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Top 5 Best Offshore Reels Exposed By Fishing Professionals

​While you can catch fish with a pretty basic reel – not even a specialized one, you want a product that will withstand most conditions associated with your angling experience. In other words, if you go offshore, you definitely want to browse the best offshore reels before engaging into this adventure.

Top 5 Best Offshore Reels Exposed By Fishing Professionals

Offshore reels are tough and rough. You have two options – spinning or baitcasting reels. Not only are they more durable, but they can also take a beating and face conditions that would literally destroy other types of reels. They can face saltwater like no other reels and they can help you battle monster fish.

Given all these benefits, it is pointless to mention that offshore reels are more expensive than other categories of reels. It does not mean that you have to spend a fortune on a reel. Simply do your homework, inform yourself and make this purchase with quality in mind.

So, what options do you have?

Top 5 Offshore Fishing Reels

Penn Battle II

At a first glance, Penn looks like the ideal brand if you want a good looking reel and some compliments from friends. However, the brand is not just about good looks, but also about high quality standards. This reel is available in a few different sizes – choose the right one with your favorite fish in mind.

All in all, the unit is solid and durable. It has a fully metallic body, so there are no cheap components. The side plate and rotor are also metallic, while the bail wire is made of heavy duty aluminum. Apart from exceptional durability, you have the opportunity to battle large saltwater fish with no issues whatsoever.

The HT 100 carbon fiber drag system is extremely smooth, but also durable. It is lightweight and compensates for the full metallic body – in terms of weight, of course. I found this unit well balanced and I tried it on a few different rods – no balance issues at all.

Now, the ball bearing system is based on five bearings. They are made of stainless steel. Furthermore, you also have anti reverse bearing, which is quite important in offshore reels. I still manage to find reels without this feature and I find it incredible – you do need it when battling aggressive large fish.

The Superline spool is one of the features that make the best offshore fishing reels stand out in the crowd. There is no backing required at all. Furthermore, it is braid ready. You will find line capacity rings with markings as well. You will know precisely when you are at 1/3 and 2/3 of the line, yet there is also a marking for full capacity.

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  • Fully metallic parts for durability
  • Exceptional durability
  • Braid ready spool
  • Anti reverse bearing


  • Unlike other models from Penn, it only comes with one spool – no spares

What do other anglers say?

“I am a big fan of Penn and I have three reels from this brand. The Battle II model has eased everything for me. It is so tough that you can literally use it anywhere – it can take a good splash of saltwater without showing any signs of weakness. Great solid product.”

Give it a try here.

Shimano Baitrunner 12000D

Like I said before, you do not have to sell a kidney to buy a quality reel for offshore angling. Shimano has some of the best deep sea fishing reels on the market and more importantly, you get a bunch of unique technologies at an affordable rate. What else can you ask for? Let me get into more details.

This reel has a classic design. It looks sleek and beautiful, but there are no fancy bells and whistles – we do not really need them, do we? Anyway, unlike other offshore reels, it has a secondary drag system. Its main role is to support free spooling even if the bail is closed. Practically, your bait will move naturally.

Now that I started with Shimano’s technologies, let me move on to the oval oscillation gear. What does it do? You get consistency in the spool speed. It sounds irrelevant at first, but this is what you need to ensure an even line lay. Casting is exceptional, while management will surprise you.

Better line management will inevitably reduce tangles and friction. Your grip is wider and more comfortable. You have a high max drag and lots of settings in terms of the baitrunner. Shimano has done it again.

The maximum drag goes up to 20 pounds. The gear ratio is a bit different for offshore applications when compared to other types of reels – 4.4:1. You will get about 37 inches of line per revolution and the whole unit barely weighs 30 ounces – I could not tell the difference in terms of balance.

Finally, Shimano has also implemented the dyna balance technology. It clears out the wobble when you retrieve. It does it without too much hassle – it simply counterbalances the rotor for extra smoothness and sensitivity. Meanwhile, vibrations are reduced to a minimum value.

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  • Excellent casting and line management system – no more knots and tangles
  • Secondary drag system to make the bait move naturally
  • Less vibration, more smoothness and sensitivity
  • Good maximum drag


  • A bit different from other Shimano products, so you might need a few days to get used to it

What do other anglers say?

“I have always been a big fan of Shimano. You cannot really go wrong with such a brand – just make sure you get what you need. This option for offshore angling will make the entire experience so much easier, whether it comes to smoothness or performance. Large fish will never stand a chance in front of you.”

Try it out here.

Penn Squall LevelWind

Browsing the best offshore trolling reels will inevitably bring Squall LevelWind in as well. Penn surely knows what to do when it comes to harsh fishing conditions. You can take this reel in the most aggressive saltwater and give it a good beating – it will keep supporting you. It is excellent for large and heavy fish as well.

Now, what do you expect in terms of quality? Durability will impress you, despite the lightweight profile. The unit is so light because it has a graphite frame. Side plates are made from the same material. I find it more innovative than other alternatives – lighter and just as strong. Besides, it is not expensive either. As for other parts, the pinion gear is based on stainless steel, while the main gear is made of bronze.

The drag system is based on HT 100 carbon fiber. You will get an impressive drag. I know what you are thinking – a better drag will also reduce the smoothness. Not in this case. You have exceptional smoothness, so you will only feel the extra drag.

There are two stainless steel ball bearings and just like you have probably guessed already, there is also an anti reverse bearing. You can forget about the back play in the rotor. When it comes to the spool, Penn has relied on machined and forged aluminum. The spool is also bride ready. Plus, you will find line capacity rings and markings – a third, two thirds and full capacity.

In terms of style and design, the reel looks good, but it also looks a bit tough. It is large and has solid parts well put together. Despite the size, it is not as heavy as you might expect. Sure, offshore reels are heavier than other categories, but the graphite, carbon fiber and aluminum keep its weight low.

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  • Lots of lightweight, yet durable and strong materials in its construction
  • Can handle the most severe saltwater conditions
  • Exceptionally smooth
  • No rotor back play


  • Cannot swap from left to right hand uses

What do other anglers say?

“I have never imagined the perfect offshore reel… There are many good options out there, but they always have a minus or so. This one has everything. It is light, smooth, sturdy, rigid, durable and good looking. There is literally nothing I can complain about. I am very happy with my choice.”

Check it out here.

Okuma Cold Water Linecounter

Okuma is known for having some of the best offshore reels in terms of cost efficiency. It is not the most expensive brand on the market, but it has specialized in offshore angling, so its reels can definitely support you when battling heavy fish. You get accuracy and smoothness on a solid drag foundation.

The reel is sleek and good looking. As you grab it, you can tell it is well built by how it feels. It is well put together and comes with heavy duty machine cut brass gears. You also get dual anti reverse systems, not to mention the drag system based on carbonite. The maximum drag is somewhere around 15 pounds.

Given the construction, the side plates and frame are extremely lightweight. More importantly, materials are corrosion resistant and can take a good beating in harsh saltwater conditions. I still recommend a quick rinse after each angling session.

There are more technologies that turn this unit into one of the best reels on the market. For instance, you get a quick set anti reverse roller bearing, but you also have a unique mechanical stabilizing system. Furthermore, the gear system will lubricate by itself, so there is no maintenance required from your side. All these things add to its durability.

The stabilizing support is what drew my attention straight away. You do not find something like this in other offshore reels in this price segment. The way it works is fairly simple to understand. It ties together the pinion gear bearing, the main gear, the pool shaft and the drive shaft. In other words, all these parts are perfectly aligned.

When it comes to the line management, the wide mouth level wind will take care of it. You get a mechanical counter too – it works in feet. Its main role is to prevent fogging. As for the spool, you get a machined aluminum unit. It has an aluminum handle as well – fitted with an ergonomic knob.

Finally, there are more sizes to choose from.

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  • Plenty of technologies for a superior operation
  • Lightweight, yet durable materials
  • Good looking and sleek design
  • Great resistance to corrosion


  • Drag feels a bit fussy until adjusted

What do other anglers say?

“One of the most complete offshore reels on the market, no doubts about it. It costs less than other reels that do less and it feels sturdier and more durable. I use it weekly and I do abuse it. It holds up well after more than a year. Excellent buy.”

Check it out here.

Penn Slammer III Spinning

The Slammer III Spinning reel comes with a full metallic body – the rotor and side plate follow the same profile. This kind of design is critical in large models for offshore angling. It can maintain a proper alignment between gears and the pinion. In other words, you get a more durable reel, as well as a smooth retrieve.

The gear system is based on brass – it will last for ages. It is CNC machined, so strength and precision will never be an issue. This type of technology may seem irrelevant at first, but at the end of the day, it will provide some cranking power. Unlike composite materials or aluminum, brass is known to be more durable. Besides, brass is also smoother than other materials.

The unit features an IPX6 seal rating, meaning you do not have to treat it like an expensive toy. Let it get some beating and splashing – it will be perfectly fine. There will be no water going into the gearbox. There are a few seals around the drag system, main pinion and shaft for this reason.

The drag system features similar characteristics. You have the Dura Drag material. In fact, Penn claims it has designed the first spinning reel to rely on this material. The material is exclusive and is stronger than most other alternatives used in this range, including HT 100 carbon. Washers are covered in phenolic for durability and smoothness – you can get fish up to 60 pounds in weight.

There are six stainless steel ball bearings – all sealed. There is also an anti reverse bearing. You have line capacity rings on the top and the bottom, so you know precisely how much line you have left. Plus, spools are braid ready.

The package comes with two knobs – a solid machine aluminum one and a softer EVA one. Personally, I usually fish on warm days, so I like the aluminum one. If the weather is too cold in the morning, I use the EVA knob, as it tends to keep warmer.

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  • Heavy duty construction and design
  • Up to 60 pounds of drag
  • IPX6 water resistance
  • Quality materials in its composition


  • Heavier than other units, but it is expected from a heavy duty reel

What do other anglers say?

“One of the most innovative offshore reels ever. Its smoothness is definitely an upgrade. Not only does it look good too, but it also feels solid and sturdy. It is the type of reel you can abuse without having to worry too much.”

Give it a try here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of maintenance do offshore reels require?

Since they are designed to take splashing and corrosive elements, offshore reels tend to come with water resistance or waterproof designs and seals. Some manufacturers claim that maintenance is minimal or not required at all.

However, you should still clear the corrosive elements off the reel – a quick rinse after each angling session will do if your unit is waterproof. Otherwise, use a clean cloth and water or check out the best cleaner spray for your reel!

Can I use saltwater reels for other fishing operations?

Yes, but they might feel a little frustrating. The efficiency is not that good either. After all, if you go for small fish, you might feel like the reel has way too much power for what you need. It is, however, possible.

Do I need to grease or lubricate elements in offshore reels?

Some reels will require it, while others come with self lubricating parts. It depends on what you buy – simply check the manual of instructions or contact the manufacturer. Check my favorite fishing reels grease here and here.


As a short final conclusion, these are the best offshore reels on the market based on ratings, reviews, recommendations from other anglers and – of course – my personal experience.

The final decision is entirely up to you. While they do have many aspects in common, small details and unique technologies tend to make the difference. At this point, it is up to you to decide what you want from an offshore reel.