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