What Size Reel For Surf Fishing? Right Size Spinning Reel

by Homer F. Obrien

Have you ever stood on the shoreline, casting your line out into the waves, and wondered, “What size reel for surf fishing for the best catch?” It’s a pertinent question that can make or break your fishing experience.

This guide is crafted precisely to answer that and much more. We delve into why the size of your reel matters, the factors to consider when choosing the right one, and even tackle some commonly asked queries.

So whether you’re surfcasting at high tide or fishing for snook from the surf, we’ve got you covered. Ready to reel in the best catch? Let us dive headfirst into the task at hand!

what size reel for surf fishing

What Is Reel For Surf Fishing?

Reels for surf fishing are specialized equipment used to catch fish in the sea.

This reel type accommodates the additional power needed when dealing with strong ocean waves, currents, and larger-than-average catches. They come in various sizes, from lightweight models perfect for shore fishing to heavy-duty reels to handle extreme surf conditions. Whatever your style of fishing, there’s a reel for you! Now, let’s examine the significance of size and explore the process of selecting the appropriate one.

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Why Does Size Reel For Surf Fishing Matter?

reel for surf fishing

Choosing the right size reel is essential to successful surf fishing, as it affects everything from casting distance and line control to drag settings and power. A reel can make it easier to manage your line, while too small one won’t give you the strength or capacity needed to fight larger catches.

The size of the reel also affects how much line you can spool on, which impacts casting distance and the setting of drag. All these factors significantly affect your success – so picking the right size reel for surf fishing is essential!

What Size Reel For Surf Fishing?

fishing reel

The size of a reel for surf fishing you should use depends on several factors, from the structure of the beach and your target species to the type of line you’re using.

Generally speaking, it’s best to opt for a medium-sized spool spinning reel to have maximum control over drag settings and casting distance while still having enough power to handle larger catches.

If you’re targeting bigger fish, consider going for a more enormous reel – but be sure to choose one that’s still manageable and easy to work with.

Factors To Consider When Choosing What Size Spinning Reel For Surf Fishing

When selecting the right size spinning reel for surf fishing, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.

The Structure Of the Beach

The structure of the beach you are fishing on is essential when considering what size reel to use. A larger reel may be necessary if it’s a wide, open beach with bigger waves and more intense currents. If you’re fishing from a smaller beach with milder waves, you’d likely prefer something lighter and easier to handle. Be sure to consider the beach’s structure before selecting a size reel.

The Targeted Fish

Knowing what fish species you’re targeting can also help you decide on the size of your reel. If you’re fishing in waters with larger, more robust species, you’ll need something with a bigger spool and additional power. However, a lighter reel should suffice if your target species are smaller or less aggressive. Considering the fish’s size will help you choose the correct spinning reel for surf fishing.

The Fishing Line

The type of line you’re using can also affect the size reel for surf fishing that you choose. Generally, you’ll need an enormous reel if your fishing line is heavier or thicker. This will help ensure proper line control and manageability.

Conversely, lighter lines may require smaller reels to eliminate unwarranted strain or drag. Before making your final decision, it is imperative to consider the type of line you plan to use. This thoughtful consideration will greatly enhance your decision-making process.

The Setting Of Drag

An often overlooked aspect of choosing the right size reel is the setting of drag. This refers to the tension put on your line and will depend mainly on the power of the waves you’re dealing with.

The bigger they are, the more drag you’ll need to prevent breaking your line. In this case, a larger reel may be necessary to accommodate the additional power and drag settings needed for successful fishing.

Pros And Cons Of Using A Large Size Reel For Surf Fishing

Using a larger reel for surf fishing can offer several advantages but also some potential drawbacks. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons:


  • Larger reels provide increased line capacity, allowing you to cast further and with more control.
  • They can handle bigger catches more efficiently and stronger waves and currents.
  • Larger reels provide more power for setting the drag, which can help prevent line breakage when fishing in challenging conditions.


  • They are heavier and bulkier than smaller reels, making them tedious to manage and maneuver.
  • Extra weight also makes it harder to cast farther and more accurately, especially over longer periods.
  • Bigger reels can be pricey, so better options for those on a budget may exist.

Overall, larger-size reels for surf fishing can offer plenty of benefits, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding. Taking into account factors such as the structure of the beach, targeted fish species, and type of line can help you choose a size reel that best fits your needs.

Baitcaster Reel Vs Spinning Reel – Which One Is Best For Surf Fishing?

Baitcaster and spinning reels are popular for surf fishing, but which is best? Here’s an overview:

Baitcaster Reel

Baitcaster reels have a few key advantages over spinning reels for surf fishing. Here are some of the pros:<

  • They provide better casting accuracy and control, which is particularly helpful in areas with strong currents and waves.
  • Baitcasters are generally more durable than spinning reels, making them less likely to break down when faced with more challenging conditions.
  • They have a larger line capacity, allowing you to cast over longer distances more accurately and precisely.

On the other hand, bait caster reels can be difficult to manage and maneuver, especially for novice anglers. Additionally, they tend to be heavier than spinning reels, making them less preferable for long fishing sessions.

Spinning Reel

Spinning reels are an excellent alternative for surf fishing, offering several advantages over bait caster reels. Here’s an overview of the pros:

  • They’re lightweight and easy to maneuver, even for novice anglers.
  • Spinning reels are easier to cast with and require less effort than bait casters.
  • They offer exceptional cost-effectiveness, positioning them as a prudent option for budget-conscious individuals.

On the downside, bait casters are more accurate and precise than spinning reels, especially when fishing in areas with strong currents and waves. Additionally, they may have a different level of durability or line capacity than bait casters, In more demanding conditions, the choice of reel size can pose challenges. Both spinning reels and baitcasting reels offer advantages and drawbacks. Ultimately, the decision on the best option for you rests on your specific requirements and preferences.

How Do You Identify The Size Of A Fishing Reel?

Figuring out the size of a fishing reel is straightforward. Here are some tips to help you identify what size reel you have:

  • Look for the manufacturer’s logo or name on the reel’s body. This should indicate its size and model number.
  • Want to determine the size of the reel? Just measure the circumference of the spool – it’s that simple! Easy peasy!
  • Check for a size designation, such as “1000,” on the side or underside of the spool. This will indicate whether it’s a small, medium or large reel.

You can also check online resources to identify the size of your fishing reel. Many manufacturers have sizing charts on their websites, and helpful reviews and guides are available on third-party websites.

What Are Some Types Of Reels Available For Surf Fishing?

surf fishing reel size

When choosing a size reel for surf fishing, several options are available. Here’s an overview of the different types of reels you can choose from:

Reel TypeDescription
Spinning ReelsThese are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them great for beginners. They also happen to be more budget-friendly.
Baitcaster ReelsThese are more accurate and precise when casting, but they require more experience to use correctly.
Conventional ReelsConventional reels are heavier and bigger than spinning reels, offering extra power and line capacity.
Fly ReelsFly reels are ideal for small and light lures and provide smooth and precise line control.

Each reel type has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to consider your needs before choosing. Factors such as cast distance, targeted fish species, budget, and skill level can help you decide which reel is right for you.

What Are Some Of The Best Brands Of Spinning Reel For Surf Fishing?

There are many different brands when choosing a spinning reel for surf fishing. Here are some of the best brands available:

  • Shimano: Shimano’s reels are known for their durability and smooth operation. There is a wide range of models available at different price points, providing ample choices for selection.
  • Abu Garcia: These reels are lightweight yet powerful, offering great value for the money. They’re also known for their smooth drag systems and reliability in challenging conditions.
  • Daiwa: Daiwa has been making quality reels since 1955, so they have plenty of experience. Their reels are made with top-grade materials and offer excellent performance even in harsh environments.
  • Penn: Penn is one of the most renowned brands for spinning reels, offering models that are well-suited to both beginners and experienced anglers.

Irrespective of the brand selected, conducting a thorough review before making a purchase is crucial and paramount. This practice guarantees optimal value for your investment and helps you find a reel that aligns seamlessly with your specific requirements.

When Should You Purchase A New Surf Fishing Reel?

When your current reel exhibits signs of wear and tear or no longer meets optimal performance standards, it may be advisable to consider acquiring a replacement.

Look for things like frayed lines, worn-out drag components, and broken handles – if any of these are present, you should consider investing in a new reel.

Additionally, if the overall weight of the reel feels too heavy or the spool is larger than your needs, consider upgrading to a more appropriate size.

Finally, investing in a new reel is recommended if you want to upgrade to a newer model with additional features.

FAQs about What Size Reel for Surf Fishing

Q: How big of a reel should you use for high-tide surf fishing?

A: Using an enormous reel with more line capacity is best if you’re fishing in high tide conditions. This will give you more accuracy and precision when casting and the extra power needed to pull larger catches out of the water. Look for reels with a minimum size of 3000 or 4000 for optimal performance.

Q: What size reel should you use to surf cast when the tide is low?

A: When the tide is low, you can avoid using a smaller reel. Aim for a size between 2000 and 2500 – this will give you enough distance to cast while still being lightweight and easy to maneuver. Additionally, since the waves are usually calmer during low tide, accuracy won’t be as necessary, so you don’t need to focus on a reel with precision capabilities.

Q: How big of a reel should you use while surf fishing for sharks and tarpon?

A: For Sharks and Tarpon, you need a reel that can hold up to heavy winds and waves – something with a size of 4000 or larger is ideal. You’ll also want to look for a reel with higher line capacity, as these fish tend to be much bigger than other species. Additionally, look for reels with heavy-duty drag systems that won’t break under pressure. You can land a big catch even in harsh conditions with a suitable reel.

Q: What size reel should you employ while snook fishing from the surf?

A: Snook fishing from the surf is best done with a medium size reel. Look for reels between 3000 and 4000 in size – this will give you enough power to cast farther out while still being lightweight and easy to maneuver. Additionally, since snook tends to be smaller than other species, you won’t have to worry about line capacity as much, so you can get away with a smaller reel size. With the right gear, you’ll be reeling in snooks like a pro in no time!

Q: What do a fishing reel’s specs and numbers mean?

A: Fishing reel specs and numbers refer to a variety of factors. The size is typically indicated by numbers like 1000, 2000, 3000, etc., while the gear ratio indicates the speed at which the line can be reeled in per turn of the handle. Other details, such as bearing count and drag system, are essential in determining how well your reel will perform. To get the best results, it’s crucial to understand how these specs and numbers impact your fishing experience. Through thorough research, you can identify the optimal reel that aligns with your specific requirements.

Q: What are some of the best fishing lines for surf fishing?

A: Monofilament and braided lines are two of the best options for surf fishing. Monofilament is flexible and easy to handle, but it has some stretch that can limit its effectiveness for certain species. The braided line is thicker and more durable, offering greater casting accuracy. The Fluorocarbon line is a solid pick, since it’s low-key underwater and can handle some serious wear and tear.

Read more: Best Surf Fishing Line: Mono, Braid or Fluoro?


What size reel for surf fishing is the best choice? The answer depends on various factors, such as your budget, skill level, target fish species, and cast distance. Understanding the specs and features of various reel models before selecting is essential.

Additionally, research reviews for the brands you’re considering to get the best value for your money.

You’ll enjoy a successful and rewarding fishing experience with the right gear. Good luck, and happy fishing!

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