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There is no question that you will be putting a reel to the test when you are surf fishing. You are fishing in such a harsh environment with the seawater. Then you add the big weights the big baits and hopefully the big fish. Let’s not forget when the sand gets into the reel when you put it down. This all leads to great strain on your reel this is why you need the best surf fishing reels.

You may not be fishing with big weights or large baits and not targeting large fish but if large fish are in the area. You never know when you will hook into one and that’s a big reason why you want a surf reel that is going to stand up to whatever is thrown at it.

Quantum Cabo PT Spin Reel

Quantum Cabo PT Spin Reel

Like you, Quantum does not deal with the small fry. That is why they have designed the Quantum Cabo PT Spin Reel, a reel designed to tackle the biggest saltwater game fish. Whether you are out on your saltwater fishing boat or surfcasting in the sand, this reel has what it takes to deliver the fish you demand.

It achieves this by being loaded with extra powerful technology upgrades. Systems such as a sealed magnum CSC drag system, sealed magnum clutch, TiMag titanium fail-proof bail system with a magnetic trip, and an LMS line management system make the Quantum Cabo PT Spin Reel the premier name in saltwater game fishing.

  • Quantum designed this reel to be specifically used in saltwater game fishing scenarios
  • Tons of unique features and upgrades to boost strength and performance in saltwater
  • A sharp, modern looking reel with all of the features you expect
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Shimano Ultegra 5500 XTD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel

Shimano Ultegra 5500 XTD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel

Shimano is back with yet another quality reel to add to your arsenal. You’ve tried their baitcasting reels and their specialty reels, now try out their premium surfcasting reel. The Shimano Ultegra 5500 XTD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel is designed to give you the best cast possible in the strenuous conditions of the beach. Most reels are dealing with clear, freshwater, or slow moving rivers and lakes. Surfcasting presents its own unique set of challenges that your reel must overcome which is why Shimano has designed this reel with the extra strength it needs to battle coastal fish as well as the rough surf of the sea.

The Shimano Ultegra 5500 XTD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel features Shimano’s special X-Ship system which increases the power and strength of the inner gears which allows you to put more force on the main drive without suffering any undue wear or warping. The reel itself weighs a nice 17 ounces which is nice and beefy, giving you the weight you need to sink a solid beach rod and it provides 33lbs of drag force.

  • A fantastic surfcasting reel built tough
  • X-Ship keeps the insides of the reel standing strong in surf
  • Three shielded stainless steel bearing system
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SHIMANO Ultegra XSD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel

SHIMANO Ultegra XSD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel

Shimano knows what the avid surf angler needs to have a great day out on the beach. They need a sturdy, powerful reel that can handle the waves, the fish, and the environment. Surfcasters also need to have some flexibility and versatility in order to target different kinds of fish or adjust to rapidly changing ocean or weather conditions. Shimano knows all of that which is why they have expertly designed their SHIMANO Ultegra XSD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel to fit into any surf anglers tool kit.

At 17 ounces, with 33lbs of drag and 41” of line retrieval per crank, this is a hefty reel that has what it takes to make it out on the sands. With Shimano’s Slow Oscillation technology, the casts are smooth and the retrievals are smoother. This reel is designed to be stuck into the sand and catch those big offshore fist. Best of all, it comes with a second spool. This gives you the power and flexibility to spool up two different types of line so you can swap them on the fly depending on what fish you see or what kind of surf you are battling at the time.

  • Tough design made for the salt, sand and sun of the beach
  • Second full spool included at this price
  • Hefty, powerful reel designed to hook and haul the biggest offshore fish
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Ecooda 2019 Heavy Duty Metal Spinning Jigging Fishing Reel

Ecooda 2019 Heavy Duty Metal Spinning Jigging Fishing Reel

The Ecooda 2019 Heavy Duty Metal Spinning Jigging Fishing Reel is a beefy, powerful, and the ultimate heavy duty spinning reel. Whether you are mounting it to the railing of your boat or sticking it on a surfcasting rod in the sand, this reel will not disappoint. If you’ve ever struggled with an underpowered reel that let the big one get away, you will appreciate the heft and might of the Ecooda 2019 Heavy Duty Metal Spinning Jigging Fishing Reel.

The body is fully sealed and saltwater protected and waterproof. You won’t run into maintenance issues with this reel if you get too much saltwater in it or on it. It features a super powerful drag system that puts out a whopping 66lbs of force which allows you to haul in even the biggest of fish that other reels simply can’t handle.

  • A powerful, beefy rod designed for ultimate saltwater fishing
  • Surprisingly affordable for the size and power offered
  • 3 year warranty included on this model
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Penn Battle II 8000 Spinning Fishing Reel

Penn Battle II 8000 Spinning Fishing Reel

The Penn 1338222 Battle II 8000 Spinning Fishing Reel is quickly gaining a reputation as a classic fishing reel. Available in multiple sizes and gearings, the Battle II is one of the most durable and versatile reels on the market. It comes up continuously on lists of people’s favorite reels and for good reason. It can be used in a wide array of situations and environments, it always performs great and it has a stunning appearance as well. This includes being able to be used as a competent surfcasting and carpfishing reel in addition to almost any other kind of fishing you can imagine. Penn Fishing has really outdone the competition with their Battle II reels.

It features an all-metal body, which has been shown to increase efficiency and power by reducing flex and strain that you get from weaker kinds of materials. It has an HT-100 carbon drag system that is powerful, smooth, and gives you a level of performance you have to feel to believe. Add in five fully double sealed ball bearings for ultimate smoothness and durability over time and you have a reel that is quickly topping the charts. The Penn 1338222 Battle II 8000 Spinning Fishing Reel is a reel you do not want to go without for long.

  • A true classic from Penn Fishing
  • A dearth of quality features and materials
  • Sharp looking and sharp performing design
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Best Surf Fishing Reel Buying Guide

I know how hard it is to find the best surf fishing reel and if you haven’t been able to find one from out above list. It may well be that you just need a little more information to help you make that final decision. Below I’m going to go over the key element of a surf reel and this should really help you narrow down you choices. Ultimately this should leave you with the best reel for you and your fishing needs as we are all different and require different things.

Surf Reel Ball Bearings

When looking at any reel ball bearings is something you need to consider a sure reel is no different. Ball bearings are going to determined how smooth the reel feels when you cast and when you retrieve the line back onto the reel. The more ball bearings a reel has the smoother it will feel when you reel in your line. For a the best surf fishing reel you want a high number of ball bearings, also you will want anti-revers bearing this will take out the back play when you strike your rod to set the hook.

Corrosion Resistant Reel

If you have ever been surf fishing you will know that at time you’re going to have to get into the surf to land your fish. As much as we try to keep our gear out of the seawater it’s not always possible and we are going to get it wet. Water on a reel is not good but saltwater can cause real damage to the small components. You will want a surf reel that is corrosion resistant so it can stand up to the saltwater and last you many happy of sea fishing trips.

You want to choose a surf reel that is corrosion resistant with sealed off components such as the drag, bearings and gear system. This will protect them from the harsh effects of the seawater and the sand. With these protective elements you will have a reel that stands up strong and for many years.

Don’t feel that these extra features alone will protect your reel. After a fishing trip it’s advised to give your reel a clean. You will need to clean off all the saltwater and sand witch would eventually break down the protective measures if left on the reel over time.

Surf Reel Drag

When we hit the surf you are more than likely wanting to get a bite from a huge fish from the deep. Even if you are not then the uncertain nature of sea fishing can land you with a huge fish when you are not expecting it. We just never know what is going to take our bait and that’s what people love about sea fishing.

A drag system on a surf reel is such an important element. You have two sources of power taking stain on your line. First being the sea itself and second being the fish you hopefully hook into. If you had no drag system you would be left with a line break your end tackle lost and no fish landed. This is why a drag system is so important in a surf reel to element the danger of this happening.

You will want a 20lb of stopping drag system and the bigger the fish you are targeting the bigger the lb you will want.

Surf Reel Size

A lot of people chose a spinning reel for their surf reel and these come in many different sizes 1000, 2000 and upwards. The smaller sizes are not normally designed for surf fishing and are more aimed at freshwater fishing. The lager the number tends to be geared more for surf fishing they will have stronger drag system and bigger line capacity.

Surf fishing calls for long casting so the extra line capacity is a must, also the extra drag on the larger reels are perfect for larger spices you may hook into with surf fishing.

Gear Ratio for Surf Reel

Just like any other reel the gear ratio is dealt in a number system for instance 8:1 or 6.4:1. What this means is that every time you turn the handle the spool turns 8 times. For the 6.4:1 gear ratio this just mean the spool turns 6.4 times for each handle turn.

The higher the number the faster you can retrieve the line back onto the spool. You want a large number with surf reels as you will be casting big distances so you can retrieve the line faster.

There is only one disadvantage to the larger gear ratio you do lose some crank power so if you are targeting large fish this is something to consider. Smaller gear ratio will give you more crank power but much slower line retrieval.

It’s a balancing act and I go with the larger gear ratio as I cast large distances but it will depend on your fishing style.

Line Capacity for Surf Reel

Just as important with surf reels is the line capacity. The line capacity is normally printed on the spool in yards and pounds.

With surf fishing there will come a time that you want to cast long distances. Mix the big distances with big free running fish you want a lot of line capacity. Also you will want to have the capacity to hold stronger and ticker line for when you target them larger fish.

You want a reel with that has a large line capacity for longer casting and extra line for when you hook into a fish. It would be a disaster to run out of line with a large fish so I always over compensate with line capacity.

Braided fishing line is starting to be considered one of the best choices for surf fishing. The reason for this is that you can get very strong line however it’s much thinner than other types.


Surf fishing is such a great form of fishing but it can take such a toll on your gear and that’s why it’s so important to get the best surf fishing reel that will stand up to this harsh environment.

The best surf reels are big built with the environment in mind so corrosion proof and built strong. They are going to take such a beating from the saltwater, sea, sand and hopefully big fish.

I hope that I have been able to help you pinpoint a surf reel that is going to give you are the key components. Long casting capability, corrosion proof, strong drag system and fast line retrieval will give you the perfect surf reel.

Once you get the best surf fishing reel and then pair it with the Best Surf Rods Under $100 you are set to go. The perfect pair should last you years if not a lifetime and that’s why it’s important to do your research and get the best first time round.