Spinning reels! There are thousands of models with different shapes, sizes, and features. It’s understood among fishermen that the best spinning reel varies from one angler to another. The best spinning reel only lives up to that name by meeting every need of the individual user. This article will cover several qualities that fishermen seek when searching for the best spinning reel. It will in addition provide 1 or 2 spinning reel reviews in each category.
We’ve picked these categories based on what would be most useful to the largest amount of fishermen. We do acknowledge that there may be other requirements not listed here. We encourage all readers to ask questions using our comment form for any reason at all. That being said the categories for our spinning reel reviews will be as follows:
- Best Saltwater Spinning Reel
- Best Inshore Spinning Reel
- The Best Ultralight Spinning Reel
- Best Spinning Reel For Bass
- Best Spinning Reel For The Money
- Best Spinning Reels Under $100
- Best Spinning Reels Under $50
Best Spinning Reel By Class
You can see that we’ve grouped spinning reels by classifying them as Saltwater, Inshore, Ultralight, and Bass. There are still many choices of reels within each class and our spinning reel reviews will seek those with the best value and the most positive customer feedback. We see value in a spinning reel as a combination of price, performance, and durability.
Best Spinning Reel By The Dollar
Because finances play a deciding role in our purchasing decisions we’ve included spinning reels in three different monetary categories. Again there will be a large pool of spinning reels to choose from in each category. We will not stray from the same principals of providing spinning reel reviews with incredible customer remarks and intense value.
Spinning Reel Reviews With Overlapping Categories
What if you want a fishing reel that you can use inshore to catch bass for super cheap? Breaking down the best spinning reel by category helps but it would be so much more useful to recognize when these categories cross into each other. That’s exactly what you’ll find in these spinning reel reviews. Ready? Let’s get started.
Best Saltwater Spinning Reel – Anti Corrosive & Sealed Mechanics
These are the basics of any saltwater spinning reel. Besides that we had a lot to choose from. Based on price, features, performance, durability and customer feedback we’ve picked one top saltwater reel to begin our list of the best spinning reel reviews.
The Shimano Thunnus CI4 8000
The Shimano Thunnus CI4 8000 puts anglers in position to land strong saltwater fish. Tuna, Dorado, Amber Jack, Yellowtail, Marlin and more fit into the capacity of this spinning reel. This spinning reel is equipped with an increasingly popular baitrunner system which gives all the abilities of a conventional reel.
Saltwater Spinning Reels With Baitrunners
One of the drawbacks of saltwater spinning reels is the way line comes off the spool when the bail is flipped open. As the line comes off and gets lower it can catch. If too much slips off at once the result can be knots in your line. Flipping the bail back into gear also becomes an issue especially with stronger fish.
A baitrunner system alleviates all these troubles which is a great feature for saltwater spinning reel enthusiasts. The baitrunner allows drag of the spinning reel to work in an ultra light setting by flipping a switch. The drag can easily be returned to its normal setting by turning the reel handle or flipping the switch back manually.
The drag mechanism is the important aspect to any baitrunner system and Shimano built the Thunnus CI4 with exactly that in mind. The Thunnus has both front and rear baitrunner drags which allows for precision settings and sets it above other systems.
The Shimano Thunnus CI4 comes in four models which include a 4000, 6000, 8000, and 12000 to complete the line of spinning reels. We picked the 8000 which comes with a max drag of 20 pounds and a gear ratio of 4.8:1. The 8000 model weighs 19.4 ounces making it much lighter than the 27.7 ounces of the 12000 model.
Shimano packs other well known features into the Thunnus CI4 such as the power propulsion lip for casting. Dyna Balance and Fluidrive II are a couple more Shimano favorites added to this spinning reel and help make the smoothest of retrieves. All things considered the Shimano Thunnus CI4 8000 makes a good case for being the best saltwater spinning reel.
Best Inshore Spinning Reel
Inshore fishing remains a common activity for anglers around the world. Anywhere saltwater encroaches upon the land can provide excellent inshore fishing. Marlin and Dorado don’t typically venture inshore and the matching reel types can be a bit smaller than their offshore cousins. We sorted through the options and came up with a winner that speaks value.
The Abu Garcia Orra Inshore Spinning Reel
It’s hard to go wrong with a name in the business like Abu Garcia. The Orra is no exception. Abu Garcia offer the Orra in four models which are a 30, 35, 40, and 60. The Orra 30 – 40 would be perfect for bass of any type and crosses into the best spinning reel for bass territory. The 60 should be used to target larger inshore species like shark, halibut, or striper.
Main Features Of The Abu Garcia Orra Inshore Spinning Reel
The value of the Orra spinning reel lies in its performance which is due in large part to its numerous features. Here’s some of what the Orra has to offer.
- 8 Stainless Steel Anti Corrosive Bearings & 1 Anti Reverse Bearing
- The Rocket Line Management System – Designed for better line control.
- Rocket Spool Lip Design – Helps with casting and control of the line coming off the spool.
- Carbon Matrix Drag System – Abu Garcia’s drag design which maintains equal pressure wherever you set the resistance.
- Stainless Steel Main Shaft And Components – Adding value through durability with anti corrosive parts.
The Abu Garcia Orra Inshore Fishing reel makes a fine addition to any collection of gear. Cross this reel over into any freshwater bass fishing scenario and it’ll work wonders as well which only adds value to an already substantial spinning reel.
The Best Ultralight Spinning Reel – Bream From Hook To Pan
Whether found in a pond, along sections of a river, or in the salty surf, fishermen know the enjoyment of fishing for bream. Light gear for smaller panfish and perch is a must which leads us to our third pick on the list of spinning reel reviews.
The Pflueger President 6920X
There’s category overlap with the ultralight Pflueger President spinning reel. It could also list as the best spinning reel for the money. We decided to place it here for its spectacular value as an ultralight reel.
The President 6920X holds mono line as light as 2 pounds which qualifies easily as ultralight. This reel is great for freshwater species like redbreast bream and its use of 6 stainless steel bearings allow it to cross over to barred perch caught in the ocean surf.
Features Of The Pflueger President 6920X
This small beauty of a spinning reel weighs in at 5.9 ounces which is light at any standard. Its graphite body and rotor provide incredible strength while keeping both the weight and the cost down. The President is built with a braid ready spool which prevents slipping of the line.
The Pflueger President is known for being small but incredibly powerful. The President 6920X is built with an oil felt drag system which keeps the discs lubricated and smooth all the way up to 6 pounds of max drag. It’s not easy to find an ultralight spinning reel built as well as the President that also comes so highly recommended by current owners.
Best Spinning Reel For Bass – Bass Strike Preparedness
Bass fishing has never seen the all time high in popularity that it knows today. Largemouth and Smallmouth species land as bass fishermen’s favorites but saltwater bass abound as well. The fourth reel on our account of best spinning reel reviews must be able to handle all sorts of bass and so it does.
The Daiwa Procyon EX
The Daiwa Procyon is truly an amazing spinning reel and so rightfully chosen for such an important endeavor as bass fishing. The Procyon is made for both fresh and saltwater conditions and is protected from the elements using Daiwa’s famous mag seal system.
Bass fishing is incredibly fun and one of the reasons that makes it so is size range of the fish. Bass range from small to medium, to large and even extra large mamas or toads as we like to call them. A bass spinning reel has to be able to handle them all and the Daiwa Procyon does it all.
Top Features Of The Daiwa Procyon EX
I mentioned the mag seal system which uses a high grade synthetic magnetized oil to seal the bearings in and lock harmful particles out. Match this with a tough high grade aluminum frame, spool, and handle to complete a vision of durability.
The Procyon comes in 2000, 2500, 3000, and 4000 size models which gives bass fisherman a good range to choose from. The reels have a high
gear ratio up to 6.0:1 and a waterproof drag that ranges from 8.8 to 17.6 pounds maximum resistance depending on the model.
Daiwa includes digital machine cut gears and the air rotor system which distributes the stress of a hard pulling fish evenly across the spool. The Procyon reels all use 7 stainless steel bearings and 1 anti reverse bearing. For bass fishing that includes the possibility of lunkers we suggest the 3000 or 4000 model.
The Daiwa Procyon presents a good amount of category overlap that needs mentioning. It could be considered among the best inshore spinning reels as well as the best spinning reel for the money. The Procyon falls just barely short of making the best saltwater spinning reel though it could be applied to that kind of fishing.
Best Spinning Reels For The Money – Put Your Money Where Your Fishes Mouth Is
Our fifth category brings us to our fifth and sixth reel in a series of spinning reel reviews. Name brand fishing companies offer so much quality in spinning reels these days that we couldn’t decide on just one. We do have a winner in the Penn Fierce FRC 6000 spinning reel but we had to give a runner up award to the KastKing Mela.
The Penn FRC6000 Fierce Spinning Reel
A spinning reel the likes of the Penn FRC6000 will give you your money’s worth in features and performance but the best value comes as a result of durable craftsmanship. This is a lifetime reel that’s built to last.
The newer Penn Fierce II 6000 comes highly recommended but the older FRC6000 can be found for less. The Fierce 6000 could also contend as the best inshore spinning reel or the best spinning reel for bass as it would certainly be effective for that purpose.
The Fierce features a hardy design of full aluminum frame, spool, and handle with a stainless steel main shaft and heavy duty bail wire. This spinning reel comes with metal side plates that lock the gears into precise alignment. It has a felt oiled drag that maxes out at 20 pounds which can handle most any size fish. The Penn Fierce truly is a spinning reel for life.
The KastKing Mela 5000
KastKing has been making their name in fishing reels and affordability and so deserves this runner up position with their Mela 6000 spinning reel. The Mela has a hard graphite body and an aluminum spool which together make a tough reel.
Brass gears, hardened metal main shaft, and a triple carbon washer drag system round out this astoundingly low priced spinning reel. KastKing’s Mela 5000 uses 10 corrosive resistant bearings and packs a max drag of 26 pounds!
KastKing has carved out their spot in the fishing reel industry by offering the cheapest of prices on quality reels. The Mela 5000 follows suit and is packed full of features at the lowest of price.
The Best Spinning Reels Under $100 – Getting Reel Affordable
Spending more money on a spinning reel will in most cases get you better features and performance. It won’t necessarily be the best value and it gets to a point where money is being spent on name and extremely special features. Spinning reels that fall under this semi cheap category still offer quality parts and features. Our sixth category brings two more spinning reels into the limelight and extends our run of spinning reel reviews.
The Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel
The Trio packs a fast and powerful punch for a spinning reel. Okuma puts a different hybrid design into this spinning reel which makes use of an aluminum top spool lip, but a graphite arbor and bottom spool lip.
The frame of the Trio is a mix of aluminum and graphite with technology that allows the drag system to use this blend helping to add friction. The Okuma Trio features 9 bearings and a max drag of 24 pounds. It’s made for salt or freshwater and has too many details to list here. Please take a closer look.
The Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel
Another quality spinning reel that won’t hurt your budget and gets our runner up award is the Shimano Sedona. Shimano puts such features as the Power Roller II into the Sedona which greatly reduces line twist that causes wind knots.
Propulsion Line Management is another Shimano design built into the Sedona. It’s a special spool technology that provides the best top lip possible for release of line which results in longer casting. Finally add in Shimano’s Dyna Balance system which keeps the reel rolling evenly around the spool and you have a ton of features at a reasonable price.
More Pertinent Cross Categories
The Okuma Trio and the Shimano Sedona would work well as bass reels for either freshwater or inshore saltwater purposes. They could also be considered as the best spinning reel for the money. Ultralight options are available in both brand name spinning reels which adds another cross category.
The Best Spinning Reels Under $50 – Devastatingly Cheap
We’ve hit rock bottom for prices on spinning reels but we want to share with you that these can be some of the best purchases available. It’s also easy to waste money if you buy the wrong spinning reel. This is the very cheap category. Spinning reels that fall in this group can be packed with top features but material quality and durability often decline. Two final spinning reel reviews, both in the ultra affordable range, will complete our run of the best spinning reel reviews by class and category.
The Okuma Avenger Lightweight Spinning Reel
Crafting a spinning reel packed with features for dirt cheap isn’t easy. Okuma was up to the job and proves it with the Avenger Lightweight Spinning Reel. The Avenger is certainly a light spinning reel though it doesn’t sacrifice power or performance.
Features like a multi disc drag kept lubricated with a felt oiled washer don’t speak to a poor reel. The computer balanced ResII rotor equalizing system provides nothing but the smoothest retrieves. Still sound like a cheap reel? We encourage all anglers to take a closer look at the Okuma Avenger. Cheap doesn’t mean ineffective.
The Shimano Syncopate Spinning Reel
Our final spinning reel and runner up in the very cheap category goes to the Shimano Syncopate. The Syncopate is known for its easy trigger bail which allows fishermen to make quick one handed casts.
Shimano doesn’t stop there simply because the reel doesn’t ask for much money. Popular Shimano features such as their Power Roller technology and Propulsion Line Management system weren’t left out of the Syncopate.
The final overlap in category for both these inexpensive spinning reels is incredible. They can be used for bass and have ultralight models for surf perch or freshwater bream. Both spinning reels pack a powerful punch and could be used inshore as well, no problem.
Comparing Crossover And Final Thoughts On The Best Spinning Reel Reviews By Class And Category
Examining Category Overlap
We wanted to stress the importance of category cross over in this article for one important reason. Fishermen over time tend to build up a large amount of rods and reels for all sorts of different fishing applications. Owning one or more spinning reels in each category is great but most anglers don’t start there.
We tend to start with one or two rods and reels. We also have to cover the resources needed for all the other equipment and expenses that come along with fishing. Finding those one or two spinning reels that work for multiple kinds of fishing is huge for fishermen on their first few acquisitions.
A close look at the overlap between spinning reels by category can help anglers get started without being limited to one certain style of fishing. It might even help more experienced fishermen realize they can do more with their spinning reel than they thought.
As we close out this article and the best spinning reel reviews we want to impart with you a few final considerations. Remember that every one of these spinning reels comes highly recommended by not only us, but also by dozens of customer endorsements.
Crossover between categories can be helpful in making a purchasing decision but it can also be confusing for the greenhorn. If this is the case stick with the main suggestion and figure out how else you can use the reel later.
Many of our spinning reel reviews suggest a specific size model which isn’t necessarily the best fit for you. Be sure to consider the different sizes as they relate to the kind of fishing you’ll want them for. Let this article be a guide for determining the best value spinning reel for whichever style of fishing you plan on putting it to.