Shark's are one of the ultimate game fish you can target whether that's from the beach or off-shore on a boat.
When choosing the best shark fishing reels you first need to decide just what size shark you will actually be targeting.
A sub six feet shark from the shore will have a very different rod and reel requirement than a 600 pound Mako from a boat.
As with most saltwater fishing you have the choice between either a spinning reel or a conventional reel.
Spinning reels are best when casting on a beach whereas a conventional reel is preferred when you need to put down big leverage against a massive shark out on the ocean.
Firstly take a look at your shark fishing setup then match your reel to the line and the type of rod that is usually used in the scenario.
Shark Spinning Reels
If you choose to use a spinning reel for shark then you should aim to use a high quality reel that is capable of holding line that is rated at least 50 pounds in weight.
High quality really is the only option here as even a small shark will make light work or some cheap spinning reel.
Stick to the major brands and large sizes.
Penn, Shimano, Daiwa and Fin Nor are the most established brands for larger sized
Conventional Reels for Shark Fishing
Working big baits from a boat needs a reel that can hold a heck of a lot of heavy line.
This is where a large spool conventional level wind reel for sharks is the only real choice.
Make no mistake about large sharks can stay nose down for well over two hours and your reel is going to be taking a serious hammering.
Not only is there a constant strain on the drag, but the regular runs that massive sharks can make will destroy any reel that is not up to the task.
Penn are easily the leader in offshore reels and classic reels like the Penn Senator or International have proven themselves time and time again.
Cheap low quality reels are an absolute waste of time and chances are if you do hook the fish of a lifetime then it will probably snap your line if your reel ends up seizing.
Best Shark Fishing Reels
1. Daiwa Saltist
2. Penn Senator
4. Penn Slammer III
5. Shimano Saragosa SW
6. Penn International VS
7. Shimano Tiagra 2-Speed Lever-Drag
7. Penn Squall
A good shark reel needs to be able to hold a lot of high breaking strain line and also have a serious drag system coupled with a very high quality set of internal gears.
More modern reels will use helical cut gears which mean a better mesh between each gear and a much smoother operation especially when under a lot of pressure.
Internal gears need to be well sealed in order to protect them from salt water.
If you are targeting smaller sharks a spinning reel is a perfectly suitable choice.
Spinning reels are a perfect choice when beach fishing for sharks as they can cast lighter baits and shark rigs than a conventional reel will.
Once you start to target larger fish especially offshore then a conventional reel makes the most sense.
There are different types of conventional reels available, single speed, two speed and variations of both with either a star drag or a lever drag system.
A two speed reel can be a real bonus. Just flick the lever and you get a load more torque to help fight against these mighty predators.
Torque or pulling power is what helps haul a large fish up from the depths.
You will of course loose a small bit of speed with the lower gearing.
You'll need a large capacity reel that can hold at an absolute minimum 300 yards of 50 lb line.
For larger species that means 500 yards of 80 to 100 lb braid, in my opinion it's better to have it than not!
Always wash your reels in freshwater after every use to help reduce the chances of salt water corrosion.
If you are to invest in a high quality reel then you really need to take the time to look after it and do some regular maintenance.
Always have your reels serviced regularly if they are being used heavily. A good reel can last decades if properly maintained.