Best Inshore Spinning Reels (2021 Review)

Inshore fishing can get a bad rap from the offshore anglers. They argue that if you’re going to be fishing saltwater then you should be out deep chasing big, bad fish. However, not everyone can have a boat with six outboards on the back. 

Best Inshore Spinning Reels

  1. Okuma Inspira Inshore Reel
  2. LEWS Fishing TPI400
  3. Penn Pursuit III
  4. Penn Spinfisher
  5. Kastking Megatron

Also, you could make the argument that inshore is just as, if not more exciting than offshore fishing. There is a wide array of fish you can target for inshore and you can even catch large fish there as well.

If you want to make it even more challenging than you can use a smaller inshore rod and reel. Allowing you to play the fish instead of having a rod and reel that allows you to just rip a fish out of the water.

So, if inshore fishing sounds good to you then check out the article below. We’re going to be talking about some different inshore fishing reels. Each has its own pros and cons so think about what you need then check out the list!

First, let’s go over quickly a little bit more about what an inshore fishing reel is and how it can benefit you on the water.

What Is An Inshore Fishing Reel

An inshore fishing reel is a piece of equipment that is made to be used in water that is thirty meters or shallower. Typically these are smaller than other offshore reels and do not have a drag system that is as strong, or are large enough to hold mass amounts of heavy line.

The drag system on these reels is also sealed. Allowing you to fish in saltwater without corroding your drag system. So, before taking a reel out into saltwater, you should ensure that the saltwater spinning reel is saltwater approved. Otherwise, you will be looking at a rusty and corroded reel.

Oftentimes there are a lot of different corrosive elements that could make your reel break down. That’s why you need a reel that is for saltwater.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re getting a reel that will work well with braided lines. Some reels have a difficult time with spooling braid onto it. If you do not have one then you need to put a base of monofilament on there first. This allows you to easily spool the braid without any issue.

When Should You Use Them?

If you plan on doing fishing in a marina, off a jetty, from the shore, or from a dock you’ll be using a reel that should be made for inshore fishing. A large and clunky offshore could be used but it just makes it more difficult and will lead to a more frustrating day out on the water.

So, a smaller reel that is made to hold a 20lb monofilament line or slightly larger is going to be your best bet. Again, it may only hold 20lb mono, but the braid is going to be much stronger. So you could have a 50lb braid on the reel and be perfectly fine.

Ensure you are putting the correct amount of line on for the line capacity. A high-quality reel will have it printed somewhere along the aluminum body near the side plate.

What Type Of Fish Will You Be Targeting

The beauty of inshore fishing is that you could be targeting any number of fish. There are so many different species in shallow water that you could catch tiny fish that are only a few pounds to really big fish that could weigh 50 pounds or larger.

The most popular species you’ll find are going to be drum, snapper, trout, and flounder. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t also catch other species. Inshore fishing is a great time to learn about the different types of fish that line in your area and you can easily target all of them.

What Reel Size Is Best

This all depends on what size fish you’re going after, or how well of an angel you are. A more seasoned fisherman can use a smaller rod and reel to land a large fish. It takes a lot of practice to do this so it is not recommended for new anglers.

Usually, though most anglers will match the size of the reel to the size of the fish they plan on targeting. A large reel if they want to go after bull reds, or something smaller if they are targeting speckled trout or small flounder.

Really, it all depends on what your goals are as an angler and what your level of expertise is. Feel free to play around with different sizes to see which one you like the best.

Pairing A Reel With Your Rod

If you purchase an ultra-light reel, then you’ll also want to purchase a rod of the same size. If you put a heavy rod with a heavy reel will ensure that you are optimizing the abilities of both the rod and the reel. Which is something you want when you look into the personal best fish.

The same applies if you plan on using some lightweight rod and reel. Pair them together with some nice light braided line so you can ensure your reel works properly and you’ll lose much less fish than if paired it differently.

What To Look For When Purchasing An Inshore Reel

Below, we’re going to go over some different things that you should be looking for when purchasing your reel. Check them out below and see which features are going to be right for you!

Ball Bearings

The ball bearings inside of a reel play a major role in how well it functions. You’ll notice that often the number of ball bearings in a reel will vary. To make it easier to understand, the more ball bearings that a reel has the smoother the reel will be. So, when looking to purchase a reel try to buy one that has as many ball bearings as you can afford.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio is the number of times that the bail rotates around the aluminum spool in one hand rotation. So, if you’re looking for a reel that is going to quickly retrieve your lure then something with a gear ratio is going to be ideal.

However, a reel with a high gear ratio can be tricky when it comes to bringing in large fish, especially with a beginner. So, if you’re just starting out it might be best to start with some that have a mid-range ratio.

Best Inshore Spinning Reels Reviewed

Below, we’re going to cover some different reels. Each has its own list of pros and cons so think about what you need for your style of fishing and then apply that to the list below.

Okuma Inspira Inshore Reel

Okuma Inspira Inshore Reel

This reel comes in three different sizes. Allowing you to stick with a brand and a product while upgrading or downsizing the size. This saltwater reel is ideal for chasing speckled trout, redfish, flounder, or even freshwater species like bass, catfish, or steelhead.

This is a great all-around reel that is going to help you catch fish no matter where you might be. The frame is made of carbon fiber. So it is 50% stronger than traditional graphite reel frames. While also being 25% lighter. Giving you high-speed and great cranking power when reeling in fish.

It has a great gearing system and a strong maximum drag system. Along with an aluminum bail wire. 

There is also an oversized disc drag system. Allowing you to hook into and fight that large and strong saltwater fish. This is also a very durable reel. All you need to do is give the quick rinse off with fresh water after an outing and it will be good to go for years to come.

There are nicer and more expensive Okuma products but this one right here is the workhouse of the fishing reel line. It is decently priced and is strong and sturdy enough to last your fishing trip after a fishing trip.

Buy The Okuma Inspira Inshore Reel On Amazon

LEWS Fishing TPI400

LEWS Fishing TPI400

This reel has a premium 6 stainless steel ball-bearing system and 1 roller bearing. Giving you a nice smooth feel, keeping you more comfortable out on the water. The body of the reel is both strong and lightweight. Made of lightweight aluminum and a carbon skeletal rotor.

The stainless steel main shaft provides extra strength and power when fighting those big fish. The body of the reel as well as the drag system is made specifically for saltwater fishing. It will not rust and only needs a good rinsing every once in a while.

This is a braid ready spool but feel free to lay just about any line you wish on this anodized spool the S Curve oscillation allows you to line it with braid, monofilament, or even fluorocarbon. The six-disc carbon drag system will ensure you can haul in those monster fish from the depths. 

Buy The LEWS Fishing TPI400 On Amazon

Penn Pursuit III

Penn Pursuit III

There might not be a more well-known name in the fishing world than Penn. This reel comes in six different sizes. Allowing you to go small and target smaller fish with lighter lines and lures. Or you can go all the way up to the heavy-duty reels when tackling big fish.

You can always check the buyer’s guide to ensure you are using the right size for the fish you’re targeting. 

The corrosion-resistant body is perfect for saltwater fishing and can be used in brackish as well as freshwater. Allowing you to take this reel from the catfish pond to the ocean easily and quickly.

If fishing in the ocean or saltwater environment then you need to ensure you have corrosion resistance on your reel. Along with drag settings so you can customize how much tension you want to put on the fish. Your fishing gear and fishing line are important but you need to ensure you have a great reel too. 

The anti-reverse bearing eliminates rotor back play so that you can hook with fish instantly. Making it great for live bait, and gives you a smooth operation while fishing. There are not many ball bearings in this reel. There are only four, but the price and durability of the reel could outplay the fact that it is not very smooth.

Buy The Penn Pursuit III On Amazon

Penn Spinfisher

Penn Spinfisher

This is a great reel for every inshore angler. The price point could scare away some beginners, but if you want a great reel that is going to last you year after year and fish after fish then you should be considering the Penn Spinfisher.

The closed gearbox and drag system allows you to not worry at all about getting saltwater inside and corroding your internal systems. Giving you the confidence you need to get out on the water as often as possible and have faith in your equipment.

The carbon fiber drag system drag washers are strong and powerful. Giving you the strength needed when you hook into a big fish. It has a 6 ball bearing system. Making it right in the middle for the number of ball bearings in a reel. Six is a great number for a beginner.

Buy The Penn Spinfisher On Amazon

Kastking Megatron

Kastking Megatron

Coming in five different sizes the Kastking gives the consumer the option to pick any size you want. Allowing you the option to chase big or small fish in either fresh, salt water, or even brackish water.

The aluminum skeletal frame is both strong, durable, and lightweight. On top of being practical, it also looks great. Pair it with the right fishing rod and see your casting performance improve. 

Similar to the other reels on this list you can take this reel to both fresh and saltwater. Easily go out and throw worms or spinnerbaits for largemouth bass and then bring it inshore to the saltwater and chase speckled trout, or flounder.

This reel is very diverse and would be a great setup for a beginner, or even a seasoned angler.

Buy The Kastking Megatron On Amazon


Inshore fishing reels are a great way to get out and enjoy saltwater fishing without having to spend a crazy amount of money on a boat. You can easily get it from docks or even a kayak. A reel that has instant anti-reverse, with a solid max drag and a great line management system is going to be your friend and will make a great reel for inshore fishing.

Many reels nowadays even come with a super line spool. This allows you to cast further. You can usually find that information in the buying guide. 

You can also check out some of these brands if the ones above don’t meet what you’re looking for in a reel. Check out the Shimano Stradic, Daiwa, Penn Battle II, Penn Slammer, Abu Garcia Revo Inshore, or the Penn Clash, on Amazon. Also, check out any reels that have a carbon matrix drag system or a full metal body. These are very strong and great for big fish.

So, if you want to get out on the water more then check out the products above and see which one is going to be the best saltwater spinning reel for you!