Best Saltwater Baitcasting Reels – Top Reviews in 2021

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There’s no doubt about it. Some reels can handle saltwater better than others due to their construction materials and inclusions.

However, calling a reel either saltwater or freshwater is a distinction I tend to ignore. If I can cast it, I’ll fish it, regardless of the water type.

But there are plenty of anglers, probably most, who want to know that their reel has the backbone to handle the harsh nature of saltwater conditions.

We all want longevity from our fishing reel investments. So, along with care and maintenance, a reel designed specifically for the salty stuff gives us a far better shot at reel longevity.

The 5 baitcasting reels listed below are some of the best saltwater baitcaster reels available. They may not be the best; that’s subjective. 

But they are certainly worthy of your consideration, and your money will be well spent.

Let’s have a look at five good quality saltwater baitcaster reels, that with care and maintenance, are sure to have a long working life chasing saltwater targets.

The Best Saltwater Baitcaster Reels 2021

Daiwa Tatula Type HD 7.3:1 Baitcast Reel
Daiwa Tatula Type HD 7.3:1 Baitcast Reel
T-Wing System (TWS); Daiwa's air rotation; Bearings: 7BB (2CRBB) + 1RB; 30% more line capacity (braid and mono)
Smoke Heavy Duty 200 LH BC Reel 6.6:1
Smoke Heavy Duty 200 LH BC Reel 6.6:1
SHIMANO Calcutta B Round Reel
SHIMANO Calcutta B Round Reel
Line Retrieve Per Crank (in): 24; Max Drag (lb): 17.5; Gear Ratio: 5.0:1; Weight (oz): 11.7

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Keep in mind that the reels listed above are just a shortlist of “best,” in my opinion. 

Others may disagree about the top billing, and there are a heap more that could make a best-of list. 

There’s be little argument, however, that these reels are deserving of representation here.

Shimano Tranx Baitcast Reel – Best Sealing Option

For those hunting a larger class of fish inshore, the Shimano Tranx is a great baitcasting reel to consider. 

Regardless of the size you choose, 8 and 10kg of Shimano drag delivers serious fighting power.  With the 400 holding 275 yards of 50-pound braid, you can tackle sizable targets.

SHIMANO Tranx 300A Lowprofile Freshwater Fishing Reel

It’s built for casting, and Shimano’s variable brake system delivers excellent distance and accuracy.

It will handle light to medium offshore work and can be jigged or trolled as well as cast. I like it as a versatile kayak reel, particularly outside the heads. 

While Coreprotect offers good protection from water ingress, dunkings and splashes are nearly inevitable when exploring on a kayak.

Coreprotect is effective, but it’s not water-tight. So don’t start submerging your Tranx thinking it will survive – it won’t. 

Another advantage of Coreprotect is that it is focused on the critical areas and doesn’t add cast-killing fiction.

Another feature many will like is the gear ratio options. 

The 5.8 is an excellent neutral speed and ideal for a host of lures, particularly big swimbaits. 

For those looking for a faster crank, the 7.6 is ideal for speedy metal slice retrieves.

I’m a big fan of the single power handle on the HG models – it’s made for cranking hard and one of the compelling features of the Tranx.

The Tranx alloy construction delivers excellent corrosion resistance, as do the 5 ARB bearings.

The Tranx is a quality build that’s made to last. Fish from land or afloat, and fish it hard. 

The Shimano Tranx is a genuine saltwater fishing weapon and worthy of its upper-mid price point.


  • Excellent corrosion mitigation
  • Great for large baits and lures
  • Brilliant for inshore fishing and offshore
  • Versatility and size options


  • I love the handle and ergonomics; they won’t appeal to all, however.
  • Larger models are pretty pricey.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<


  • Core protect water resistance
  • X-Ship Gearing
  • Hagane Body
  • Shielded ARB Bearings: 5+1
  • Variable brake system
  • Super Free Spool casting system
  • Single Power Handle is supplied on all HG Models
  • Full Specs

2. Daiwa Tatula HD – Best Tech Inclusions For The Money

While the Tranx above might not be so well known, plenty of baitcaster fans will know the Daiwa Tatula. 

The Daiwa Tatula features corrosion-resistant bearings, DigiGear, and an all-alloy construction resulting in a powerful package.

Daiwa Tatula Type HD 7.3:1 Baitcast Reel
  • T-Wing System (TWS)
  • Daiwa's air rotation
  • Bearings: 7BB (2CRBB) + 1RB
  • 30% more line capacity (braid and mono)

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The clutch mechanism is corrosion-resistant, adding significant weight to the Tatula’s saltwater protection.

There’s 6kg of UTD (drag) which is as smooth as it gets. UTD is backed up by generous spool capacities allowing anglers to target pretty serious fish.

Magforce is a pretty good braking system that won’t eliminate backlash but will certainly reduce it as you load up and cast hard. 

In addition, the T-wing line guide reduces friction, adding further casting distance and accuracy.

There are 3 gear speeds from which to choose, which allows you to refine your reel choice based on lure types and application. 

The 5.5 will be great for swimbaits and the biggest of cranks. I like the 6.3 for poppers and stick baits, and the 7.3 is excellent for metal slugs and anything grip-it-n-rip-it.

All alloy construction delivers excellent strength and rigidity but also compliments the corrosion credentials.

A big factor for many is the Tatula’s considerable lightweight. At a touch over 8 ounces, many will be surprised at the feel, as it looks like a pretty substantial reel. 

Casting manners are excellent, and the lightweight construction allows for relentless casting over long sessions.

Magforce is pretty easy to get used to. And once you’ve got the feel of it, you’ll find the easy dial adjustments second nature.

I like the Tatula for a larger class of inshore fish. It’s great at close quarters fishing and will work nicely for chasing big fish along sea walls, estuary, and harbor entrances.

While I’d definitely peg the Tatula at a larger class of fish, it’s by no means overkill when targeting a smaller class of fish.

Jam-packed with Daiwa features, the Tatula has broad appeal in the go-to daily-drive category. So cast whatever, and poke it at anything, anywhere.


  • Excellent speed options
  • Versatility
  • Ergonomics
  • Smooth, lightweight crank
  • Excellent casting


  • Prefer larger knobs on the handle.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<


  • Max Drag: 6kg
  • Approx. weight: 230 grams
  • Magforce z,
  • Real four,
  • DigiGear
  • Ultimate tournament drag system
  • Durable frame and side plate (aluminum construction)
  • Aluminum frame and side plate (gear side)
  • Durable gearing system
  • Star drag system
  • 100mm size handle (Swept crank)
  • 7+1 Corrosion resistant ball bearings
  • TWS Easy cast line guide system
  • Full Specs

3. Quantum Smoke HD – Editor’s Choice

The Smoke delivers outstanding value for money and is designed for the died-in-the-wool sports angler.

Despite its relatively diminutive size and skinny 196 grams ringing wet, the Smoke HD is designed to tackle a larger class of saltwater fish.

Smoke Heavy Duty 200 LH BC Reel 6.6:1

Corrosion credentials start at Saltguard 2.0. Full alloy construction offers further corrosion protection as well as outstanding strength and rigidity. 

Strategic use of ceramic, carbon, and zirconium ensures the Smoke is well dressed for saltwater fishing environments.

6 + 1 bearings deliver a silky-smooth, lightweight crank, as well as a rock-solid anti-reverse. 

The drag system is an interesting hybrid of carbon fiber, ceramic and stainless, which provides ample stopping power and drag durability.

It’s a dream to cast, and adjustments are made externally, allowing for rapid changes while the heat’s on. 

The Titanium-nitride coated fishing line feeder guide sounds like a fancy chemical equation to me, but it’s very smooth, complimenting distance credentials and protecting lines.

I’d poke this saltwater baitcaster weapon at pretty well anything from anywhere. 

But in my opinion, it excels as an offshore / nearshore sports weapon for chasing surface feeders and other pelagic species such as moderate-sized trevally.

They (Daiwa) make a big deal about the handle. However, based on its application, I think they could have done more, gone bigger, or upgraded the knobs. 

It bothers me that they say, “large size EVA knobs,” but they’re not especially large yet should be.

Ceramic components are excellent, but I am always cautious about impact damage. The PT drive and main gear are alloys. 

This is great for corrosion and keeping things light, but you need to test it over a longer period to assess durability.

There are 3 speeds from which to choose, which adds depth to the range.

I like the 6.6, as it’s a touch faster than neutral and great for just about everything.

While the Quantum smoke might not look like a heavy-duty saltwater baitcaster, it is actually true to its HD title.

I like just about everything about the Smoke. It offers excellent build quality, value, and outstanding performance.


  • Value for money
  • Saltwater credentials
  • Construction quality
  • Excellent casting manners


  • Ceramic components are excellent but can be susceptible to impact injury.
  • Although oversize already, the handle could be a touch bigger

>>Check Price on Amazon<<


  • Quantum Aluminum Frame (SCR), Aluminum Side cover, and Saltguard 2.0
  • Cast Control – able to be adjusted externally
  • Anti-Reverse: continuous
  • Ceramic worm gear
  • Zirconium pawl
  • Zero Friction pinion concept
  • Drag System: CSC2TM carbon fiber, ceramic and stainless
  • Titanium-nitride coated fishing line feeder guide
  • Aluminum PT main gear
  • Aluminum PT driveshaft
  • Handle Knobs: Large size EVA
  • 95mm handle
  • Full Specs

4. Shimano Corvalus – Best Budget Option & Allrounder

If you’re looking for an all-rounder at an outstanding price point, then the Corvalus is a must for your shortlist. 

I find it amazing that the Corvalus is frequently billed as a freshwater reel. I have no idea why.

Shimano Corvalus 400, Round Freshwater Fishing Reel

While affordable, the Corvalus is of excellent build quality, made from lightweight alloys. An alloy frame and sideplate offer good protection from corrosion. 

Add stainless bearings to the mix, and you have the basic saltwater baitcasting reel credentials. 

If you have any doubts at all, check the 10-year warranty.

The Corvalus is about excellence in versatility. Its focus is more on quality basics than a load of the fancy flagship tech of higher-priced reels.

Don’t be fooled by a modest feature list. The Corvalus is a quality reel full of Shimano pedigree.

The Corvalus can be cast, trolled, or jigged. With 5kg of super-smooth drag, it will handle tough fights with sizable fish. 

With 305 yards of 50-pound braid, you have a spool-load of fighting power to tame a much larger class of fishing than the reels’ size might indicate.

As stated earlier, the Corvalus is a great all-rounder. It can be cast, trolled, and jigged and will work nicely bouncing the bottom.

It’s awesomel for the boat, but I also like it from the beach and ocean rocks. 

It will cast a larger class of lures and is good for live baits.

While light-weight is the modern craze, I feel many anglers like the weightier feel offered by its 11-ounce bulk.

Casting manners are great, but it’s not the sort of reel I’d purchase for rapid-fire casting. Instead, I like the Corvalus for set baits and trolling. 

I’d cast live baits from land or afloat, set the drag and weight.

The Corvalus is a great-looking reel that offers excellent quality for your hard-earned dollar. 

While spartan in tech features, it’s got truckloads of pedigree and class.


  • Outstanding value for money
  • User friendly
  • Great looks
  • Excellent strength. Built to endure


  • No sealing
  • Limited model selection

>>Check Price on Amazon<<


  • ARB Bearings 3+1
  • Non-Disengaging Levelwind System
  • Two Post Quick Take Down
  • Rubber Handle Grip
  • Diecast Aluminum Frame
  • Aluminum Sides
  • Aluminum Spool
  • Clicker Alert
  • Full specs

5. Shimano Calcutta 700B – Best Big Fish Baitcaster

The 700B is a bit of an imposter in the saltwater baitcaster reel class. It’s a better fit as an overhead or conventional reel. 

Owing to its size and strength, it’s kinda like a baby game reel.

SHIMANO Calcutta B Round Reel
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank (in): 24
  • Max Drag (lb): 17.5
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
  • Weight (oz): 11.7

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The cold-forged aluminum frame, sideplates & spool buddy up with the stainless bearings for its saltwater fishing credentials. 

But it’s the strength and capacity that make the 700B a dedicated saltwater baitcaster reel.

The 4.7 ratio suggests a baitcaster reel built for heavy cranking. It holds 620 yards of 50-pound braid, so the fish you’re cranking will likely be big ones. In addition, there are 7 kgs of drag. 

Coupled with the substantial spool capacity, you’re tackling big saltwater fish.

The 700B has a level wind and variable brake system, so it’s built with excellent casting manners.

However, at a touch over half a kilo, it’s not the sort of reel you’re firing off machine-gun style…although you can if you like if you’re feeling fit.

For my money, the 700B is perfect trolled, jigging, bouncing the bottom, or setting decent-sized live baits for big pelagic species. 

The clicker is an excellent addition for this.

While it can be used on land very successfully, it has more of a boat feel to it. 

Having said that, this would be a great weapon for tackling monsters on piers. 

It’s also an excellent option for chasing big fish that dwell under bridges, near rock walls, and under docks.

The big Calcutta is also a fantastic-looking reel. The gold coloring blends well with a mix of classic lines and contemporary styling. 

It’s a classy-looking reel in anybody’s language.

The Calcutta 700B will suit a saltwater fishing angler wanting a baitcaster for a larger class of fish. 

While it’s a little on the heavy side in modern terms, it packs incredible power and versatility.

Get some live baits and target some monsters. For the lure fans, the 700B will handle the biggest of swimbaits with ease.


  • Built to last
  • Strong, rigid construction
  • Versatility
  • Holds plenty of heavy class line
  • Brilliant cast, jigged or trolled


  • Poor bearing count for this price point
  • Constructed to handle the salt but lacks sealing

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Features and Full Specs

  • Mono capacity 9kg / 283m
  • Line class 50lb / 620yds
  • Gear ratio 4.7:1
  • Retrieve 71cm
  • 3+1 stainless bearings
  • Max drag power 7kg
  • Weight 543g
  • Cold Forged Aluminum Frame, Sideplates & Spool
  • A-RB (Anti-Rust Bearing)
  • Variable Brake System (VBS)
  • Clicker Alarm System
  • Super Stopper
  • Dartainium Drag
  • Level Wind

What Is The Advantage Of A Baitcaster Reel?

The main advantage of a baitcaster is strength and rigidity. There are also some advantages in casting distance and accuracy, depending on the user, of course. 

However, these days, a spinning reel will do everything a baitcaster can do. And there are a few things a spinning reel will do better.

Getting peak casting performance from a baitcaster requires skill. Many will get better casting performance from a spinning reel.

Another advantage, mainly with smaller baitcasters, is the potential for one-hand operation. 

This is popular with anglers that like to pitch and flip rapid-fire. It takes time and practice to master but delivers considerable fishing efficiency once learned.

How Do I Choose A Saltwater Baitcasting Reel?

The best advice for choosing a saltwater baitcasting reel is to check them out in a shop first. 

Buying online is great, but it’s best to feel and hold a baitcaster before you purchase.

For saltwater baitcasters, alloy construction and quality stainless bearings are a must. 

Graphite construction is fine and resists corrosion, but graphite baitcasters are often on the cheaper side, with compromise made in other areas.

Sealing, as well as other corrosion technologies, is a bonus. But be prepared to pay extra for these inclusions. 

Sealed bearings are excellent, but again, you’ll pay more for reels with sealed and shielded bearings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Baitcasting Reels Good For Saltwater?

Yes. Some are better than others, but there isn’t a baitcaster I wouldn’t use in saltwater.

Are Low-Profile Baitcasting Reels Good For Saltwater Fishing?

Yes. Some are better than others, but there isn’t a low-profile baitcaster I wouldn’t use in saltwater.

How Do You Clean A Baitcaster Reel After Saltwater?

Wipe down with a damp cloth after every session. Don’t be tempted to blast them with a hose; you will get water in the internals.

Water displacements such as WD40 are good, as are reel-specific cleaners. 

Be aware, degreasers such as WD40 will remove grease from the internals.

Remove the side plate, and spool for major cleans and re-grease. Pay particular attention to level wind mechanisms.

What Baitcasters Hold The Most Line?

If you’re looking for spool capacity, check the specs on every reel on your shortlist. 

Generally speaking, round baitcasters have larger spools, therefore hold more fishing line.

Remember. If you want more line on your spool, it’s better to go with braids than mono.

Can You Bottom Fish With A Baitcaster?

The short answer is yes, of course. Faster retrieves will be good for this. Make sure your spool is full.

What’s Better, Spinning Reel Or Baitcaster?

When I hit the pearly gates of heaven, this will be the first question Peter asks me before he lets me in.

The answer is no. Neither is better; they’re just different. It ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Both have areas in which they excel, but often that comes down to user skill. 

My advice is to get skilled with both, and you will discover applications in which you prefer to use one style over the other.

The Best Saltwater Baitcaster Conclusion

The best saltwater baitcasting reels listed above will perform very well when saltwater fishing. 

Regardless of their various features and technologies for repelling water and mitigating corrosion, it’s ultimately up to you.

Don’t submerge your reels, and don’t ram saltwater or any type of inside them. Make sure you have a regular cleaning and maintenance routine.

No amount of tech can save a baitcaster reel from poor treatment and neglect. 

The good ones will last longer, but even the best ones will succumb to poor maintenance.

With a good cleaning and maintenance routine, you can effectively use any baitcaster or reel at all, for that matter, in the saltwater. 

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