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Hunting The Best Surf Fishing Reel For The Money – Things That No One Knows About!

I have spent years learning about reels and figuring out what works. Everyone has different opinions when it comes to the best surf fishing reel for the money. Indeed, different people have different needs, but on the same note, there are certain fishing reels out there that can certainly make most anglers happy – this was my primary focus for this research.

Best Surf Fishing Reel For The Money

There are more things to take in consideration when it comes to buying a surf reel. Sure, you can get some fish with pretty much any type of reel, but something specifically designed for this activity will provide more freedom.

I remember my first upgrade… It felt like a new world opened up to me – lots of fish to go for without worrying about failure, plenty of strength and so on.

All in all, here are some of the top rated options on the market and their most attractive features.

Top 5 Surf Fishing Reels

Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

Penn is one of the leading names out there. I have played with some of their releases and I must say this is their best surf reel. The unit feels solid and durable. It is compact and features a high range – you can easily go for large saltwater fish with no issues at all.

Just like you have probably guessed already, the reel comes in a few different sizes. Choose the optimal one in order to balance your rod, but also according to the fish in your area. In terms of design and style, you are very likely to draw some positive attention once you take this baby out.

Now, its construction is solid. The body is fully metallic, as well as the rotor and side plate. The bail wire brings in heavy duty aluminum, so there is nothing to be concerned about when it comes to durability. I can say this reel could be an investment if properly looked after. Despite the metallic design, the reel is relatively light and will not ruin the balance on your rod.

The drag system is not to be overlooked either. You get a solid HT 100 carbon fiber system. The drag is impressive and smoothness is just as good. Other than that, you have fluid cranking and five steel ball bearings – made of stainless steel. Instant anti reverse bearing could not miss from Penn’s best surf fishing reel.

The Superline spool is one of the factors that drew my attention straight away. There is no backing required. Moreover, it is braid ready. You also have some line capacity rings – 1/3, 2/3 or full capacity. It is convenient and gives you a clue about where you are at a glance. Other than that, you can set the reel on the left or right hand side.

Best price and deal 


  • Comes with full metallic parts and elements for durability
  • Excellent drag and great smoothness
  • No backing required
  • Instant anti reverse bearing


  • Might get jammed if you do not use it for a long period of time

What do other anglers say?

“Probably the best reel I have ever used. I am not an expert and I do not compete, but I fish for over 20 years and I am quite impressed with the quality and strength. I would definitely recommend this reel to a friend.”

Check it out here.

Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

Daiwa is one of my favorite companies when it comes to reels. I obviously turned to its portfolio too when hunting the best surf casting reel. Its products are quite diversified and most importantly, value for money leaves no room for mistakes – excellent products for excellent prices.

This unit comes in a few different sizes. I recommend considering your rod before making a decision. If you are not sure, stick to a size that you have used before – something that you are familiar with. The size also depends on the type of fish you normally go for.

The housing is based on black anodized machined aluminum – stronger than classic aluminum, but without putting pressure on your arm due to weight. Daiwa has also brought in a body and side cover carrying the Hard Bodyz quality standards. The oversized Digigear system is also worth some attention.

Other than that, as you look at the reel, you will find a solid screw in handle, a quality air rotor and a dynamic cut aluminum ABS spool. The spool is braided line ready – nothing to do from this point of view. The carbon drag system is not water resistant, but waterproof. Plus, you will get about 28 inches of line per rotation.

There are six ball bearings and one reverse bearing. The gear ratio is set at 5.6:1, while the drag goes up to 4.4. You also have a manual return bail – 4500 or higher. The anti-reverse system depends on the size you choose. In other words, if you get the 4000 reel or a smaller model, you will have an infinite system. If you have the 4500 size or a higher one, you will get an infinite dual anti reverse system.

Best price and deals 


  • Excellent value for money
  • High quality parts in its composition
  • Available in more sizes
  • Infinite anti reverse system and infinite dual anti reverse system, depending on the size


  • Feels a bit heavier than other units in this range, especially when fitted on a lighter rod

What do other anglers say?

“Probably the best surf spinning reel for distance out there. I am not talking about professional units for competitions, but about something suitable for an avid angler who goes fishing once a week or so. It is an investment that you will not regret.”

Give it a try here.

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

My plan was to find the best surf spinning reels from some of the best and most reputable manufacturers out there. However, it turns out I have to review another top reel from Daiwa because… Well, it is just too good to be overlooked. Daiwa tends to use similar technologies in reels released at similar times, regardless of the range of type. In other words, this one is quite similar to others in the collection.

The housing looks good – it is black and has a few colorful accents. More importantly, it is based on anodized machined aluminum. It is stronger and more durable than classic aluminum and will not really let you down. It has the Hard Bodyz quality standards, so both the body and side cover are reliable. The Digigear system is larger than average and will bring in incredible reliability.

The drag system is based on carbon. It is lightweight and strong. Moreover, it is waterproof – a bit of a requirement these days. Surprisingly enough, there are still some manufacturers out there that only bring in water resistance, so getting a waterproof unit is still a plus. You will get just over 37 inches of line per revolution.

Talking about the spool, you will love the fact that it is braided line ready. It is based on dynamic cut aluminum ABS. There are no risks in terms of durability, so you can leave yourself in good hands. Other than that, let me mention the air rotor, as well as the solid screw in handle. It feels powerful and it gives you the feeling that you can tackle all kinds of fish.

Now, depending on the size you get, you might have an infinite anti reverse system (size 4000 or lower) or an infinite dual anti reverse system (4500 or higher). The gear ratio is set at 5.6:1, while the max drag is at 15.4. Other than that, there is a six ball bearing system and a reverse bearing.

Best price and deals 


  • Good solid construction that will last
  • Infinite anti reverse system and infinite dual anti reverse system
  • Available in more sizes
  • Good looking design


  • Heavier than other reels in this range

What do other anglers say?

“I love this reel. I bought it as a backup reel, but I think it could qualify as the best spinning reel for surf fishing, as it has become my primary option. Great buy!”

Find out more here.

Shimano Ultegra XSD Surfcasting Spinning Fishing Reel

Shimano does not need too many presentations, does it? To me, Shimano is all about innovative and proprietary technologies that simply deliver. You will inevitably run into this brand when hunting the best rod and reel for surf fishing. This is one of the top rated reels on the market these days. Released in 2017, it is still strong and sturdy against most of its competition.

This unit comes with a few features that you would normally find in reels twice the price. For instance, the instant drag system allows switching between fight drag and free spool within less than a second – simply turn the lever and you are done.

Then, the Super Stopper II technology clears all the back play – a common problem in most reels out there. Free movement inside the handle is also removed, especially when you go in the anti-reverse mode.

Now, think about the AR-C spool, which brings in the proprietary angled spool lip. The line goes off the spool with little to no friction. The line also lays perfectly every single time due to the slow oscillation gear system and the Aero Wrap II technology.

Finally, do not overlook the X Ship gear system either. Power transmission efficiency is flawless. How? The rotational resistance in larger gears is reduced. Plus, you get a top bearing capacity, tooth face accuracy and great positioning.

As if all these technologies were not convincing enough, the max drag force goes up to 33 pounds. The unit weighs just over 17 ounces, so it is relatively lightweight. Besides, Shimano also brings in a spare spool in the package.

The drag system is waterproof and the overall design of this reel is based on aluminum.

Best price and deals 


  • Lots of innovative features and technologies
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Lightweight and well balanced
  • Waterproof drag system


  • The second spool is good for your peace of mind, but you will probably never have to use it

What do other anglers say?

“What a fine piece of technology. It is incredible what Shimano has managed to do with this reel. One of the best ever!”

Give it a try here.

Tsunami Shield 6000 Saltwater Sealed Surf Spinning Reel

Unless you are truly involved with fishing, brands and technologies, you may have never heard of Tsunami. Let me stop you right there. It is one of the most cost efficient options on the market. In fact, some of its reels can outweigh more expensive products in terms of reliability and durability. Tsunami’s best surf reel will surprise you.

Designed for saltwater, it obviously needs some protection. There are not less than 13 internal seals to cover the main components and safeguard them against corrosion. Simply put, this unit was built to take some beating. While most units for saltwater come with some sort of protection, Tsunami has literally taken it to another level.

Given all these protective features, you cannot just open the reel and analyze it properly. Instead, you will need a special tool to get into its guts. The tool is included in the package. You tell me now what other manufacturer takes saltwater protection so seriously…

Now, back to classic things, what else do you need to know? The body is based on aluminum. It is light and strong but also durable. Machined aluminum is better and more precise though. It has been used for the side plate, handle arm, rotor and spool.

The drag system is based on carbon fiber, which is also lightweight and strong. Given all these materials, you would expect this reel to be quite lightweight. But then, remember the protection and seals all around it. It is actually heavier than average, but it will not really affect the balance of your rod.

Last, but not least, let me mention the five bearing system. It is made of stainless steel and… You have already guessed, it is sealed. As for the spool, it is braid ready.

Best price and deal 


  • Features lots of seals for protection against saltwater
  • Solid and strong materials in its composition
  • Futuristic and good looking design
  • Braid ready spool


  • Heavier than other units in this segment, but less likely to affect the balance on your rod

What do other anglers say?

“I was a bit surprised with this spool at first, as it was heavier than others in the same range. It does not really make a difference once you set it up though. I often fish with my kids or in harsh waters. It ends up in the sand or splashed all the time, so the sealed protection is a major plus. Great buy!”

Take a look at it here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are new or you already know a thing or two about what to look for in surf fishing, it is perfectly normal to face a few issues and question marks as well.

How much line do I need for surf fishing?

It depends. I would recommend about 250 yards of the line for surf fishing. Battles can get quite harsh. Sure, you will get some easy fish, but there will be battles involving over 100 yards of line. It depends on the species and size. On another note, the more line you have on the spool, the further you can cast, which is a plus.

What is the optimal length for a surf fishing rod?

Such standards vary and different professionals may provide different answers. Generally speaking, the ideal rod length for this type of fishing should be anywhere between 11 and 12 feet.

What is the most important thing to consider?

Different anglers have different necessities, but there are certain things that should always be considered in a surf reel. For example, you need durability and strength. A proper protection against saltwater is a must, whether it comes to waterproof systems or seals. On the other hand, you want quality materials – lightweight, but strong. Aluminum, stainless steel and carbon are quite common in more varieties.

What is the best fishing line for surf fishing?

There are no doubts about it – braided line is by far the best choice out there due to its benefits. Moreover, many surf fishers will choose braided line for such activities. Luckily, some of the best surf reels in commerce are braided line ready, so there is not too much work involved from your side.


As a short final conclusion, deciding on the best surf reel can be a bit challenging. It is not necessarily about finding good reels in a sea of bad options. Instead, the issue is that you will find a bunch of solid manufacturers with some excellent products out there.

Many features are common, so small details tend to make the difference. Whether you are loyal to a particular brand or you want a specific feature in particular, any of the best surf spinning reels mentioned above is likely to match your necessities.

Ps – You might want to check out our Dutch colleagues at Dutch surf fishing!