Ocean air, gentle waves and the sudden tug of a monster fish – that’s the stuff dreams are made of. Whether you’re fishing from a boat, or fishing from the ocean shore, anglers who use the top salt water spinning reels are most likely to actually land aquatic wildlife that will take your breath away. Lose one, and you could find yourself lamenting “the one that got away” for years to come.
The top salt water spinning reels aren’t cheap, but a good one is worth every penny the minute you see the sun glimmer off the back of that perfect catch. It’s a thrill some fishermen and women seek for years. What we’re trying to tell you here is this: be prepared. Some Salt Water fish are large, strong and full of fight. Having the right equipment is everything.
Reels Vary to Suit Your Needs
The spinning reel is one of the most popular types of reels available today. You might know them as “open-faced” reels. These small wonders are made for all kinds of fishing. It’s not the type of water that counts, but the game you seek.
It goes without saying that you need to consider your other equipment when choosing a reel including your pole, bait and line; it’s just as important to know the type of fish you are after and what is required to snag and then land it.
Spinning reels tend to be tough, that’s why most of us like them for big fish and rough conditions. The things that set great spinning reels apart from good ones are their components.
If you’re fishing in salt water, you’re going to want plenty of line capacity. Top salt water spinning reels tend to have a high bearing count. They are generally made of strong materials suitable for salt water (graphite is great and cast aluminum is pretty common too, reinforced carbon fiber can be stronger than either of them and is actually fairly new to the market). The body of a good spinning reel (mounting foot, gear-box housing, support arm) needs to be strong enough to stand up to the test of a heavy salt water trophy fish.
It’s all about the Handle
A salt water spinning reel feature a bail that rotates around the spool. The last thing you need is snarled line. An anti-reverse handle makes it easy to mount and use with either hand. A reel with an anti-reverse feature will stop the handle dead in its tracks to avoid back spinning. A good, tight line is a must so your hook will set when a fish strikes. Depending on how much line you extend, you could have some serious reeling in to do so make sure the handle feels good in your hand and will stand up to salt water conditions.
Plan Ahead when Purchasing Your Spool
When choosing a spool, remember overkill is almost as bad as underkill. We recommend anodized aluminum or graphite spools; although, reinforced carbon fiber can be stronger than either of them and taking the market by storm. The amount of line you use and the weight of your line will determine the size of spool you need. Consider the size of the fish you’re after, whether you are fishing from a boat or the shore, your bait and hook for starters. Make sure a spring-loaded bail is easy to use and quick to react so you don’t end up sending out more line than you need.
Choose a reel with enough bearings to avoid jerking and slippage. The higher the bearing count, the better. Finally, your spool will be fixed with this type of reel, so check the material of which the reel’s gears are made before you buy. Those gears have got to be durable because they’ve got some seriously hard work to do.
Price: $1,059 to $1,419
We like to call this the Cadillac of salt water spinning reels. It is super tough (and consequently super expensive — $1,060 to $1,450). It features some serious cranking power. With the Shimano Stella SW you’ll get a rigid frame, good, strong forged gears and amazing drag performance. Manufacturers considered the havoc salt water can cause on a reel so they included corrosion protection beefed up with 12 sealing gaskets and a three-lipped rubber seal. This reel is available in 12 sizes (5000 through 3000). Choose according to your environment and game. We confess, it’s pricey, but then most top-grade equipment is. This is pro-status; but, you don’t have to be a pro to use it.
by Van Staal
Price: $800 – $850
Okay, we’re not gonna’ lie; we think this reel is downright sexy. Its silver, sleek design offers a titanium-bail. The reel features skirted spools; and, you’re just going to love the new big anti-reverse clutch. Expect super hook sets and extreme cranking ability. Stainless steel ball bearings make this one as smooth as butter (Drag? What drag?). The Main Gear is made of hardened stainless steel. This is a true fish fighter. If you’re a novice salt water fisher, this one could be a little out of your price range. On the other hand, do you really want to be holding a little reel when the biggest fish you’ve ever seen taps your line?
… and the winner is … Field and Stream Magazine named the Stradic C14+ by Shimano 2014’s “Best of the Best.” We agree that, for the price, this is a great little reel that might just be more within reach for most anglers because it’s priced to be popular. It’s powerful, and it is reliable; but, what makes this reel extra special is the fact that it is light and oh so easy to maneuver. This reel weighs about 7-ounces. The CI4 is made of reinforced carbon fiber. Shimano claims it is 250 percent stronger than XT-7 graphite and it’s lighter because it isn’t and does not contain metal. Rust is no match for this material.
Shiman touts a Paladin Gear Durability Enhancement, a machined aluminum handle and a direct drive mechanism among many other nifty features that make this a great value for the price.
Price: Under $80
We want to encourage salt water fishing because it is a fantastic sport that really doesn’t have to break the bank. That’s why we included the Penn-Battle-Line-Capacity-Bearings reel. The cost is under $80 and you’ll get a real feel for the sport with a very reasonable investment. Now, don’t go out hunting sharks with this one, it is what it is and that’s a beginner’s reel or a reel for the occasional angler.
This one has a decent-sized spool for mono and braided line. The drag is surprisingly smooth and the spool is made of anodized aluminum with a stainless steel shaft. It also features a techno-balanced rotor for butter-smooth retrieval.
ERS Spinning Fishing Reel Metal Body Two Aluminum Spools Carbon Fiber Drag
This is another very reasonably-priced spinning reel we chose because of its “Super Drag System.” The patented spool rides on two stainless steel ball bearings. Remember, you’re getting a lower-end reel so there are fewer bearings, but the Max Drag Power carbon fiber drag washers offer 22 pounds of drag. The Power Launch Spool (PLS) lip is great for casting and it helps eliminate tangling of the line.
This is definitely one of the top salt water spinning reels in the price range and one you should consider to get started.