5 Best Long Distance Surf Casting Reels – A Full Guide

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Fishing is a relatively straightforward hobby, right? You head out on the water, armed with a fishing pole and some worms, and you go to town, reeling in fish after fish. 

In reality, though, it’s a bit more complicated than that. 

If you enjoy surf fishing – especially surfcasting way off the coast – you should consider investing in one of the best long-distance surf casting reels. 

A good surfcasting reel designed for long-distance use is invaluable. It will help transform your fishing experience into something nothing short of spectacular. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know to select the ideal long-distance surf casting reel for your angling pursuits.

Angler’s Note: As an experienced angler with a passion for surf fishing, I’ve personally tested and reviewed numerous long-distance surf casting reels to provide you with the most informed recommendations.

What are the Best Long Distance Surf Casting Reels?

Here are the best long-distance surf casting reels: 

Daiwa Sealine SL-X-SHA Series Conventional Reel, Size 20
Daiwa Sealine SL-X-SHA Series Conventional Reel, Size 20
3 Bearing System (3CRBB); Massive, six-element sealed drag, ultra-smooth and consistent; Tough marine bronze and stainless steel gears
Daiwa M7HTMAGST Millionaire Surf Reel, 5.8: 1 Gear Ratio, 8CRBB, 1BB, 1RB Bearing, 11 lb Max Drag, Right Hand
Daiwa M7HTMAGST Millionaire Surf Reel, 5.8: 1 Gear Ratio, 8CRBB, 1BB, 1RB Bearing, 11 lb Max Drag, Right Hand
Super tuned machine cut spool-super-balanced, super-lightweight aluminum alloy; Carbon swept handle for reduced weight, maximum leverage and control
PENN 1403982 Slammer III Spinning Black Gold, 3500
PENN 1403982 Slammer III Spinning Black Gold, 3500
Full Metal Body, side plate, and rotor; CNC Gear technology; IP67 Sealed body and spool design
Penn Spinfisher V SSV5500 spinning reel
Penn Spinfisher V SSV5500 spinning reel
Watertight spinning reel performs reliably in saltwater and sand environments

Last update on 2024-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Exactly Is Surf Casting?

If you’re in the market for a good surfcasting reel, here’s what you need to know.

First, surfcasting usually refers to a baitcasting technique where you are fishing off the coast on ocean waters. 

When you’re baitcasting, you will attach live bait to your line and reel then throw it into the water before reeling it back out. 

The technique is simple. 

When you surfcast, you will do so slowly – surfcasting too quickly won’t help your lure be pulled in the right way. 

You’ll attach a sinker about six inches from the rod tip, and when you cast, you’ll bend your elbows and put your left foot in front of your body (if you’re right-handed). 

You will try to get as much distance as possible when you are casting, although this, of course, will depend on where your target is. 

You will want to hold your rod and reel tightly so that you can rest your thumb over the reel spool, doing so at a slight angle. 

The best time to use your long-distance surfcasting reel is when the high tide is coming in. The fish will be out to feast, so it’s the perfect opportunity to put your new toy to work. 

Also Read: What Are The Top Surf Casting Rods?

The Top 5 Long Distance Surf Casting Reels

1. Daiwa Sealine-X SHA Conventional Saltwater Reel 

The Daiwa Sealine-X SHA Conventional Saltwater Reel is the best for fishing in saltwater conditions – but it’s an exceptionally good choice for long-distance casting, too. 

This reel has a unique free-floating design that separates the gear train from the spool so you’ll enjoy longer casts and a quicker lure drop. There is less friction to contend with, too. 

Daiwa Sealine-Xa Conventional Reel

The reel comes with a large three-bearing system and six-element drag that is sealed against the elements. 

While we’re talking about the elements, we should also mention that the reel includes stainless steel gears and is made from durable marine bronze. 

You won’t have to worry about this reel breaking down or degrading on you anytime soon! 

Instead, this high-tensile spool – which includes aluminum parts as well – is strong while also being one of the lightest reels to choose from. 

The Daiwa Sealine-X SHA even comes with a rod clamp. It has a two-position power handle with a soft touch grip. 

The grip is oversized so you won’t have to scramble for it while you’re trying to reel in the catch of a lifetime. 

This reel comes in several sizes, including the X20SHA, the X30SHA, the X40SHA, and the X50SHA. Perfect for surfcasting, it has a manual reverse and is perfect for drift fishing and speed jigging, too. 

Pros:

  • Great for several styles of fishing
  • Made out of durable materials resistant to saltwater
  • 25 lb drag

Cons:

  • Some users report that the reel needs more drag

>>Check Latest Price on Amazon<<

2. Daiwa M7HTMAGST Millionaire Surf Reel

The Daiwa Millionaire Surf Reel is another top pick for the best long distance surf casting reels. 

This reel is a seriously fine-tuned machine, cut from super lightweight aluminum alloy.

It is balanced and effective, featuring a carbon-swept handle that reduces the weight of the unit without compromising traction and comfort. 

You’ll have total control of your fishing experience when you cast with one of these reels. It has an EVA double-handle knob atop an aluminum body and side plate. 

With infinite anti-reverse and a power handle, you’ll have all the resources you need to reel in a massive catch.

What’s really impressive is that the spool can reach speeds of up to 30,000 RPM.

You won’t feel out of control, though, because the unique Magna Force-Z technology applies smooth magnetic braking as the spool approaches its maximum speed. 

This serves several purposes – not only will it prevent line overrun, but it will also give you more control in various casting conditions and according to your unique casting style. 

Pros:

  • An ambidextrous reel that is perfect for both left- and right-handed people
  • Factory tuned for accuracy 
  • Has an EVA foam handle for comfort 

Cons:

  • Somewhat heavy for all-day use

>>Check Latest Price on Amazon<<

3. Dr.Fish Saltwater 10000/12000 Spinning Reel 

The Dr. Fish Saltwater Spinning Reel comes in two sizes – 10000 and 12000. Both are perfect for casting offshore. 

A reel with strong drag washers that work perfectly against monster fish, giving you all the muscle you need. 

Dr.Fish Long Shot 12000 Spinning Reel, Saltwater Fishing Reel for Surf Fishing, 13+1 BBS, 48LB Max Drag, Ultra High Capacity, Heavy Duty Surf Casting Offshore Trolling Reel Catfish Reel

Designed with saltwater’s harsh effects in mind, this reel is made with high-density anti-corrosion materials. 

It can handle all kinds of wear and tear under these conditions. Plus, it can be matched with a variety of medium-heavy rods, ranging from seven all the way up to fourteen feet. 

This customizability makes it perfect for targeting all kinds of fish. It comes with 13+1 high-precision dust-resistant stainless steel ball earrings. These bearings ensure smooth function every time. 

In addition, the bearing shelf makes it easier to constantly fight and retrieve your prey. The unit also comes with rotors and side plates that are both water-sealed. 

You won’t have to worry about small parts or pieces falling out or becoming damaged with this reel. Plus, since everything is nice and sealed, saltwater can’t make its way in and damage your reel. 

The bail wire is made out of strong Piano Wire, helping prevent line break gage and gives you a reliable, consistent fishing experience. 

The Dr. Fish Saltwater Reel has a wide range for drag adjustments, along with a large, somewhat oversized shaft and compact self-balanced system rotors. 

With a strong aluminum spool, you’ll be able to equip this reel with either heavy-duty monofilament or braided line. Cast long distance or short, going after large fish or small – the choice is yours.

That being said, I recommend targeting larger species with this reel – after all, it can handle the weight. So why not? 

My personal favorites are tuna, striped bass, shark, and mackerel. The 12000 size is best for going after these big game fish. 

The handle of this reel is foldable for added convenience. With a shallow tapered spool, you’ll have all the features you need in a reliable reel to withstand decades of use. 

Pros:

Cons:

  • Some users report that the bail is a bit flimsy

>>Check Latest Price on Amazon<<

4. Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel

The Penn Slammer III comes in several different sizes – 10400, 3500, 4500, 5500, 6500, 6500hs, 7500, 8500, 8500hs, and 9500. 

The size corresponds directly to the species you are interested in pursuing – the larger the relevance, the larger the fish you can target. 

However, no matter which size you decide or where you might want to fish, all these reels are of the utmost quality. 

They are constructed with full metal bodies, side plates, and rotors. They have engineered CNC gear technology for top-quality performance, too. 

The body is sealed so you don’t have to worry about water getting inside your unit and damaging your equipment. It has Dura-Drag for ultimate performance along with 6+1 stainless steel ball bearings.

The Penn Slammer is built for heavy-duty fishing either on the shore or off a boat.

It is trusted by professional charter fishermen all over the world and is updated to help keep water out of the drag and gearbox systems. 

Pros:

  • It can also be used for freshwater fishing
  • It comes in various speeds and sizes
  • Comfortable to use 

Cons:

  • Minimum drag even after drag cap is removed

>>Check Latest Price on Amazon<<

5. Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel

As you have likely already gathered, Penn is truly the name to know when it comes to the best long distance surf casting reels. 

Founded by Otto Henze in 1932, Penn has been at the forefront of exceptional reel design and production.

Penn 1259881 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 9500

The Spinfisher V is no exception. The reel is trusted by anglers all over the world and comes in several different styles: 10500, 3500, 4500, 6500bls, 7500, and 8500ll. 

This reel has a watertight design that offers reliable performance in sandy or saltwater environments. This includes a full metal side plate, body, and rotor along with an aluminum bail wire.

The bail wire is heavy-duty, preventing damage and overuse. You don’t have to worry about using this reel on those rugged – yet beautiful – beaches you love! It can withstand any weather. 

With a sealed HT-100 slammer drag system, you’ll enjoy a buttery smooth drag while resisting friction.

You also don’t need to worry about a premature bail trip when you’re casting, as the reel comes with a unique friction trip ramp. 

The Penn Spinfisher has a fluid cranking mechanism with five stainless steel ball bearings, all of which are shielded from the elements. 

The reel has instant anti-reverse bearing along with a superline spool that requires no backing.

It is ready for braid as soon as you take it out of the package along with line capacity rings marked at ⅓, ⅔, and full capacity – no guesswork required on your part!

You can use this reel to chase just about any fish. I prefer fishing for my favorite saltwater species like sea bass, sea trout, and flounder – but keep in mind that it can be used in freshwater, too! 

With its full metal body and side plate, your CNC gear system will remain in perfect alignment even when dealing with heavy loads.

This reel is available in standard, long cast, bailless, and live liner models.

Pros:

  • Comes fully assembled
  • Can hold up to 580 yards of 80 lb braid
  • Reels are made out of high-quality materials

Cons:

  • A bit on the heavy side

>>Check Latest Price on Amazon<<

How To Choose a Long Distance Surf Casting Reel 

Match Your Needs

You can invest in a reel large enough to haul in massive sharks and tuna, but if you’re only fishing for 20 lb fish, you probably don’t need it. 

If you’re looking for a good long-distance reel, purchase one that can cast long distances. 

But if you don’t need a reel that casts that far, skip it – extra length in this regard isn’t always better because you might be sacrificing in other areas. 

Bigger isn’t always better. Very few fish will run 100 yards, so don’t feel the need to tack on extra length to your casting distance. 

Choosing The Right Size

When you are looking for a good reel, you’ll notice that they come in various sizes, usually starting at 1000 and working their way up. 

Generally, the larger the number that is listed, the bigger your reel is going to be. 

Smaller sizes are better when used in freshwater fishing settings. Those that are larger have stronger drag systems and larger line capacities and spools to handle more intense saltwater fishing. 

We have reviewed some of the top spinning reel options here.

Durability Factor

Durability is one of the most important factors you can look for in a long distance surf casting reel. Having a reel that breaks in the middle of hauling in a massive fish is no fun. 

Consider reels made from long-lasting materials, like stainless steel and corrosion-resistant aluminum. You won’t regret paying a bit extra for a high-quality reel that will last you a lifetime.

Drag Strength

A good drag is often significantly more important than any other factor when buying a long-distance surf casting reel. 

There are very few reels out there that will cast 300 feet or more without the right rod and technique. 

Look for a reel with excellent drag and don’t worry so much about the line capacity of your reel. Drag always wins. 

The best reel for surfcasting will be one with at least 20 lbs of stopping power. However, the larger the fish you intend to go after, the more drag power you will need. 

Corrosion Resistance

One of the biggest issues with reels used in saltwater conditions is that they tend to wear out more quickly because of the saltwater. 

If you plan on surf fishing, always consider a corrosion-resistant reel since it will withstand prolonged exposure to the elements. 

Reels built out of corrosion-proof materials are best, as they will be better equipped at handling the abrasive effects of both sand, saltwater, and heavy surf. 

Those that are sealed or watertight, protecting vital elements like the drag system, bearings, and gears are best at preventing saltwater corrosion.

And remember, too, that even if you select a corrosion-resistant reel, it is going to need a good cleaning from time to time. 

After each fishing trip, rinse out your reel with a splash of fresh water to prevent saltwater from accumulating. 

Ball Bearings

All fishing reels have ball bearings to help provide smooth casting and retrieving. The number of bearings you have will tell you how quickly and smoothly your retrieve and casts are. 

The more ball bearings a reel has, the smoother it will be to operate. If you are surfcasting, you will want to select a reel with plenty of high-quality bearings. 

Those with anti-reverse bearings are also ideal, they will eliminate back play when you are trying to set hooks in tricky situations. 

Related: Choosing The Right Type of Fishing Reel

Gear Ratio 

Many people overlook the importance of gear ratio when shopping for a new long-distance surfcasting reel. Don’t be one of these people!

Gear ratio is important as it indicates your line retrieval and cranking powers. For example, as your gear ratio gets higher, you will have lower cranking power with a quicker line retrieval.

Conversely, if you have a low gear ratio, it will have more cranking power yet have a slower retrieval. 

If you are reeling in giant fish, keep in mind that you will need to sacrifice a bit of retrieval speed. 

A medium or average gear ratio is a good balance, as it will let you have decent retrieval with a fair amount of cranking power for big fish. 

Also Read:

What Are The Top Surf Fishing Rod and Reel Combos?

Maximize Your Catch with The Top Casting Reels

The Importance of Reel Maintenance for Longevity

Your long-distance surfcasting reel is your trusted companion on fishing adventures, and proper maintenance can make all the difference. Here’s why it matters:

Preventing Corrosion and Wear

After a day of surfcasting, your reel accumulates salt, sand, and dirt. Neglecting this can lead to corrosion and premature wear. A thorough rinse with fresh water after each trip helps prevent the corrosive effects of saltwater.

Deeper Cleaning

Periodically disassemble your reel for a deeper clean. Remove the spool and handle, and clean all components meticulously.

Pay special attention to bearings, gears, and the drag system. Use a soft brush and a reel-specific cleaner to remove stubborn dirt and grime.

Lubrication for Smooth Operation

Parts that move or rotate need proper lubrication to function smoothly. Regularly oil moving parts but avoid over-lubrication to prevent attracting more dirt.

Proper lubrication ensures that everything runs smoothly during your fishing trips.

Inspect and Replace Worn Parts

Regularly inspect your reel for wear and tear. Promptly replace any damaged or worn components.

This prevents further damage and ensures your reel performs optimally on your next adventure.

Saving Money in the Long Run

Routine maintenance prevents the need for costly replacements. It ensures that your reel continues to perform at its best.

With proper care, your long-distance surfcasting reel remains a reliable tool for years of fishing to come.

Remember, your surfcasting reel isn’t just a tool – it’s an investment in your fishing experiences. Proper maintenance keeps it in prime condition, extending its life, and preserving the joy of your fishing excursions.

Benefits of a Long-Distance Surf Casting Reel

Long-distance surfcasting for fish is an enjoyable hobby – but it can be quite abusive on your regular old fishing gear. 

Therefore, you need to shop for gear that will hold up to these demands. 

The very best long distance surfcasting reels are strong and corrosion-resistant, offering you all the torque and durability you need to handle tough fish, jagged rocks, corroding saltwater, and other harsh conditions. 

These reels aren’t for the faint of heart – but once you find the perfect one, you’ll likely have a piece of equipment that will remain in your gear arsenal for life.







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Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch bass in the States, barramundi in Australia, trout here at home, and carp on the Danube delta. If I’m not fishing, or talking about fishing, then….I’m probably asleep.

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