5 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels for Inshore (4 UNDER $200)

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best saltwater spinning reel for inshore fishing is, then we recommend the Shimano Stradic Ci4.

In the market for an inshore spinning reel that can handle the harsh conditions that the saltwater brings to the table? Good luck! There are a ton of great fishing reels like this on the market. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does present its own challenges. Mainly, how will you know which one is right for you? That’s where we come in!

With over 30 years of saltwater fishing experience, I know what a good fishing reel is when I see it. And while I listed the best one above, I’ve included 4 other great options for you to choose from.

By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.

What Makes a Makes a Good Inshore Spinning Reel

Many fishermen will have different answers for this, as it seems everyone has something specific they’d claim is “needed” or not. However, there are a few things you want out of them.

Universally, you want some level of corrosion-resistance. Essentially, without it, your reel will slowly begin to experience a chemical reaction simply known as corroding. This basically means it will slowly change color, then begin to be damaged or completely destroyed. This is often seen in metal products as well as those made from other materials.

Think of it like rust that destroys the product entirely. Therefore, having resistance to this is clearly a good thing. More value for the money.

Sure, you can and should wash your saltwater reels down with freshwater after each and every use, but this will only get you so far, especially if the reel is not made to withstand the harsh elements saltwater fishing brings with it.

Naturally, you want your reel to be sealed or waterproof. You’re going to be around water and it’s not unheard of fishermen dropping their reels in the water, especially if you’re surf fishing or kayak fishing.

Price can also be something to consider. While you don’t want to buy a piece of junk that will only give out in a few months (even if you wash it), or worse, it breaks while you’re fighting the fish of a lifetime.

With that being said, you don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your home in order to get yourself a good reel either. There are plenty of great reels in the $100 to $150 price range. In fact, a few of them are on this list.

What Sizes Are Best Among Spinning Reels For Inshore Fishing

There is a lot to consider when it comes to the size of your spinning reel. This is especially true for the best saltwater spinning reels. As a result, we wanted to highlight some of those things for you, so you can keep them in mind. Let’s begin!

Reel Size

When looking for a reel you should first be aware that you might see two different numbers for the same thing. For example, a 1,000 reel is also referred to as a 10 reel in some places. Also, you could see many sizes in this area. They usually go from 1,000 to 3,500, 5000 or even 10. We’d recommend a 4000 size reel as it’s light enough to make catching smaller fish fun, but strong enough to still handle the big boys.


The weight for a spinning reel is also up for debate. I actually prefer my saltwater fishing reels to be a little on the heavier side. However, some prefer them to be as light as possible due to casting lures all day long. Believe it or not, casting lures for hours on end can take a toll on your wrist. You would be surprised at how the difference in a few ounces can make!

Line Capacity

Most spinning reels in the 4000 range will hold more than enough line for inshore fishing! This is especially true if you plan on spooling your reels with braid, which I highly recommend.

Drag Strength

Drag strength, ideally, needs to be good. It is usually determined by weight capacity. For example, most will tell you that their drag strength will ideally be somewhere near 20lbs because that means it can handle a good size.

However, if you can get anything with at least 15 to 20lbs, you’re going to be pretty solid. It is unlikely you’ll need anything more than that for the fish that you’ll get in this area.

Bearing Count

Bearing counts typically have to do with bearing balls and roller bearings. Most will tell you that the more you have, the better. For spinning reels, especially in saltwater fishing, the suggestion is usually at least 5.

This could be just 5 ball bearings or 4 ball bearings and a roller. It could vary wildly at the end of the day.

Are Spinning Reels Better Than Baitcasters

This is a tough one to answer, as it is honestly down to preference. This will usually break down to what type of fisherman you happen to be. Obviously, if you’re going after let’s say bass…it used to be that baitcasters were the end-all. Today, spinning reels can do just as well in a given situation.

In the end, it is what you’re going after that will determine what reel is better than the other. This means that we’re not saying either is just “better.” It’s actually down to your specific needs and even your style. Just flat out saying one is better, without considering any of this would be a bad thing.

I will say this though…if you are new to fishing, go with a spinning reel! They are much easier to learn how to use than a baitcaster is. I personally use spinning reels 99% of the time.

Are Expensive Spinning Reels Worth the Money

Are the really expensive spinning reels worth all that money they ask for? It is tough to say because the answer is both yes and no. You can get a lot of great fishing done with something in the mid-range price-wise. Especially if you add a lot to it.

However, this is like anything that’s more expensive. When the price is higher, you expect it to be better because the money dictates that. For reels, yeah, you’re getting a lot of good for what you pay for. They are more reliable and smooth in every way. There is very little negative here.

That said, this might be more of a question for yourself. Do you fish enough during the year to warrant something more expensive? Sure, if you’re a pro or an aspiring pro, you’re going to be on the water quite a lot. This means you could use one. However, if you fish once or twice a month with your buddies, it’s hard to say that warrants something expensive.

Reviews: Best Saltwater Spinning Reels for Inshore Fishing

Shimano Stradic Fk (see on Amazon)

Shimano is a leader in the reel industry, possessing some of the best saltwater spinning reels you’ll come across. What makes their Stradic Fk worth your time? We feel it is well-priced, especially when it has enough to cost far more than it does.

This uses the brand’s latest reel technology while also sort of taking notes from the past. For example, the addition of X-Ship tech provides tremendous durability. This also eliminates friction between the spool and shaft, enhancing your casting performance.

Like other Shimano reels of the past, the longer casts are possible. The new tech simply adds to their already great tech of the past.

In addition, the brand’s Hagane Gearing & Hagane Body provides a long-lasting, strong, and durable performance. All of this is built to give a smoothness that anglers will love both inshore and offshore.

If that was not enough for you, they added a Dyna-Balance rotor & Fluidrive II System, both built-in. This is accompanied by Shimano’s propulsion line management system. This, in turn, offers a smoothness that is hard to beat, while also improving casting capability. All of that can be done while still mitigating line management issues.

Drag strength is very good for inshore, with a maximum of 6lbs. On top of that is a great bearing count, which sits at 6 ball bearings & 1 roller bearing.

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Daiwa Saltist

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Daiwa packed a lot of interesting things in their Saltist reel. To us, it is one of the best saltwater spinning reels you can find for inshore activity. It’s easy to move around with and can certainly cast out well. What about it makes it stand out for fishing enthusiasts?

First it’s the magsealed line roller and main shaft. This also involved magnetic oil, a new generation of Nano Fluids that is able to change overall density and shape when a magnetic field is applied.

It is made with an Air Bail-Tubular stainless yet lightweight design. This also includes a lightweight Air Rotor design. In fact, it weighs about 15% less than the ordinary rotors. The shape reduces unneeded weight while it also distributes stress evenly throughout the rotor. This, in turn, adds extra strength.

The Digigear digital gear design is top-notch as is the Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS spool. The drag system is also pretty cool, as it’s made with a waterproof carbon ATD Drag System. Overall, the drag itself is strong enough to handle up to 17.6lbs.

The Bearing count is also great, as it includes 9 total, with 8 being ceramic ball bearings and 1 being a roller bearing. Overall, both will help you in a major way inshore.

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Penn Spinfisher VI

You can find the Penn Spinfisher here.

The Penn brand is yet another well-liked brand. We feel their Spinfisher VI is one of the best saltwater spinning reels out there. It’s powerful and capable of a lot, especially inshore.

The drag system on this thing is impressive. They use Penn’s HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers, which are fully sealed, and offer some great power that’ll help you catch some bigger saltwater fish. The drag strength alone is 20lbs. This includes an anti-reverse system too.

Overall, the reel is waterproof with IPX5 sealing for both the body and spool. The Spinfisher VI also has a full metal body and Superline spool. All of this even comes along with the great CNC gear technology.

Along with that you’ll see a great 5+1 bearing count, which includes 5 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing. It is not hard to see why the Spinfisher VI is so well-liked by people. It has everything you need to be successful inshore and even deeper out on the water.

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Pflueger Supreme XT

Pflueger Supreme XT on Amazon.

We really like the Pflueger Supreme XT. It truly is one of the best saltwater spinning reels we’ve seen, and we feel you’ll love it. While we’re mostly focused on the inshore ability here, this could be great on the water a bit deeper out. Pflueger does well with their reels, so we expected it to be good.

The fact that a reel like this comes with so much yet also seems to be at one of the best and most affordable prices, honestly, amazes us. For example, the Supreme XT has a Magnesium Body & Rotor, making it pretty tough.

While the body is made to be durable, that does not compromise its weight. It is as light as a feather, with an incredible drag system that is “butter smooth” according to Pflueger. The drag is able to handle a lot too, even having a strength that’s capable of handling up to 14lbs max.

It is made with sealed carbon, so it too is tough and can handle a lot. Of course, this is only assisted by the 10 ball bearings, which makes life so much easier for users.

In addition, it tends to use a braided ready spool. This makes it perfect for those who like to have the option of either normal or braided. The Supreme XT is also equipped with SMARTretrieve, a feature that makes it easy to throw out a high-precision line every time you cast out. You can then pull it back without a problem.

Using a carbon handle and EVA knob, it can handle the tough fish as you’re able to hold on without an issue. Combine all of this with slow oscillation gearing, and you get an overall impressive reel you’ll be lucky to take with you on your next fishing adventure.

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Penn Clash 

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Penn is back with their Clash model. There are several models in this class, all at different costs and different sizes. All of which also are different in what they can do compared to the other. For example, you’ll see that they all have a good drag system.

There are 6 total models going from the CLA2000 to the CLA8000. The drag system goes up from the 10lbs that the CLA2000 handles all the way up to the 30lbs that the CLA8000 includes. There are other things too, but we’ll leave that for you to check out.

The overall reel is made to be durable, smooth, and precise for technical fisherman. Using the CNC gear train, it utilizes a full metal body with heavy-duty aluminum ball wire. This combines together for an incredible product, and one of the best saltwater spinning reels around.

We mentioned the drag system above, while the drag strength is notable, you should also know that it uses HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers and wave springs. This makes a system that provides a really smooth drag that won’t bottom out on you.

The reel also included a smooth line lay with an effortless retrieval, all made from the Levelline Oscillation System & Techno-Balance Rotor.

If that was not enough for you, this spinning reel also includes 8 sealed stainless steel ball bearings, with an instant reverse bearing. They added this just to make sure you knew it was the best reel for you.

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If you’re in the market for a good saltwater spinning reel for fishing near shore, then once again we recommend the Shimano Stradic Ci4. However, you really can’t go wrong with any of these reels. After all, we selected them as the best saltwater spinning reels for inshore fishing on the market today.


Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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