Requirements for a Quality Saltwater Spinning Reel
Requirements for a quality saltwater spinning reel will be unique for each angler dictated by your style of fishing, the gamefish you intend to pursue, and most importantly, your own personal preferences.
However, there are a few general characteristics to keep in mind when shopping for a good saltwater spinning reel.
All Saltwater reels must be exceedingly resistant to saltwater corrosion. Materials great for freshwater fishing such as magnesium aren’t well suited for use in saltwater situations.
A very strong and lightweight material commonly used is aluminum making for a reel that will see use for years in a saltwater environment. Graphite components such as side plates can also be found on aluminum reels.
Conversely, a reel may be of a hybrid construction with the spool, crank handle, and rotor constructed from aluminum, with the frame and component parts being made from graphite.
Aluminum, magnesium, and graphite frames are all capable of reducing the torque that larger gamefish can put on a reel. Your decision will come down to price, weight, and the endurance you expect from the reel.
The gear ratio of a reel dictates how many revolutions the spool takes each time you turn the crank handle. This is easy to visualize;
For example, on a reel with a gear ratio of 7.3:1, the spool turns 7.3 times with each turn of the crank. A gear ratio of 5.6:1 means the spool will turn 5.6 times with each turn of the crank and so on.
A higher gear ratio is suited for faster retrieves when fishing with spinners, or top-water plugs, and for reeling in longer line lengths when trolling
A lower gear ratio produces more power to pull larger gamefish out from deeper waters.
Larger saltwater gamefish will always put more pressure on gear, and the drag on the reel is there to take the burden of a portion of that strain, reducing the likelihood of a line or rod break.
Most Saltwater reels will come with drag systems that are multi-disc that will pump the brakes on any strong, high energy fish you might encounter with drag weights in the 40-50lb being most common.
Be on the lookout for carbon-fiber drag systems that adjust smoothly and with ease.
Saltwater reels should also have spacings throughout the reel spool allowing for good air flow and cooling within the system. With the drag maintaining heat resistant qualities.
Angling for larger gamefish in deep open water increases the requirement for how much line is needed, usually much more than can be expected during freshwater fishing.
Most of the time reel spools designed for saltwater offshore fishing will be of a greater diameter or feature a deeper spool to house more line than it would otherwise.
You always want to ensure you are using a reel with a deeper spool and larger line capacity, to deal with larger, stronger, more troublesome gamefish. Allowing you enough line to fight over a longer distance is crucial.
You will find that in most offshore fishing situations, you will decide that the use of braided line will be required, for the extra strength, better casting distance, and sensitivity when handling.
Unfortunately, braided line has a habit of slipping around on the spool during reeling, which makes reeling in your catch extremely difficult when you have been spooled out.
To reduce the likelihood of this happening, a lot of saltwater spinning reels will have a rubber gasket on the spool, where the line makes contact.
This means that rather than the line slipping, it will create friction against the rubber gasket catching the line and giving you some much-needed power to reel the line back.
Many components on saltwater spinning reels will be sealed, this is to reduce or eliminate any contact the parts may have with saltwater. The seals generally act like gaskets and are a barrier used as an extra defense against saltwater to protect against erosion.