3 Things You Should Know Before Buying A Heavy Duty Spinning Reel


What must you absolutely know before buying a heavy duty spinning reel for big game fish?

Are there specific features that a reel needs to have to be considered of high quality?

We are back in the Salt Strong Reel Room talking all things about Heavy Duty Spinning Reels.

Check it all out here!!

Heavy Duty Spinning Reels [VIDEO]

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As with any spinning reel purchase, there are more than 3 things to consider before making a purchase.

But these are the three biggest 3 things to think about when trying to find that just-right size reel for tarpon, gag grouper, red snapper, or other big game fish you would find nearshore or offshore.

We’re in the middle of June and lots of nearshore and offshore species we commonly target are open season.

Before picking out which heavy duty reel you are going to buy, keep these three major points in mind.

At the bare minimum, you need to have at least a 6000-size reel for tarpon or other species nearshore and offshore.

Each manufacturer, however, has its own unique sizing methods for its spinning reels.

The three major components detailed in this video will help you decide which heavy duty spinning reel is right for you.

#1 – Line Capacity

This does not refer to the size of the reel but the line capacity of its spool.

In my opinion, the standard you want to be around is 300 yards of a 30lb braided line.

You can of course go a bit higher to 40 or 50 lb braid, but that will depend on your line-to-line connection.

It is going to be easiest if you are tying a heavier braid to a heavier leader.

In application, your braided line will not come into contact with intrusive structure.

You don’t necessarily need heavier braided line because you are fishing around structure, you need as much line capacity as possible.

A long leader line is what will protect against structure that may intrude along the bottom.

It is due to these reasons that I chose the BG MQ 6000 as my own heavy duty tarpon reel.

The line capacity is right at 300 yards of 30lb braid and it is light enough to fish with all day from either the kayak or a boat.

#2 – Gear Size

The overall size of the reel itself will dictate the size of the main gear within the reel.

Generally speaking, larger reels will have a larger main gear.

However, that is not always the case and that is relevant in Daiwa’s MQ Series of Spinning Reels.

Whether it is a 6000, 8000, or even 10000 size reel, the main gear on Daiwa MQ Reels is significantly bigger than competitors’ main gear sizes.

Roughly at around a 20-30% margin.

That means a 6000-size Daiwa reel could have a larger main gear than an 8000-size reel from another manufacturer.

A larger main gear translates into more power when fighting larger, stronger fish.

Having a larger, heavy duty reel is a great start, but be mindful of what particular gear is placed inside that reel.

#3 – Sealing

I love to fish from my kayak A LOT.

I’ll launch off the beach for blackfin tuna, sailfish, tarpon, and even sometimes red snapper up in the panhandle.

And on just about every one of these trips, my reel takes on lots of splashes from waves hitting the kayak.

Additionally, if you leave your rods in boat rod holders on your way out to an offshore grouper spot, you’re reels and gear is going to get sprayed and covered in saltwater.

Especially with reels sized 6000 and up, if there is just one slight issue with sealing, then it will no doubt shorten the life of the reel.

You as a consumer want to make sure you’re investment lasts 2-3+ years and beyond with very little maintenance.

If you are currently in the market for a larger reel for big game fish, you NEED to make sure you purchase a reel that is sealed very well.

Some Daiwa reels have Magseal and that is an added bonus, however, I am more referring to physical barriers of sealing.

You should know what types of physical seals are in the reel you are purchasing as well as where those seals are located.

The following areas are of extra importance and need to have seals protecting them:

  • Top of the Drag Stack
  • Anti-Reverse Clutch
  • Handle Entry Point

There are NINE total seals within the BG MQ reel (same goes for other Daiwa MQ Reels).

Make sure to do your research and know that whatever reel you purchase is appropriately suited for your style of fishing.

Honorable Mentions

The first honorable mention that also should be taken into consideration is the overall Drag on these reels.

Reels nowadays, regardless of manufacturer, have an excess of 25-30 lbs of drag.

This is great to have but you most likely will only put out about 50% of that capacity in the majority of fights.

Just know that 15 lbs of pressure is A LOT of pressure on a rod & reel combo and is way more than you need.

Another feature to point out is the Gear Ratio or Inches-Per-Turn.

This is not absolutely vital but is certainly worth noting when buying a heavy duty reel.

A lower gear ratio reel will have a little bit more torque than a high gear ratio reel.

For bottom fishing applications, you don’t really need a higher-speed reel.

In most cases, big game reels are a 5:1 gear ratio and bring in close to 40 inches of line per turn of the handle.

I personally do not think one has more to offer than the other when it comes to line pick-up speed.

➡Click here to get the Daiwa BG MQ 6000

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heavy duty spinning reel

If you can’t tell by watching this video, I love the Daiwa BG MQ for nearshore and offshore heavy duty fishing.

I have caught countless fish using these reels and they’ve stood the test for over a year now.

Be mindful of your style of fishing and how that factors into what you need most in a heavy duty spinning reel.

➡Click here to get the Daiwa BG MQ 6000

Do you have any more questions about big game spinning reels?

Let me know your thoughts and questions down below!

And if you know someone who wants to learn more about heavy duty spinning reels, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Russ Haynes
1 year ago

Nice to know you guys have the reels for bigger game fish but what about the rods? Remember the rod is more important than the reel. Currently your rod selection is pitiful. By the way, I don’t own any split handle rods and will never buy one.

Gregory Haskins
1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Ritchey

Disney spent years trying to achieve 100% scarification scores but it always topped out around 95%. What they eventually realized is that there is just 5% of the population that isn’t going to be happy no matter what you do…cough…cough…

Is there a timeline on that research? And/or are you able to make a recommendation now? I’m looking for a beefy 8 footer that has multiple applications (big artificias, live/cut bait).

John Pacheco
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Ritchey

Nice recommendations good job!

Sean Shimmel
1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Ritchey

Amen, Justin!

Andrew Hinshaw
1 year ago

Great review. Love the power handles from gomexus and the Saltist factory power handle. Didn’t realize how ‘beefy’ a Diawa spinning reel was but I just saw an Adam Fisk video on YouTube and they caught a solid Marlin on like a Diawa 6K series reel. If they’ll do that then everything else is no problem. Good stuff!

J Mark Watson
1 year ago

What size rod for 6000 reel ? Didn’t see any in store

Steven Russell
1 year ago

Great info Justin

Joseph Simonds
1 year ago

Great review, Justin

Steve Dupree
1 year ago

What rods would you recommend to pair with the MQ 6000 for tarpon,grouper,snapper,etc.?

Christian Deierlein
1 year ago

Thank you Justin, really appreciate the information! Would y’all consider carrying some heavier rods in the tackle shop to pair with these reels?

George Evans
1 year ago

I understand that you sell what you like best but in the universe of reels, and especially heavier duty/offshore reels, there’s no way you don’t consider Shimano and Penn even more so if you’re talking about baitcasters

Jason Calvert
1 year ago

I like the 14k size over the 8k or 10k in the BG MQ or Saltist MQ (have both) for Tarpon. They weigh lighter than a 10k and only .2oz heavier than a 8k. Plus in the 14k you get more line retrieve per crank. Larger size reels balance better for a heavy rod more so than a 6k too. Plus the insurance of heavier braid when that Tarpon surges back into his school that can potentially break you off or fishing around bridges. Don’t over look the 14k. The specs essentially say why bother with a 8k or 10k. Plus for big Tarpon with a 14k with heavier braid you can apply with more pressure to the fish and turn their heads way better.

I have no issues casting with heavier braid (50-65lb) either. Just wet it before starting your day. I won’t even bother with a 6k for Tarpon. Bringing a knife to a gun fight. Takes way longer to get the fish to the boat. Which in turn can get the Tarpon sharked or exhaust him to death. I say all this with saying for bigger Tarpon and not back country Tarpon. Tight Lines!

Joseph Bilski
1 year ago

I have a BG series reel and absolutely love it. Thanks Justin!


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