Finding the right inshore spinning reel can be a challenge. Many anglers end up using the wrong equipment for the job.
This guide will cover the best inshore spinning reels and show you the qualities you need to look for.
1. Shimano Stradic FL
This reel is an updated for 2019 version of the beloved Stradic FK. The FL’s updates make this reel even better.
Shimano is know for making excellent reels. The new Stradic FL is no exception.
Let’s cover all the new features that come with the new Stradic.
Micromodule gears: This is a set of gears with more closely spaced teeth. This leads to much smoother cranking. Your retrieves will be buttery smooth with this gearing system.
X-Protect: This is Shimano’s water intrusion protection feature. X-Protect is a water repellent coating combined with an internal water channeling labyrinth. The combination of these 2 technologies makes it very hard for water to get in and stay inside your reel.
Silent Drive: Internal components have been fine tuned to very tight tolerances. This gives you a smother more rigid feel.
The C3000, 4000 and C5000 models feature the Cross Carbon Drag system. This drag is meant to be able to handle powerful fish without failing.
The new spool is made of machined aluminum to maintain the rigid and corrosion resistant qualities of the reel.
Overall, this is a great spinning reel for inshore species like trout, redfish and snook.
2. Daiwa Ballistic LT
The Daiwa Ballistic LT has recently been upgraded to feature Magsealed Construction. This means that it will perform well in both freshwater or saltwater environments.
But what exactly is Magsealed?
Magseal involves the use of magnetic oil inside the body of the real. When a magnetic field is applied to it, it can change density and conform into tight spaces very well.
This leads to an almost hydrophobic layer or protective oil.
The Ballistic EX also features a Zaion body and side cover plate.
This is another buzzword in the fishing marketing space.
It basically means a high density carbon material.
This would be similar to many reels with graphite bodies. The advantage of a carbon body is that it will be light weight and won’t corrode.
The EX also comes with a Carbon rotor and corrosion resistant ball bearings.
The external parts of the reel that are not made of Carbon are the spool and the handle. Both of these parts are made of aluminum.
It’s clear that Daiwa has upgraded this reel to meet the needs of saltwater anglers.
There are 4 models of the EX. If you’re going after small trout and reds, you can do just fine with the EX2500HM model.
However, if you will be targeting larger redfish, snook or grouper, then you’ll want to carry something lager. Consider the BLS-EX4000H which will let you load up with plenty of heavy braid or 210 yards of 14 pound test monofilament line.
So, as you can see, you should be able to find a model of the Daiwa Ballistic EX that will suit your needs.
3. Penn Battle II
If you’re looking for a solid inshore spinning reel that won’t break the bank then check out the Penn Battle II.
What makes the Battle II such a great reel is the simplicity of its design.
It features an all metal construction that includes the body, side plates and rotor. The drag is made of carbon fiber for durability and smoothness.
The 5 sealed ball bearings are made of stainless steel for corrosion resistance.
This is a tried and tested design that has been around for many years. You won’t find much that can go wrong with the Battle II. So, while it might not have all the latest new materials, it’s a very durable and reliable reel.
You’ll find 8 different sizes of Battle to choose from. You’ll be able to pick the right size reel for the species that you’re targeting.
If you’re going after Trout and small to medium Redfish, I’d recommend the 3000 model. It will hold 180 yards of 20 pound braided line.
If however, you’re going after larger species like big Snook or Grouper, then you’re better off with the 4000 model. It can hold 185 yards of 30 pound braided line.
Keep in mind that if you’re going to be using mono ir Fluorocarbon mainline that you’ll probably need to upsize. This will help you accommodate the higher thickness of those lines.
4. Shimano Stella SW
The Shimano Stella is the cream of the crop. It’s easily one of the best spinning reels you can buy.
One of the key reasons why the Stella is so good is because it’s great in saltwater.
It comes with several features that help protect it from the corrosive saltwater environment.
The body comes with an IPX8 waterproof rating. This means that it can be submerged more than one meter without water intrusion. The exact depth is not specified.
So, if you accidentally dip your reel in the water, you should be fine.
Not only is the body waterproof, the drag is also waterproof.
Additionally, the Stella comes with X-Protect and X-Shield. These two combine a water channeling labyrinth with a sealing gaskets. So, if water does get into your reel body, it will be protected from potential damage.
The smallest version of the Stella is the 5000 model. It comes in two versions: The BPG and the BXG.
The difference between these two is the gear ratio. The BPG has a 4.6:1 and brings in 31 inches of line per handle turn.
The BXG has a 6.2:1 gear ratio and brings in 41 inches of line per handle turn.
It’s not a small reel. It weighs 15.3 ounces. The benefit of that is that you get good line capacity. The 5000 model can hold 195 yards of 12 pounds test monofilament or 245 yards of 20 pound test braided line.
5. Shimano Sedona FI
If you’re looking for a lower priced spinning reel for inshore use, check out the Shimano Sedona FI. This reel doesn’t come with some of the features that Shimano has rolled out for other higher end reels.
You won’t get the X-protect or X-shield but you won’t have to pay for them either.
What this means is that you’ll have to take better care of your reel. You may occasionally have to take the side plate off and inspect the inside for the effects of saltwater intrusion.
So, if you’re ok with performing regular maintenance, then the Sedona is a fine choice for inshore use.
The Sedona does have a Hagane metal body and a carbon fiber drag.
Many spinning reels in this price range have graphite bodies of varying rigidity.
The Sedona comes in 8 different models. I’ll talk about the ones that should be the right size for inshore use.
For really light inshore applications, the SEC3000HGFI is a good choice. It will hold 170 yards of 8 pound test monofilament or 140 yards of 20 pound braid. This reel should do well for inshore trout and small Redfish.
If you’re looking for bigger game like Grouper or large Snook, then you’ll need a different model. Try the SE6000FI. This model holds 120 yards of 20 pound test monofilament or 195 yards of 50 pound braid.
Interestingly, the Sedona FI is not a super heavy reel. So, you won’t be to worn out from casting it all day. Overall, the Sedona is a great value for the money.
What Makes A Good Inshore Spinning Reel?
When you’re looking for a good inshore spinning reel, it helps to keep a few criteria in mind.
One of the key problems of equipping yourself with inshore fishing gear is corrosion.
Saltwater is very different from freshwater. Unprotected metals can often survive multiple seasons of freshwater use. In the ocean you can almost see unprotected iron get eaten away by rust or corrosion.
Even aluminum will deteriorate in saltwater if it is combined with other metals.
So, when it comes to spinning reels, you’ll want to look at how corrosion resistance plays a role in your situation.
It boils down to a few factors. The longevity, price and maintenance requirements are keys to the decision making process.
Expensive reels are nice because they’ll usually come with corrosion protection. This will include coatings, materials and channeling technologies that help prevent saltwater intrusion. This will help them last longer with less maintenance. When they do need maintenance, you can usually send them off to specialists that will renew your reel for a fee.
For a cheap price, you can get a low maintenance graphite reel. Since it’s a graphite or carbon body, you don’t have to worry about the body corroding. However, the internals will have metal parts. This can be brass or steel. If this is the case, then you’ll want to make sure that they are well maintained if you want the reel to last.
Of course, if you bought a reel that is on the lower end of the price spectrum (around 30 to 50 dollars), then you might not care.
If it lasts a couple of seasons, you’ll just get a new one and be done with it.
If you do want a spinning reel to last you a few years, then you’ll need to make sure you perform good maintenance.
This can be a time consuming task involving taking the reel apart, cleaning and lubricating the internals. With more expensive models, maintenance may be less frequent depending on use. Additionally, dealers may have maintenance personnel that can do the work for you.
Spinning Reel Weight And Balance
Inshore fishing is often different than offshore in that you will most likely be doing much more casting. This makes weight and balance a serious consideration. If you’re going to be out all day putting down hundreds of casts, you’ll be better off with a well balanced rig.
To achieve this, materials and size are the key. Make sure you look at the weight of the reel and how it matches up to the rod you will be using. You don’t want to be using a huge reel with a light weight rod that is meant for 1/4 or 1/2 ounce baits.
Try to get the lightest reel that will fit your application. A tip here is the use of braided line along with a leader of either fluro or mono. Using braid will let you get much more line on a small reel. This will allow you to use a smaller reel while still being able to withstand a long run from a monster fish.
Spinning Reel Drag For Inshore Fishing
A spinning reel’s drag is very important in salt water. You can fish all day in freshwater and never get a long run on your drag.
Saltwater species are different. Hook up to a good sized Snook, Bonefish, or Tarpon and you’re in danger of not only drag peeling off, but having all your line taken.
Another problem is having your drag stick, lock up and then cause your line to break.
A smooth, consistent drag can help prevent sticking and give you a fighting chance on long runs.
Most reels today come with carbon fiber drags. Older models used oiled felt discs instead.
The newer carbon fiber drags are preferred for their smoothness and reliability.
But even the carbon fiber drags can stick under severe pressure. The key is to check your drag and make sure that it’s properly greased.
There are special drag greases available and regular maintenance can help keep your drag running smoothly.
This is also where the higher end reels come in. Their ability to prevent water intrusion can help keep your drag well lubricated. This can reduce the frequency of maintenance required.
Inshore environments can pose a tough challenge for spinning reels. You’ll need a reel that’s the right size and offers you the right balance. This includes not just weight, but price to feature balance too.