So, you’re thinking about giving surf fishing a try. Congratulations! You’re embarking on a journey filled with fun, adventure, and hopefully some delicious seafood.

But before you set out to the beach with your rod and reel in tow, there are a few things you should know. In particular, it’s important to choose the right size reel for your surf fishing endeavors.

To help you make the best selection for your needs, let’s take a closer look at what size reel is best for surf fishing.

What Size Reel Is Best?

The type of reel that will work best for surf fishing depends on several factors such as the size of the fish you plan to catch and the type of bait or lure you plan to use.

Generally speaking, larger reels are better suited for catching large fish and using heavier bait like cut bait or lead sinkers. Smaller reels are more suitable for lighter baits like shrimp or plugs.

If you plan on catching smaller fish like perch, croaker, and spot, then a medium-sized spinning reel with a capacity of 200-500 yards of 20-30 lb monofilament line should be sufficient.

For larger gamefish such as red drum and striped bass, however, then you’ll want to opt for a larger spinning reel capable of holding 500-1000 yards of 30-50 lb monofilament line.

If you plan on targeting shark species such as blacktip sharks or hammerheads then even larger reels may be necessary depending on the size of the sharks in your area.

In addition to size considerations, it’s also important to think about gear ratio when selecting your reel.

Gear ratios determine how much line is retrieved per crank cycle and therefore affect casting distance and retrieval speed.

Higher gear ratios (6:1 or higher) are great for retrieving faster but can sacrifice distance while lower gear ratios (4:1 or lower) provide longer casting distances but slower retrieval speeds.

The ideal gear ratio will depend on your particular needs so it’s best to experiment with different ones until you find one that works best for you and your style of surf fishing.

What Size Reel For Surf Fishing Is Best?
Photo by Mark Harpur / Unsplash

Some Final Thoughts!

Choosing the right size reel is an important part of successful surf fishing trips; too small and it won't be able to handle larger gamefish while too big may cause fatigue from cranking heavy reels all day long.

Before heading out onto the beach with a rod in hand, take some time to consider what type of fish you plan on targeting as well as what types of bait or lures you plan on using so that you can select an appropriate-sized reel accordingly! Good luck out there!


1. Q: What factors should I consider when choosing the size of a reel for surf fishing?
A: Consider the target species, casting distance, line capacity, and the type of fishing you plan to do. Larger reels with higher line capacities are generally preferred for surf fishing.

2. Q: Does the size of the reel affect casting distance in surf fishing?
A: Yes, larger reels often have larger spools, allowing for longer casting distances. This is beneficial when casting beyond the surf to reach deeper waters where fish may be feeding.

3. Q: Should I choose a spinning or conventional reel for surf fishing, and how does size factor into this decision?
A: Both spinning and conventional reels can be effective for surf fishing. Choose a size that matches the rod, provides sufficient line capacity, and is comfortable for your casting style and preferences.

4. Q: What size reel is suitable for targeting larger species in surf fishing, like sharks or striped bass?
A: For larger species, opt for a reel with a higher line capacity and a sturdy drag system. A medium to large-sized reel, such as a 6000 to 8000 series spinning reel, is often appropriate.

5. Q: Can I use a smaller reel for surf fishing if I'm targeting smaller species?
A: Yes, for smaller species like whiting or pompano, a smaller reel in the 3000 to 4000 series may be suitable. Match the reel size to the species you are targeting to maintain balance with your rod.

6. Q: How does the gear ratio of a reel impact surf fishing?
A: Higher gear ratios (faster retrieval rates) can be advantageous for quickly bringing in lures or covering more ground when searching for fish in the surf. However, lower gear ratios provide more torque for fighting larger fish.

7. Q: Is there a specific brand or model that is considered the best for surf fishing reels?
A: Many reputable brands offer quality surf fishing reels. Consider factors such as durability, saltwater resistance, and user reviews when selecting a reel. Popular brands include Penn, Shimano, Daiwa, and Okuma.

8. Q: Should I prioritize a sealed or waterproof reel for surf fishing?
A: Yes, a sealed or waterproof reel is beneficial for surf fishing, where exposure to saltwater and sand is common. This helps protect the internal components from corrosion and ensures the longevity of the reel.

9. Q: Can I use the same reel for both surf fishing and other types of fishing?
A: Yes, versatile reels exist that can handle both surf fishing and other types of angling. Choose a reel with features that accommodate your specific needs, such as line capacity and durability.

10. Q: Does the weight of the reel matter in surf fishing, and should I consider it when choosing a size?
A: While the weight of the reel may not be a primary concern, a lighter reel can reduce fatigue during extended casting sessions. However, prioritize factors like line capacity and durability when selecting a reel for surf fishing.

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