13 Best Surf Fishing Reels of 2022 Reviewed (Buyer’s Guide)

Best line counter reels

The best surf fishing reels are important fishing gear for an angler’s reels collection. Shoreline fishing deals with difficulties peculiar to fishing outside a boat and demands special tools to get the job done efficiently. You’ll need a rod and reel built with the special needs of surf fishing in thoughts. That may begin with a focus on casting.


After picking out your surf fishing rod, the next thing to do is get a reel that is up to the particular and rewarding circumstances you will make them undergo. It can be a nightmare to be unfamiliar with the surf fishing reel you are using or have your saltwater reel not function appropriately in the middle of using it. It has to work at its best, even under harsh conditions. To save more people from situations like this, we have collected the best surf fishing reels for various budgets and levels of expertise below.

13 Best Surf Fishing Reels for 2022 Reviewed

1. Penn Slammer III

The Penn Slammer III reels are accompanied by an IP67 waterproof system, which means they are shielded from strong splashes from incoming torrents. Regardless, this doesn’t mean you should immerse the reels in the saltwater. Though it is completely covered and can deal with occasional total dunks, don’t allow it to stay dunked in water for an extended period. The Penn Slammer has a 40-pound drag and is a new rotor CNC gear technology. Getting one of 5500 or less would get you an automatic bail, but bigger ones would require that you close the bail yourself.


However you want it, fishing from a boat or the shore, you should cart this reels for surfcasting off; it is trusted by charter captains worldwide. 

2. Van Staal VR Series

Van Staal VR Series is the latest upgrade of Van Stan spinning reels and is currently one of the most eye-catching spinning reels on sale. It is designed and built with 6061–T6 aluminum, giving it a characteristic lightweight. It is sealed up and is constructed in a manner that makes it water-resistant.


Each model of this series has reels of the same body and size. What makes the difference is the sizes of the spool and rotor. They also come with a conversion kit without bail and a manual bail. If you need a surf fishing reel that would last enough to be passed down to generations, this right here is what you need; get one of them. 

3. Daiwa Sealine-X

For a surfcasting reel, these Non-Magnetic reels, the Daiwa Sealine or the SLX, the SLH, are more or less identical, but the SLX came out a little later. The differences between these two are slight. The SLX has a little more bells, bearings, and whistles, but one thing is constant; they both have solid drag power and are some of the best non-mag grills you can buy without question.


Not many reels have earned such a solid reputation for performance and reliability as Daiwa’s Tournament SS Series from mountain streams to Bonefish flats in the keys. They are award-winning reels for light saltwater record seekers all over the world; these reels have proven themselves against the world’s top gamefish.


Daiwa HG Tournament classic also makes the list of the best reel for surf fishing reels up there; the downside is that it has been out of stock. 

4. Daiwa BG2500 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

One of the best reels on the mark, in my opinion, is the Daiwa BG. It is a heavy-duty spinning reel that has a precision-built aluminum body and side plate. It is also highly corrosion-resistant. These features make this fishing reel the optimum reel for shoreside territory.


The Daiwa BG has a drive system with precision cutting techniques that gives it an extra smooth performance and a higher-ranking gear meshing. When combined with the new and upgraded drag grease, the new ATD drag system provides prominent spool support by lowering the spool turn beneath heavy weight loads, resulting in a smoother drag from the original hook up.


In addition, it has an air rotor that is light yet very strong. The air rotor design gives the reel its characteristic sensitivity and strength. It also rapidly decreases weight by distributing the pressure to the whole lower section of the rotor.

5. Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reel

Okuma Azores spinning reels are built specifically for saltwater fishing. It has some proven power features and a trademarked interior design that makes it sturdier, more robust, and smoother than others. It was constructed to provide exact gear alignment, durability, and maximal castability.


It has bearings that are ten times more resistant to saltwater than standard stainless steel bearings. It maximizes high drag pressure, maintaining efficiency and general smoothness. Its trademarked design balances the spool shaft to take out flex under pressure; therefore, giving a durable and smooth operating reel. Compared to the customary gears, this surf casting reel offers outstanding anti-corrosive features with internal and external parts coated with corrosion X HD.


If you’re new to surf fishing, Okuma Azores is the ideal reel for you. Though the fishing reel is strong, it won’t break your bank when you purchase it. 

6. Daiwa Saltist

The Daiwa Saltist fishing reel exists in 7 models ranging from a SALTIST2500 to a SALTIST8000 to cover a broad range of different enticements and baits. It is an excellent average-price saltwater spinning reel for aiming mid at big fishes. Its spin is very smooth, with an average drag of 15-33 lbs. It also has a partially waterproof system with Magseal technology to prevent salty water and dirt from penetrating.

Daiwa’s Saltist is legendary among surfcaster reels. In the smaller sizes, they are slender enough to have no impact on the casting and balancing of your rod. They are outstanding choices for the beach or harbor. This statement does not imply that the larger sizes aren’t excellent either; they are just better choices for spinning-reel lovers fishing on or offshore.

The Saltist line-up has an excellent drag that is sealed and uses carbon fiber disks to put pressure on the spool. The maximums are perfectly matched to the reel sizes, as expected from the top-rated industry. The performance is not smooth and dependable too.

The Saltist sport is a giant spool that speedily holds more line than the Penn reels. It has the proper gearing yield lightning-fast retrieval rates, with the 4500 sizes pulling in 43 inches of line per turn. This just kills the Penn in this area.

Are you searching for the best surf fishing reels that work at a speed that would make flash jealous? Daiwa Saltist is the one for you. Casting is smooth and reassuring, even in a stiff current of air, and there’s just nothing negative to say about this excellent reel. It is designed for anglers who want a long-lasting and dependable reel in any condition. 

7. Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel

The Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel is an ultra-modern reel that upgrades the President to a higher level of performance and gives you great value for your money. It is made up of steel which causes it to be corrosion-resistant and resilient. It has super-fast lightweight reels, thanks to its fast-moving gear ratio.

Its features are; a pinion gear made up of aluminum, an aluminum main shaft, carbon fiber handle, sealed drag, and a knob made of rubber cork. The main shaft is 30%  lighter than stainless steel, and the pinion gear is 60% lighter than the conventional brass. These unique properties give the Pflueger President XT its lightweight with superb performance when coupled together.

The Pflueger President XT could be a jackpot; it gives you great value for your money. It is an ideal pick for more miniature games.

8. Seaknight Rapid Saltwater Reel

The best surf fishing reel on a budget is the Seaknight Rapid Saltwater Reel. It is made from fine-quality materials with a high-valued spin reel designed for saltwater.

The Rapid II fresh and saltwater spinning reel features an anti-corrosive coating for salt and freshwater use. It offers an enhanced, thicker main shaft, stainless ball bearings, and a carbon fiber drag system with 15kg/33LB drag to land the giant gamefish. Exquisite craftsmanship employing advanced production technologies and outfitted with high-quality 10 + 1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings create an amazingly smooth feel. The Rapid II also features a sealed aluminum spool and rotor structure, preventing water and sand from entering the gearing.

The Rapid II is a fast, powerful, durable reel suited for heavy freshwater and light saltwater use. Perfect for inshore fishing and Bass, Stripers, Walleyes, Catfish, and Northern Pike. Here we want a surf fishing reel that does the basics well and will survive life in the surf. We’ll forgo some add-on features for better value and have a sturdy reel for surf fishing that you can bank on for the finest price possible.

It’s a spin reel for saltwater with an incredible value and is well made from high-quality materials. It’s lightweight with the right line capacity, and the drag is powerful enough, but it can be faulty.

9. Shimano Ultegra XTC

The Shimano Ultegra XTC has the Hagane gearing to improve fishing with a super rigid and durable construction for even the roughest conditions. It also has the X-Protect water resistance. This reel can cast far, particularly the size 14000, which has an extremely slow 5 Oscillation, which creates an almost perfect lay.

These would make a perfect pairing with a 9ft surf rod because they have hand-operated closing bails. They can handle splashes like the majority of surf reels. Regardless of that, avoid dunking it.

10. Penn Clash II

A Level-Line structure that would help you reduce wind tangles accompanies the Penn Clash II. It is an upgrade from the Penn Battle II but isn’t as lovely or costly as the Slammer or Spinfisher. It is a great choice if you intend to fish artificial baits with a braided line.

In addition to that, it is available in 1000-5000 and is suitable for any offshore use. Its size 5000 has a density of 20lbs with a 5.6:1 gear ratio. If you want to go surf fishing without spending a fortune, I strongly recommend this.

11. Penn Spinfisher VI

The Penn Fishing Spinfisher VI has an IPX5 sealing feature that gives you safety assurance. You don’t have to worry about saltwater penetrating the gearbox or drag system because it is completely sealed. Its HT-100 drag washers are positioned in a completely sealed spool to provide the finishing power required for large saltwater fishes. The drag washers are also calibrated to realistic pinnacles to compliment the size of each reel; that way, you aren’t defeated in the battle zone.

In addition, specialists say that the HT-100 system slightly reduces friction as the heat increases. This implies that fast-racing fishes would stir less heat on your line; therefore, lowering your chances of line failure. The fascinating feature is probably the fiberglass discs covered in carbon fiber material. Besides creating lots of friction and head-on pressure on the spool, the material combination combats wear better than the usual oiled-felt ones.

If you want “loyalty,” Penn Spinfisher VI is just what you need in your life. You can always bank on it.

12. Penn Battle II

If you need a surf fishing reel that wouldn’t bail out on you whenever you need it, Penn Battle II should be your first choice because it would always fight your battles at sea and never let you down. What makes it such a reliable choice?

Penn Battle II 3000 is a well-known reel among anglers for its long lifespan, quality, and affordable price. It is one of the best reels ever manufactured, and it is sturdy though it isn’t a long cast spinning reel. It is also highly corrosion-resistant and has a high line-up spinning reel suitable for defeating big saltwater gamefish. In addition, it is characterized by smooth reeling with a 5-sealed stainless steel ball-bearing. Its superfine spool, which has an anti-reverse bearing, does not require backing and has line capacity rings pronounced at ⅓, ⅔ with full capacity. 

13. KastKing’s Sharky III

KastKing’s Sharky III is a cheap surf casting reel that wouldn’t make you cry. Affordable price tags do not always mean inferiority, and this reel is one of such goods that is superior, despite being cheap. The latest edition of the KastKing Sharky III spinning fishing reel is now smoother, lighter, and sturdier; it is an improved version.

It has a highly efficient triple disc carbon fiber drag to 39.5 lbs and an aluminum spool set for braid fishing which helps you overcome back lining. It has 10+1 covered stainless steel bearings. Also, it possesses a large stainless steel principal shaft that creates a flawless spinning rod and reel combo in sizes 1000 – 5000. This creates a savage force for combating larger game fish. This surf fishing reel also operates a triple carbon fiber disc drag system, is protected from saltwater and sand interference, and has mesh manganese brass pinion gears for precision.

The KastKing Sharky III is the real knight of the sea that can deal with any sea monster. You get all of these for a low price, and you want to sleep on it? What would be your excuse?

Guidelines for Picking the Best Surf Fishing Reels

Know the Task and Choose the Right Reel for It

For surf fishing, the first thing to do before purchasing your fishing reels is to know what job you intend to do with them. Knowing information such as the surfing location, the type of fish you are surfing for, and your method of surfing would help you make better decisions. For example, some locations might require that you use a long-cast reel. Also, there are other locations where you don’t need a long-cast reel because there are durability issues that other reel types are capable of handling.

Never Choose Extra Yards Over a Great Drag

You should know by now that choosing quantity over quality is never a wise decision. Quality would always lord over quantity, and that is why you should choose a reel with a good drag and standard spool instead of a costly long spool reel. If you’re not an experienced and confident long-caster, with the perfect rod and some technique, no reel won’t pitch 300 feet. You can purchase a carbon filter drag for more drag. Never forget, quality over quantity.

Look Out for Durability Instead of the Distance Your Reel Can Cover

Having your surf fishing reel break amidst fishing is not a pleasant experience. Seeing spools take off and handle snaps is a shared experience; just ensure you are not the one experiencing it. How do you avoid being the victim of a broken reel in the middle of fishing? Never forfeit durability for a longer distance. Invest in better bearings and a great carbon filter drag.

Ensure the Reel is Protected Against Saltwater

There are tendencies of saltwater corroding the fishing reel rapidly when surf fishing. Apart from saltwater, sand and sea waste can ruin your fishing reel equally. To avoid the destruction of your fishing reels, you have to protect them from such harmful constituents. How do you do that? When choosing a surf fishing reel, go for a corrosion-resistant one. I’m sure you don’t want your money to go down the drain. This decision would contribute to the durability of your reel.

Surf Fishing Reels Worth Considering

Akios made in Britain is one to consider when you are faced with choosing the best surf fishing reels. It is a long cast spinning reel and is a standard tool for surf weights.

Geometry, weight, and line lay are some things that provide you with distance. Many of the top surfing reels will be around 600g or thereabouts; this is why the Stradic works excellently. The Akios has some versions in the market that are top-rated long casters and are accessible in the US.

Penn is another excellent and affordable surf fishing line available but hasn’t brought their long cast reels to the US. However, it is known to have manufactured reels for the UK and European markets.

There’s the Penn Conflict long caster; it is a pretty cool reel and worth trying.

If cost is not a challenge for you, and you don’t mind splashing some money on one of the best reels for surf fishing, you should check out Shimano Aero Technium.

Another reel that makes this list is the Diawa Basia fishing reel. It is a beauty to behold. Every inch is beautifully crafted and polished. It is so beautiful you might just want to stare at it and be immersed in its beauty instead of using it for fishing. Not only is it good-looking, but it is also smooth and sturdy. You get extra value for your money.

Akios manufactures some extra tuned reels, and others make excellent tournament-equipped reels. Suppose you consider getting a fine-tuned reel; you should consider getting a specially purpose-made reel before spending $450. Your purchase might even be more valuable than the 7 HD super tuned one.

Spinning Reel vs. Conventional Reel

Without a doubt, spinning reel wins hands down for the easy application. Anybody can indeed be taught to use a lure caster within a short time, but what happens when you have no one to coach you? You can pick up incorrect patterns and have no one to correct you.

With Spinning reels, you don’t have to worry much about using them. It is as straightforward as the alphabet.

When Do You Use a Braided Line?

It is not common for surf anglers to apply braid on conventional reels. It is uncommon because the braid on the line would slice through your skin into your bone marrow when you accidentally touch it without some kind of protection. Even a mono might not be able to save you. But with a spinning reel, using a braid with it makes it a higher ranking reel.

There is no challenge of long-distance with spinning reels, compared to the conventional reels where long distance is an issue for those who aren’t great at casting and can’t control their conventional reel. For weights above 50g, conventional reels consistently top the poll. Also, conventional reels have a line capacity greater than that of spinning reels.

A shallow spool accompanies most strong-point reels that are built for the application of  braid. In my opinion, neither of the two options has the upper hand with line capacity; however, spinning wheels are a better choice for braids. It might also interest you to know that anglers also shy away from having braids on boat wheels. Those that choose to use braids do so because they probably use a little reel and desire more capacity. 

Brakes For Surf Fishing Reel

No brake is superior to the other. The different brakes are made for different uses and have different tension knobs. To prevent counteractions, what most anglers do when they make use of the tension knot is to put any weight they are going to project, back it off, and then release it till their weight begins to go down. Notwithstanding, this isn’t a great way to start; it only ensures that the reel doesn’t have a too-fast start; it is not a brake.

Centrifugal Brakes

A centrifugal braking system resides within the same side plate on the reel as the magnetic braking system. It works by utilizing several braking pads within the plate. Applying pressure on a brake ring causes the spool to slow down. The higher the pressure applied on the brake ring, the faster the spool slows down.


There are quite a couple of approaches used in adjusting a centrifugal braking system. First, some reels have an external dial on the side plate, like the magnetic braking system. With such reels, the higher you raise the dial-up, the more the brake pads would come out to put increased pressure on the brake ring, causing it to be slow at an increased pace. 


On the other hand, some reels have the settings for the centrifugal braking system to be internal, meaning you would need to take off the side plate every time you want to adjust them. Also, while some internal adjustments work on a spring system where the pads are fixed on the end of tiny springs, others use dials that just need to be turned up and down.


Although not recommended for new users of a baitcasting reel, you may turn them off entirely if you desire to.


Magnetic Brakes

Every angler who uses a baitcasting reel should learn to use the magnetic brakes. The method used here is called feathering. You simply feather the line lightly with your thumb while your bait is mid-air during casting. Then, just when it is about to land, you gradually apply pressure. Immediately the bait lands on the water, you increase the pressure with your thumb on the spool. This action would immediately stop the spinning.


Some of the more modern baitcasting reels will claim that their automated braking systems will thoroughly remove the need to feather the line yourself, and indeed, a lot of these reels are very close to doing this.


But feathering is a skill that everyone using a bait-caster reel should learn, as it will give you more control over your casts and ultimately allow you to drop your lures right on the spot you want and greatly reduce the chance of backlash tangles from occurring.

Why Fishing Line Diameter Matters

It’s a misconception to assume you don’t drop distance on a conventional reel. You should correct that. A couple of thousandths constitute a broad contrast when casting. There are a  couple of Youtube links to back this up.

Three-thousandths of a millimeter can make a little difference in the distance of a cast; declining to 18 thousandths is what we use for 7.5. So it’s double from 25 thousandths. So with a quarter of an ounce, that’s just something to note. 

The Best Braid to Mono Knot

The best braid to mono knot is the double Uni Knot. It is one of the most accessible line-to-line connections with two lines with a similar diameter. Another knot that ranks high is the FG knot. It is the ideal knot to use if you are fishing with a heavy braid and drag.

For fishing with lightweight, Bristol Knot is a perfect choice. It can be tied with ease and would easily pass through rod guides. Frequently, it is thought to be a better option than Double Uni when fishing with a light line or tippet.

How to Care for Your Surf Fishing Reels

To see your fishing reel enjoy longevity,  ensure you clean it adequately and regularly after every

use in saltwater. The best and most straightforward way to cleanse a reel for surfcasting is to rinse with freshwater carefully. Occasionally, you should take the handle and spool and

lubricate all movable parts with a lubricant. Some tender loving care would go a long way to increasing the lifespan of a reel’s.

Stay away from any reel casing; they are closely packed with small washers, cogs, and springs. Misplacing anyone of them can be heartbreaking. 

Surf Fishing Reel Buyer's Guide

Before purchasing a surf fishing reel, it is vital to know what kind of fish you’ll be chasing. This information helps you decide on the line and reel size that would work best for you.

Another factor to consider is the location and the conditions you will be fishing. For saltwater, you must ensure that your choice is fully sealed and corrosion-resistant. It is necessary for longevity. A gear that is corrosion-proof is required for surf fishing.

Are you a skilled surf angler? How experienced are you? Rating your expertise level would help you choose between a surf fishing spinning reel and a traditional reel.

Your budget is also a key determinant. Though budget-friendly reels are usually less corrosion-resistant, many are still of outstanding quality.

Frequently Asked Questions About Surf Fishing Reels

What is Surf Fishing?

Surf fishing is a kind of fishing that involves casting from the shoreline or from wading in the surf. It is always done in saltwater; this implies the need for corrosion-resistant gear.

What are the qualities of a good surf fishing reel?

 A good fishing reel is of high quality and durable housing. It is water-tight to avoid corrosion, a couple of bearings for longevity and extra strength.

What reel size is best for surf fishing?

This is a personal preference, and it differs for different people. I favor either 3000 or 4000 for most surf fishing adventures for spinning reels.

How to cast a conventional reel?

Put your thumb on the spool to avert the line from getting off while repositioning the lever back to the loose state. Take the rod back and forth in one fluid motion and let the spool go in the “forth”  motion; this action would cause the bait to be cast. To prevent a counteraction, you need consistent practice. Using your thumb, halt the spool as soon as bait gets into the water. Afterward, take the lever back to the right position for your use.

How do you surfcast?

To surfcast, begin with about five feet of line between the tip of your rod and bait. Being right-handed will put you in a position that would make your feet an equivalence of the distance of your shoulders apart. Hold the rod in a high place, then propel the bait on a sway that lifts it upward and backward at an angle of 900 from the water. When that swing is done, commence the forward cast. You should perform this action in a relaxed and unhasty motion. The energy used is from the shoulders, arms, and the movement of the top part of your body.

How far do you cast when surf fishing?

The optimal length for a surf fishing rod is 12-15 feet, usually with big line guides. You will be able to cast a weighted lure of about 100 yds if you combine the fishing rod with a big surf spinning reel and 20-25 lbs test line.

How do you mag a reel?

Takedown the reels: You will spot a small round chrome-holding pin at the winding side of the reel. Screwout the pin in an anti-clockwise direction. It would not fully come out, but you will sense it go back about  1mm-2mm inward once it comes on. Afterward, keep it in place using your left hand and move the reel in the anti-clockwise direction. This motion should cause the entire side plate to turn and come off the reel’s frame. The final action is to take the spool out, and that’s all.  

Install the magnets: Install two ¼ x ¼ magnets and magnet cups inside the side plate just opposite the gearbox of the fishing reel. Before joining them with glue, ensure to clean the surface with fuel. It is advisable to clean the behinds of the mag cups with lighter fuel.

Join the magnet cups together: Crazy glue gel works well. However, epoxy is a better option if you want an everlasting attachment. Put some epoxy or glue behind the magnet cups before fixing them beside each other inside the side plate. The cups will fit perfectly between the small plastic fins on the plate.

The next thing to do is place them below the plate instead of the top. Doing this would make the clicker function correctly. Next, ensure you do not press them up too tight on the clicker spring, as the action would cause the clicker not to work well. Finally, give the glue some minutes to set in while holding the cups firmly.

Put in the magnets: As soon as the glue dries up, the magnets are ready for installments. Put the magnets inside the cups that are held together by magnetic force. You will achieve maximum magnetic force on the spool by positioning one magnet facing the north region and the other with the south region in the direction of the spool.

Suppose the theNorth-South configuration causes the spool to be too fast; you can position small flat washers inside the cups to wedge the magnets nearer to the spool. If the reverse case happens with the North-South configuration, turn one of the sides over to make both South-South or North-North. If none of these work, just take one of the two magnets out of the cup.  

Put the reels back together: First, slide the spool back in, then put the crank side back into its mounting. Hold up the fastening pin and turn the side plate back in position. Release the fastening pin immediately to stop turning and let it fall inside the reel.

Finally, tighten the fastening pin by turning it in a clockwise motion. Getting it screwed in should take a bit of an attempt. Suppose this proves difficult; loosen the screw and turn the spool a bit until you detect it gets into position. Once this is done, the sea and the fishes are yours to conquer.


Every angler deserves to own some of the best surf fishing reels in the market. Without a doubt, I believe this was insightful enough to help you make the best surf fishing reel choice(s). So go forth and have the best fishing experiences. 

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