Shark fishing can be considered as one of the most adventurous and exciting sports in the world. It takes luck and fishing skills to catch the apex predator of the sea. During shark fishing, most of the boat captains travel a few nautical miles, understand the nature of the water, and wait until the passengers start to hear the background score of the Hollywood movie Jaws in their mind. But if you are a passionate sport angler, then you hear nothing but the sound of reel running and prepare yourself for the battle, which is about to begin.
The journey and process of recreational shark fishing are thrilling. You can also do it for consumption, as well as for trophies. Apart from just luck and skill, you will need one more thing for successful shark fishing – a high performing reel that can handle furious sharks. While buying a shark fishing reel, you need to check several things. In this post, we will talk about them, and after that, we will take you through a list of the top 10 fishing reels that you can consider buying for fishing shark.
Shark Fishing Reel Buying Guide
Sharks are one of those fish that you will find on every angler’s bucket list because they are the ultimate gamefish. If you are one of those anglers who are preparing their gears for shark fishing, then you have come to the right place. But before buying a reel for shark fishing, you need to find the answer to a few questions. So, first of all, you have to decide what type of shark you will be targeting. And after that, you have to determine where you will be fishing.
Here it is essential to understand that fishing a shortfin mako shark from the boat will require different reel (and rod also) than catching a comparatively small shark (such as 5-7 feet) from the shore. So, first of all, figure out where and which kind of shark you want to catch. Once you have the answer, only after that you should start your reel buying journey.
If you already know the shark reel buying factors, then you can skip this section. But if you are a newbie, then this section will help you a lot to choose the best shark fishing reel. In this section, we will discuss those factors that you need to consider while buying one of the best reels for shark fishing. After understanding the attributes well, you can pick any shark fishing reel according to your preference from our list.
The design of the reel is one of the most crucial factors that you need to consider while buying. Especially when it comes to a shark fishing reel, you have to pay special attention to its design. To catch a shark, you will need a well-built, highly performing reel that can handle a mighty shark without flexing. If you are buying a two-speed reel, then you also have to ensure that its gear shifting mechanism works smoothly.
The frame of the reel can be considered as its body. So, if you want a powerful reel to catch sharks, then you also have to ensure that its frame is made of corrosion-resistant and high-strength material such as aluminum, graphite, a combination of both, or composite materials. All these materials are super keen to stand saltwater abuse, lightweight that ensures ease of use, and rigid enough to perform excellently. So, while choosing a reel, you have to check the quality of its frame, and only after that, you should make your final call.
The gears of the reel contribute to its silky smooth operation. Due to this reason, you also have to check the quality of the reel before buying. To catch a shark, you will need such a reel whose gear can withstand the corrosiveness of the saltwater. So, it is not difficult to understand that your gear material also has to be corrosion-resistant. Due to this reason, we always recommend angler to opt for such a shark fishing reel that features stainless steel gears.
You can also consider buying a 2-speed reel because it will enhance the gear ratio and allow you to speed up the retrieval of line. Meanwhile, it will also provide you low gear. You can use this feature at that time when you will need plenty of torque to pull a massive fish.
The spool of your reel needs to be solidly constructed because it will allow you to resist the heavy drag pressure while fighting a shark. Due to this reason, anglers are always recommended to ensure that the spool of their reel is made of machined and cold-forged aluminum. Meanwhile, you also have to check that it has a large line capacity.
While choosing the best reels for shark fishing, you also need to check its material. In the section above, we have already provided you some facts regarding the most suitable materials of the specific reel parts. In this section, we will round them up. The side plates, frame, and the spool of the reel need to be made of aluminum or graphite or both.
Both of these materials can resist saltwater corrosion. Besides, they are lightweight but provides high-strength. Here it is also important to understand the fact that shark fishing is a part of saltwater fishing. So, you also have to ensure that the gears and the bearings of the reel are made of corrosion-resistant, sturdy material like stainless steel.
The handle of the reel is one of the most unconsidered factors. But if you want a high performing shark fishing reel, then you can’t take its handle for granted. So, before buying a reel, you have to ensure that its handle is made of high-quality material, and it comes comfortable in your hand. It is also essential to check that the handle of the reel is ergonomically designed, and it also features a comfortable non-slip grip. These two things will allow you to continue a long fishing session without any hassle. Meanwhile, you will also get an advantage while catching a mighty shark.
Top 10 Best Reels for Shark Fishing
In this section, we will review the 10 best reels for shark fishing. But before that, check out the quick round-up of our top 5 picks.
|Reels||Material||Gear Ratio||Bearings||Corrosion Resistance||Our Overall Rating|
|Penn 1403984 Slammer III Spinning||Full metal body, rotor, and side plate||4.2:1 – 6.2:1||7 stainless steel bearing system (6+1)||9.5/10||9.7/10|
|Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel||Metal alloy body & side plate||5.3:1 – 5.7:1||8 CRBB, 1 RB / 1 MBB, 7 CRBB, 1 RB||9.3/10||9.6/10|
|SHIMANO Saragosa SW Saltwater Spinning Seafishing Reel||Aluminum metal body||4.4:1 – 5.7:1||6 (5 ball bearings + 1 roller bearing)||9.4/10||9.5/10|
|Okuma Makaira Off Shore Lever Drag Trolling Reel||Machined aluminum frame and forged side plates||High – 3.1:1|
Low – 1.4:1
|5 (4BB+1TB) / 7 (6BB+1TB)||9.4/10||9.2/10|
|Penn Senator Reel||High-grade aluminum||2.5:1||2||9.4/10||9.1/10|
1. Penn 1403984 Slammer III Spinning Reel
Penn has ideally designed this reel in such a way so that it can easily take the punishment that saltwater fishing in general and surfcasting, in particular, imposes on a reel like getting saltwater spray constantly or the repetitive casting of heavy baits. So, it is fair to conclude that the reel is robust enough to withstand saltwater abuse. This is a heavy-duty mid-priced fishing reel. Penn has cleverly priced this product. The reel in neither overpriced nor undervalued, and it worth every penny that you spend.
You can use this reel to catch large species, such as sharks. The reel also comes with water-resistant IPX6 rating. It means the reel is almost waterproof. Its frame, rotor, and side plate are all made of metal. Due to this reason, the reel is highly durable. It is available in 8 different versions, and its 9500 and 10500 models provide heavy drag up to 60 lbs. In the section below, we will discuss more about its various models.
All of its models are powered by CNC gear technology, and feature Sealed Slammer® drag system that comes with Dura-Drag™. All the models of Penn 1403984 Slammer III Spinning have 7 bearings. 6 among them are stainless steel bearings, and 1 is anti-reverse bearing. However, you will find differences in the gear ratio, mono capacity, braid capacity, line retrieve, max drag, and weight in the different models of Penn Slammer III Spinning. Due to this reason choosing the best one become difficult for many sport anglers.
However, we always recommend anglers to opt between SLAIII9500 and SLAIII10500 because both these models provide a max drag of 60 lbs. So, it will allow you to catch large-sized sharks. The weight of SLAIII9500 is 40.9 oz. and its line retrieve is 40 in. SLAIII10500’s weight is 43.1 oz. and its line retrieve is 43 in. So, according to your suitability, you can pick any of these two models for fishing shark.
2. Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel
This is another excellent mid-price spinning reel that you can use to target mid to large-sized shark. The average drag of this reel is 15-33 lbs. and in this range, the reel works smoothly. The reel is powered by Magseal technology, and it keeps seawater and dirt out of the reel. The product is also nearly waterproof. The body and the side plate of the reel are made of metal alloy. So, overall it is fair to conclude that if you are looking for one of a fisherman’s favorite reels for shark fishing without breaking the bank, then Daiwa Saltist can be a good choice.
The reel comes in many different models, and all of them are equipped with different attributes. Due to this reason choosing the best one for shark fishing can be an overwhelming job. Our recommendation is SALTIST8000 and SALTIST6500 because both of these models provide max drag of 33 lbs. Their gear ratio is 5.3:1, and if you use this reel, your fishing experience will be smoother.
There were a few things that we didn’t like about this reel. Take the example of its weight. All of its 4000+ models might feel heavier to you. However, if the weight of the reel is not a major issue for you, and if you want to enjoy a waterproof drag system, then Daiwa Saltist can be a good option for you.
3. SHIMANO Saragosa SW Saltwater Spinning Seafishing Reel
SHIMANO has added some excellent features in their SaragosaSW model that were previously only available in high-end reels such as the Stella. This is a high-quality fishing reel that offers plenty of premium features, and most importantly, the reel comes at an affordable price. The manufacturing company of this reel has used many of the exact parts in the making of this reel that they have used in their expensive models like Stella and Twin Power SW reels.
While designing the reel,SHIMANO has focused on two main things – its design and caliber. The reel is nearly waterproof, and it can easily handle large sea fish such as sharks. The reel comes with a big drag along with precision gearing. This is the main reason that allows anglers to fight large fish. So, if you use this reel, then instead of sharks, you can also target plenty of other ocean giants.
The reel comes in 6 different models, and all of them are equally good in saltwater fishing conditions. Their gear ratio ranges from 4.4:1 – 5.7:1. 4 of its models feature 6 bearings. 5 among them are S-ARB ball bearings, and 1 is roller bearing. However, its SRG20000SW and SRG25000SW model features 7 bearings that contain 6 S-ARB ball bearings and 1 roller bearing.For shark fishing, our recommendation is SRG20000SW and SRG25000SW. But due to their high demand, you might not always get them in the market. In that case, SRG10000SW can be a good option for you.
The line retrieve of SHIMANO Saragosa 10000 SW is 40 in. Its weight is 24.3 oz. and the gear ratio is 4.9:1. The max drag of this reel is 33 lbs. So, overall it is fair to conclude that SRG10000SW can also handle mid-sized sharks. So, you can confidently opt for this product if you are looking for a high-quality shark fishing reel that comes under a reasonable price tag.
4. Okuma Makaira Off Shore Lever Drag Trolling Reel
This is an outstanding fishing reel for big game fisheries. The premium built quality and its durability make this one of the biggest game reels at any price range. But the true strength of this reel is its max drag. At strike, it features 70 lbs. drag, and at full, it features 100 lbs. drag. Only a few reels offer that much drag, and Okuma Makaira Off Shore Lever Drag Trolling Reel is one of them. So if you dream of fishing big sharks, then it could be your best pick.
The reel is available in many different models, and due to this reason, anglers often find it challenging to choose the best one for addressing their shark fishing needs. Our recommendation is MK80WII because it provides excellent max drag along with standard gear ratio. In the section above, we have already discussed its max drag. At strike, its max drag is 70 lbs. and 100 lbs. at full. The gear ratio of this reel is 3.1:1 at high and 1.4:1 at low.
So, overall it is fair to conclude that if you use this reel, then you will be able to catch mid to large-sized sharks easily. This is the main reason that makes this reel one of the best reels for shark fishing. The reel features a total of 7 bearings that include 6 BB and 1 TB. So, it is also fair to say that the reel will make your shark fishing experience smoother.
However, this is a heavyweight reel (116 oz.). You might also experience uneven greasing of the drag washers. These are two things that you might not like about this reel. If the weight of the reel is not a big issue for you and if you want to enjoy silky-smooth retrieval while catching sharks, then you can opt for Okuma Makaira Off Shore Lever Drag Trolling Reel.
5. Penn Senator Reel
Penn has ideally designed its Senator series so that anglers can use it to catch big saltwater fish such as sharks. They have used high-grade aluminum for manufacturing the housing of the reel. For the gear system of the reel, they have used marine bronze & stainless steel. Penn Senator Reel also features 2 shielded stainless steel bearings. So one thing is fair to conclude that the product is highly durable, and it can easily handle the saltwater abuse.
Apart from just the built quality of this reel, Penn has also focused a lot on its functionalities. The reel features Multi HT-100 Disc Star drag system that empowers sport anglers to drag mid to large-sized shark without any hassle. Penn has designed the handle of the reel innovatively, which will give you a good advantage while fighting a big fish. The handle of the reel is adjustable, and it is equipped with a w/ T-Bar grip. You can comfortably catch large sharks by using this reel.
The gear ratio of the reel is 2.5:1,and it features 2 bearings. The reel is available in 5 different models, and according to your preference, you can buy any reel you like. But before making your final call, you also have to understand that this is a heavyweight reel. It weighs around 57 ounces.
If you want to catch big sized sharks, then you will need a sturdy reel, and due to this reason, most of the shark fishing reels are heavyweight. But if you compare Penn Senator Reel with other shark fishing reels, then you will understand that Senator is not so heavyweight. So finally, we would say that Penn Senator Reel is worth buying.
6. Daiwa SGT50H Seagate Star Drag Saltwater Conventional Reel
This is a superb saltwater fishing reel that is made of anodized aluminum spool. The reel has a total of 4 bearings (3CRBB and 1RB), and its gear ratio is 6.4:1, which is better than most of the shark fishing reels. This is comparatively a lightweight reel, and it weighs around 21.90 oz. However, the max drag of the reel is not so great – only 19.8 lbs. So if you are planning to catch large sharks, then this reel is not for you. But if you are a beginner and looking for an affordable reel to start your shark fishing adventure, then you can confidently opt for this reel.
The mono capacity of this reel is 30 lbs./350 yds., 40 lbs./310 yds., 50 lbs./220 yds. and its braid capacity is 40 lbs./840 yds., 50 lbs./630 yds. So it is fair to say that you can use this reel to catch small to mid-sized sharks. The reel also features anodized aluminum spool and centrifugal spool brake. The rugged brass gears of this reel are helical-cut that ensures smoothness and powerful winding. Finally, we would say that this is an excellent shark fishing reel for newbies, which is available at a reasonable price tag.
7. Penn Squall Lever Drag 2-Speed Trolling Fishing Reel
Penn has used graphite for the construction of this reel’s frame and side plates. Due to this reason, the product is lightweight but still a powerful saltwater fishing reel. Penn has useddouble dog ratchet system that stopsthe handle from reversing and allows anglers to catch sharks in a hassle-free way. It makes the product one of the top reels for shark fishing. The reel also features dura-drag system that virtually reduces snags.
The reel has a total of 4 bearings that include 3 BB and 1 RB. Its gear ratio is 4.5:1. So, we would say that if you use this reel, then you will enjoy a smoothfishing experience, and it will also make your shark fishing ability more efficient. This is a 2-speed reel that will allow you to shift from low to high gear and vice versa at rapid speed.The reel is also durable enough to withstand saltwater abuse.
8. One Bass Fishing Level Wind Trolling Reel
This is a highly powerful saltwater trolling reel that sports carbon fiber drag system. It provides a smooth drag up to 45 lbs. The reel has a total of 15 bearings, including 14 ball bearings and 1 stainless steel roller bearing. The manufacturing company of this reel provides three years of service. So, within this time period, if you face any problem regarding the reel, then contact One Bass, and their customer support team will fix the issue as early as possible.
The reel doesn’t just perform well, but One Bass has also focused a lot on improving the look of the reel. The product is available in 2 different colors – silver-gold and black-gold. Both the models look premium, and according to your choice, you can opt for any of them.
9. GOMEXUS TX15 Jigging Reel
This is a lightweight fishing reel that GOMEXUS has designed for both right-handers and left-handers. The gear ratio of this reel is 6.3:1, and it contains 11 bearings (9 BB and 2 RB). The reel is made of stainless steel and marine-grade machined aluminum components. Due to this reason, the reel is durable enough and can easily stand the harshness of the saltwater fishing. The reel also comes with a powerful lever drag system that features ratcheting glide plate, strike stop button, and adjustable strike pre-set. These features make shark fishing an easier job, even for newbies.
The reel looks premium, and GOMEXUS provides 1 year of warranty with this product. Finally, we would conclude that this is an astonishing reel that both experienced and beginner anglers can use to address their shark fishing needs.
10. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel
This is a durable, premium, high range fishing reel that you can use to catch big saltwater game fish, including shark. Its HT 100 carbon fiber drag system makes this product one of the top reels when fishing for sharks. If you use this product, then you will be able to enjoy powerful drag without sacrificing the smoothness of the reel.
The body, rotor, and the side plate of the reel is made of metal. Besides, it also features heavy-duty aluminum bail. These are a few reasons that make this reel exceptionally durable. The reel is also equipped with 5 stainless steel ball bearings and 1 anti-reverse bearing. So, if you use this reel, then your smoothness will also be guaranteed. Finally, we would conclude that if you are looking for a high quality, versatile fishing reel, then you can opt for Penn Battle II.