Best Fishing Reels for Shark Fishing 2019 – Start Landing Those Monster Sharks!

Sharking fishing in the United States is a thriving hobby sport and having the best fishing reels for shark fishing can make all the difference. On the East coast, from North Carolina northward, blue sharks, makos, and threshers are the main species fished. South of North Carolina and in the Gulf of Mexico, blacknose, blacktip, bull, sandbar and tiger sharks are the most sought-after species. West coast shark fishing focuses on blue shark, broadnose sevegill, hammerhead, mako, and thresher. Anglers from everywhere seek the thrill of the sport and much attention is placed on the equipment needed when you’re fishing for your personal “Jaws,” and for most following the sport, equipment means the difference between a great day with a good haul or a bum day and empty hands. Of that equipment, a good reel reigns supreme in the necessity’s category.

Best Fishing Reels for Shark Fishing 2019 – Start Landing Those Monster Sharks!

So what fishing reel is best?

That depends. Most anglers nowadays use Spinning reels for mid-sized sharks ranging from 4’ to 6’, but where and how you fish and distribute your bait can affect your best choice between conventional reels and spinning reels. Bait that is thrown from shore is usually handled best with a spinning reel. Bait that is delivered by boat or other method can benefit from a conventional reel, especially if you’re angling for the over 6’ sharks. The spinning reels offer better versatility and easier casting to your preferred bait drop, but conventional reels offer a much greater capacity for line and deeper bait setting with bigger individual catches possible. Let’s look at the 5 best reels for shark fishing in each category.

Spinning Reels

Penn Fierce II Spinning Reel

Penn Fierce II 3000 Spinning Fishing Reel

The Penn Fierce II Spinning Reel has been around since 2015, and for its price, it’s a pretty decent spinning reel for sharks. Ranging in price from $60 to $90, this reel offers a full metal die cast aluminum body that helps keep the gears in alignment under heavy loads.  The Techno-Balanced™ rotor is a Penn design that allows a very smooth retrieve and just overall gives a nice feel in use. To make this action even smoother, this reel adds five stainless steel ball bearings.  Two of which are on the main gear, two on the pinion gear and one the anti-reverse. This reel comes in eight different models and ranges from 160 yards of six-pound braids capacity up to 475 yards of 50-pound mono capacity.


  • Tough construction
  • Full metal body
  • High maximum drag
  • Stout cranking power from all models
  • Large line capacity
  • Good balance
  • Smooth and easily adjustable drag
  • Heavy reel
  • Casting could be improved
  • Wind Knots
  • Not fully sealed
  • Drag locks up at the high end of the range
Fin-Nor Offshore Spinning Reel

Fin-Nor Offshore Spinning Reel

The Fin-Nor Offshore Spinning Reel is very popular among shark anglers.  The body is made of aluminum which is longer lasting than other materials.   This reel features a forged aluminum spool which stays rigid under pressure and is very strong. The spool allows for a greater casting distance due to its dampened line friction.  The bearings on spinning reels aid in keeping them smooth and support the stability as well. The Fin-Nor Offshore Spinning Reel offers four double shielded bearings that build a strong foundation for the steel pinion and the steel driver gear making this one of the smoothest reels in the category. This reel is also advertised as being one of the very best at controlling in deep water. The drag system consists of stainless-steel washers with carbon filters.  These reels are supremely smooth and will last a very long time. One con of this reel is the weight. It is a tiny bit heavier than some of the competitors.

  • Aluminum body and stainless-steel bearings makes for durability
  • Machined stainless steel drive and pinion gears as well as center shaft
  • Braided lines good for large fish
  • Washers made of carbon fiber
  • Has a good-sized multi-stack drag which features carbon fiber washers
  • Forged aluminum spool with a strong 404:1 retrieve ration
  • Could be problematic for large catches
  • Has had a few complaints about drag system
  • Not best for surfcasters
PENN Slammer III Spinning Reel

Penn 1403983 Slammer III Spinning


The Penn Slammer III is basically considered the best mid-range priced spinning reel for sharks. A bonus to this reel is that it is about as waterproof as any currently made spinning reels. It has a solid metal frame, side plate, and rotor.  This makes it strong and durable. This reel is made for a punishing angler.  It takes saltwater in stride making it particularly good for surf casting. This makes it one of the best fishing reels for shark fishing. With rugged construction and sealed components, it’s sure to hold up for a long time.

  • Waterproof IPX6 sealed system
  • Available in many sizes
  • Great drag system
  • Anti-skid gasket
  • Automatic/manual bail trip
  • Anti-reverse system
  • 6+1 stainless steel bearings with 1 anti-reverse
  • Heavy reel
  • The sizes 6500 to 10500 feature a manual bail trip mechanism. You must remember to close the bail before retrieving the line
  • Some issues with complaints on the handle not engaging the gears
  • Can be stiff
Penn TORQUE Spinning Reel

Torque II Spinning 5500 Reel

This rugged reel is great for heavy shark fishing. The Penn TORQUE is completely sealed with a fully machined aluminum body.  It features a 7+1 stainless steel bearings and has a patented Versa-drag system that allows multiple settings that can match constantly changing angling situations.

  • Comes in a sleek black or gold color scheme
  • Extremely durable
  • Isn’t completely water sealed
Shimano SP20000SW Spheros Spinning Reel

Shimano SP20000SW Spheros Spinning Reel

The Shimano Speros comes in the Hagane body which offers a high quality rigidity and durability that is needed for shark fishing. It has cold forged gearing is an extremely smooth gearing system. It uses two bearings, one on each end of the pinion gear, to support it.  This means that the gears stay perfectly aligned. Incorporating the X-Shield technology that previously had only been available on more expensive reels like the Stella, the Sheros X-Shield consists of several sealing gaskets and O-rings in crucial areas to eliminate the entry of water and sand into the reel.

  • Waterproof Design
  • Smooth gearing and drag
  • Good price point
  • Great for surfcasting
  • Great casting ability in general
  • It is not a full metal body
  • Does not come with a spare spool
  • Does not have a reverse switch or a maintenance port
  • A little on the heavy side
  • Retrieving speed is too slow for rough waves

Conventional Reels


Shimano SP20000SW Spheros Spinning Reel

Penn US Senator Casting Reel


The Penn US Senator Casting Reel is simple but effective.  It has a very sturdy aluminum frame with stainless steel main and gears. There are three models that give a choice of narrow, standard or wide spool.  This reel is the Cadillac of casting and can bring in the big ones with its 27 pounds of drag resistance for pulling.  The Penn US Senator models rate for braid and mono line and spin on a six bearing system.

  • Extremely durable and reliable
  • Manufactured entirely in the USA
  • One-piece aluminum frame
  • Proven workhorse
  • Lots of power
  • Classic reel relying on superb technology
  • Ideal gulf bottom fishing reel
  • Gear Ratio could use a little more speed

Shimano SP20000SW Spheros Spinning Reel

Penn International VS Reel

There’s not much to say about the Penn International VS Reels except they are simply the best. They offer the most advanced and trustworthy fishing performance and they have a reputation of amazing cranking power. The Penn International VS Reel has an ergonomically designed one piece frame and come in a distinctive gold.  They have a stainless steel main and pinion gear, powerful two disc drag with a 150 degree quadrant, a graduated push to turn preset and Penn’s two speed quick shift.

  • Manufactured by Penn
  • Machined one-piece frame
  • Stainless steel gears
  • Drag has been improved
  • Ratchet style drag
  • Really none unless you don’t like a gold reel

Fin-Nor Sportfisher Conventional Trolling Reel

Fin-Nor Sportfisher Conventional Trolling ReelThe Fin-Nor Sportfisher was made for anglers looking for a reel with versatility and a large line capacity. This reel is on the more affordable end but still offers Fin-Nor’s reputation of making great reels. It is very durable and offers a 30 and a 50 size spool.  It is strong enough too, to handle the big guys.

  • One piece aluminum frame
  • A forged single piece aluminum spool
  • Multi-stop anti-reverse pawls
  • Ten disc stainless steel and carbon fiber drag
  • Strong load equalizing harness lugs
  • Considered by many as the best reel for the price
  • Recommended for more experienced anglers

Avet EX 2-Speed Lever Big Game Reel

Avet EX 2-Speed Lever Big Game Reel

The Avet EX 2-Speed Lever Big Game Reels are absolutely great for shark fishing. They have a machined aluminum and stainless steel components and are anodized for corrosion resistance. They have a large comfortable handle knob and come in an extremely durable style. The Avet EX 2-speed offers the Dual Disk  Avedrag dry carbon fiber drags for the best stopping power and a smooth ride.

  • Anodized for the best corrosion resistance
  • Made entirely in the USA
  • Super tough design
  • Great lever drag system
  • Drag is not linear

Shimano Talica TAC50II Lever Drag 2 Speed Reel

Shimano Talica TAC50II Lever Drag 2 Speed Reel

The Shimano Talica TAC50II Lever Drag 2 speed reels are high speed lever drags that have very powerful gears and curves that were designed perfectly for large pieces of chum. They come with a 2 year warranty if you register them online. They are made with a one piece forged and machined aluminum frame. These reels also feature a lightweight design with greaseless support bearings which makes for great live bait casting. The Shimano Talica TAC50II is rated for use with mono, fluorocarbon and powerpro lines.  Featuring shielded ball bearings, a topless design, and a silent twin-pawl anti-reverse system, this reel is excellent for shark angling.

  • Excellent corrosion protection
  • 2 year warranty
  • High efficiency gearing
  • Lightweight compared to others of the same ranking
  • Scratches very easily

Whether you have a personal vendetta with a great white or you just like shark steaks, these reels should treat you well. A lot depends on what type and size of shark species you’re angling for. Price can vary widely amongst these contenders, so a thorough understanding of what you value most in your reel can really help you get the best reel for you.

Shark Fishing As a Hobby

Shark fishing is a strong hobby and its popularity is only growing. From the east coast to the West, covering such species as blue sharks, makos, threshers, blacknose, blacktip, bull, sandbar, tiger sharks, broadnose sevegill, and hammerheads. Shark fishing is a fisherman’s ultimate fishing quarry. And even though some anglers fish for the meat, most in the game nowadays are focusing on the talent of the angler versus the size of the catch. There are approximately 500 species of shark that swim in the oceans.  Some are caught in the shallows while some in the deep.  Your gear is the paramount element that will bring you success or a wasted day on the water.

These reels are all a good option depending on what you’re fishing for and where you are fishing from. They are some of the best fishing reels for shark fishing no matter where you are fishing from. Pier and land anglers will have different best reels than deep sea boat anglers or even oil rig anglers. The trick is buying and using the “best” reel for your purpose. Start by really looking at your fishing preferences.  Do you like to fish from the beach? Kayak? Boat?  Deep Sea or shallows? You need to get to know your preferences before you commit. These reels range from inexpensive to very expensive. Finding out your preferred place and type of sharks and shark fishing can save you a ton of money because it’s not always true that the most expensive reel is the best. That really just depends on your personal situations.

When shopping for the best shark fishing reel, go online, go in store. Hold them in your hands, try them on a rod, and talk to your local shark anglers to find out what reel is making the most splash for your preferred method of shark fishing. If all else fails, buy one from every category. In the end, the best way to compare is to try them all. Everyone can benefit from more days on the line.

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