Best Surf Fishing Reel for Casting and Spinning [2019]

As an angler who is eager to try out new stuff and techniques, I find it really hard to settle on just one type of fishing equipment. My quest for finding the best surf fishing reel started when I came across a group of tourists catching salmon in a nearby lake.

They showed me the actual tricks behind the fascinating spinning technique and how to pair it with surf fishing for a profitable fishing venture. During my research, I tested countless reels and finally came up with a list of excellent surf fishing reels in terms of quality, make, and performance. I did my best to look at the whole picture, considering more than just the price and brand name. Of course, my favorite part was the product testing phase!

 

 

Our Top Pick

In the end, my pick for the best surf fishing reel was the Pflueger President XT low-profile reel. This option is head and shoulders above the rest and features impressive construction and a range of useful features. I’ve reviewed it more in-depth below.

 

 

The Best Surf Fishing Reels Reviewed

Pflueger President XT Low Profile Baitcasting Surf fishing Reel

The Pflueger President XT low-profile reel is easily one of the best purchases you could possibly make considering its impressive lineup of features and sleek design. The manufacturer has unquestionably sustained their standard of high-quality construction and reliable performance with this model.

 

Key Features

  • Powerful nine-bearing system for smooth casting
  • Low-profile spinning reel for surface fishing
  • Magnetic braking system
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum handle
  • Easy to use smooth-touch knob

 

What I like about this product

This reel is everything you could ask for—an easy choice for the best surf reel. The design of the handles and butter-smooth drag is complemented by fantastic stopping power contributing to a versatile range of functionalities.

 

What I don’t like about this product

If you are an idealist like me, you may not find the non-clicking spool control satisfactory. This issue may bother you a lot, especially when the drag settings click.

 

 

Pros

  • Stainless-steel, corrosion-resistant bearings can take the abuse of saltwater
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Supreme durability with an aircraft -grade aluminum handle
  • Soft-rubber touch knob for matchless grip
  • Externally adjustable spool rotation and brake controls

 

Cons

  • The reel adjustments can be a bit tricky

 

The Pflueger President XT low-profile reel is a complete package of convenience and reliability. Apart from minor shortcomings, this reel is perfect for surface fishing. You can’t really go wrong with this purchase.

 

Overall Rating – 4.9/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Daiwa BG Spinning Surf Fishing Reels

The Daiwa BG spinning surf fishing reel is a favorite among anglers due to its meaner drag when it comes to catching big targets in turbulent saltwater. Daiwa has undoubtedly done its best to keep the thrill of fishing alive in the surf fishing community.

 

Key Features

  • Versatile range of models
  • Hardbodyz construction and lightweight side covers
  • Lightweight air rotor design
  • Dynamic cut-aluminum spool
  • Infinite anti-reverse system

 

What I like about this product

This reel is an absolute epitome of convenience. I love the vast range of sizes and line capacities available for different models. The corrosion-resistant gear system is a plus point considering that this reel will be used for a variety of fishing actions. It is addictive in its own way!

 

What I don’t like about this product

The reel may start to give off loud noises after extensive usage. As a beginner, you might face a lot of trouble with reel binding, but this issue, at least, tends to fade with experience.

 

Pros

  • Braid-line ready spool
  • Digigear design for ease of use
  • Water-resistant drag system
  • Carbon ATD machined-aluminum screw
  • Smooth casting and retrievals

 

Cons

  • Non-swappable handle limits user-friendliness

 

The Daiwa justly rules the world of surf fishing owing to its reels with well-thought designs and performance enhancements. This reel is a good purchase for any angler looking for durability and smooth casting.

 

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Penn Battle II Spinning Surf Fishing Reel

Penn has made a comeback with its top-notch, super-efficient Penn Battle II spinning surf fishing reel for its loyal fan base to enjoy never-ending adventures out there in open water. Apart from being affordable, this reel boasts a modern design topped with impressive functionality.

 

Key Features

  • Sleek full-metal body featuring red and black contrast
  • Precision mounted side plate for perfect reel balance
  • Precise gear alignment
  • Balanced rotor for super smooth retrievals
  • Heavy-duty bail wire is made from aluminum

 

What I like about this product

I have always been a fan of Penn’s peculiar craftsmanship in its vast range of fishing rods and reels. This surf fishing reel for spinning has won my heart due to its slick design and balanced performance. I would not mind spending hours spin fishing in saltwater as long as I have this reel with me.

 

What I don’t like about this product

The bait and live liner are susceptible to causing trouble midway during retrievals, which could result in the loss of big catches. The drag could also be a bit better quality.

 

Pros

  • 4+1 stainless-steel, corrosion-shielded bearings
  • Rapid anti-reverse
  • Butter smooth action
  • Durable and lightweight body
  • Easier casting

 

​​​​​ Cons

  • Cheap quality drag

 

​​​​​ The Penn Battle II spinning surf fishing reel is a great combination of style and convenience. Apart from the troublesome drag and live line, this surf fishing reel offers excellent value for the money.

 

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Surf Fishing Reel

Although the SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater spinning surf fishing reel may not sound familiar, it is, in fact, one of the most widely used surf fishing reels. Aside from its unique features, this reel has some great style to boast.

 

Key Features

  • Corrosion-resistant coating over the whole reel
  • Thicker main shaft for enhancing action
  • Stainless-steel, corrosion-resistant 10+1 ball bearing system
  • Powerful carbon fiber drag system
  • Sealed-aluminum spool

 

What I like about this product

I noticed that the sealed-aluminum spool adds to the corrosion resistance of this powerful reel. The enhanced shaft also provides easier handling and allows you to catch bigger targets.

 

What I don’t like about this product

I was astonished to see that the carbon fiber disks were arranged in the wrong order in some reels. Unless you are absolutely sure about fixing this flaw, you will have to send the reel for warranty repair.

 

 

Pros

  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater surf fishing
  • Fast, powerful, and durable drag of up to 33 pounds
  • Good for catching inshore species such as bass, walleyes, catfish, or stripers
  • Lightweight design prevents strain
  • Uniquely designed shielded soft EVA drag knob

 

Cons

  • Poor quality material used in manufacturing

 

The SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater spinning surf fishing reel is a sweet treat for surf fishing anglers who are looking for a reel that can take some beating in saltwater locations. The soft EVA knob adds a cherry on top. It is indeed a good purchase for beginners.

 

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel

The PENN Spinfisher V spinning fishing reel is yet another superb creation by PENN. This brand’s adherence to its values of excellence and customer satisfaction is the reason behind their leading position in the surf fishing world.

 

Key Features

  • Full metal, IPX5 sealed body featuring metal side plates and balanced rotors
  • Heavy-duty aluminum side bail
  • Friction trip ramp remediates premature bail trip
  • Five shielded ball bearings offer rapid anti-reverse action
  • Superline spool does not need backing

 

What I like about this product

Penn has placed a fair deal of thought in creating a history-making surf fishing reel with this model. I appreciate the addition of a friction trip ramp which has made bailing much easier for every angler.

 

What I don’t like about this product

The engaging bail with the spool is a bit too tricky for beginners, which is why there are greater risks of reel locking. You will need to know your stuff before playing around with this reel.

 

Pros

  • Suitable for sand and saltwater locations
  • Durable body made to last for more extended periods of usage
  • Robust drag system reduces friction and offers smooth casting
  • Super smooth cranking with corrosion-resistant bearing system
  • Braid-ready spools featuring line rings

 

Cons

  • The live line feature is an utter disappointment as it causes the reel to lock up

 

The PENN Spinfisher V spinning fishing reel is an epitome of resilience and reliable performance in the face of challenging fishing adventures. If you know how to handle tricky bails, this reel is a must have for you.

 

Overall Rating – 4.1/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Quantum Cabo PT Spin Surf Fishing Reel

The Quantum Cabo PT spin surf fishing reel is the apple of the eye of countless surf fishing anglers who are much too possessive to share this ultimate piece of excellent craftsmanship with anyone else. You will understand the reason behind this obsession once you get your hands on one of these babies.

 

Key Features

  • Sleek body complemented by outstanding function
  • Features a fail-proof titanium bail system
  • Magnetic trip and super strong PT gears
  • Durable aluminum spool featuring LMS line management
  • Exceptional drag capacity of 45 pounds and excellent stopping power

 

What I like about this product

I am amazed at the fact that the manufacturer has integrated some cutting-edge features in such a compact looking reel. The workmanship deserves a lot of praise considering the neatness in details of the reel components.

 

What I don’t like about this product

If you are accustomed to butter-smooth performance, this reel can be a handful to deal with. The rough performance and occasional metal grinding between gears are disturbing enough to raise concerns about the reliability of this reel.

 

Pros

  • Powerful drag for catching big fish
  • Sealed, corrosion-resistant components for maximum longevity
  • Durable construction
  • Solid feel and comfortable handling

 

Cons

  • The anti-reverse mechanism is unreliable and ineffective

 

The Quantum Cabo PT spin surf fishing reel is easily one of the best surf fishing spinning reels considering its robust build and equally rugged drag. You can count on it to help you spend a thrilling time saltwater surf fishing.

 

Overall Rating – 4.2/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

SHIMANO THUNNUS CI4 Spinning Surf Fishing Reel

The SHIMANO THUNNUS CI4 spinning surf fishing reel is a step forward in the world of top-notch surf fishing. Shimano is known as a reliable brand among anglers, and they always come up with something new to fulfill increasing expectations from the consumer’s end.

 

Key Features

  • Shimano’s S-concept design
  • C14 Carbon fiber construction offering 20 percent more durability than graphite
  • Propulsion line management system for longer casting ranges
  • Varispeed technology integration provides for consistent spool speeds
  • Dyna-Balance system balances out wobbles during retrievals

 

What I like about this product

I love how the oversized handle allows much smoother drag and precision control over the reel during retrieval. The extremely sensitive build and Dyna Balance system is something very amazing about this reel.

 

What I don’t like about this product

Despite putting in so many efforts in the reel functioning, the manufacturers did a very lousy job in switch selection. I felt the ease of using this reel decrease every time I tried to use the gradually loosening switch.

 

 

Pros

  • ​​​​Lightweight, corrosion-resistant, durable build
  • Strong, smooth, and quiet performance
  • Extended casting distance for catching big fish
  • Minimal backlashing from fast winds
  • Sensitive and smooth spool

 

Cons

  • Cheap quality baitrunner switch is quick to break

 

The SHIMANO THUNNUS CI4 spinning surf fishing reel holds the last place in our review as the best surf fishing spinning reel as it could not match up to mark of quality and user convenience offered by the competition. However, if we ignore these malfunctions, the reel is pretty robust, and you can enjoy it for a great deal of time.

 

Overall Rating – 4.0/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Surf Fishing Reel Buying Guide

Now that you have a sampling of the best surf fishing reels on the market today, you might have a few questions about the buying process—not to worry—I’ve got you covered there too with a run-down of the most common questions asked by surf reel buyers.

 

What are the main factors to consider when buying a surf fishing reel?

Although the decision for purchasing a surf fishing reel depends upon a number of factors, corrosion resistance and sealing of parts is the most crucial factor to consider. Since surf fishing is usually done under saltwater conditions, it is crucial to ensure that the reel is protected from water abrasion and salt damage.

Usually, a coat of anti-corrosion material is done over the different parts of the reel such as drag, washers, gears, spool, and thumb knobs. Extra measures for boosting corrosion resistance include a water-tight integration of different parts. Always pick a reel which features suitable arrangements for fighting rust and corrosions during periods of prolonged saltwater exposure.

 

 

What is the difference between casting and spinning during surf fishing?

For new anglers, spinning reels are suitable for surf fishing as they are light in weight and offer smoother casting of lighter lines. They have considerable casting distance and can withstand saltwater for long periods of surf fishing.

Baitcasting reels are better for professionals as they are heavy and bit tricky to handle. You can use these reels for heavier casting with bigger lures and heavier lines. They offer greater levels of control over the reel for the angler to take the right action at the right time.

 

Are lightweight surf fishing reels good?

Yes, they are. Once you have established the type of target you will be chasing with a surf fishing reel, it is time to decide on the weight of the reel. Remember that surf fishing takes prolonged hours of sitting in a boat, waiting for a bite. You need to make sure that the frame is light enough not to put any strain on your body if you decide to spend a day surf fishing.

Furthermore, lightweight reels make it easier to retrieve a catch as lesser force is needed to drag it to the shore.

 

Final Thoughts

While all the reels in my review would serve you well, if I were to recommend you try one first, in particular, it would be the Pflueger President XT.

The Pflueger President XT low-profile reel matches all the benchmarks of performance, quality, and usability given its feature-rich construction and sleek design. I am personally in love with its fantastic grip and powerful drag which has caught me some trophy catches.

Note, I said try first, though. Unfortunately, surf fishing reels aren’t a one-size-fits-all purchase. One fisher’s dream reel might be a nightmare for another. You might have to try a few reels to find the perfect match for your needs.

Whether you’re new to fishing or an experienced angler, surf fishing can be a lot of fun—if you have the right reel. I hope these reviews and my buying guide have helped you find just that. Happy fishing!

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