What Size Reel For Surf Fishing?

Surf fishing can be a lot of fun, but if you’ve never tried it before, you probably have a few questions. There’s no doubt about it! The salt and waves would surely wear out my rods and reels, which I already had, but I didn’t know if they were strong enough and big enough.

On our family beach trips, I used to see this group of fishermen with their 10-foot poles, casting for miles. This is what I found out after watching them for a little while and asking a few of them a few questions.

This article helps you figure out what size reel is for surf fishing. 

What Size Reel For Surf Fishing?

When surfing, I recommend a spinning reel in the 4000 to 6000 series paired with the braided line between 15# and 25#. It is likely that you will be able to land 90% of the common beach-dwelling species if you set up in this range. 

You will need to determine the type of fish you are targeting and the way you intend to fish for it before you can answer that question.  

1000 – 3000

The Stradic 2500HGFL from Shimano is my top recommendation in this range.  In terms of quality, this reel is extremely good for the price point, and it is very comfortable to handle. The reel can handle about 200 yards of 8# or 150 yards of 10# Berkley X5 braid.

4000 – 6000

If you like surf fishing, this is the range for you. Whether you’re fishing small whiting or Pompano, slot-sized Redfish, monster Snook, or Tarpon, this range will bring you all you can handle. Shimano’s Saragosa 5000SW or Baitrunner 6000D are among the reels in this price range that I recommend paired with a 20# Berkley X5 braid.

8000 – 10000

In order to increase your landing chances, you may need to step up your gear if you are targeting big fish such as tarpon or shark. Among the products in this category, I prefer the Shimano Baitrunner 8000D because of its secondary drag system, which makes live bait more effective in catching fish.

What is the best reel for surfing? A spinning reel or a bait caster reel?

The reels are basically divided into four types. There are conventional reels, bait casters, push button reels, and spinning reels

There are very few similarities between conventional reels and bait caster reels, but there are a lot of differences between spinning reels and push-button reels.

Surf fishing is usually done with spinning reels and conventional reels are sometimes also used.

Spinning Reels

With spinning reels, the open-faced spool is fixed in position along the rod. Spools are stationary, and rotors/line guides revolve or spin around them. A reel of this type mounts below a rod and is cranked with your left hand while held in your right. It is possible to reverse the handle of most models so that you can crank with your right hand.

Penn Battle II Spinning Reel

For casting long distances, the spinning reel really wins out over all the other types of reels I’ve used over the years. A number of surf fishermen told me the same thing. Casting with a bait caster is ideal for tight spaces while trolling and bottom fishing are best done with conventional reels.

As well, spinning reels are more user-friendly than other reels, such as push button reels, which many children use when they are just learning how to fish.

The Zebco 33 spin cast reel was the first reel I taught my oldest daughter how to fish with since it was the easiest reel to learn with. That’s not the case! It just wasn’t working for her. The improvement in her performance came after I switched her spinning reel to a smaller one.

Conventional Reels

The best all-around reel for surf fishing is the spinning reel, however, conventional reels are also quite effective! Surf fishermen, especially those targeting large sharks, often prefer conventional reels to large reels.

They are more powerful when fighting large fish since they are sturdier!

Penn Squall Level Wind Conventional Reel

It does, however, have one drawback! Getting your bait to the fish requires a kayak or other means of transportation. Due to the fact that large conventional reels are designed for trolling and bottom fishing, they cannot be cast.

On the other hand, spinning reels are designed for long-distance casting. They are highly versatile, which is one of their best features! It is possible to use them for both surf fishing and bottom fishing, as well as trolling. The reels can also be used for freshwater fishing or bass fishing depending on their size.

In most cases, surf fishing reels of the spinning variety are chosen for these reasons.

Best Reel Brands for Surf Fishing

Before we conclude, another thing we need to mention is that surf fishing reels can make a huge difference in how well you fish.

Below is a list of the best brands of surf fishing reels.

  • Daiwa
  • Penn
  • Shimano
  • Okuma Tundra
  • KastKing


The spinning reel size that feels best in your hands will be the best size for surf fishing. The 6000 reel is a good starting point for a lot of people. Even the smallest fish can feel the bite of this lure due to its size, which will be enough to reel in larger fish.

You may be able to use a 6000 reel with the spinning reel you already use for inshore species such as redfish and snook. Since the brand is already a favorite of yours, you might want to go that route.

Which surf fishing reel is your favorite? You are welcome to share it with us if you have. We would love to hear what you think of it. Feel free to comment below.

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