Best Saltwater Spinning Reel – Top Saltwater Open Faced Reels

The Best Saltwater Spinning Reel needs to be able to handle all of the stresses and strains that saltwater fishing can throw at a reel. The biggest factor affecting any kind of fishing reel whether that's a spinning reel or a conventional reel used in a saltwater environment is going to be the corrosive nature of saltwater.

Salt is tough on reels. It can corrode and disable the internal gears and have a major affect on the drag system. To a lesser extend the bail arm roller can also seize up which will not only affect your casting range but can also cut braided fishing line much easier.

​Saltwater Spinning Reel Reviews

Our list of best saltwater spinning reel's is a mix of both inshore spinning reel and offshore spinning reels.

Our top saltwater spinning reel is the Penn Clash. It combines everything you would look for in an inshore spinning reel. Great casting performance, legendary Penn build quality, and lots of corrosion resistant features make it ideal for light to medium inshore work and beach casting.

For heavier offshore reels that require a bit more power then you can ​look at the Shimano Saragosa or the Van Stall VR150 both of which have proven themselves time and time again as being some of the best offshore spinning reels available.

We have also included a spinning reel for jigging. The Okuma Cedros high speed reel makes for a great introductory saltwater jigging reel. It is reasonably priced and with a 6.2:1 retrieve ratio it can pull rigs up from the depths as quick as you like.

Of course there are much more expensive deep sea fishing reels and electric reels if you budget can stretch to them. However if you only do the occasional bout of jigging then the Cedros is more than capable.

Best Saltwater Spinning Reel

Penn Clash Review

Our top pick is the Penn Clash based on durability, versatility and the quality of its construction.

One of the best inshore spinning reels the Clash is still quite capable of holding it's own in the larger sizes with some of the more expensive offshore spinning reels.

The Clash is a step up in terms on build quality and durability from some of the other spinning reels from Penn such as the Battle 2.  However if you are looking for something a little heavier and bigger for offshore work from the Penn range then the Spinfisher V is probably a more suitable choice.

The Clash has been built and designed with saltwater use in mind.

Its body is a full metal design and the internal running gears are precision machined using a CNC. This construction means a very sturdy reel housing and gears, that combined virtually eliminate any twisting or warping.

Eliminating as much twist as possible means that effectively all the power that you put through the cranking handle is efficiently transferred to the bail arm and will give you maximum fighting power. 

​With eight corrosion resistant steel ball bearings and one reverse bearing it is one seriously smooth spinning reel.

Features

  • ​8 corrosion resistant sealed stainless steel ball bearings
  • Instant anti-reverse bearing
  • ​Techo balanced rotor assemblies
  • CNC Gear Technology
  • HTC-100 Carbon Fiber drag system

The best saltwater spinning reel for the money. It is one great all rounder.


shimano saragosa

Shimano Saragosa Review

The Shimano Saragosa is one of the best offshore spinning reels in terms of quality and price.

If you want a spinning reel that can pack a punch this might just be it!

It very clear that Shimano set out to build a big powerful reel from the start as the Saragosa range starts at 5,000 and goes all the way up to 25,000. So there is no lightweight option available it starts at a medium and goes about as heavy as you would ever need.

The internals feature a lot of very high quality components - something that is required to withstand the harsh environment of offshore saltwater fishing.

​Shimano have included its X-Tough drag system and X-Ship technology to help beef up the Saragosa's gear which combined can easily handle big tuna on the run.

The 5000 being the smallest in the range still offers a very respectable drag of 22 lbs and is capable of holding 245 yards of 20 lb braid. Whereas the daddy of the range the 25000 tops out at 44 lbs of max drag and can hold 630 yards of 65 lb braided fishing line.

​Features

  • Waterproof drag
  • Shielded A-RB bearings
  • Up to 44 lbs of drag
  • Propulsion Line Management System
  • Paladin gear durability enhancement

The only negative might be the omission of a baitrunner system on the Saragosa. However Shimano do have that covered with the Baitrunner D.


Penn Spinfisher V

The Penn Spinfisher V  is one of the best saltwater spinning reels available today. It contains some of the most advanced technologies and build materials used in a saltwater reel.

Penn claim these reels don't even need to be rinsed in fresh water after use, that is how confident they are in the Spinfisher's resilience to the harsh corrosive effect of saltwater.​

These are some fairly beefy reels. The rage starts at a 3500 and the largest is a 10500. ​It is equipped with Penn's HT-100 Slammer Drag system. The Slammer Drag uses a number of washers to effectively double the maximum drag available versus a conventional drag system. A proprietary grease is used to help seal the drag components from the saltwater.

The Spinfiher V is also available in a live liner​(baitrunner) model in a few of the sizes. The Sinfisher V is quite versatile and can be used on a board or paired with a good surf casting rod makes for a pretty good beach set up.

Features

  • Full metal sealed body
  • HT-100 Slammer drag system
  • 5 shielded stainless steel bearings
  • Superline spool
  • Braid ready

Van Stall VR150 Review

​The VR150 series from Van Stall are designed to be virtually impervious to saltwater.  Which is certainly one of the most important factors when it comes to saltwater reels. 

The VR150 is one of Van Stalls lighter reels and is perfectly suited to inshore and beach fishing yet you will still see this on offshore boats in the larger sizes. ​It's relatively lighter weight is thanks in part to it not being as over engineered as some of the heavier reels in the Van Stall range such as the VS.

A lot of freshwater fishermen may never have heard of Van Stall, but in the saltwater arena they have established themselves as one of the best saltwater spinning reel manufacturers. That reputation has been built primarily on the quality of the products that they produce. 

Although priced on the high end compared to some of the other reels here the VR150 is the type of reel you end up owning and using for decades long after the others have reached there end of service.

Features

  • Machined 6061-T6 waterproof aluminum body
  • Sealed and waterproof drag system
  • Solid stainless steel center shaft with titanium nitride coating
  • Spiral-bevel drive gear pinion

Penn Slammer III Review

​The Slammer III is the newest iteration in the much loved Penn Slammer line of saltwater fishing reels.

It is suitable for most mid-range offshore saltwater fishing ​applications. Saying that it is quite versatile and can be used by surf-casters, kayaker's and for inshore boat fishermen also in the smaller sizes.

Available in eight different models from 3500 to 10500 it is firmly aimed for medium to heavy tackle. It is built with a solid almost all metal construction to increase rigidity and durability. The gears are machined to very tight tolerances using a CNC process and the die-cast aluminum body and brass main gear and pinion help give the Slammer a solid if some what heavy feel.

It also includes an over-sized handle that​ that is very comfortable to use especially with gloves on and is pretty unmistakable with its anodized gold color. 

Features

  • Sealed Slammer Drag system
  • 6+1 stainless steel bearings
  • Full metal body, sideplate and rotor
  • Ipx6 Sealed body and spool design

Okuma Cedros High Speed

One of the lowest priced models in our review the Okuma Cedros is great for those that are on a budget and yet still want to ensure a decent level of quality.

​This is the high speed model of the Cedros and as such it is suited to vertical jigging or any other style that may require a rapid retrieval rate.

​The Cedros is built for speed and has a fairly high gear ratio of 6.2:1. It is fairly priced so it could make for a great starter reel if this is your first venture into jig fishing from a boat. 

The bulk of the body and the side plate are built predominantly from aluminum ​which is pretty resilient to salt water. The drag is a Dual Force system with drag washers on the top and bottom giving more power over a single washer setup. 

Although not the highest quality reel here is you are on a budget then it's a pretty good choice, just remember to rinse it extensively in fresh water after every use.​

Features

  • Die cast aluminum frame
  • High gear ratio for quick retrieve
  • Precision Dual Force drag system
  • Machined Aluminum Anodized Spool
  • Patented Elliptical oscillation system
  • Quick set anti-reverse roller bearing

One of the best saltwater spinning reels for jigging if you are on a tight budget.

Shimano Baitrunner D

The Shimano Baitrunner D is one of the most popular saltwater spinning reels for bait fishing.

Shimano's Baitrunner system allows you to have two different drag settings.  ​One lighter drag to be used as you live line or drift bait and another(main) drag for when you set the hook and start to play the fish.

The second major feature of the Baitrunner is the auto return feature. If you are live lining on the lower drag setting eventually you will need to strike to set the hook firmly. The auto return allows you to switch from the lower drag to the main drag by either flicking a switch on the back of the reel or simply cranking the handle as you would naturally do anyway.  

Features

  • Baitrunner system
  • Propulsion line management
  • Waterproof drag
  • Dartainium II Drag washers
  • Shielded A-RB ball bearings
  • Fluidrive II gearing

Saltwater Spinning Reel Buyer's Guide

What kind of features should you look for when choosing the best saltwater spinning reel ?
Firstly what type of fishing will you predominantly do?​

Knowing how and where you intend to fish and what size fish you will be fishing for can have a ​big impact on which type of reel you choose.

How to Choose a Saltwater Spinning Reel​

When choosing the best saltwater spinning reel you need to look at a number of factors before you make your purchase.

Components

Making ​sure that the individual pieces that a reel is built from are from the best possible materials that are within your budget will help to ensure that the reel is as strong and durable as possible. If possible an all metal reel should be chosen. They are generally going to be much stronger than reels that have graphite or plastic internals.   

​Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion resistance is directly influenced by the materials as discussed above. However it is not just what the individual materials are made from that helps to repel saltwater.

How well the saltwater reel is sealed has a major bearing on how little water it can take into the internals. A well sealed reel will have all of the major components properly sealed and protected from salt. The bearings need to be not only sealed well but also properly greased. ​

Drag​

Fishing in saltwater generally means the fish will be big and may also be deep. If you need to use a high strength line then you will need to have a reel that can handle a large fish which will offer a lot of fighting power. ​

A strong drag is one of the most important features when it comes to playing large fish. If your drag is not up to the task then the fish will either take a lot longer to play or it may be too powerful and end up taking out all your line and eventually snapping it.​

Line Capacity​

Just like drag large saltwater fish need strong saltwater fishing line. Being capable of housing enough line is a very big factor when it comes to choosing your reel. The line that you use should match the power/action of the rod that you are using, the reel should then be chosen to match the strength and diameter of the line. It should be able to hold as much line as you think is necessary.​

Saltwater Spinning Reel Sizes​

Saltwater spinning reel sizes are usually marked using the same sizing system between manufacturers, this makes is relatively simple to know what size reel you need to buy to match you rod and line.

They start at the smallest size of 1000. However many specific models will only start at 3500. If a reel range only starts at 3500 or 5000 then it is a strong indication that the reel is to be used on medium to heavy spinning tackle.

At the higher end of the scale some reel brands will make reels that go to 25000. These are commonly used for the larger species of fish such as tuna and mahi-mahi.  ​

Cleaning a Saltwater Spinning Reel​

​One of the most important things you can do to prolong the life of any reel that is used in saltwater is to rinse it out thoroughly in freshwater after use.

Even if it only receives a casual spray of saltwater when you are on board a boat you should still always try to rinse the reel with some fresh water.​ 

Just because you don't see it splashed with water doesn't mean that there is no saltwater on it. Try not to forget that your line is covered in salt water and as you reel it in it will spray that water onto the reel.

It is good practice to rinse your reel even if it is to help prolong the life of your fishing line anyway.​