Best Fishing Reels for Saltwater in 2023: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

Fishing in saltwater can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it also presents unique challenges that require the right equipment to ensure success and enjoyment.

Among the most important pieces of gear for saltwater fishing is a reliable, high-quality reel that can withstand harsh elements and handle big, powerful fish. That said, finding the best fishing reels for saltwater can be a daunting task.

There are a wide variety of models available on the market, each designed to suit a specific type of fishing. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, we’ll help you make the right decision and get the most out of your saltwater fishing adventures.

Best Fishing Reels for Saltwater Reviews

1. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

The KastKing Sharky III is designed to be tough, making it perfect for catching fish in both freshwater and saltwater conditions. Its lightweight design is due to its fiber-reinforced graphite rotor and body, built for durability without compromising on weight.


One of the main features of the Sharky III reel is its immense power. It boasts a triple-disc drag made of carbon fiber, so you can enjoy an impressive 39.5 lbs. or 18 kg of smooth drag. The oversized main shaft is made of stainless steel, while the precision mesh pinion gears are manganese brass, ensuring you can handle even the biggest catch.

A unique aspect of the Sharky III reel is the water-resistant K.I.S.S. (KastKing Intrusion Shield System). It provides protection for the spool, body, and rotor, helping to keep dirt and water out while ensuring the reel stays in tip-top condition.

The Sharky III offers a super smooth and quiet retrieve. With the help of its aluminum spool, you won’t have to use a backing line when you spool on a braid fishing line. As you can imagine, this makes it even more convenient to use.

Featuring 10+1 ball bearings, the Sharky III reel provides excellent performance and smooth operation. The instant anti-reverse lock, aluminum reel handle, stainless-steel hardware, and increased line capacity further add to this reliable reel’s impressive list of features.

In addition to its outstanding performance, the Sharky III is also affordable. With a range of innovative features packed into one reel, it is an excellent choice for anglers looking for a high-quality yet budget-friendly option.


  • Affordable price
  • Quality feel
  • Smooth bearings
  • Comfortable handle knob
  • Powerful drag


  • Inconsistent drag issues
  • Sizing concerns

2. PENN Pursuit III & Pursuit IV Combo

The PENN Pursuit III & Pursuit IV Combo is a versatile option for anglers. As a spinning reel and graphite composite rod set, it boasts optimal performance for inshore, boat, and surf fishing. Plus, you get an affordable and durable set-up perfect for taming saltwater fish.


Since this PENN reel has a graphite body, it can withstand even the harshest marine conditions. This also means it is not only resistant to corrosion but also lightweight. Even as a light reel, it houses PENN’s powerful HT-100 drag system. This will allow you to easily handle tough fights against large game fish.

Moreover, the HT-100 drag washers are made of carbon fiber, so you can expect a smooth drag even under heavy loads. In other words, this reel can deliver exceptional performance at all times.

Thanks to the 4+1 ball bearing system, this reel and rod combo offers smooth operation, making it ideal for beginners in saltwater angling. Additionally, the shielded ball bearings ensure long-lasting durability, adding further value to the set.

The rod’s graphite composite blank construction guarantees sturdy and smooth operation, no matter where you decide to take your saltwater adventure. The one-piece Dura-Guides also get rid of insert pop-outs and guarantee lasting durability.

Available in multiple configurations, the PENN Pursuit III & Pursuit IV Combo caters to various line ratings, rod powers, and lengths. This makes it suitable for different types of anglers and various fishing styles.


  • Sturdy rod and reel combo
  • Great for pier fishing
  • Versatile for various fishing situations
  • Good quality reel
  • Suitable for all ages


  • Small size
  • Moderate rod sensitivity

3. Piscifun Captain Spinning Reel

The Piscifun Captain Spinning Reel is an excellent choice for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. Crafted using premium-grade aircraft aluminum, this reel guarantees unmatched strength and durability.

With its full metal body, the Piscifun Captain not only exhibits excellent resistance to corrosion but also ensures long-lasting performance for many years.


One of the key features that make the Piscifun Captain stand out is its top-class gear system. These gears offer impressive power, enabling you to effortlessly handle larger fish in both saltwater and freshwater environments. They also provide enhanced durability and corrosion resistance.

A truly powerful and strong saltwater reel option, the Captain has an overall reinforced design. Its high-quality gears, combined with a carbon-fiber drag system, deliver an unbelievable 44 lbs. of drag. This outstanding performance makes it an ideal choice for targeting heavy fish.

Smoothness and steadiness are key attributes of the Captain. Featuring eight double-sealed bearings made of imported stainless steel and an anti-reverse bearing, this reel delivers remarkably smooth performance, even in challenging conditions.

In addition to its exceptional features, the Captain boasts a CNC-machined anti-slip spool and an aluminum handle, which are both lightweight and robust. Furthermore, the reel is equipped with a high-density EVA knob, enhancing the ease of operation.


  • Smooth and accurate casts
  • Attractive design
  • Well-built construction
  • Impressive drag capabilities
  • Good quality for the price
  • Versatile for various fishing situations
  • Smaller reel foot for easier mounting
  • Comparable to higher-end reels


  • Noisy and rough retrieval for some
  • Higher price compared to alternatives
  • Clicker may break in cold weather

4. Sougayilang DYL10000 Spinning Reel

Moving on to the Sougayilang DYL10000, this versatile reel is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. In fact, you’ll find that it is an excellent companion for surf fishing.

With its Propulsion Line Management System, designed to optimize casting distance while preventing backlashes and wind knots, it is evident that Sougayilang has gone above and beyond to provide a high-quality reel at a reasonable price.


Built with a graphite body, enhanced stainless steel shaft, and CNC aluminum spool, this reel exudes durability and strength. Its 4.7:1 gear ratio is specifically designed to battle and land the biggest fish out there, such as tuna, yellowtails, striped bass, and more.

With an interchangeable right or left handle, any angler can feel comfortable and confident using the Sougayilang DYL10000.

One of its key features is its wide-range drag adjustment system. The strong, oversized shaft and compact self-balanced rotors ensure a rock-steady retrieve when battling big fish. Moreover, the aluminum spool is sturdy enough to hold heavy-duty monofilament or braided lines, allowing for long-distance casting.

The reel’s updated design focuses on gear durability, supporting the pinion gear on both ends with bearings to maintain precise alignment with the drive gear. Not only does this ensure the gears stay in position under heavy loads but also enhances casting performance with the lighter lures.

Lastly, Sougayilang offers good after-sales service, promising a prompt response within 24 hours. As such, any issues will be dealt with swiftly and efficiently.

All in all, with its high-quality build, user-friendly features, and excellent customer service, there’s no doubt that the Sougayilang DYL10000 is worth considering for your next fishing adventure.


  • Works for saltwater and freshwater fishing
  • 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings for smooth performance
  • Durable and lightweight CNC aluminum spool
  • Handles powerful fish with ease


  • Squeaky noise while reeling 
  • Line can get caught behind the spool

5. Dr. Fish Long Shot LS-10000 Spinning Reel

The Dr. Fish Long Shot LS-10000 is designed specifically for surf fishing pursuits. It’s a solid and reliable option for anglers looking to battle the fiercest monsters of the sea.

With its high-density and corrosion-resistant reel body, you can trust that this reel is built to withstand not just tough fishing conditions but also the test of time.


One of the standout features of this spinning reel is its impressive 48-lb max drag, which ensures you have the power to handle big game fish. The 3.9:1 gear ratio gives you the necessary torque to maintain control during intense fights, giving you a greater advantage in these situations.

The Dr. Fish Long Shot LS-10000 also features 13 + 1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings. These help guarantee smooth action not only in casting but also in retrieving. In addition, the rotor and side plate are sealed and waterproof. So, even after many fishing trips, the performance of this reel will remain as smooth as the day you got it.

A key component of this spinning reel is its huge CNC spool, which lets you easily load heavier lines onto your reel. This feature not only contributes to handling bigger fish but also to faster and longer casting.

To complete this impressive package, the reel comes with a robust aluminum handle designed for comfortable use during long, strenuous battles.


  • Dependable and reliable performance
  • Visually appealing design
  • Inexpensive for its quality
  • Excellent for heavy spinning
  • Smooth casting and retrieval
  • Handles large species
  • Sturdy construction


  • No second spool
  • Breakable plastic parts
  • Uncertain compatibility with certain rods

Buyer’s Guide

Saltwater environments are harsh and corrosive, so it’s important to get a reel with excellent corrosion resistance, durability, and sufficient power to handle big fish. To make an informed decision and choose a reel that aligns with your needs and preferences, consider the following factors:

1. Material and Construction

One of the most important factors to consider is the material and construction of the reel. Saltwater reels should be made from high-quality, corrosion-resistant materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, or graphite. These can withstand the harsh saltwater environment.

Choosing a reel with a sealed design is also crucial. It can help prevent water and salt from infiltrating the reel’s internal components, enhancing its longevity and performance.

2. Gear Ratio and Retrieve Speed

The gear ratio of a reel is crucial for determining its retrieve speed. Higher gear ratios offer faster retrieval, while lower gear ratios provide more muscle and lifting power.

Your choice depends on the kind of fish you are targeting and your personal preferences. Be sure to research the appropriate gear ratio for your intended fishing adventures before making your decision.

3. Drag System

A reel’s drag system plays a vital role in managing the pressure exerted on the fishing line while fighting a fish. Saltwater species tend to be larger and stronger, so investing in a reel with a robust, smooth, and reliable drag system is important.

You will want to look for reels with smooth start-ups and consistent pressure. These will minimize the risk of the line breaking and enhance your chances of landing a big catch.

4. Line Capacity

Considering the line capacity of a reel is essential, especially when fishing in deep waters or targeting larger saltwater species. Look for reels that can accommodate heavy fishing lines with sufficient length, giving you the flexibility to cover more ground (or water?) while fishing.

5. Ball Bearings

The number and quality of ball bearings in a reel determine its smoothness and longevity. Generally, more ball bearings equate to a smoother retrieving experience. Hence, look for reels with sealed stainless-steel ball bearings, as these are not only more durable but also more resistant to corrosion.

6. Reel Size and Weight

The size and weight of a fishing reel are significant factors when it comes to comfort and convenience.

Lighter and more compact reels are easier to carry and handle, especially during extended fishing sessions. Then again, while they are a more enjoyable option, it’s best not to compromise on durability just to save a few ounces.

7. Budget and Warranty

Last but not least, consider your budget and the warranty provided by the manufacturer. It might be tempting to opt for a budget reel, but investing in a high-quality product from a reputable brand can save you money and frustration in the long run.

Look for reels that come with a satisfaction guarantee or an extended warranty for added peace of mind.

Saltwater Reels FAQs

1. What features should I look for in a saltwater fishing reel?

When searching for the best reels for saltwater fishing, look for the following features: corrosion resistance, sealed design to avoid salt and debris, strong drag system for battling large fish, high-quality ball bearings for smooth performance, and a high gear ratio for faster retrieves.

An easy-to-maintain reel is also essential to help extend the life of your saltwater fishing gear.

2. Can I use a freshwater fishing reel in saltwater?

Using a freshwater reel in saltwater is not recommended, as it is not designed to withstand corrosive effects of saltwater.

Saltwater reels are built with materials resistant to corrosion and have specialized sealed designs to protect the internal components from salt and debris. Using a freshwater reel in saltwater can lead to internal damage, and you’ll end up risking an unexpected failure when you’re fighting a large fish.

3. How often should I clean and maintain my saltwater fishing reel?

It’s essential to clean and maintain your saltwater fishing reel after every use to prolong its life and ensure high performance. Unlike freshwater reels, saltwater reels are exposed to the corrosive elements in the saltwater environment.

Rinse your reel with fresh water after each use. It’s also good practice to occasionally take it apart for a thorough cleaning and lubrication, particularly if you notice any salt buildup or corrosion.

4. Which type of reel is better for saltwater fishing: spinning or baitcasting reel?

Both spinning and baitcasting reels have their unique benefits for saltwater fishing. That said, choosing the best reel for saltwater use depends on your preferred style of fishing and the species you’re targeting.

Spinning reels are versatile, easy to use, and ideal for lighter lures and long casting distances. On the other hand, baitcasting reels offer more power and control, making them ideal for targeting large saltwater fish.

5. Is it worth investing in a more expensive saltwater fishing reel?

A higher-priced saltwater fishing reel often offers superior performance, durability, and features compared to cheaper options. They are typically made with higher-grade materials and incorporate advanced technologies to enhance your overall fishing experience.

Although expensive reels may be a significant investment upfront, they often last longer and provide a better value in the long run. However, affordable reels like those we listed can also provide excellent performance for many saltwater fishing situations.

The Best Reels for Saltwater Fishing

Finding the best fishing reels for saltwater can be a bit tricky due to the vast number of options available. Good thing, this article can serve as your guide to finding the perfect reel that matches your fishing requirements.

Whether it’s the powerful yet affordable KastKing Sharky III, the versatile PENN Pursuit III & Pursuit IV combo, the strong and durable Piscifun Captain, the large-capacity Sougayilang DYL10000, or the long-casting Dr. Fish Long Shot, each option has its unique features and benefits.

Make sure to take into account factors like size, weight, capacity, and price when making your choice. With the information provided here, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and ultimately improve your saltwater fishing experience.

Good luck, and happy fishing!

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