Best Baitcasting Reels for Saltwater 2019

Choosing the best baitcasting reel for saltwater is a tough challenge, especially for beginners. In order to save you time, we created a list of 10 high-quality baitcasters, all under $100 that deserve your attention. Each selection includes  a detailed product description,  technical specs, intended type of fishing, pros, and cons. We analyze tons of customer reviews and warn you about the  reels ‘potential flaws.

In the second part of the article, you will find a guide with essential features to consider before purchasing a baitcaster. If you want to skip directly to the main recommendation, look at the end of the article, where we announce our favorite product that gives you the best fishing experience.

Name
Drag:
Weight:
Gear Ratio:
Ball bearings:
Price
Name
Drag:
Weight:
Gear Ratio:
Ball bearings:
Price
№1
25 Lbs.
9.2 oz.
9.2 oz.
11+1
№2
17 Lbs.
5.7 oz.
7.0:1
6+1
№6
26.5 Lbs.
11 oz.
5.2:1
10+1
№7
18 Lbs.
8 oz.
7.1:1
5+1 Shield bearings
№8
45 Lbs.
23-34.21 oz.
5.2:1-6.3:1
14+1
№9
17.64 Lbs.
7.5 oz.
7.0:1
11+1

The KastKing Spartacus Maximum Baitcaster is designed specifically for a salty environment. Moreover, this low profile reel offers many features for big game fishing.

Drag:
25 Lbs.
Weight:
9.2 oz.
Gear Ratio:
9.2 oz.
Ball bearings:
11+1
PROS

Modest price

Powerful

All parts are metal

Approved for saltwater

Shielded ball bearings

Sturdy frame

Smooth operation

Lightweight

Cons

Occasional gear squeaking

The Phantom Carbon Baitcaster weighss only 5.7 oz.  Due to its lightweight, this model is an ideal choice for intense sessions that last for many hours. This professional reel is approved for saltwater fishing

Drag:
17 Lbs.
Weight:
5.7 oz.
Gear Ratio:
7.0:1
Ball bearings:
6+1
PROS

Affordable price

Lightweight

Great casting distance

Full metal mechanics

Shielded ball bearing

Cons

Not recommended for beginners

When fishing big game, it may not be easy-to-operate.

Due to its excellent gear stopping power and durable frame the KastKing Spartacus Reel is the right pick for bottom fishing. This model is a feature-rich professional reel, but the price is surprisingly affordable.

Drag:
25 Lbs.
Weight:
9.4 oz.
Gear Ratio:
6.3:1
Ball bearings:
10+1
PROS

Lightweight

Durable aluminum frame

Stainless steel ball bearing

Dual braking system

Stylish look

Cons

Need to adjust the brake settings before casting

The baitcaster is versatile and can be used  for fishing any species. Thanks to the anti-twist line roller which  prevents line tangles and snarls, this model is also great for beginners.

Drag:
39 Lbs.
Weight:
15 oz.
Gear Ratio:
5.2:1
Ball bearings:
10+1
PROS

Slip-free water-resistant body for wet conditions

Anti-twist line roller

Full-metal mechanics

Gear power for stopping large fish

Affordable price

Cons

Occasional gear problems

Every detail of the KastKing Rover Round Baitcaster is designed with the anglers’ needs in mind. This reel is ideal for trout trolling or for going after other strong and fast-running species.

Drag:
20 Lbs.
Weight:
1.2 oz.
Gear Ratio:
3.6:1
Ball bearings:
6+1
PROS

Great for big game fishing

Fully metal mechanics

Water-resistant

Powerful gear

Affordable price

Cons

Considerably heavy

Not recommended for long hours of fishing, if you are a beginner

The KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III has features that you typically find in more expensive models. This versatile reel may be the right choice for beginners and for those who want to get fishing experience without making a big investment.

Drag:
26.5 Lbs.
Weight:
11 oz.
Gear Ratio:
5.2:1
Ball bearings:
10+1
PROS

Smooth operation

Well balanced

Easy-to-use

Cons

Flimsy Stem

Considerably heavy

The Piscifun low profile reel is heavy-duty and durable. It features a side-plate oil port for lubrication, which is necessary for long-life mechanics. Another advantage of this model is Japanese Hami cut 3604 reinforced gear that has industrial-grade strength and climate resistance. The gear power is 18 lbs. so you can go after  big fish with confidence.

Drag:
18 Lbs.
Weight:
8 oz.
Gear Ratio:
7.1:1
Ball bearings:
5+1 Shield bearings
PROS

Heavy-duty mechanics

Easy-to-maintain

Reinforced powerful gear

Cons

Ball bearings have questionable quality

Usually, baitcasters are covered by a one-year limited warranty. The One Bass Conventional Saltwater Reel has a three-year warranty against any manufacturer’s defects. In the reviews, anglers say that customer service is amazing and beginner-friendly. If the quality of your reel will not make you happy, you can replace it without exhausting procedures.

Drag:
45 Lbs.
Weight:
23-34.21 oz.
Gear Ratio:
5.2:1-6.3:1
Ball bearings:
14+1
PROS

Silky smooth operation

Accurate casting

Suitable for windy weather

Excellent warranty terms and customer support

Cons

On the pricey side

Beginners may have difficulties with the brakes

The Royale Legend is a typical example of a smart-designed, yet affordable low profile reel. The difference between this model and the previous ones is its easy-to-handle features. This reel is great for ice fishing or fishing in an unfriendly environment. The baitcaster is approved for saltwater, it is water-resistant and durable.

Drag:
17.64 Lbs.
Weight:
7.5 oz.
Gear Ratio:
7.0:1
Ball bearings:
11+1
PROS

Dual magnetic and centrifugal brakes

Easy-to-control

Responsive

Powerful gears

Cons

A few complaints about gear creaking

The Pascifun Phantom X has three different gear ratios (5.3:1, 6.3:1 and 7.6:1) and comes in three color variations, each for a different ratio. This model makes an excellent gift for multi-species anglers.

Drag:
18 Lbs.
Weight:
9.6 oz.
Gear Ratio:
5.3:1
Ball bearings:
7+1
PROS

Affordable price

Smart mechanic design

Beginner-friendly tension control system

Cons

Side plates are not easy-to-remove

Occasional problems with tension

Considerably heavy

Buyer’s Guide – Final Verdict

How to Pick the Best Baitcasting Reel for Saltwater

In the buying guide below, we cover everything you need to know to pick up the best baitcasting reel for your type of fishing. At first, we compare baitcasting reels and spinning reels, we then move on to the benefits of salt-water baitcasters. We explain the essential specs to consider, including the internal mechanical parts of a baitcasting system. We conclude by recommending the best overall baitcaster for you

Baitcasting Reels vs. Spinning Reels

Most professional fishermen use both baitcasting and spinning reels, but for different styles of fishing.

Spinners are known for their easy operability, which is handy when you are fishing with a less than 8 lb. thin line test. The bait can be live or made of soft plastic, but it should be lightweight. There is no drag restriction in the spinner, so the line freely flows off the spoon. This reel is a good choice for beginners or for fishing in the shallows.

Baitcasters are famous for their accuracy, especially with heavy baits like jigs. They go perfect with a10 pound test line or more. Drag resistance will help you handle bigger fish. With baitcaster you need to use a rod with a trigger grip and guides on the top. You can use all three types of line: braid, fluorocarbon, and monofilament. Due to its construction, operating a baitcaster requires advanced fishing skills. Novices often can’t put their thumb in the right position, so the line tangles and creates a backlash bird’s nest. More practice will help to solve the problem.

Using fresh-water baitcasters for fishing in salt water

Baitcasting reels made especially for saltwater feature sealed bearings and anti-corrosion steel construction. A-class salt-water reels can cost a couple hundred dollars. Some anglers, who don’t feel the need to invest such a considerable amount of money, use fresh-water reels for sea trout, redfish and fluke without a hitch.

In salty environments, they use ordinary fresh-water reels and feel no noticeable difference. They prolong the reel’s life by applying anti-corrosion oil on the bearings and other metal parts. After fishing, they rinse rods and reels with freshwater and refresh the lubrication.

Low and round profile baitcasters

Low profile baitcasters are widely popular for bass fishing, especially for Largemouth. Such reels are lightweight and feature a durable frame shell from composites for keeping down the weight.

Round baitcasters can hold more line. That’s why they are used to tackle species that make long runs. For example, salmon, trout, steelhead, and tuna. Most of the round baitcasters have built-in brakes; otherwise, you will use your thumb to stop the spoon. They are also heavier and bulkier than low profile models.

Some anglers claim that they like to use both types of baitcasters for bass fishing. The choice is based mostly on personal preference, not technical specs.

Ball bearing, gears, and speed

When it comes to mechanical parts, especially gears, pay attention to the material quality. Usually, gears are made of lightweight alloys like duralumin, which contains aluminum and copper. We do not recommend buying reels with plastic gears.

The gear ratio is the number of spoon spins or revolutions during one turn of the handle. The average number is 5.5:1; this means that one handle turn gives you 5.5 spoon spins. The high gear ratio is above 7:1, the low is below 3:1. The gears have different sizes so you can adjust the speed by switching between them. For slow reeling with torque you should choose the lower gear ratio, for adding speed you can use a higher ratio.

Bearings reduce friction between the gears and give you a smoother cast. Along with the quality, the number of bearings also matters. 15 makes the operation smoother than 5. To prevent water invasion, ball bearings should be sealed.

Spoon Tension and the braking system

For smooth operation, spoon tension should match with the weight of the bait. Right tension allows you to control the line and avoid bird’s nests. Adjust the tension with a spoon knob after tying the lyre. To regulate the tension use a spoon knob, which you can find near the cranking handle. Some models have a knob with the clicker, which makes setting the tension easier. Start when you are ready to cast.

The braking system is a must-have feature that prevents backlashes. Backlash happens when the spoon is spinning faster than the lure leaves the reel. Windy weather often causes such problems.

Baitcasters feature magnetic or centrifugal brakes, sometimes both. A centrifugal system is more adjustable than magnetic but costs more. The dual system is the best option.

Weight

The optimal reel weight is less than 1.5 lbs., the lighter – the better. All models from our list are lightweight and handy.

Frame

Reel frames made from aluminum are the most durable but expensive. Alloy or graphite frames are also good for ordinary fishing. Their price is more affordable.

Editor’s choice

Our personal choice is The KastKing Spartacus Maximum Baitcaster, because this reel makes more anglers happy than the other nine models. There are no negative comments about its quality of performance. The only complaint that people have is that after several seasons of use there is gear squeaking which disappears after lubrication. No matter what your fishing style is, if you want a durable, high-quality baitcaster, you must take a closer look at The KastKing Spartacus Maximum.

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By Tom Ammerman
    about author

    My name is Tom and I have 30-years personal experience in hunting and fishing. Also, I've spent 9 years consulting customers in a tackle shop on Cape Cod, and I'm ready to reveal all the professional secrets. Whether you ambush your pray in the middle of the forest, or landing a monster fish you can use a piece of my advice.I regularly go on fishing and hunting tours across the USA and abroad and I'm always delighted to try a new place, new species or a new hunting style. On Hunting Fishing Plus you will find my tips for hunters and fishermen.