Best Lightweight Saltwater Spinning Reels

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

June 1, 2021

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

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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