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Best Baitcasting Reel For Saltwater – You Will Be Surprised!

If your fishing moves from inland freshwater to the seaside (or even on a boat), you need the best baitcasting reel for saltwater  that can handle both environments. Mike, Thomas, and I (David) have been doing that for many years now. Having tried out numerous manufacturers to find the best saltwater reel, we would like to offer our experience with the best saltwater baitcast reel reviews.

Best Saltwater Baitcaster

Abu Garcia ALX Revo Low Profile Baitcaster – Editor’s Choice

Abu Garcia has a long history of producing excellent quality in its baitcasting reels, and the ALX Revo is one of the flagships. It is our top pick due to its castability,  retrieval power, and resistance to corrosion.

To begin with, the ALX Revo is a series of baitcasters with the same general build but bearing different configurations. The four different options available are:


Variant Gear Ratio Retrieve
Revo ALX 6.4:1 Right hand
Revo ALX-L 6.4:1 Left hand
Revo ALX-HS 8.0:1 Right hand
Revo ALX-HS-L 8.0:1 Left hand


The ALX-HS and ALX-HS-L are high-speed variants designed to offer more power and faster retrieve, so depending on the size of fish you will be catching, you need to select the one that best suits you.

Abu Garcia uses its groundbreaking X-Cräftic aluminum alloy frame on this model, the same as in higher-priced ones. It is more lightweight, yet remains more robust and more rigid under strain. The result is that it is more durable and protects the delicate mechanisms within.

The frame is also further protected by several coats of powder paint for corrosion resistance so that you can take it sea fishing at will. All you have to do is rinse it out with fresh water.

Casting with the Abu Garcia ALX Revo feels like a dream, thanks to an ultra-smooth 9+1 gear configuration. It consists of stainless steel HCPR ball bearings (nine of them) and one roller bearing. Combined, they help you to cast further with more accuracy.

Cast control is available thanks to the MagTrax magnetic spool design. I am aware that many Abu fans are highly divided on the performance of this system, but Abu did iron out the kinks, and I found it to be nice and adjustable.

If you’re the person who demands perfection from your reel, the MagTrax system allows you to micro-manage every setting until you have the perfect cast. Plus, coupled with the Infini II spool design, your casts will be further and more precise.

It comes with the Carbon Matrix System with up to 17 pounds of pressure. That way, you have enough to work with even when you catch the big fish.

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Features and Specifications

  • Carbon Matrix drag system.
  • Infini II Spool design.
  • MagTrax braking with micro-adjustment.
  • Carbon Matrix drag system with star adjustment.
  • X-Cräftic aluminum alloy frame with saltwater protection.
  • Titanium line guide.
  • 9+1 Stainless steel HCPR bearings.
  • Bent compact handle with flat EVA knobs.
  • Line capacity: 145/10, 120/12,  105/14 mono or 155/50, 115/30, 80/50 braid.
  • Drag capacity: 17 pounds.
  • External lube port.


  • Sturdy build thanks to X-Cräftic alloy frame.
  • Comfortable and lightweight for all-day fishing.
  • Excellent castability.
  • Smooth operation.
  • Durable with simple maintenance.
  • Excellent resistance to saltwater corrosion.


  • The star drag adjustment feels a bit shaky.
  • Mike, our Abu expert, feels that it is overpriced.


Despite one or two flaws, the Abu Garcia Revo ALX remains our Editor’s choice due to its robust build and excellent castability. Saltwater fishing demands both. If you’re impressed, get yours here.

Abu Garcia Revo X Low Profile Reel – Best for the Money

The Revo X Low Profile baitcasting reel is Abu Garcia’s entry-level model of the Revo series. The Revo series has been hugely successful courtesy of the excellent performance and durability it exhibits.

While it has been in existence since 2013, Abu Garcia revamped the entire series two years ago in 2018 to reflect the latest advances in technology. Now, the 4th Generation Revo X is once again a favorite of limited-budget users.

It features the X2-Cräftic aluminum alloy frame, almost similar to that found in premium models. That assures you that the reel will handle saltwater environments well, and also makes the reel sufficiently rigid and durable.

It also borrows the Carbon Matrix Drag system from premium models, giving it a distinctively smooth drag with a maximum capacity of 18 pounds.

For braking, it features an entry-level MagTrax magnetic adjustable system. You may have been displeased with the inconsistent performance of the previous versions, but I (as well as Tom and Mike) agree that this one is much better. It is not top-dollar but works for the price range.

One feature carried over from the older generations is the D2 Duragear system. It consists of oversized brass gears, and they clearly show thanks to the oversized gearbox. Still, it helps to provide more power.

The Revo X series consists of six variants, all with slightly different configurations. You can get one with a wide spool or with a high-speed gear ratio.

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Features and Specifications

  • Carbon Matrix hybrid drag system.
  • Brass Duragear system.
  • Improved MagTrax braking system.
  • 18-pound maximum drag pressure.
  • X2-Cräftic aluminium alloy frame.
  • Available in different configurations with different capacities.
  • 90mm power handle.
  • Gear ratio: 6.6:1 for the conventional model, 7.3:1 for the HS.


  • At $99, it is one of the most affordable high-quality bait casters.
  • Excellent castability.
  • The X-Cräftic frame is sturdy and durable.
  • Best low profile saltwater baitcaster with great ergonomics.
  • Superb protection from corrosion.
  • Smooth drag with a high capacity.


  • The side cover locks via a lever instead of being screwed on. It is easy to knock it off accidentally and lose it in the water.
  • Not as smooth as you would like, with the crank having only one ball bearing and one bushing.


You will be amazed at how well this reel performs despite its low price point. It borrows a few useful features from its premium cousins, making it one of the best budget baitcasting reel

If you would like to go the Abu Garcia way, get your Revo X variant here.

Revo Garcia Winch Generation 3 Baitcast Reel

The first thing we noticed with the Revo Garcia Winch designed to handle big fish. It is sturdy, comes with an extra-long power handle, and is sturdy enough to back troll with.

Even better, the Winch features a low gear ratio, just like its spinner sibling. It has a 5.4:1 retrieve, which is much lower than most. This, in turn, gives it a lot more torque, which is where it got the name Winch.

Fishing for bass with the Winch is an absolute pleasure. I tried it for a few extended expeditions and noticed that I no longer get as sore in the wrist and fingers. While the 22” per turn retrieve rate is much slower, it is that much more powerful and gives you incredible leverage with the saltwater monsters.

To complement the heavy-duty construction, it offers a massive drag capacity measure at about 22 pounds. It uses the highly efficient Carbon Matrix drag system, which I found to be smooth and highly responsive.

On to casting, the Winch does it like a charm. As we have come to expect from Abu Garcia, the free-spinning spool lets you cast much farther without impacting accuracy.

This is partly due to the 9 stainless steel HCPR bearings. Eight of these are roller bearings, but they are all hardened and protected from corrosion so that you can get ultra-smooth performance throughout its lifetime.

All these components are held together and protected within an X-Cräftic aluminum alloy frame. It is super-rigid and strong to handle the most resistant of fish.

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Features and Specifications

  • Winch-style gear ratio of 5.4:1 with a 22” line retrieve for every turn.
  • X-Cräftic aluminum alloy frame.
  • C6 carbon side plate.
  • Duragear brass gearing system.
  • Everslik coated pinion and pawl.
  • Infini Brakes dual combo brakes.
  • Power handle with flat EVA knobs.
  • 8+1 stainless steel HCPR bearings.
  • Line capacity: 225/10, 180/12, 130/15 mono or 235/20/180/30, 125/50 braid.
  • Carbon Matrix drag with a 22-pound capacity.


  • Heavy-duty build.
  • Smooth Carbon Matrix drag with a high capacity.
  • Powerful retrieve thanks to a low gear ratio.
  • Durable, thanks to the X-Cräftic alloy frame.
  • Superb castability.
  • Excellent craftsmanship.


  • The worm gear is not positioned ergonomically and can pinch you during fast retrieves.


In an age where every baitcaster seems to be aiming for fast retrieves, it is such a breath of fresh air to have one that offers just the opposite. Plus, it is the best saltwater baitcasting reel under $200.

The Abu Garcia Winch offers superb craftsmanship, excellent performance, and lends itself to distinguished service in experienced hands. If you like what it has to offer, buy one here.

Abu Garcia C4 Ambassadeur Baitcasting Reel

Abu Garcia saltwater baitcasting reels are in general some of the best. You can use them for both fresh and saltwater fishing. This partly explains why the C4 series is so popular.

 The C4 series consists of five variants in total, each slightly different to suit different needs.  

Variant                                 Line Capacity Retrieve
Mono Braid
C4-4600 160yd/12lb 155yd/30lb Right hand
C4-5600 240yd/12lb 235yd/30lb Right hand
C4-5601 240/12lb 235/30lb Left hand
C4-6600 320/12lb 310yd/30lb Right hand
C4-6601 320/12lb 310/30lb Left hand


The C4 series features a Carbon Matrix drag system with a maximum setting of 15 pounds. It gives you plenty of range to work with depending on the fish.

It also has a 6-pin centrifugal braking system. The main advantage with that is that it allows micro-adjustments and responds actively depending on spool speed. 

Apart from that, the smoothness is increased by the 4+1 stainless steel bearings that bear the strain and wear much better.

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Features and Specifications

  • Five stainless steel bearings, inclusive of one roller bearing.
  • Carbon Matrix drag system with a 15-pound capacity.
  • 6-pin centrifugal braking system.
  • 6.3:1 gear ratio with a 30” retrieve for every turn.
  • Compact bent handle and star drag adjustment.
  • Synchronized level wind system.
  • Duragear 2 brass gear system.


  • Excellent castability
  • Large line capacity depending on the model.
  • Smooth and efficient drag.
  • Responsive and micro-adjustable braking system.
  • Ergonomic and comfortable design.


  • The retrieve is not as powerful as you might like.
  • The round baitcaster doesn’t suit everybody’s taste.


The Ambassadeur C4 from Abu Garcia is a favorite with many users thanks to its castability, smooth operation, and immense value for money. If you love Abu Garcia’s Swiss-made quality, get it here.

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Baitcaster

The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Baitcast is one of those baitcasters that still follow after the vintage round design. Abu Garcia still boasts a firm following in this segment and remains almost the only company to offer them in noteworthy quality.

It is designed with 3 roller bearings and 1 roller bearing all made of stainless steel to deliver smooth performance.

The 6-pin centrifugal braking system, while old since its inception, is one of the best and gives superb casts with pinpoint accuracy. It provides more control over the spool speed, thus helping eliminate bird’s nests in the hands of professionals.

It also has the more modern Carbon Matrix drag system delivering 15 pounds of maximum pressure. That way, you can effectively fight the most aggressive saltwater fish.

The C3 offers a more leisurely 5.3:1 gear ratio,  which results in a retrieve rate of 26” per turn of the crank. While it is a bit slower than some others, it also makes it more powerful when it comes to torque.

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Features and Specifications

  • 6-pin centrifugal braking system.
  • Carbon Matrix drag system with a maximum pressure of 15 pounds.
  • 5.3:1 gear ratio with a 26” retrieval rate.
  • Line capacity: 160/12 mono, 155/30 braid.
  • Aluminum spool.
  • Four bearings with an anti-reverse clutch.
  • Synchronized level wind system.
  • Compact handle with star drag adjustment system.


  • Powerful retrieve.
  • Advanced carbon matrix drag system.
  • Efficient braking system.
  • Durable and easily serviceable at home.
  • Excellent castability.


  • Heavy and unsightly.
  • The round retro style is not for everyone.


If you’re a fan of the old school, you don’t need much convincing, do you? Get the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Baitcasting Reel here.

Penn Squall LevelWind

When it comes to high-end fishing, a name that you will hear consistently is Penn. The Squall LevelWind baitcasting reels are especially suitable for inexperienced anglers, despite being known for competitive angling.

To start the list of impressive features, the Penn Squall LevelWind features a graphite frame that is super strong and rigid while remaining lightweight. The spool is made of molded aluminum, and these two materials offer excellent protection from saltwater corrosion.

It comes with the HT100 carbon fiber drag system for smooth and powerful drag. The maximum drag pressure in 20 pounds, which is more than enough for the big game fishing, which the Squall LevelWind is intended for.

You will also notice the 4.9:1 gear ratio because of its powerful, though slow, retrieve. Since it is designed to handle aggressive quarry, this is one of the best baitcasting reels for saltwater fish.

The Penn Squall LevelWind features two stainless steel ball bearings. While they are not as smooth in operation, they are designed more for durability and high-stress situations.

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Features and Specifications

  • Graphite frame and side plates.
  • Aluminum spool.
  • HT100 carbon fiber drag system with a maximum 20-pound drag pressure.
  • Brass gears with a 4.9:1 ratio.
  • Instant anti-reverse.
  • Line capacity: 320/15, 380/17, 220/20 mono or 580/20, 435/30, 305/50 braid.


  • Massive line capacity.
  • Build for catching the bigger saltwater fish.
  • Very strong and durable.
  • Easy to use, even for beginners.
  • Powerful retrieve.
  • Smooth drag with high capacity.


  • No auto-engage.
  • It does not spool evenly.


For affordable, competition-ready baitcasting reels, go Penn. You will get massive reels that can fight any saltwater fish out there, including a few sharks. To get a taste of Penn quality, order your Penn Squall LevelWind here.

Daiwa Coastal TWS T-Wing Reel

The Daiwa Coastal TWS T-Wing baitcaster is explicitly designed for saltwater fishing applications. It is built to fight those big salties thanks to a sturdy frame and powerful drag system and is the best inshore baitcasting reel to buy.

The frame consists of aircraft-grade aluminum, which is both strong and lightweight. However, the 8.1-ounce weight is still a bit heavier than most, but I didn’t mind it in the least.

That is mainly because the Daiwa Coastal uses seven corrosion-resistant ball bearings and one roller bearing. Daiwa claims that they outlast regular bearings by up to 12 times.

The MagForce cast control system is also exact and easy to use. It is magnetic, and adjusting the knob simply changes the positioning of tiny magnets inside.

It uses the Ultimate Tournament Drag system, made out of special woven fibers. To keep friction heat to a minimum, it also has a special lubricating and cooling oil to keep it at peak operation.

Best of all, it has a large 100mm power handle to reel in those big ones, which is the biggest we’ve seen. Daiwa’s T-Wing line control system is also present, which helps prevent friction and wear as the line is paid out.

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Features and Specifications 

  • Ultimate Tournament Drag system.
  • T-Wing line control.
  • Hardened aluminum spool and graphite spool.
  • 8-bearing system.
  • MagForce cast control.
  • 100mm swept handle.
  • EVA custom round handles.
  • Line capacity: 165/14, 100/20 mono, 190/40, 145/55 braid


  • Amazing castability.
  • Powerful reeling.
  • Sturdy construction handles big fish very well.
  •  Beautiful aesthetics.
  • Smooth and strong drag system.


  • Price


As far as Daiwa product products go, the TWS T-Wing Coastal baitcaster is perfect. It is durable, resistant to corrosion, and casts very well. 

If you’re undecided about what you need, I can affirm that this is one of the best saltwater baitcaster ever.  You can order it here.


Saltwater fishing is a different game altogether and demands much more from man and equipment. To make sure that you’re fully prepared for that seaside trip, grab one of these best saltwater baitcasting reels today. 

Interested in more environmental based reels? Check out my blog post on the best ice fishing baitcasting reels!