Best sea fishing reels

Best Sea Fishing Reels - (Complete Guide On Sea Multipliers & Fixed Spool Reels)

Oh lucky you! With sea fishing reels there is so much choice. And unlike freshwater fishing where there is only one type of reel, in sea fishing you have two different types!

As to what type are the best sea fishing reels, the jury is still out, as there are good and bad points to all. But don’t worry we are going to have a rundown of all the good stuff that you should be looking for in the best sea fishing reels. 

This article has a two-pronged approach whereby we look at fixed spool sea fishing reels as well as multipliers.

We cover the comparisons between the two and ultimately determine which are the best sea fishing reels today.

Best sea fishing reels

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Best Sea Fishing Reels:

1. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000

2. Abu Garcia Cardinal 174 

3. PENN Fathom II 30

4. Shakespeare Sigma Supra 80

5. FLADEN Fishing - WARBIRD 4000

6. Hunter Pro Beach Casting Reels

The following table shows some more recommended Sea Fishing Reels:

What is a sea fishing reel?

A sea fishing reel provides exactly the same function as it fresh water 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:-

The best sea fishing reel is 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. Further more 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 needs to be balance with the correct sea rod in order to get the most of your equipments potential.

The best sea fishing reel is going to 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!

The best sea fishing reels should be built to last

Sea water can be really corrosive over time. The best 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, lets 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 knowhow 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 maybe different to the best multiplier for rock fishing etc 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...

The best sea fishing reels 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 part 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 by 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 best sea fishing 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 us 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 exclusively on the best 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.

Now that we have examined a few features of the best sea fishing reels, lets take a look at some products that put this principle into practice:

Our choices for the best sea reels:

abu garcia

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000

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.


If you want quality look no further. Abu Garcia have 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 surf casting. A chunky and substantial winding handle completes the setup to make it absolutely spot on.


PENN Fathom II 30

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 and retrieve and absolute doddle.


Shakespeare Sigma Supra 80

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 fixed spool reel.

All in all a neat little reel, definitely a contender for one of our best sea fishing reels, hands down.


FLADEN Fishing - WARBIRD 4000

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

Fladen have 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.


Hunter Pro Beach Casting Reels

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 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.

So there you have it, our top choices for the Best Sea Fishing Reels on the market today. 

If you need any fishing tackle please consider visiting one of our recommended online fishing tackle shops. Alternatively you can visit our sea fishing tackle deals pages and try and grab yourself a bargain.

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