Saltwater spinning reels have come a long way, baby. Gone are the slow, heavy models of the past; today's reels are seriously high-performance—smooth, strong, and sprightly. Many of the newest offerings work just as well with mono or braided line and the real creme de la creme feature must-haves like fully supported main shafts and dent-resistant materials. Here are a few of the very best models on the market from some of the very best companies in the biz. Hey, we all know that when it comes to fishing, there are no guarantees. But picking up one of these bad boys certainly won't hurt your chances at reeling in that really big fish.
Spot OnPrecision's the name of the game with Shimano's Stella 1800 SW, a member of the Stella line of reels that won the coveted Best Saltwater Reel award at ICAST 2008. It features, among other things, Shimano's Aero Wrap II Oscillation system, which, according to the company, “provides uniform line lay and winding shape.” ($949; fish.shimano.com)
Expert EngineeringA lot of technological know-how went into Fin-Nor's Offshore 8500, which sports features like oversize gears, bearings, and spools, and a powerful 4.4:1 gear ratio. It also has a fully supported main shaft that removes stress from the gear train, resulting in an uber smooth spool glide. ($169.95; www.finnorfishing.com)
Reel and ConquerPenn's Conquer reels come in four sizes, all of which feature the company's exclusive Easy Access System. It's a rear hatch that opens to reveal the gearbox so you can easily lubricate parts without worrying that they'll fall out. ($199.99 for Conquer 4000 shown; www.pennreels.com)
This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.