saltwater spinning reel


Taking your plunge and buying your first saltwater (or any) fishing reel is a real buzz. But there are some things you might be mulling over before you hand over all that hard earned cash. You might be thinking about what species you are going to target and of course your budget. These are important considerations with there being numerous quality saltwater fishing reels that are perfect for the beginner.


The differing natures of species sizes, habits and seasons can make a big difference when selecting a saltwater reel. Whether your battlefield will be a maze of twisted mangrove roots or open water with strong tides, you want to make sure you are prepared for the fight. Generally speaking, you’ll need a bigger saltwater fishing reel if you are planning to fish for bigger fish, it’s really that simple. You might not be thinking about reeling in huge Amberjack, Wahoo or Snapper when you’re buying your first saltwater fishing reel, but then again you might be going for it straight out of the gate!


I find my own technique is quite different depending on where I am fishing from. If I’m on a boat and I have plenty of room to thrash about from side to side and get stuck in, reducing the stress on the rod because I have space to move. If I’m on a bridge or a pier, then I always have less space to move and my rod and reel have to be up to the challenge of fighting the fish themselves. As a beginner, great all-purpose fishing reels make more sense.


Experience isn’t essential when choosing your first saltwater fishing reel. Experience will dictate what equipment you will feel comfortable using as your skills progress. For example, some will argue that baitcasting reels are more versatile but are undoubtedly more complex to use and might be better for more experienced fishos. Many fishos also tend to have a favourite brand of fishing reel as they gather fishing experience and like the reels they have.

I personally love using baitcasting reels as well as using spinning reels. I’ve been fishing a while, and this is purely my own opinion. Many fishos generally have a few baitcasters and spinning reels. There is some technique to casting with baitcasting reels and you need to learn to regulate the spool speed a little yourself with your thumb and stop it at the end of the cast.

With all that in mind, a quality spinning reel that isn’t going to break your budget is the way to go for your first saltwater fishing reel – they are way good enough these days if they have the right build type to do the job. Spinning reels are much more accessible for inexperienced anglers getting started and are extremely versatile.


It makes sense for your saltwater fishing reel to be built with components that are designed to stand up against the harsh elements of the sea and the sun. Here are some important components to be looking out for:

• Multiple bearings if you can afford, they give your reel a smooth drive
• Corrosion protection
• Carbon fibre rotor and other carbon fibre parts
• Aluminium handle or spool
• Solid machined or cast alloys


With saltwater reels, because of the tough elements we put them through, modern spinning reels are built really tough. That means that don’t need to spend a fortune on your first saltwater spinning reel. Even those fishing for years know they can get a great all-purpose spinning reel for under $80. When you are ready for game fishing, you can think about getting something more expensive with a bigger spool. Invest with care because there is no need to overspend. A high-cost spinning reel is something for someone who is particular about what they are after.


It’s not always easy for the newbie to understand the nuances of selecting a good rod and reel combination. Thankfully, rod and reel manufacturers have made the job of this a lot easier with what they call ‘combos’. These are fishing rod and reel combinations sold as single outfits that are already designed to work with each other and suit a particular fishing environment. A perfect example is a baitcasting combo or a saltwater spinning combo for general fishing applications, and they are even available for under $80.

Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to spend an arm and a leg to get involved in saltwater fishing, or any fishing for that matter. That’s the big lesson to be learnt here.


Do you have any tips for beginners looking for that first saltwater fishing reel? Share your experience and know how through the comments section below.

Oli Ward

Oli has camped and hiked his way around Australia and most of Europe. He also loves writing about his experiences and sharing his knowledge.