What Is The Optimal Reel Size For Surf Fishing You Should Use?

Surf fishing doesn’t get easier, especially if you don’t have enough budget to acquire the right gear. One crucial factor to consider for surf fishing is the surf fishing reel size which is produced in different sizes.

Choosing the right reel size is essential because it helps you to cast a long distance when the fish is many yards away from the shoreline. 

If you are new to surf fishing, you’ll want to choose a lovely spinning or baitcasting reel. But getting to the store, you’ll be overwhelmed with the different variations of reel sizes on offer.

Selecting the right reel size at the moment may be tricky, especially when you are on a budget. The question is: what is the optimal reel size that you should use for surf fishing?

The optimum reel size for surf fishing is 4000-6000 (or 40-60). The reels are capable of capturing most fish species and even monster fishes. Though, it is true that the bigger the reel, the better. But because of fatigue and cost, larger reels are challenging to control on the shore.

This article explains the surf fishing reel and how to pick the right reel size for the best surf fishing. Continue reading to learn more about surf fishing and fishing reels.

Can You Put Any Reel On Any Rod?

New anglers are always curious as to whether one can use any reel for any fishing rod. Maybe you recently purchased a fishing rod or had a fishing rod and wanted to purchase a reel or vice versa.

The heartbreaking answer is that it is impossible to use just any reel on any rod. The reel guild is not universal, and it is crucial to match the right reel to the right rod.

Every type of fishing reel requires a specific type of rod for it to function at its best. For instance, there is no way a big baitcasting reel will fit into a medium or small casting rod, it is practically impossible.

In another instance, A reel size 1000 cannot function well with a 12ft rod because they are made for a different rod. So, to effectively utilize your reel, you must match the reel to the rod. A fly reel should match a fly rod, a spinning reel should match a spinning rod, and a casting reel should match a casting rod.

However, there is a possibility of a mix-matching up to some level. Spinning reels are versatile and can be matched with a surf fishing reel. The only practical difference is the diameter of the guild. For instance, it is possible to use a spinning reel of size 4, that can work with an 8ft spinning rod for a 10ft surf fishing rod.

If you are serious about fishing, you shouldn’t be bothered about matching different reels to different rods. We wouldn’t recommend it because it won’t be as effective as matching the rod correctly.

Each type of reel is designed for a specific use and experience in mind. However, If you are on a budget and you already have a spinning reel or rod, you can try your luck by looking for the size that would match it. We have a recommendation below for a surf fishing rod.

What are the types of reels?

What are the types of reels

There are four kinds of fishing reels that anglers use depending on what, how, and where they are fishing. Although, there are three other subdivisions of the fishing reel, which we will discuss separately in this article. Here are the types of reels:

  1. Spinning reel
  2. Baitcasting reel
  3. Spin casting reel
  4. Fly fishing reel
  5. surfcasting reels
  6. offshore reels
  7. Trolling or conventional reel

Each type of reel has a distinct feature that makes them suited for a specific purpose.

1. Spincasting Reel

The spin casting reel is inexpensive, straightforward to use, and suitable for beginner or casual fishers.

If you are new to fishing or have a kid that is eager to try out fishing, you should purchase the spin casting reel. But if you want to take your fishing to the next level, you should purchase a more expensive reel like a spinning reel or baitcasting reel.

The spin casting reel has a spool that is enclosed as the line unwinds. The reel also has a release button for casting the bait. Apart from the fact, the spool is enclosed, it also has a fixed spool that does not rotate when casting, which may cause line twisting. The benefit of spin casting is that it allows beginners to fish with lighter lures.

Like every other reel, this reel also has its disadvantages. One of them is that you sometimes can not cast as far as you would because of its limited line capacity, so it’s not suitable for surf fishing. Another disadvantage is that it is practically impossible to fish for big game fish like Tuna. It is designed to catch small fish.

2. Spinning Reel

A spinning reel is the most popular and versatile fishing reel in the world. They are often referred to as eggbeaters because of their whipping action. The spinning reel is our go-to reel anytime we go out to fish. Not only because of its versatility but also because it is dependable and straightforward to use.

Many anglers, including professionals, also prefer the spinning reel in most situations for these reasons. The spinning reel is ideal for any kind of fishing. Like every other fishing reel, the spinning reel is produced in varying sizes and can be used for general-purpose fishing. It can be used to catch big game fish on the shore.

The spinning reel is so unique in its design, unlike every other reel in the market. The spinning reel has a fixed spool, and its rotor arm rotates around the spool to spin the line back onto it. One disadvantage of the fixed spool over the rotating ones is that it doesn’t cast farther enough with a better drag system, and most significantly, it does suffer from line twists.

The spinning reel is also unique in the sense that it attaches to the rod from below. And it also features an open-face design with its drag adjustment located at the top. The bail, which guild the line back to the spool, prevents the line from unwinding from the spool. 

3. Baitcasting Reel

The baitcasting reel is also a popular reel among experienced anglers because of its advanced features and sensitivity. Another trait that separates it from other reels is that it doesn’t twist the line and the spool rotates as the line unwinds.

The mechanism for casting is different from the spin casting reel because it requires the user to hold down the spool with the thumb to stop the unwinding line. Unlike the spin casting reel, there is no press the release button for casting the line.

The baitcasting reel is packed with many benefits; it doesn’t twist the line, unlike the spin casting and spinning reel. The reel also comes with great power, which allows a greater distance casting.

Another benefit is that the reel gives you more control and accuracy when casting. This reason makes it suitable for fishing big game fish like Tuna or sailfish.

The baitcasting reel is expensive and can take you a long time to master compared to a spinning reel. As a beginner, it is not ideal to start with this type of reel. However, it is worth the time you dedicate to learning the excellent gear. When you have finally mastered the reel, you will always want to use it because of its accuracy and power.

4. Fly Fishing Reels

Fly fishing reel offers some of the most accurate castings among every other reel. When fly fishing, you need to cast your line accurately to your desired location. For this reason, the fly fishing reel comes engineered for precision and accuracy. They are mainly designed to cast artificial lures with very little weight.

The fly reel design is similar to that of the center pin, an old traditional fishing reel used by anglers in the past. It comprises a single spool that rotates around a center pin designed to efficiently handle thick fly fishing lines.

The fly fishing line comes in different sizes, a wide range of sizes and strengths, built for fish of various sizes, ranging from brook to salmon. The reel is simple, durable, and reliable. If you are looking to purchase a once-in-a-lifetime fishing reel, a fly fishing reel is right for you.

5. Offshore Reel

As mentioned earlier, the offshore reel is a subdivision of the other reel types. They are either baitcasting or spinning reels, designed to be tough, strong, and durable. Furthermore, they can withstand the harshest offshore condition that an ordinary baitcasting reel or spinning reel cannot. 

The offshore reel is very expensive because of its ability to withstand situations that would ordinarily damage other fishing reels. It has enhanced saltwater corrosion protection that protects it from the corrosive nature of the saltwater. In addition, it is exceptionally capable of landing large fish species, such as Tuna or sailfish.

6. Trolling Or Conventional Reels

The trolling reel also called big game reel, or conventional reel is used for offshore trolling of big game fish like sailfish and deep-sea fish. It is also used for freshwater trolling for muskies or salmon in some cases. 

The conventional reel has a straightforward design but with a rotating spool. That’s not all; the fishing equipment also packs the ability to hold many heavy-duty braided lines. 

One of the vital features that the trolling reel maintains is its “powerful and smooth drag system.” The benefit of the offering is for handling extended battles with vast and giant fish species. Apart from the easily adjustable drag system (either with a lever or star system), the reel also has considerable potential for a heavy-pound braid.

A handy feature of big game reels is their dual-speed system. You can always switch to low speed while struggling to land big catches or a higher speed when you need to retrieve your lure rapidly.

7. Surfcasting Reel

Surf fishing reels are not a reel type per se. However, like the offshore reels, they are variations of one of the two main reel types, spinning reel or baitcasting reel, which you can use on the shore. The reel is modified to have long-distance casting performance and to handle big game fish on the shore.

Surfcasting reels, designed based on the baitcasting reel, have a big, round spool that can hold many lines. Interestingly, the reels are capable of casting long distances. Furthermore, like the baitcasting reels, they are also more challenging to master. But when you master it, you can achieve record distances with the reels.

The surfcasting reel can handle significant stress from large game fish species, such as Tuna and Sailfish. That’s not all; it is also capable of withstanding the harsh saltwater condition.  

A surfcasting reel made of graphite has exceptional anti-corrosive properties. However, there are a few cases where you’ll find surfcasting reels available in Aluminium material.

Since that’s the case, it is advisable to check the model of the casting reel to know the type you’re choosing. That said, if you choose a model made of aluminum, check that it’s anodized aluminum, and ensure you wipe off the saltwater after usage.

Apart from the capacity to resist corrosive saltwater and sand, surf fishing reels also provide high line capacity and long-distance casting. In surf fishing baitcasting, this is achieved with an extensive round spool design, which can hold a long line length. 

To get the best performance from a surf fishing reel, make sure you use it together with a rod designed explicitly for surfcasting. 

Finally, a surf fishing reel must be large enough to battle large fish species such as rays, sharks, and striped bass.

How Do You Pick The Right Size Reel?

Deciding on what spinning reel to buy can be challenging if you are new to fishing, but it’s not supposed to be. We believe you understand that different reel manufacturers produce different reels that perform best for different fishing conditions. How can you determine the best size reel for your need?

As for me, every reel size is the right size because all of them are designed for a specific purpose in mind, and if a particular size meets your fishing requirement, then it is the right size for you.

Let’s determine what reel size is best for you. First, you’ll need to consider some sure things which is:

  • Do you already have a rod to pair with it?
  • What type of fish are you pursuing?
  • How is your fishing technique, and how far do you intend to cast?

These are some of the many questions you’ll need to ask yourself to determine what type of reel is right for you.

Firstly, if you have already purchased a rod or have a rod, it becomes easier. On most modern rods, just above the grip, you will find a series of letters with the brand name and recommended weight line for different reel sizes. It is essential to match the rod with the correct reel afterward.

Furthermore, if your target fish are giant fishes, it is advisable to go for a large reel. A small reel is also ideal for small species of fish. However, we suggest a mid-sized reel because it handles just about any fish type except for giant fishes like Tuna. 

In addition, depending on how far you will be fishing, you want to consider a reel spool that can house enough lines. For instance, if you use a large reel size and put a small size line on it, it will be out of balance. The same goes if you put an extensive size line on a small size reel. So you have to consider these before you purchase your next reel.

 You can also visit a local tackle shop for recommendations based on your fishing need or check reel manufacturer recommendations. Indeed, most local shops will give you good advice depending on your fishing intentions. Bear in mind that you don’t want to pick a reel size that is too small for your type of fishing. We recommend you go with something slightly bigger.

What Size Reel For Surf Fishing Should You Use?

What Size Reel For Surf Fishing Should You Use

The answer to this question depends on so many factors, such as the species of fish, the shore structure, the type of fishing line, fatigue, and your budget.

Among them all, the most crucial factor to consider is the fishing line. First, you’ll need a thick line to withstand the stress of the fish, If your target is bigger fish like Tuna.

Additionally, you should consider the shore structure; how far apart is the shore from your target? Most shore requires lines that can go farther enough. At least you’ll need 220 yards (200 meters) casting distance of the fishing reel in some cases.

When you have figured out your desired fishing line, the choice of fishing reel becomes easier. If your fishing technique requires catching bigger fish or casting long distances, you should consider purchasing a large reel size. However, if you need to catch small to mid-sized fish and don’t mind casting beside the shore bank, there is no point in acquiring the largest reel size.

Furthermore, many anglers often purchase mid-sized reels alongside bigger reel sizes as a backup because of fatigue. The larger reel size is used to cast a long distance, while the mid-sized reel is used to cast a small distance.

The price of the reel can also be a significant deciding factor. The first thing we advise new anglers is to avoid buying a cheap or unknown brand reel. All things being equal, large reels are more expensive than smaller reels except if the reel is a counterfeit. You want to buy a reel that is not cheap but still within your budget. 

If you ask us what size reel is best for surf fishing? Our recommendation is the mid-size surf fishing gear, which is 4000 to 6000 (40 to 60) sizes. However, the recommendation is based on personal opinion and according to what many anglers prefer. That said, you need to determine your preferred fishing reel size based on your fishing intention.

Here is a recommendation that will help you make a better decision to pick a reel size for surf fishing. We shall start with the smallest reel size and then walk our way to a large size reel.

Medium size Surf fishing reel

Reel sizeSurf Rod RecommendationRecommended Mono Line StrengthRecommended Braid Line StrengthRecommended Species
4000 or 4010ft surf rod8-12lb (4kg-6kg)8-20lbCatfish, Muskie, Snook, Redfish, Snapper
5000 or 5010ft surf rod10-14lb (5kg-7kg)10-25lbCatfish, Muskie, Snook, Redfish, Snapper
6000 or 6010-12ft surf rods.10-14lb (5kg-7kg)10-25lbCatfish, Muskie, Snook, Redfish, Snapper

Large size Surf fishing reels

Reel sizeSurf Rod RecommendationRecommended Mono Line StrengthRecommended Braid Line StrengthRecommended Species
7000 or 70Surf fishing rod of 11-12ft14-18lb (7kg-9kg)15-40lbStriped Bass, Salmon, Snook, Redfish (Red Drum)
8000 or 8012ft for surf,16-20lb (8kg-10kg)20-50lbWahoo, Roosterfish, Dorado, Barracuda, Amberjack
9000 or 9012ft for surf18-22lb (9kg-11kg)30-50lbWahoo, Roosterfish, Dorado, Barracuda, Amberjack

Biggest-size Surf fishing reels

Reel sizeSurf Rod RecommendationRecommended Mono Line StrengthRecommended Braid Line StrengthRecommended Species
10000 or 10012ft-13ft20-25lb (10kg-12.5kg)30-60lbTuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark
12000 or 12013ft28lb+ (14kg+)30-60lbTuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark
14000 or 14013ft28lb+ (14kg+)30-60lbTuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark
16000 or 16013ft-14ft32lb+ (16kg+)40-70lbTuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Shark
20000 or 20014ft-15ft40lb+ (20kg+)50-80lbSailfish, Tuna (large species), Tarpon, Giant Trevally

It is worth noting that the above recommendation is for a surf fishing rod and it differs from a spinning rod.

4000 vs. 5000 Reel Size: What Is The Difference?

The 4000 and the 5000 reels can withstand harsh saltwater conditions. However, the significant differences between them are listed below.

  • The 4000 reel size is slightly cheaper and lighter than the 5000 reel size.
  • The 5000 reel size has enough drag and line capacity than the 4000 reel size.

5000 vs. 6000 Reel Size: What Is The Difference?

Both the 5000 and 6000 reel sizes have almost the same setup, and the handling feels the same. The only difference between the two is the line capacity which is more in the 6000 reels. The 6000 reel type can hold up to 300 yards of line, but the 5000 reel type only holds up to 225 yards.

How Do You Match A Reel With an A-Rod?

How Do You Match A Reel With an A-Rod

As we earlier mentioned, it is crucial to match the right reel to the right rod for proper functioning. Here are essential tips that will help you to match the right reel to the right rod.

1. Determine In Advance What You Need

Before you go to a store to purchase a new reel and rod, you need to determine the most suitable ones for your needs. You can list out what you want to achieve with the rod and the reel. After making your decision, purchase the fishing rod first. It will guild you when you need to acquire the reel.

2. Take The Rod With You To The Store

If you have purchased a rod, you can take it to a local fishing store for assistance. Apart from that, it is better to take it along to match them before you purchase.

Check the length and line recommendation on the rod; you can find it just below the grip. You can use the recommendation to match the reel with the rod appropriately.

For instance, you can see 14-18 lbs which means that the rod can use 14 to 16 pounds of test lines. Once you know the recommended line on the rod, you can use our reel size recommended mono line strength to determine the correct surf fishing reel that works with the same line strength.

Shop Brands If You Can

There are chances that a company’s reel size can be different from other companies’. Many brands are not true to size, and you must avoid them for your good.

Buy popular brands if you can and avoid buying cheap, low-quality brands. Big brands are going to give you an accurate recommendation. However, the best way to go is to mount the reel on the rod.

3. Mount The Reel On The Rod And Check It Out

Sometimes, you’ll think you have picked the correct size reel that would match the rod until you try it out. You will be disappointed to know that they don’t fit properly.

After you have determined the reel that works, check if they align correctly. If it feels good in your hand and is easy to cast, then it is a proper match. But if the rod feels awkward and excessively off balance, it is probably a poor match.