Are you one of those fishermen that love a good fight and then landing the big one? Then you should try your hand at surf fishing. All it takes is a little skill, the right bait, a good fishing pole and using one of the best surf fishing reels available to you.
There are few types of fishing that are more exciting than going surf fishing. The only problem is you need some good equipment to do it right and a big part of that is the reel you will use. That is why I have decided to review several of the top model surf fishing reels and also give you some other helpful buying information on them.
Summary: Top 5 Surf Fishing Reels
Editor’s Rating (out of 5.0)
Surf Fishing Reel Buying Guide
Here are some characteristics of surf fishing reels to highly consider before buying one of them:
- Type of reel
As with most anything in life no two people like to do their surf fishing the same way and it’s true when it comes to surf fishing reels too. Most people will choose between reels known as spinning reels and reels known as baitcasters.
Spinning reels are the most popular reel for any type of fishing. That is because they are easy to cast and operate. The weight of the bait or lure on them is what helps you when casting them.
Baitcasters are much more difficult to cast and operate but they do offer some advantages over spinning reels. For one, once you have mastered the casting technique you can cast your line out much further. They also have proven to be more durable than spinning reels when it comes to handling larger fish.
- Fish weight capacity
Let’s face it. You are not going to use the same reel you use on your ultra-light fly rod to catch bigger fish in the surf. Chances are you are going to be catching large fish with some significant weight. Know the approximate weight of the types of saltwater fish you will be going after and also familiarize yourself with the fish weight capacity specs of any reel you are thinking about buying. Make sure the weight of the fish you will be catching and the capacity of your surf fishing reel mesh up nicely before making your purchase.
There are few environments that are tougher on fishing equipment than when you are fishing in saltwater. That means you will need a fishing rod that will hold up well after being exposed to salty air and salt water spray. Metals such as anodized aluminum, stainless steel and stamped aluminum offer a lot of corrosion resistance. Look for metals like these to be the main materials found throughout any surf fishing reel that you are considering buying. Reels that include lightweight carbon fiber material are also very strong and will not corrode.
- Drag System
Once again we don’t need to remind you that you will be catching larger size fish when surf fishing. That means you will not be reeling them straight in buy any means and can reasonably expect to land a bigger fish if you do. You are going to have to play and tire that fish a little in order to land it. Because of that you will need a good and easy to work drag system on any surf fishing reel that you buy.
- Reel Weight
Many of the important characteristics we have talked about so far have to deal with being able to handle the weight of the fish. That is not the only weight consideration when surf fishing either. The weight of the surf reel itself must be considered.
In order to maximize your time on the beach fishing you will want to get a surf fishing reel on your pole that is not overly heavy. This is because you will tire out faster and shorten your day if you do. So be aware of the weight of any reel that you will purchase for surf fishing. Just remember there has to be a balance between being lightweight and being able to handle bigger fish too.
Surf Fishing Reel Reviews
Here is an excellent surf fishing reel from Haibo. It’s a nicely engineered batcaisting reel that has an excellent low profile design that can help you conquer even rough surf conditions when casting.
This real will cast a long way almost effortlessly once you practice casting with it a little while due to its excellent dual breaking system. You can fish all day too without getting tired too because of its lightweight 6.27 ounce design.
This is a very durable real to thanks to the quality of its construction. It should last you a very long time thanks to such things as its 12 stainless steel ball bearing construction, carbon fiber drag and machined aluminum spool.
- 12 stainless steel ball bearing construction
- Extended gear life
- Machined aluminum spool
- Lightweight 6.27 ounces
- Dual brake system
- Carbon fiber drag
- Magnetic break settings are not clearly marked
- Takes a lot of practice to master casting with this model
Shimano is a big name when it comes to fishing reels and this fine reel from them certainly does not disappoint. Everything on it is quality made and it will be reliably there for you when you want to land the big one when at the beach surf fishing.
This is the first spinning reel for surf fishing on our countdown of the best models. It could not be simpler to cast and reel in any fish you get on your line with this reel. It has such great features as a waterproof drag, advanced gearing and a virtually friction free drive mechanism.
It is lightweight and durable thanks to the many graphite parts use in its construction and as always knowing it’s made by Shimano will give you great peace of mind that you are buying a quality product.
- 20 pound max drag
- Less friction drive mechanism
- Fluidrive II Gearing
- Waterproof Drag
- Shimano reputation
- Graphite construction
- Has trouble with fish over 20 pounds
- Locking mechanism could be located better
This is a very solid product as far as surf fishing reels go. Piscifun has done an excellent job with the design here. It is a bait casting reel that will cast far and stay strong as you are reeling in even the biggest fishes.
There is so much to like about this reel. It has outstanding features such as its magnetic breaking system that can be manually adjusted to meet your individual needs. Even the spool tension is controlled by you with an easy to use knob.
It is a durable and corrosion resistant product too as is evident by the fact you can find carbon fiber, aluminum alloy and titanium coated parts used extensively in its construction.
- Magnetic braking system
- Adjustable spool tension knob
- Aluminum alloy spool and frame
- Graphite anti-scratch reel side plates
- Carbon fiber drag system
- Manually magnetic brake adjustment
- You have to tighten the reel handle occasionally
- Not great for catching bigger saltwater fish
Here is another really good surf fishing spinning reel that finds itself on our list of the top models in this category. Penn is a trusted name when it comes to fishing equipment and this surf fishing reel keeps with that tradition.
It is a high range spinning reel that will cast further than most in its class. It features 5 sealed bearings that are made of stainless steel and are nicely sealed too. Included in this reel is a superior carbon drag system and an anti-slip proprietary ‘Superline’ spool.
One of the best things about this surf fishing reel is that it is built to always maintain alignment even under the pressure of a heavy fish on the line. It is built using many corrosion resistant parts too.
- 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings
- High-range spinning reel
- Carbon fiber drag system
- Corrosion resistant metal body
- Maintains gear alignment when cranking
- Anti-slip Superline spool
- Slightly bulky
- Anti-reverse switch could stand some improvement
Daiwa is another really big name when it comes to Japanese fishing equipment manufacturers that make high quality products. Like Shimano, they are known for producing some of the best fishing reels on the planet. This surf fishing reel from them certainly lives up to that lofty standard.
This is a baitcasting reel that is perfect for making long casts from the shore deep into the surf. Not only does it cast well but when a fish is on the line you can handle it easy with this reel’s competition quality drag and its innovative t-wing design.
Many users really like the level wind reel configuration this model surf fishing reel has too. This is a strong and durable surf fishing product also. It’s built tough using such strong materials as aircraft grade aluminum and corrosion resistant ball bearings.
- Corrosion resistant ball bearings
- Aircraft Grade Aluminum deep spool
- Competition quality drag
- High strength gearing material
- Swept, lightweight handle design
- Widened level wind for casting
- Heavy when high line capacity is used
- No left handed retrieval model
Well I have to pick a favorite now but it’s not easy. These are all very good choices in surf fishing reels. It was a tough decision between the HAIBO Smart 100 Baitcasting Reel and the Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel but in the end I chose the Shimano surf fishing reel. My decision ended up being based on ease of use, weight and overall quality.
What did I like best about the Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel? I was very impressed by how easy it is to cast and the outstanding features it has too. It was hard not to be won over by a surf fishing reel that has a waterproof drag system, very little line friction on the drive mechanism and had durable and lightweight carbon fiber parts found throughout it.
When you factor in that the Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel is made by one of the world’s foremost rod and reel makers it makes this surf fishing reel a no brainer choice.
It is definitely a model surf fishing reel that demands a closer look before making your final purchase.