The saying “there’s a lot of fish in the sea” could also be applied to, well, fish. With so much variety in fish, you’ll want to choose the best equipment for the kind you intend to catch. The biggest distinction in the fishing world is between freshwater and saltwater. But if you do a little of both, you might not want to have to buy two of everything. That’s why if you’re only going to buy one reel, it should be a saltwater reel.
The reason saltwater reels are suited for freshwater but the vice versa isn’t true has to do with the corrosive properties of saltwater. Saltwater can quickly wear down a less expensive freshwater reel. Saltwater reels, however, are made from tough stainless steel and are designed to be durable enough to handle catching big fish. Of course, this added toughness adds a substantial cost to saltwater reels when compared with freshwater ones. These are some of our favorite saltwater reels that are available right now.
1. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel
This listing from Penn makes it easy to choose between a wide variety of reel sizes, between 1,000 and 8,000 (the size you choose will depend on what you want to catch, larger sizes are better suited for bigger fish). The entire body, side plate, and rotor of these reels are made from durable metal, and stainless steel ball bearings make for fluid cranking. The carbon fiber drag system makes for smooth and powerful dragging capabilities.
Pros: Carbon fiber drag system and stainless steel ball bearings for quick retrieval, made from tough non-corrosive metal.
Cons: Somewhat heavy.
Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel
2. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
This reel is available in either left or right-handed orientations. It uses a carbon fiber drag system, and it comes between sizes 40 and 90. The body is made from a mix of stainless steel and aluminum. The handle is coated with an EVA foam for a comfortable grip.
Pros: Made from a mix of tough stainless steel and aluminum.
Cons: Drag is a little loose.
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
3. Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel
This very affordable reel is designed to work for both freshwater and saltwater. The shielded bearings are stainless steel, and the drag washers are made from carbon fiber. The reel is designed to be easily oiled; it has a small port that can be unscrewed, so an angler can lubricate the reel without having to take it apart.
Pros: Designed to work in freshwater or saltwater. Easy to oil. Carbon fiber drag washers and stainless steel bearings.
Cons: Not the most durable for long term use or bigger fish.