While there are hundreds of different reels sold on the market today, only a few are suitable to use for inshore angling. If you’re an inshore angler and you prefer the casts of a good spinning reel, you may feel at a loss since you have fewer options. The good news is you won’t have to make do with an existing freshwater tackle. In this article, we’ve reviewed the best inshore spinning reels and compiled crucial information to point you toward the top saltwater spinners.
Inshore Spinning Reel Reviews
Here’s our selection of top-rated inshore fishing reels! Let’s jump right into it!
1. KastKing Megatron Spinning Reel
An inshore spinning reel has to be able to stand up to just about anything mother nature throws at it. The first on our list of the best inshore spinning reels, the KastKing Megatron, is a rockstar.
It isn’t only durable, but it’s also a beautiful piece of equipment. It’s likely that it’s exactly what it is you’ve been looking for in a spinner for inshore angling. The reel has an aluminum alloy frame, drive gear made of zinc alloy, and a sturdy yet lightweight spool.
The 30+ total drag is astounding and it adds to the exceptional ruggedness of the reel. The drag system makes use of carbon fiber discs, which prevent binding and offer uniform line control. As for its ball bearing system, it’s double-shielded and consists of 7+1 ball bearings made of stainless steel. It’s the industry standard for higher-end reels but without the high price tag.
The exceptional ball bearing system of the Megatron offers a noticeably smoother operation in comparison to other reels within the same price range. It’s ideal when you’re targeting sizable game fish with no intention at all of being caught.
2. Abu Garcia Inshore Reel
Abu Garcia’s Revo is an absolute delight to use for casting and fishing. It’s thoughtfully designed and superbly constructed.
With an impressive carbon fiber drag, count on it to provide a smooth and consistent resistance. Spool capacity is also high, which can even make it the leader of the pack.
For the 4,000-size spinning reel, it’s only 9.4 oz and it can pack a mile long of line. You’ll get incredible performance and value for your money.
3. Lew’s Custom Inshore Reel
Third on our list of the best inshore spinning reels is the Custom Inshore Speed of Lew’s.
It’s a reel that’s made of solid, quality aluminum alloy for the body and has a stainless-steel bearing system with a one-way clutch. It also features corrosion-resistant properties.
This is essential as the reel will be used in saltwater. The brand knows this which is why the reel also has powder-coating and passivation treatment for the main gears for rust and corrosion prevention.
Its line capacity is more than sufficient to capture bigger species whereas the line retrieval is smooth, fast, and accurate.
4. Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel
The Penn Clash series comes in seven different models that range in size starting from 2000 to 8000.
The spinning reel series is designed specifically for saltwater angling with its corrosion-resistant aluminum body and spool (for 6000-8000 models).
Penn Clash makes use of a sealed bearing system made of stainless steel, CNC DuraGear tech for longevity, and the trademarked HT100 carbon fiber drag.
If you want a spinning reel that is a step up in terms of the reel’s quality, consider getting this one.
5. Penn Spinfisher VI
We were impressed with the resilience of Penn Spinfisher VI, which is why many regard it as one of the best inshore spinning reels on Amazon.
You can fish in a hard, choppy location and you won’t have to worry about the reel not being able to hold up. It’s very easy to fish with and it’s an excellent option wherever you get lots of sprays.
6. Shimano STC3000XGFL Stradic FL
The Stradic FL is a product of Shimano which is known to produce some good spinning reels.
This is why it isn’t surprising that it has a smooth operation free of the distracting wobble you get sometimes with lower quality spinning reels.
Notable features of this reel include an X-Ship, micro module gearing, and a long stroke spool. When you test it yourself, it becomes evident that it’s really well-built.
7. Daiwa Saltist Back Bay LT Spinning Reel
Some of the features that make this spinner one of the best inshore spinning reels are the digitally cut DigiGear gear system, all-aluminum body, air rotor with carbon fiber, a 7-bearing system to keep everything running smoothly when you are pulling bull redfish or striped bass, and a waterproof MagSealed drag system made of carbon fiber. It’s undoubtedly a winner.
8. Shimano Exsence Spinning Reel
The Shimano Exsence is an inshore spinning reel that features Shimano’s signature Hagane body that promises to deliver durability and better impact resistance.
The reel is also completely sealed off to ensure not a single drop of water enters the system and causes damage.
We especially liked the magnesium rotor as it’s lightweight and offers far more stability compared to most spinning reels you’ll come across.
How to Choose the Best Inshore Spinning Reels
The top spinning reels are all great, but which one is best for you? Consider these crucial factors if you need further information to make a decision between the best reels for inshore saltwater fishing:
The smoothness of an inshore spinner’s operation is from the quantity and quality of a reel’s ball bearing.
The best inshore fishing reels make use of a good ball bearing system in supporting their rotational movement apart from providing a smooth operation.
A high-quality reel features a higher number of ball bearings with each ball bearing uniform in composition.
An effective anti-reverse capability allows an angler to properly set the hook with much greater efficiency. This is essential should you want to increase your chances to capitalize on strikes.
The majority of spinners suitable for inshore fishing come with the anti-reverse function, which helps prevent the fishing line from “free-spooling” in reverse whenever pulled upon during hard fights with aggressive species.
As a result, a more forceful hook set can be delivered. The drag system of the reel can also be utilized to an extent.
Your inshore spinning reel has to be able to stand up against harsh elements. When used regularly, saltwater spinning reels will be constantly exposed to rainfall, airborne contaminants, UV exposure, and, of course, saltwater.
It’s, therefore, essential to find a spinner that’s highly resistant to damage from various environmental conditions.
Remember that the most important is resistance from corrosion or else you risk premature failure when saltwater seeps into the components of your inshore spinning reel.
The best inshore reel will provide a powerful drag. Near-maximum settings can let you run a heavy line, but it can also release smoothly without stopping, binding, or hitching at any setting.
With any inshore fishing reel, the drag should be easy for you to make adjustments on the fly, easing off the strength or dialing it up quickly. The drag knob is usually located on the bottom or end part of the spool.
It’s where direct pressure applies force without requiring complex mechanisms. While an excellent drag system can vary, the carbon fiber discs often prove to the some of the best options available.
The discs apply pressure directly to the spool when you release the line, and they have two primary purposes: first, the discs provide cushioning to the line. This allows a massive fish to take the line without inflicting undue stress on it.
By allowing the line to leave the spool under pressure, it’s protected from breakage. This is why you typically have to set the drag to approximately a third of the line’s test strength. This provides a wide margin to avoid a sudden breakage.
Second, the disks can help tire out larger species. Really huge fish can’t just be fought into a gaff or net. Instead, there’s a need to let the fish run, then you fight back and wear it out gradually.
A heavier drag setting with a strong line forces fish to do more work and fight harder. This tires it out more quickly.
Capacity matters and bigger spools are always the kings when it comes to inshore angling. You may be wondering why.
A bigger spool offers these three benefits:
- More Line for Longer Casts and Cutting/Retying: A bigger spool can hold more line for longer casts and also cutting and retying. Whether you’re fishing on a salt marsh or casting from a boat into the shallows, long distances are a routine for inshore fishing. You’ll need capacity for your long casts. You’ll also need a lot of line in order for you to discard the damages and re-tie.
- Helps in Hard Fights: A bigger spool is definitely beneficial in hard fights. Not only will a bigger spool let you magnify the gear ratio of your reel, increasing each crank’s retrieval rate, it also holds more line and when you tie to a real monster like a tuna, tarpon, or leopard shark, you have enough line to let the fish run and fight the drag.
- Run a Very Heavy Line: A bigger spool will let you run a heavy line. You can run a much heavier braided line which will give you more line that has greater tensile strength. While the braided line does have its own disadvantages like low shock strength and lower knot strength, you can overcome them by choosing to use a truly heavy-weight braided line. A bigger spool will let you run a 50-pound+ braid, letting your inshore spinning reel punch even higher than its weight.
Gear and Speed
The speed of a reel is measured partly by the gear ratio, the numerical ratio for the rotations of the reel’s spool for every single turn or crank of the handle.
To give you an example, a 5.2:1 gear ratio makes the spool rotate 5.2 times for each turn of the handle. A higher gear ratio obviously signals a faster reel.
The speed matters, most especially when a fast species turns and runs towards you. When it does, the line is going to slack and release pressure onto the hook. This gives the fish an opportunity to throw it.
In order for you to combat this, you’ll need to retrieve the line at a much faster rate, faster than the fish slacken it. This demands a faster reel or an inshore spinning reel with a higher gear ratio. But, the speed is also affected by the size of the spool directly.
Just think about it in this way: the best inshore saltwater spinning reel with a gear ratio of 5.2:1 turning a bigger spool can pick up more line compared to the reel with the same gearing that’s pushing a smaller spool.
Therefore, you need to remember that you shouldn’t only look at the gear ratio from our inshore spinning reel reviews. Also, consider the retrieval rates carefully!
When you’re fighting a big red or a small shark, you’ll most definitely find yourself needing plenty of torque for each crank.
This typically demands a big knob, strong gearing, and long arms. We like inshore spinning reels that have oversized metal gears.
They’re the ones that offer more surface area and contact, and tougher teeth, which can translate to more felt power.
Metal gears just last longer in comparison to their plastic counterparts. This is a simple fact.
Though plastic can significantly cut down on the cost, seasoned anglers dodge the material for their saltwater reels. This is because plastic just couldn’t take a big fish’s beating.
We suggest you also look for a sealed drag system and a strong body as this helps in preventing saltwater intrusion and corrosion.
Species You’re Targeting
This is also one of the most important factors that you have to consider when you make a choice between the best inshore spinning reels.
The size and strength of the reel are determined by the species you’ll be targeting. However, the kind of reel will also come into play.
A large spinning reel that has stainless steel gears, forged internal parts, a huge line capacity, and carbon fiber drags may be essential when you target a big tarpon that’s around bridges.
Your Chosen Rod
A saltwater spinning reel comes in a wide variety of sizes. Selecting the correct sizing for the reel based on the rod you will use in combination with it can increase your comfort, balance, and casting distance.
But, there are fish that necessitates a much bigger spinner regardless of your rod’s length. This is where taking into consideration the specific requirements of the fish you’re targeting comes into play.
Blue-water species often require larger reels with shorter rods as anglers will need a bigger line capacity that larger reels offer in fighting powerful fish. So, consider what the requirement of your target is, then decide on the rod length, as well as the weight.
Spinning reels vary in price. There are those that are sold for as little as $15 while the higher-end ones are in the $300-400 price range.
The wide price variation provides every angler with a feasible option. But, before you jump on the cheapest inshore spinning reel you find available for purchase online, remember that reels aren’t created equally.
You’ll often find that the most affordable options you have aren’t equipped with the essential features, plus they aren’t to be relied on when it comes to their ability to stand to the test of time. A mid-price spinning reel can be well-built and offer what the average angler wants to get out of a saltwater spinner and that is years of reliable service.
But, in our experience, the more expensive a reel is, especially when it’s from a reputable manufacturer, the longer the product lasts. Furthermore, even the moderately priced reels don’t have adequate strength in fighting large fish which are under much heavier drag pressures.
That being said, a less expensive spinning reel may still work fine if you’re on a tight budget or you only fish occasionally.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a spinning reel ideal to use for inshore angling?
Ruggedness, strength, and reliability are the main characteristics you should look for in spinning reels. Saltwater species are powerful. They also live in very inhospitable environments.
Their power and the environment they’re in can be tough on fishing equipment. Although freshwater reels can let you catch a couple of small fish in the salt, they’re not going to withstand the very first powerful run of a mature tarpon, bull redfish, or giant striped bass.
These fish aren’t as powerful and strong as tuna and other pelagic species by the way. Good saltwater spinning reels will require you to make an investment so you can ensure the highest likelihood of landing fish. They’ll also let you do both inshore and deep-sea fishing.
Is a spinning reel better to use for inshore angling?
The spinning reel, within the past three decades, has improved a lot. They have become so reliable and tough that the conventional gear isn’t needed anymore in hauling out the majority of inshore species.
But, they’re still a lot of fish classes and techniques which are better suited for conventional tackle.
Which manufacturers make the best inshore spinning reels?
There’s no one brand that produces the best, in our opinion. The word best is dictated by what exactly it is that you’re planning to do using your inshore spinning reel, as well as the budget that you have set for it. Shimano, KastKing, Daiwa, and Penn are the ones that make great inshore saltwater spinners that fit various niches.
If you’re a Northeast angler who’s dunking your reel constantly, a Lew’s is a good option. But, if you’re a boat angler and you cast smaller top-water lures while snooking in the gulf, Daiwa may be more than enough for you.
Are you after a giant Mahi or a goliath grouper? If so, it’s worth checking out Shimano and KastKing. There’s really no single answer that’s suited for all anglers.
There are many things that you need to consider as you choose a saltwater reel. Use the aforementioned factors to guide you in making an informed purchasing decision. We covered the best inshore spinning reels in this article.
The best one, without a doubt, is the KastKing Megatron Spinning Reel. It’s equipped with the bells and whistles of higher-end reels without being pricey.
As a result, you get a drag that’s smoother, body slightly stiffer, and a reel that winds quickly while offering you a bang for every buck.