Four Great Light-Tackle Spinning Reels for Inshore Saltwater Fishing

The debate between whether spinning reels or bait caster reels are better for light-tackle fishing near shore is an ongoing argument. Many fishermen, though, believe spinning reels to be preferable, due to the better accuracy and greater casting distance they are able to achieve with them.

I have found light-tackle spinning reels are reels that are ideal for inshore saltwater angling. Line capacity and strength in the 8- to 15-pound test range make them good for a variety of fish.

The following list discusses four of my favorite light-tackle spinning reels that I have had good success with for inshore fishing. 

Be aware that manufacturer's discontinue or change the branding of reel lines frequently. Sometimes these changes are meaningful ones that add features the reels, while other times it is more or less cosmetic and done purely for marketing reasons. You may very well find particular reels still widely available at retailers even though the manufacturer has stopped making them. If you have trouble finding a particular reel, consult the manufacturer, or ask the clerk at your sporting good store to recommend a substitute from the same manufacturer. 

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Shimano Symetre 1500

Shimano Symetre 1500

This reel comes from the midrange of Shimano's spinning reels. It has four ball bearings and Shimano's Super Stopper II anti-reverse rollers and interchangeable left- or right-hand retrieves, a standard Shimano feature. The Symetre design is known for being ultralight and compact, due to the use of graphite components. 

Some fishermen--presumably those with larger hands--do find that the Symetre line has insufficient clearance while cranking, cause them to bang their knuckles while retrieving. 

Editor's Note: Shimano has now discontinued manufacture of this line of reels, though you can still find them for sale at some retailers. If you cannot find this particular reel, try the new Baitrunner line. 

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Daiwa Black Gold BG15

Daiwa's Black Gold Series can handle any saltwater fishing you have. Though the entire BG line is called "Heavy Action," the BG15 is toward the light end of the line but still accepts 10- 12- and 14-lb. test line, with a maximum drag of 13.2 lb. 

I have used these reels for a number of years with very good results.

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Penn Slammer 460 Reel

This is a bit of a heavyweight among light spinning reels, but it is Penn quality with a solid metal housing. Introduced in 2006, it has a very smooth 5-ballbearing action and a maximum drag of 14 lb. 

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Shakespeare Catera Spinning Reel

This is a relatively low priced reel that really works as well its higher priced cousins. The six bearings make it very smooth.

Editor's Note: This product line has also been discontinued by the manufacturer, though it continues to be available at various retailers, especially on-line merchants. If you can't find it, consider Shakespeare's replacement reel line, the Contender 235, which has all the merits of the Catera.