Home Fishing Gear 27 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels in 2022

27 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels in 2022

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Saltwater spinning reels are fun to use to catch most types of saltwater fish. These reels are often considered light tackle compared to conventional reels. For this reason, having the proper size spinning reel is important. Small reels are great for reef fishing and flats finishing were feeling the fish bite is important. When fishing offshore the reel needs to be big enough to catch wahoo, tuna, and mahi-mahi. Some spinning reels are even large enough to catch yellowfin and bluefin tuna.

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There are many great companies that make saltwater spinning reels including Penn, Shimano, Okuma, Quantum, Diawa, and Van Staal. For surf fishing, it is common to use a spinning reel with what Baitrunner. Baitrunners are also called live liner reels or bait feeder reels. This type of reel has two separate drags. At the flip of a lever the darg can switch from the low drag to the primary drag of the reel. The low drag allows the fish to run with the bait initially and then quickly switch to full drag to start fighting the fish.

Many spinning reels today have a rubber section on the inside of the spool. This allows a braided line to grip to the spool. Without this braided line can slip in the spool and make it very hard to reel in a fish. Typically I will use an 80-pound braid or 30-pound monofilament on spinning reels when fishing in the ocean.

In this article, I will review reels by brand from top of the line to the lowest cost. At the end I review Baitrunner saltwater spinning reels. There are many great spinning reels on the market today. Some designs are lightweight with low drag and others are large rigid reels that have high drag to catch big game fish.

Here Are the Best Saltwater Spinning Reels


1. Shimano Stella SW Offshore Fishing Reel

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Model 5000
Weighs 14.8 oz
Drag 29 pounds Retrieves 38 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/14 L-C Braid 225/30
Model 6000
Weighs 15 oz
Drag 29 pounds Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/20 L-C Braid 195/50
Model 8000HGC
Weighs 22 oz
Drag 55 pounds Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 150/20 L-C Braid 265/50
Model 18000 Weighs 30.9 oz
Drag 62 Pound Retrieves 51 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 280/30 L-C Braid 360/80
Model 30000 Weighs 34.4 oz
Drag 55 Pound Retrieves 52 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 300/50 L-C Braid 700/80

Note: The drag values are the max drag for the reel.

There are over twelve models of the Shimano Stella series spinning reels.  I listed several popular ones above. These spinning reels are large enough to catch sharks and large tuna. A 50 class conventional reel holds about 800 yards of 60-pound mono and is commonly used to catch large pelagic fish like marlin and tuna. For large bluefin tuna, a large 80 class reel with about 1000 yards of a 100-pound mono line is commonly used. I just mention this to show that a spinning reel can be used to catch large pelagic fish but will be challenging compared to conventional reels. By backing down and chasing the fish it can certainly be done though. The Penn Slammer 10500 reel reviewed above does hold the most line with 540 yards of 80-pound braid.

Features include an IPX8 submersible waterproof rating, 14+1 ball bearings, and a rigid metal body. The X-tough cross carbon drag is smooth even when fighting fast fish like large tuna.


2. Shimano Twin Power Saltwater Fishing Reel

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Estimated Price $530-$680
Model 4000 Weighs 12.3 oz
Drag 24 pounds Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 160/12 L-C Braid 120/50
Model 6000 Weighs 14.8 oz
Drag 29 pounds Retrieves 41 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/20 L-C Braid 195/50
Model 8000 Weighs 21.7 oz
Drag 55 pounds Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) N/A L-C Braid 265/50
Model 10000 Weighs 23.1 oz
Drag 55 Pound Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 220/20 L-C Braid 215/80
Model 14000 Weighs 23.3 oz
Drag 55 Pound Retrieves 53 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 260/20 L-C Braid 240/80

The Shimano Twin Power offers a high max drag fishing reel in a relatively small size. Features include an IPX8 submersible waterproof rating, 11+1 ball bearings, and a metal body. The sealed waterproof drag uses X-tough cross carbon drag technology for smooth drag even at the high speeds of large pelagic fish.

This is a good reel for verticle jigging and for anglers that like using high-drag on fish. The spool does not hold enough line to catch large tuna as people sometimes claim. However, the high drag can make quick work of small tuna, mahi-mahi, jacks, snapper, and grouper on the reef.

The Shimano Ultegra CI4 XTC is another good offshore saltwater spinning reel for pelagic fish but is not as heavy-duty as the twin-power. 


3. Shimano Stratic FL

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Estimated Price $200-$240
Model 1000HG Weighs 6.9 oz
Drag 6.6 pounds Retrieves 30 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 110/6 L-C Braid 65/20
Model 2500HG Weighs 7.9 oz
Drag 19.8 pounds Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/10 L-C Braid 100/30
Model 3000XG Weighs 7.9 oz
Drag 19.8 pounds Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 105/40
Model 4000XG Weighs 9.2 oz
Drag 24.3 Pound Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 160/12 L-C Braid 120/50
Model 5000XG Weighs 9.3 oz
Drag 24.3 Pound Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/14 L-C Braid 185/40

The Shimano Stratic FL is one of the best fishing reels on the market for inshore fishing. It is lightweight and extremely smooth. I really enjoy using this reel when fishing the flats for tarpon, jacks, barracuda, snapper, lady-fish, sea trout, mackerel, and small grouper. The reel is a bit small for catching sharks though. If you are looking for a quality reel that is enjoyable to fish with this is a great option. It is small and light enough that it can work for freshwater fishing as well. Features of this reel include the silent drive, X-protect waterproof design, 6+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, cross carbon drag, and aluminum spool. The 5000 series includes the power handle.

Shimano spinning reels are great but one thing to notice is the spool is not ready for braided line. This means that you should add a few layers of monofilament line one the spool first, tie the mono backing to braid and finish spooling. The Shimano Stradic and Shimano  Thunnus I use for fishing the flats in the Florida keys have 20-50 pound braided line on them and the reels works fantastic. A monofilament backing was added though when spooling them up with line.


4. Shimano Thunnus Baitrunner Spinning Reel

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Estimated Price $270-$310
Model 4000
Weighs 12.70 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 30 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 160/12 L-C Braid 145/40
Model 6000
Weighs 18 oz
Drag 20 pounds Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/20 L-C Braid 130/65
Model 8000
Weighs 19.4 oz
Drag 20 pounds Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 195/20 L-C Braid 265/20
Model 12000
Weighs 27.7 oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 265/20 L-C Braid 230/80

The Shimano Thunnus Cl4 is a lightweight spinning reel with a Baitrunner drag. This reel is made of carbon fiber which0 is 20 percent stronger than graphite and 2.5 times stiffer than the original Thunnus design. Features of the reel include 6+1 shielded ball bearings, Hagane gear, a one-piece bail, and a spool lip design that allows for further casting.

All Baitcaster reels have two drag adjustment knobs, one for the main drag and another for the Baitrunner Drag. This allows the drags to be adjusted separately and set specifically for the fish being targeted. When the handle is turned the primary and drag system is engaged. This helps set the hook and allows the angler to start fighting the fish.


5. Shimano Saragosa SW Saltwater Spinning Reel

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Estimated Price $280-$450
Model 5000
Weighs 16.0 oz
Drag 22 pounds Retrieves 38 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/14 L-C Braid 175/40
Model 6000
Weighs 16.4 oz
Drag 22 pounds Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/20 L-C Braid 140/65
Model 8000
Weighs 24.3 oz
Drag 27 pounds Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 185/20 L-C Braid 215/65
Model 10000 Weighs 24.3 oz
Drag 33 Pound Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 220/20 L-C Braid 215/80
Model 25000 Weighs 34.2 oz
Drag 44 Pound Retrieves 45 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 360/30 L-C Braid 440/100

The Shimano Saragosa SW is a spinning reel that is designed for offshore fishing. Features include an IPX8 submersible waterproof rating, cross carbon drag, a rigid all-metal body, and Hagane gears for smooth reeling. A new propulsion lip design of the spool allows for longer casting and prevents backlash. It also has 6+1 shielded ball bearings.


6. Shimano Socorro Fishing Reel

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Estimated Price $105-$220
Model 5000
Weighs 15.5 oz
Drag 22 pounds Retrieves 31 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/14 L-C Braid 175/40
Model 6000
Weighs 15.7 oz
Drag 22 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/20 L-C Braid 140/65
Model 8000
Weighs 22.6 oz
Drag 26 pounds Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 185/20 L-C Braid 215/65
>Model 10000 Weighs 23.5 oz
Drag 26 Pound Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 220/20 L-C Braid 215/80

The Shimano Socorro is a saltwater spinning reel that is good for inshore and reef fishing. Features include rubber gaskets to create a waterproof drag, 4+1 ball bearings, cross carbon drag, and a spool lip design for longer casting while preventing backlash.


7. Penn Slammer III and IV Spinning Reel

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Estimated Price $210-$400
Model 3500
Weighs 13.9 oz
Drag 30 pounds Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 285/8 L-C Braid 220/20
Model 4500
Weighs 14.7 oz
Drag 30 pounds Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 320/10 L-C Braid 250/30
Model 5500
Weighs 22.4 oz
Drag 40 pounds Retrieves 50 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 330/12 L-C Braid 335/40
Model 6500 Weighs 22.4 oz
Drag 40 Pound Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 205/20 L-C Braid 335/50
Model 7500 Weighs 29.2 oz
Drag 50 Pound Retrieves 38 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 220/30 L-C Braid 400/65
Model 8500 Weighs 30.8 oz
Drag 50 Pound Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 280/40 L-C Braid 555/65
Model 9500 Weighs 40.9 oz
Drag 60 Pound Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 300/40 L-C Braid 435/80
Model 10500 Weighs 43.1 oz
Drag 60 Pound Retrieves 43 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 360/40 L-C Braid 540/80

The Penn Slammer III series are popular offshore fishing reels for charter operations and serious recreational fishermen. Features include a full metal body, IPX6 water-resistant sealed gearbox, sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag material, and a 7+1 stainless steel bearing system. The 6500 and 7500 sizes also come in high-speed models to retrieve line at 48 and 50 inches per turn. Bass Pro Shops has the latest Penn Slammer IV vesion of this reel.

The Slammer III 10500 holds 540 yards of 80-pound braided line. It also has 60 pounds of max drag on a rigid metal frame. This makes the Slammer III series close to the best if not the very best spinning reel for catching large pelagic fish like yellowfin tuna bluefin tuna.


8. Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel

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Estimated Price $140-$300
Model 2500
Weighs 10.7 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 160/20
Model 3500
Weighs 12.2 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 210/10 L-C Braid 220/20
Model 4500
Weighs 12.5 oz
Drag 20 pounds Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 235/12 L-C Braid 250/30
Model 5500 Weighs 18.5oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 39 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 230/15 L-C Braid 335/40
Model 6500 Weighs 22.3 oz
Drag 30 Pound Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 205/20 L-C Braid 335/50
Model 7500 Weighs 26.5 oz
Drag 35 Pound Retrieves 38 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 220/30 L-C Braid 400/65
Model 8500 Weighs 28.3 oz
Drag 40 Pound Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 260/40 L-C Braid 555/65
Model 9500 Weighs 37.1 oz
Drag 45 Pound Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 240/50 L-C Braid 435/80
Model 10500 Weighs 38.6 oz
Drag 60 Pound Retrieves 43 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 225/50 L-C Braid 540/80

Penn Spinfisher VI features include IPX5 water-resistant sealed spool, HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers, and sealed 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings. The body is all metal and the spool has black line capacity rings on the gold spool. Spinfisher VI reels are very popular because they are the highest quality reels you can get at a reasonable cost.

The 4500 and 6500 come with a bls option which stands for a bail-less spinning reel. This is a reel without a bail. The reason why some anglers like this is so bail can not close during a cast which can break of heavy lures and rigs when surf fishing for example.


9. Penn Spinfisher VI Long Cast Fishing Reel

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Model 5500
Weighs 20.7 oz
Drag 20 pounds Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 215/12 L-C Braid 265/30
Model 6500
Weighs 24.4 oz
Drag 20 pounds Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 330/15 L-C Braid 335/40
Model 7500
Weighs 27.9 oz
Drag 25 pounds Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 430/15 L-C Braid 490/40

This is a Spinfisher VI reel but the tall spool allows for further casting. However, the spool does not actually hold more line. It is wider but is not as deep as the traditional spool. The max drag values are also less for any given model of reel. If you are surf fishing the long casting spool is a good option. Otherwise, I would stick with the traditional Spinfishiner VI model. The spool design used with a long surf fishing rod allows for heavy lures and rigs to be cast a far distance from the beach.

Reel handle positions can easily be changed to the left or right based on user preference. On charters anglers often request it to be changed to reel with the right hand on spinning reels.


10. Penn Conflict II Long Cast Spinning Reel

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Model 1000
Weighs 6.3 oz
Drag 9 pounds Retrieves 22 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 105/6 L-C Braid 110/10
Model 2000
Weighs 7.4 oz
Drag 10 pounds Retrieves 31 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 125/8 L-C Braid 165/15
Model 3000
Weighs 9.1 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/12 L-C Braid 130/30
Model 4000 Weighs 9.5 oz
Drag 15 Pound Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/12 L-C Braid 185/40
Model 4000lc Weighs 13.7 oz
Drag 13 Pound Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 125/12 L-C Braid 150/30
Model 5000 Weighs 14.4 oz
Drag 20 Pound Retrieves 38 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 135/20 L-C Braid 240/40
Model 5000lc Weighs 16.8 oz
Drag 15 Pound Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 215/12 L-C Braid 265/30
Model 6000lc Weighs 18.5 oz
Drag 18 Pound Retrieves 43 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 330/15 L-C Braid 355/40
Model 7000lc Weighs 21.7 oz
Drag 20 Pound Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 430/15 L-C Braid 490/40
Model 800lc Weighs 23.2 oz
Drag 22 Pound Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 450/20 L-C Braid 450/50

The Penn Conflict II is one of the lightest spinning reels on the market. An RR30 rigid resin is used for the body and rotor. This material is light and sturdy. On the inside of the spool, there is a rubber section so braid can be used without a monofilament backing line. Other features include HT-100 carbon fiber washers for the drag system, CNC gear technology, 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings, and a super line spool with line capacity rings. This is becoming a very popular reel for light tackle saltwater fishing setups.


11. Penn Battle III Saltwater Spinning Reel

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Model 1000
Weighs 7.8 oz
Drag 9 pounds Retrieves 22 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 105/6 L-C Braid 110/10
Model 2000
Weighs 9.4 oz
Drag 10 pounds Retrieves 30 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 125/8 L-C Braid 165/15
Model 2500
Weighs 9.7 oz
Drag 12 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 160/20
Model 3000 Weighs 11.6 oz
Drag 15 Pound Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/12 L-C Braid 130/30
Model 4000 Weighs 12.2 oz
Drag 15 Pound Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/12 L-C Braid 185/30
Model 5000 Weighs 18.8 oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 135/20 L-C Braid 240/40
Model 6000 Weighs 20.8 oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 41 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 210/25 L-C Braid 335/50
Model 8000 Weighs 27.7 oz
Drag 30 Pound Retrieves 44 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 230/30 L-C Braid 345/80

The Penn Battle III is another very popular saltwater spinning reel. Features include a full metal body, HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers, 5 stainless steel ball-bearings, and an instant anti-reverse bearing. Inside the spool, there is a rubber gasket so that a mono backing line is not needed when using a braided line.

This is a very quality reel at a reasonable price point. The Penn Fierce is another popular affordable reel but is not quite a quality as the Battle III. Neither of these reels have a waterproof splash rating but the battle III does have sealed ball bearings. These are good reels but likely will not last as long as sealed reels for charter fishing operations.


12. Penn Fierce Saltwater Fishing Reel

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Model 1000
Weighs 7.8 oz
Drag 9 pounds Retrieves 22 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 105/6 L-C Braid 110/10
Model 2000
Weighs 9.5 oz
Drag 10 pounds Retrieves 30 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 125/8 L-C Braid 165/15
Model 2500
Weighs 9.9 oz
Drag 12 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 160/20
Model 3000 Weighs 11.8 oz
Drag 15 Pound Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/12 L-C Braid 130/30
Model 4000 Weighs 12.5 oz
Drag 15 Pound Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/12 L-C Braid 185/30
Model 5000 Weighs 19.6 oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 135/20 L-C Braid 240/40
Model 6000 Weighs 21.4 oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 41 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 210/25 L-C Braid 335/50
Model 8000 Weighs 28.7 oz
Drag 30 Pound Retrieves 44 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 230/30 L-C Braid 345/80

The Penn Fierce III features include a full metal body, HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers, 4 stainless steel ball bearings, and an instant reverse ball bearing. Size 5000 and up has the large round reel knob handle. The main improvements to the Fierce III is the High Tech 100 drag system that is rated to 100 miles. That means the drag should be able to run for 100 miles without distorting the washers.

I have used Penn Fierce II spinning reels to catch sharks under 5 foot, tarpon, barracuda, jacks, snapper, and other saltwater fish. It is probably the lowest cost reel available that has good enough drag for catching large fish.


13. Penn Clash II Spinning Reel

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Model 2000
Weighs 8.2 oz
Drag 10 pounds Retrieves 30 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 125/8 L-C Braid 165/15
Model 2500
Weighs 8.5 oz
Drag 12 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 160/20
Model 3000
Weighs 10.2 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/12 L-C Braid 130/30
Model 4000 Weighs 10.7 oz
Drag 15 Pound Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/12 L-C Braid 185/30
Model 5000 Weighs 16.9 oz
Drag 20 Pound Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 135/20 L-C Braid 240/40
Model 6000 Weighs 20.7 oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 41 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 210/25 L-C Braid 335/50
Model 8000 Weighs 27.2 oz
Drag 30 Pound Retrieves 44 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 230/30 L-C Braid 345/80

The Penn Clash II has very similar specs to the Fierce III. Differences are that the Clash II is lighter and had 8 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and a level line oscillation system. The colors of the Clash II are black and red and back and gold for the original Clash reel.


14. Penn Passion Lady’s Spinning Reel

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Model 2500
Weighs 10.1 oz
Drag 12 pounds Retrieves 27 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 160/20
Model 3000
Weighs 11.7 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 29 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/12 L-C Braid 130/30
Model 4000
Weighs 12.0 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 31 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/12 L-C Braid 185/30
Model 5000 Weighs 19.5 oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 29 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 135/20 L-C Braid 240/40

Penn Passion is a pole designed for lady fishermen. The main difference is the pink color and grip style. Also, the reel is geared lower for easier reeling. This means that not as much line is reeled-up per turn of the handle but reeling can be done with less force. Bass Pros Shops has the Penn Passion Lady’s combo with a matching fishing rod.

Features of the reel include the HT-100 drag with carbon fiber washers, a full metal body, and a rigid resin used for the rotor. The super line spool has pink line capacity rings.


15. Penn Pursuit III Spinning Reel

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Model 2500
Weighs 9.8 oz
Drag 10 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 160/20
Model 3000
Weighs 11.8 oz
Drag 12 pounds Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/12 L-C Braid 130/30
Model 4000
Weighs 12.4 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/12 L-C Braid 185/30
Model 5000 Weighs 19.7 oz
Drag 20 Pound Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 135/20 L-C Braid 240/40
Model 6000 Weighs 21.4 oz
Drag 20 Pound Retrieves 41 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 210/25 L-C Braid 335/50
Model 8000 Weighs 29.1 oz
Drag 35 Pound Retrieves 43 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 230/30 L-C Braid 345/80

The Penn Pursuit III features include a corrosion-resistant graphite body, 4+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, HT-100 drag with carbon fiber washers, and an anodized aluminum spool. On the inside of the spool, there is a rubber gasket that allows a braided line to be used without a monofilament backing.

Budget reels like this one are becoming more and more quality. This reel will not hold up as long as other spinning reels. However, for people that only fish occasionally and are on a budget, this is a good option. This reel is often found on low-cost combo packages.


16. Penn Wrath Spinning Reel

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Estimated Price $40-$70
Model 2500
Weighs 10.5 oz
Drag 10 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 160/20
Model 3000
Weighs 12.2 oz
Drag 12 pounds Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/12 L-C Braid 130/30
Model 4000
Weighs 12.7 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 165/12 L-C Braid 185/30
Model 5000 Weighs 21 oz
Drag 20 Pound Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 135/20 L-C Braid 240/40
Model 6000 Weighs 22.8 oz
Drag 20 Pound Retrieves 41 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 210/25 L-C Braid 335/50
Model 8000 Weighs 29.1 oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 44 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 230/30 L-C Braid 345/80

The Penn Wrath features include a graphite body, 2+1 stainless steel ball bearings, and an anodized aluminum spool.  The size specifications are almost identical to other reels on this list. However, the reel’s quality is quite different.

This reel will work for catching fish where a quality drag is not important. This is not a fishing reel that will have a smooth drag in high force situations. However, if the drag set withing the specification this reel will be able to catch many fish. If you are targeting bigger fish like sharks, barracuda, and tarpon this is not a good reel. If you are catching snapper, bluefish, croakers, fluke, jacks, etc it should work just fine.


17. Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel

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Model 2500
Weighs 9.3 oz
Drag 13.2 pounds Retrieves 32.2 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 170/8 L-C Braid 170/20
Model 4000
Weighs 14.3 oz
Drag 17.6 pounds Retrieves 39.9 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 260/12 L-C Braid 280/30
Model 5000
Weighs 9.9 oz
Drag 22 pounds Retrieves 47.4 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 380/17 L-C Braid 360/50
Model 6500 Weighs 29.5 oz
Drag 33 Pound Retrieves 48.7 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 310/25 L-C Braid 440/65
Model 8000 Weighs 30.0 oz
Drag 33 Pound Retrieves 53.3 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 440/25 L-C Braid 590/65

The Daiwa BG is a very popular inshore and offshore spinning reel. It uses a similar thousand series size convention as other brand reels. However,  the Daiwa BG reels are about one size bigger than other reels in the same size class.

Features of the spinning reel include a black anodizes machined aluminum body, a large drive gear, 6+1 ball bearings, and a lightweight air rotor. Whether you are catching tarpon in the flats or wahoo offshore these reels are very capable of handling the task.


18. Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel

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Model 3000
Weighs 10.8 oz
Drag 15.4 pounds Retrieves 37.4 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 200/10 L-C Braid 120/30
Model 4000
Weighs 15.0 oz
Drag 17.6 pounds Retrieves 39.9 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 260/12 L-C Braid 200/40
Model 5000
Weighs 22.9 oz
Drag 22 pounds Retrieves 47.4 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 380/17 L-C Braid 310/65
Model 6500
Weighs 29.6 oz
Drag 33 Pound Retrieves 48.7 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 310/25 L-C Braid 330/80
Model 8000
Weighs 30.0 oz
Drag 33 Pound Retrieves 53.3 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 440/25 L-C Braid 440/80

Daiwa Saltist is another reel that has good size options for inshore and deep-sea fishing. Features include 8+1 corrosion resistant ball bearings, magnetic oil that uses nanofluids, and a lightweight air rotor. Bass Pros Shops has the Saltist MQ which has increased waterproof protection and round knob reel handle.  The handle of the reel can easily be changed to reel left or right-handed on any of the reels. The spool has a knurled section so the reel is braid-line ready. Color options for the reel are black-blue or all black in the LT model.


19. Daiwa Saltist Back Bay LT

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Model 3000LT
Weighs 9.9 oz
Drag 15.4 pounds Retrieves 33.2 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 170/20
Model 4000LT
Weighs 10.6 oz
Drag 15.4 pounds Retrieves 37.4 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 170/12 L-C Braid 190/30

The all black Daiwa Saltist Back Bay LT is specifically designed for inshore fishing with 3000lt and 4000lt model sizes available. This reel is lighter for the class that the standard Saltist version and the Daiwa BG. When fishing for yellowtail snapper, mangrove snapper, jacks, tripletail, bonefish, and permit this is a perfect size reel to really feel the fight of the fish. It comes with a braid ready spool to easily allow for braid or monofilament fishing line to be used. Other features of the reel include stainless steel bail, lightweight rotor, magsealed design with magnetic oil, and 6+1 sealed corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings.


20. Okuma Cedros High-Speed Spinning Reel

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Model CJ-40
Weighs 12.1 oz
Drag 22 pounds Retrieves 38.1 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 170/12 L-C Braid N/A
Model CJ-80
Weighs 23.0 oz
Drag 33 pounds Retrieves 50 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 260/25 L-C Braid N/A

The Okuma Cedros is a high-speed spinning reel with retrieve speeds of up to 50 inches per turn. A machined spool is 2-tone anodized and is intended to be spooled with monofilament line. The inside of the spool does not have a rubber section for a better grip with a braided line.

Features include a custom blue anodizes aluminum knob, 4+1 stainless steel ball bearings, and a rigid die-cast aluminum frame. The hydro block waterproof drag is a multi-disk drag system. Having a fast retrieve rate makers this a good reel for vertical jigging for tuna and fish on the reef.


21. Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel

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Model Trio-30S
Weighs 10.4 oz
Drag 17.6 pounds Retrieves 32.6 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 110/10 L-C Braid 110/10
Model Trio-50S
Weighs 10.8 oz
Drag 19.8 pounds Retrieves 32.6 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/20 L-C Braid 170/12
Model Trio-55S
Weighs 14.8 oz
Drag 22 pounds Retrieves 39.8 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 185/20 L-C Braid 240/15

The Okuma Trio spinning reels come in four models. There is the orange high speed, red-black standard, pink ladies edition, and a red-black Baitfeeder. These are popular lightweight fishing reels to use inshore and on the reef. The spool is setup to use a monofilament line but is not ready for braided line. A braided line can be used if a monofilament line is added to the spool first as a backing.

Features of the trio include 9+1 stainless steel bearings, a crossover aluminum graphite body, and an elliptical gearing system. The multi-disk dual force drag is also a hydro block water tight drag.  This is a good reel for small tarpon, redfish, drum, and sea trout.


22. Okuma Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel

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Model HSX-20
Weighs 7.1 oz
Drag 13 pounds Retrieves 21.9 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 95/8 L-C Braid 110/15
Model HSX-30
Weighs 7.3 oz
Drag 13 pounds Retrieves 24.8 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 125/10 L-C Braid 130/20
HSX-40 Weighs 9.2 oz
Drag 13 pounds Retrieves 25.2 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 160/12 L-C Braid 150/40
HSX-40HS Weighs 9.2 oz
Drag 13 Pound Retrieves 32.1 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 160/12 L-C Braid 150/40

The Okuma Helios is made of a rigid and lightweight carbon. It is a small reel that is good for inshore, flats, and reef fishing.  The inside of the spool has a knurled section for increased grip for braided line.

Features of the reel include 8+1 stainless steel ball bearings, anodized handle with EVA knob, 1-K carbon fiber drag, and a centrifugal disk bail for increased strength. The rotor is designed to allow increased airflow underneath the spool allowing the reel to dry faster.

23. Quantum Cabo Spinning Reel

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Model CSP40
Weighs 13.4 oz
Drag 30 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 230/10 L-C Braid 270/30
Model CSP50
Weighs 13.8 oz
Drag 35 pounds Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 22.5/12 L-C Braid 325/30
Model CSP60
Weighs 24.2 oz
Drag 45pounds Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 300/14 L-C Braid 320/50
Model CSP80
Weighs 24.9 oz
Drag 50 Pound Retrieves 41 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 330/20 L-C Braid 380/65

The Quantum Cobo is designed for saltwater sportfishing. PT stands for performance-tuned technology. This technology includes a sealed multi-disk drag system consisting of ceramic and carbon washers, max cast 2.0, and a light nickel-titanium bail. PT bearings include 7 bearings plus a sealed magnum continuous anti-reverse clutch.

This reel has size options that are good for inshore and offshore fishing. The reel comes with a one year warranty which can be extended for free to a three-year warranty if you register the reel within 60 days.


24. KastKing Sharky III Carbon Fiber Spinning Reel

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Estimated Price $53-$59
Model 1000 Weighs 7.4 oz
Drag 33 pounds Retrieves 27.8 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 170/8 L-C Braid 200/20
Model 2000 Weighs 9.1 oz
Drag 33 pounds Retrieves 27.8 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 190/8 L-C Braid 190/30
Model 3000 Weighs 9.2 oz
Drag 33 pounds Retrieves 29.4 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 175/10 L-C Braid 220/30
Model 4000 Weighs 10.2 oz
Drag 39.5 Pound Retrieves 31.8 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 220/10 L-C Braid 200/50
Model 5000 Weighs 10.6 oz
Drag 39.5 Pound Retrieves 33.8 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 190/14 L-C Braid 220/50

This KastKing Sharky III is a popular reel for freshwater fishing. The overall size and line capacity is that of freshwater fishing reels. It does have a high drag rating but in my opinion KastKing over-markets their products.

KastKing is a company that only sells on amazon and most of their products are made in china. It is listed as saltwater rated though. If you want a decent reel for a low price though this is an option. This reel is also available in a bait feeder and as a combo with a IM7 graphite rod.


25. Penn Spinfisher VI Live Liner Spinning Reel

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Model 2500ll
Weighs 13.8 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 140/10 L-C Braid 160/20
Model 4500ll
Weighs 15.6oz
Drag 20 pounds Retrieves 40 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 235/12 L-C Braid 250/30
Model 6500ll
Weighs 26.8 oz
Drag 30 pounds Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 205/20 L-C Braid 335/50
Model 8500ll
Weighs 32.3 oz
Drag 40 Pound Retrieves 42 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 260/40 L-C Braid 555/65

The Penn Spinfisher VI live liner is great for surf fishing and shore fishing. Live liners reels are also called Baitrunners, or bait feeders. These reels have a second drag system with very light drag with the bail closed. The light drag value can be adjusted with the knob on the bottom of the reel. A clicking noise is made as the spool turns. This allows the fish to take the bait without feeling resistance while at the same time alerting the angler that a fish is on the line. When the lever on the bottom is flipped or the handle is turned the reel switches to the primary drag.

Live liner reels are common to use when fishing live or dead bait to catch striped bass, sharks, bluefish, catfish, and redfish. Often times the rod is left in a rod holder while anglers wait for a fish to bite. When surf fishing it is common to use multiple fishing rods.

Features of this reel include IPX5 sealed body, a full metal body, and 5+1 sealed stainless steel bearings. The drag system is also sealed and uses HT-100 carbon fiber washers. This reel comes ready for braided line unlike the other live line and Baitrunner reels on this list.


26. Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel

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Model 4000
Weighs 13.5 oz
Drag 15 pounds Retrieves 28 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 160/12 L-C Braid 145/40
Model 6000
Weighs 20.1 oz
Drag 20 pounds Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 120/20 L-C Braid 130/65
Model 8000
Weighs 21.7 oz
Drag 20 pounds Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 195/20 L-C Braid 295/40
Model 12000 Weighs 30 oz
Drag 25 Pound Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 265/20 L-C Braid 230/80

The Baitrunnder D is a quality saltwater spinning reel. Features of this saltwater spinning reel include shielded 4+1 ball bearings, a one-piece bail, and a spool design that allows for further casting.

The spool does not have a high grip section for braided line. Monofilament line would have to be added to the spool first as backing material when a braided line is used. This reel will automatically flip the Baitrunner to the main drag when the handle of the fishing reel is turned.


27. Okuma Avenger ABF Bait Feeder Spinning Reel

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Model ABF-20
Weighs 8.9 oz
Drag 8 pounds Retrieves 22 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 90/8 L-C Braid 90/30
Model ABF-30
Weighs 9.6 oz
Drag 12 pounds Retrieves 30 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 160/8 L-C Braid 160/30
Model ABF-40
Weighs 11.3 oz
Drag 13 pounds Retrieves 33 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 170/12 L-C Braid 170/40
Model ABF-55
Weighs 15.6 oz
Drag 19 Pound Retrieves 35 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 340/12 L-C Braid 340/40
Model ABF-65
Weighs 22.1 oz
Drag 33 Pound Retrieves 37 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 260/20 L-C Braid 260/65
Model ABF-80
Weighs 22.9 oz
Drag 33 Pound Retrieves 36 in/turn
Line-capacity (yd/lb) 350/20 L-C Braid 350/65

The Okuma Avenger Baitfeeder series is a very popular saltwater spinning reel. Features include a machined spool, 6+1 sealed ball bearings, and felt drag washers. The lever on the back of the reel engages and disengages the Baitfeeder drag. When the handle is turned the Baitfeeder drag will automatically switch to the primary drag.

This reel is a great option for anglers on a budget. I have used this reel to fish for striped bass and bluefish in New Jersey. The reel does not last as long as other higher quality reels but does works to catch fish. Baitfeeder reels are often not watched super close so if they were to fall in the water it is better for it to be a low-cost setup. If you fish regularly I would recommend getting a better reel. If you only use it to fish on vacation once a year then this reel would be a great option.


Frequently asked Questions

What makes a good saltwater reel?

Quality saltwater reels are made with sealed drag systems, sealed ball bearings, and sealed gearboxes. Typically these areas are sealed off with gaskets. This helps prevents salt from getting into the internal components that can not get rinsed well with fresh water. All materials for saltwater reels should be corrosion resistant. Throughout a fishing trip, reels get splashed and the wet line ends up getting the reel full of saltwater. It is very important to rinse the reels with fresh water at the end of each trip.

Saltwater reels need to strong and rigid for fighting large fish. The reels need to be sized appropriately for the fish being targeted. An appropriately sized saltwater reel has the proper drag value and line capacity. The max drag value should be at least 50 percent of the line strength being used. This means that if a 50-pound line is being used the max drag value should be 25 or more pounds. The drag itself should smooth regardless of how fast the line is being pulled off the reel. Finally, the spool of the reel should be ready for a braided line. This means that the inside of the spool should have a rubber section or knurled section so the braided line can grip the spool without sliding.

What size spinning reel do I need?

Spinning reels are typical sized from 1000 to 10500 series. When determining the properly sized fishing reel there are three main factors. First is the amount of line the reel can hold. A 1000 series reel can hold about 100 yards off of 6-pound monofilament line. The largest line capacity of a spinning reel currently available is a Penn Slammer 10500 which can hold 540 yards of 80-pound braided line.

Second is the max drag rating of a spinning reel. The max drag is important so that resistance can be added to the fish consistently. This allows the line to be pulled with a constant force below the strength of the line. It seems like a simple concept but it is actually quite common for people to use drag above the rated value of the line. This can result in the line breaking when catching a big fish. The drag should never be set to more the 50 percent of the total line strength. Typically the drag should be set at 25-30 percent of the fishing line strength. This helps account for a decreasing line strength at the knot. Also if a fish make a quick burst the drag of the system might go above the set value.

What spinning reel holds the most line?

Most spinning reels available come in multiple sizes. The amount of line a fishing reel can hold varies based on the spool size and line diameter. Braided fishing line is thinner than monofilament line. This means the spool can hold more fishing line of the equivalent pound test. The largest spinning reel available is the Penn Slammer 10500 which can hold 540 yards of 80-pound braided line. A spinning reel this big can catch large sharks, marlin, and tuna.

Can you use any reel in saltwater?

Technically yes any reel will work in saltwater. However, a reel not designed for saltwater will likely have the internal components corrode. This will result in the ball bearing, drag or gears breaking much faster than expected. Many freshwater spinning reels are made of graphite which will not corrode. The problem is not the exterior of the reel but the internal components. Saltwater reels use gaskets to seal off critical components that would corrode.

How do I choose a saltwater spinning reel?

There are several factors that go into selecting a spinning reel. First, is the size of the spinning reel. It should hold enough line to catch the targeted type of fish. Second is the amount of drag. Smaller fish typically require less drag and large strong fish usually require more drag.  The best size saltwater spinning reel in my option is the 7500 series. For example, the Penn Spinfisher VI 7500 can catch offshore fish like mahi-mahi, tuna, and wahoo. It can also be used inshore to catch snapper, mackerel, grouper, striped bass, tarpon, etc. The reel can hold 400 yards of 65-pound braid but is still small enough to fit on a medium-weight spinning rod with good action and sensitivity.

When fishing inshore or on the reef for yellowtail snapper, sea trout, grunts, porgies, triggerfish, etc it can be fun to use light tackle. If the tackle is too large it is hard to even know that small fish are on the line. With light tackle, even a small fish can pull drag and be fun to catch. This is especially true for kids and young anglers.

What are spinning reels good for?

There are two main types of saltwater fishing reels. Spinning reels are the most popular style of fishing reels. These reels are uses to cast a lure, rig or bait. When fishing from shore a spinning reel is almost always used. Swimming reels can cast lures far and retrieve them quickly. Using spinning reels is almost always considered light tackle even though there are huge spinning reels available.

The second main type of saltwater fishing reels are called conventional reels. These are most commonly used for trolling. They can also be used for jigging and mooching which is a common way to catch salmon. Conventional reels typically hold more line and have lever drag systems that allow the angler to easily adjust the drag to preset levels.

What is gear ratio on a spinning reel?

Thee gear ratio is defined as the number of turns the spool makes for one turn of the reel handle. A typically gear ratio is 6.2:1 for a large gear ratio and 4.2:1 for a small gear ratio. The more import number is the line retrieval rate. That is defined as the amount of line that is retrieved by one turn of the reel handle. Retrieve rates are typically between 22 and 50 inches. Large reels typically are gear lower and still have a higher line retrieval rate. Lower gear ratios offer more torque but a lower line retrieval rate value. Many conventional fishing reels are two-speed reels. This means there is a button that can be pushed to change the gear ratio of the reel. However, this feature is not found on spinning reels.

Can you use a spinning reel for trolling?

A spinning reel can be used trolling but does not work as well as conventional fishing reels. The main reason as spinning reel does not work well for trolling is that the drag can not be quickly changed to pre-set levels. Another reason a spinning reel does not work well is the bottom of spinning reel poles are not keyed to lock securely in rod holders.  Also, spinning reel poles are typically flimsy and flex too much when pulling heavy lures.

If you are going to use a spinning reel for trolling it is best to use a stiff pole and a Baitrunner reel. Baitrunner reels have two separate drag systems. The light drag can be used to set the lure out. Once the line is set out the primary drag can be used. This way the bail will not need to be open and some resistance can be easily added to the lure while it is set out.

Why do spinning reels have reverse?

There is no good reason for a spinning reel to have reverse. Other than perhaps to untangle a bird nested spool of line. All spinning reels should have an anti-reverse bearing or an anti-reverse clutch that can be set to prevent a spinning reel from going in reverse.

What is the best drag for a spinning reel? 

The highest drag value for a spinning reel is the Shimano Twin Power 8000 series that has a max drag of 60-pounds. Penn Torque II, Slammer III, and Spinfisher VI have max drag values that reach 60 pounds. For saltwater spinning reel a good drag must also be sealed to prevent saltwater from getting into the system. Most drag systems are a series of felt, carbon fiber, or ceramic washers. Quality drag is able to maintain the same drag value regardless of how fast the spool is being turned. This is commonly referred to as having a smooth drag. As reels get older is common that the drag will start to get stuck at a high value or loosen easily. Both of these things can make it difficult to catch fish.

What is the difference between saltwater spinning reels and freshwater spinning reels? 

The main difference between saltwater and freshwater spinning reels is corrosion-resistant parts and sealed parts. Saltwater spinning reels typically have the drag systems, ball bearings, and gearboxes sealed off so that parts do not get exposed to saltwater. The frame of saltwater reels is typically made with a more rigid material to allow for higher forces to be applied to the reel. There are also larger size options for saltwater reels. Saltwater reels can be used in freshwater. The only disadvantage to saltwater reels is cost and in some cases weight. It is best to use a reel that is properly sized for the fish being targeted. For example, it does not make sense to target bass with a 7500 series reel spooled up with 400 yards of 65-pound braid.

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