Best Sea Fishing Reels  (Complete Guide in 2024)

Updated 15/03/2024 - James Bevan

When it comes to sea fishing reels, there is much choice that it can be a minefield sometimes knowing what type to pick.

This article will detail what features you should be looking for when choosing the best sea fishing reels for different sea fishing disciplines.

We'll also offer some suggestions which will suit different angling types and budgets.

The best sea fishing reels

Really good sea fishing reels are those that can cast accurately and as far as you need to. They should have a deep enough spool and all the mechanics to be able to play a fish both comfortably and efficiently.

The following 9 reels are some of the best on the market today and are worth a look if you are in the market for a new one. We haven't just picked the most expensive, there are reels below that suit different types of sea angling and indeed budgets:

Best Sea Beachcaster Fishing Reel

Best Sea Beachcaster Reel

#1. Penn Battle Longcast III

Key Features & Specs

  • CNC-Gear technology
  • HT-100 Carbon fiber drag washers
  • 5 Sealed stainless steel ball bearings
  • Instant anti-reverse bearing
  • Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Braid-ready spool
  • Sealed and super smooth drag

The Penn Battle III sea reel was designed for serious anglers who are looking for high-quality performance and reliability.

It is designed with CNC-Gear technology, which offers superior power and long cast capabilities that is essential when fishing from the shore.

The technical features include HT-100 Carbon Fiber Drag Washers, 5 Sealed Stainless Steel Ball Bearings, Instant Anti-Reverse Bearing, Heavy Duty Aluminum Bail Wire, and a Braid Ready Spool.

What all this means in layman's terms is that you have an ultra-smooth retrieve from a solid reel that can cast, what seems like, miles, especially when you pick the 8000 or 10000 versions.

We have used many beachcasting reels over many years and, in recent times, this is by far one of the best sea reels we have come across for fishing from the shore.

Check out this following video from Penn, which shows some of the features from the Penn Battle range, first hand...

Best Sea Fishing Spinning Reel

Best Sea Spinning Fishing Reel

#2. Daiwa BG Magsealed Reel

Key Features & Specs

  • Mag Sealed
  • Aluminium Body
  • Graphite Rotor
  • Digigear
  • ABS Spool
  • Braid Ready Design Spool
  • Auto Bail Return
  • Line Clip

The Daiwa BG Magsealed is the perfect reel for anglers seeking a lightweight, durable, and ruggedly handsome spinning reel for their sea fishing.

The magsealed feature of this great reel basically layers additional protection against the stresses and strains a reel can sustain in a saltwater environment. This allows for a reel that offers longevity and performance that doesn't deteriorate over time.

The fantastic clutch on this reel offers the ATD feature which stands for automatic tournament drag.

This allows for a smoother pull on the clutch when fish take line and eliminates the uneven pulls you can get on some inferior reels that ultimately lead to crack-offs with lighter lines.

The internal gears are of the Digigear II type, which we know are made with 'quality' in mind.

All in all this great offering from the reputable Daiwa is perfect for spinning in a saltwater environment and just simply wont let you down.

Check out the following video that showcases some of the features and specifications of this great reel...

Best Boat Sea Fishing Reel

abu garcia

#3. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000

Key Features & Specs

  • ADS spool design for strength
  • Extended bent handle and star wheel
  • Carbon matrix drag system
  • Duragear brass gear
  • 4 pin centrifugal break
  • Line Capacity: 270yds/0.45
  • Gear Ratio: 4.1:1
  • Weight: 562g

We couldn’t talk about multipliers without mentioning this workhorse. The Ambassadeur series has been around for years. if you choose to invest, and it will be an investment, there’s a realistic chance you will never need another multiplier.

The Ambassadeur features a magnetic braking system and just sings ‘solid’ in the hand. The frame and parts are made of stainless steel and carbon, and the handle is angled in such a way as to aid cranking power.

There’s a reason why this brand has spent years at the top of the list for the best sea fishing reels.

Check out the following brief video that details some of the features of the Ambassadeur 7000...

Best All-Round Sea Fishing Reel

Best Sea Fishing Reels

#4. Shimano Bullseye 9120

Key Features & Specs

  • High Crank Power rating
  • 20kg Drag Power
  • High Cast Rating
  • 555 Weight range (g)
  • Front Drag
  • Bearings 8+1
  • Capacity (lb/yds) 8/200, 10/160, 12/130 
  • Gear Ratio 3.9:1

So, you are looking for a reel that can offer great line lay, with a smooth retrieve that takes almost no effort. Look no further than the Shimano Bullseye 9120.

The build of this great reel makes it extremely versatile and, as such, a great all-round sea fishing reel that will cater to most disciplines.

The 555g line weight range and huge line capacity provide excellent casting performance whilst the quality bearings and finely tuned gear ratio allow for a fast and efficient retrieve.

We've used this fantastic reel for beach fishing, spinning, rock fishing, and also from the boat, and it has never let us down in any of these disciplines.

Shimano is renowned for producing quality reels and we have to say that this is one of their best sea fishing products.

In summary, this amazing reel will cover most angles and last you for years and years. If we had a slight gripe it would be the price tag but when you feel the quality you'll realise that's it's worth every penny.

Best Sea Fishing Reel For Beginners

Best Sea reels

#5. Abu Garcia Cardinal 174

Key Features & Specs

  • 4 HPCR Bearings
  • Instant Anti-Reverse
  • Stainless steel mainshaft and hardware
  • Spare spool
  • Stealth oscillation

If you want quality look no further. Abu Garcia has manufactured a reel that is custom-designed to withstand the rigors of saltwater with corrosion-free bearings and parts.

The reel is available in two sizes, the smaller of which would be just perfect for lure and plug fishing over rocks and reefs.

The larger of the two should be just big enough for some medium-range surfcasting. A chunky and substantial winding handle completes the setup to make it absolutely spot on.

Best Sea Fishing Multiplier Reel

Best Sea Reels

#6. PENN Fathom II Star Drag

Key Features & Specs

  • Full metal body and sideplates
  • Fast gear access sideplate
  • Machine-cut marine grade bronze main gear with hardened stainless steel pinion
  • Versa-Drag system with HT-100 washers
  • Live Spindle with free floating spool
  • Line capacity rings
  • 6 shielded stainless steel ball bearing system
  • Instant anti-reverse bearing

We’ve gone for Penn as this sea fishing reel boasts some real innovation. The side plates are easy to remove meaning that maintenance on the reel is super easy and convenient.

The thing we love about this reel is its power gear ratio. Out of all of our reels, this one is like a rocket in its retrieve speed in certain sizes. It features a level wind as standard making your cast an retrieve an absolute doddle.

Take a look at this video that shows the Penn Fathom in action...

The best budget sea spinning reel

Shakespeare Salt Budget Sea Reel

#7. Shakespeare Salt Spinning Reel

Key Features & Specs

  • 6 Stainless steel ball bearings
  • Double anodized aluminium spool
  • CNC aluminium handle
  • Large diameter bail wire
  • Super smooth gear train
  • Strong and smooth drag system
  • SW Proof

This beauty of a reel offers loads of premium features at a really great value. It is lightweight and made of graphite and aluminium so corrosion isn’t a concern.

The reel fits around 300m of 15lb mono on each spool so you’ll get plenty of distance and the retrieve ratio is one of the highest we have seen on a budget fixed spool reel.

All in all a neat little reel, that offers amazing value for money and enough features to compete with the big boys for sure

The best budget multiplier reel

#8. FLADEN Fishing - WARBIRD 4000

Key Features & Specs

  • FLADEN Fishing - 1 Ball Bearing Sea Multiplier Reel with Level Wind Star Drag and comes with 20lb Line on
  • PRE-SPOOLED - This Marine reel benefits being pre-spooled, normally with 20lb line
  • LINE CAPACITY - Has a line capacity of 399m/0.45mm, 430yds/20lbs and a gear ratio of 4.1:1
  • GRAPHITE - The reel is constructed with graphite spool and body, providing the robustness required for a sea multiplier
  • LEVEL WIND - This multi-purpose sea reel has many features some of which are star drag, level wind, auto on/off

If you are in the market for a multiplier but don’t want to spend a fortune this is well worth checking out.

Fladen has produced something that offers a lot of really great features at a low price point. The body is constructed of graphite, giving the benefits of being lightweight and supremely corrosion resistant.

It has a braking system and a level wind too. If you go down the 15lb line route, you’ll fit a whopping 450m onto the spool, so you can blast your gripper led over the horizon.

The best budget beach casting reel

#9. Hunter Pro Beach Casting Reels

Key Features & Specs

  • 2 X High Quality Sea Fishing Reel with Spare Spool & Line
  • Stainless Steel Internals & Bearings
  • CNC Aluminium Anodised Spool
  • Large Power Grip Handle
  • Instant Anti-Reverse
  • Why buy one when you have two for the same price? By choosing a pair you can diversify with line strengths and types, and with two extra spools included you’ll be able to have a line to suit every situation.

    These reels both feature stainless steel spools as standard and they are pretty sizeable and perfect for beach casting.

    If you follow our advice you’ll get a whopping 460 metres of 15lb line on one spool!

    What is a sea fishing reel?

    A sea fishing reel provides exactly the same function as its freshwater cousins. It is used to store the line, cast the line, and retrieve the line. There are two main types of sea fishing reel.

    You have a fixed spool reel, which, aside from its size and a few little extras is identical to what you would use in freshwater fishing. And then you have a multiplier reel.

    What is the difference between a multiplier and a fixed spool reel?

    Well, a multiplier reel is deployed and used sitting on top of the rod for one. Generally, multiplier reels are a bit more advanced. On the plus side, they generally tend to retrieve line quicker and enable a competent angler to cast much much further.

    The downside is that they are not beginner-friendly and if you get a tangle it will mean a significant amount of time spent with the reel on your lap unpicking a ‘birds nest’.

    As with most things, when looking at something that is going to be used in a maritime setting it has to have a few key qualities. Things to be aware of:-

    Sometimes the better reels are going to be larger

    The reason for this is two-fold. First you are going to be casting a much heavier weight and the reel will have to cope with bigger fish, and be able to fight against the tide whilst doing so.

    Furthermore you will need the inner workings of the reel to be able to cope with pulling your terminal tackle, and fish, away from snags and danger.

    As a general rule, you are going to want to cast a decent distance with heavier line, therefore the spool also needs to be bigger to accommodate this. It is worth noting, however, the reel type and size need to be balanced with a good, suitable sea rod in order to get the most of your equipment's potential.

    The best sea fishing reels will have a quicker retrieve ratio

    When you are sea fishing once you unseat your terminal tackle from the bottom it may be subjected to a strong tidal pull, leading you into rocks, reefs and weed beds. The best way to avoid this is to get it up and away from the bottom quickly.

    To achieve this, you’ll want the line to come in quicker so keep your eyes out for fearsome gearing ratio’s. Generally they are a really good thing to have especially for keeping your sea rig intact!

    Top sea reels should be built to last

    Seawater can be really corrosive over time. Top sea fishing reels are made of either stainless steel or Aluminum. Although it may be more expensive it will save you money in the long run. To get the most out of your reel here are some tips on how to care for it after each session

    So now we have looked at some broad principles, let's get down to it and discuss a few features that you should consider.

    Choosing a sea fishing multiplier reel

    As we have said these can be a little fraught, however by having a bit of know-how you’ll be able to make a great choice. Firstly the answer to the question is that it depends on what type of sea fishing you are practicing.  

    The best multiplier for boat fishing may be different to the best multiplier for rock fishing etc. Knowing what your target species is and where you are more likely to be fishing for them will help make an informed choice on the best multiplier reel for you.

    One area that makes casting easier in the best sea fishing reel is a braking system. Due to the forces involved the reel spool can pick up quite a bit of inertia during the cast. 

    If it goes too fast then the spool can ‘overrun’ letting out line that isn’t ‘ready to go, this line then wraps around itself and you end up with a tangle that is pulled tight by the continuous spinning.

    To prevent this, multipliers normally have a means of slowing your spool down a little. This is achieved in one of two ways. Keep your eyes out for magnetic braking systems or friction systems using rubber stops. Both will stop you from getting a tangle. To see how they work, have a watch of this video...

    A decent sea fishing reel will also have a star drag. This is a method of allowing the line to pull from the spool with the clutch engaged. It’s useful for when you are playing fish as it acts as a buffer if they make a sudden run or are in danger of overstressing the line.

    The size of the reel is partly down to personal preference and partly down to how heavy you want to go. Aim to fit about 300 meters of 15lb line on the spool as a bare minimum.

    Another really nice feature to have is a level wind. When retrieving your line with a multiplier you have to lay the line yourself manually using your thumb.

    A level wind does all the hard work for you and ensures a beautifully even line lay. The main downside of using this system however is that you sacrifice a small amount of casting distance.

    To learn how to cast a multiplier, check out this video

    Choosing a fixed spool sea fishing reel

    Fixed spool reels are slightly easier in all aspects when compared to multipliers. But there are some things that are found only in the better sea reels.

    Large spools are a really nice feature. Aside from allowing you to load a hell of a lot of line onto your reel they actually aid in casting distance. A big spool ensures a much less dense line lay, and if it goes on easily then it will come off easily too.

    The best sea fishing reels tend to have substantial and large winding handles. This increases retrieve speed and also makes it easier to retrieve the line when it is under stress from either a fish or an underwater obstruction. 

    In addition to this, the extra control over the retrieve is a great feature to have when fishing with sea lures.

    Front drag is a handy feature that you will see on most of the decent sea fishing reels. A front drag is intuitive and easy to reach even if you are playing a big fish.

    One final and obvious point... Choose a sea reel that fits and compliments your rod and doesn't sit, unbalanced in your hand or on your rest/tripod.

    What about Sea Fishing Line?

    We have an article that details the best fishing line in the UK for general fishing. If, however, you need any sea fishing line for your reel, please consider these best-sellers on Amazon:

    Final Thoughts

    If you are looking for simplicity, we’d advise heading down the fixed spool route. They are easy to use and maintain. As you become more advanced in your sport a multiplier can make a perfect choice. Although multipliers are slightly more expensive.

    Provided they are looked after and maintained, they will last years and easily justify the cost. Whichever reel you choose, we hope you are successful.

    Many thanks for reading

    Tight Lines!

    All of the top sea reels featured in this article can be found at most good fishing tackle shops.

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