6 Best Inshore Spinning Reels: The Best Reels from the Best Brands

Last Updated on April 22, 2021 by Coty Perry

Best Overall

Shimano Stradic Ci4+

4.7/5

Best Runner-Up

Penn Battle II

4.7/5

Best Budget-Friendly

KastKing Megatron

4.6/5

The best inshore spinning reel is smooth, durable, and well protected against the salt and sand. If you’re an inshore saltwater angler and you’re looking to step up your game, we’ve got six incredible reels below that are both beautiful and backed by some of the best brand names in the game. 

A recent trip to South Florida really got me thinking about inshore fishing because for many years, I’ve used the same saltwater rod and reel setup without thinking about the difference between inshore and offshore fishing. 

Having a dedicated saltwater reel for inshore fishing will help you step up your game with just the right features to catch the fish you want.

The 6 Best Inshore Spinning Reels

Shimano Stradic Ci4+

BEST OVERALL

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Penn Battle II

Best Runner-Up

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

KastKing Megatron

Best Budget-Friendly

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Penn Clash

Best Saltwater Reel

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Daiwa Saltist Back Bay LT

Most Rugged

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Shimano Baitrunner OC

Best for Surf Fishing

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

What Are Inshore Spinning Reels?

best inshore spinning reel

Now that you’ve seen the best inshore spinning reels, let’s talk about them. In fishing, we have a few different styles based on the type of water you’re fishing. Anyone who fishes for small panfish and bass in ponds and lakes is generally referred to as a “backwater” angler. 

If you fish saltwater canals and lakes but don’t fish off the coast in the open water, that’s called “inshore” fishing. 

Fishing off the coast in large boats with big tackle like you see in the TV shows is called, “offshore” fishing. 

Those who fish using long poles and super heavy tackle to get past the waves on the beach are called “surf” fishermen. 

There are a variety of different terms to describe all these fishing styles but that is the general overview. 

So, if we’re talking about an inshore spinning reel, we’re talking about a reel that anglers will use to fish saltwater canals and lakes. This piece of fishing equipment comes with its own set of unique characteristics and attributes.

What to Look for in the Best Saltwater Spinning Reels?

striped bass inshore fishing

What exactly are some of the characteristics and features you should look for in an inshore spinning reel? Let’s break those down to help you make the most informed decision possible. 

Material/Sealant

The most important thing to consider when fishing saltwater is the material of the reel and how well it’s sealed to protect against saltwater. Stainless steel, aluminum, and graphite are the most popular materials but most saltwater reels will be stainless steel. 

When I say sealant, I’m referring to the reels ability to keep saltwater, muck, and sand out of the internals. When you’re using a spinning reel, you don’t have as much protection as you would with the best baitcasting reel. Those are partially closed so it’s harder for anything to penetrate the gear system. 

Having a reel that contains the best corrosion-resistant materials is important. A hardened aluminum body, carbon fiber drag and drag washers are the best for optimal corrosion resistance. 

One of the upsides of using a spinning reel for saltwater fishing is the fact that it’s easier to rinse and flush because they’re easier to tear down. 

Drag 

Having optimal and smooth drag is an important feature for all spinning reels. What’s most important is that you have a sealed drag so the salt and sand doesn’t get in. Ideally, you’re looking for a max drag rating somewhere between 15-25 or higher. Keep in mind that as you get higher the reels generally get larger and heavier. 

If you choose an inshore spinning reel with a drag rating that’s too low, it decreases the overall size of the fish you’ll be able to manage. If you’re after big fish, you might want to size up your reel to the next model level to not only increase the drag but the drive gear and metal body as well. 

When it comes to spinning reels and most types of fishing reels in general, the drag is always something that you’ll have to play around with to figure out what suits your style and the fish you’re chasing. There are many other features that are more important so don’t let max drag deter you. 

Line Capacity 

The total line capacity is an important feature but not usually something inshore anglers need to think too much about. Chances are you’re fishing in canals and lakes that won’t carry any monster fish anywhere. The larger the fish you’re targeting, the more capacity you’ll need because the line will be thicker and you’ll need more of it to give the fish some space to operate before hitting the spool. 

Make sure you understand the difference between mono and braided line capacity as well. All reels will provide you with a monofilament rating that is separate from the braided one. The reel will not handle the same amount of braided line as it does mono. 

Brand 

Last but not least, I find brand to always be an important factor. When I’m shopping for food, drinks, cleaning supplies, and even appliances – brand isn’t that important to me. But, when it comes to my fishing gear I care tremendously about the name behind the reel because there’s a lot of history, expertise, and knowledge that goes into designing this gear. 

Certain companies like Shimano, Penn, Daiwa, Abu Garcia, Pflueger, KastKing, and Okuma are so popular because of their reputation for putting out only the best of the best. Of course, there are hiccups here and there with every product but as a whole, these companies will give you the best chance of catching fish and they’ll back up their products if they don’t.

Final Thoughts

You’ve seen the best inshore spinning reel, you understand what these reels are, and you know what features to look for; now it’s up to you. If you’re in the market for an inshore spinning reel, any of the options above will do the trick, you just need to decide what features and characteristics are most important to you.

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