10 Best Surf Fishing Reels For The Money

Are you looking for the best surf fishing reels? Fishing on the shore is much more challenging than boat fishing. Shore fishing requires more specialized gear than fishing on a boat does, and that fact is even more true when it comes to saltwater surf fishing.

You’ll need a rod and reel that is specifically made for surf fishing. Generally speaking, that begins with a focus on casting. This initial, limited experience will reveal just how versatile you are going to need your shore fishing equipment to be.

When it comes to the best surf fishing reels, the Shimano Ultegra XTD Surf Reel is our top pick overall. Followed by the KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel, which is better for big fish. The Penn SSVI7500LC Spinfisher VI’s configurable design represents the best value for the money, while the Penn CFTII5000LC Conflict II is great for long distance casting. The Okuma Reels Rockaway Surf is also great for casting, but scores more points for its durability.

Once you find the best surf fishing rod for your needs, the next step is to make sure to get a reel that is up to the task. In this article, we will tell you about the best surf fishing reels. The reels in this article will cover a broad range of budgets and experience levels.

What Type Of Reel Is Best For Surf Fishing?

Generally speaking, a spinner reel is going to be the best choice. This is because spinner reels are known to cast powerfully and smoothly. They are also known for being able to reel in very quickly.

That is because most of the mechanisms are external, which makes it dry easily. Also, if you get any kind of snag, it’s going to be a lot easier fixing it if the working parts are on the outside.

For the best surf fishing experience, you want to select a spinning reel that is somewhere in the 6000 and 8000 size ranges. It’s also important for the reel to be able to hold at least 500yds of 25lb line. The amount of line it can hold is more important than anything else because there are many saltwater species that grow to well over 3ft. As you would expect, a fish that big can easily burn through hundreds of yards of line.

Top Surf Fishing Reels On The Market 

Surf Fishing Reels Price Maximum Drag
Shimano Ultegra XTD Surf Reel  $209.99 33 lbs.
KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel $ 61.99   39.5 lbs.
Penn SSVI7500LC Spinfisher VI $ 110.33 – $ 369.95   20 lbs.
Penn CFTII5000LC Conflict II $ 249.90 15 lbs
Okuma Reels Rockaway Surf $ 84.53 26 lbs
PENN Wrath Spinning Fishing Reel $29.87 25 lbs
Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG $229.99 7 lbs
SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel $ 36.99 22 lbs
Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel $61.65 12 lbs
Quantum Cabo PT Spin Reel $ 219.95 65 lbs

1.Shimano Ultegra XTD Surf Reel

The Shimano Ultegra represents the perfect balance between cost and performance. This reel offers an excellent fishing experience at a cost a lot lower than you may expect. In fact, this reel even outperforms some of its higher-priced competitors.

The design of this reel shifts the center of gravity close to the rod, which provides for an outstandingly ergonomic casting experience.

This reel includes many features that allow for longer and smoother casts. This is because it is designed so that the center of gravity is closer to the rod. This brings the reel into a more ideal position to release the line perfectly. This reel features a proprietary propulsion spool that eliminates interference and snares while also providing further casting.

2.KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

The KastKing Sharky III is an excellent entry-level surf reel due to its low price and excellent durability. That’s because it’s not something that is going to break the bank, but at the same time it’s a quality product. So if you buy this reel and end up not liking fishing too much, it wouldn’t have cost you a lot to try.

This reel is ideal for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. It has a triple-disc carbon fiber system that delivers around 40 pounds of drag force. It also has a reinforced graphite body that provides excellent performance strength considering this reel’s low price.

One of the best things about Kastking reels is the fact that they are sealed with a proprietary sealant. This prevents dirt and water from being able to get inside the mechanism.

3.Penn SSVI7500LC Spinfisher VIBest Value For The Money   

Penn’s Spinfisher VI is a high-end fishing reel that represents the sweet-spot in features before hitting the law of diminishing returns. Generally speaking, any reel more expensive than this one would have to be used for an extremely specific purpose for it to be economically sensible.

This reel was manufactured using precise machining techniques that enable the user to cast over extremely long distances on a consistent basis.

This reel has four adjustable presets that can be used to be able to handle all kinks of different fish sizes. It features a strong, all-metal body that is IPX5 certified. That means the reel itself is extremely sturdy and also protected from grime and water spray.

4.Penn CFTII5000LC Conflict II Best For Long Distance Casting

This is another fine reel from Penn. The 5000LC Conflict II is geared more toward long-distance casting.

The machining techniques used to make this reel are similar to those used by the Spinfisher, but the difference lies in the use of a resin body and carbon fiber for this reel’s construction. This, as you would expect, makes for a far lighter weight reel.

The 5000LC is extremely light weight. In fact, it weighs just under a pound! But don’t let that fool you, this reel is extremely durable. It’s good for up to 20 lbs of drag strength. It can handle the power because all of the moving parts in this reel are made from high strength carbon fiber.

5.Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel

This is another astoundingly lightweight reel. In fact, at just a half pound, this reel is the lighted on this list. That fact, along with the center of gravity that comes with a reel of this size, makes for an amazing casting experience.

Like other high-end reels, this one features a full aluminum body. That makes this reel a durable and long lasting option. The handles have a soft-touch texture that gives this reel and real premium feel. Also, it has easily and quickly adjusted controls.

6.Okuma Reels Rockaway Surf

This reel is composed of a combination of metal and graphite. This construction, in part, is what makes this reel such a great long-distance casting rig.

This reel also has an excellent line capacity, which tops out at 375 yards of a 12lb monofilament.

Unlike some other reels on this list, this model does not make use of an external sealant to prevent moisture from getting into the inside. Instead, it uses a proprietary rotor technology that is designed to sweep the water and other debris away from the mechanisms. Another important thing to note about this reel is the fact that its external plates are all made of graphite, which resists corrosion very well.

Also, you can do a drag weight of up to 26 pounds with this reel. That’s actually toward the higher end of the spectrum as compared to most other reels on this list.

This reel is solidly constructed and leaves almost nothing to be desired in regards to its casting capability. Another thing we like about this reel is its gear system, which has quite a fast retrieve.

7.PENN Wrath Spinning Fishing Reel

This reel is known to be a highly serviceable reel for its low price. This reel has an all-graphite construction, so it has an excellent balance between weight and durability. With this reel, you basically won’t have to worry about corrosion at all. The spool is all aluminum and has just as much strength as the rest of the reel.

The whole setup weighs just 12.5 ounces. Remember, that for this reel the drag weight is a bit lower than others on this list. So, you may not want to pick this one if you plan on doing a lot of long-range casting.

8.SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel

This Reel is a perfect option for a beginner saltwater surf angler. The SeaKnight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel features a fully sealed aluminum body, so that means its strong, corrosion-resistant, and durable.

This reel uses a total of six washers. Three of the washers are carbon and the other three ARE aluminum. These washers make this reel capable of up to 33 pounds of drag.

Also, this reel weighs in at just under a pound, which makes it surprisingly lightweight. This is because it is made with many hollow and finely machined aluminum parts.

9.Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG

Here is another fantastic product by Shimano. Except this one is a little more full-featured. This is not a cheap real, but it’s definitely worth every penny.

This reel has just a 7-pound max drag weight. That makes it one of the lowest on this list. So, that means that if you choose this reel, technique is going to be a matter of critical importance.

With that being said, the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ has just about everything else going for it. It has fantastic gearing and a marvelous construction that is engineered to provide the least amount of friction possible. This, in turn, provides a perfectly smooth reeling and casting experience.

10.Quantum Cabo PT Spin Reel

The Quantum’s Cabo PT is basically just a higher-end version of the SeaKnight Rapid. This reel was specifically built with saltwater fishing in mind.

So, as you would expect, it’s fully sealed and has a water shedding mechanism. This reel is made from a composition of titanium, ceramic, and carbon fiber.

Depending on the version you get, the Cabo PT can handle anywhere between 30 and 50 pounds of drag. The one bad thing about this reel is its weight. It’s the heaviest option on this list. So if you are the type of fisher that likes to brute-force your way to success, this just may be the perfect reel for you.

Things To Consider When Looking For The Best Surf Fishing Reels

All the options on this list are good picks, but 10 options is still quite a bit to choose from. So, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the best surf fishing reel.

Drag Weight

Drag weight is more important than most people may realize. If you are after larger fish, then your best move is going to be getting a reel that supports a higher drag weight.

So, it’s best for you to keep your eye out for a reel that can do at least 20 to 30 pounds of drag.

Saltwater Vs. Freshwater Fishing

Surf fish is mostly understood as saltwater fishing. This is because the term surf is closely related to salty bodies of water. Technically speaking, however, surf fishing can describe both fresh and saltwater fishing.

If you are going to be fishing in the ocean, then the salt and spray will require a more durable reel as compared to fresh-water surf fishing. So, you are going to want to pick something that has a carbon and/or graphite construction. If your reel has any metal parts, you will need to seal or otherwise cover them from the elements.

On the other hand, if you are going to be doing freshwater surf fishing, then you can certainly use a saltwater reel. It is important to keep in mind, though, that saltwater reels are often more expensive.

Weight of the Reel

Weight is more important for surf fishing rather than boat fishing. This is because in a boat you are sitting down most of the time. Also, the boat does a lot of its own movement, which gives the fisher plenty of time to relax.

Surf fishing, on the other hand, is a fairly static affair. So, you will generally have to be doing a lot more casting with surf fishing.

Another important thing to consider is the fact that surf fishing rods are generally 10 feet or longer. So, that means you will feel any extra weight a lot more than you would using a shorter reel.

As you would expect, there is a tradeoff between a reel’s weight and it’s strength. Also, line capacity and other aspects will have an effect.

Gear Ratio And Line Capacity

You can get a lot of length out of small reels. In fact, the smallest reels on this list can do more than 200 yards. So, the more important variable is just how heavy of a line you need, and exactly how much play you are going to need to catch your target fish type.

Gear ration is super important as it will determine how fast your line is able to be reeled in. So when it comes to this aspect.

If you are constantly performing long casts, then you are going to want a reel with a higher gear ratio. This is also true if you are out for a fish that presents only a small window for capture. On the other hand, if you are hunting a fish that is known to be slower or if you are doing shorter casts, then a reel with a lower gear ratio is better.

Can You Surf Fish With A 7 Foot Rod?

Sure, but it’s not ideal. If you are using a rod of that size, it’s going to be rather difficult to throw heavy lures or bait far. For these reasons, we recommend using a smaller fishing rod for surf fishing.


With so many options on the market, finding the best surf fishing reels can be tough. This is because shore fishing is a lot harder than boat fishing, so its gear is naturally more complex. With that added complexity comes a lot of confusion if you are not familiar with all of the various terminologies.

Shimano, KastKing, Penn, and Okuma make the best surf fishing reels, but don’t disregard models by SeaKnight, Pflueger, and Quantum. All of the reels on this list are great picks, so you can’t really go wrong with any of them.

 We hope this article helped you find the best surf fishing reels. Thanks for reading!

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