Best Inshore Spinning Reels – Buyer’s Guide

Inshore fishing is the kind of fishing that takes place in water that doesn’t run too deep or too far away from the shore, usually around less than 9 miles from the shore.

It requires strong fishing equipment (rod, reel, line) that can run smoothly throughout the cast, drag, and retrieve.

Check out our guide for the best saltwater reels.

In this article, we’ll be going through the best inshore spinning reels that suit this hobby.

Best Inshore Reels: Comparison Chart

The 7 Best Inshore Spinning Reels 2019

1. Shimano Stradic HG – The Best Inshore Reel Overall

Shimano Stradic HG

The Stradic STC3000HGFK spinning real integrates Shimano’s latest technology, stays true to its past performance, and has improved parts that were designed to improve any angler’s fishing experience.

The friction between the spool shaft and gear that may cause poor performance is eliminated by the X-Ship technology that enhances gear durability, casting performance, and enables you to go for longer casts.

With Shimano’s flagship Hagane gearing and body, the STC3000HGFK is surely going to flaunt its durability, strength, and smooth performance, which suits not only inshore fishing but can also handle the offshore action.

At 8.3 oz of weight, you’d be surprised and impressed that the STC3000HGFK can handle up to 20-24 lbs of drag.

Its gear ratio is a 6:1, which is a median that allows for both heavy drags and quick retrieves, and for each crank, you retrieve 31-41 inches of the line.

It has 6 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing for added smoothness of operation.

The STC3000HGFK also comes with a Dyna-Balance rotor and Fluidrive II system with Shimano’s Propulsion Line Management System that further yet increases the smoothness of operation and casting capabilities and reduces any line-management issues.


  • Solid performance
  • Lightweight
  • Great gear system
  • Smooth rotor motion


  • Lack of an anti-reverse on/off switch
  • Bail engagement isn’t the best

Although the Shimano Stradic STC3000HGFK isn’t the most affordable inshore fishing reel on this list, it has to come first because it perfectly combines the smoothness and strength of performance.

2. Daiwa Ballistic EX – An Lightweight Inshore Fishing Reel

Daiwa Ballistic EX


Stronger, lighter, and more compact than ever, the Daiwa Ballistic BLSEX3000H comes with a strong Zaion housing which combines between being tough but lightweight. It weighs around 10.4 oz.

The machined A7075 Aircraft Grade Aluminum Digigear at the heart of the BLSEX3000H improves its smooth operation, strong build, and durability.

The Magseal which is utilized by the main shaft protects your reel from any water or debris, which makes it suitable for both freshwater and saltwater.

You can reach long casts with the Daiwa Ballistic BLSEX3000H while maintaining its smoothness thanks to the 7 bearing system (1-CRBB, 5-BB, and 1BB).

Its gear ratio isn’t the biggest at 5.6:1, which should make it more convenient for heavier drags. However, its dragging capability stops at 11-15 lbs.


  • Versatility of functions
  • Strong, durable build
  • Magseal protectivity


  • Can’t handle bigger catches

The Daiwa Ballistic BLSEX3000H can be said to be quite average in all ways. So it’s very suitable for someone who’d like to use their reel for different purposes and not focus on just one kind of fishing.

It also comes at a very affordable price that makes it good value for the money.

3. Abu Garcia Revo – Best Inshore Reel for Small Fish

Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Spinning Reel


The Abu Garcia Revo Inshore REVO2INS30 weighs around 7.9 oz and can handle drags up to 11-17 lbs. Its gear ratio is a solid 6.2:1, which makes it very handy for quick retrievals and catches.

Designed to handle hard-pulling fish and to withstand corrosive saltwater circumstances, the Abu Garcia Revo Inshore REVO2INS30 comes with an improved Insert Molded C6 (IM-C6) carbon body design and a strong machined aluminum main gear.

It also combines a Carbon Matrix drag system that maximizes the efficiency of the drag performance.

Next to the all-aluminum body, for added resistance against corrosion, the Abu Garcia Revo Inshore REVO2INS30 was engineered with 6 stainless steel HPCR bearings and 1 roller bearing.

This also enhances the super smooth performance of the reel.

The Everlast bail system ensures that the line behaves as you are willing and that there is no accidental engagement or disengagement, while the slow oscillation and Rocket line management system provide an even line lay with all types of line.

The Rocket spool lip design with the machined aluminum braid-ready spool allow your braid to be directly tied to the spool without slipping.


  • Drag system works efficiently
  • Great corrosion protection


  • Can’t cast very long

The lightweight Abu Garcia Revo Inshore REVO2INS30 can handle fish of small to medium sizes and does a great job at quick retrievals.

It doesn’t cast as long as other rivals, but its drag and line management systems work wonders.

4. Quantum Cabo PT – A Great Value Inshore Spinning Reel

Quantum Cabo PT

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Both the body and the side cover of the Quantum Cabo CSP40PTSE are made of an alloy material called SCR.

This material can endure marine engine’s torque, heat, and pressure.

This means that your reel is sure to last long with you and operate with the initial efficiency.

The 8 BT bearings made of hybrid polymer-stainless steel ceramic smoothen the retrieve as well as offer great corrosion protection. The Koyo sealed anti-reverse bearing also works on fortifying your hook up.

This reel can achieve a mighty watertight drag thanks to its sealed Magnum CSC drag which consists of a stack of carbon fiber washers on the top portion of the spool, and stainless steel washers in between.

The Quantum Cabo CSP40PTSE has a titanium bail on it which is Titanium Magnetic.

This means that when you cast, the bail is held closed with a magnet, thereby preventing accidental bail-tripping which brings the cast to an abrupt stop.

The bail also features a ball bearing line roller as a constituent of its LMS line management system that delivers ultra smooth line lay back onto the reel when combined with the magnetic trip titanium bail.

It also supports the fierce battles against the fast and hard catches like tuna fish and sharks.

Using the SaltGuard 2.0, which is a multi-layer corrosion protection system, means that your Quantum Cabo CSP40PTSE will be well-protected for years to come.

The drive gear consists of two pieces: the main one is made of stainless steel while the shaft has the oscillation drive gear engineered into it.

It does pack a lot of features into its 13.2 oz weighing body and casts 33 inches of line per crank. Its gear ratio is 5.3:1 and its maximum drag is an exceptional 30 lbs.


  • Smooth operation
  • Big drags per crank
  • Premium build quality
  • Great protection against water


  • Lack of the ceramic bearings advertised
  • Not fully sealed

Mixing quality and affordability is basically what Quantum does best. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for a larger saltwater spinning reel that is durable.

5. Shimano 4000 FG – Best Inshore Spinning Reel for Big Fish

Shimano SA4000FG Sustain FG Spinning Reel


The Hagane Gear is what makes the Shimano Sustain SA4000F so strong and sustainable –as the name implies-.

The teeth of the drive gear had no cutting work applied to it, instead, the entire surface’s details were calculated by special 3D design.

The body is also made of Hagane and is highly rigid. It’s stiff and resistant to impact, which puts an end to any body flexing. This channels all power an angler puts into cranking, which increases strength.

The Magnumlight Rotor is generally 25% lighter than rivals and requires 22% less inertia. These two elements combined result in a seamless operation and make it easier to start and stop your retrieve.

The X-Ship system maintains the fluidity of reeling regardless of the weight of the drag.

Shimano utilizes a big drive gear, optimizes the placement of the pinion and drive gears, and provides support to the pinion gear by bearings.

This vigorous gear engagement works on enabling you to catch large fish.

The Shimano Sustain SA4000F uses a water-repelling coating and an intricately designed water-channeling labyrinth construction which enhances the reel’s water-resistance without compromising the lightweight design and sleek rotor rotation.

The G-Free body technology helps shift the reel’s center of gravity towards the rod, which is also where the angler’s hand would be. This reduces the effort exerted into fishing and improves comfort.

You get a lot of drag settings and the smoothest drag performance thanks to the cross carbon drag material that the Shimano Sustain SA4000F is designed with.

The Shimano Sustain SA4000F retrieves 35-41 inches of line per crank and can drag a fish of about 24 lbs. It weighs around 10 oz and has a solid gear ratio of 6.2:1.

The S A-RB bearings (8+1) work as well as the A-RB ones, but also feature shields on either side of the bearings which prevents the salt or sand from obstructing their rotation.


  • Numerous S A-RB bearings deliver smooth operation
  • Premium build quality
  • Sustainability
  • Can handle heavy drags


  • Pricey

The Shimano Sustain SA4000F is easily one of the best choices on this list, if not the absolute best.

It combines strength, durability, sleek operation, stylish design, and a quite affordable price. It’s the absolute bargain.

6. Penn Conflict II – An Excellent Inshore Fishing Reel

 Penn Conflict II


The Penn Conflict CFT3000’s body and rotor are made of rigid resin RR30 material.

CNC technology was used to engineer its gear and reel which is machined from premium materials, that’s why it combines durability and smoothness and works with precision that never fails.

It isn’t the most stylish reel but it’s what lies beneath the surface that matters.

The 7+1 sealed stainless steel ball bearing system works on enhancing the smoothness of operation and preventing corrosion.

The drag is also sealed with an HT-100 drag system and works smoothly with a Penn drag clicker.

It has a machined and anodized aluminum Superline spool that gives you space for longer casts and speedier retrieves. You also get increased line pickup and minimized line twist.

The spool of the Penn Conflict CFT3000 doesn’t need monofilament backing as the material around its arbor that guarantees that the braid won’t slip.

It’s pretty easy to keep track of how much line is remaining as the Penn Conflict CFT3000 is provided with line level indicators that are marked at every one-third capacity increment.


  • Affordable
  • Instant anti-reverse
  • Sealed HT-100 drag system
  • Sleek retrievals


  • Maximum drag is 15 lbs
  • The handle is relatively small
  • Might need a lot of maintenance if used for saltwater fishing

Delivering solid performance and designed to sustain, the Penn Conflict CFT3000 can do the job whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater.

The reel itself works with strength and smoothness, casts pretty far, and has easy handling overall. Generally, the CFT3000 is good value for the money.

7. Quantum Smoke Speed Freak SL30XPTSA

Quantum Smoke Speed Freak SL30XPTSA


The marine-grade SCR alloy that the body and side plates of the Quantum SL30XPTSA is made with was originally made to build boats with, so this should be a reassuring indicator of how durable the reel is going to be.

The rotor is made of C4LF Carbon Fiber that makes it firm without compromising lightness.

Its drag system is sealed and delivers enormous drag in proportion to the small size and light weight (7.9 oz) of the Quantum Smoke SL30XPTSA.

There are 6 washers, 2 carbon fiber ones, 2 metal ones, a Teflon washer that separates them and works on the smoothness of operation, and finally a ceramic washer on top of the stack.

The spool carries a drag knob and beneath it sits a washer that prevents water from invading the drag washers, thereby completely seals the entire drag system.

The machined aluminum spool is ported to minimize weight and is treated with SaltGuard 2.0 to safeguard it from corrosion.

The gear ratio of the SL30XPTSA is 6.2:1, worked by the main zinc gear and a brass pinion gear. It’s also equipped with an exceptional number of bearings. 9 to be exact.

They are stainless steel bearings for the bail arm, main rotor, line roller, and side plates.

There’s also an added infinite anti-reverse bearing that works on preventing any mishaps when you’re setting the hook.

Combining strength and lightweight, the bail wire of the Quantum Smoke SL30XPTSA is made f titanium and 36 inches of line is retrieved per crank.

While there’s a bearing on the bail itself and a bearing on the line roller. Both of them work on providing smoothness as the bail closes.

The Quantum Smoke SL30XPTSA is capable of handling drags up to 20 lbs.

Finally, SaltGuard 2.0 isn’t used just on the spool, but also on all components to protect them from the eroding effects of saltwater.


  • The drag is sealed
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Seamless operation
  • 9+1 bearing system


  • Bail can sometimes need manual tripping

The quality of the Quantum reels is overall very satisfactory. It was made to sustain and endure saltwater environments. For a good price, the Quantum Smoke SL30XPTSA combines portability, durability, and functionality.

Which Is The Best Reel for Inshore Fishing?

Bottom line, all of these 7 reels give you the best fishing experience as they were made with consideration to the environment they’ll be used in, the strength and firmness that they would require, and the smoothness of operation.

If you’re seeking the ease of operation and lightweight, you should opt for the Quantum Smoke Speed Freak Inshore SL30XPTSA.

If you’re looking for the reel that would help you catch the biggest fish that fight back, you should go for the Quantum Cabo CSP40PTSE. And if you’re looking for the affordability with acceptable functionality, the Penn Conflict CFT3000 is for you.