Best Saltwater Spinning Reels 2020

Welcome to my review of the best saltwater spinning reels.

If you are a serious saltwater angler then these reviews will come in handy as I provide you the best of the best spinning reels for saltwater fishing that you can find.

Be it inshore or offshore saltwater fishing that you are into we have the right spinning reel for you! It makes it easier to find the right spinning reel when you have all the best ones right in one place.

These are the 10 of best so take your time reading through these reviews and I know you will come away with the perfect spinning reel for you. Once you find the perfect reel for you then you can go out and catch some monster fish on the ocean.

Most of the spinning reels on the market are good for freshwater applications. There are few that can stand the rigors of rough saltwater fishing especially in the deep ocean where you are going to encounter some huge fish. You must have the right spinning reel that can stand up to the saltwater and saltwater air and spray that you get. The reel must be tough as nails as well when you are fighting those very large fish!

I put together a buyers guide for you that is at the end of the article. You might want to jump down to the guide first if you would like some help in choosing the best spinning reel for you.

Glad to have you here and I hope this article helps you find what you are looking for.

So sit back, get a cup o’ coffee, soda, beer, tea or whatever your drink of choice is, and let’s find the right reel for you!

10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels 2020

Shimano Nasci

If you’re looking for a compact spinning reel for light freshwater and medium saltwater applications then the Shimano Nasci would be the one you want.

The metal Hagane gear is cold-forged. This ensures that the gears move smoothly and it can also take a beating when you are fishing some crazy weather that the ocean can throw at you!

Casting and distance are superb because the Nasci reel sports bearings that are located on each end of the pinion gear.

This way the pinion is perfectly aligned with the drive gear of the reel. You will notice this when the gear and the spool shaft move frictionlessly with each other resulting in smooth and far distant casting! And that’s what you need when fishing the ocean waters.

With its Coreprotect technology, the Nasci has a water-resistant body, line roller, and roller clutch.

The Shimano Nasci comes in 5 different models for your fishing pleasure.

Shimano Nasci Technical Specifications

MODEL

MAX DRAG

BEARINGS

GEAR RATIO

RETRIEVE

MONO

BRAID

1000

7-lbs

5

5.0:1

26"

2/270 4/140 6/110

10/95 15/85 20/65

2500

20-lbs

5

5.0:1

29"

6/200, 8/140, 10/120

10/150,15/145,30/100

3000HG

20-lbs

5

6.2:1

36"

6/230, 8/170, 10/140

10/200,20/140,40/105

4000XG

24-lbs

5

6.2:1

39"

8/240, 10/200, 12/160

15/230,20/205, 50/120

5000XG

24-lbs

5

6.2:1

41"

10/240,12/195,14/165

20/220,30/200,40/160

BUY NOW ON AMAZON


Penn Fierce lll

What can you say about the Penn Fierce III? Well, quite a lot. This saltwater spinning reel is ready to take what you have to dish out!

The fierce IIIs body is made out of all metal which keeps all the internal components aligned when you are fighting that big fish. You will be able to retrieve fish smoothly with its Techno-balanced rotor. You also have to respect the Superline spool, line capacity rings, aluminum bail wire, and HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers. The pinion ball bearing is now encased which is an upgrade for the 2019 models.

The Penn company has been around for a long time and when it comes to spinning reels and saltwater they know their stuff! Penn is a name you can trust and can go back to time and time again for quality durable fishing reels and rods. 

You get to choose from 8 models which are FRCIII1000,2000,2500,3000,4000,5000,6000 and 8000.

Penn Fierce lll Technical Specifications

MODEL

MAX DRAG

BEARINGS

GEAR RATIO

RETRIEVE

MONO

BRAID

1000

9-lbs

5

5.2:1

22"

275/2 135/4 105/6
160/6 130/8 110/10

2000

10-lbs

5

6.2:1

30"

240/4 180/6 125/8

210/8 180/10 165/15

2500

12-lbs

5

6.2:1

33"

255/6 175/8 140/10

240/10 220/15 160/20

3000

15-lbs

5

6.2:1

35"

200/8 165/10 120/12

250/15 180/20 130/30

4000

15-lbs

5

6.2:1

37"

270/8 220/10 165/12

360/15 260/20 185/30

5000

25-lbs

5

5.6:1

36"

225/12 200/15 135/20

420/20 300/30 240/40

6000

25-lbs

5

5.6:1

41"

335/15 230/20 210/25

490/30 390/40 335/50

8000

30-lbs

5

5.3:1

44"

340/20 310/25 230/30

475/50 390/65 345/80

BUY NOW ON AMAZON


Van Staal X Series

If you’re ready to fish hard-fighting tuna or marlin and want the gear to be able to wear them down and win the battle then it’s worth taking a look at the Van Staal X-series bailed spinning reels. These reels are the first time Van Staal has used a titanium bail. Strength and smooth reeling are cornerstones of Van Staal reels.

This reel comes in two anodized finishes being black and silver. Van Staal reels are high-end but if you are a serious saltwater angler then they are well worth the price. You get 30 lbs of lock-down drag which will give you the confidence when reeling in those tough fish.

If you don’t have a great anti-reverse drag when fishing the sea you are going to lose the game and that fish you have been battling. The drag system is sealed and waterproof so you don’t have to worry about saltwater entering these reels and causing damage. If you haven’t tried Van Staal reels before now is the time to grab yourself one and try out these precision reels for yourself.

Van Staal X Series Technical Specifications

MODEL

MAX DRAG

BEARINGS

GEAR RATIO

RETRIEVE

MONO

BRAID

VS100SX/VS100BX

40-lbs

10

4.75:1

27"

300/10

350/20

VS150SX/VS150BX

40-lbs

5

5.5:1

38"

360/12

440/30

VS200SX/VS200BX

40-lbs

10

5.5:1

38"

400/15

500/40

VS250SX/VS250BX

50-lbs

5

6.0:1

50"

350/20

600/50

VS275SX/VS275BX

50-lbs

5

6.0:1

50"

425/20

400/80

BUY NOW ON AMAZON


Penn Torque II Spinning

The second spinning reel from Penn in our list is the Torque II. This is a high-end spinning reel that has a full metal body, rotor, and side plate. Included in the Torque II is a 10, count them 10 stainless steel ball-bearing system for a very smooth reeling experience. It also boasts a sealed drag system with Dura-Drag.

You will enjoy the anti-reverse on this reel with its silent back up ratchet. You have line capacity so you know exactly how much line you have to work with. The whole body and spool are IPX6 sealed. You also get CNC gear technology and a Superline spool comes on it.

The price tag is high on this one but well worth the money if you’re looking for a top of the line spinning reel that will stand the saltwater and the test of time. You will be able to fish heavy-duty inshore or offshore applications. The Penn Torque II is also proudly made in the USA!You have 8 models to choose from. 3 of them come in gold color and the other 5 come in silver.

Penn Torque ll Technical Specifications

MODEL

MAX DRAG

BEARINGS

GEAR RATIO

RETRIEVE

MONO

BRAID

5500

40-lbs

10

5.5:1

38"

330/12  290/15  200/20

540/20 400/30 280/50

5500S

40-lbs

10

5.5:1

38"

330/12  290/15  200/20
540/20 400/30 280/50

5500BLS

40-lbs

10

5.5:1

38"

330/12  290/15  200/20

540/20 400/30 280/50

7500

50-lbs

10

6.0:1

50"

490/15 340/20 300/25

470/50 390/65 340/80

7500S

50-lbs

10

6.0:1

50"

490/15 340/20 300/25

470/50 390/65 340/80

7500BLS

50-lbs

10

6.0:1

50"

490/15 340/20 300/25

470/50 390/65 340/80

9500

60-lbs

10

5.1:1

50"

490/20 440/25 330/30

575/65 490/80 425/100

9500S

60-lbs

10

5.1:1

50"

490/20 440/25 330/30

575/65 490/80 425/100

BUY NOW ON AMAZON


Shimano Twin Power SWB

If you’re looking for an offshore saltwater spinning reel then you will want to take a look at the Twin Power SWB by Shimano. With this reel, you have the technology of Shimano that provides durability and power to battle the biggest fish the sea has to offer.

The Twin Power incorporates the Shimano Hagane design which makes for a very agile and like the name says powerful spinning reel. The interior components are well protected from the saltwater that can cause havoc with any fishing reel.

Made of advanced cold-forged aluminum you can’t ask for a more strong and durable reel. You will enjoy the super smooth spinning power with its 10 plus stainless steel ball bearings system. Just imagine reeling in that tuna or black marlin with as much ease as it takes to reel in a sea bass!

You just can’t go wrong with the amazing craftsmanship that goes into all of Shimano’s reels. The metalwork is superb as well as being designed for smoothness when reeling. You’re arms and hands will thank you for purchasing the Twin Power SWB after a long day battling the fish out on the open water!

Shimano Twin Power SWB Technical Specifications

MODEL

MAX DRAG

BEARINGS

GEAR RATIO

RETRIEVE

MONO

BRAID

4000XG

24-lbs

10

6.2:1

39"

8/240, 10/200, 12/160

15/280,30/170, 50/150

3000XG

20-lbs

10

6.4:1

37"

6/230, 8/170, 10/140

10/200,20/140, 40/105

5000XG

24-lbs

10

6.2:1

41"

10/240, 12/195, 14/165

20/220,30/200, 40/160

BUY NOW ON AMAZON


Penn Slammer III

Another spinning reel in my top 10 best saltwater spinning reels is the Penn Slammer III. This reel has a sexy look to it that comes in black and red. Penn makes some of the most durable and comfortable spinning reels around and this is definitely one of them.

With this reel, you are getting an IP6 seal and spool design. The IP6 seal system protects all the internal gears and special components from spray and saltwater damage that you will most likely find when fishing the sea. You get a sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-drag. The side plate, rotor, and body are all made of strong metal which is one of the main qualities you look for in a spinning reel.

None of that plastic crap that will break when it’s banged around or up against a lot of force. Fighting any huge fish out on the ocean can cause major damage to a spinning reel but with the Penn Slammer III, you don’t need to worry. You will land that fish and then some without any problems.

You get an 8 stainless steel bearing system with CNC technology. This reel comes in 10 models to choose from so there is an option that will fit any of your fishing needs and applications. It’s an all-around great saltwater spinning reel that won’t break the bank.

Penn Slammer lll Technical Specifications

MODEL

MAX DRAG

BEARINGS

GEAR RATIO

RETRIEVE

MONO

BRAID

SLAIII3500

30-lbs

8

6.2:1

37"

480/4  360/6  285/8

310/10  270/15  220/20

SLAIII4500

30-lbs

8

6.2:1

40"

425/8  320/10  235/12
390/15  320/20  250/30

SLAIII5500

40-lbs

8

5.6:1

39"

430/10  330/12  230/15

500/20  380/30  335/40

SLAIII6500

40-lbs

8

5.6:1

42"

390/12  345/15  205/20

485/30  410/40  355/50

SLAIII6500HS

40-lbs

8

6.2:1

48"

500/12 420/15 255/20

605/30 500/40 420/50

SLAIII7500

50-lbs

8

4.7:1

38"

490/15  330/20  220/30

530/40  440/50  400/65

SLAIII8500

50-lbs

8

4.7:1

42"

455/20  310/30  260/40

730/40  600/50  555/65

SLAIII8500HS

50-lbs

8

5.3:1

50"

490/25 330/30 280/40

955/40 805/50 760/65

SLAIII9500

60-lbs

8

4.2:1

40"

350/30  300/40  240/50

730/50  670/65  435/80

SLAIII10500

60-lbs

8

4.2:1

43"

435/30  360/40  255/50

845/50  780/65  540/80

BUY NOW ON AMAZON


Penn Spinfisher VI

Introducing another great saltwater spinning reel from Penn. The Spinfisher VI! This is one hell of a saltwater spinning reel that’s fairly priced. It’s in the medium range of price when it comes to Penn fishing reels. The Spinfisher VI comes with Ht-100 carbon fiber drag washers, CNC gear technology, Superline spool, and a full metal body for added durability.

You get their line capacity rings on the spool so you know exactly how much line you have left to work with. And 6 ball bearing system helps for a smooth reeling experience. The CNC gear systems allow for a precision alignment that can withstand heavyweight from the monster fish you would come across on the sea. The spool is fully sealed so no saltwater will get into and damage the internal components.5500 models and below have a machined aluminum gear and the 6500 models and up have a machined brass gear. Well built strong and durable.

Also the smoothest casting you will find. You get a whopping 11 models to choose from with the Spinfisher VI! They’re available in standard, live liner, long cast, and bail-less models. That’s 11 reasons to look into owning this spinning reel. If there isn’t a reel to fit your fishing style out of these 11 then I don’t know what to tell ya!

Shimano Thunnus C14

If you’re talking offshore fishing then you want to check out the Shimano Thunnus C14. When it comes to heavy-duty offshore saltwater fishing you want to stick with a brand you can trust and that brand is Shimano. This company has stood the test of time and proven themselves year in and year out when it comes to fishing rods and reels.You won’t be running into any wind knots with the propulsion line management system that this reel has on it.

Just smooth long-distance casting is what you are going to find. The C14 is the carbon fiber that Thunnus is made out of which is 20% stronger than graphite! Now we are talking strong!! This fiber is also lightweight and it won’t rust. We all know rust is a huge problem when fishing on the ocean so with this spinning reel you won’t have to worry about that.

The spool speeds stay consistent with its built-in Varispeed technology. Your retrieve will be smooth and sensitive with the Dyna-balance which counterbalances the rotor. With this reel, you will be able to fish any bait in any condition you can think of. Lightweight smooth retrieve. The Thunnus C14 is a spinning reel you will want to have with you when you are out of the open sea. You have four models to choose from with this reel.

Okuma Cedros

It’s high speed and durable and it’s called the Okuma Cedros saltwater spinning reel. This reel might be small but it packs a big punch and the price is something to smile about! The Cedros was built especially for deep water vertical jigging. It will stop the toughest of fish with the Okuma Dual Force Drag system. The drag washers are  Japanese made multi-disc felt washers. This creates a smooth drag.

The side plate and frame are made out of diecast aluminum. The spool is two-toned anodized ported. It comes with a blue anodized machined handle. And everything is treated with a corrosive resistant coating. The kind of coating you want to protect it from the saltwater. It has a pinion gear that is machined precisely out of brass. There are 4 HPB corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings and one anti-reverse roller ball bearing.

You also have an Elliptical Oscillation System and a hydro-block watertight drag seal so you don’t get any of that nasty saltwater in your drag system which eventually ruins a spinning reel. What you have here is an excellent deep sea spinning reel made by the Japanese that know saltwater fishing and they know their reels. The Okuma Cedros comes in four models to choose from.

Accurate Twin Drag SR

If you’re fishing the deep blue for gamefish that are hard pulling like the tuna or billfish then you will want to get your hands on the Twin Drag spinning reel by AccurateThe spool has two large friction washers on either side of it. This provides for a smooth consistent drag every time. All your fishing applications are covered with the six model types that the Accurate Twin Drag comes in. Here are some of the main features that this spinning reel has to offer.

  • 14 Class-5 ABEC Stainless Steel Bearings
  • Patented Twin Drag System
  • Accudrags
  • Stainless Steel Spring and Clips
  • Drag Pre-set knob on the end of the spool
  • Ergonomically Designed
  • Stainless Steel Gears

This reel is made from the best of everything that you would want in a high-end saltwater spinning reel. If quality and performance are what matter to you when you are out battling the fish of the deep sea then you will want to be battling those fish with an Accurate Twin Drag spinning reel!
What to Look For When Buying a Saltwater Spinning ReelThere are a few things you want to keep in mind when purchasing a saltwater spinning reel and in this guide, I will explain those things.

  • Light is Best

First and foremost in order to keep your wrists from hating you the next day, you will want to choose a reel that is light. A light reel can be used for both inshore and offshore saltwater fishing. A heavy reel can take a toll on your arms after a long day of fishing. So picking a light reel will ensure that you can go out on the water day in and day out with as little fatigue as possible!

  • Rivets Matter

Make sure there are strong rivets that hold the knob to the handle. If you have weak, thin-looking rivets chances are the handle of the reel won’t be able to stand the riggers of saltwater fishing. The last thing you want while battling with that monster fish is to have the knob fall off! That would be the end of the battle and the fish would win.

  • Corrosion Resistant

You will want to make sure that the bearings of the reel are sealed and protected from the damage that saltwater will cause. If the information provided from the manufacturer doesn’t clearly state what kind of protection that is used to reduce corrosion then you need to look for a different reel.

  • Handle Ergonomics

The handle should be designed so that it is comfortable in your hand. There is nothing worse than a handle that is uncomfortable especially when trying to reel in a massive fish.

  • Max Drag Not That Important

The maximum drag is not as important when considering a saltwater spinning reel. The average person can only handle about 15-20 pounds of drag. So purchasing a reel with high max drag makes no sense because you wouldn’t be able to handle it anyway.

  • Line Capacity Matters

Depending on how you will be fishing you will want to make sure you have enough line capacity for your reel. You don’t want to run out of line when fishing the ocean. Capacity is key especially with narrow reels and long rods.

  • Can the Reel Handle Braid

You will want a spinning reel to be able to handle braided line. Check the specifications to ensure that the reel will work well with braided line. So check to make sure there are no open spots on the ends of the bail roller in which thin braided line can get caught.

  • The Material of The Spool

A quality spinning fishing reel will have a spool that is made of metal. If it is plastic it is more likely going to break on you. So invest in a reel that has a solid metal spool which will end up saving you money in the long run.

  • Anti-reverse

Lastly, you want to pick a spinning reel that has an automatic instant anti-reverse feature on it. You want to make sure that handle locks when you lock it. You don’t want any play in it because that will cause wearing and grinding on the gears which are not good things. Now that you have an idea of some of the things to look for when purchasing a saltwater spinning reel you can pick the best one that will get you that monster fish you have been waiting to catch.

Conclusion

there you have it from my perspective. 10 of the best saltwater spinning reels that are on the market. A few are best for inshore fishing and a few are great for offshore fishing. And some of them are great for both. Anyone of these reels will work great for saltwater fishing. To recap here are the 10 reels that I have reviewed in this article.

  • Shimano Nasci
  • Penn Fierce III
  • Van Staal X Series
  • Penn Torque II
  • Shimano Twinpower SWB
  • Penn Slammer III
  • Penn Spinfisher VI
  • Shimano Thunnus C14
  • Okuma Cedros
  • Accurate Twin Drag SR

I hope you got some useful information from these reviews so that you can make an informed decision on the right saltwater spinning reel for you. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below. Until next time Happy Fishing!

Cory is a content writer-editor for websites that he owns about various topics such as living off the grid, portable generators, internet marketing, fishing, and sports. When he is not working on his websites he is out doing the things he writes about.

6 thoughts on “Best Saltwater Spinning Reels 2020”

  1. I used to do a lot of deep-sea fishing 15+ years ago, and I remember the spinning reels I was using was rubbish. These are all excellent options you wrote about, and I would have loved a few of these back then! Out of them all, I think the Penn Spinfisher VI appeals to me the most.

    Thanks for writing these reviews! 

    Reply
    • Hey Nate. Penn Spinfisher VI is one of the better options for deep-sea fishing. The Spinfisher is priced right and from a reliable company that stands behind their products. You can’t go wrong with a spinning reel from Penn!

      Reply
  2. Hello there, thanks for these helpful suggestions for spinning reels. I love going fishing, and my joy comes from catching a big fish. Lately, my son and I haven’t been fishing because we have a lousy spinning real, which stops sometimes spinning after a catch. From the list I am particularly impressed with the description of Van Staal X Series, I would love to purchase that one for myself.

    Reply
    • Hi Chloe, Don’t you hate it when your spinning reel quits working especially in the middle of reeling that fish in? With the Van Staal X, you wouldn’t have to worry about it stopping spinning in mid reel! I recommend the X if you are a serious angler. The price is steep, but the quality is unmatched!

      Reply
  3. I find the main problem with the reels that my husband uses when he goes fishing in the sea is that they rust, mainly if you don’t dry and pack them away correctly afterward. 

    I am going to show him this post, as he does need a new set, and he can choose one for his birthday. These look nice and strong, but I also want to check that they don’t rust. If they do, do you have any useful tips one can use to stop this from happening?

    Reply
    • I would make sure that he at least wipes them off and drys them after every fishing outing. He should also clean them thoroughly every two months or so. I wrote a guide on how to clean a spinning reel that he might find useful:

      https://tackleboxtalk.com/how-

      Have him check out that article. The article shows you how to disassemble a spinning reel for cleaning and then how to reassemble it. This should be helpful for him.

      Reply

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