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Best Lightweight Saltwater Spinning Reels

These lightweight spinning reels are perfect for targeting most inshore species.

June 1, 2021
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Backwater kayakers—who sit all day—appreciate lightweight tackle. These four spinning reels, available in a 3000 size, deliver the right technology at a preferable weight.

Daiwa Kage MQ LT spinning reel
Space-efficient strength is the hallmark of this reel. Jon Whittle

Daiwa Kage MQ LT

Daiwa’s Kage MQ LT 3000 is all about space-efficient strength. Its one-piece Zaion monocoque body, made of a high-density resin-and-­carbon material, eliminates body-cover screws and accommodates larger gears. Adding Magseal’s air- and watertight oil seal protects the innards and ensures consistent power to put the brakes on charging redfish or surging snook. Weight: 7.6 ounces. $369.99

Okuma ITX Carbon spinning reel for inshore fishing
The cyclonic-flow rotor hastens drying. Jon Whittle

Okuma ITX Carbon

You can’t stop a reel from getting wet, but the Okuma ITX Carbon 3000 protects its anodized machined- aluminum spool with a cyclonic-flow rotor, which pulls air into the ported rotor to hasten spool drying and minimize corrosion. Also, the hydro-block gasket protects the multidisc carbon-fiber drag for longer life and maximum stopping power. Weight: 8.3 ounces. $119.99

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Shimano Exsence fishing reel for kayakers
The Shimano Exsence makes precise lure retrieval a breeze. Jon Whittle

Shimano Exsence

Time management often distinguishes good days from great ones, and the Shimano Exsence 3000′s MGL rotor promotes the latter by reducing start-up inertia and providing immediate control for precise lure retrieval. When you connect, the light yet rigid magnesium Hagane body resists flexing for maximum fish-fighting power. Weight: 6.3 ounces. $539.99

Penn Conflict II spinning reel
Penn’s Conflict II is made for braid. Jon Whittle

Penn Conflict II

Embracing braided-line benefits with its superline spool, and sporting line- capacity rings and a rubber gasket, the Penn Conflict II 3000 needs no backing. The spinner’s slow-oscillation system improves line lay, while the HT-100 carbon-fiber drag washers stop whatever you hook. Weight: 9.1 ounces. $179.95

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