5 Best Surf Reels For Beginners & Different Fishing Rods

by Julie | Last Updated:   October 8th, 2022
5 Best Surf Reels For Beginners & Different Fishing Rods

Surf fishing has its own sets of challenges that regular fishermen do not have to deal with, like long periods of use, being slammed against rocks, and the consistent saltwater presentation that happens when surf fishing. This can make finding the best surf reel difficult.

When surf fishing, you never know what will come your way. You never know when a shark might decide to take the bait, and it is at times like these that you want to ensure your surf reel will be capable of handling the extra pressure from these unexpected encounters.

We have reviewed the five best surf reels to help you narrow down your choices, and we have included a buyer’s guide towards the end.


Reviewing The 5 Best Surf fishing reels

Best rod and reel combo for surf fishing

The PENN Battle II, Battle III Spinning reel comes with the rod and it was designed to be the ideal combo for conquering big saltwater gamefish that comes with surf fishing. This set comes with a full metal body, side plate, and rotor that help to give it stability. Plus, the bail wire is made from heavy-duty aluminum which helps with the durability of the overall rod and reel.

This reel has 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings that have an instant anti-reverse bearing. This reel also comes with an HT-100 carbon fiber dragon system, which helps to provide more powerful drag without having to compromise on the smoothness of the cast, which is very important for a surf fishing reel. This reel also comes with a super line spool that doesn’t require any backing and comes already braided. Finally, the line capacity rings are marked in three ways to ensure you get it just right.

  • Has a full metal body
  • Uses heavy-duty aluminum bail wire for durability
  • Has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity
  • Comes with a HT-100 carbon fiber drag system
  • Could be protected better for delivery

Best Penn reel for surf fishing

This reel was designed with surf fishing, especially in mind, and it was designed to put up with the demanding toll that saltwater fishing tends to put on the gear. One of the best things about this reel is that it comes in a variety of sizes, which makes it suitable for a wider range of users, and it comes equipped with a brass pinion gear that has the aluminum main gear. Unlike other reels, this one comes with a full metal body and side plate that makes the real tough on the inside and outside of the reel helping to make it precise on casting.

This reel comes equipped with CNC gears that help to cut the Battle’s drive making it more precise, and this is classified as being a “braid-ready” reel, and it comes with a stock that has a tailored rubber gasket that helps to keep it from slipping. Finally, it uses HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers that are engineered with longevity in mind, which helps to ensure the reel will last for longer.

  • Provides fluid cranking
  • Has a full metal body and rotor
  • Has a super line spool
  • Comes with a HT 100 carbon fiber drag system
  • Can get sticky when cranking

Best spinning reel for surf fishing

The Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB spinning fishing reel is manufactured by Shimano, a well-known manufacturer of fishing reels, and this is one of their top surf reels that comes equipped and capable of front drag. It has a sleek and compact design, and it is made from high-quality aluminum that helps it to provide durability to the casting, which is important for surf fishing.

Shimano has incorporated their flagship hagane gearing and body that helps with the longevity of the reel, helps to give it long-lasting performance, and it helps to provide a smooth cast and provides users with strength for both inshore and offshore surf fishing, which makes it excellent for flexibility in types of fishing. Finally, the built-in dyna-balance rotor and fluid drive ii systems are designed to help with mitigating line management issues. All these features make it one of the best surf fishing spinning reels on the market.

  • Has a maximum drag of 20 pounds
  • Comes with a built-in dyna-balance rotor
  • Has X-ship technology for better durability
  • Utilizes Shimano’s latest technology
  • Minor issues with the washers used on the reel

Best casting reel for surf fishing

The Curado K Baitcase reel has a micro-module gear system that is designed to provide the user with a smooth retrieve, and due to the use of smaller teeth, that provides more contact points between the pinion gear and the drive gear which can help make it more efficient. This reel has a HAGANE body that is made from metal and is designed to have high rigidity. The body is

This reel is made from C14 material that was created by Shimano, and it was designed to help make the reel 250% stronger than regular metal, and it comes with stainless steel ball bearings that are treated to make them resistant to corrosion. Finally, it uses a super stopper that uses a one-way stainless steel roller bearing to help eliminate back-play.

  • Has different line capacities
  • Has 1 roller bearing
  • Made from high-quality aluminum
  • Has a x-ship to help provide durability
  • Can be difficult to adjust

Best surf fishing reel for beginners

The PENN Pursuit III Spinning Fishing Reel is designed to be strong, and it is designed to work for both left and right-handed people. The handle is made from stainless steel that helps to keep it from breaking, while surf fishing. It was designed with HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers, and it has a lightweight and corrosion-resistant graphite body. Finally, this reel comes with slow oscillation gearing that is designed to help improve line lay and minimize line twists.

  • Uses HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
  • Has slow oscillation gearing
  • Comes with a sealed drag system
  • Has a corrosion-resistant graphite body
  • Smaller than some surf reels

Our Top choice

Saltwater fishing can be demanding on your gear, and it is important that the gear you choose you can trust to ensure a lasting and fun fishing experience. Keeping all of that in mind, we have concluded that the best surf reel available is the PENN Battle II, Battle III Spinning Reel, and Fishing Rod Combo. One thing about this product is that it comes with a quality rod, as well, which will give you the best overall fishing experience. Not to mention, this rod and reel has excellent stability and is fully made of metal.

It also uses metal bearings that make it excellent and it has an excellent drag strength that is essential for dealing with surf fishing. Any of the above fishing reels that we have reviewed are excellent, but the PENN Battle II, Battle III Spinning Reel, and Fishing Rod Combo is our recommendation for an all-around choice that will best fit the majority of everyone’s needs.

That said, it is important to make sure that it will meet your individual needs and not just the needs of most before making your final purchasing decision.

How To Choose The Best Reel For Surf Fishing

Best Surf Reel

Choosing the best surf fishing reels can be difficult, and regardless if you are new to surf fishing or an expert, there are always things that you can learn about different reels and the features that will be best suited for that perfect reel that will suit your needs.

To assist with this, here is some much-needed information that can help regardless of your skill level.

What features to Look for in a Surf Fishing Reel

The first thing you should do when purchasing a new surf fishing reel is to look at the different features that make up for a good surf reel and then choose the one that will best suit your situation.

Here are some of the top features that you should look for in a surf fishing reel and what each one refers to and helps with.


When surf fishing, you are expected to cast the fishing line from the shore at a separation point and then reel in the catch from many yards out. Therefore, when it comes to surf fishing, it is imperative to have a study reel that is strong enough to last through anything that the surf throws your way.

Generally, the best way to verify the sturdiness of a surf reel is to look for the type of material that it is made from. The best surf fishing reels usually come with a full metal body that helps them to withstand most maltreatment that surf fishing can send.

Ball Bearings

Ball Bearings are designed to help smooth the execution when recovering and fishing, and therefore, they are an important feature to search for. A lot of the higher caliber ball bearings are made from a metal material, like aluminum, but then they are usually treated with steel, which provides them with an extra layer of strength.

They should be fixed to help counteract consumption. The more metal balls that a reel has helps to imply that it will be a better continuous performing reel, which is important for all of the tension and situations that surf fishing has.

Consumption Resistance

With surf fishing, it is important to remember reels can be consumed quickly, and this is where consumption resistance comes into play. You want to ensure that the reel you purchased has coils that are made from saltwater erosion-safe material, like stainless steel, bronze, or copper, because things like debris, sand, salt air, jetsam, and saltwater can all destroy a reel if it isn’t constructed properly.

Gear Ratio

What is the gear ratio? Gear ratio is a common term that is used by fishing reel manufacturers that shows how many times the reel spool will turn with each time the reel handle is turned. For example, if a reel has a 6.4:1 gear ratio, this means that every time you complete one full turn of the reel handles the actual spool will turn 6.4 times.

Basically, this means that the higher the gear ratio that a reel has the faster the gear will be able to retrieve the fishing line. However, this does not mean that two reels with the same gear ratio will reel in the same amount of line. For instance, larger spools will have more fishing lines on them, which will allow them to retrieve more lines at the same time as a smaller spool.

Drag Strength

Surf fishing has the potential of catching larger fish than many other types of fishing, and therefore, drag strength is an important feature to consider when surf fishing because you never know when a shark or larger fish might take a bite. Larger reels are capable of being connected to the hip to help keep the reel from breaking, and the drag strength is what will help to keep it from happening, which makes it important.

What Size Reel Should I Use for Surf Fishing?

Unlike regular fishing, surf fishing generally needs a larger reel, especially if you are surf fishing near saltwater. Generally speaking, surf fishing reels are larger, and they usually have a more grounded drag framework and they have larger fishing line limits that are suitable for catching fish.

Surf fishing deals with more intense conditions, and it is important to consider the size of the reel you are purchasing and remember that you want it large enough to handle what comes out of the surf, but you should also consider the size and ensure that it is still small enough that you are capable of handling it.

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I was fishing before I could walk and it's been a family tradition for centuries. Fishing is my life, or at least as long as I can remember. In the Lake Champlain International Fathers Day Fishing Derby, not only have I won first place twice but also third place! Also, in addition to majoring in Wilderness Recreation Leadership, I also happen to be a licensed camping, hiking, and hunting guide for NY.