How To Choose The Right Saltwater Fishing Reel - An Easy Guide
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How To Choose The Right Saltwater Fishing Reel - An Easy Guide

Sep 02, 2022

How To Choose The Right Saltwater Fishing Reel - An Easy Guide

When it comes to fishing saltwater, there's a lot of gear to choose from. But with so many options and factors to consider, how can you ever know which reel is right for you? To help make the process a little easier, this blog provides an easy guide on how to choose the right saltwater fishing reel. By understanding the different types of saltwater rods and reels, as well as their respective capacities, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect reel for your angling needs. Once you have that figured out, take it for a spin and see how it feels in the water!


Types of Saltwater Reels

When it comes to saltwater fishing, there are a few types of fishing rods and reels to consider. Each type offers its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose the right one for your needs.

 toadfish spinning reel, spinning rod and reel

Spinning Rod and Reels

If you're looking to get into saltwater fishing, spinning rods and reels are the perfect tools for the job. Most fishermen use spinning reels because they are simple and quick to use and do not need any actual talent. In only a few minutes, you can learn how to cast and use a spinning reel. There is no steep learning curve here! Spinning reels have an open reel face encircled by a strong metal wire-like guide that rotates up and down to catch and release your line. You can cast once the bail is raised. When it is down, you may reel in your line by turning the handle. Spinning reels include drag that may be tightened or relaxed to take some of the labor out of fishing and make the reel more effective at capturing fish.


Because the reel is located at the bottom of the rod, the guides (the rings that direct the fishing line along the pole) must be on the bottom of the rod. From the location of the reel on the bottom near the ground, the rod flings the bait/lure out on the line. The guides on spinning rods are huge near the reel at the bottom of the rod and get noticeably smaller closer to the tip.

 toadfish baitcasting rod, baitcasting rod, best inshore fishing rod

Baitcasting Rod and Reels

Baitcasting rods have substantially smaller guides. Because the line unspools directly from the reel, it may go immediately into a little guide. It is not practicable with a spinning reel; bigger bottom guides are required. Baitcasting rods are cast above by pressing the button with your thumb, then securely gripping the spool till casting, then feathering the tip of your thumb off the spool to control where the bait/lure falls.


Once mastered, baitcasting rods and reels offer very precise casting. Longer casts are feasible because the weighted spool spins independently, feeding out the line considerably more smoothly than spinning rigs. Baitcasting reels also offer improved drag. Setting your drag on a baitcasting reel is often much easier than that of a spinning reel. You just need to add as much line as you need on the spool, not over-wrap it like a spinning reel.


Line Capacity

When choosing a saltwater reel, it is important to do your research. First off, make sure to find out if a reel is "braid-friendly" or can handle braided lines. There are some reels out there that are designed specifically for mono or fluorocarbon lines only and perform poorly when using braided lines. Make sure to read up on the reel specifications and confirm that your rod can handle the braided line.


Next, find out the braid capacity of the reel. Depending on the type of fishing you'll be doing or the species you'll be targeting, it is vital that your reel can hold the correct amount of braided line to guarantee you don't get spooled.


Light Setup for Inshore

Keeping your rod and reel setup light when fishing for inshore species can make a huge difference in the long run. Spending day after day on the water casting for redfish, trout, snook, etc. will take a toll on your body. That's why we suggest using a lighter rod and reel setup to ensure you stay in the game longer. Light tackle also makes fighting the fish that much more fun! With a light setup, a "smaller" redfish could feel like a bull red.

  • Great for smaller redfish, speckled trout, and flounder.
  • Best with 8-15lb braided line.
  • Our go-to for throwing soft plastics on a 1/8-5/8oz jighead and jerk baits
  • Great for smaller redfish, speckled trout, and flounder.
  • Best with 10-15lb braided line.
  • Our go-to for throwing soft plastics on a 1/8-1/4oz jighead, jerk baits, and topwaters.
  • Larger line capacity to fight larger redfish, bluefish, black drum, sheephead.
  • Best with 20-30lb braided line.
  • Our go-to for fishing Carolina rigs, popping corks, soft plastics with 1/4-1/2oz jigheads.


How Much Drag Do You Need?

Drag is an essential component of every high-quality fishing reel, particularly saltwater spinning reels. In the most basic terms, a fishing reel's drag setting may be modified to control the pace at which line is dragged off the spool after the fish has accepted the bait or lure. The drag effectively accomplishes two roles in conjunction with the movement of the rod and the strength of the test line: The drag limits how far a fish can "run" with the bait as the fisherman fights the fish and reels it in. The drag provides just enough slack to keep huge fish from breaking the line if it becomes too tight.


Naturally, the drag setting you use will be determined by the type and size of fish you are pursuing—or how hard the fish fights once the bait is caught. As a result, we recommend a reel with an easy-to-adjust drag setting—one that allows you to easily vary the drag before or during your cast.



Find out about the internal components of a reel you're interested in: ball bearings, gear ratio, material, etc.


The number of ball bearings within the body of a saltwater spinning reel—bearings that are utilized to operate it—is highly significant—much more critical than the number of bearings in a baitcasting reel. Too few bearings in the body of the reel can cause jerkiness when the handle is cranked, slippage, and even stripping of the reel's gears. As a result, when choosing a saltwater spinning reel, pay particular attention to the number of ball bearings it contains—and make sure those bearings are "sealed."


The gears on a saltwater spinning reel will be subjected to far greater abuse than those on a freshwater spinning reel. The causes for this additional punishment range from the greater weight and power of ocean fish to the environment (salty) in which the fishing occurs. As a result, it is critical that the gears on the spinning reel you eventually buy are composed of high-quality metal—steel, titanium, high-grade, forged aluminum, and so on—materials that can endure the extra weight and frequently corrosive circumstances.




Saltwater fishing can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's important to choose the right fishing reel to make the experience even better. In this blog, we've outlined the different types of saltwater fishing rods and reels, as well as explained how to choose the right one for you. Once you've picked out the right fishing reel, take it for a spin and see the fish jump out of the water!

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