Top 7 Best Reels For Surf Fishing 2023

Best Reels For Surf Fishing in 2023

Are you an avid surf fisher? Looking for the best reel for surf fishing to get you optimal performance while out at sea? If so, you’ve come to the right place! This blog post will guide you through the top 7 best reels for surf fishing that are available in 2023. We’ll discuss their features and benefits as well as offer our expert analysis of each one.

Surf fishing is one of the most interesting types of fishing. It can be quite difficult for a beginner, but I wouldn’t be surprised if after a few months you become addicted to it, even if many people are seriously addicted. Of course, surf fishing has its own set of technical and reel requirements.

In this “Best reels for surf fishing” article. I will present you with the best surf fishing reel options (at least in my opinion) as well as their specifications. Next is the buying guide and Q&A section. Let’s start!

If you are looking for a spinning reel for saltwater, check out our article here: Top 8 Best Spinning Reel For Saltwater 2022

Best surf fishing reels (Quick comparison)

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Top 7 best reels for surf fishing (Surf spinning reels)

Penn Slammer

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The Penn Slammer III was reintroduced in 2016 and features Penn Durer drag, a drag system more on that later, as well as IPX six rating. What is IPX? IPX refers to the international guidance for water ceilings with radium. IPX6, you can take a hose and spray this reel continuously without worrying about introducing grit and grime, and salt inside the reels the reel. You can dunk it in the ocean briefly, and after a long day of use, you can spray it down with no problem.

The Penn Slammer III comes in 10 sizes or the average gear speed being 5.6 to 1 or 5.6 turns of the rotor for every single handle. For the average person, that fish is hard on the surf, and from a boat, this is as good as you’re going to get for the money.

The Penn Slammer 3 is completely made out of an aluminum body, rotor, and spool. The Penn Slammer Three features Penn’s top-of-the-line dura drag system. The line capacity for these best reels for surf fishing is huge the 5500 will give you 380 yards of 30-pound braid.

Key Features:


  • Full metal body, side plate, and rotor
  • 6+1 stainless steel bearing system
  • CNC Gear technology
  • Sealed body and spool design IPX6
  • Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag


  • Designed with heavy-duty, strong and durable
  • Water-resistant IPX6
  • Plenty of line capacity
  • Excellent line lay


  • Quite heavyweight, heavier than normal inshore fishing reels

Penn Spinfisher

[amazon box=”B009MQJ7LG ” template=”horizontal”]ir?t=fishingpt 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B008JG5WXWIntroducing the fifth generation of the Penn Spinfisher – the Spinfisher V. It starts with a full metal body inside a plate constructed with a deeper analyzation for corrosion protection in saltwater conditions. They added seals in key locations to prevent saltwater from contacting valuable internal components giving the new Spinfisher V a watertight design.

They’ve moved the new slammer drag system under the spool and added oversized HT 100 carbon fiber washers for more drag pressure essentially doubling the maximum drag pressure because you fish in harsh conditions. Penn sealed the slammer drag system preventing moisture from entering and ensuring performance.

The bail wire is now far thicker and stronger for a difference you can feel the updated gear ratios were built for the perfect combination of power and speed. A high strength alloy main gear and stainless steel main shaft transfer needed power when bearing down on hard fighting fish.

Key Features:


  • Works well in water and sand environments
  • Durable metal body construction, side plate, and techno balanced rotor. Bail is made of aluminum with good strength.
  • Powerful, smooth HT-100 towing system
  • Fluid cranking with 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, anti-reverse
  • Superline spool


  • Perfect water resistance
  • Traction system HT-100 brand
  • Great line lay, quality is perfect
  • Excellent braking


  • Water resistance and corrosion resistance may be affected if used for a long time

Daiwa BG

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Daiwa BG, I heard nothing but good things about it, those best reels for surf fishing were around for thirty-plus years in saltwater and they stood the test of time. I’ve had to play with it and have it in my hands it is a sexy-looking reel just the way the spool is it’s all CNC machined so it’s my new details are phenomenal. It’s just an overall good-looking reel. Up to 33 lbs of drag. Available sizes BG 1500 – 8000.

Full aluminum body keeping gears in precise alignment. ABS II spool system helps cast further, catch more fish. Digigear smoother more durable. The waterproof ATD drag system makes it work well in both saltwater and freshwater environments. Machine cut handle strong and rigid.

Key features:


  • “Hard Bodyz” Body & Side Cover
  • Over-sized digigear (Digigear system)
  • Solid Screw-In Handle
  • Air roto
  • ABS spool


  • Works well with braided lines
  • Smooth and durable with both fresh and salt water
  • Strong traction, suitable for many types of fishing
  • For the price, the quality is excellent


  • Some anti-reverse failures

Shimano Saragosa

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What you need to know about these best reels for surf fishing is that awesome it’s legit awesome. If you’re near shore fishing or if you’re surf fishing and you want something that’s going to hold about 300 yards of 30-pound test braid, you can’t go wrong with the Saragosa.

They’ll last forever powerful fun to fish. They get the job done with tons of cranking power, super smooth they’ve got everything you’d want in this size spinning reel. Manual bail weighs just 16 ounces, six ball bearings, and a 5.7 to one gear ratio, 22 pounds of drag at max, switch the handle from left to right if you want. And it’s a really nice handle long.

With full of Shimano’s most modern technology, believe me, you will never be disappointed with Shimano Saragosa.

Key features:

  • Cross Crabon Drag
  • Hagane Body
  • Hagane gear
  • IPX8 water-resistance rating
  • One-piece bail
  • S A-RB bearing
  • Water resistant drag
  • X-Protect
  • X-Shield 
  • X-Ship
  • X-Tough Drag


  • Long warranty period
  • X-Shield and X-Protect technology effectively block water
  • High power and very smooth
  • The body is made of high-strength, impact-resistant materials


  • The weight of this reel is quite heavy compared to similar reels like Stradic

Penn Battle

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The first thing you’ll notice is that Penn Battle III takes its architecture from the Spinfisher and the Slammer. CNC gearing was the main improvement to this thing and those CNC gears go a long way, it’s a very solid feeling reel.

All-aluminum construction aluminum body, aluminum rotor. Penn HT 100 drag system which is their best drag system. Aluminum bail wire nice and thick. Six ball bearings they are stainless steel and sealed. Handle aluminum handle arm feels really good in your hand if you get water on this you get bait on this. You’re not going to slip off. Freshwater or saltwater, beach boat whatever you want to do Penn Battle III can handle it.

Key features:


  • HT-100 . carbon fiber drag washer
  • 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings
  • Instant anti-reverse bearings
  • Heavy duty aluminum braided ring
  • Superline Spool
  • Increase wire turns on spool, increase wire capacity
  • Body, sides and rotor are made of stainless steel


  • Quite compact
  • Solid feel and quality
  • Smooth traction system
  • Loop marking capacity for remaining line lengths
  • Anti-reverse


  • Quite heavy for the size
  • Wind knot
    Not completely sealed

Quantum Reliance

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This reel is really built to be heavy-duty and maintenance-free. The reason why that is it’s built with all the great PT features, corrosion-resistant aluminum alloys, it’s got salt guard protection on everything. But probably the biggest thing is it’s fully sealed, this reel has 11 seals what gives it an IP X rating of 6. This reel can be splashed it can be dunked it can be jammed in the sand. Best of all comes with a three-year warranty.

They’ve got a variety of sizes for all applications: They’ve got a 30 size which is great for short kinds of fishing, a 40 size, a 55, and also 65. No wonder these best reels for surf fishing under $100 are a favorite among many anglers who love surfing.

Key features:

  • 5+1 PT bearing
  • Ceramic carbon drag system
  • Dura-lok clutch
  • Water resistant sealing
  • SCR alloy body and side cover
  • Ultra-hard PT gear 


  • Owning a sealed reel for less than $100 is a great thing for anglers who love to surf
  • Good salt resistance technology, durable materials


  • The style may not suit some people

Okuma 8000

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Okuma surf 8k is designed to assist anglers with casting distance and is best paired with a light 20-pound braid and a rod such as the precision 15 foot 3 to 6 ounce. Surf 8k has a worm shaft transmission system and super slow oscillation system to make the line lay straighter which reduces the friction when casting. The long taper spool further aids longer casting distances.

This reel for surf fishing has a hydro block water-tight drag seal and a very handy quick drag adjustment. Okuma incorporated a patent design rotor brake system, rotor with brush guards, and the quick-set anti-reverse system in the reel. Okuma surf 8k is one of the few true long-cast reel options.

Key features:

  • Cyclonic Flow Rotor (CFR)
  • Slow Oscillation System
  • Super Long Stroke Spool 45mm
  • Worm Shaft Transmission System
  •  Fast progressive drag 
  • Rotor with brush guards
  • Rotor brake system


  • Sealed
  • Graphite body
  • Smooth retrieve
  • Corrosion-resistant materials


  • The spool is not braided ready
  • Some parts made of plastic can corrode over time

Best surf casting reel conventional

These are the conventional scrolls I would recommend for those of you who are interested in them. Spinning reels are easy to use but learning to use your gear and having fun with your gear is also a really nice perk because sometimes you don’t catch fish as long as you’re enjoying the act of fishing. It’s really fun to learn something new like conventional reel.

Penn Fathom and Squall

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Penn Fathom and Penn Squall are two popular models for anglers offshore, near shore, or land-based. Both of these best reels for surf fishing are considered beasts as they can fight almost any fish that can be caught. They can work well with many different types of fishing: Cast, jig, troll, set live baits, or bounce the bottom. They have much in common.

We have a separate article about these two types of fishing reels, refer to the following link for more information: Penn Squall Vs Fathom

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4

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These are the best reels for surf fishing in Abu Garcia’s lineup. They last forever they’re extremely durable. Some of the reasons they are so popular are they offer a great drag system.

They use a carbon matrix drag system in this reel offers smooth performance. It does not compress the materials even under heavy drag pressures also it won’t overheat at all and it lasts an extremely long time. The thumb bar makes it nice and easy, also they use the ABS or anti-distortion spool on these. A slight V in this spool gives us a great increase in Spool strength.

These line guides are also encoded or titanium which increases durability and allows them not to wear through the line guides and also helps keep your line in good shape.

Key features:

  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing
  • Compact bent handle and star
  • Carbon Matrix™ drag system
  • Synchronized level wind system
  • Duragear 2 gear system


  • The carbon fiber matrix drag system with leading technology
  • Durable Good brake system
  • Instant anti-reverse feature


  • The style doesn’t seem modern

Things to Consider Before Buying a Surf Fishing Reel

How Wet Will Your Reel Get?

Surf fishing demands specialized equipment, and that includes fishing reels. Low-end freshwater reels simply aren’t up to the task of a day in saltwater conditions; not only can sand jam their delicate gears but exposure to salty sea air corrodes even rugged, expensive models without proper maintenance. 

To ensure your success when it comes to beach angling make sure you invest in a high-quality model specifically designed for use near sand or ocean waves – otherwise costly damage is inevitable!

I’ve witnessed high-quality bass reels surrender after just one session – regardless of fish size! If you want your fishing experience on the surf line unforgettable and reel reliably for years down the road – go with specially designed saltwater gear given its outstanding strength against beachside hazards.

Saltwater fishing reels can come with a hefty price tag, but that money will get you more than just an upgraded performance. Higher-end models offer smoother operation and higher precision, while also providing greater protection from saltwater damage should they be accidentally submerged. 

Cheaper options may require more maintenance when used in surf conditions due to their increased sensitivity. However, this can be mitigated by regularly rinsing them off after every outing or opening up and cleaning/re-greasing them at the end of each season if they were subject to any submergence during that time. 

However it’s important to consider other factors such as reel quality when determining how regular maintenance needs to take place – some may need daily care while others could last several seasons before needing additional attention beyond simple rinse downs after each outing.

What Size Reel Matches Your Style?

To ensure a successful surf fishing experience, reel size is of utmost importance. Long-distance casts and heavier lures or bait require an appropriately balanced rod and reel combination to prevent casting obstacles that may limit catch numbers. 

To choose an optimal size that matches your needs: first, decide what lures or bait you’ll be using most; next, find a rod with proper ratings to suit them; finally, select the best reels for surf fishing in line with its length and weight specifications – all of this will ensure successful outings! 

Matching these requirements can lead to optimal performance conditions for success out at sea!

Good news for anglers – most rods have versatility when it comes to different sizes, such as 4000-6000 and beyond – but not 3000 or 8000. But how far you intend on casting and how much line capacity is necessary also factors, as well as the type and size of fish you’re targeting should also come into consideration when selecting between them; if casting will extend more than 100 feet or your target species takes long runs on the line, then opt for a larger reel. For shorter casts and small takeaways, go smaller!

Typically anglers preferred reels between 3000-8000; however, those feeling particularly adventurous may opt for sizes above 12000. Most popular are 4000 – 6000 models, but be sure to check manufacturer size ratings because they may vary before deciding which one is best suited for your needs!

How much do you want to spend?

Consider how much you’re willing to spend when selecting a saltwater reel for surf fishing.

The best reels for surf fishing can be an expensive endeavor. Dedicated anglers will find that spending more typically results in greater protection from saltwater elements and smoother performance due to enhanced drag settings, stronger components like the body or handle, and sturdier gears. 

When investing in surf fishing reels, it’s important to do your research – not all budget models are made equal.

Don’t forget you have local resources too – chat up your neighborhood tackle shop for further guidance on making the right purchase decision!

When it comes to saving money, you must allocate your reel budget strategically. Even the most economical option won’t pay off if you need to replace your reel frequently or miss out on landing that potential personal best catch due to equipment failure. 

The best approach here would be either opting for a basic reel or one of the higher-end surf-specific reels – anything else could end up being overkill!

How often are you fishing?

Another factor to consider when choosing a saltwater reel is how often you plan on using it. The more regular an angler fishes, the more they will want to invest in their gear.

For occasional surfers, a basic or mid-range model should suffice – but for serious contenders, investing in a higher quality reel can help ensure success by providing reliable performance and added durability over time. 

Ultimately, the type of gear that’s best for your specific fishing needs comes down to personal preference as well as budget constraints. Weigh out all options before making the final decision!

The key takeaway here is that investing in a quality reel suited to your specific fishing needs is essential if you want to ensure success and have lasting returns. Take the time to research your options, ask for advice from professionals or anglers alike, and make an informed decision when selecting a saltwater reel. Good luck!

How to choose best surf fishing reel- Buying guide

Considering the weight of your line and the type of fish you want to fight, 10 pounds of line weight for every ounce of your casting weight. About line length probably shouldn’t matter because of the reels. The above offer has provided at least 200-300 yards. You need to make sure that you pick the best reels for surf fishing that are waterproof water-resistant and salt-resistant. 

You can’t just use any standard reel because after a certain amount of time salt will get into it, and salt will start to corrode and deteriorate all sorts of stuff inside the mechanism of your reel. If it is not saltwater approved you shouldn’t be using it on the surf. I’m a true believer and investing in good gear I’ve gotten too many reels and rods that were budget and cheap. That ended up breaking on me and if this is a really big hobby of mine then why not spend a little extra money on some better gear.

Line capacity:

Considering the weight of your line and the type of fish you want to fight, 10 pounds of line weight for every ounce of your casting weight. About line length probably shouldn’t matter because of the Considering the weight of your line and the type of fish you want to fight, 10 pounds of line weight for every ounce of your casting weight. Line length probably shouldn’t matter because of best reels for surf fishing above offer have provided at least 200-300 yards.

Gear ratio:

As per my suggestion, the best gear ratios for surf fishing should be between 5.3:1 and 5.7:1. A higher gear ratio will work fine too, but the reels I use when surf fishing has generally large spools and provide low gear ratios.


Most surf reels weigh between 10 ounces to 19 ounces. You should choose a reel that is as light as possible yet retains strength, durability, and capacity. The best reels for surf fishing are going to have a higher weight and power-to-weight ratio.


The rule of thumb for drag setting is about 30-35% of the line breaking strength. So for easy visualization, if you are using an 18 lb test line, then the drag should be for your reel around 6 pounds.

best surf casting reel

Surf fishing tips for beginners

Owning the best reels for surf fishing is also meaningless if you do not know surf fishing properly. Here are a few tips that can help you succeed.

First off don’t think you have to get a big giant surf rod. Truth be told relatively small 6 foot 6-inch spinning rods or a 7-footer: They work just fine for in the surf. Now savvy anglers will usually kiss 2 rods one big one with a big hook and a big bait for fish like bluefish and stripers that one they’ll throw way out into the surf. With the smaller rod, they’ll fish closer at home for smaller fish like kingfish or spot

Tip number two is to make sure you get a quality sand spike and make sure it’s driven into the beach really really firmly. The problem is if you put your rod in the sand spike and then it falls over, that reel is probably done for. What’s this once a reel gets covered in sand it really usually gets trashed, you can do your best to rinse it off but it’s a long shot to try and save it.

Tip number three: Use rigs with a small float, so we often call these Doodlebug rigs. So we often call these Doodlebug rigs, it’s got that float right by the hook and those are good because those floats help keep your baits up off the bottom a little bit and keep them out of the claws of all those little crabs that live in the surf. If you don’t have a Doodlebug rig and you have a relatively calm day there’s a very good chance that crabs are just going to eat your baits off one after the next.

Tip number four: Try to time bringing a fish out of the ocean with the waves. If you’re trying to tug a fish in and you don’t pay any attention to there’s a big roller to hit the beach that is flushing back out. When you’re trying to drag that fish through an ocean that’s going in the other direction. It’s much tougher.

Tip number five, this will result in you catching more fish in the surf than any other tip: Remember to try casting in close to a lot of smaller fish especially kingfish spots often flounders will feed right in the breakers. They’re not fifty, eighty, a hundred yards past those breakers, and the biggest mistake a lot of anglers make is actually over casting and going up beyond those fish to feed right in the breakers.

These are just my personal experiences, you can find some tips in other sources as well. If you have other better tips, leave them in the comments, I would greatly appreciate it.

surf spinning reels

Questions & Answers

How long rods do you use with these conventional reels? I’m debating between 11 and 12 mh. are these reels and rod combo good for casting lures?

I use 12ft and 13ft rods in the surf. You could use conventionals to cast lures, i prefer spinning for lures.

How do you care for surf reels?

To ensure optimal performance, surf fishermen need to maintain their best reels for surf fishing regularly throughout the season. I make sure to follow a rigorous timeline of cleaning, loosening the drag, and changing out the monofilament line on my reels every couple of trips. This includes washing them in fresh water post-trip and drying them with a chamois cloth, loosening drag settings before storage, or dangling your reel off the side of the boat between sessions — allowing excess moisture to evaporate.

Periodically remove the spool & wiring plate for deep cleaning with a soft brush & dry cloth too! When winter arrives it’s important not to forget about maintenance either; take your reel into a professional tackle shop for more significant repairs if necessary — keeping an eye on precision parts will always pay dividends come summertime fishing season!

What casts farther, spinning reels or casting reels?

I would say that’s really up to the angler and preference. I will say this, most tournament casters use conventionals. Pick out the Best Reels For Surf Fishing for your perfect castings.

Have you ever separated the fish’s head from its body when casting with that much power?

It depends on the bait fish. Softer bait such as menhaden tends to fly off more often.  

Can I Use A Surf Reel Away From The Surf?

Yes! Surf reels are suitable for use in a range of environments, including freshwater and saltwater conditions. However, it’s important to note that they are specifically designed with the ocean environment in mind – so you might find yourself needing to make some adjustments when fishing elsewhere. Adjusting drag settings, checking line capacity, and making sure everything is well maintained are all key factors here that will ensure optimum performance no matter where you cast your line. 

One more note, the best reels for surf fishing are typically built with larger fish in mind, making them more powerful than necessary for freshwater fishing. For those looking to target smaller species of fish, lighter and more sensitive gear is recommended.


After reading this blog post, you should have a good understanding of the different types of reels available for surf fishing, as well as what to consider when making your choice for your best reels for surf fishing. My personal recommendation is the PENN Slammer, but ultimately the best reel for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Above is our article “Best reels for surf fishing”. Hope this article can help you choose the right fishing reel for your collection. If you have any feedback please leave them below in the comments section.

See you in the next posts, good luck!

Further reading:

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