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Fishing Reels Saltwater - Guidelines For Saltwater Fishing Reels

line drag gear aluminum

The type of fishing reel used in a saltwater environment will depend mostly on the targeted species. Saltwater locations are usually harsher on fishing equipment due to rougher conditions, larger game fish, and the corrosive properties of salt. Deep sea, pier, and surf fishing all demand different types of reels.
In saltwater environments, resistance to corrosion is imperative; saltwater reels are often made with either graphite, anodized aluminum, or stainless steel. Graphite is lighter and does not rust, while the more expensive aluminum and steel constructions are considered to have better durability. Titanium is as strong as steel, and not easily corroded, but around 60% heavier than aluminum. The size and strength of the targeted fish must be considered in saltwater reel construction.
A medium gear ratio of about 4.5:1 is adequate for most saltwater reels, but this will change in certain situations. Higher gear ratios may be necessary to quickly move bait over the surface, and reel in fast-moving fish which charge the boat. Lower gear ratios are suited well for trolling, bottom-fishing, or deeper water, where more power and leverage are required for stronger fish. Some reels feature a sort of “transmission”, allowing the gear ratio to be changed during retrieval.
Saltwater fishing reels with sealed, stainless steel bearings are recommended for added control and durability. Reels with more ball bearings generally perform better, but usually cost more; a reel with less than four ball bearings should be avoided.
Good drag systems, which release the line steadily while battling a fish, are more important for saltwater reels, as many ocean fish run longer. On a spinning reel, a front drag will stand up better to larger fish and more demanding conditions, while a rear drag is easier to control but less durable. Some spinning reels have a dual drag system, potentially helpful when using sitting bait, that can be switched from rear to front after a successful strike.
Spinning reels are considered easy to use, and heavier models for saltwater fishing have now been designed to handle more weight than before; some may even handle 40-pound test monofilament line, or 80-pound test braided line. The reel should be solidly built, with no back play, and without any flimsy or loose parts; the more parts it has, the greater the odds of a malfunction.
Casting reels are designed for heavier line and lures, making them ideal for saltwater fishing offshore, though they require more practice. They are also preferable when fishing deeper waters, for species such as rock cod and grouper. A round casting reel uses a larger spool and usually holds more line, while a low-profile model is smaller and generally easier to palm during retrieval. A level wind reel is an option best suited for fishing large game using monofilament line. At much higher prices, electric reels are made to use at depths of more than 200 feet, speeding up retrieval time.
Different styles of saltwater fishing reels are available: bottom reels are designed to go down deep, with longer line capacity and slower gear ratios; trolling reels often utilize a line counter, use heavier spools, and drag bait behind a moving boat; offshore reels are designed for large game, and are among the more expensive saltwater reels; jigging reels are ideal in stationary positions, such as reef locations or piers. When fly fishing in saltwater, machined fly reels are recommended over single-action types.
Spools may be made of aluminum or graphite, and on many casting reels they can be easily changed when a different test weight of line is needed. Longer spools are also available, allowing a greater casting distance, ideal for shore fishing.
Maintaining saltwater fishing reels involves regular cleaning and lubrication to help prevent malfunctions. After each fishing trip, the reel may be gently rinsed with fresh water; if saturated with saltwater, it may be soaked in fresh water for 15 minutes, then drained by removing a side plate, and some reels have drainage holes. When lubricating, only a light oil made for fishing reels should be used. The oil may be applied to all moving parts within the reel, and the handles if necessary, with disassembly done according to the supplied diagram.

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