3 Best High End Spinning Reels For Surf Fishing

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Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts. Today, for those of you looking treat your self with some good quality, top of the range equipment, I have had a good look around and come up with my 3 best high end fishing reels for surf fishing. These are the reels that are just that little bit smoother, more durable and better feeling that can be enjoyed by beginners and experienced fishermen alike. At the end of the day, if you fish more than a couple of times a month, then these reels may just make your fishing a little more enjoyable as you work the waves looking for that elusive monster catch.

Oh, and they will generally last longer as well. So, let’s see if the below can get you on the right track in terms of a really nice, high quality reel…

My 3 recommended high end spinning reels for surf fishing

I will review these in more detail below but if you just want to get moving without all the carry on, my 3 are listed here for your convenience:

 ReelPriceGet it
high end surf fishing rods - penn battle IIIPenn Battle III Surf Spinning Reel$$CURRENT PRICE
high end surf fishing rods - Shimano 6000DShimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel$$CURRENT PRICE
high end surf fishing rods - shimano twin powerShimano Twin Power Saltwater fishing reel$$$$CURRENT PRICE

What should you be looking for?

Ok, so here we are talking the cream of the crop and although that definitely doesn’t mean you need to go for the most expensive reel you can find, there are definitely some things to look into that make a reel worth spending the extra $$ on. Below then, I am going to run through what to look for in terms of a high end reel to ensure that you are getting good value for the extra price.

Before we get started however, I am writing this post with the assumption that you are aware of the basic mechanics when it comes to spinning fishing reels. If not, please check out my other post on surf fishing reels here.

Internal component manufacture

As with anything, the higher the price of the product, the more care and expertise you should expect when it comes to the parts used in manufacture. This is no different when it comes to the components inside a fishing reel. Generally, high end fishing reels are machined (such as with CNC machinery for example) with a little more precision to ensure absolute smoothness and silence in operation.

Manufacturers usually call their high end component builds by branded names (such as Shimano Hagane) so you may need to research those as well however in most cases, they will elaborate on the build within their sales blurbs.


Most reels these days incorporate some sort of waterproofing in their component however when it comes to high end reels it is this area that is taken to the next level. Saltwater can do significant damage to the internal workings of a reel hence anything that can be done to keep this out, will definitely increase its lifespan.

Where the really good reels enhance their waterproofing capabilities are in the protection for each piece individually rather than the workings as a whole. This can include:

  • Fully encased bearings
  • Corrosion-resistant components
  • Corrosion resistant coating on all external parts (bales, screws etc.)
  • Fully sealed, or increased seals around casing

As above, the more saltwater resistant component that is included, the longer the reel will last.

high end surf fishing rods - spinning reel


Drag is another area where the high end reels really come into their own. On a spinning reel, the drag works via a set of washers inside the reel that rotates backwards if the line is pulled hard enough (by a fish obviously) to stop the line from snapping.

These washers (often called friction plates) rub against each other as the drag system kicks in meaning that in the budget level reels where they are often made of stainless steel, they can wear. The better models however incorporate carbon fiber washers meaning less wear and smoother operation when the drag is in use – some manufacturers, such as Penn, also add their own lubricant to the drag washers to reduce wear and increase smoothness as they rub together.

And of course the better quality of components also make for a more sensitive drag setting system as well.


Most manufacturers outline how ‘tough’ the casing of their reels are when they discuss their more expensive reel options. Many are made of metal and fully encased as well adding to greater component protection. In fact, many reels of this caliber will be waterproof rated as well with terms such as “PX5 sealed body and spool” etc. commonly used.

Maybe the only downfall of this extra ‘quality’ is that these reels do tend to be a bit heavier than the carbon fiber or aluminium builds of their cheaper cousins.

No gaps

I am not sure what the technical term for all of this is and it could probably be incorporated into the sections above around competent quality and casing. However, one thing I have noticed myself (and seen in my research) is that the better quality reels are just put together that little bit better.

Everything, from the drag setting to the bail release is just a little smoother and there are just no gaps between where these components meet. This also means that there are fewer places for fishing line to get caught in such as beside the bail or behind the spool.

Other Influences

There are some other areas to consider as well when looking at a high end beach fishing reel. These don’t effect the outcomes as much as the above however they are worth considering:

  • Handle – Most are built with good quality EVA or rubber handles – many are oversized for greater comfort.
  • Anti reverse switch – Look for instant anti-reverse for extra security when it is needed.
  • Line holder – This is the little tab on the side of the reel housing that holds the end of the fishing line if it is not rigged up. These are not often thought of when a reel is purchased but something that is really missed if it is not there.
  • Interchangeable winder – There are not many that don’t do this these days however this is the ability to swap the winder handle around to allow for left or right-handed use.

What did I use?

Admittedly, most of the reels I have purchased in my fishing lifetime have come from the budget side of things however in terms of high end for the surf, one I actually like to use is a Shimano Baitrunner. They are probably better suited to ocean fishing than the surf but I love them. I use it on my big slow rod when chasing bigger species such as Mulloway etc. as I can leave it in the holder with a live bait and let the line spool if a big one jumps on.

high end surf fishing rods - Shimano 6000D Baitrunner

Its specifications are as follows:

  • Model: Shimano Baitrunner 6000D
  • Bearings: 3 + 1 Anti rust shielded stainless steel
  • Ratio: 4.8:1
  • Composition: Fully sealed graphite body with cold forged aluminium spool and Thermoplastic soft handle
  • Drag: front of spool – 6 carbon washers with fully calibrated, sealed setting handle
  • Anti-reverse switch – Instant

I love these reels and it is definitely a case of getting what you pay for. It is smooth to use and whilst spinning reel drags are never as sensitive as a baitcasters, this one is a dream to use and set, especially when you have a fish on. Its only downfall is it is a little heavy (20oz/570g) but for where I use it, it is not really an issue for me.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above, and my own experience, I recommend the following for beginners:

1. Penn Battle III Surf Spinning Reel

PENN Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel (All Models & Sizes)
$149.95 $102.52
  • Full Metal Body and sideplate
  • CNC Gear technology
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
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02/18/2024 08:46 am GMT

My first reel is a popular and well-known option for those looking for something of quality with great durability and usability that won’t cost the earth (in terms of high end reels that is). The component manufacture is of the highest quality with reinforced CNC machine cut drive, pinion and oscillation gear with shielded stainless steel bearings and a lightweight full metal casing. It is an all-round high quality option with specs including:

  • Size: 3000 – 8000 (I would suggest something in the 4000 – 6000 range).
  • Bearings: 5 + 1
  • Ratio: 6.2:1/5.6:1/5.3:1 depended on size
  • Composition: Full metal waterproof
  • Drag: On front of spool – HT 100 carbon fiber drag system
  • Anti reverse switch: Instant
  • Line holder: yes
  • Interchangeable winder: Yes

Other advantages include:

  • Lightweight composition
  • Fully sealed components and bearings.
  • Superline braid ready spool requires no backing with line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity

Why have I chosen it?

I actually listed the Battle II reel in another post for surf fishing rod and reel combos as I have used a number of Peen reels in my time and found them all to be excellent in terms of durability and smoothness of use and this option has been manufactured with CNC technology for an ultimate smooth fishing experience. Stick to the medium to higher range around the 4000 – 6000 mark unless you need to are chasing bigger species or plan to use it in a deep sea fishing capacity as well.

Looking to go to the next level – check out the Penn Slammer III

2. Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reel

SHIMANO Baitrunner 8000D, Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel
$209.99 $191.99
  • This classic live bait reel features a secondary drag system that allows free spooling with the bail closed and allows your bait to move naturally
  • Utilizes an oval oscillation gear that provides a consistent spool speed which results in an even line lay that provides excellent casting and manageability
  • Better casting; better line lay; less backlash wind knots or tangles; less friction on the line; larger; more comfortable grips; a higher max drag as well as a wider range of baitrunner settings than...
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02/18/2024 12:41 pm GMT

Of course I am going to choose this one in the list as I really do love them. I probably don’t always use it for its intended purposes but putting the baitrunner option aside, the reel is smooth, easy to cast and has never let me down. I don;’t know the technical term for this but it is just a nice ‘tight’ reel. And in a repeat of above, it’s specifications include:

  • Size: 4000D, 6000D, 8000D and 12000D (I like the 6000 models and make sure it ends in a D)
  • Bearings: 3 +1
  • Ratio: 4.8:1
  • Composition: Graphite body and aluminium spool
  • Drag: On front of spool – 6 disc carbon drag washer
  • Anti reverse switch: Instant
  • Line holder: yes
  • Interchangeable winder: Yes

Other advantages include:

  • Fully sealed components and bearings.
  • Lubrication port
  • Fluiddrive II gearing system with Dyna balance and oversized line roller on bail.

Why have I chosen it?

As mentioned above, I love this reel. They are durable and long-lasting and will maintain quality over time. Shimano is a well-known and trusted brand and can be used in the surf without any extra set up needed and if you like to use live bait then the baitrunner is a nice addition – I like to leave it on with fresh bait as well as added protection if a bigger fish take it too. And if your budget only extend to one high end reel then this one will work well on the ocean as well (probably even better than the surf to be honest.

Not keen on a baitcaster model? Check out the Shimano Stradic instead!

3. Shimano Twin Power Saltwater fishing reel

Shimano Twin Power SW B 5000 XG salwater Spinning Fishing Reel, TP5000SWBXG
  • Hagane Body
  • IPX8 Waterproof Body
  • Hagane Gear
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The third reel I have chosen is taking us to the absolute high end of fishing reel technology. It does come at a cost however with components made with high tech ‘Hagane’ technology (the method they use in Japanese knives and swords) with a IPX8 waterproof rating for ultimate durability. The fully encased hagane steel body and lightweight design make it is part of the reason for the higher cost but it also means that it can handle the bigger catches whilst maintaining the sensitivity that experienced anglers crave. Its specs include:

  • Size: 4000 – 14000 (again stick to the 4000 – 6000 for general surf fishing)
  • Bearings: 10 + 1 shielded anti-rust bearings
  • Ratio: 4.9:1 – 6.2:1
  • Composition: Lightweight Hagane steel
  • Drag: On front of spool – cross carbon fiber drag washers – 11 – 25kg
  • Anti reverse switch: yes
  • Line holder: yes
  • Interchangeable winder: Yes

Other advantages include:

  • Long casting
  • Instant anti reverse
  • Extremely durable and low maintenance

Why have I chosen it?

I have chosen another Shimano here as these reels are well-known and trusted. The components are extremely well manufactured and precision cut from aluminium and Hagane steel using cold forged technology meaning it is light and simply will last forever.

Prefer Daiwa? Check out the Daiwa Certate LT 19 instead. (I have a Diawa Teirra for the surf and it really is a great long casting reel)


And there it is – my 3 best high end spinning reels for surf fishing. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun


3 Best High End Spinning Reels For Surf Fishing

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.