existence in 1983 in a small workshop and has since grown into a multi-million-dollar company. One of the striking benefits of using the SeaKnight Rapid is the user-friendly technology which is incorporated in its design to solve all your surf fishing issues.
Interestingly, this model features a stainless steel shield ball bearing that is resistant to rust and dirt which helps to enhance its longevity. It has been tested and is found to function effectively in saltwater without any trace of corrosion.
One of the things that makes the SeaKnight Rapid an excellent choice is its specially designed drag knob and washer, which keeps the inner parts free from the corrosive effects of saltwater.
Moreover, it has a lightweight design that is complemented by its line spool and hollow dynamic rotor that allows it to operate smoothly and easily.
The SeaKnight Rapid features a 3 carbon drag washer and 3 stainless steel drag washer that offers it the superior power to successfully engage a fish of 33lb weight.
The manner in which the line is layered on the spool helps to limit the impact of friction when making longer casts.
One of the features of the SeaKnight Rapid worth mentioning is the EVA padded handle that offers you a smooth handle operation while allowing you to enjoy fatigue-free fishing.
- Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.1 x 3.5 inches
- Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
- Drag: 15kg/33lb
- Bearing: 10 + 1
This is a very well made reel that is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. It features an infinite anti-reverse that allows you to enjoy a flawless and smooth fishing experience.
It should interest you that the reel is light and feels very good in the hand. It is equipped with a thicker main shaft and carbon drag that helps enhance its performance. In addition, the bearings are shielded making it resistant to corrosion and other harmful substances from the environment.
Fin-Nor Offshore is suitable for heavy-duty use and large game. It is strong, powerful, and designed to be used in the harshest fishing environment.
The body, side plate, and rotor are made from high-grade aluminum which is lightweight, durable, and strong enough to overcome the force from large fish.
It features a machined stainless steel shaft and pinion gears and center shaft that operates smoothly irrespective of the duration of the activity.
One of the things that we liked about this product is the shielded stainless steel bearings that make it suitable for use in saltwater fishing. Interestingly, the bearings are doubled to enhances the smoothness of performance.
In addition, it comes with carbon fiber drag which makes for easy and smooth operation which is necessary for dragging heavy fish.
You’ll appreciate the aluminum spool that can accommodate braided lines which is suitable for distant casts.
One of the features of the Fin-Nor Offshore that is worth mentioning is its 4.4:1 gear ratio which is responsible for its ability to handle heavy fish even though the retrieval speed is low.
This model is recommended for anglers whose interest is to use a lightweight reel with more power and reliability.
- Gear ratio: 4.4:1
- Bearing: 2 x 4BB
- Max Drag: 60lbs
- Aluminum body
- Carbon fiber washers
Our list cannot be complete without the Fin-Nor Offshore. It has a strong aluminum body making it lightweight, strong, and capable of handling tough fighting fish.
The bearings are made from stainless steel which allows it to be used in both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
The oversized multi-stack drag and the carbon fiber washers contribute to its smooth drag against a large fish.
If speed is what you need from your reel choice, we are glad to introduce you to the fastest spinning reel in the world!
The KasKing Speed Demon comes with a gear ratio of 7.2:1 that supports high-speed retrieves. It helps to remove slack in your line and allows you to catch up on fish that moves fast. With such tremendous speed, you are capable of enjoying 16% more catch per day.
The KastKing Speed Demon does not only pride itself as the fastest reel in the fishing industry but it’s one of the strongest on the market. The frame is constructed from lightweight aluminum which is strong, durable and helps to eliminate the twisting of the frame during the operation.
It will interest you to know that the rotor and handle of the KastKing Speed Demon are made from carbon fiber and carbon plate respectively to limit its overall weight.
Still, on the design, this model features a powerful carbon drag system that is complemented by brass pinion gears and steel shafts construction. It can perform with consistent strength in either freshwater or saltwater.
The three-carbon disc layers make for the smooth drag operation that can handle up to a 25-pound fish. Interestingly, the drag increases automatically when the situation demands and can drop to accommodate lighter fish.
One of the things we love about the KastKing Speed Demon is the braid-ready spool which allows you to fill the reel with braided lines without having to back with a monofilament line.
It uses a 10 + 1 double ball shielded stainless steel ball bearings that allow it to perform smoothly in any water or condition.
- Size: 3000
- Gear Ratio: 7.2:1
- Dimensions: 4.1 x 4.4 x 3.3 inches
- Weight: 9.8 ounces
- Max Drag: 25lbs
- Inches Per Turn: 41.2
- Line Capacity (LB/YD): 8/218 10/175 12/131
The KastKing Speed Demon is one of the finest products from the KastKing production line. You can agree with us that it is the spinning reel that is designed to meet your earnest expectation.
It features an aluminum frame that is light and strong enough to withstand the shock from tough fighting fish. The handle is made from carbon making it light and easy to hold.
One of the greatest advantages of this model is its ultra-high-speed operation. Thanks to its 7.2:1 gear ratio which allows it to retrieve quickly irrespective of the fish size or the condition of the water. The KastKing Speed Demon is an amazing choice for surf anglers because of its super-fast cast and retrieval operation.
The Cabo PT actually is quite popular among beginners and professionals alike. It is very good looking with a sleek finish.
One of the things you’ll appreciate in this product is its unique PT technology which is used in the spool making it capable of handling long distant lures smoothly and easily.
Targeting and capturing the big game in the saltwater becomes easier with the Cabo PT as it is designed with your success in mind.
It has the Titanium bail system that is 100% proof to failure despite the level shocker from the big catch. Moreover, its strength and durability are enhanced by its PT gears and super magnetic trip.
This saltwater reel also features a sealed magnum drag system which makes it impregnable to corrosive water.
The aluminum spool is designed to function through the Line Management System which enables it to use braided lines for smooth and easy long distant casts. Interestingly, the line does not slip or tangle throughout the duration of the test.
Another feature of the Cabo PT that is worth mentioning is its large handle which allows you to enjoy a comfortable grip in the hand. In addition, it offers a maximum drag of 45 pounds which is capable of dragging large and toothy fish.
If you’re a serious saltwater angler with an interest to improve on your daily catch, the Cabo PT is worth the investment.
- CSC drag system
- Sealed magnum clutch
- Fail-proof bail system
- Hard PT gears
- LMS spool
- Frame: Aluminum
- Drag: 45 pounds
The Cabo PT is strong, durable, and performs reliably in any fishing condition. It has a very nice design which has helped to reduce its overall weight and other complexities. One of its greatest advantages is the bail wire which is solid enough to handle heavy and toothy fish.
The drag is also awesome, making it capable of taking on a 45-pound fish smoothly and easily. It may seem pricey, but it is really good value for money.
This model comes at a reasonable price with a maximum drag capacity of 15.4 pounds. The drag may not be as high as that of the Cabo PT but can handle diverse species of fish.
Interestingly, the drag performance is enhanced by its massive stainless steel discs that provide consistent power which is needed to lure the fish to the shore.
The Daiwa SS Tournament comes with a line capacity of 165 yards per 8 pounds which is housed by its aluminum spool. Still, on the design, it’s ball bearings are made from stainless steel which is durable, strong, and resistant to corrosion.
In addition, this product weighs 9.0 ounces which is light making it feel good in the hand irrespective of the number of hours you spend on fishing.
Another important feature of this model that will interest you is the strong and durable bail spring. It is designed to look like a ballpoint pen to eliminate any weakening or breakage of the line during the cast.
Moreover, you’ll appreciate the precise pattern which the line is wrapped around the spool. This helps the line to flow smoothly during the cast and retrieve operation.
One of the greatest assets of the Daiwa SS1300 is it’s unique 5.1:1 gear ratio. This gear ratio is simply great because of its ability to retrieve quickly for both heavy and light game.
This product is made from graphite which makes it much lighter yet strong enough to handle the medium size fish.
- Weight: 9 ounces
- Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 7 inches
- Line Capacity YD/LB: 165/8
- Max Drag: 15.4lbs
- Inches Per Turn: 26.4
- Gear Ratio: 5.1:1
This model comes with various exciting features. One of its greatest assets is the long cast technology that helps to enhance the ability of the line to reach the fish at its position in the water.
In addition, the spool is made from aluminum to give it the needed strength to withstand heavy loads.
The whisker graphite body of the Daiwa SS Tournament is a delight to many beginners and professional anglers.
Other Notable Brands & Teste Models
We came across hundreds of brands and their product lines during our research. Let’s take this space to mention the names of a few reputable manufacturers and their popular models:
Shimano (known for Ultegra XTD, Speedmaster), Van Staal, Mitchell
- 01Okuma Tundra Surf Spinning Combo
- 02Dr.Fish Saltwater Shark Surf Reel
- 03FLADEN CHARTER Fixed Spool Beach Casting Reel
- 04Daiwa SS Tournament 5.1:1 SS1300
- 05Okuma Trio Rex Arena Long Cast Spinning Reel
- 06Shakespeare Agility 70 Surf Reel
- 07FLADEN Maxximus 6500 Multiplier Fishing Reel
- 08Dr.Fish Saltwater Big Game Surf Casting
- 09Sonik SKS 8000 Surf Reel
- 10PENN Slammer 3 Surf Spinning Reel
- 11Daiwa SASURF6000 Saltiga Surf Reel
- 12Quantum Optix 60 Spinning Fishing Reel
- 13Daiwa M7HTMAGST Millionaire Surf Reel
Which Type of Reel is Better?
Surf reels are usually mounted to two-handed long rods and they often omit braking mechanisms and level-wind to help anglers achieve the longest possible casting distance. You can perform surf fishing effectively with either a baitcasting reel or a spinning reel. If you go for smaller fish categories including surfperch, pompano and croakers, spinning reels come handy. The type of reel suitable for you will depend on your kind of fishing rod, tackle, and skills.
Let’s discuss the type of reels.
Spinning reels are easier to use and designed to handle heavier casts and large saltwater game. They are usually attached to the lower side of the rod. Spinning reels are more popular among new and intermediate anglers and they’re perfect for distant lures and casting with lighter lines.
Baitcasting reels have their specific rods that are attached to their tips. They can cast with heavy lines and long distant lures making it the ideal fishing reel for professional anglers. One of their greatest assets is that they allow you to have more control of the casts which aids your ability to make precise casts and quicker catch.
The only disadvantage with a baitcaster reel is that they’re prone to backlashes, especially if you’re yet to understand how to operate it properly.
Today's high-end models are designed to operate effectively while the frequency of backlashes becomes greatly reduced.
Best Surf Fishing Reels - A Comprehensive Buying Guide
Wondering what is the best surf fishing reel? There are some things that should come to your mind when shopping for such fishing equipment. It is true that each of us might require different things from these reels which is the reason you should have an understanding of some of the basic aspects of this type of reel.
The following are some of the essential qualities you should look for in your choice.
1. Line Diameter
The diameter of your line can make so much difference to the success of your cast. Sometimes, you may be thinking that this does not have any effect on your casts.
However, the greater your line diameter, the tougher the line which makes it less prone to breaking or backlash and will, in turn, affect your overall performance.
2. Ball Bearings
Surf anglers always keep this factor in mind when looking for this fishing equipment. It’s the bearings that help you to cast and retrieve smoothly. The level of speed and smoothness of the cast and retrieve operation is determined by the number and material of the ball bearings.
A reel with a higher number of bearings will operate more freely and the bearing should be made of high-quality materials. Also, it should have an anti-reverse bearing that helps to eliminate the impact of a backlash.
3. Reel Brakes
The one you choose must be equipped with either a centrifugal brake or magnetic brake or both. It should interest you that none of the two braking types are really better than the other. However, they’re operated differently based on the application of the tension knobs.
The centrifugal brake mechanism offers more effective stops against the spins by means of friction. Moreover, it affords you the opportunity of enjoying more control of the casts.
Magnetic brakes, on the other hand, are much easier to use.
There’re products that come with the two braking systems in one piece. These ones are more expensive but they also perform more efficiently.
4. Size & Weight
Baitcasting reels are available in sizes that range from 1000 to 3000 and so on. The larger the reel, the greater its ability to handle a bigger fish with little effort.
You may wonder what size reel is suitable for surf fishing. A surf casting reel should have a minimum size rating of 4000 to provide the expected drag power, gear ratio, and line capacity.
In addition, you should consider buying reels that are made from aluminum or graphite which light and durable and can be handled easily without feeling fatigued. Moreover, heavier reels tend to perform poorly with shocks when compared to lightweight reels.
5. Corrosion Resistance & Sealing
The water in the ocean is salty and can corrode or damage the delicate parts of the reel. Your chosen model should feature sealed and corrosion-free ball bearings.
In addition, you should buy reels that are designed to keep off the water by having the side plates and drag housing sealed with gaskets. Such reels will last longer and perform effectively in saltwater and other extreme conditions like ocean tides, waves, and currents.
One of the most outstanding concepts of surf fishing is the drag power required to overcome the tension from a large fish. Therefore, we recommend that you choose one with a maximum drag of at least 30 to 40 pounds.
7. Gear Ratio
The time of rotation of the bail to a single rotation of the handle is given by the gear ratio. These ratings are boldly written on the machine, for example, 4:1, 5:1, 6:1, 7:1, and so on. A gear ratio of 6:1 implies that at a single rotation of the handle, the bail rotates 6 times.
If your lures will require a faster retrieve, you’ll need to use a higher gear ratio. Thus, a 6:1 gear ratio is ideal for obtaining faster retrieval while 4:1 is normally slow but with good torque power to handle a larger fish.
However, you should choose the gear ratio based on your style of fishing. Therefore, the ideal gear ratio is 5:1. This is because it can be used for both heavy-weight baits which require lower gear ratios and lightweight baits that require higher ratios.
8. Line Capacity
This is given by the size and length of the line which the spool can accommodate. In surf fishing, the ideal line capacity should not be less than 250 yards and weighs about 20 – 30 pounds. The higher the line capacity, the further you’ll be able to make the cast.
Surf fishing is a very demanding task that requires a strong and reliable reel. You should get a reel that can withstand the strong waves, collision on rocks, and other impacts from the environment.
The high-end models are made from high-quality metals that are durable and capable of withstanding several impacts from unfavorable situations. Moreover, you should consider buying reels with a stronger and thicker bail wire that cannot bend or break easily.
10. Ease of Use
One of the major requirements is its ability to be used with ease. This implies that it should spin easily with little effort.
Its ease of operation is enabled by the quality and number of bearings on the reel which helps to reduce friction in the rotating parts. In addition, the handle should be designed to be accessed easily and should rotate smoothly.
11. Your Skill & Experience Level
Your level of skill and experience should determine the right type and size for you to buy. Even though spinning reels are very easy to use, it is important to get one that can be controlled easily.
It requires more skill and experience to use reels with magnetic brakes only. However, if you’re a beginner, you should consider buying a reel that is equipped with both centrifugal or magnetic brakes.
12. Type of Fish & Environment
You’ll require a strong reel to work around vegetation, sharp rocks, coral reefs, and jetties. Big fish species tend to engage the baits with a force that will shock the reel. The reels must have the required strength to accommodate braided lines that can withstand repeated attacks by toothy fish.
In addition to its ability to work smoothly under saltwater, they should be strong enough to withstand the pressure from forces in the environment by retrieving smoothly irrespective of the game size.
13. Value for Money
It will be out of place for you to equate the quality of a reel to its price. In other words, expensive doesn’t automatically translate to high-quality neither does cheap mean that the quality is poor. Whatever the type of fishing reel you're planning to buy, shop for a reel that has good value for money.
You’ll discover that almost all of the products on this review are budget-friendly with qualities you’ll always cherish while at the shore.
If your choice of product is among the highly-priced, we recommend that you may save some bucks by purchasing an affordable product, having similar features with the capability to solve your most pressing angling challenges.
Care & Maintenance Tips
The following tips will help prolong the life of your reel while making it perform at its optimal level at all times.
- Rinse you reel in clean water after fishing in saltwater or dirty freshwater body
- Set a time frame and adhere strictly to where you’ll unmount the handle and spool to carry out the necessary checks and lubricate the moving parts
- You should endeavor to refer to the servicing of the parts to qualified persons only
- Avoid tampering with some of the casings that are packed with washers, cogs, and springs as they can be lost easily
- If some of the parts stop working, you should endeavor to get them replaced on time
Wrapping It Up
Our top choice is the Penn Battle II S that's made from strong and durable materials. It is equipped with several features that make it the ideal reel for saltwater and freshwater fishing. It has an excellent drag system that makes it capable of withstanding tough and heavy fighting fish.
On the other hand, the KastKing Sharky III is worth every penny spent on it since it comes with superior power and drag capacity that can handle a 39.5-pound fish. The entire body is sealed completely to protect the internal parts from being damaged by saltwater or dirt.
We have found a few models of the same company deserving to secure a spot on our list whereas no model from some reputed brands like Abu Garcia, Avet Reels, Ryobi, and Yuki couldn't make it to our final list.
Having come to the end of this review, we will like you to understand that the market has been inundated with various types of surf fishing reels which has contributed to the difficulty you may experience as a new surf angler.
However, we are hopeful that this review will not only simplify your task to find the best surf fishing reels but will also provide you with everything you’ll need to know while shopping for the product that suits your preference. Also, you can take a look at other types of fishing reels that we reviewed right here on Fisher Reel by clicking the links below: