BlogSeptember 2021

Choosing the Best Fishing Reels for Saltwater

Choosing the Best Fishing Reels for Saltwater

By Andy Whitcomb

Sep 06, 2021

There are a variety of styles and models of saltwater fishing reels. Here’s how to decide which is right for you.

There are several factors involved in trying to determine the best fishing reels for saltwater. Saltwater fishing gear is unique in that it needs to be tough and durable enough to withstand not only challenging ocean conditions but potentially giant fish.

Type/Target Species

When deciding the best saltwater fishing reels or what size reel is best for saltwater fishing, consider the species targeted and standard methods. A baitcaster type reel would be ideal for trolling and jigging vertically and can hold a tremendous amount of line. Spinning reels can work well for those two methods but also are saltwater fishing equipment better suited for casting long distances. Fly-fishing reels may be helpful for some species but there are lure depth and casting distance limitations.


The best saltwater fishing reels are made of corrosion resistant materials, such anodized aluminum. Freshwater reels will work in saltwater in a pinch, but I learned the hard way that even if you rinse and oil the reel after it gets wet from the surf, it may never work the same. The best fishing reels for saltwater also usually have sealed components to keep saltwater out of the gears and drag and such to remain smooth, precise, and fully functioning.

Personal Preference

Much of selecting the best fishing reels for saltwater comes down to personal preference. When you are in a saltwater tackle store, perhaps getting your fishing license, tell the tackle store employees what you hope to catch and they’ll get you pointed in the right direction. Regardless of the type or model, all of the good saltwater fishing reels are made of saltwater resilient materials, are capable of holding more line than freshwater reels, and are tough enough to stand up to the strongest, fastest fish and still come back for more.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.