17 Best Surf Fishing Reels in 2020

Surf fishing is a fun and productive way to catch many types of fish. Anglers commonly surf fish from the beach but similar tactics and gear can be used when fishing from any shoreline. Surf fishing reels often have a tall spool to allow for further casting. Baitrunner reels have an independent low drag system to allow the fish to swim with the bait before setting the hook and work well for surf fishing.

best-surf-fishing-reel

Surf fishing rods are usually very long to allow for far casting. Typically surf rods are 9-13 feet in length. Any rod will work but longer rods allow for further casting which is often advantageous when surf fishing.

It is common to use a surf fishing rig. These rigs have a lead weight attached to a slider. A barrel swivel connects the leader line to the hook. More info on surf rigs can be found on the striped bass fishing page. It is also common to catch sharks and fish with sharp teeth so a shark rig is sometimes needed. Surf fishing can also be done using, plugs, jigs, spoons, and topwater poppers.

Surf fishing success is often location and tide dependent. Many anglers choose to relax at the beach with several rods placed in holders that are secured in the ground. Other anglers try and search out rocky points or look for bird and surface activity. The proper size of reel depends on what size fish is being targeted. Personally, I like larger reels that can be spooled with about 250 yards of 50-pound braid. However, I also like having a smaller set up to pitch at smaller fish with lighter lures.  The list below shows the best reels that I know of for surf fishing.

Here Are the Best Surf Fishing Reels


1. Shimano Ultegra Ci4+ Surf Casting Reel

shimano-ultegra-ci4-surf-casting-reel

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Price Around: $270-$320

Models and Specifications
5500:
Drag 33 lbs, weighs 15.5 oz, retrieves 41 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 230/16, braid 270/40.

14000: Drag 44 lbs, weighs 19 oz, retrieves 41 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/20, braid 460/50.

The Shimano Ultegra Ci4+ is a top-quality surf fishing reel. This Ci4+ reel is made with materials that make it 2.5 times more stiff than the previous version. With over 33 pounds of drag, this reel is set up to work with a strong braided line. The spool cover can be removed and the spool has grooves for a braided line.

Tall spools are great for surf fishing because there is less line drag which allows for further casting. The reel also has the Aero Wrap II which is a two-speed spool oscillation system that places the line in a pattern that reduces line drag and allows for far casting. It also has the super slow oscillation 5 which wraps the spool 55 times per cycle. This allows for further casting and greater casting accuracy.

The reel is made with forged metal Hagane gears, g-free body, X-protect, X-ship, and has 5+1 shielded S A-RB corrosion resistant ball bearings. It also has a sealed waterproof high-speed drag. The reel does not have a Baitrunner lever but just a small turn of the drag knob takes the reel from free spool mode to fight mode.


2. Penn Spinfisher VI Long Cast Surf Reel

penn-spinfishinger-VI-long-cast-surf-fishing-reel

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Price Range: $158-$250

Models and Specifications
5500:
Drag 20 lbs, weighs 20.7 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 215/12, braid 265/30.

6500: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 24.4 oz, retrieves 42 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/15, braid 335/40.

7500: Drag 25 lbs, weighs 27.9 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 430/15, braid 490/40.

The Penn Spinfisher VI long cast spinning reel is designed for saltwater surf fishing. It has a rubber gasket within the spool which makes it so that a braided line will not spin on the spool. This allows a strong light braided line to be used for far casting. There are three sizes which are the 5500, 6500, 7500 that come with the tall long cast spool that is designed for surf fishing.

The reel is made with a full metal body, metal CNC gears, and 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings. A key feature of this reel is the IPX5 sealed metal body. The IPX5 rating ensures the reel can resist sustained low-pressure jet spray. It has a sealed HT-100 drag system and gearbox. The Penn Spinfisher is a top-quality durable reel that is wildly used with recreational anglers and charter fishing operations. Below is a video that provides more information about Spinfisher reels.


3. Penn Conflict II Long Cast Surf Spinning Reel

penn-conflict-long-cast-surf-spinning-reel

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Price Range: $125-$220

Models and Specifications
4000lc: Drag 13 lbs, weighs 13.7 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 125/12, braid 150/30.

5000lc: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 16.8 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 215/12, braid 265/30.

6000lc: Drag 18 lbs, weighs 18.5 oz, retrieves 43 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/15, braid 355/40.

7000lc: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 21.7 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 430/15, braid 490/40.

8000lc: Drag 22 lbs, weighs 23.2 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 450/20, braid 450/50.

The Penn Conflict II is a lightweight reel that is designed for surf fishing. It is made with a rigid resin RR30 body and rotor to be strong and light. The gears are metal and it has 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings.

Key features of this reel include the HT-100 carbon fiber drag system and a braid ready Superline spool. This is a great lightweight reel that is perfect for anglers that hold the pole while fishing. Its lightweight reduces fatigue when fishing for long durations. The only feature missing on the reel is a Baitrunner which can be nice when live lining baits.


4. Shimano Big Baitrunner Longcast Surf Fishing Reel

shimano-big-baitrunner-longcast-surfcasting-reel

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Price Range: $190-$402

Models and Specifications
5500:
Drag 33 lbs, weighs 19.8 oz, retrieves 41 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 230/16, braid 315/40.

14000: Drag 44 lbs, weighs 27.90 oz, retrieves 43 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/20, braid 600/40.

The Big Baitrunner is size 14000. There is also a Shimano Medium Baitrunner 5500 XT. Both reels are the same design but are of different sizes. These reels are designed for surf fishing with both a tall spool and a Baitrunner design.

The reel is made with an XT-7 composite body, cold forced spool, Hagane metal gears, and machined aluminum handle. A key feature of the reel includes a tall Aero Wrap II spool with optimal oscillation speeds. This reduces drag as the line leaves the spool which allows for far casting. The 4 ball bearings are corrosion resistant and have extra shields to help prevent dirt, sand, salt, and dust from entering the bearings. This is a great reel to place in rod holders when fishing from the shore or beach. In free spool mode, a clicking noise helps alert anglers that line is being pulled off the spool.


5. Shimano Ultegra XSD Surf Casting Spinning Reel

shimano-ultegra-XSD-surf-casting-spinning-reel

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Price Range: $190-$402

Models and Specifications
5500:
Drag 33 lbs, weighs 17.3 oz, retrieves 41 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 230/16, braid 270/40.

14000: Drag 44 lbs, weighs 21.9 oz, retrieves 41 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/20, braid 460/50.

The Shimano Ultegra XSD is a reel designed for surf fishing. This reel has two models the XSD and XTD. The Shimano XTD is a black reel that is marketed for carp angels. The only difference is the black color of the XTD though so the model names are confusing for no reason. This XSD is a surf fishing reel and the S stands for surf reel.

Features of the reel include X-ship which supports the pinion gear at two points for smooth reeling, AR-C spool lip design for far casting, 4 shielded A-RB bearings, and a port to add oil to the gears. The spool is light to help reduce inertia for a consistent and instant drag. It also has a super stopper II anti-reverse bearing to allow quick hooksets.


6. Okuma Rockaway Surf Fishing Reel

okuma-rockaway-surf-fishing-reel

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Price Around: $92

Models and Specifications
6000: Drag 26.5 lbs, weighs 17.1 oz, retrieves 40.9 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 100/12, braid 300/40.

The Okuma Rockaway is a new surf spinning reel released in 2020. It is made with a graphite body, anodized aluminum spool, brass pinion gear, rigid metal handle, EVA knob, and 4+1 stainless steel ball bearings. Key features of the reel include the hydro-block drag, precision-balanced rotor, cyclonic flow rotor, and a roller system to evenly place the line on the spool.

There are also Okuma Rockaway surf fishing rods to match the reel.  The two-piece rods come in lengths from 9-feet to 12 feet and have medium-light to medium-heavy action. Okuma rods and reels are very popular with surf fishing anglers.


7. Daiwa KN3 Big Game Surf Fishing Reel

daiwa-surf-fishing-reel

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Price Around: $90

Models and Specifications
8000: Drag 70 lbs, weighs 21.2 oz, GR 4.6:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 400/30.

10000: Drag 70 lbs, weighs 21.2 oz, GR 4.6:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 500/60.

14000: Drag 70 lbs, weighs 21.2 oz, GR 4.6:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 480/70.

The Daiwa KN3 is a Big Game Surf Fishing Reel. It has a drag rated for 70 pounds of force capable of catching large fish such as sturgeon, sharks, grouper, and tuna. The three-reel sizes are the same reel but with size 8000, 10000, and 14000 spools.

The reel is made with a carbon fiber frame, Shark Fin braid ready aluminum spool, 12+1 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings, oversized stainless steel main shaft, and brass pinion gears. It has a sealed Intrusion Shield system which helps keep water out of the spool, body, and rotor.  As with most spinning reels, the handle can be swapped to work for left or right-hand anglers.


8. Penn Spinfisher VI Live Liner Surf Reel

penn-spinfisher-VI-live-liner-surf-fishing-reel

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Price Range: $160-$220

Models and Specifications
2500ll: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 13.8 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 160/20.

4500ll: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 15.6 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 235/12, braid 250/30.

6500ll: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 26.8 oz, retrieves 42 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 205/20, braid 335/50.

8500: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 32.3 oz, retrieves 42 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 260/40, braid 555/65.

The Penn Spinfisher VI live liner is a great reel for surf fishing and boat fishing. This reel is made with a full metal body, CNC metal gears, aluminum Superline braid ready spool, and 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings. Key features of the reel include HT-100 carbon fiber drag, IPX5 sealed body, IPX5 sealed spool, and the live liner system.

This reel has two separate drag systems a front drag and a rear drag. The reel drag is used as a low drag setting so that when fish initially bite they can swim with the bait before the hook is set. Some fish bit slow and early hooksets just pull the bait out of the fish’s mouth. Live liners are used when fishing with dead baits, scented artificial baits, and live bait. It is common to fish for carp, catfish, striped bass, sharks, and bluefish with the live liner turned on.


9. Penn Fierce III Live Liner Surf Fishing Reel

penn-fierce-live-liner-spinning-reel-for-surf-fishing

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Price Range: $49-$155

Models and Specifications
2500: Drag 12 lbs, weighs 9.9 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 160/20.

3000: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 11.8 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/12, braid 130/30.

4000: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 12.5 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 165/12, braid 185/30.

5000: Drag 25 lbs, weighs 19.6 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 135/20, braid 240/40.

6000: Drag 25 lbs, weighs 21.4 oz, retrieves 41 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 210/25, braid 335/50.

8000: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 28.7 oz, retrieves 44 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 230/30, braid 345/80.

The Penn Fierce III is a live liner spinning reel that works great for surf fishing and shore fishing. This reel is made with a metal frame, metal side plates, Superline braid ready aluminum spool, and 4+1 stainless steel ball bearings. Features include a Techno-Balanced rotor, HT-100 carbon fiber drag, and a live liner system.

In the video below I am fishing for tarpon in the Florida Keys using a Penn Fierce II 6000 size reel. When fishing for tarpon the live liner would be useful. Otherwise, you have to fish with a little slack in the line. You do not want tarpon to swim too long with the bait though because you want a good hookset in the top lip or corner of the mouth for a good release.


10. Shimano Thunnus Baitrunner Surf Reel

shimano-thunnus-surf-fishing-spinning-reel

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Price Range: $270-$310

Models and Specifications
4000:
Drag 15 lbs, weighs 12.70 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/12, braid 145/40.

6000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 18 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/20, braid 130/65.

8000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 19.4 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 195/20, braid 265/20.

12000: Drag 25 lbs, weighs 27.7 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 265/20, braid 230/80.

The Shimano Thunnus Ci4 is a Baitrunner reel that works well for surf fishing. It has a front primary drag and a second rear-drag for the Baitrunner drag system. A propulsion line management system helps for further casting and helps to prevent tangles in the line.

Key features of the reel are the Baitrunner system, one-piece bail, large knob handle, and 6+1 S A-RB corrosion-resistant bearings with shields to prevent salt, dirt, and dust from entering the bearing. This reel comes in 4 sizes that are all capable of catching large saltwater fish.


11. Okuma Avenger New ABF Baitfeeder Surf Reel

okuma-avenger-baitfeeder-abf-graphite-surf-fishing-reel

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Price Around: $55

Models and Specifications
ABF-20: Drag 8 lbs, weighs 8.9 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 90/8, braid 90/30.

ABF-30: Drag 12 lbs, weighs 9.6 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/8, braid 160/30.

ABF-40: Drag 13 lbs, weighs 11.3 oz, retrieves 29 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 170/12, braid 170/40.

ABF-55: Drag 19 lbs, weighs 15.6 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 340/12, braid 340/40.

ABF-65: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 22.1 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 260/20, braid 260/65.

ABF-80: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 22.9 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 350/20, braid 350/65.

This is the latest Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder reel. The Okuma Avenger reels are very popular among surf fishing and shore fishing anglers. Key features include the Baitfeeder system, multi-disk oiled felt drag system, precision elliptical gearing, and a computer balanced rotor. The reel is constructed with a graphite body, diecast aluminum handle, brass pinion gear, anodized spool, stainless steel bail wire, and 6+1 ball bearings.

There are 6 size options available for the Avenger ABF reel. Small sizes are great for catching small freshwater fish like crappie, catfish, and hybrid striped bass. Larger sizes are good for ocean fish like striped bass, bluefish, fluke, and small sharks.

Okuma Avenger ABF Bait Feeder Surf Reel

okuma-avenger-abf-bait-feeder-surf-fishing-reel

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Price Range: $47-$59

Models and Specifications
ABF-20:
Drag 8 lbs, weighs 8.8 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 90/8, braid 90/30.

ABF-40: Drag 14 lbs, weighs 16.3 oz, retrieves 28 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 260/12, braid 260/40.

ABF-90: Drag 22 lbs, weighs 27.6 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/30, braid 330/80.

This is the older model of the Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder series of reels. It is a good reel for the price point. I had one that took some abuse before it eventually broke. It has a patented on/off auto trip bait feeder system. There is an adjustable top primary drag and a second rear drag for the Baitfeeder drag system.

The reel is made with a graphite frame, graphite side plates, brass pinion gear, die-cast aluminum handle, aluminum hand knob, and anodized spool. Features of the reel include a Hydro Block sealed multi-disk felt drag system and 6+1 stainless steel ball bearings.


12. KastKing Sharky Live Liner Surf Reel

kastking-sharky-live-liner-baitfeeder-surf-fishing-reel

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Price Range: $50-$60

Models and Specifications
3000: Drag 17.6 lbs, weighs 11.2 oz, retrieves 29.9 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 180/10, braid 305/20.

4000: Drag 26.5 lbs, weighs 14.3 oz, retrieves 33.9 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/14, braid 180/40.

5000: Drag 26.5 lbs, weighs 15.8 oz, retrieves 35.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 250/14, braid 290/50.

6000: Drag 26.5 lbs, weighs 16.1 oz, retrieves 37.8 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 300/14, braid 300/60.

This KastKing Sharky is a live liner reel that works well for surf fishing. KastKing reels are popular with freshwater anglers and the reels are rated for saltwater fishing.

It is made with a graphite frame, braid ready aluminum spool, and stainless steel gears. Key features include a carbon fiber drag system, 10+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, and a computer balanced rotor. The Live liner works by flipping the lever on the back of the reel. There is a separate rear drag for the live liner feature to allow for a proper drag setting based on the bait size and targeted species of fish.


13. Penn Slammer III Surf Fishing Reel

penn-slammer-3-saltwater-surf-fishing-reel

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Price Range: $180-$330

Models and Specifications
3500: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 13.9 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 285/8, braid 220/20.

4500: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 14.7 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 235/12, braid 250/30.

5500: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 22.4 oz, retrieves 50 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 230/15, braid 335/40.

6500: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 22.4 oz, retrieves 42 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 205/20, braid 335/50.

7500: Drag 50 lbs, weighs 29.2 oz, retrieves 38 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 220/30, braid 400/65.

8500: Drag 50 lbs, weighs 30.8 oz, retrieves 42 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 260/40, braid 555/65.

9500: Drag 60 lbs, weighs 40.9 oz, retrieves 40 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 240/50, braid 435/80.

10500: Drag 60 lbs, weighs 43.1 oz, retrieves 43 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 225/50, braid 540/80.

The Penn Slammer III is one of the highest quality big game spinning reels. There are size options that can work for average size freshwater fish all the way to the 10500 which can be used to catch bluefin tuna. Not that you are going to catch a bluefin tuna while surf fishing. Larger reel sizes would be good when targeting fish such as large groupers and sharks.

The reel is made with a metal frame, metal side plates, metal rotor, braid ready aluminum spool, and 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings. It has a sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag. This reel is made with a sealed body and spool that has an IPX7 waterproof rating.  The Penn Slammer III is one of the best saltwater spinning reels on the market. Below is a video with more information about Penn Slammer reels.


14. Penn Wrath Surf Fishing Reel

penn-wrath-surf-spinning-reel

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Price Range: $29-$50

Models and Specifications
2500:
Drag 10 lbs, weighs 10.5 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 160/20.

3000: Drag 12 lbs, weighs 12.2 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/12, braid 130/30.

4000: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 12.7 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 165/12, braid 185/30.

5000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 21.0 oz, retrieves 36 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 135/20, braid 240/40.

6000: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 22.8 oz, retrieves 41 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 210/25, braid 335/50.

8000: Drag 25 lbs, weighs 29.1 oz, retrieves 44 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 230/30, braid 345/80.

The Penn Wrath is a saltwater spinning reel that will work for surf fishing. It does not have a tall spool or Baitfeeder but is a very affordable reel option.

This reel is constructed with a lightweight graphite body, braid ready aluminum spool with line capacity rings, 2 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, and an instant anti-reverse bearing.  There are size options to catch freshwater fish like bass, crappie, and trout to larger reels that can catch striped bass, tarpon, and salmon.


15. Shimano Stratic Ci4+ Surf Fishing Reel

shimano-stradic-surf-fishing-reel

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Price Range: $190-$402

Models and Specifications
41000HG: Drag 7 lbs, weighs 5.6 oz, retrieves 31 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/6, braid 95/10.

42500HG: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 6.7 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/8, braid 145/15.

43000HG: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 6.7 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/10, braid 145/20.

44000HG: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 8.1 oz, retrieves 39 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/12, braid 175/30.

The Shimano Stratic Ci4+ is a high-performance lightweight reel that works for many types of fishing. The number one reel on this list, the Shimano Ultegra was also a Ci4+ reel with a lightweight rigid frame. Key features of this reel include the Hagane metal gears, G-Free body, X-ship, and a magnum light rotor.

When surf fishing it is not always a game of casting a large bottom rig as far as possible. Some times fish like bluefish, striped bass, jacks, salmon, etc are breaking topwater close to shore. In this case, it is nice to have a smaller fishing setup to pitch spoons, plugs, and live bait. The Shimano Stratic Ci4+ is one of the best ultralight spinning reels on the market.


16. Penn Squall Two Speed Big Game Reel

penn-squall-2-speed-big-game-surf-reel

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Price Range: $233-$288

Models and Specifications
16:
Drag 26 lbs, weighs 38.5 oz, retrieves 39-18 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 540/30, braid 1040/65.

30: Drag 32 lbs, weighs 47 oz, retrieves 41-18 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 595/50, braid 1435/80.

50: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 55.6 oz, retrieves 33-17 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 890/50, braid 1835/100.

Note: The drag values are the max drag for the reel.

The Penn Squall 50 VSW is a conventional fishing reel. This style reel can not be cast but is still occasionally used by surf fishermen. It is mainly used when targeting large sharks on the beach. Rather than casting the bait, it brought out to see using a kayak or flown out using a fishing drone. The large line capacity and powerful drag help to reduce the likely hood of getting spooled by a large fish.

This particular reel is very similar to Penn International reels but has a graphite body that significantly reduces the weight compared to aluminum. The level drag allows the angler to easily adjust the drag level at various points while fighting the fish. There is also a high gear setting and low gear setting that help balance the proper line retrieve rate to the torque level for the fishing situation. The reel has an aluminum spool, stainless steel gears, and 4+1 stainless steel ball bearings.


17. Troutboy Black Warrior Surf Fishing Rod and Reel

troutboy-telescopic-surf-fishing-rod-and-reel

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Price Range: $50-$60

Models and Specifications
2000: Drag 11.2 lbs, weighs 9.8 oz, GR 5.0:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 140/20, braid 140/65.

3000: Drag 11.2 lbs, weighs 10.1 oz, GR 5.0:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/20, braid 160/65.

4000: Drag 17.6 lbs, weighs 14.2 oz, GR 4.7:1
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/20, braid 200/65.

5000: Drag 17.6 lbs, weighs 14.4 oz, GR 4.7:1.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 240/20, braid 240/65.

The Troutboy reel comes as a rod and reel combo. The larger sizes work great for surf fishing and are a reasonable price. Since it is a telescopic fishing rod it works well for traveling. The rod and reel are both saltwater rated.

Troutboy reels comes in four sizes. Features of the reel include a braid ready aluminum spool, 13+1 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings, a Rocket line management system, and an EVA knob. It also comes with a second spool made out of graphite which allows anglers to quickly change the type of fishing line being used.

The Troutboy rods come as a combo or can be purchased separately to match with other reels discussed in this article. Three are 7 different rod sizes which are lengths of 5 feet 10 inches, 6 feet 10 inches, 7 feet 10 inches, 8 feet 10 inches, 9 feet 10 inches, and 11 feet 10 inches. When collapsed the rod lengths range from 18.8 inches to 26.3 inches.

Related Article: 27 Best Fishing Lines


Surf Fishing Reel Features

Tall Spools for Surf Reels

Surf fishing reels are known for having tall spools. Many people think this is so the reel can hold more fishing line. However, in many cases, the tall spools hold less line than the same reel with a wide deep spool. The reason for the tall spool is so the line exits the reel with minimal drag. The result is further casting. It is important that the line freely comes off the spool when casting heavy surf fishing rigs. The reason is that to much drag might jerk the reel as the line is peeling off the spool. This can cause the bail to close. When the bail closes during a strong cast it can cause a high instantaneous force that can break line.

There are bailess spinning reels to make it so the bail can not close during a cast.  The bail closing during a cast might not seem like a big deal. However, I have lost nice heavy lures using a 50 plus pound braid line during casts. At first, I did not realize how the lure could break off during a cast. It is because the spike in force happens so fast the drag of the reel does not have time to work properly.

There are sever other ways reels try to reduce line friction. First is the lip design of the spool. A blunt top spool lip can cause unnecessary line drag. Second, the oscillation of the spool can be two speeds to place the line in a criss-cross pattern to reduce line drag. Finally, the oscillation can be very slow allowing up to 55 wraps per cycle. These features help the line come off the spool with less resistance.

Baitfeeder for Surf Reels

Baitfeeders are also called live liner reels. These reels have two drag systems. First, there is the front primary drag that is a standard feature on all spinning reels. Second is the rear drag that is for the Baitfeeder. Sometimes light resistance is better and other times having more resistance on the bait is beneficial. If there is a strong current, for example, the resistance of the Baitfeeder might have to be increased.

When surf fishing sometimes the Baitfeeder will be used and other times it will not be used. Baitfeeders are mostly used when the rod is placed in a holder and anglers are waiting for a fish to bite. When surf fishing it is common to set out more than one line. After a fish takes the bait, the reel will make a clicking noise letting the angler know to pick up the fishing pole. When casting plugs, spoons, and jigs the Baitfeeder is not used as it is better to quickly set the hook.

Line Capacity of Surf Reels

The needed line capacity of surf reels depends on the type of fish being targeted. It is common to cast 4-6 ounce weights around 100 years to get beyond breaking waves and into deeper water. For this reason, the reel should hold a minimum of 150 yards of line. When fishing for medium-sized fish between 10-50 pounds it is good to have a reel that can hold 300 plus yards of line. For fish over 50 pounds like sharks, it is good to have over 400 yards of line.

Surf Fishing Equipment

Surf Fishing Rods

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A surf fishing rod is designed to cast heavyweights a far distance. Typical rod lengths are between 9 and 13 feet with 10-12 feet being the most common. These are much longer than bass fishing rods which are typically around 6 feet 6 inches.

The power rating of the surf fishing rod should be between medium-light to medium-heavy. Power ratings describe the stiffness of the rod’s overall length. It should be stiff enough to support heavy weights but still flexible to load up like a spring for far casting. The Okuma Solaris shown above is a mid-quality surf fishing rod. Another mid-quality rod is the Okuma Longitude. For a budget option, the Okuma Tundra is a long rod that is rated to cast up to 5 ounces.

Surf Fishing Rod Holders 

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This Sea Striker sand spike comes in lengths of 28 inches and 42 inches. The tube is a high impact plastic and the spike is made of aluminum. There are several other kinds of surf fishing rod holders as well. The simplest is just a PVC tube with the end cut at an angle so that it can be stuck into the ground.

The best surf fishing rod holder is the Beast Sand spike which is 57 inches in length. It has a foot stomp pedal to help secure the rod holder. It is tall enough that it can be in the surf and still keep the rod and reel dry.

Surf Fishing Weights

The most common surf fishing weight is a pyramid sinker. These weights can dig into the dirt or sand and prevent the bait from getting swept away by the currents.  Round weights and eggs shape weights can work as well and are less likely to get snagged up on the bottom. When surf fishing heavy lures over 1 ounce are used to be able to cast a far distance. Some anglers wade into the water to be able to get lures and baits out as far as possible.

Surf Fishing Floats

Surf fishing floats are often overlooked by anglers. A shark float or balloon can be used to suspend baits from the surface. Rather than casting the bait, it is carried out to sea by the wind or current. This does not work in all conditions but can be a great way to set baits far from shore. This method even works with large conventional reels. Floats can also be used when fishing from a bridge or pier.

Surf Fishing Bait

The best bait for surfing fishing depends on the fishing location and the target species. When fishing for striped bass the best baits are bunker, clams, eels, and sandworms. If you do not know what to use squid is a bait that most fish will eat. In Flordia, good surf fishing baits are crabs, mullet, shrimp, squid, and pilchards. For smaller fish, many anglers even dig up sandfleas and put them on the hook.

Surf Fishing Lures

If fresh bait is not available using lures can be a productive way to surf fish. Especially when there is bait activity in the area. The most common surfcasting lures are bomber plugs and topwater plugs. Spoon style lures like Kastmasters can be effective on aggressive predators like bluefish. When fishing near a jetty or drop off casting and retrieving jigs and swimbaits is a good option.


Frequently asked Questions

How do you surf fish?

When most people think of surf fishing they think of a sandy beach with a rod holder stuck in the sand waiting for a fish to bite. This is a common way to surf fish but it is not the only way. Surf fishing tactics can be used when fishing from any shore and casting baits far out is desirable. This can be a rocky shoreline, muddy shoreline, or even a pier or jetty.

To cast far reels with low line drag during the cast is desirable. Since the pole is often in a holder having a Baitcaster allows the fish to bite and run with the bait. This also gives the angler time to get to the rod and then set the hook. The most common setup is a piece of cut bait placed on a surf fishing rig with a 1-6 ounce lead weight.

What kinds of fish can be caught surf fishing?  

The most common types of fish caught surf fishing are striped bass, bluefish, sharks, pompano, flounder, skates, croakers, red drum, Spanish mackerel, jacks, salmon, and speckled trout. In Florida is it also common to catch snook in the surf and tarpon in the flats. One of the fun things about surf fishing is that you never know what you might catch. That is why is it important to have gear that can catch big fish.

Best surf fishing location? 

The best surf fishing locating depends on what type of fish you like you catch. My personal favorites are striped bass fishing in New Jersey or fishing in the flats for tarpon in Flordia. What really gets me excited is when there are schools of bunker or mullet in the area. It is very common for big predator fish to follow the bait. Surf fishing on a beach is a relaxing way to fish. If you are going to be hanging out at the ocean you mind as well have a few poles in the water. The fun thing about fishing at the beach is the variety of fish that can be caught.

A very popular fish for the angler to target from the beach is sharks. Shark fishing is often done at night when sharks tend to be closer to shore. There are certain times of the year when shark migrate and shark fishing can be really good.

Locations known for surf fishing are the Jersey Shore, Outer Banks, all the beaches in Florida, and the California coastline. If you are at the shore of the ocean there are usually cool fish to catch.

What size reel should I use for surf fishing?

For surf fishing, a 6000-8500 reels sizes are the best. These reels have high line capacity and are strong enough to catch large fish. It takes a large reel just to retrieve the surf fishing rigs that have up to 6-ounce weights. The reel should be rated for saltwater with a sealed drag system and shielded ball bearings. Reels that are used for surf fishing take some abuse from the salt and sand environment so it is good to get quality gear that will not break.

What is the best length for a surf fishing rod?

The best length rod for surf fishing is between 10 and 13 feet. Typically longer rods can cast further and are typically considered the best. However, there are other considerations such as transporting the rods and the type of fish being targeted. When targeting very large fish a short stiffer rod can be better than a long flexible rod.

What is the best pound test line for surf fishing?

The best pound test line for most surf fishing is a 50-pound braided line. This is a strong lightweight line that is as thin as a 15-pound monofilament line. Because the braided line is thin it can hold much more line on the spool compared to the same pound test in a monofilament. Since it is lightweight it has low line resistance and can be cast a far distance. Some fish species can be line shy and adding a fluorocarbon leader is a good idea. Other fish found in the surf like sharks, mackerel, and bluefish have sharp teeth so using a wire leader is a good idea.

How do you cast a surf fishing rod?

Casting a surf fishing rod is done with a powerful behind-the-back cast. It is similar to a basic cast with a spinning reel. With the bail aligned with the rod, the line should be held with the index finger.  The sinker should be a few feet from the tip of the rod. Bring the rod back until the weight hits the ground. Then bring the rod forward quickly in the direction you want the rig to go. Let go of the line with the index finger when the weight is moving forward quickly.

The drag on the reel should be set tight enough that the spool does not spin. Lines should be set at different distances from the shore to find out where the most fish are located. Often time angers wade into the water to get the line out as far as possible.

Does a longer rod cast further?

Yes, in general, longer rods allow for further casting. However, there are many factors the affect casting distance such as stiffness of the rod, the weight of the lure, line type, line weight, and resistance of the line coming off the spools. So a short rod can definitely cast further than a long rod depending on these other factors. Also, the eyes for a spinning reel should be large to reduce line drag. With similar size rods, the weight of the lure will be the biggest factor that affects casting distance.

Is it better to surf fish at low or high tide?

The general rule for all fishing is that you want a changing tide. That is not a slack tide with no water movement. For surf fishing in areas without large tides like Flordia a few hours before the high tide is a great time to fish. In areas further north with larger tides fishing through a tide change can be very effective. Fish bites can be sensitive to the tied but every day is different.

In areas with small tides, large tides around, for example, the spring tide can increase fish feeding activity.  There are better times to fish because of the tides but it is not like lets not even bother surf fishing because the tide is not right. Spending time on the water is the best way to catch fish. Sometimes it is slow for hours and then like a light switch there is tons of fish activity. This is often a result of the changing tide. Luckily there are lunar and solar tides that bring four tide changes each day.

What is a long cast spinning reel? 

A long cast spinning reel has a tall spool to reduce line friction and allow for far casting. These are often called surf fishing reels because they are commonly used for surf fishing. The reels are typically places on very long fishing rods as well. The intent of the setup is to be able to cast about 100 yards and get past the shallow breaking water near the shoreline.


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2 thoughts on “17 Best Surf Fishing Reels in 2020”

  1. I am going to cobo San Lucas going to do some surffishing for rooster fish big game fish I have sw8000 Stella, penn spin fisher V 6500 its a ok set up. Would the Stella work for surf fishing if yes what would be a good rod for it. or all New??

    Reply
    • Both of those reels will work great for surf fishing! As far as rod go the Okuma rods I listed on the page are decent. Since you will be traveling I have a page on telescopic rods. The Daiwa Megaforce telescoping surf rod would be a good option. Thanks for your comment.

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