10 Best Surf Fishing Reels Reviewed

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Best Surf Fishing Reels

Hey there fellow angler! If you’re here, you must be searching for the best surf fishing reels.

Surf fishing is one of the most demanding fishing styles. You’ll be up against the biggest fishes under the harshest conditions. This makes strength, durability, lightness, and distance casting especially important in a surf fishing reel. That’s why I chose these 10 best surf fishing reels based on those criteria. 

I’ve been fishing for 20 years now, and I can roughly tell at a glance how good a reel is. When I saw the Penn Battle III, I knew it was no ordinary reel. It’s strong, durable, can cast long distances, and extremely light. Best of all, it’s really affordable, just like the other surf reels on this list.

If that doesn’t float your boat, don’t worry, I included 9 other choices for surf anglers of any type. Let’s begin!

Our Top 10 Picks

  1. Penn Battle III Spinning Fishing Reel (Best Overall Surf Fishing Reel)
  2. Penn Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel (Best Surf Fishing Reel For Monster Fish)
  3. Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel (Best Corrosion Resistance)
  4. Penn Conflict II Spinning Reel (Best Surf Fishing Reel For Distance Casting)
  5. Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning Reel (Best Lightness)
  6. Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel (Best Slammer III Alternative)
  7. KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel (Best Value Surf Fishing Reel)
  8. Okuma Rockaway Surf Spinning Reel (Best Budget Surf Fishing Reel)
  9. Shimano Ultegra XTB Baitrunner (Best For Multiple Rods Fishing)
  10. Quantum Cabo Spinning Reel (Best Warranty)

The 10 Best Surf Fishing Reels

I’ve included surf reels of every price in this list. If you find a reel too costly, keep reading, there’ll be more affordable reels down the list.

Best Overall

1. Penn Battle III Spinning

  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-10000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-7.0:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 9-40 pounds
  • Weight: 7.8-38.8 ounces

Introducing the 2020 ICAST winner for the Best Saltwater Reel category – Penn Battle III. The Penn Battle III is everything you could ask for in a surf fishing reel. It’s smooth, super light, durable, and can handle a wide range of fish. And there’re some pretty sweet extra features that come with it.

First and foremost, the most important part of any reel is its smoothness. The Penn Battle III’s got this down with its 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings. Stainless steel ball bearings are smooth, but the amount of ball bearings is what matters the most. 5+1 ball bearings are just enough for a reel to be smooth and not break the bank.

Moving on to weight, it’s one of the lightest around. This is made possible by Penn’s HT-100 carbon fiber drag system. This system uses light carbon fiber drag washers, resulting in an impressively lightweight fishing reel that you can cast all day.

As for durability, a full metal body and sideplate and the sealed bearings guarantee a long-lasting reel. With a full metal body, not only is your reel tougher, it’s more corrosion-resistant. The sealed bearings ensure sand and water won’t reach your ball bearings, preventing corrosion. This further boosts the Penn Battle III’s durability. Needless to say, this spinning fishing reel will keep you company till you’re old.

Next, let’s talk about what fishes this will allow you to target. Even the largest fishes won’t require more than 25 pounds of drag. With a max drag weight of 25 pounds on reel size 5000, you can already take on any fish in the ocean. This means a relatively small and light reel size will already give you access to any fish you want in the surf. 

To seal the deal, the Penn Battle III is equipped with line capacity rings. This saves you the uncertainty of having to guess how much line is left by looking at your fishing spool.

All in all, the Penn Battle III is the best overall surf fishing reel. Sure there are lighter and stronger reels later on in this list, but you don’t need a lighter or stronger reel that’s going to cost more. The Penn Battle III already contains everything you need for a very modest price. Even for casual surf anglers, the price will be quite acceptable.

Best For Monster Fish

2. Penn Slammer III Spinning

  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Reel Size: 3500-10500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 30-60 pounds
  • Weight: 13.9-43.1 ounces

The Penn Battle III may have everything you need, but the Penn Slammer III has everything you want. Think of it as an upgraded version of the Penn Battle III. Smoother, more durable, and with much stronger smooth drag.

The Penn Battle III is smooth, but the Penn Slammer III is smooth like butter. The extra 2 ball bearings make a huge difference. The ultra smoothness makes you feel like a king when you’re handling the Penn Slammer III.

That’s not all. I’d say this is one of the most durable surf fishing reels in the world. Not only does it have a full metal body, sideplate, and rotor, its body and spool are IPX6 sealed, and the drag is Dura-Drag. Lots of confusing terms here, so let me break it down.

With more parts of the spinning fishing reel being full metal, the reel will be tougher and have a more corrosion-resistant reel body. An IPX6 sealed body and spool mean that not just the ball bearings, but your entire reel will be protected from sand and water. And as if that wasn’t enough, the Penn Slammer III even features the Dura-Drag system. In Penn’s own words, it provides the “toughest, smoothest, longest-lasting drag ever developed”. All these combine to produce one of the most durable reels ever made.

Finally, its max drag weight is unparalleled. With a max drag weight of 30 pounds at only reel size 3500, no other surf reel even comes close. This unbelievable max drag weight means you can use a much lighter and smaller reel size even for huge fish.

By now, I bet you’re wondering how the heck the Penn Slammer III isn’t the best overall surf fishing reel. Well, for starters, the product page has some inaccurate information. For example, the actual amount of ball bearings is 7+1, but it’s listed as 6+1. Another problem I had when using it was that due to the high max drag weight, its minimum drag weight is quite high. You will need to use heavier lines than usual. 

However, the real issue is its price. It’s 1.5 times that of the Penn Battle III. It does of course offer 1.5 times the value too, but I felt that the Penn Slammer III is a premium reel. The Penn Battle III already offers everything you need. The Penn Slammer III is more of a luxury reel for surf anglers who have the money to spare. 

In short, if you’re going to be fighting the biggest monsters in the ocean, and have the money to spare, there’s no better surf reel than the Penn Slammer III. 

Best Corrosion Resistance

3. Daiwa Saltist Spinning

  • Ball Bearings: 8+1
  • Reel Size: 2500-8000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3-5.7:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 15.4-33.0 pounds
  • Weight: 9.5-29.6 ounces

If you need extra reassurance that your surf reel will never rust, this is the surf reel for you. When it comes to durability, the Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel has no equal. 

The Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel features a completely waterproof spool and corrosion-resistant ball bearings (CRBBs). How the completely waterproof system works is that a special liquid is solidified using magnetic force. This creates a barrier against water and dust. Over time, if any tiny cracks appear in the barrier, the CRBBs will safely remain rust-free. CRBBs last up to 12 times longer than standard stainless steel ball bearings. This double-layer protection ensures water and dust are powerless against your Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel.  

Durability isn’t its only asset though. With 8+1 ball bearings, it’s as silky smooth as the Penn Slammer III. The maximum drag power may be a bit on the low side, but the size 6500 reel will still suffice for any fish in the surf

No other surf reel can take a beating like the Daiwa Saltist can. If you value durability above all, look no further.

Best For Distance Casting

4. Penn Conflict II Spinning

  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Reel Size: 4000-7000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.3-4.8:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 13-22 pounds
  • Weight: 13.7-23.2 ounces

Up next is the long-distance champion – the Penn Conflict II Spinning Reel. This spinning fishing reel was made for those who often have trouble casting far enough. 

Designed for distance, the Rigid Resin RR30 Rotor is as light as a rotor can be. This means your spool can spin faster when casting, giving you the longest casting distance. This feature alone makes the Penn Conflict II the easiest to cast far. 

Aside from this, it’s got smooth and durable 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings. It’s lighter than the Penn Battle III, and it has line capacity rings. Clearly, distance casting isn’t the only reason to get this reel.

If you face difficulties casting, or you just want to cast further with less effort, this might be the best surf fishing reel for you. 

Just note that when choosing the reel size on Amazon, make sure there’s a “lc” (long cast) behind it. So you’ll see both reel sizes 5000 and 5000lc on the product page. Make sure to choose the one with “lc”.

Best Lightness

5. Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning

  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Reel Size: 3000
  • Gear Ratio: 6.0:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 19.8 pounds
  • Weight: 6.7 ounces

This reel is all about lightness. The Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning Reel is unbelievably light, to the point where it sounds unreal.

How unbelievable is it? It’s about half the weight of the Penn Slammer III. Yes, you read that right. Half. And yes, I am comparing similar reel sizes. 

If you’re wondering if there are trade-offs between other elements of the reel to achieve this lightness, the answer is no. This high-quality surf reel performs well in all other areas as well.

The only qualm I had was its max drag weight. At reel size 3000, its 19.8 pounds max drag weight is actually pretty good. The thing is, 19.8 pounds is enough for big fish, but not monster fish. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just how it is. A miraculous reel that’s this light has to have some kind of drawback.

Despite this though, it is still the obvious choice when it comes to weight. I don’t think you’ll ever find a lighter reel unless you remove a handle or some other part. I don’t think you should. Your reel probably wouldn’t work without a handle. Probably.

Best Slammer III Alternative

6. Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning

  • Ball Bearings: 5+1
  • Reel Size: 2500-10500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.2-6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 15-50 pounds
  • Weight: 10.7-38.6 ounces

Ok fine, this is the fourth Penn reel now. I promise I’ll stop after this, but I just had to include this one. The Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel is basically a budget Penn Slammer III. 

To begin with, the Penn Slammer III body and spool are IPX6 sealed. The Penn Spinfisher VI is IPX5. So if you were to spray a high-pressure hose at the Penn Slammer III, it would be fine. The Penn Spinfisher VI won’t be. It can only resist low-pressure sprays of water. I don’t know about your ocean, but mine doesn’t have high-pressure streams of water shooting at me. If yours doesn’t either, you should be fine with the Penn Spinfisher VI.

The Penn Spinfisher VI is also less smooth than the Penn Slammer III since it has 1 less ball bearing. Don’t get me wrong. The Penn Spinfisher VI is a smooth reel, just less smooth than the Penn Slammer III.

That’s it. Other than those 2 aspects, everything else is the same. It has the same HT-100 carbon fiber drag system and stainless steel ball bearings. And its max drag weight is second only to the Penn Slammer III. In fact, it even has line capacity rings that that Penn Slammer III doesn’t, so it’s not entirely inferior.

If you really liked the Penn Slammer III but it was just out of your means, get the Penn Spinfisher VI.

Best Value

7. KastKing Sharky III Spinning

  • Ball Bearings: 10+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-5000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 33.0-39.5 pounds
  • Weight: 7.4-10.6 ounces

Value is this reel’s middle name. Nowhere else will you find so much value in a reel. Containing all the qualities of higher-end reels but without the premium price tag, the KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel is a dream come true at dirt cheap price

Just one glance at its features and you can tell how incredible it is. Firstly, it’s got fantastic smoothness from its 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings. Next, it’s got a good max drag weight of 30+ pounds. And lastly, its lightness beats even that of the Penn Battle III and the Penn Slammer III.

The catch is that it requires lots of maintenance. As you may have noticed, all the other reels on this list are either sealed or corrosion-resistant. The KastKing Sharky III’s ball bearings are only shielded from water and sand, not protected fully. The materials used in its construction are also of lower quality. As such, you’ll need to rinse and oil it quite often to keep it in tip-top condition.

All things considered though, it’s really a steal. It’s less than half the price of any other reel on this list. I’m sure you agree with me when I say it’s jam-packed with value and the most bang for the buck.

Best Budget

8. Okuma Rockaway Surf Spinning

  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Reel Size: 6000-8000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 26-35 pounds
  • Weight: 17-20.7 ounces

For those who found the KastKing Sharky III’s reel sizes to be too small, that’s because the bigger reel sizes are here. The Okuma Rockaway Surf Spinning Reel continues exactly where the KastKing reel stops. It also costs roughly the same.

Reel sizes start from 6000 onwards for the Okuma Rockaway Surf. The KastKing Sharky III stops at 5000. And both reels cost almost the same. So if you want a bigger reel size for the same dirt cheap price, you’re in the right place.

Best For Multiple Rods Fishing

9. Shimano Ultegra XTB Baitrunner

  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Reel Size: 14000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.6:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 44 pounds
  • Weight: 27.9 ounces

If ever there was a reel made for beach fishing with multiple rods, this is it. The Shimano Ultegra XTB Baitrunner was born for this.

It features a “teaser lever” that will engage the secondary drag system. This translates to a light drag that will allow fishes to swim with the bait without feeling the drag. This allows you to leave your rods until fishes take the bait and start running with it.

Anyone looking to go fishing with more than one rod should give this reliable reel some serious thought.

Best Warranty

10. Quantum Cabo Spinning

  • Ball Bearings: 7+1
  • Reel Size: 4000-8000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.9-5.3:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 30-41 pounds
  • Weight: 13.4-24.9 ounces

Lazy surf anglers, rejoice. Feel free to neglect the Quantum Cabo Spinning Reel. 

Possessing the longest warranty out of all the reels, it’s got a warranty of 5 years. Most people don’t understand what this entails, so let me simplify this. 

Sometimes, we’re just too tired after a long day of fishing to give our reel proper maintenance. With other reels, you might not have a choice. After the warranty ends, if you don’t maintain them and they corrode, that’s it, your reel for surf fishing is gone. However, with a 5-year warranty, you can take a break from maintaining your surf fishing reel whenever you need to.

You may not be a lazy angler, but we all need a break at times. If you often feel like that, the Quantum Cabo Spinning Reel may be what you need.

Buying Guide

As you might have realised, some of the surf spinning reels have different reel sizes and gear ratios. This buying guide is here to help you make the right choice. 

I’ve also included a few other things you should consider. In the future, when you see a surf fishing reel that’s not on this list, you’ll be able to assess whether it’s a good reel for surf fishing.

Line Capacity

Line capacity refers to how much line your fishing reel can hold. Line capacity is directly determined by reel size. The bigger your reel, the more line you’ll have.

Line capacity affects 2 things – casting distance and types of fish you can target.

For casting distance, more line capacity allows you to cast further. It’s quite clear that with more line capacity, you can have more line that you can actually cast with.

Aside from this though, more line capacity means that even if you cast further, you’ll still have enough line left to reel fishes in. As such, more line capacity tends to equal further casting distance. 

With more line capacity, you’ll also be able to target more species of fish. If you use a reel with lower line capacity, you won’t have enough line to target big fish that’ll exhaust your line faster.

In essence, more line capacity tends to equate to more casting distance and the ability to target more fishes. 

Drag System

For the complete beginner, drag system may be a relatively new term. Drag refers to the small steel plates placed inside your reel that prevent your spool from releasing line. 

Depending on what weight you’ve set it to, when a fish’s pull exceeds that weight, your spool will release the line. This is to prevent your line from snapping from an overly strong pull. 

This means the stronger your drag, the stronger the line you’ll need to have. 

A stronger drag system will provide more resistance, slowing down the rate at which line leaves your spool and tiring out fishes faster.

In other words, to tire out a stronger fish, you’ll need a stronger drag. This ensures you don’t run out of line and will tire big fish out more effectively.

The general rule of thumb is to set your drag weight to 1/3 of your line’s pound test. So let’s say you’re using a 30-pound line, your drag weight should be 10 pounds.

The reason why we do this is that as more line leaves your spool, the drag weight actually increases. If you immediately set it too high, you run the risk of the drag being too strong, resulting in your line snapping. As such, try not to exceed 1/3 of your line’s pound test.

Even the most vigorous fish won’t need more than 30 pounds of drag weight.

If your reel has 30 pounds of drag weight, it’ll more than suffice for any fish. In most cases, 25 pounds will already be enough. Only exceedingly big fishes will call for 30 pounds.

Ball Bearings

Ball bearings reduce friction, allowing your reel to spin more easily and smoothly.

When assessing a reel, you’ll need to look at both the number and quality of its ball bearings.

Since ball bearings reduce friction, the more ball bearings you have, the smoother your retrieve will be.

That’s great and all, but more ball bearings will also cost more. I find that 5+1 ball bearings is the perfect balance of cost and smoothness. From 5 onwards, the smoothness increases by only a bit for each extra ball bearing, so you get less value for your money.

In addition, beginners won’t be able to tell the difference between 5+1 and 7+1, or even 9+1 ball bearings, so 5+1 is a great starting point.

Now let’s talk about quality.

Surf fishing is a form of saltwater fishing. No doubt when surf fishing, your ball bearings will be constantly in contact with saltwater. Therefore, you’ll definitely want your ball bearings to be corrosion-resistant. Sealed ball bearings are a great option. But if your ball bearings aren’t sealed, they should be stainless steel, ceramic, or any other smooth corrosion-resistant material.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio is measured by how many times your spool turns for a single turn of the handle. For example, a gear ratio of 5.2:1 means your spool turns 5.2 times when your handle turns one full round clockwise.

This might be slightly confusing for new anglers, so here’s an exaggerated contrast to make it clear.

Imagine that you have 2 reels, one of 10:1 gear ratio and the other of 2:1 gear ratio. For the first reel, a single turn would have the spool spinning 10 times, and you’d be able to reel in a lot of line. In contrast, the second reel would take 5 turns to reel in the same amount of line. 

The higher your gear ratio, the faster you can retrieve line.

A 4:1 gear ratio is slow, and recommended for smaller fishes like panfish. This will be best when surf fishing closer to shore.

A 6:1 gear ratio is fast, and is the best for the largest sized monster fishes. 

Another way to decide on the right gear ratio is by the lures you use. If you’re fishing with faster lures, a higher gear ratio like 6:1 would be ideal. Vice versa, use a lower gear ratio like 4:1 for slower lures. 

Gear ratio isn’t a critical aspect of your reel. A 4:1 gear ratio simply requires more effort than a 6:1 gear ratio. At the most, you’ll have to exert more effort. I recommend going with a 5:1 if you are going to be casting at all ranges and using both slow and fast lures. 


Last on the list is durability. Ball bearings are a crucial component of any fishing reel, so I always prioritise their durability first. But since it’s already been covered earlier, I’ll be focusing on the other components of a fishing reel.

Aside from ball bearings, your handle and reel body have to be durable. I haven’t seen a handle rust before any other part of a reel yet though, so I feel it isn’t a priority. The reel body requires much more attention.

When surf fishing, saltwater isn’t your only enemy. Sand is also a big threat to your reel.

When sand gets stuck in the small areas between the moving parts of your reel, your reel will start to scrape against the sand internally when you use it. 

As a result, your reel will be a lot less smooth, not to mention dirty.

In the worst cases, your reel will get damaged from the constant grinding over time. To prevent these, you should clean your reel regularly, and if you can afford it, get a reel for surf fishing with a sealed body (like the Penn Slammer III).

Other than the crucibles of saltwater fishing like sand and saltwater, your reel for surf fishing must be able to withstand the test of time. In other words, you need durable metals like aluminum and graphite.

With that, you should be able to judge a reel’s worthiness on your own now. Let’s jump on to the next topic.

Spinning Reels VS Conventional Reels: Which is better for surf fishing?

Both spinning reels and conventional reels have their strengths. But for surf fishing, spinning reels are better. Here’s why.

Spinning reels are much easier to use, and are more sand and waterproof. 

Sure, a conventional reel can cast further.

If you know how to control it, you can also cast much more accurately than spinning reels. The problem is, that’s a big if. 

A conventional reel can be a disaster in the hands of a beginner.

Moreover, you don’t really need the extra casting accuracy. The way I see it, you’re getting unnecessary casting distance at the cost of increased difficulty of use. 

On the other hand, spinning reels are way more suited for the surf, since they’re more sand and waterproof. 

At the end of the day, spinning reels and conventional reels are equally matched. It boils down to what situation you’re in. For example, a conventional reel would definitely beat a spinning reel bass fishing.

In our case, we’re surf fishing, so spinning reels are the better choice. 

What Materials Are Good For Surf Fishing Reels?

The material for surf fishing reel bodies doesn’t really matter that much, so I didn’t include it in the buying guide. Nevertheless, it’s always good to understand your reel.

Most surf fishing reels will be constructed with aluminum or graphite. This doesn’t apply only for surf fishing reels, but rather reels in general.

Both materials have their own pros and cons. Neither one is better than the other, and it depends on what the situation calls for. 

For surf fishing, either one will do fine. This is because both materials are corrosion-resistant and durable.

So to answer the question, both aluminum and graphite are great materials for surf fishing reels.

When To Use Braided Lines and When Not To Use Them?

I really hate giving this answer, but it depends. 

Braided lines are more taut and durable.

This tautness is great for tiring out smaller fishes.

They’re also thinner and heavier than mono. This allows them to cut through water quicker, thus making them better suited for deep-water fishing.

The drawback is that braided lines are opaque, and so they’re less attractive since fishes can spot them. They’re also more expensive.

Monofilament lines are easier to use. They’re also more stretchy, giving you an easier time when reeling in bigger fish.

However, although they’re cheaper and more attractive, they’re also less durable.

I’d say it comes down to experience. If you’re a seasoned angler, you’ll be able to handle the drawbacks of braided lines and use them well.

Anglers who are not that confident should stick with mono lines that are easier to use. 

Surf Fishing Reel Brakes

Before you start reading, if you’re using a surf fishing spinning reel, you can skip this section. Only conventional and baitcasting reels have reel brakes. And I know I said earlier that spinning reels are better for surf fishing, but just in case, I decided to include this section.

First and foremost, you’ll need to know what reel brakes do. 

Without reel brakes, when the lure on your conventional or baitcasting reel hits the water, line will still keep flowing out of your spool.

Since there’s no way your lure will sink as fast as your line is being released, more and more line will come out of your spool with nowhere to go.

This leads to what’s known as bird’s nest, or backlash.

Reel brakes slow your line after the initial cast, helping you prevent backlash. Most of the time, reel brakes will be either magnetic or centrifugal. 

Magnetic Brakes

Magnetic brakes, as you can tell from the name, use magnets to apply pressure and slow down the spool. 

Magnetic brakes allow for a wider range of adjustable brake forces. And as compared to centrifugal brakes, the brake force will be smaller at high spool speed and larger at low spool speed.

This means initially when you’re casting, your speed will be higher. But when your lure hits the water, your speed will be slower than if you were using centrifugal brakes.

This makes magnetic brakes great for casting against conditions that require more deceleration, like when casting against winds.

Moreover, magnetic brakes are easier to adjust since you can adjust them from outside the reel. For centrifugal brakes, you’ll need to remove the side panel to adjust them. 

The only annoying part of magnetic brakes is that you can never turn them off. Even at the lowest setting, there will be some braking force present. 

Centrifugal Brakes

Centrifugal brakes are better if you like your casting range to be constant.

You’ll find that no matter how hard you cast, the casting distance doesn’t change much unless you adjust your braking force. 

This is because when you cast, the spool speed is the highest. This also means that the braking force will be very high.

In other words, if you cast harder, the huge braking force will match the extra force that you put out. This of course leads to roughly the same initial spool speed regardless of your casting force.

When surf fishing, it’s normal to encounter windy conditions, so magnetic brakes are preferred.

Nevertheless, even centrifugal brakes will still get the job done, so don’t get hung up if you don’t have magnetic brakes.

If you prefer your casting distance to always be the same, feel free to get a reel for surf fishing with centrifugal brakes.

The Right Fishing Line Diameter

Admit it, you never thought fishing line diameter mattered. Most of us don’t. But it does, even if just a little.

Thinner fishing line will cut through water faster, is more responsive, and is more attractive to fish.

But the thinness makes it easier to get swept around by waves. The lightness also makes it harder to cast. 

As such, you should take into account your casting skills and the strength of the waves when deciding on the ideal diameter for you. Weaker waves and poorer casting skills will call for thinner line. Stronger waves and better casting skills will allow you to use thicker line. 

Still, fishing line diameter isn’t high on the list of things that will affect your surf fishing. It will matter, but only to a small extent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have unanswered questions? Try looking through this list of FAQs to find the answer. Even if you have no unanswered questions, you might find something useful.

What size reel is best for surf fishing?

There are a few reel sizes you’ll want to take note of.

For surf fishing closer to shore, you’ll be reeling in smaller fishes and panfish. You should be using reel sizes 3000-5000 for this.

For surf fishing somewhere in the mid ranges, you’ll meet some decent and larger sized fishes. For this, you should be using reel sizes 4000-6000.

For surf fishing in the furthest ranges, where the largest monster fishes are, you’ll have to use at a large reel of at least size 5000. I recommend using reel sizes 6000-7000 to be better prepared for the monster fishes.

What’s the best braid to mono knot for surf fishing?

When you need to connect a braided line to a monofilament leader, there’s no better knot than the FG Knot. It’s widely loved for its strength and reliability, and it’s fast and easy to tie. 

I find this video particularly helpful for new anglers to learn how to tie the FG Knot.

What surf fishing rod should I pair my surf fishing reel with?

The biggest difference between surf fishing rods and normal rods is length. 

Normal rods seldom go past 7 ft. Surf fishing rods need to be a minimal of 8 ft long. As the rod length increases, casting distance increases too. 

For surf fishing closer to the shore, your rod should be around 8 ft long.

If you’re looking to fish further away, where the medium sized fish are, go for a 10 ft rod.

The longest surf fishing rods are 12 ft long. This length is reserved for those who need to cast the furthest to go after monster fishes.

Surf fishing rods also need to be light, strong, corrosion-resistant, and durable. If you’re looking for good surf fishing rods to pair with the best surf fishing reel you’ve found from our review, here’s our list of the best surf fishing rods

How much should surf fishing reels weigh?

While I would love to give you a fixed answer, I can’t. 

If it were possible for a reel to be weightless, that’s how much surf fishing reels should weigh.

My point is, the lighter your surf fishing reel, the better. 

Surf fishing is more tiring than other fishing styles. You don’t need a heavy reel to make things worse. As such, the answer to this question is as light as possible.

What fishes can I catch when surf fishing?

Pretty much every saltwater fish on Earth. It comes down to how far you’re fishing. The further you fish, the larger the fishes you’ll catch. 

My Verdict

Surf fishing calls for robust reels that can cast much further than normal. That’s why not every reel can be a surf fishing reel. 

Lucky for you, we’ve done the filtering for you.

Every one of the reels on this list made the cut, so you’ll be spoiled for choice. Nonetheless, if I had to recommend just one, it would be the Penn Battle III Spinning Reel. It strikes the optimal balance between affordability and everything you need for surf fishing.

Anyway, ultimately, only you know what’s best for you. Once you’ve chosen the right surf fishing reel for you from this list of top surf fishing reels, best of luck in the surf!

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Reuben went on his first fishing trip when he was 9. That's when he fell in love with fishing. When he's not fishing, he's searching for new gear and ways to fish better.