Activities The Great Outdoors Top 5 Brands of Saltwater Reels Share PINTEREST Email Print Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images The Great Outdoors Fishing Gear Freshwater Fishing Saltwater Fishing Fish Species Hiking Climbing Skiing Snowboarding Surfing Paddling Sailing Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Learn More By Tom Gatch Tom Gatch has over 20 years of experience as a writer focusing on saltwater fishing in Southern California and Baja. He authored the book "Hooked on Baja." our editorial process Tom Gatch Updated March 29, 2019 While it is certainly true that the new heavy duty saltwater spinning reels out on the market have come into their own as consistently effective tools for wrestling fish over the rail, it is still a fact that nothing beats a high quality conventional reel when it comes to targeting trophy class gamesters. It may require a lot more practice to learn how to avoid getting a backlash or to make a long cast with one than it does with a spinning reel, but when battling big fish weighing 40 pounds or more, most veteran anglers would still prefer using a well-known conventional reel to get the job done. Here are 5 top brands; since all of them are well made products and many anglers have their own personal favorites, they have been listed in alphabetical order as described by Melton International. Accurate The Accurate Platinum TwinDrag 2-speed reel was the very first big game reel to have drags on both sides of the spool. By dispersing the drag friction over the surface of the two drag plates (instead of just one), the Twin Drag keeps pressure constant during long and drawn out battles. Accurate has engineered a fishing reel that will set a totally new standard of performance for big game reels. This is a serious offshore reel with uncompromised integrity and unfailing quality. Avet For years, anglers have been practically begging for a high speed, 2-speed, lever-drag reel in the 20 lb. class. The release of the Avet MX 2-Speed Reel made this a reality. With a blazing fast 6.3:1 high gear ratio, the capacity to pull 10 lbs of drag at strike (up to 16 lbs at "sunset"), Avet's carbon-fiber and stainless drag system, and a weight of only 18.2 oz., this reel has revolutionalized light tackle angling! The Avet MX Single Speed is a fantastic choice for anglers looking for a quality lever-drag reel in the 12-20 lb class. Includes rod mount clamp. Daiwa Daiwa Saltist Black Gold Reels offer a host of durability and performance features that make Saltist BG an exceptional value in a quality saltwater reel. Features include: Aluminum one-piece frame and side plate, Four CRBB corrosion resistant ball bearings, plus roller bearing, Protective anodized finish, Ultimate Tournament carbon drag (UTD), Infinite Anti-Reverse, Machined aluminum spool, Centrifugal anti-backlash control, and Spool click selector. Penn The Penn International VW Single Speed Series; upgraded with all the improvements in function and performance designed for and proven by Penn’s workhorse International V Series. In addition to the existing 50VW, 50lb class reel, the lineup includes the 30VW rated as a 30lb class offering to the hardcore angler. Shimano Shimano TLD-IIA Reels are powerful, light and durable can quickly describe Shimano’s new TLD 2-Speed lever-drag reel series. Each Shimano TLD-IIA reel features Shimano’s patented 2-speed shifting mechanism and A-RB anti-rust bearings, along with unique handles to provide comfort and fish-fighting advantages. The A-RB bearings provide the corrosion resistance needed for saltwater use, plus anglers will appreciate the cranking ease of the ergonomic Power Handle on the 20 and 30 size reels, and the offset ergonomic Power Grip on the 50 size reels. Construction features on all four reels include stamped graphite frames, graphite sideplates, an aluminum spool, a loud clicker and rod clamp. Although these 5 rank among the most trusted manufacturers of conventional fishing reels, there are certainly several other well made products that are offered by well-known companies such as Abu Garcia, Okuma and Newell. In the final analysis, it is up to each individual angler to determine which particular features and price range fits the requirements of the type of fishing that they plan to do.