For beginning or aspiring anglers, good spinning reels should be the equipment of choice. Though nothing in the rule book says experienced anglers don’t use them. What makes them highly recommended for beginners is the ease of use that complements the performance.
Choosing the best spinning reels for inshore fishing is essential if the intention is to fish with light lures and bait. However, heavier lures and bait could also be cast as long as you know what you are doing.
One factor in favor of spinning reels is the relative rarity of the beginner’s nightmare known, the ‘bird nest’ which happens a lot with novices using baitcasting reels.
Though spinning reels are not as complicated as other reels, improvement in design and technology has made spinning reels capable of taking care of the fishing needs of an angler, whether novice or veteran.
Things to consider before purchasing a spinning reel for inshore fishing
Purchasing a spinning reel might be a tad confusing for first-timers. The array of designs and features can be overwhelming even to experienced anglers. Couple that with the competitive price tags and you have a perfect storm of indecision.
The first thing you should know about spinning reels is that the price is not always directly proportional to the best. Conversely, the cheapest reels are not always the bargain purchase you would hope for.
So, these are some of the features that should help you in making a final decision on the type of spinning reel to buy.
1. The size
As a rule of thumb, you should purchase your spinning reel with your rod in mind. The reel must balance almost perfectly with the fishing rod you have.
Since ultra-light fishing rods are in fashion, your spinning reel must weigh between 7 and 8 ounces (198 – 227g). And if you have or intend to use a medium power rod, a reel of between 10 and 11 (283 – 312g) ounces would be okay.
With the right combination of reel size and rod weight, your rod should be perfectly balanced when held in front of the reel seat.
2. Materials used for the construction of the body
The material used in making the reel is also an important feature of spinning reels. Most of the spinning reels are made from either graphite or aluminum.
Go for an aluminum reel if you are looking for durability and you are not bothered by the weight of the reel. Graphite reels, on the other hand, are lighter and manufacturers tend to prefer them for the high-end spinning reels because of their lightness.
However, because they are generally high-end, they can be more expensive than aluminum reels.
3. Ball bearings
The amount of ball bearings in the drive mechanism is the single most important feature in choosing a spinning reel.
All things being equal, you should go for a spinning reel with more ball bearings because the higher number makes it easier and smoother to operate the reel; especially when cranking the handle to drag in a catch.
Fewer ball bearings mean you would have to work harder to bring in your catch. Have it in mind though that spinning reels with more ball bearings are more expensive.
4. Drag system
The type of drag system in a spinning reel is not that important if you intend to restrict your fishing to small and medium-sized fish.
But if the plan is to go for something like a big steelhead or salmon, you want your drag smooth instead of sticky or bumpy. In that respect, always purchase a reel with a front drag to get the desired smoothness.
5. Spool design
Make sure your chosen reel has a wide, long spool. Spools that are too narrow or short cause the line to come off in short tight coils. This could create friction in the line guides limiting the casting distance and accuracy.
Again, short and narrow Spools require constant respooling to keep the line level with the tip of the spool for best results. With your wide long spool though, you can cast for longer distances without affecting accuracy since the spool can take in enough line.
Remember that you don’t have to overfill the spool with line. While reeling the line on the spool, it is advisable to stop about an eighth of an inch from the top of the spool.
Best Spinning Reels for inshore fishing
1. Daiwa BG Spinning Reels
The makers of Daiwa BG Spinning Reels were considerate enough to come up with 10 different models. Invariably, there is a size for everybody and for all kinds of fishing.
The Daiwa range packed features that comfortably places them with reels in the over $200 price tag. But amazingly, all come in at under $100. Pound for pound, they are a lot better than most higher-priced reels.
The first thing you would notice is the body and side cover made of anodized aluminum. To make the reels sturdier and more durable, an extra layer of very hard anodization was added to the body. This makes it harder than the regular anodized aluminum found in other reels and with a far lesser susceptibility to corrosion.
For the gear system, Daiwa used what it called the ‘Over-sized Digigear’ system. With this system, more gear teeth are in contact with each other. This makes for an easier and smoother retrieval and increased power when you have to deal with big fishes.
Important too, the lifespan of the reel is extended since no single tooth in the gear is exposed to too much stress.
The handle has a solid feel when cranking the gear due largely to the screwed-in handle design. Because there is a non-existent play between the handle and the gear, the spool made from aluminum easily achieves smooth line loading right up to its edge.
The combined design of the handle and spool means line knots and twists are a rarity.
The drag system is made of carbon fiber washers. Combined with the seven anti-rust ball bearings, jerky motions while operating the reel are completely absent. If you have used badly made spinning reels, you would understand how that is a big irritant while fishing.
Beginners would love this reel due to the presence of an anti-reverse system to prevent backslashes. However, only the 4000 and smaller models come with this feature.
It is almost impossible to pick out a flaw in Daiwa BG Spinning Reels. That is how good they are. However, their weights can pose a bit of a problem. Also, it would have been nice if all the models were completely sealed against water and sand.
2. KastKing Mela II Spinning Reel
KastKing is known universally for the unique ability to offer reels with top-end features with jaw-dropping low prices. The KastKing Mela II Spinning carries on this glorious tradition.
The unique feature of this spinning reel is the honeycomb-styled spoon. Combined with the aerospace-grade aluminum material used, what you get is a very light component which is deceptively strong at the same time.
The design confers certain operational advantages to the user. For one it is very flexible. At the same time, you would find it less taxing on the muscles compared to other spinning reels.
The first thing you would notice about the Mela II is the glossy black finishing of the body. This gives it a modern and really cool look.
The corrosion-resistant body is made mainly of aluminum, stainless steel, carbon, and graphite. The graphite body gives you a clue how so many features can be packed in one reel while still retaining the lightweight feel.
The drag system of the Mela II doesn’t disappoint as well. It comes equipped with an alloy brass pinion gear enhanced with 10 +1 double-shielded MaxiDur, rust-resistant ball bearings. All these ensure optimal in-line cranking, and smooth, flawless performances.
The impressive power and durability of the Mela 11 is complemented by a 3-disc carbon fiber drag system with a rating of 26 lbs.
The handle of this spinning reel is interchangeable ensuring maximum utility for both left and right-handed users. The handle is a CNA tooled aluminum affair with slip-prevention Eva power knob which makes it quite comfortable while handling.
As an additional bonus, KastKing added spare graphite spool. This, though, is not the same design as the honeycomb spool. This is deliberate to give you a choice in case you want to have a different spool experience. This is a good thing as it is easy to compare and see which one is the better.
One problem with the Mela II is the use of graphite in the construction of the spool. This means you are unlikely to try the bigger fishes since the graphite gets damaged easily when compared to aluminum.
But KastKing is assuring users the reinforced alloy material can take whatever you throw at it.
3. Yoshikawa Baitfeeder Spinning Reel
The Yoshikawa Baitfeeder Spinning Reel comes in four models (CY3000 – CY6000) offering users an array of choices depending on their needs.
The first impression of Yoshikawa Baitfeeder Spinning reels out of the box is that they were made to stand out with a shiny, glossy finishing. Don’t be tempted to believe that it is all gloss and no substance. The performance matches the classy-looking gear that makes the under $40 price tag a great bargain.
Like all the best spinning reels, the Yoshikawa Baitfeeder is made from anti-corrosive titan graphite material. The side plate is also made of the same material to ensure you get a very light and durable gear.
Users would the love the functionality of the drag system once they get used to it. A ‘free-spool’ mode is achieved by just flipping a tiny lever. This ensures a bumpless, smooth-running line which helps the angler to tackle big fishes without putting too much stress on the gears. This feature also ensures a wider and accurate drag adjustment.
The drag and gear system is made of 10 +1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings, oil felt drag washers and a multi-disk drag system. With an impressive gear ratio of 5.5:1, you are assured of a relatively fast retrieve rate for anything from striped bass to small sharks.
The spool is made from anodized aluminum and provides a decent line capacity of about 24 lbs (about 150 yards of mono) which is more than what you’d get for most reels of this price range. So casting long and wide is quite easy which also impacts positively on casting accuracy.
Like the spool, the foldable, interchangeable left or right-handed handles are made from aluminum, making the handles on all models strong enough to withstand the pressures of fighting a big catch.
The Yoshikawa Baitfeeder Spinning Reel, though an extremely functional budget reel that gets the job in most cases, has a couple downsides related to the design.
For instance, at 24 lbs, the line capacity of the spool is a bit limiting making it unsuitable for heavyweight fishing. You would be okay if you stick to inshore freshwater fishing though.
And given the fact the reel is made predominantly from graphite, you would want to watch out you don’t subject it to too much stress.
4. Supertrip Spinning Fishing Reel
On the balance of price tag vs. functionality, the Supertrip Spinning Fishing Reel goes against the established wisdom of very low cost equating low-quality gear. To be sure, the Supertrip reel comes at an amazingly low price of under $10 plus shipping. The specifications though give owners a bargain fishing reel that can withstand the stress of inshore fishing.
The Supertrip Spinning Fishing Reel has a stainless steel and graphite corrosion resistant body with impressive finishing. The graphite material makes for an ultralight gear for less stressful handling.
For such a low-cost fishing reel, it comes with an impressive gear ratio of 4.7: 1, 11 corrosion-resistant ball bearings, 26..4 lbs max drag and gears designed with each tooth meshing perfectly together.
In effect, this means that with the right line friction, you get about 5 smooth turns of the spool each time you crank the handle a full circle.
And because the gears have so precisely meshed together, you get an almost frictionless experience with pleasant clicking sounds when reeling in a catch. The smooth feeling is enhanced by the use of carbon fibers in the gears.
The main shaft is made of from stainless steel. This, combined with the CNC machined aluminum spool, ensures you get strong, rust-resistant components. Even fishing in saltwater is not likely to cause deterioration in performance.
The handle is made from aluminum and is interchangeable for left or right-handed use. The machine designed handle would fit snugly into any average-sized hand. This makes for a stress-free operation when you have to crank the handle really fast.
However, despite the impressive features, the Supertrip Spinning Reel suffers from an unfortunate design flaw. Because the ball bearings are not sealed, the smoothness might reduce significantly after a few days of use due to building up of salt.
And you have to be careful not to drop the reel on sand since the lack of a seal allows sand to get in. This would tamper with the ball bearings and, consequently, affect the smoothness of the reel
5. KastKing Summer and Centron Reels
The KastKing Summer and Centron Reels are another in a series of great budget fishing reels from KastKing. The Summer and Centron reels from KastKing features six different models all in the under $30 price range.
Anglers have come to expect a lot from KastKing and this is no different in spite of the low costs, featuring this product among the best spinning reels for inshore fishing was an easy decision.
The reel’s come in a variety of color combinations so users can choose their preferred combination of colors. The most popular are Kastking’s signature bold, brilliant back and blue combination. Whatever color is chosen, you are assured of a unique design with brilliant finishing.
The frame is made of corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum and graphite material with high tensile stability ensuring your reel is not easily damaged. The narrow graphite frame design neatly combines balance, lightweight, and high performance.
The spinning reel comes with 9+1 MaxiDur corrosion-resistant ball bearings which ensure you can comfortably fish in Saltwater without affecting the performance of your gear.
More importantly, the use of MaxiDur ball bearings means the internal mechanisms of the reel won’t need too much regular maintenance. So that is one irritant out of the way.
The smooth performance of the Summer and Centron reels are complemented by a ‘one instant stop one-way’ anti-reverse mechanism to significantly cut down on backslashes for beginners. Experienced anglers would experience almost zero knots because of this feature.
The drag system offers incredible stopping power of up to 175 lbs. Combine with the hardened metal main shaft, precision mesh and machined pinion gear, you have at your disposal a reel with great power. So you don’t have to be afraid of putting it through its paces for any kind of inshore fishing.
The Summer and Centron reels come with CNC machined aluminum spool. The relatively lighter spool is a deceptively strong spool with great fishing line capacity for further casting and internal grooves for easy lube retention.
The line guides are strategically placed for an even line lay when spooling your fishing line.
Whatever model you chose, you would get a foldable handle; and whether you are left or right-handed, you would be able to fish in comfort.
However, anglers might be surprised by how large some of the models are. Also, experienced users may have issues with nine ball bearings if they are used to spinning reels with a greater number. Though the effect of this on the smoothness is minimal.
6. New BLISSWILL Spinning Reel
The spinning reels from BLISSWILL are quickly gaining lots of fans not just because of the low price tag, but also because of the combination of great designed, smooth functionality and relative durability.
There are four models of the BLISSWILL Spinning Reel to choose and all cost under $40. All the models are made of graphite material with a flawless pitch-black color combining sleekness and lightweight due to the main graphite body construction.
The spool is made from aerospace-grade aluminum with a honeycomb design. The size is big enough to accommodate enough lines for long casting. It also has sufficient ‘spool lip’ ensuring a tangle and twist-free line operations. This reduces fatigue on the line effectively eliminating easy breakage.
Importantly though, the aluminum made spool shaft is strong enough to withstand a pulling force of about 55 lbs. In essence, enjoy wrestling with big fishes without a thought to damaging the spool.
BLISSWILL didn’t hold back on the gear and drag power of their spinning reels. They come with 12 corrosion-resistant ball bearings with a zero-gap one-way reaction system.
With that high number of ball bearings and unique design, expect the smoothest of performance possible and comparatively faster hook sets; while at the same time delivering an almost noiseless performance.
The front drag/gear system is completely sealed to prevent entry of objects like sand and salt water that could tamper with the smoothness of the reel.
The handle of the BLISSWILL Spinning Reel is made from CNC machined aluminum. Interchangeable for both left and right-handed anglers, it is covered with thick, soft Eva foam that absorbs moisture efficiently. This makes it both comfortable and hard to slip out of the hands while reeling in a catch.
The handle also has a convenient knob for easy retracting and folding ensuring you can easily pack it in your duffel bag or whatever you use to hold all your fishing gear without taking up too much space.
First-time users must remember to tighten the screw that holds the crank in the correct position. Then they are good to go.
As an added bonus, a purchase of any model of the BLISSWILL Spinning Reel comes with an extra, high-strength ABS spool, free of charge.
One obvious drawback of the reel is the open skirt on the aluminum spool. Foreign objects can get into the drag system through here. But periodic cleaning of the spool would solve that problem neatly.
In conclusion, choosing the best spinning reels for inshore fishing is not as complicated as you might have thought, all you have to do is consider the factors highlighted in the early part of the review and make a choice that befits your purpose.