The 10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels in 2021
Offshore fishing is the ultimate goal for any angler because this is where you get bigger fish. For this though, you need a strong reel that can withstand the fighting power from these strong fish, as well as the corrosiveness of saltwater.
As compared to their freshwater counterparts, saltwater spinning reels are larger, stronger, and better equipped to handle corrosion.
However, they are available in different varieties so we have compiled a list of the best saltwater spinning reels to help you pick your most suitable piece. Scroll down to read more!
10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels – Review
1. Daiwa BG (Best Overall)
2. Okuma Azores Z-55s (Best Budget)
3. Okuma Ceymar C-10 (Best Lightweight)
4. Penn Fishing Spinfisher VI (Best for Tuna)
5. Sougayilang XY2000 (Best Smooth-Running)
6. SeaKnight Rapid 3000H (Fast Spinning)
7. KastKing Megatron 4000 (Bionic-Engineered)
8. KastKing Sharky III 1000 (Sealed)
9. Piscifun Flame 5000 (Hollow-Frame)
10. Penn Battle II (Smooth-Drag)
1. Daiwa BG
2. Okuma Azores Z-55s
3. Okuma Ceymar C-10
4. Penn Fishing Spinfisher VI
(Best for Tuna)
5. Sougayilang XY2000
6. SeaKnight Rapid 3000H
7. KastKing Megatron 4000
8. KastKing Sharky III 1000
9. Piscifun Flame 5000
10. Penn Battle II
1. Best Overall Saltwater Spinning Reel: Daiwa BG
- Max Drag: 4.4 – 33 lbs.
- Gear Ratio: 5.6:1
- Material: Aluminum
- Weight: 8.5 – 30 oz.
Durability, power, and speed are what make the Daiwa BG stand out as the best of the best. It has a black anodized machined-aluminum housing that is scratch & corrosion-resistant, which also protects the internal components from damages.
That said, the product is available in multiple sizes that range from a max drag of 4.4 lbs. for small fish to 33 lbs. for catching large fish like tuna.
All these options feature a waterproof carbon ATD (Automatic Tournament Drag) system, which is the latest in Daiwa’s fishing reels. This gives you a very smooth drag without pulsing as you fight the fish.
Additionally, the unit has an oversized Digigear system that increases tooth contact points for smooth running, enhanced durability, more power, and torque. This is coupled with 7 bearings (6BB + 1RB) to make the turns smoother.
A solid screw-in machined aluminum handle gives you a firm hold when reeling in the fish and it is connected to quick spinning gears with a ratio of 5.6:1. This gives you a fast retrieval speed to save time between casting.
You also get a lightweight air rotor and an ABS spool that has a reversed taper plus a maximum core diameter. This allows you to fill the line to the edge without tangling. The only problem is that the reel is not pre-spooled.
2. Best Budget Saltwater Spinning Reel: Okuma Azores Z-55s
- Max Drag: 29 lbs.
- Gear Ratio: 5.8:1
- Material: Aluminum
- Weight: 18.6 oz.
Though it has a high build quality, high gear ratio, and powerful drag, Okuma’s Azores Z-55s is fairly priced and this gives you a good bargain. It has a premium aluminum construction plus 7 corrosion-resistant stainless-steel bearings (6HPB + 1RB) for smooth casting/reeling.
The unit has a 5.8:1 gear ratio that enables you to pull the line very quickly to save time between casting. If you get a bite, you can use the quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing to help you set the hook, and this has a ratchet system that makes it more effective.
With the hook set on the fish, you can activate the powerful Dual Force Drag (DFD) system to fight. The system contains multiple discs plus carbonite and felt drag washers, which enables it to provide up to 29 lbs. of drag. This is enough to fight big and heavy saltwater fish like yellowtails, tuna, etc.
That said, the DFD system has click settings for precision adjustment. The only issue with the reel is that it's aluminum construction is not anodized. Therefore, it might corrode easily but the manufacturer added on a Mechanical Stabilizing System (MSS) to minimize corrosion.
3. Best Lightweight Saltwater Spinning Reel: Okuma Ceymar C-10
- Max Drag: 5 lbs.
- Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
- Material: Graphite
- Weight: 6 oz.
Weighing in at only 6 oz., Okuma’s Ceymar C-10 is the most lightweight piece in our saltwater spinning reels review. This gives you an easier time when handling the rod because it does not cause a lot of fatigue. It also has a narrow blade body design that further minimizes fatigue.
That said, the lightweight structure is due to graphite construction and EVA handle knobs because these materials weigh very little. Graphite is not as strong as metal but it is corrosion resistant and this makes the reel very durable.
On the inside, the reel is fitted with premium features such as a precision machine-cut brass pinion gear and a 2-tone anodized machined-aluminum spool. This creates a sturdy foundation for monofilament and braided fishing lines.
These work hand-in-hand with the computer-balanced rotor equalizing system to ensure you cast and pull the line with minimal vibrations. Additionally, a set of 7 bearings (6BB + 1RB) keeps it running smoothly.
However, even though it has a multi-disc oiled felt drag system, this unit has a maximum drag of only 5 lbs., which is not enough to fight heavy fish.
4. Best Spinning Reel for Tuna: Penn Fishing Spinfisher VI
- Max Drag: 15 – 50 lbs.
- Gear Ratio: 4.2:1 – 6.2:1
- Material: Metal
- Weight: 10.7 – 38.6 oz.
Tuna can grow to be very large fish and to catch them, you need a reel that can withstand a strong fight. Ideally, you need one that has the highest maximum drag and with a lineup that goes up to 50 lbs. of resistance, Penn Fishing’s Spinfisher VI is the best for the job.
The product has a full metal body with metal side plates, which form a very strong frame. On top of this, the body and spool are waterproof (IPX5 sealed) to prevent saltwater, sand, and other particles from causing corrosion inside.
CNC gear technology is built-in for enhanced durability. It has a precision-cut main drive gear, pinion gear, and oscillation gear to give solid, stable contact points. You also get instant anti-reverse to help you set the hook easily.
However, the reel is expensive and it has relatively few bearings (5BB + 1RB). On the bright side, it is equipped with a techno-balanced rotor, which makes the retrieval smooth even with a few bearings.
5. Best Smooth-Running Saltwater Spinning Reel: Sougayilang XY2000
- Gear Ratio: 5.5:1
- Material: Aluminum
- Weight: 11.04 oz.
With a set of 14 corrosion-resistant bearings (13BB + 1RB), Sougayilang’s XY2000 offers ultra-smooth casting and reeling performance. The reverse bearing is part of the instant stop one-way anti-reverse that helps you to set the hook quickly.
Aside from that, the unit contains very premium parts that include a hardened metal main shaft, a precision machined pinion gear, triple-disc carbon-drag washers for strong fighting power, and an ambidextrous handle. You even get a sturdy aluminum spool and a spare graphite spool.
The reel’s frame is made using aluminum but it has hollow parts to reduce weight. Additionally, the whole piece is computer balanced so that it feels comfortable to hold while on the fishing rod.
On the downside, the aluminum frame is not anodized for corrosion resistance and it is not waterproof. This means more servicing is required because salt, dirt, and debris can cause damages inside.
6. Fast-Spinning Saltwater Spinning Reel: SeaKnight Rapid 3000H
- Max Drag: 17.6 lbs.
- Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
- Material: Stainless Steel, Aluminum
- Weight: 9.6 oz.
The SeaKnight Rapid 3000H is characterized by a 6.2:1 gear ratio, which results in a very fast line retrieval. This increases your chances of getting a bite due to the quick lure movement while also shortening the time between casting.
Apart from that, the reel has 11 (10BB + 1RB) shielded stainless steel bearings for ultra-smooth running. The aluminum spool and rotor structure are sealed to prevent dirt, water & debris from getting to the internal components (gears & bearings), which would cause corrosion.
When pulling the line, an oscillation system layers it uniformly on the spool to reduce friction. That said, if using a 0.25mm line, you can fill the spool with 250 meters. This reduces to 175 meters for 0.3mm and 130 meters for 0.35mm lines respectively.
A drag system with 3 carbon fiber and 3 stainless steel washers is built in to provide a smooth resistance when playing tug with the fish. The only problem is a relatively low drag resistance of 17.6 lbs.
7. Bionic-Engineered Saltwater Spinning Reel: KastKing Megatron 4000
- Max Drag: 33 lbs.
- Gear Ratio: 4.5:1
- Material: Aluminum
- Weight: 12.7 oz.
Drawing its inspiration from the transformer Megatron, KastKing’s Megatron 4000 has a unique bionic-engineered design that is geometrical and looks very cool. The reel is not all looks; it has a rigid aerospace-grade aluminum frame that is very sturdy.
The gears are very sturdy as well because they consist of a zinc alloy main drive and a solid brass pinion. These ensure you get smooth, non-slip performance when tackling heavy fish.
You also get a smooth and powerful carbon fiber drag system that delivers 33 lbs. of stopping power, which is enough for yellowtails, tuna, marlin, etc.
A set of 8 (7BB + 1RB) double-shielded stainless-steel ball bearings give you fluid performance when casting and reeling while instant anti-reverse helps you to set the hook quickly.
However, the housing and spool are not sealed, which means the internal components might get corroded by salt water and sand. Regular servicing is required. The gear ratio is also quite low, which means slow line retrieval.
8. Sealed Saltwater Spinning Reel: KastKing Sharky III 1000
- Max Drag: 33 lbs.
- Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
- Material: Graphite
- Weight: 7.4 oz.
The KastKing Sharky III 1000 is designed to keep water and dirt out for maximum durability. It is equipped with the brand’s own KastKing Intrusion Shield System (KISS), which is a seal around its body, rotor, and spool to safeguard the components inside.
Another main benefit you get with this reel is that it is relatively lightweight, which is made possible by a fiber-reinforced graphite body and rotor construction. This will result in very little fatigue during long fishing days.
Inside the body is a premium machine that consists of a triple-disc carbon drag system with a stopping power of 33 lbs. You also get a thick stainless-steel main shaft, a zinc alloy main gear, and a solid brass pinion gear.
High-density EVA grips give you a firm hold of the handle even in wet conditions while an anti-twist line roller minimizes tangling. However, the graphite frame is not very sturdy and even though it is fiber-reinforced, it cannot compare to metal frame reels.
9. Hollow-Frame Saltwater Spinning Reel: Piscifun Flame 5000
- Max Drag: 19.8 lbs.
- Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
- Material: Graphite
- Weight: 13.2 oz.
Piscifun’s Flame 5000 features a narrow hollow graphite frame and spool to shed off some weight. The majority of its 13.2 oz. weight comes from tons of features inside that include 10 high-quality ball bearings (9BB + 1RB) for smooth casting and retrieving.
The unit is also fitted with triple drag washers that give a consistent line out with a 19.8-lb resistance.
On the other end, a corrosion-resistant zinc drive gear with precise teeth transfers power from the handle to the reinforced brass pinion gear. This then turns the thick stainless steel main shaft, which spins the spool at the front.
The spool has a balanced rotor design to help lay the line evenly so that you get a long casting distance.
On the downside, the reel is not sealed to prevent corrosion inside and the graphite frame is not as strong as a metal one.
10. Smooth-Drag Saltwater Spinning Reel: Penn Battle II
- Max Drag: 9 – 30 lbs.
- Gear Ratio: 5.2:1 – 6.2:1
- Material: Metal
- Weight: 8.1 – 30.2 oz.
This saltwater spinning reel is equipped with an HT 100 carbon fiber drag system that gives a powerful resistance without sacrificing smoothness. That said, the product is available in different sizes with varying max drag ratings of 9 – 30 lbs.
All options have full metal bodies, rotors, and side plates, plus a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire for maximum sturdiness. A braid-ready Superline spool is fitted at the front and it has line capacity ring markings at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity to show you how much line is still in the water.
The reels feature fast retrieval gear ratios of 5.2:1 – 6.2:1 for fast retrieving between casting. However, with only 6 bearings (5BB + 1RB), Penn’s Battle II is not the smoothest in this review.
How to Buy the Best Saltwater Spinning Reels
1. Drag System
Drag can be defined as the resistance or tension that is applied to the line as it comes off the reel. It is a very important feature to check when it comes to saltwater spinning reels because most saltwater fish are large and strong. As such, you need a high stopping power to fight/tame the fish.
Measured in pounds, a rating of 15 lbs. and above is good enough but the higher, the better. In our review, Penn Fishing’s Spinfisher VI stands out because its drag goes up to 50 lbs. This allows you to fight large fish like tuna, marlin, yellowtail, etc., provided you have a strong line.
2. Gear Ratio
This determines the retrieval speed because it shows the ratio of the handle-turn to the spool-turn. High ratios are ideal because they enable you to save time between casting, as well as increase the chances of getting a bite due to the fast action.
That said, SeaKnight’s Rapid 3000H has a high 6.2:1 gear ratio, which means one handle rotation turns the spool 6.2 times. This pulls the line very fast and we highly recommend this.
Two main materials are used to make a saltwater spinning reel’s frame: aluminum (all metal) and graphite. Aluminum forms a very sturdy frame but the metal can be easily corroded. On the other hand, graphite is naturally corrosion resistant but weaker than metal.
As such, if you intend to catch small fish, a reel with a graphite frame will do. However, for big fish, the best is the aluminum frame. To eliminate the issue of corrosion, you should consider reels with anodized aluminum frames and waterproof parts such as the ones in Daiwa’s BG.
4. Ball Bearing System
Ball bearings determine how smooth a reel runs. With more bearings, you get a very smooth system that casts and pulls the line without any hiccups. In this case, Sougayilang’s XY2000 takes the top spot because it has a total of 14 corrosion-resistant bearings, which are quite many.
5. Line Capacity
This is a measure of the line length that can fit in a reel’s spool. That said, there are mono and braided lines, which come in different thicknesses. Comparing the line capacity for each of these is a bit difficult because the units are not usually similar in all reels.
Some are rated in millimeters-meters (mm indicating the thickness, m the spool capacity). Others are measured in yards-lb., which shows the yardage capacity for a certain line pound rating.
Whichever the case, ensure you get the largest spool size so that you can fit in a long line to cast as far out as possible.
To summarize, Daiwa’s BG is the best overall saltwater spinning reel because it has a durable anodized aluminum construction that is corrosion-resistant. It also has a waterproof drag system and oversized gears for non-slip smooth running.
However, if you want a reel to catch tuna fish, you need a lot of drag and for this, we recommend Penn Fishing’s Spinfisher VI as the best saltwater spinning reel. It is available in multiple sizes, with the most powerful one offering 50 lbs. of tension, which is enough to fight the big fish.
If you are more concerned about weight though, Okuma’s Ceymar C-10 will not wear you down during long fishing days because it weighs only 6 oz.
- 10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels – Review
- 1. Best Overall Saltwater Spinning Reel: Daiwa BG
- 2. Best Budget Saltwater Spinning Reel: Okuma Azores Z-55s
- 3. Best Lightweight Saltwater Spinning Reel: Okuma Ceymar C-10
- 4. Best Spinning Reel for Tuna: Penn Fishing Spinfisher VI
- 5. Best Smooth-Running Saltwater Spinning Reel: Sougayilang XY2000
- 6. Fast-Spinning Saltwater Spinning Reel: SeaKnight Rapid 3000H
- 7. Bionic-Engineered Saltwater Spinning Reel: KastKing Megatron 4000
- 8. Sealed Saltwater Spinning Reel: KastKing Sharky III 1000
- 9. Hollow-Frame Saltwater Spinning Reel: Piscifun Flame 5000
- 10. Smooth-Drag Saltwater Spinning Reel: Penn Battle II
- How to Buy the Best Saltwater Spinning Reels