Best Shimano Spinning Reels
Best Shimano Spinning Reels

Best Inshore Spinning Reels: Ready for Hard Fights and Big Fish

There are many spinning reels available on the market. However, few of them are suitable for saltwater. The options for this kind of performance are very limited and only a few companies actually offer them.

You may not have many options if you are an inshore angler who prefers to cast a spinning reel. We’d rather you stick with freshwater tackle and point you in the right direction for salty options.

You’ll find here a buying guide and reviews of some of our favorite spinning reels for offshore fishing.

  • Daiwa BG– The Best Inshore Spinning Reel
  • Penn Battle II
  • Shimano Stradic Ci4+– The Lightest Inshore Fishing Reel
  • Abu Garcia Revo Inshore
  • KastKing Sharky IIIBest Inshore Fishing Reel for Budget

Reviewed: Best Inshore Spinning Reels

Daiwa BG

Daiwa BG5000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel, 5000, 5.7: 1 Gear Ratio, 6+1 Bearings, 47.40' Retrieve Rate, 22 lb Max Drag,Black/Gold

BG2500

Drag:13.2 lbs. Maximum

The ratio of gears: 5.6:1 (33.2 inches per turn)

Line capacity:12/220. 14/190. 16/160

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 9.3 oz.

BG3000

Drag:15.4 lbs. Maximum

The ratio of gears: 5.6:1 (37.4 inches per turn)

Line capacity:12/220. 14/190. 16/160

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 10.8 oz.

BG3500

Drag:17.6 lbs. Maximum

The ratio of gears: 5.7:1 (38.5 inches per turn)

Line capacity:12/220. 14/190. 16/160

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 14.1 oz.

BG4000

Drag:17.6 lbs. Maximum

The ratio of gears: 5.7:1 (39.9 inches per turn)

Line capacity:12/220. 14/190. 16/160

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 14.3 oz.

BG4500

Drag:22 lbs. Maximum weight

The ratio of gears: 5.7:1 (43.1 inches per turn)

Line capacity:12/220. 14/190. 16/160

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 22 oz.

BG5000

Drag:22 lb Maximum weight

The ratio of gears: 5.7:1 (47.4 inches per turn)

Line capacity:12/220. 14/190. 16/160

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 22.6 oz.

BG6500

Drag:33 lbs. Maximum

The ratio of gears: 5.3:1 (48.7 inches per turn)

Line capacity:12/220. 14/190. 16/160

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 29.5 oz.

BG8000

Drag:33 lbs. Maximum

The ratio of gears: 5.3:1 (53.3 inches per turn)

Line capacity:12/220. 14/190. 16/160

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 30 oz.

Daiwa is confident that they have a winner with the accomplished BG. This reel might also be the best for inshore fishing.

The BG is the product of decades of salt-water experience. From its rotor to drag, it’s gearing, and its crank, the BG was built to fight big fish.

Daiwa has the largest selection of sizes I know, so you can match your reel to your rod and needs. These reels are heavy and not very light.

These reels all share an excellent drag system that has size-appropriate maximum settings. Although I don’t know if Daiwa uses carbon fiber discs in these reels, I have never disassembled one. However, I can assure you that the drag works flawlessly regardless of the components. There will be no binding or skipping, just smooth, continuous resistance that wins the fight.

The BG’s maximum capacity allows you to run heavy lines and the huge spools can hold plenty of people, even if mono is your preferred method. The BG is actually more powerful than the Battle II and easily outperforms the competition.

Daiwa understands that drag and torque are the best weapons in a fight, so they equipped the BG’s with heavy-duty solid metal gearing. This results in a greater surface area, better traction, and re-efficient delivery of torque that would make a HEMI jealous.

The teeth of the BG are fierce!

Great gear ratios combined with large spools provide incredible speed. I don’t believe there is a spinning reel that can compete with the BG. For example, the 5000. The Daiwa cranks a foot faster than the Penn and is six inches faster than the Shimano.

This reel is ideal if you are looking to chase hard-swimming fish.

The Penn is also very durable and may have an edge in overall performance for the title.

The Daiwa Bungalow is a great option if you are looking for an inshore reel, but you don’t want to spend as much as you would with the Battle II.

Pros

  • Excellent drag
  • Amazing capacity
  • Amazing speed
  • Excellent durability
  • An amazing casting with the right diameter lines
  • Silky-smooth operation
  • Amazing anti-reverse

Cons

  • Heavy

Penn Battle II

PENN 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel

BTLII2500

Drag: Maximum weight 12 lb Maximum 12 lbs

The ratio of gears: 6.2:1 (33″ per turn)

Line capacity:255/6, 175/8 and 140/10

Bearings 5 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 10.3 oz.

BTLII3000

Drag: Maximum 15 lbs. Maximum 15 lbs

The ratio of gears: 6.2:1 (35″ per turn)

Line capacity:200/8, 165/10 and 120/12

Bearings 5 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 12.3 oz.

BTLII4000

Drag: Maximum 15 lbs. Maximum 15 lbs

The ratio of gears: 6.2:1 (37″ per turn)

Line capacity:270/8, 220/10 and 165/12

Bearings 5 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 12.8 oz.

BTLII5000

Drag:25 lbs. Maximum 25 lbs

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The ratio of gears: 5.6.:1 (36″ per turn)

Line capacity:225/12, 200/15, and 135/20

Bearings 5 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 19.8 oz.

BTLII6000

Drag:25 lb. Maximum 25 lbs

The ratio of gears: 5.6:1 (41″ per turn)

Line capacity:335/15, 220/20, 210/25

Bearings 5 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 22.10 oz.

BTLII8000

Drag: Maximum weight: 30 lb. Maximum weight: 30 lbs.

The ratio of gears: 5.3:1 (44″ per turn)

Line capacity:340/20, 311/25, 230/30

Bearings 5 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 30.2 oz.

Saltwater anglers have made Penn reels their most beloved, while inshore fishermen will consider the Battle II to be the best.

These reels were made for salt by Penn. The 2500 and 3000 sizes are excellent reels for blues, specks, and flounder. Saltwater anglers can tackle larger species with heavier drags and more powerful lines by using the 4000, 5500, and 6000 sizes.

This reel is a hub for drag. Penn has equipped it with carbon fiber discs, which provide a lot of protection and tiring resistance as you would expect from a reel of this high quality. You can expect consistent, smooth drag at all tensions.

The spools of Penn are large and provide ample space for your line. They are marked with concentric circles that let you see how much time you have left. This is something I really appreciate during a long day of fishing.

These spools may be large, but the Daiwa BG is simply larger than them, particularly when compared to Shimano’s offerings. The BG is the best choice if speed and capacity are important to you. The Battle II excels in both these areas, with lightning-fast retrieves and a larger spool.

Casting distances will decrease if the test diameter exceeds 10 pounds. This is because friction between the line and the retaining clip of the spool causes the line to become clogged. This is not Penn’s fault. It’s simple physics. However, with a strong, straight braid, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Battle II is known for its power and durability. It also has torque-delivering metal gears. As you increase in size, you will find the power and toughness you need to battle mean fish.

Battle II uses large-toothed metal gears.

The Battle II lineup is equipped with an instant anti-reverse bearing that locks up quickly, encouraging strong hooksets too.

The Battle II is an excellent spinning reel for salt. It’s great for casting blues, chasing reds on a flat where the tide moves, and fighting specks offshore.

Pros

  • Excellent drag
  • Excellent capacity
  • Superb durability
  • An amazing casting with the right diameter lines
  • Silky-smooth operation
  • Amazing anti-reverse

Cons

  • The Daiwa’s BG is not as fast or as capacious as the Daiwa.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+

SHIMANO Stradic CI4 2500FB HG Freshwater Spinning Reel

2500FB

Drag: Maximum weight: 18 lbs. Maximum weight

The ratio of gears: 5:1 (35″ per turn)

Line capacity:200/6, 140/8 and 120/10

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 6.7 oz.

3000FB

Drag:Maximum weight: 18 lb. Maximum weight

The ratio of gears: 5:1 (35″ per turn)

Line capacity:230/6, 170/8 and 140/10

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 6.7 oz.

4000XGFB

Drag:22 lbs. Maximum weight

The ratio of gears: 6.2:1 (39″ per turn)

Line capacity:240/6, 200/8 and 160/10

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 8.11 oz.

Shimano reels have been the benchmark of excellence in the industry, and even though Penn or Daiwa may make a better product, they are still compared to Shimano.

The Stradic Ci4+ is a great example.

Although I don’t think it is a better overall reel than the Penn or Daiwa, it does have some benefits that are worth looking into.

Although the Daiwa DaiwaBG is an incredible beast, its speed and power come at the cost of a startling weight. The Penn is lighter than BG, but the Stradic Ci4+, which is around 30- to 40% lighter, is a featherweight.

This is simply incredible, and you should seriously consider the Stradic Ci4+ if your arms and hands feel tired from fishing.

Each size has Shimano’s famous Hagane gearing, which runs at a 5 to 1 ratio. The spool sizes allow for impressive retrieval rates. These gears are at least as fast and sometimes faster than the Penn. Although they are slower than the Daiwa BG due to the smaller spools, I would not feel sluggish if I had the Stradic Ci4+ at my side.

To keep the reel’s weight down, Shimano uses a lot of plastic. It all depends on your weight sensitivity.

Stradic Ci4+ is more plastic-friendly than Penn or Daiwa.

These are the Daiwa BG’s guts for comparison.

The Stradic drag systems are as smooth as you would expect. They have maximum settings that allow for heavy braided lines, and they can be set to the highest setting. It may be the smoothest drag system you have ever used.

The spools are small so capacity is not exceptional. The Stradic has one real drawback.

Pros

  • Superior build quality
  • Hagane gearing may be the most smooth on the market
  • The best market drag
  • The casting is really beautiful
  • Super lightweight

Cons

  • Small spools are used to reduce weight and retrieve data quickly.
  • Plastic innards
  • It’s expensive!
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Abu Garcia Revo Inshore

Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Spinning,Blue,Black,40

3500

Drag: Maximum weight: 11 lbs. Maximum weight

The ratio of gears: 6.2:1 (39 inches per turn)

Line capacity:10/190

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 8.1 oz.

4000

Drag: Maximum weight: 17 lbs. Maximum weight

The ratio of gears: 6.2:1 (40 inches per turn)

Line capacity:10/230

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 9.4 oz.

6000

Drag:24 lb. Maximum weight

The ratio of gears: 5.6:1 (35 inches per turn)

Line capacity:14/205

Bearings 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 14 oz.

Abu Garcia’s baitcasting reels are a proven winner. They have a loyal following along the Gulf Coast. How does their spinning lineup stack up?

It’s pretty good!

The Revo Inshore is great for casting and fishing from the 3500-size. Below this size, I believe the drag and capacity suffer. There are better options in 2500 and 2000 ranges, such as Penn and Daiwa.

That said, the Revo Inshore is a thoughtfully designed, superbly constructed fishing machine. You can expect smooth, consistent resistance and size-appropriate maximums to allow you to tie heavy braid. This is why I believe Abu Garcia could even outperform the Shimano.

The Battle II’s spool capacity is about the same as the Battle II. That’s quite an accomplishment. The Daiwa is still the leader of the pack, but Revo Inshore is more respectable. This is a big statement considering that Abu Garcia’s weight is very light.

A 4000-size reel can hold up to a mile of line and weighs just 9.4 ounces.

The Revo Inshore’s high gear ratios make it blisteringly fast and can keep up with the heavier, more powerful Daiwa almost crank for the crank. This reel is incredibly light considering its weight. The all-aluminum bodies of the 4000 & 6000 help it to shed weight the day before weigh-in.

I have never disassembled a Revo Inshore so I don’t know if some weight savings can be made by using plastic. Yes, that’s my opinion. Abu Garcia’s main gear is machined aluminum, but I would bet many other gears are made of plastic.

Despite this, the Stradic can still rely on reliable torque to win tough fights.

Overall, I like Abu Garcia Revo Inshore. But for the price, I would recommend Penn or Daiwa.

Pros

  • Excellent drag
  • Excellent capacity
  • Amazing speed
  • Silky-smooth operation
  • Super light

Cons

  • Plastic innards make me question the long-term durability

KastKing Sharky III

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Fishing Reel,Size 3000

3000

Drag:33 lbs. Maximum

The ratio of gears: 5.2:1 (29.4 inches per turn)

Line capacity:8/220. 10/175. 12/130

Bearings 10 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 9.4 oz.

4000

Drag: Maximum weight 39.5 lbs. Maximum 39.5 lbs

The ratio of gears: 5.2:1 (31.5 inches per turn)

Line capacity:10/220. 12/200. 14/170.

Bearings10 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 10.5 oz.

5000

Drag: Maximum weight 39.5 lbs. Maximum 39.5 lbs

The ratio of gears: 5.2:1 (33.4 inches per turn)

Line capacity:12/220. 14/190. 16/160

Bearings 10 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 10.5 oz.

The KastKing Sharky III inshore reel is well-engineered and shows that performance doesn’t always come at a price. A great option for anglers with tight budgets, the Sharky III is suitable for any type of salt fishing.

You get a lot for your money at a fraction of the cost of the Penn and Daiwa.

The Sharky III has a carbon fiber disc drag and is very smooth. Although it isn’t as smooth as the Shimano, the Sharky III’s drag has a carbon fiber disc drag. There’s no lockup or hitch, so you can feel confident that it will do its job. The maximum settings for each size are extremely high. This allows you to run heavy braid for very nasty fish. However, small spools can limit both speed and capacity.

These small spools can be used to reduce weight. The Sharky III lineup is a worthy competitor to the Shimano. The KastKing is a great choice if you are looking for a lightweight spinning reel for offshore angling and don’t have the budget for a Stradic.

Sharky III isn’t a fast reel. The gear ratio is a respectable 5.2% across the lineup. However, speeds are not great for smaller diameter spools. This is not necessarily a problem. If specks or reds are your main game, you should be fine.

However, if you tie into a shark, the Sharky III might let you down.

However, it won’t be the all-metal gearing that fails. It delivers plenty of power and torque as well as durability. The large stainless-steel main shaft and the mesh manganese brass, pinion gears give you plenty of power for big fish.

KastKing’s Sharky III has serious metal gears.

Are the Sharky III’s capabilities equal to the DaiwaBG or the Penn Battle II? No. KastKing is a reasonably-priced option for high-end performers.

Pros

  • Amazing price
  • Excellent drag
  • Speed and capacity are important
  • All-metal gearing offers plenty of torque, durability, and strength
  • Very light
  • There are many smooth things

Cons

  • In terms of speed or capacity, can’t match Penn or Daiwa

What we look for in the best Inshore Spinning Reels

Drag

A reliable inshore reel will provide a powerful, reliable drag. A good inshore reel will allow you to run heavy lines at near-maximum settings. It should also release without tying, stopping, or binding at any setting.

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Drags should be simple to adjust, either increasing their strength or decreasing it quickly.

The drag knob can be found at the end of this Daiwa DaiwaBG.

High-quality spinning reels will have drag-setting knobs at the end of their spool. This allows direct pressure to apply force without the need for complicated mechanisms. While there are many excellent drag systems, carbon fiber discs rank among the top.

These are carbon fiber drag disks.

These discs are used to apply pressure directly to the spool and release line. They serve two purposes.

They cushion your line and allow a large fish to grab it without putting undue stress on the line. They protect your line from breaking by allowing it to release its spool under pressure. This is why your drag should be set to approximately 1/3 of the line’s test strength. That gives you enough margin to prevent sudden breaks.

They also help to tire large fish. You can’t just throw huge fish into your net or gaff. Instead, let them run and fight back to wear them down. The fish will be more tired if you have a strong line and a heavy drag.

Capacity

Big spools are the best inshore angling equipment.

Why?

Three advantages to a large spool:

A large spool can hold enough lines to make long castings, cutting, and retying.

Long distances are a common part of inshore fishing, whether you’re fishing the salt marsh south to Cocodrie or casting your boat into shallow waters in Florida. For long casts, you will need to have enough capacity. You also need plenty of lines for discarding damaged and retying.

In a tough fight, a big spool is helpful.

A big spool not only increases your reel’s ratio of gears, but also holds enough lines that you can tie into a monster, such as a shark, tarpon, or tuna, and let it run.

You can run a heavy line with a large spool

The numbers given are mono-weight diameters. However, it is possible to run heavier braided lines on these reels. This will give you more lines with greater strength and tensile force. Braided lines can have some disadvantages, such as a lower knot strength and low shock resistance. However, these can be overcome by going up to a truly heavy-weight braid. You can run the braided line up to 50 pounds with a large spool, which will allow your spinning reel to really shine.

Speed and gearing

A gear ratio is a number that represents the ratio of turns of the crank to the reel’s rotations. A gear ratio of 5.2 to 1 means that the spool rotates 5.2 times per turn of the handle. Ratios higher than 5.2:1 indicate faster reels.

It is important to be fast, especially when a fast-running fish runs straight at you. Your line will tend to slack as it runs, releasing pressure on your hook and giving the fish the chance to throw it.

This is why you must retrieve the line faster than the fish does.

Speed, measured in inches per turn of a handle, is also affected by the spool size. Consider this: A 5.2:1 ratio turns a large spool, picking up more line than the same gearing pushing small spools.

Do not just focus on gear ratios; consider retrieval rates!

Power

You’ll need to have plenty of torque when fighting small sharks or big reds. This usually requires long arms, big knobs, and strong gearing.

I love reels that have large metal gears. They have stronger teeth and provide more contact and surface area. This translates into greater felt power.

Durability

Metal gears are more durable than their plastic counterparts. This is a simple fact.

Plastic can be cheaper, but I avoid it for my saltwater reels because it can’t withstand the beating of large fish.

I look for strong bodies with sealed drag systems to prevent saltwater intrusion.

Last Thoughts

We didn’t cover all options for inshore, particularly the very high end. You might be wondering: “But what about reels such as Penn’s top-of-the-line Clash II?”

Let’s take a moment to think about it.

There is no doubt that the Clash II is an excellent weapon. You’ll be amazed at the speed and capacity of the Clash II. They’re nowhere near Battle II and Daiwa’s BBG. The Clash promises all of the bells, whistles, and speed, but it doesn’t matter how smooth the drag or stiffer the body is if it can’t hold enough lines or wind it in fast enough.

This is the problem with some of the more expensive options: They offer features that justify the higher price but don’t really offer much value for money.

We’re not trying to be the most expensive option for you, but we are trying to make the best recommendations.

We hope that we have helped you, as always, to make the best decision for you and your budget.

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Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.