9 Best saltwater spinning reels to buy now

If your looking for a quick recommendation, check these two ‘non-sealed’ vs ‘sealed’ options out for the best saltwater spinning reels to buy now….

Best ‘non-sealed’ saltwater Spinning Reel Daiwa BG

Author photo of the Daiwa BG Reel

Hard-to-beat value

  • Crazy value for money
  • Features you find in top-end reel models
  • Incredibly versatile, reliable and durable

Want a superior, totally ‘sealed’ spinning reel?

Then your best bet is the Van Staal VR150 reel.

In a beautiful sleek black design…

Table of Contents

My method for selecting the best saltwater spinning reels

If you read across the articles on this webiste you’ll notice we don’t typically review the super-high-end fishing reels like the Saltiga or Stella for example.

That’s because not many anglers are yet in the position to invest in those reels – many like myself!

That’s why we try to cover a range of high quality reels that don’t come with a bank-breaking price tag, and are affordabl for many. That’s my mission with this site, is to provide as much first-had experience as aI can, or my take on what I think is a good reel or not, for different types of fishing.

So this list is compiled of fishing reels that follow this criteria:

  1. Is a reel I’ve bought and used myself – you’ll see I use many of my own photos of the reels I own. I fish in the surf, kayak, lakes, rivers, from rocks and boats. So the reels I use get pretty heavy treatment.
  2. Or its a reel I’ve had my eye on for a while, because it comes so highly regarded and reccommended from the positive experience of many anglers out there. This is about playing it safe with statistics, and picking quality value reels that have performed well and maintained for years for other anglers, before pulling the trigger and buying one.
  3. I pick the reels based on durability and performance. How well have they lasted? How well do they perform for what I bought them for. Are they good value for money, and what do you get for the price tag?

Best saltwater spinning reels for the money – Daiwa BG

The author's Daiwa BG

Out of all the reels that I’ve bought and tested, the Daiwa BG has to be up there as the one that delivers the most value for money.

The Daiwa BG has consistently been rated by us, and by much more professional other anglers out there, as probably the best reel you’ll buy for the money. While its not the cheapest reel on this list, especially compared to something like the Daiwa Sweepfire, you’ll likely be usig this reel for many years if looked after, so you’ll get huge amounts of bang for your buck.

Many are investing a little more in the Daiwa BG, to get infinite returns for their fishing. If you’re considering upgrading your spinning reels, I’d suggest you take a long, hard look at the Daiwa BG.

Daiwa BG spinning Reel

4.9 stars

  • Performance: 4.9 stars
  • Durability: 5 stars
  • Value for Money: 5 stars
Author photo of the Daiwa BG Reel

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel at a glance

  • Best for: For saltwater anglers starting to get a little more serious about their gear. Good for varied saltwater applications and those that seek versatility.
  • Sizes: 10 sizes. 1500 – 5000, 6500, 8000.
  • Drag: 17.6lbs max drag on a 4000 size
  • Line capacity: 280yds/30lb braid OR 200yds/40lb on the 4000 size
  • Weight: 14.3 oz on the 4000 size

Read the individual review: Daiwa BG Spinning Reel Review

Who is the Daiwa BG Spinning Reel for?

I’m not on the high-end of angling professionalism, but I consider myself ‘well-seasoned’! 🙂

And that’s who we cater to really. Those anglers looking to up their game a little from basic gear.

The Daiwa BG is a definite upgrade in performance, without the crippling price tag that many reels of similar performance might come with.

The aiwa BG is fantastic for many different saltwater appllications – great for on the rocks or the beach, when exposure to saltwater is fairly limited.

And if you’re like me, you sometimes flip over to the freshwater environment, the BG handles that well, too.

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel Pros

Solid and Rigid Construction

The Daiwa BG impresses with its solid anodized metal body, oversized Digigears with deep teeth, new Air Rotor technology, and ATD drag system. These features combine to create an incredibly sturdy and rigid reel that provides a reliable and robust user experience.

The handle of the reel is designed as one solid piece which I like, that engages with the deep-set main gear further enhancing the overall sturdiness and reliability of the Daiwa BG when held in hand.

High-Quality Ball Bearings

The reel is equipped with ball bearings from Minebea, the same bearings you find in top-end reels like the Daiwa Saltiga or Shimano Stella. This inclusion of high-quality bearings in a reel at this price point is truly remarkable and greatly contributes to the smoothness of the Daiwa BG’s operation.

Easy Handle Switching

One neat feature of the Daiwa BG is its ability to switch the handle to the other side of the reel. This process is quick and straightforward, allowing you to customize the reel according to your preference or even change it up during a fishing session. While the reel comes set up one way, you can easily adjust it to suit your needs.

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel Cons

Slim Bail Arm

One aspect I noticed is that the bail arm of the Daiwa BG appears relatively slim compared to reels like the Penn Battle 3, or the Spinfisher VI. While other components of the BG feel solid and robust, the bail arm may feel a bit lighter in comparison. This is a minor concern, considering the overall performance of the reel.

Moderate Gear Ratio

The Daiwa BG has a gear ratio of 5.7:1, which means it is not the fastest reel in terms of retrieving speed.

However, it’s worth mentioning that the spool of the BG is actually wider than some competitors, such as the Penn Battle 3. This wider spool compensates for the moderate gear ratio and allows for relatively quick line retrieval when using the BG.

These cons are relatively minor observations about the Daiwa BG reel.

While the slim bail arm may not match the chunkier design of some other reels, it doesn’t significantly impact the reel’s performance.

Similarly, although the gear ratio is not the fastest, the wider spool enables efficient line retrieval.

Overall, the Daiwa BG offers an excellent package for its price, with any drawbacks being outweighed by its solid performance and value.

Best saltwater spinning reels under $100 – Okuma Rockaway

The Okuma Rockaway reel is a reliable and affordable option designed for tackling various saltwater applications: surf, beach, rock, and pier applications.

With its long casting capabilities and generous spool capacity, you’ll be able to reach far distances, keeping you comfortably positioned on the beach or jetty.

While it’s recommended to minimize saltwater exposure, the Rockaway reel is built to withstand the occasional encounter.

Its robust construction and durability make it well-suited to handle the elements, ensuring a long-lasting performance.

Users have reported minimal returns or repair needs due to saltwater exposure, highlighting the Rockaway reel’s reliability and longevity when properly cared for and cleaned.

Whether you’re targeting surf species or casting from the rocks, the Okuma Rockaway reel is a trustworthy companion for your next ocean or inshore fishing trip.

Okuma Rockaway

4.6 stars

  • Performance: 4.5 stars
  • Durability: 4.6 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.7 stars

Okuma Rockaway Spinning Reel at a glance

  • Best for: If you need to keep an eye on the budget, this is a great starter option to go for.
  • Sizes: 6000, 8000
  • Drag: 26lbs max drag, or 35lbs max drag
  • Line capacity: 400yds/40lb braid on the 6000
  • Weight: 17oz

Read the individual review: Okuma Rockaway Surf Spinning Reel Review

Who is the Okuma Rockaway Spinning Reel for?

If you’re starting out and need to get the best saltwater spinning reel that you can for your budget then the Okuma Rockaway isn’t a bad idea.

It’s a reel with nice usability, chunky features for grip and nice oscillating line lay to help avoid tangles and assist with casting.

As a beginner you want a reel that supports you as you learn the skills, and the Rockaway is a pretty good price for what you get too.

Okuma Rockaway Spinning Reel Pros

Okuma Rockaway Reel Pros: Perfect for Long Casts and Comfortable Handling

Impressive Casting Distance

The Okuma Rockaway reel, particularly the 6000 model size, offers an outstanding 300 yards of 50lb braid capacity. This ample line capacity allows you to launch your cast far into the ocean targeting larger predatory species that dwell in the saltwater depths.

Smooth and Reliable Performance

The Okuma Rockaway reel has steady and smooth oscillation which helps you with effortless retrieves, ensuring you can handle any situation with ease even as a beginner.

Equipped with 5 ball bearings, the reel operates with exceptional smoothness, while the bronze pinion gear enhances durability and guarantees reliable performance over time.

Comfortable and Secure Grip

Designed with surf fishing in mind, the Okuma Rockaway reel features a chunky EVA foam handle.

This handle offers excellent comfort and grip, even in challenging beach or rock fishing conditions where your hands may slippy from saltwater and sand.

Its ergonomic design ensures a secure hold, allowing you to reel in those beach monsters with confidence. Additionally, the handle is constructed as one solid piece, increasing rigidity and minimizing flex during intense battles. I like this in saltwater reels because the conditions often put reels to the test and flex is not what you want.

The Okuma Rockaway reel combines impressive casting capabilities, smooth operation, and thoughtful design elements to make it a reliable and comfortable companion for your surf fishing adventures.

Okuma Rockaway Spinning Reel Cons

Unnecessary Anti-Reverse Switch Placement

While the Okuma Rockaway reel offers an anti-reverse switch, I find its positioning a bit problematic. I have concerns that my hand might accidentally engage or disengage the switch during intense battles with larger fish species.

This feature, although intended for convenience, may introduce unnecessary complications.

Chunky but Clunky Bail Arm

The bail arm of the Okuma Rockaway reel is undeniably robust and sturdy.

However, at times, it can feel a bit clunky and sticky when attempting to flip it over. This occasional lack of smoothness in the bail arm operation may slightly impact the trasition to reeling that you want after you cast.

Less Solidity and Rigidity Compared to Some Competitors

While the Okuma Rockaway reel provides stability during regular use, it falls short of the solid and rigid construction that I’ve seen in other reels like the Daiwa BG or Penn Battle 3. But to be fair to the Rockaway… it is about half the price at time of writing this.

This is primarily due to its non-metal body composition. So, when faced with the challenge of battling larger fish, there may be concerns regarding the flex of the reel and its internal gears. However, it remains a reliable option for targeting smaller to medium-sized fish.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the Okuma Rockaway reel continues to deliver commendable performance, making it a suitable choice for anglers seeking versatility and functionality in a surf fishing reel.

Best budget saltwater spinning reels under $50 – Daiwa Sweepfire

If there was a reel to really outperform its price tag, this would be it. It’s so cheap yet has been awesome for me as a back-up reel.

Now, this reel is mostly made of plastic, which is pretty standard for budget-friendly options. But here’s the kicker—it also has some decent metal elements, which is quite unusual for a reel in this price range. Can you believe it?

I’ve personally been using the 4000 size reel for beach casting, and let me tell you, it’s been through a lot.

Just take a look at the photo—bashed around, dunked in the ocean, buried in sand, and not washed as often as it should have been.

But despite that, it’s been an absolute trooper, showing no signs of giving up on me… well, until recently.

Only a couple of months ago, the anti-reverse mechanism decided to take a break.

But that’s apparently an easy fix of you know how!

I’m so impressed with this reel that I’m thinking of grabbing one or two more to have on hand when friends join me on fishing adventures.

Now, I’ll admit, my expectations were pretty low when I first bought this reel. But it has been an absolute joy to fish with.

It’s perfect as a true beginner reel for inshore surf fishing, especially when you’re going after those small to medium-sized species like bait fish, little flounder, or even puppy redfish.

So, if you’re looking for a wallet-friendly reel that won’t let you down this one’s for you.

Trust me, it may not have all the bells and whistles, but it gets the job done.

Daiwa Sweepfire

4.6 stars

  • Performance: 4.2 stars
  • Durability: 4.6 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.7 stars
Daiwa sweepfire a top saltwater spinning reel

Daiwa Sweepfire Spinning Reel at a glance

  • Best for: Buying one for each member of your family to take fishing 🙂 Great as a first reel for your kids. Or for your clumsy mate that sometimes goes fishing with you.
  • Sizes: 1000 – 5000 and the 500s in between.
  • Drag: 13.2lbs max drag on the 4000 size
  • Line capacity: 280yds/30lb braid on the 4000 size.
  • Weight: 13.4oz on the 4000 size.

Read the individual review: Daiwa Sweepfire Spinning Reel Review

Who is the Daiwa Sweepfire Spinning Reel for?

If you don’t have the budget for our ‘Under $50’ pick, the Okuma Rockaway, then this is probably the best spinning reel for saltwater that you can get for a fraction of the price.

I’m thinking of getting a replacement as a back up spinning reel, and may get one for my kids as their first spinning reel for the ocean.

Good on Daiwa for producing such a durable reel for hardly any outlay. It’s basic, but it’s caught me so many fish on the rocks and the beach. I’d be happy taking it out again to these environments.

Daiwa Sweepfire Spinning Reel Pros

Massive Spool Capacity

When it comes to surf casting, this reel truly shines with its massive spool capacity. Even on the 4000 size, you’ll be amazed at the distances you can reach from the beach. It’s a game-changer for sure!

Also great for those who keep getting tangles in the line – if you have to cut it, you’ll know you have loads left.

Smooth Performance in the Drag and Rotor

Despite facing some tough conditions, the drag and rotor of this reel have held up remarkably well.

It feels impressively smooth for how cheap the reel is. Its no BG but still! With no major issues to report, the only slight change I’ve noticed is a bit of stickiness during reeling, accompanied by a faint noise. Nothing too bothersome, though.

Durable and Reliable

Daiwa’s renowned Digigears make an appearance in this reel, showcasing their reliable and efficient performance.

The engineering of this reel is pretty straightforward, but it gets the job done. The ABS spool aids in casting surprising distances, especially when paired with the 4000 size.

So, if you’re looking for a reel that offers impressive casting capabilities, smooth operation, and reliable engineering, I’d consider getting one of these.

Daiwa Sweepfire Spinning Reel Cons

Drag Adjustment – Small and Slippery Wheel

One minor drawback of this reel is the size of the drag adjustment wheel.

It feels a bit small in my fingers, which can make it easy to slip on when you’re in a hurry or have wet hands. It may require some extra attention and care during adjustments.

Handle Comfort – Hard Plastic and Slippery

The handle, made of hard plastic, can become a little uncomfortable after a long day of lure fishing in the surf.

Additionally, if your hands get slimy, it can be a bit slippery to grip. Consider using gloves or finding alternative ways to enhance your grip for extended fishing sessions.

Slight Flex During Reeling from Plastic Elements

One thing to note is that there is a bit of flex in the reel when reeling in a fish.

This is likely due to the presence of plastic elements in its construction and just simply being a cheap reel. While it may not be as rigid as higher-end reels, it still performs well when targeting smaller to medium-sized fish.

Impressive Value so Hard to Complain!

Considering the price point, it’s hard to be too critical of this reel. It offers great features and performance for its cost, making it a worthwhile investment for anglers on a strict budget.

Overall, despite these minor considerations, this reel delivers excellent value for its price.

It’s a reliable companion for surf fishing adventures, offering impressive performance and features without breaking the bank.

Best saltwater spinning reels under $150 – Penn Battle 3 High-speed

I recently bought the Penn Battle 3 High-Speed version of this reel as a slight upgrade to the regular Penn Battle 3.

The Penn Battle 3 and the high-speed version of the reel is a highly regarded spinning reel for saltwater, offering excellent performance and value.

In my view it competes fairly closely with the popular Daiwa BG reel, coming in at a slightly lower price point. It doesn’t carry some of the pedigree as the BG does but it’s still an incredibly popular choice for saltwater.

This upgraded model is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Battle 2, and has gained a reputation among saltwater anglers for its reliability.

One standout feature of the Battle 3 is its solid metal body, which provides both durability and rigidity during use, and the high-speed version is no different. This level of construction is uncommon in reels within its price range, making it a notable advantage, especially if your cranking really hard with lures and going after fast, hard-fighting fish.

The gear system is highly responsive, offering a smooth and efficient reeling experience. The smaller sizes of the reel feature a solid aluminum gear, while the larger sizes utilize a solid brass gear, further enhancing performance and durability.

Overall, the Penn Battle 3 High-Speed spinning reel delivers exceptional value and performance for saltwater anglers.

If you want to look at more focused article covering the best high-speed spinning reels, click here.

Penn Battle 3 High-speed

4.6 stars

  • Performance: 4.7 stars
  • Durability: 4.8 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.8 stars

Penn Battle High-speed Spinning Reel at a glance

  • Best for: Those with a slightly tighter budget willing to trade off a little performance compared to the Daiwa BG.
  • Sizes: 4000, 6000, and 10000 sizes in the highspeed version.
  • Drag: 15lbs, 25lbs, 30lbs on the 4000, 6000 and 8000 respectively
  • Line capacity: 535yds / 30lb braid on the 6000 size
  • Weight: 12.8oz on the 4000 size, jumps to 27.7oz on the 8000
  • Read the full Penn Battle 3 High-Speed Review here.

Who is the Penn Battle High-speed Spinning Reel for?

I bought this spinning reel to chase fast-moving saltwater species from my kayak or the beach. There are mackerel, bonito and amberjack all around here – and they like fast-moving prey.

So the high-speed reel helps reach the speeds you need to work the lure through the water or along the top to encourage these species to strike.

If you’re predominantly preferring lure fishing in saltwater, then this high speed spinning reel from Penn could be a good place to put your money.

Penn Battle High-speed Spinning Reel Pros

Higher gear ratio and line retrieve

The high-speed version of the Penn Battle 3 definitely gives you some more acceleration when it comes to line retrieve.

That’s the main reason I bought it – because I wanted a good value, fast spinning reel that was suitable for saltwater fishing.

I use it to target fast fish using lures and the speed I can get to reeling means I can get the lure back and cast again really quickly.

You should consider this reel if you want a solid, well-priced and durable spinning reel that has additional speed behind it.

Want more info on the top fast spinning reels out there, just click here.

CNC Machine-Cut Gears

Penn has taken the Battle III High-speed reels to the next level with CNC machine-cut gears.

These gears are designed with deep gear teeth, delivering superior power and preventing any flex or slippage, even when faced with intense pressure.

This upgrade resolves previous concerns about the gears not being solid enough, ensuring a reliable and robust performance.

Sealed Bearing System and Side Plate

Equipped with a sealed bearing system and side plate, the Battle III High-speed reel offers excellent protection against saltwater intrusion.

While it may not be fully submersible, it is specifically designed to withstand exposure to saltwater, making it a reliable choice for saltwater fishing conditions.

For those seeking maximum water resistance, the Spinfisher VI (reviewed below) could be a suitable alternative.

Penn HT100 Drag System

The Battle III High-speed reel is equipped with the renowned Penn HT100 drag system, known for its exceptional stopping power.

This drag system is particularly effective when battling large fish that make strong runs and sudden turns, ensuring you have the control needed to land your catch successfully.

User-Friendly Design:

With the angler in mind, the Battle III HS reel features a large and grippy Penn-style EVA handle. This handle enhances comfort during long fishing sessions and provides a secure grip, even when your hands are wet.

Additionally, the drag adjustment wheel is designed to be chunky and easy to grip, allowing for quick and convenient drag adjustments as needed.

Penn Battle High-speed Spinning Reel Cons

Lower Line Capacity

One thing I spotted that might be a drawback in some situations is the Penn Battle III HS reel has a lower line capacity compared to some other models, such as the Daiwa BG.

This can be a significant factor to consider, especially for fishing styles like saltwater boat or surf fishing.

For example, the 4000 size of the Battle III can hold 185 yards of 30lb braid, whereas the Daiwa BG offers a larger capacity of 280 yards in the same category.

Slightly Less Smooth Operation

Some anglers have noticed that the Battle III reel may feel slightly less smooth during operation when compared to other reels in a similar price range.

There might be a slight “thumpiness” at the top and bottom of the spool oscillation under pressure.

This characteristic could be attributed to the reel’s seals, which may have been designed with a trade-off for increased durability.

Similar to my Spinfisher VI, the Penn Battle III reel may feel a bit slow to reel with some friction initially, but this tends to improve after using it a few times over.

Check out our view on the top high-speed spinning reels here.

Best saltwater spinning reel under $500 – Tsunami SaltX

This reel is highly effective for targeting larger inshore saltwater species such as Redfish using dead or cut bait. It also excels in handling lures for various inshore applications.

Additionally, the Tsunami SaltX has gained a reputation as an exceptional saltwater fishing reel that’s under $500 due to its complete sealing, making it a popular choice among ocean and inshore anglers and beach casters who need a reel capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of the ocean, beach, or rocky environments.

One notable feature of this reel is its impressive sealing, with approximately 75% of the reel being sealed.

As a result, the reeling experience may feel slightly different, with the reel arm coming to a stop when released.

This feature shares similarities with the Van Staal VR150 mentioned in the other review. While the Van Staal model may exceed some budgets, this reel offers a more affordable alternative that still delivers the durability required for surf casting. In terms of design and style, these two reels bear a striking resemblance.

For those seeking one of the best saltwater reels under $500, the Tsunami SaltX presents a compelling option. While the Tsunami SaltX is manufactured in China, unlike the US-made Van Staal, it maintains a solid reputation among saltwater anglers.

It provides the ruggedness and reliability necessary for challenging saltwater fishing conditions, making it a preferred choice for many anglers.

Tsunami SaltX

4.8 stars

  • Performance: 4.8 stars
  • Durability: 4.8 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.7 stars

Tsunami SaltX Spinning Reel at a glance

  • Best for: Challenging saltwater conditions, a lightweight reel able to handle big game fishingwith tonnes of drag.
  • Sizes: 4000 or 6000
  • Drag: 50lbs (!) on the 4000 size
  • Line capacity: 330yds/ 20lb braid
  • Weight: 14.6oz on the 4000 size

Read the individual review: Tsunami Saltx Spinning Reel Review

Who is the Tsunami SaltX Spinning Reel for?

Given the price of the Van Staal, the Tsunami SaltX, is a lower-priced alternative. You won;t be getting rhe level of engineering quality compared to the Van Staal, but you’re still getting a very durable reel for the money.

The Tsunami SaltX would be a great reel for inshore fishing, targeting large bull redfish, and other heavy species that are hard-fighters. The powerful drag system will hold you in place to fight those kinds of fish.

The SaltX has been used a lot for surf fishing too.

Tsunami SaltX Spinning Reel Pros

Impressive Drag Power

With a maximum drag of 50lbs, the Tsunami SaltX offers a substantial amount of drag force. This allows you to target and handle powerful fish even with lighter gear, making it a great choice for challenging angling situations.

Submersible Performance

Like its higher-priced counterpart, the Van Staal, the Tsunami SaltX is designed to withstand submersion underwater.

It is well-suited for demanding saltwater environments, demonstrating its durability and reliability. The reel performs great, delivering performance beyond its price point.

Smooth Spool Drag

The Tsunami SaltX features a smooth and responsive spool drag system.

It produces a satisfying sound and can be easily adjusted to accommodate different fishing techniques. Whether you’re fishing with bait or using lighter gear, the drag system provides excellent control and responsiveness.

Sealed and Waterproof Drag

The reel’s drag system is fully sealed and waterproof, ensuring its protection against water intrusion. This feature contributes to the reel’s overall performance and allows for quick and hassle-free adjustment of the drag settings.

By offering impressive drag power, submersible performance, a smooth spool drag, and a sealed and waterproof drag system, the Tsunami SaltX presents itself as a fantastic alternative to higher-priced options like the Van Staal.

It provides anglers with an excellent balance of performance, durability, and affordability.

Tsunami SaltX Spinning Reel Cons

This reel is very limited in its size range, which I find a bit frustrating when reel brands do this.

The sizes are a 4000 and a 6000 which makes it a good sized for surf fishing, and perhaps less-finessed inshore fishing.

If you’re hard pushed to find the best value reel for you, to be honest, I’d consider the Daiwa BG. But the Tsunami SaltX is a pretty good saltwater spinnign reel under $500.

Best fully sealed saltwater spinning reel – Van Staal VR150

Designed for extreme surf fishing, where submersion in water up to your waist is not uncommon, the Van Staal VR 150 is a spinning reel built to tackle the toughest saltwater conditions.

While it comes with a higher price tag, it offers pretty amazing quality that justifies the investment.

Van Staal has gone to great lengths to reduce weight without compromising on rigidity and stability.

The reel’s stem, body, and handle resemble an exo-skeleton, showcasing the brand’s dedication to weight reduction while maintaining structural integrity.

I also like the large round shaped handle knob which prevents catching or burning sensations during repeated winding.

The Van Staal VR 150 prioritize weight reduction and comfort, but it also ensures complete submergibility. The reel features multiple waterproof seals throughout its body, effectively keeping water at bay and protecting its internal components.

With this level of water resistance, anglers can have full confidence in the VR 150’s ability to withstand the harshest saltwater conditions.

An additional standout feature of the VR 150 is its bail-less design, allowing for hassle-free winding.

Unlike many other reel models from popular brands like Shimano and Daiwa, which require the bail arm to be engaged again manually or automatically, the VR 150 lets you wind with the bail arm up. This convenience adds to the seamless operation and smooth performance of the reel.

This is one of the most expensive reels we’ve looked at, but it is purpose-built for specific salwater durability.

For anglers seeking outstanding performance within a tighter budget, alternatives like the Daiwa BG or the Shimano Stradic offer cheaper options with great performance too, just without the waterproof indestructability.

Van Staal VR150

4.85 stars

  • Performance: 4.9 stars
  • Durability: 4.9 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.75 stars

Van Staal VR150 Spinning Reel at a glance

  • Best for: Surf fishing in conditions when you may get the reel very wet or even submereged. Great for albacore and tuna from the beach and surf.
  • Sizes: 50, 125, 150, 175, 200.
  • Drag: 35lbs max drag on the 150 size
  • Line capacity: 440yds / 30lb braid on the 150 size
  • Weight: 18.7oz

Read the individual review: Van Staal VR-150Spinning Reel Review

Who is the Van Staal VR150 Spinning Reel for?

Aside from needing more than a couple of bucks for this reel, this reel is suited to anglers that are fishing in some extreme conditions, or those that want to invest their fishing budget in a reel that is going to look after itself.

If you’re in the ocean while you’re fishing, this reel can be submerged without concern.

So if you’re fighting fish in the surf, or getting heavily splashed from the rocks or your kayak, the Van Staal will handle the abuse just fine.

Van Staal VR150 Spinning Reel Pros

Lightweight Powerhouse

The Van Staal VR-150 defies expectations by offering remarkable lightness while delivering impressive drag performance.

With a drag capacity of up to 35lbs on the 150 size, this reel is built to handle the relentless force of hard-fighting fish.

Enormous spool capacity

Additionally, it boasts an ample braid capacity of 440 yards of 30lb braid, ensuring you can tackle fast and powerful species without concerns of running out of line.

Unmatched Durability

Designed to withstand the harshest conditions, the Van Staal VR-150 is a reel that can stand the test of time.

Its robust construction and meticulous sealing make it impervious to water intrusion, allowing anglers to submerge it without fear.

Even the most accident-prone anglers will struggle to cause any damage to this reel, cementing its reputation for exceptional durability.

Powerful and Distinctive Drag

Like the Penn Spinfisher VI the drag system of the Van Staal VR-150 has a cool sound to it, resembling the thunderous sound of a vehicle zipping through a tunnel.

Its remarkable performance adds to the overall experience of battling fish, providing a sense of power and control that is truly satisfying.

Van Staal VR150 Spinning Reel Cons

Susceptibility to Sand Grains

While the Van Staal VR-150’s lightweight construction is a major advantage, it also poses a potential issue.

Due to the reduction in body material, heavy exposure to sand can lead to sand grains affecting the bail arm spring.

This may result in the bail arm failing to snap over smoothly when needed.

It is worth checking the bail arm’s functionality and ensure thorough washing after encountering sandy conditions. Keeping the reel as free from sand as possible is recommended.

Inconsistent Drag Performance

Compared to high-end counterparts like the Daiwa Saltiga or Shimano Stella, some anglers have reported that the Van Staal VR-150’s drag can be stickier and less consistent.

While still capable, the drag system may not match the smoothness and precision of its pricier competitors.

Premium Price

The Van Staal VR-150 comes with a hefty price tag. As such, budget-conscious anglers may find it worth considering an alternative reel for comparison.

The Tsunami SaltX, reviewed here too, offers a similar style and functionality at a slightly lower cost.

Best saltwater spinning reel combos – Penn SpinFisher VI

The Penn Spinfisher VI deserves its spot as one of the top spinning reel combos for saltwater fishing.

When considering its price and value for money, you do get a tonne of performance in this neat little combo.

Sometimes you can get pretty generous deals buying these reels as part of a combo – I bought mine as a post-Christmas treat and got it for a steal – so keep your eyes out!

The Spinfisher VI has long been a popular choice among anglers and has established itself as a staple in the Penn range. I’m glad I bought this combo and it’s become my go-to saltwater spinning combo for my kayak.

Penn have clarfied the waterproof rating of the reel in this edition, too. It’s able to handle a lot of splashing and water exposure, hence why I use it on the kayak.

I know it can endure a significant amount of punishment and Penn specifically designs the Spinfisher with durability in mind.

It may not be the sleekest, lightest, or most technologically advanced reel but its strength lies in its robust construction, making it an excellent choice for various applications.

Penn Spinfisher VI

4.8 stars

  • Performance: 4.8 stars
  • Durability: 4.9stars
  • Value for Money: 4.7 stars

Penn SpinFisher VI Spinning Reel at a glance

  • Best for: If you’re likely to get the reel wet, then this might be for you: kayak anglers, boat fishing and surf casters take note!
  • Sizes: Long cast: 5500, 6500, 7500.
  • Drag: 20lbs max drag on all the above sizes
  • Line capacity: 430yds/30lb braid on the 6500 size
  • Weight: 24.4oz

Read the individual review: Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel Review

Who is the Penn SpinFisher VI Spinning Reel for?

In the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to use the Spinfisher VI 4500 in various saltwater scenarios, including beach fishing, rocky areas, and even on my kayak.

For kayak anglers, the Spinfisher VI is a top choice. Its waterproof sealing ensures reliable performance even in wet conditions, while the HT-100 drag system provides impressive power to handle larger species.

I like large drag adjuster handle on the Spinfisher VI because it makes it incredibly easy to quickly adjust the drag while maneuvering on the kayak.

When it comes to beach fishing, this reel excels as well. I’ve spent several evenings casting lures out into the surf, and the Spinfisher VI retrieves them swiftly once you build up some speed. The retrieval rate is more than sufficient for targeting fast-movibg species like bluefish.

It’s worth noting that there are options of this reel available for more hardcore distance surf anglers, including a long-cast version and a bail-less version of the reel.

Considering the exposure to sand and water splashes on the beach, the IPX-5 waterproof sealing of the Spinfisher VI proves invaluable in keeping out unwanted debris that can damage reels.

However, it’s always a good practice to give the reel a rinse under the tap after use, ensuring the drag is tightened before doing so.

The Spinfisher VI truly shines as a saltwater reel, thanks to its generous spool capacity, powerful drag system, and impressively fast retrieval rate that rivals the Daiwa BG.

It’s the perfect choice for skimming lures across the surf, enticing fast-chasing species to strike.

Penn SpinFisher VI Spinning Reel Pros

Extended Spool for long distance casting

The Spinfisher VI standard reel has a pretty large spool capacity already. But you can upgrade to the Longcast version if you need a tonne more diactance to your fishing.

This design allows you to load a larger amount of line, making it ideal for surf fishing from the beach or jigging at large depths. You can cast your bait or lure well beyond the breakers, targeting larger fish in the deeper waters, or strike fish way down below without running out of line from rippign runs.

Reliable HT100 Drag System

Penn is renowned for its HT100 drag system, and the Spinfisher VI lives up to this reputation.

The drag system performs exceptionally well, providing the necessary strength and smoothness for battling powerful fish.

Whether you’re fighting against hard-fighting inshore species or tackling offshore giants, the Spinfisher VI delivers reliable and consistent drag performance.

I love the spund it makes too, even with small and medium-sized species it triggers that awesome noise and the adrenaline kicks in too.

Waterproof Gearbox Assembly

Penn has taken extra measures to enhance the durability of the Spinfisher VI.

They have installed a gasket that surrounds the gear box assembly, effectively sealing it from splashing seawater.

This feature is beneficial for anglers fishing from rocks, beaches, boats, or kayaks, as it helps protect the internal components from corrosion and damage.

Penn’s investment in the reel’s durability sets it apart, as not many other brands go to such lengths, even with their high-end reels.

By choosing the Spinfisher VI, you’re making an investment in a reel that will serve you well for a long time.

Penn SpinFisher VI Spinning Reel Cons

Relatively Heavy reel

When compared to other reels, the Spinfisher VI tends to be on the heavier side. This is not unlike Penn reels which tend to be built solidly.

Especially when compared to a reel like the Daiwa BG, you’ll notice a weight difference.

The additional weight can be a consideration for anglers who prefer a lighter setup or who value extended fishing sessions without feeling fatigued.

Slightly Less Smooth

In terms of smoothness, the Spinfisher VI may not feel as refined as reels like the Daiwa BG or the Van Staal.

While it may not offer the same level of silky-smooth operation, this could be a trade-off for the Spinfisher VI’s comprehensive waterproof sealing. Penn has prioritized durability and water resistance in this reel, which may result in a slight compromise in terms of smoothness.

Slightly cluncky bail arm

I noticed when using the SPinfisher VI on my kayak that the bail arm on the reel is not so seamless and automatic as you would hope.

When I cast, then start reeling, the automatic bail arm feels a bit more friction than you’d like before it flips over and you can start reeling. It made me wonder if its just my reel, or an issue that might impact the reel in the long run – but only time will tell!

Best saltwater spinning reels for inshore – Penn Conflict 2

The Conflict 2 is another fantastic reel option that comes with some of Penn’s impressive reel technology, but at a more affordable price compared to the Spinfisher VI.

Penn’s main aim with the Conflict 2 was to create a lightweight long cast reel,a dn one great for surf and inshore fishing. They wanted to offer anglers a reel that could provide excellent casting distance without weighing them down.

Take, for example, the 6000 size Conflict 2. It weighs only 18.5oz, making it significantly lighter than the 24.4oz Spinfisher VI in the 6500 size.

This weight reduction can really make a difference, especially during those long beach casting sessions. It’s particularly beneficial when you’re using lures, either casting and reeling them in from a distance across the breakers, or long inshore sessions casting lures among structure and estuaries.

Don’t let its lightweight nature fool you, though. The Conflict 2 is still a solid and robust reel that can handle some serious action. It has a generous spool capacity, allowing you to spool up with plenty of line. This gives you extra distance to reach fish that might be behind the breakers.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable reel that won’t break the bank but still delivers impressive performance, the Penn Conflict 2 Long Cast reel is definitely worth considering.

Penn Conflict 2

4.75 stars

  • Performance: 4.7 stars
  • Durability: 4.7 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.8 stars

Penn Conflict 2 Spinning Reel at a glance

Penn Conflict 2 at a glance

  • Best for: Getting lures out far with the long cast spool, inshore fishing for larger species that will put a reel to the test.
  • Sizes: 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000.
  • Drag: 13lb, 15lb, 18lb, 20lb, 22lb
  • Line capacity: 265yds/30lb braid on the 5000 size, 590yds 30lb/braid on the 7000 size.
  • Weight: 16.8oz on the 5000, 21.7oz on the 7000 size

Read the individual review: Penn Conflict 2 Spinning Reel Review

Who is the Penn Conflict 2 Spinning Reel for?

The Penn Conflict 2 llong cast reel is great for inshore and surf anglers that are targeting hard to reach locations where fish might be hanging out.

The extra spool capacity and strength of the reel means you can target hard-fighting fish that might make runs on you, knowing that you’re safe in terms of line you’ll have left if they do.

Penn Conflict 2 Spinning Reel Pros

Smooth and Stable Operation

The reel features 8 ball bearings, with 7 of them being RCL stainless steel. This abundance of high-quality bearings ensures an incredibly smooth operation, particularly for surf casting.

Penn’s gear system is known for its stability and consistency, with minimal slippage or give. This means you can rely on the reel to perform consistently, even under demanding conditions.

Solid Construction

The Conflict 2 boasts an RR30 body, which provides a solid and sturdy feel in hand. This construction enhances the reel’s durability and allows it to withstand the pressure and strain of long-distance launch casts that it is designed for.

The bail wire of the reel is notably thick and solid, unlike the bail arm on the Daiwa BG. This robust bail wire helps support the overall body of the reel and ensures reliable performance.

Chunky Manual Bail Mechanism

The bail arm on the Conflict 2 is nice a nd chunky, unlike the skinny arm on the Daiwa BG.

The bail mechanism on the Penn Conflict 2 is manual, meaning you’ll need to flip it after casting.

While some may prefer an automatic bail system, the manual mechanism offers its own advantages, including precise control and a sense of engagement with the reel.

Penn Conflict 2 Spinning Reel Cons

Flex in RR30 Body

Some anglers have reported issues with flex in the RR30 body of the Penn Conflict 2 when pushed near its maximum drag under heavy pressure from larger fish.

This flexing can lead to the gears not lining up properly and making it more difficult to wind.

Limited Water Exposure

The Conflict 2 is not designed to be regularly exposed to water. It is best to cast from the beach or a boat where it won’t get excessively splashed.

If you anticipate frequently dunking the reel in the ocean, it would be advisable to consider reels like the Van Staal or Spinfisher VI that we reviewed, as they offer comprehensive waterproof sealing.

However, given the casting distance achievable with the Conflict 2, you shouldn’t necessarily need to submerge it in the water.

Redundant Reverse Switch Placement

The reel comes with a reverse switch, which may feel a little redundant on a larger surf reel like the Conflict 2.

Additionally, the positioning of the switch at the back of the reel raises concerns about accidental contact with fingers or hand during the heat of battle with a fish.

These cons highlight certain limitations or potential drawbacks of the Penn Conflict 2 reel, including issues with flex in the body under heavy pressure, its susceptibility to water exposure, and the placement of the reverse switch.

While these aspects should be taken into consideration, they do not necessarily negate the reel’s overall performance and functionality.

5 Must-know Surf Fishing 'Secrets' that lead to more hook-ups.Free Guide to catch more fish – without spending money on gear!
  • Simple habits to hook up more fish
  • Quick and easy to implement on your next fishing trip
  • Don't pay any more money on gear.

Just ENTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW, and get the FREE resource, NOW!

We are reader-funded and objective. To keep afloat, sometimes we earn a small commission when you click a link. Castandkayak.com is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.