Is Your Spinning Reel Really Made For Saltwater? Find Out…


Do you know if you are using an actual “saltwater spinning reel” or a bass reel made to look like it’s for saltwater?

And speaking of saltwater spinning reels…

What actually makes a reel a “saltwater” reel?

And what are the ratings and regulations?

There’s a lot of confusion in the spinning reel world about this subject, so I brought on all of the Salt Strong Fishing Coaches here to talk about it.

This was certainly an eye-opening discussion!

Here’s a sneak preview:

  • Which popular “saltwater” reels aren’t even made for saltwater…
  • How different brands compare (Daiwa vs. Shimano vs. Penn)
  • Pros and cons of durable spinning reels
  • Whether or not you even need a “saltwater reel”
  • And much more

You can watch the video version of this podcast below, listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

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Saltwater Spinning Reels [VIDEO]

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Saltwater Spinning Reels [PODCAST]

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Here’s a timestamped table of contents from my conversation with the Salt Strong Fishing Coaches about saltwater spinning reels:

0:16 – The backstory for why we’re even talking about saltwater spinning reels

2:04 – What the real differences between saltwater and freshwater spinning reels are

9:10 – Which Shimano reels are made for saltwater fishing (this surprised me!)

10:45 – The difference between sealed ball bearings and shielded ball bearings

13:41 – Using spinning reels for surf fishing

18:34 – What IPX ratings are and what they mean for spinning reels

20:16 – Whether or not you need a “saltwater” reel to start out with

22:45 – Why a smooth reel isn’t necessarily the mark of a good reel

25:09 – Tony’s favorite inshore reels

31:02 – How saltwater resistant baitcasters are

33:06 – How few regulations or definitions there are in the industry in regards to reels being saltwater resistant

34:30 – The negatives of having a reel that is well-sealed

38:03 – Daiwa Ballistic vs. Shimano Vanford: each fishing coach weighs in on which one they would rather have


1000 vs 2500 reel casting contest

The wonderful world of spinning reels!

There’s no real regulation or ratings for saltwater spinning reels, which is why it’s so fun to talk about this with guys who are out on the water several times per week using these reels.

What’s your favorite spinning reel?

How has it held up in the salt?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you want to get up to 20% off of all the reels in our shop, join us in the Insider Club!

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Edgar L Floyd Jr
2 years ago

Very informative podcast, thanks.

David carrizales
2 years ago

Wow learned a lot today definitely will try ballistic

Lisa Morris
3 years ago

Quantam Smoke?

Scott McWilliams
3 years ago

If you want to learn about spinners, go to

Tom Hood
3 years ago

Why were you all wearing black shirts?

Victor Gatell
3 years ago

Birthday coming up, ordered another MH, 7’6″ TFO (that makes 3). I have a StradicXG 4000, a Fuego 3000, and I was about to buy another Stradic until this post, now I’m frozen, lol. I don’t take care of my reels and have had no problems with either. I am now thinking Ballistic? This discussion reminded me of the trolling motor; fresh vs salt water. In the end, I have been using a fresh water for my canoe for 3 years and I paid $150. If it dies tomorrow, I’m ok since it’s salt water contemporary was $1,200. So can someone summarize; Fuego, Stradic, Ballistic..??

3 years ago
Reply to  Victor Gatell

Try a Tsunami Shield its SALTWATER proof

Ron Jones
3 years ago

I had a tsunami forged 12 until my fishing partner left it sitting on a cooler with live bait sitting in the water and a cobia snatched it. $300 worth of rod, reel and 50 lb braid.

William Molnar
3 years ago

Great discussion on what works. Being a returning snow bird……I often wonder what the condition of my reels will be when I return to the Gulf shore. I find,that on my final fishing trip of the year, I run up the Peace River, fresh water, string out my line, to untangle and remove salt, don’t be tempted to hunt fish on your final return trip to harbor, then spray rod and reel with mild soap while rinsing,( I have found that soap helps release salt crystals), dry,lubricate prior to storing. …works

Also, there have been times when my reels start freezing up…..I’m thinking …….goodbye reel. ……hello boat anchor….however….the cause is not salt corrosion, but a bent component. Hard to diagnose But easy fix.

A little Maintanence goes a long way.

Sybren Smith
3 years ago

Have you guys ever reviewed any KastKing reels? I’m a Diawa guy but I picked up a couple of those after some strong recommendations and I’ve been impressed, especially at their price.

If you have any reviews on them, please let me know. I have to buy a few more reels soon and I’d like to know what the Salt Strong family thinks before making a final decision on them.

KenE. Engebretsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Sybren Smith

I bought a kastKiñg 4000 last year and used it in saltwater for six months than north fishing for Atlantic salmon in Sault Ste, Marie, MI and walleyes, I have had no problems with my reel and would buy another soon. I also like the extra spool that comes in the box as well. For the price, I find no reason to change.

Larry Beish
3 years ago

Excellent podcast, I just got my 2500 Vanford. Will keep you posted on how it works, and I’m not going to tuck my shirt in while using it haha.

3 years ago

What lubricant should I use on my Fuego to protect from salt spray?

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony

I don’t use any lubricants on mine and they are doing just fine after over a year of abuse.

Justin Ritchey
3 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Ditto to what Luke mentioned. A lubricant/spray to mitigate salt exposure isn’t necessary with extending the overall performance of a reel. Basic maintenance with a light freshwater rinse and wipe-down will help keep that puppy running smoothly for a long time, provided the reel doesn’t get dunked.


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