The Six Best Surf Fishing Reel Reviews With Buying Guide

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There’s hardly any type of angling as enjoyable and challenging as surf fishing is. Yes, you can catch many types of fish from the beach with surf fishing. But for this, you must be equipped with the right tools, and owning the right fishing reel in any angler’s arsenal is a must.

The best surf fishing reel must withstand harsh conditions and hold up to all you may experience while angling. The water type, friction, and type of fish you want to catch will go a long way to determine which surf fish reel will suit your performance.

Also, you have to consider the line holding capacity, its drag, rust, corrosion-proof facility, and, more importantly, ease of use for the surf fishing spinning reels. Our team has researched 30+ surf fishing reels, and 6 top-class reels stand out for our review in the list.

We have also explained what we considered reviewing and selecting these reels in our surf fishing reel buying guide.

So, anglers, let’s get into it.

The Six Best Surf Fishing Reel Reviews

Although surf fishing is meant for fishing from beaches, you can apply the technique to any shoreline with a little adjustment.

In a hurry? Check the Top 3 surf fishing reels from Amazon. (Our Top Pick)

Our Best Pick
PENN 1403983 Slammer III Spinning
PENN 1403983 Slammer III Spinning
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor
  • CNC Gear technology
  • IPX6 sealed body and spool design
  • Retrieve Rate 40 Inches| 102cm
  • Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura Drag
  • 6+1 stainless steel bearing system
Best Overall
Shimano Ultegra 5500 XSD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel, ULT5500XSD
Shimano Ultegra 5500 XSD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel, ULT5500XSD
  • Shimano Ultegra XSD, Model 2017
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank: 41 inch, Gear ratio: 5.3:1
  • Mono Line Capacity (lbs/yds): 10/425, 12/315, 16/230
  • Max. Drag force: 33 lbs, Ballbearings: 1 S A RB and 3 BB
  • Weight: 17.3 ounce, 1 sparespool included
Budget Friendly
Daiwa BG4000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel, 4000, 5.7: 1 Gear Ratio, 6+1 Bearings, 39.90″ Retrieve Rate, 17.60 lb Max Drag
Daiwa BG4000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel, 4000, 5.7: 1 Gear Ratio, 6+1 Bearings, 39.90
  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing (“Hard Bodyz” Body & Side Cover), Over-sized Digigear (Digigear System)
  • Solid Screw-In Handle, Air Rotor, Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool
  • Braided Line Ready Spool, Waterproof Drag System, Carbon ATD, Line Per Handle Turn: 39.9″
  • Manual Return Bail (4500 and Larger), 6BB+1RB, Gear Ratio: 5.6:1, Drag Max:17.6
  • Line Capacity (Lb. Test / Yards): 10/300, 12/260, 14/210 J-BRAID: 20/370, 30/280, 40/200
  • Infinite Anti-Reverse System (4000 and Smaller), Infinite Dual Anti-Reverse System (4500 and Larger)
Surf Fishing Reel

1. SHIMANO Ultegra XSD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel

Shimano is a popular brand among all anglers for its unique products and array of choices. Shimano Ultegra fishing reel series is one of their top-selling fishing reels thanks to its durability, sturdy construction, ease of use, and best performance.

Also, the recent version is equipped with an improved cosmetics design that will surely catch the attention of surf fishing experts. The reel facilitates a 5:3:1 gear ratio, which is swift and ideal for most surf fishing conditions by any means.

It has the least friction during the drag, which speeds up the fishing line retrieval and makes the entire process easy and swift. Anglers will love how fast it can retrieve the line, increasing the chance of catching fish.

You can use it with a monofilament fishing line and artificial bait to catch different fish species. Some anglers said they used it with a braided fishing line, although it wasn’t mentioned in the specifications. Its smoothness won’t disappoint you at all. Plus, the best reel for surf fishing withstands up to 33 lbs of drag force sufficient for fishing large species such as sharks or black drums, which are known for their notorious force in the water.

For durability, the fishing reel is made of CNC-machined stainless steel. It is entirely rust and corrosion-proof, with salty water not affecting it. Also, at 0.22 pounds weight, this spinning fishing reel is a top choice for long surf fishing hours, particularly if you dislike feeling stressed or tired.


  • Gear Ratio: 5:3:1
  • Drag Capacity: 33lbs
  • Weight: 0.22 pounds
  • Ball-bearings: Two
  • Material: CNC Steel
  • Quick and effortless dragging 
  • Lightweight design for easy portability 
  • No corrosion and rust even in saltwater 
  • Friction-free use is ideal for anglers 
  • The fishing reel is expensive 


The SHIMANO Ultegra XSD is a mid-range fishing reel. It will best fit anglers who want to catch small to medium fish such as bass, small sharks, and so on.

2. Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel

The Daiwa BG is the best surf fishing spinning reel for the money for many reasons, including durability, waterproof drag, and effortless fishing line retrieval. You will love using the spinning reel to catch all kinds of fish, including the big sharks around the shore. Yes, with a 4000 series spinning reel capacity, this reel is ideal for extreme surf fishing.

The housing of this reel is made of anodized aluminum. Its CNC machine finishing means the spinning reel has a flawless design that will never crack or fault. It increases the durability and lasting performance of the reel. Also, the anodized aluminum ensures rust, corrosion, and damage-resistant construction even in the saltiest water.

Apart from the durability, the spinning reel is also convenient to use. It comes with less friction and easy to retrieve the fishing line quickly. You can easily retrieve a 37.4″ fishing line with each reel handle turn, which is sufficient for surf fishing. Plus, less friction means you will need less strength to retrieve the line.

You can use a strong braided fishing line with it. The spool comes ready for use, and the drag system features waterproof usability.

On top of it, the handle crank is ergonomic and easy to rotate. Hence, you can quickly rotate it to cast the fishing line and retrieve it when you feel the fish bites. You will truly love how it brings magic to surf fishing.

Features :

  • Gear Ratio: 5:6:1
  • Drag Capacity: 30lbs
  • Weight: 0.25 pounds
  • Ball-bearings: Two
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Rust, corrosion, and waterproof construction 
  • Waterproof drag with a smooth transition 
  • Outstanding look with a golden and black finish
  • The reverse switch isn’t pretty useful


You can use the Daiwa Bg surf fishing reel to catch most on and offshore fishes at ease, such as sailfish, blackfin tuna, and even wahoo. It will surely last for several years of abusive use.

3. PENN Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel

Penn is one of the leaders in the spinning reel industry, and they have supplied some of the best surfcasting reels to anglers over the years. The Penn Battle II is no exception to Penn’s commitment to anglers for an affordable yet high-end fishing reel.

The best benefit of this spinning fishing reel is its high-end capacity. You can use it for catching big game fish that most anglers would enjoy for sure. Its unique design enables it to catch the big fish despite having a smaller 2000 series capacity.

On top of it, its gear ratio stands at 6:2:1, which is both effortless and efficient. The friction-free dragging enables you to retrieve the fishing line as fast as possible without any delay. Thus, you will have an increased chance to get the big game fish. It is indeed suitable for surf fishing.

Its entire body is made of machined metal that is both flawless and durable. The housing is rust, corrosion, and saltwater-proof, which is durable. So, you can confidently cast the fishing line with this reel without thinking twice about its lasting performance.

Even its bail wire is made of heavy-duty aluminum. So, it provides exceptional durability in extreme conditions. The reel uses 6 ball bearings that come with fluid cranking. It reduces friction during line retrieval and offers smooth casting. Plus, the stainless steel ball bearings will last longer than anglers may anticipate.

It comes ready to accommodate braided fishing lines. Braided fishing lines are less likely to be worn out and cut by fish. Lastly, with the foam pads on the grip, you will enjoy superior ergonomics to rotate the handle as well. It will elevate your surf fishing fun- in all conditions.


  • Gear Ratio: 6:2:1
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Ball-bearings: Six 
  • Braided capacity: 210/8; 180/10; 165/15 (Yd/lb)
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Ideal for catching large game fish types 
  • No friction in drag and easy line retrieval 
  • Excellent durability with anodized finish 
  • Slightly heavier fishing reel 


You can use a Penn II spinning reel with Spiderwire and Berkley braided fishing line. It comes with a line capacity ring to help you identify the remaining fishing line for the retrieval process.

4. PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel

Powerful, lightweight, and durable that’s what makes Penn Slammer II one of the best surf fishing reel for stripers at present. It comes with 4500 series fishing line capacity. So, you can depend on it to catch big fish at ease.

Also, its full stainless steel body construction is ideal for both saltwater and offshore rigging. Its body, rotor, and handle are made of anodized metal that is rust, corrosion, and waterproof. So, you can expect the spinning reel to offer maximum durability without any damage for a longer period.

You will get IP67-rated sealing for its spool and body, which means it can withstand the most abusive water conditions with ease. Plus, the drag system is also sealed. The Dura-Drag is one of the smoothest systems in the market, and it ensures smooth and effortless line retrieval when you need it. You won’t face any friction and inconsistency with the drag.

The seven (6+1) ball bearings are all stainless steel made with proper lubrication too. It improves the dragging further. On top of it, the handle is also made of stainless steel with a foam grip. So, you will enjoy easy rotating of the handle. It eliminates any chance of stress and fatigue for anglers.

The overall user experience of the spinning fishing reel is top-notch and ergonomic as well. Lastly, with ambidextrous functioning, you won’t have to go through a painstaking handle change of the reel, which further serves the surfing angler’s purpose better.

Features :

  • Gear Ratio: 6:3:1
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Ball-bearings: Seven 
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Lightweight and well-built design for surf fishing 
  • Both the action and drag is smooth of this reel 
  • IP67 waterproof rating gearbox for abusive usability 
  • Highly expensive surf fishing reel 
  • The handle knob is slightly off-colored 


With its two different ball bearings and brass gear, the Penn Slammer III justifies its expensive pricing. You won’t feel betrayed with this spinning reel on surf fishing sessions.

5. Dr. Fish 10000/12000 Spinning Reel for Surf Fishing

The Dr. Fish 10000/12000 spinning reel is a beast in all terms. This is the best surf fishing reel under $100, although it comprises high-end features. That’s why anglers refer to is the big gun for the biggest game on saltwater surf fishing.

The reel body is made of high-density stainless steel that is rust, corrosion, and water-resistant. So, you can rely on its strength to fight against the monster shark repeatedly. It won’t disappoint you by any means in any conditions.

The 12000 Series model features an unparalleled 48-lbs dragging system. It combines with the 3:9:1 steady gear ratio to keep you in an ultimate winning position no matter how big the fish is. Also, with braided line capacity, Dr. Fish surf fishing reel is ready to take care of any fish bites.

Also, its pull is fully CNC machined, which enables you to put heavier fishing lines with the reel. So, you can effortlessly cast as far as you want. Plus, the aluminum handle with buttery smooth dragging and retrieval will ensure you win every time a big fish bites it.

And for smoothness and quick line retrieval, you will also get a 13+1 ball bearing system. The bearings are waterproof and well-lubricated, which ensures the longest durability. On top of it, the fully sealed bearing and rotor ensure you can use the entire surf fishing reel setup for several seasons.

Features :

  • Gear Ratio: 3:9:1
  • Drag capacity: 48lbs
  • Ball bearings: Fourteen (13+1)
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Affordable and strongest spinning fishing reel 
  • Suitable for fighting and catching big game species 
  • Smooth dragging and casting possible with ball bearings 
  • The fishing reel is bulky 


The Dr. Fish 10000/12000 reel is the best surf fishing reel for the money built to catch big fish such as sharks. It suits extreme surf fishing sports.

6. Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reel

The Okuma Azores is a decent reel that will let you catch both small and medium games on and offshores. Its 100% CNC machine construction is suitable for saltwater fishing, but you can use it for offshore angling without any problem.

The Okuma Z40S is the smallest spinning reel in this series. You can confidently use it to catch Tomcod, Cunner, etc., saltwater fish at ease. Also, with a 12.1oz weight, the selected spinning reel is compact and lightweight from surf fishing easily in any conditions.

The sipping reel also has a brilliant 5:8:1 gear ratio to offer surf anglers smooth casting and dragging without any issues. The handle is smooth to rotate with a foam grip and offers outstanding ergonomics for anglers.

You will also get six stainless steel ball bearings. It further facilitates smooth retrieval. Also, the single anti-reverse bearing offers great dragging in abusive conditions.

Its spool and housing are made of synthetic material, including the rotor and side plates. The material is UV and rust-proof for an incredibly durable surf fishing experience. Thankfully, the Okuma Azores could be the very last spinning reel you will buy in a few years with waterproof gear housing.

You can successfully retrieve 34.8 inches of fishing line with one full rotation. It should be sufficient to cast and catch your favorite game easily. The only setback of the lightweight fishing reel is its 28 lbs dragging pressure which needs special attention.

Features :

  • Gear Ratio: 5:8:1
  • Drag capacity: 28lbs
  • Ball-bearings: Six
  • Material: Synthetic
  • Weight: 12.1oz
  • Excellent construction for durability easiness in use 
  • A lightweight reel is ideal for extreme surf fishing 
  • Smooth dragging and casting with six balls bearing design 
  • Only suitable for catching small fish  
  • The pricing is higher compared to its capacity 


Are you planning to start your surf fishing session with some small catches? Behold yourself with the Okuma Azores Z40S and enjoy the magic in saltwater.

How to Buy The Best Surf Fishing Reel

We have picked six top-class surf fishing reels for anglers of all skill levels and interests. However, you can’t just pick all the six surf fishing spinning reels and set off for angling. You have to get the one that best suits your requirements.

Hence, the following list will assist you in finding the crucial factors to consider to get your surf fishing reel quickly-

Construction And Durability

When you surf fish, the fishing reel will likely get wet in water and splashes and, at times, will fully get bunked. This condition implies that surf fishing reels are prone to corrosion and rust due to saltwater, drastically reducing their lifespan.

Hence, look at the construction closely to find a reel with rust, corrosion, and water resistance. Ideally, anodized aluminum and stainless steel-made fishing reels offer maximum protection in such situations. Also, consider the sealing of the reel, which will protect the drag system, ball bearing, and other parts inside the metal housing for durable performance.

Reel Size

You will get the fishing reel size varying from 1000 to up to 12000. As the number goes up, the reel becomes larger.

But what does this reel size indicate? Well, the number indicates the reel size and its actual capacity to hold the fishing line. Large reels are stronger with bigger housing to accommodate the long fishing line. Also, it indicates what size fish it can catch. The higher the number, the bigger the fish-catching ability of the fishing reel will be.

For small species, choose 1000-4000 size; for medium fish, 4000-6000 series work fine while anything above 6000 is best for catching big game fish.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of the fishing reel refers to the spool’s capacity to rotate fully in a single turn of the handle. For instance, the 6:2:1 gear ratio means that the spool will rotate 6.2 times in one rotation of its handle. Gear ratio directly links line retrieval speed and crank power of the fishing reel.

A higher gear ratio brings a quicker line retrieval rate, but it reduces the cranking power too. On the contrary, a lower gear ratio means you will get higher cranking power, but the retrieval speed will slow down.

Hence, you need to balance the torque or crank power and retrieval speed to catch your favorite species. Ideally, choosing a medium gear ratio, such as 5:3:1, will be a good solution in most conditions.

Drag System

Surf fishing is mainly about getting bigger and pricier catches. Also, even if you target smaller species, you will never know what’s waiting underneath the water. Hence, the drag capacity of the fishing reel becomes crucial as it determines what type and weight of fish the reel can deal with properly.

The drag must be powerful and stealthy enough to deal with fast swimming and weighty fish species. Or, they can easily go away even after biting the fishing line. We recommend you choose a drag system with at least 20-25 lbs stopping power for surf fishing reel, although a higher rating is preferable.

Ball Bearings

Ball bearings on the surf fishing reel determine the smoothness of line retrieving and casting. It reduces friction and allows comfortable line retrieval and casting.

Mostly, a standard fishing reel comes with six (five reverse and one anti-reverse) ball bearings to increase the retrieval smoothness. For surf fishing, you need to choose more ball bearings for the reel to enjoy the smoothest line retrieval.

Line Capacity

Lastly, think about the spool capacity and check how much fishing line it can hold. You will see the line capacity printed on the fishing reel details in yards and pounds. Since you will have to cast further and keep pace with the fast-swimming fish species, the reel’s longer line capacity is a must.

Hence, you must ensure that your chosen fishing reel spool can actually hold a long fishing line. Or, your surf fishing will be a futile one.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Spinning or casting, which is best for surf fishing?

Both spinning and casting fishing reels are effective for surf fishing. It depends on the type of fishing rod you will use for angling. However, spinning reels and rods are the most popular ones, particularly among beginners, for their easiness of use.

2. What type of rod should I pair with a surf fishing reel?

Ideally, you should look for a longer rod to pair with your surf fishing reel. We recommend using a rod with at least 8-10ft length for pairing with a surf fishing reel. The idea is to hold and cast heavyweight lures and catch big game fish with the longer rods.

3. Which is the best gear ratio for surf fishing?

You can choose from 5:3:1, 5:7:1, or even 6:2:1 gear ratio for surf fishing. Nonetheless, you can choose higher gear ratios as well if you feel confident enough to hold it and tackle the increased torque in the extreme surfs.


Surf fishing is both fun and challenging. When you own the best surf fishing reel, the fun just increases while it allows you to play and catch the big game fish for thorough enjoyment. Our recommendation includes six best-selling fishing reels for surf anglers that are worth the investment.

The fishing reels are durable, waterproof, sealed, and ready to work in extreme conditions to bring you joy, convenience, and comfort for surf fishing. Also, most of these reels are affordable, so you won’t have to break your bank account to get one in reality.