5 Best Inshore Baitcasting Reels (2021 Buyers Guide)

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Lew's Inshore Speed Spool (Click to View)
“All the features you need with a smooth retrieval. It’s a great choice for any fishermen that prefers baitcasters to other reel styles. 

Best Premium Option: Abu Garcia REVO Inshore Low Profile (Click to View)
” Designed with inshore fishing in mind and made to handle saltwater environments. The REVO Inshore incorporates Abu Garcia’s best designs, from their proprietary materials to their own brake designs.”

Best Budget Option: KastKing Spartacus II (Click to View)
“Light, stylish, and with plenty of drag and line capacity. The KastKing Spartacus II is a fantastic option for an inshore baitcaster that comes at an incredible price.”

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Spinning reels may be the most popular type of reels for inshore fishing, but many fishermen still depend on baitcasting reels. Whether you’re a fisherman who simply prefers them or a freshwater fisherman looking to transition to inshore fishing, baitcasting reels can be a great choice to meet all of your needs. 

An inshore baitcaster needs to be made of the right materials and seals to be used in saltwater. You’re also going to need a stronger drag and more line capacity than a typical baitcaster has. Magnetic brakes and extended handles are extra features that make a baitcasting reel more suited to saltwater fishing as well. 

It’s easy to make a mistake and select a reel that isn’t going to hold up to saltwater environments. It’s also hard to choose which reel fits you best with so many on the market. We’ve done the research and put this list together to let you make an informed purchase and know exactly what to look for in your next inshore baitcasting reel.

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Best Overalll
Our Rank
Ranked #1
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Lew's Speed Spool Inshore LFS 7.5:1 Left Hand Baitcast Reel
Our Grade
Our Rating 93/100
Best Premium Option
Our Rank
Ranked #2
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Abu Garcia REVO4 INS-L REVO INSHORE LOW PROFILE
Our Grade
Our Rating 90/100
Best Budget Option
Product Name
Our Rank
Ranked #3
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KastKing Spartacus II Baitcasting Fishing Reel, 6oz Ultralight, Super Smooth with 17.6 LB Carbon Fiber Drag, 7.2:1 Gear Ratio, 39mm Palm Perfect Lower Profile Design,Black Rhino,Right Handed
Our Grade
Our Rating 88/100

Best Baitcasters for Inshore Fishing in 2021

Here’s our shortlist of the best inshore baitcasters on the market today:

Lew’s Inshore Speed Spool

Best Overall: All the features you need with a smooth retrieval.

Lew's Speed Spool Inshore LFS 7.5:1 Left Hand Baitcast Reel
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KEY FEATURES

  • Treated internal components for corrosion-resistance
  • 20 lbs of drag and great line capacity
  • External drain port to keep moisture out

Corrosion-resistant materials and plenty of power make the Lew's Inshore Speed Spool a great choice when picking an inshore baitcaster. It won’t lock up from salt and sand and has all the details you want out of an inshore reel. It’s a great choice for any fishermen that prefers baitcasters to other reel styles. 

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Reel Specs

The reel frame is one-piece, all-aluminum, and very durable. It has three external drain ports that let you get water out of the reel in the event that you drop it or take a rogue wave over the reel. 

The reel features a 6+1 bearing system to keep the spool moving smoothly. The spool itself is a deep-welled anodized aluminum ready to line with braid. The internal gears and pinions are precision CNC machined and treated to give them more anti-corrosion properties. 

The 20 lbs of drag will come in handy with big inshore fish, really letting you gain leverage and pull them out from under docks and roots. The handle has a superb grip and is comfortable to use, making it great for long days on the water.

What Makes It Stand Out

The Inshore Speed Spool stands out because of its attention to detail. It has plenty of line capacity, great drag, and is overall a pretty light baitcaster. It’s also plenty durable, so you can be hard on the reel and still rely on it when it matters most.

Abu Garcia REVO Inshore Low Profile

Best Premium Option: Designed with inshore fishing in mind and made to handle saltwater environments.

Abu Garcia REVO4 INS-L REVO INSHORE LOW PROFILE
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KEY FEATURES

  • Proprietary Abu Garcia material
  • Every little part is corrosion-resistant
  • Fast retrieval thanks to high gear ratio

The REVO Inshore incorporates Abu Garcia’s best designs, from their proprietary materials to their own brake designs. It casts long distances with ease and it has a long lifespan, something not many reels can brag about when it comes to saltwater. If you’re looking for an inshore baitcaster to last you for years then this is the one for you. 

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Reel Specs

The reel is made from proprietary Abu Garcia materials that are incredibly corrosion-resistant. The rigid body won’t flex or twist on you, letting you have plenty of power and control when you’re hooked into a big fish.

The 6+1 gears and brass gears function great in saltwater, and the high gear ratio gives you a very quick and smooth retrieval. It has Abu’s IVBC brake system, which comes with a learning curve but lets the reel cast farther and smoother than most other baitcasters can dream of. 

The strong drag and high line capacity make it an ideal reel to tackle big inshore fish, without having to worry about being spooled or pulled into the structure.

What Makes It Stand Out

The REVO Inshore stands out because of its quality, proprietary design, and longevity. It’s made for inshore fishing and stands up to all the abuse that comes with fishing for inshore beasts. If you choose the REVO Inshore, you’ll have a workhorse baitcaster for years to come.

KastKing Spartacus II

Best Budget Option: One of the best all-arounders on the list, with plenty of stylish options to choose from. 

KastKing Spartacus II Baitcasting Fishing Reel, 6oz Ultralight, Super Smooth with 17.6 LB Carbon Fiber Drag, 7.2:1 Gear Ratio, 39mm Palm Perfect Lower Profile Design,Black Rhino,Right Handed
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KEY FEATURES

  • Over 17 lbs of drag
  • A few colors and styles to choose from
  • Fantastic price for the quality of the reel

Light, stylish, and with plenty of drag and line capacity. The KastKing Spartacus II is a fantastic option for an inshore baitcaster that comes at an incredible price. If you’re looking to get into inshore fishing with baitcasters and want to give it a try without spending a ton, this is the reel for you. It’s a great purchase that will last you a long time as well, so if you love it you won’t need to upgrade.

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Reel Specs

With 17.6 lbs of drag and a deep spool, the KastKing has all the power and line capacity you should be looking for. The reel itself is light, coming in at size ounces, and has a low profile to make handling your rod much easier. 

7+1 and a 7.2:1 retrieval give you a very fast and smooth lure retrieval. All of the internals are corrosion-resistant, with the majority of the reel being made from anodized aluminum. 

What Makes It Stand Out

The real standout of Spartacus II is the price. It’s a great entry reel that doesn’t lack quality and stands up with the others on this list but is much more affordable. It doesn’t outshine them in the many categories we’ve looked at, but the reel is still a high-quality machine that will perform extremely well.

Daiwa Coastal TW Casting Reel

Best Line Capacity: Never run out of line on your reel with the Daiwa Coastal

Daiwa CLTW200HSL Coastal TWS Reel, 7.3: 1 Gear Ratio, 7CRBB, 1RB, 15.40 lb Max Drag, Left Hand
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KEY FEATURES

  • Holds nearly 200 yards of 30-pound braid
  • 15.4 lbs of drag
  • Durable aircraft grade aluminum

If you’re looking for the inshore baitcaster with the most line capacity, then look no further than the Daiwa Coastal . Boasting nearly 50 yards more capacity than other baitcasters, it also has plenty of drag power and corrosion resistance to stand up to inshore game fishing. It’s an ideal purchase if you’re choosing to go for harder-fighting fish that go on long runs. 

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Reel Specs

With a 7+1 bearing system and strong, durable drag, the Coastal features internals built to last. The body of the reel is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, and won’t rust, corrode, or lock up on you from the saltwater. 

With 15.4 pounds of drag, it isn’t the highest on the list, but it has plenty of power to handle almost any inshore game fish. The deep spool gives you more line capacity than any other baitcasters, and it has a custom handle and grips to make the reel as comfortable to use as you’ll find.

What Makes It Stand Out

The real standout of this one is the line capacity. It outclasses the other reels on this list in that regard, meaning if your fish goes on a huge run you shouldn’t get spooled. This is especially helpful if you’re fishing cut baits, without a boat, or for larger species.

Piscifun Phantom

Lightest Baitcaster: A light reel you can cast all day without getting fatigued.

Piscifun Phantom Baitcasting Reel - Carbon Fiber Frame and Plates Baitcaster Reel, 5.7oz Lightweight, 7.0:2 Gear Ratio Dual Brakes Baitcast Fishing Reels
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KEY FEATURES

  • 7.0:1 gear ratio and 17 lbs of max drag
  • Extended crank handle for extra power
  • Shielded bearings to protect from salt

The Piscifun Phantom is the lightest inshore baitcaster on the market. It’s an ideal choice for fishermen who cast lures all day because, when paired with a well-balanced rod, it won’t wear you out and reduces fatigue. While still being a high-quality reel, it also comes at a pretty cheap price. 

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Reel Specs

Weighing in at 5.7 ounces, the Phantom is the lightest baitcaster you can find that has enough strength for inshore game fish. Its 17 lbs of drag mean it’s got plenty of stopping power, and the extended handle and 7:1 gear ratio make hauling in big fish a breeze. 

The main gear is anodized aluminum, with shielded stainless steel ball bearings, and carbon fiber drag washers will all stand up to saltwater environments. It also has both a dual and magnetic brake, to make backlashes a thing of the past and casting and retrieving a smooth process. 

What Makes It Stand Out

The weight of this reel is the biggest defining feature. It’s the lightest one on the list, but it has more drag power than some of the others on here as well. The lack of weight and solid balance make casting smoother for you, reducing your fatigue throughout the day when you’re casting lures over and over.

What To Look For When Buying Inshore Baitcasters

Materials: 

One of the most important things to look for when purchasing an inshore baitcasting reel is what materials it’s made of. It’s vital that all of the components are corrosion resistant since saltwater will absolutely ruin the reel otherwise. Stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and treated brass are great options and should make up most of the reel. Carbon drags are strong and don’t have issues with saltwater either. 

Line Capacity:

When you fish saltwater you typically need a bigger spool for your line. You can hook up with much harder fighting and bigger fish than in freshwater (generally), and need a bigger spool for the heavier lines. On an inshore reel, you’ll typically want to use twenty or thirty-pound braid, though you can get away with ten. At the least you need it to hold 150 yards of whichever your preferred line strength is, to account for long casts and big runs by any fish you might hook. 

Max Drag:

Inshore fishing can bring you a variety of fish in a lot of sizes. You’ll also likely be fishing near docks, pilings, jetties, and tree roots. You need enough drag to not only wear down hard-fighting game fish but keep them from running you into structures and breaking you off. Aim for at least 15 lbs at max drag, if not higher. 

Extra Features:

Along with the above considerations, there are a few other things to look for in an inshore baitcasting reel.

A good anti-reverse and magnetic brake keeps you from backlashing, and can be important when a fish runs towards you. It also helps you with long-distance casting, handling large fish, and keeping the reel retrieving smoothly.

High gear ratios are a good thing to have on an inshore baitcaster. You get a much faster retrieval than lower gears, which comes in handy when you want to use an extra-fast lure. It also lets you put a ton of pressure on the fish you’re fighting. 

The weight of the reel is also important. You’ll be making hundreds of casts on any given day, tossing lures into promising spots. A lighter reel helps keep you from becoming fatigued and also makes handling your rod much easier.

Questions & Answers

Can I use a baitcaster for surf fishing?

You can in fact use a baitcaster to surf fish. Baitcasters typically have better casting and control than spinning reels, they just take more time to learn to use properly. If you do opt for a baitcasting reel for surf fishing, make sure you have plenty of line capacity. You’ll want at least a hundred yards more than you need for an inshore reel. This is because you’ll usually be casting a lot farther than when you’re fishing inshore, therefore requiring you to need more line available if a fish runs off with your bait. Regardless, you still want one of the best reels for surf fishing.

How can I avoid backlash on a baitcaster?

The simple answer is you can’t. You will at some point backlash your reel and end up with a big tangle. The more time you practice and the more casts you get with them, the less you’ll backlash. Don’t let the fear of tangles keep you from trying them though, as baitcasters have a ton of power, control, and casting distance you might be missing out on. Over time you will improve and reduce backlashes.