Surf fishing offers one of the most unique and scenic fishing experiences. Most surf fishing occurs while either standing on the shoreline or wading in the saltwater surf. No matter what access point you use for surf fishing, having the proper equipment is crucial. Not only will anglers need to cast a long line, but they will also need to have the durable gear to stand up to the additional wear and tear from a saltwater environment.
Without reels that are primed for surf fishing use, anglers may find themselves struggling against the natural elements, decreasing the inherent enjoyment and pleasure that comes along with the sport.
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One of the key components to having an enjoyable and worthwhile fishing experience lies in equipping yourself with the right fishing gear. Using the right reel can make a world of difference, especially when looking to do surf fishing.
To help you determine which surf fishing reel is the best option for you, we have compiled a detailed listing of the five top-rated reels to invest in. Each of these reels has received high levels of praise from professional and casual anglers alike. By taking a close look at the top-rated surf fishing reels, each and every fisherman will be well-equipped to find the best surf fishing reel for their needs.
The Shimano Ultegra series has been a long-time favorite amongst surf fishing reels, and the Ultegra 1000 XSC is certainly no exception. This is an ideal model for distance casting, whether standing on the beach or hovering over a large pit to draw out larger species.
The spool and reel are constructed out of cold forged aluminum, enhancing durability and keeping overall weight to a minimum. A plastic line guard prevents the line from wrapping underneath, ensuring that each cast will be as efficient and tangle-free as possible.
The stainless steel ball bearings and the S-ARB ball bearings work together to expand the speed and distance of every cast. The patented X-Ship system gives additional support to the pinion gear, enhancing gear efficiency and increasing overall power.
Customers rave about the Shimano Ultegra's ability to provide smooth and efficient saltwater shore long distance casting.
As a widely recognized manufacturer of high quality reels, Daiwa has provided an excellent option for those looking for a durable and reliable surf fishing reel. With a 4.6:1 gear ratio and a line retrieval of 39.1”, the Daiwa Opus model has more than enough strength and speed to bring in heavy saltwater catches.
The smooth multi-disc drag is easily set and adjusted, making for a customized and thoroughly efficient drag. As an additional benefit, this model comes with a Twist Buster system to reduce and eliminate twists and turns within the line.
At a total weight of 1 lb., the Daiwa Opus model may be one of the heavier surf fishing reels available, but it offers high levels of durability and strength in return. Its durable construction relieves stress from the line, so saltwater anglers can rest assured that the line will stay intact while reeling in even the heaviest and strongest of species.
It is hardly surprising that Daiwa has more than one top-rated surf fishing model. With their attention to detail and enhanced focus on strength, Daiwa has produced yet another top-quality surf fishing reel with their conventional Millionaire model. Anglers who want to cast maximum distance with their surf fishing reel will be incredibly pleased with the Daiwa Millionaire reel, as some customers report having cast close to a mile with ease.
Because this spool is capable of spinning incredibly quickly—up to 30,000 RPM—the Magnaforce Z function provides smooth magnetic braking. This ensures that there will be no overrun as the spool reaches maximum speeds. Control of the magnetic braking is fully adjustable to suit each and every varying casting style and preference.
As an additional benefit, the design of the Daiwa Millionaire is built for comfort and efficiency. The carbon swept handle reduces weight and provides additional leverage and control while surf fishing.
With lightweight aluminum alloy construction, this surf fishing reel provides excellent durability and protection from the elements without sacrificing its lightweight nature.
This new Penn Spinfisher model provides ultimate protection from the elements, with an upgraded water tight design to keep saltwater and sand out of the reel. The drag system is completely sealed, with three HT-100 drag washers to protect the top and bottom of the spool.
The five stainless steel ball bearings are also completely sealed, so anglers don’t need to worry about harmful corrosion while standing in the surf.
The full metal body and side plates offer enhanced strength and durability while under heavy pressure, and keeps gears aligned and working properly. The reel itself is smooth and quiet while in use. Along with its high efficiency, the quiet nature of this spinning reel makes it an excellent choice for surf fishermen who prefer to fish without distraction or impediment.
Instead of relying simply on stainless steel construction, the Shimano Thunnus C14 model uses a combination of carbon fiber and cold forged aluminum to enhance overall strength and power. Their Hagane composition is a patented trademark of Shimano products, utilizing top-quality materials to produce reliable and long-lasting fishing equipment.
Compared to graphite, adding reinforced carbon fiber nearly doubles the overall durability of the reel construction. It also provides natural corrosion resistance, a key feature for any surf fishing reel.
With a new baitrunner drag system, the Shimano Thunnus C14 offers enhanced control and power. The drag is not only smooth but incredibly powerful, capable of bringing in the toughest and strongest of fish species. This can be particularly important when considering surf fishing reels, as they tend to need increased durability and strength.
When looking for a good surf fishing reel, there are a few innate qualities that any buyer will want to look out for. Often, these qualities can help separate the mediocre reels from the truly exceptional reels. Some things to consider when looking for a surf fishing reel include:
For surf fishing reels, the more ball bearings that a reel has, the better performance they tend to have. Ball bearings will help determine the speed and strength of casts and retrieves, and surf fishing requires a high degree of both. Reels need to be able to cast longer distances—especially when standing on the beach instead of in the surf—and they also need to have enough strength to deal with larger fish species.
Saltwater fishing is somewhat unpredictable, as there is a more diverse pool of fish to choose from, and surf anglers will want a strong reel in order to be prepared for that diverse range of species, weight, and size.
Because surf fishing occurs along bodies of saltwater, it is important that the surf fishing reel has adequate protection against corrosion. Over time, salt can build up along the outer casing of the reel, potentially decreasing its durability. Most surf fishing reels will be made with corrosion resistance in mind, but it is important to keep in mind that even the reels with the highest corrosion resistance will still need to be cleaned and maintained.
Along with corrosion resistance, the best surf fishing reels will have sealed bearings and gear systems. While it may be possible to have saltwater seep into the inside of the reel, additional sealing or watertight interiors can keep bearings and gears working efficiently. Ultimately, this helps prolong the life of the fishing reel.
The best surf fishing reels will come with the durability to withstand various outdoor elements, not the least of which are saltwater and sand. Corrosion resistance and sealing are key factors in ensuring that the reel will retain its effectiveness over time
Because saltwater fishing tends to offer nearly limitless potential for a wide variety of species, the best surf fishing reels will be well equipped to handle various levels of weight and power. Having a strong, efficient drag will ensure that the reel can withstand increased friction from fighting against a variety of species.
While surf fishing certainly has a wide reputation for being one of the most scenic and interactive types of fishing, the best way to ensure enjoyment out on the water is to ensure that you are using a top-quality surf fishing reel. This is particularly important for surf fishing, as a saltwater environment can create additional complications and concerns. By taking a close look at the top-rated surf fishing reels, each and every angler will be well-equipped to find the best reel for their surf fishing needs.
Nick is the youngest member of the team and he's very passionate about angling. He is the member that spends most of the time fishing at different locations around the world. His main focus is to simplify the techniques as much as possible and break them down so young anglers can catch up quickly. Nick loves the great outdoors and he's a proud owner of a vast collection of customized fishing equipment.