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Daiwa Saltiga Spinning Reel Review

Daiwa Saltiga Spinning Reel Review

If you’re looking for the Rolex of fishing reels, congratulations because you’ve come to the right place. In this Daiwa Saltiga spinning reel review, we are not playing any games today. Here we have the Daiwa Saltiga which is a premium saltwater spinning reel designed for the most elite anglers to grab hold of and never let go.

This reel starts at just under $800 retail for the smaller models and goes up from there. It is loaded with durable features and design elements that you won’t find on any other reels.

The main thing that separates this reel from some of its predecessors and competitors is its strict design intended for saltwater fishing. Everything that went into this reel is there to prevent corrosion and maintain performance even after years of saltwater fishing.

If you are looking for only the best in design, engineering and performance from a saltwater reel, the Daiwa Saltiga needs to be at the top of your list.  In fact, the only other reel that comes remotely close to this is the Shimano Stella.

The Bottom Line

recommended for saltwater

  • Engineered for the angler who wants the best when it comes to a large saltwater spinning reel
  • Super high-end materials and construction
  • Fully sealed reel designed to withstand harsh saltwater conditions
  • The finest engineering available in a spinning reel.

The Daiwa Saltiga is one of the crown jewels of heavy duty spinning reels get it HERE.

So let’s talk about the main things that make this reel stand out.  First is the magsealed construction and the sheer amount of it that went into this reel. Daiwa remodeled the original design and included magsealed ball bearings in a few different places to help with durability and resistance to saltwater. 

They included a magsealed rotor bearing to prevent water from getting in through the top of the reel and penetrating inside around the main shaft. Daiwa also magsealed the line roller as well, which is a component of the reel that is always exposed to saltwater. Once this piece of the reel gets corroded, it starts to cause a lot of drag on the line. 

Daiwa also included a magsealed ball bearing on both sides of the drive gear. This step helps provide smooth rotation, and it keeps water from penetrating the reel. Overall, the reel has an incredibly durable and rigid design that you can feel immediately when you hold it in your hands.

Durability and design are important, but performance is what we really seek from our reels, right? The Daiwa Saltiga does not lack anything in that category either. Let’s talk about the smoothness.

The spool rotates seamlessly and is free from any friction, and the 14 bearing system does a perfect job at limiting any resistance. The drive gear is so smooth that just the weight of the knob is enough to turn the rotor, that is smooth!

When you combine exceptional design with magsealed sealing technology, you find yourself with a premium reel that not only performs its best when you first buy it, but the performance carries on for years to come.


Magsealed construction – The magsealed design of the Daiwa Saltiga is what separates it from the competition. The magnetic oil fills the space between the inner and outer race of the ball bearings, which keeps saltwater out and allows your reel to perform at its best. 

3 Magsealed Ball Bearings – The magnetic oil used in these ball bearings is a new technology that changes density and shape with magnetic fields. When magsealed ball bearings are present, it enhances the smoothness and corrosion prevention of the reel. Daiwa uses these bearings in the main shaft, line roller, and main drive gear.

Air Rotor of Zaion Carbon composite – This air rotor weighs much less than other options, and the benefit is reduced weight and improved stress relief throughout the entire reel. When this happens, you get smoother retrieval, maximum comfort, and more reliability. 

The proprietary Zaion carbion composite materials are extremely rigid and reduce flex and stress by keeping everything lined up properly.

Automatic rotor brake – This design keeps the rotor stationary when the bail is open. 

Lightweight ABS Aluminum spool – The hard stainless lip is Titanium Nitrided to be virtually cut-proof, especially from continuous abrasion from the braided line. Every component of this reel is engineered to add more durability and reliability. 

Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag – The Daiwa Saltiga has reels with a drag of between 22 and 66 lbs. The UTD, as Daiwa calls it, consists of oversized carbon drag washers that allow for more drag than almost any human could engage with.  This becomes especially useful when targeting larger palegic species such as GT and Tuina, which are very fast and hard swimmers.

14 Bearing System (3MBB + 2CRBB + 8BB + 1RB) – The 14 bearing system maximizes performance by providing you with one of the smoothest reels on the market.    The break down is as follows: 3 mag sealed bearings, 1 located on the main drive shaft, 1 on the line roller and 1 on either side of the drive gear.  There are then 2 corrosion resistant shielded ball bearings to keep water out, along with 8 standard ball bearings and 1 roller bearing. 

Sealed, Magsealed ball bearing line roller – The line roller of the reel is one area that is often neglected. This important component of your reel corrodes due to the saltwater, so Daiwa magsealed that as well to assure a long life span.

Air Bail® – This tubular stainless air bail provides the reel with lightweight strength. Like the air rotor, it helps reduce the overall weight of this large reel while still maintaining strength.

Dual, full-time infinite anti-reverse – This system helps prevent the reel from reversing when a fish is engaged.  There is no anti-reverse switch, as this is generally reserved for smaller reels and fighting smaller fish.

Manual bail trip – This feature provides maximum reliability of the bail system and is particularly important when casting large and expensive lures.  The last thing that you want when casting a $50 – $100 lure is for the bail to accidentally get tripped and cause your expensive lure to go sailing off the end of your line.

Digigear digital gear design – The digigear design applies to the machining process of manufacturing these reels. Daiwa uses an incredibly precise CNC machine cut gear that provides a super tight meshing of the gears.  With this type of precision, we get a reel that is noiseless, has superior rotation, strength, and sensitivity. 

Rigid aluminum body – It’s all in the name of strength. When you put this reel in your hand, you’ll feel how rigid and durable it feels.  There is really no play anywhere in the reel that we were able to feel.

Machined aluminum screw-in handle – Having a smooth and comfortable handle is an important part of the reel, especially when you’re dealing with a 6500 plus-sized reel. The Daiwa Saltiga handle doesn’t wiggle or move in any way. It’s the perfect connection between your hand and the reel.

Aluminum reel knob – The know on the Daiwa Saltiga is machined from alumnium vs a man-made material and will withstand the test of time.  This is especially nice on the larger reels and the dogfight, as you will most likely be wearing gloves for an all day fishing expedition.

 Features at a Glance

  • Magsealed construction
  • 3 Magsealed Ball Bearings
  • Air Rotor of Zaion Carbon composite
  • Automatic rotor brake keeps rotor stationary when bail is open
  • Lightweight ABS Aluminum spool. Hard stainless lip is Titanium Nitrided to be virtually cut proof
  • Ultimate Tournament Carbon drag with a Drag Max of 22-66 lbs
  • 14 Bearing System (3MBB + 2CRBB + 8BB + 1RB)
  • Sealed, Magsealed ball bearing line roller
  • Air Bail®–tubular stainless for lightweight strength
  • Dual, full-time infinite anti-reverse
  • Manual bail trip for maximum reliability
  • Digigear digital gear design
  • Rigid aluminum body
  • Machined aluminum screw in handle

The Daiwa Saltiga comes in sizes ranging from 4000 to 8000, so this is primarily an offshore reel. The Daiwa Saltiga is a beast, so much so that they named their largest reel model, “The Dogfight.”  With the Dogfight, you get 66 max pounds of drag, which I don’t even know a time when you would need that much. I’d love to see that fish and the fisherman that could actually utilize 66 lbs of drag, I am thinking The Hulk.

If we start from the bottom with the 4000H model, you get 22 max pounds of drag and a max mono cap of 210 yards of 14 lb or 320 yards of 40 lb braid. At this range, you’re looking at Snapper and Cod. You can do some light offshore fishing with this one, but you’re more looking for inshore applications and a fast retreival with a 5.7:1 gear ratio. 

Next, we have the 5000 model with 33 max pounds of drag and a mono cap of 240 yards of 20 lb or 330 yards of 70 lb braid. You could use this alongside a nice 11-foot surf rod or even a 9-foot multi-purpose rod. Expect to handle light offshore fishing for Cod and Snapper with this one, as well a some pier fishing for cobia and smaller tuna or redfish.  The 5000 comes in both a 4.4:1 and a high-speed 5.7:1 gear ratio.

Stepping it up to the 6500H with 66 max pounds of drag and a mono cap of 250 yards of 30 lb or 440 yards of 80 lb braid . Now we’re talking bigger saltwater fishing. Use this reel alongside an 11-12 foot surf rod for your land-based fishing or an 8-9 foot multi-purpose rod for your boat fishing. This is a great option for your kingfish, stripers, mid sized tuna, barracuda and the like.  The high-speed 5.7:1 gearing is great for those fast surface popping lures. 

Now let’s talk about the Dogfight. This one is Daiwa’s 8000 model size, and it has a max drag of 66 with a mono cap or 330 yards of 30 lb, but I would only spool this with either 480 yards of 100 lb or 600 yards of 80 lb braid.

This is the Mac Daddy of spinning reels and is the perfect choice for targeting those large GT’s and Tuna. The reel weighs 30 ounces but is extremely well-balanced and does not have the same feel of most large spinning reels.  The Dogfight comes in both a 4.3:1 and a high speed 5.7:1 gear ratio.

Field Test

For the field test, I wanted to try 2 different setups: one for land-based fishing with a surf rod and the second for boat fishing targeting Tuna and Kings.

For surf based fishing, I was hoping to pair a 6500H with a new 10″ St. Croix Avid Surf Rod but it had not arrived yet so I paired it with one of my 10″ Penn Battalions in a Medium Heavy.  I was down in SW Florida visiting a good friend of mine and we headed out to one of our local passes to target some snook at night.

The high-speed gearing did an excellent job of getting some very good action on one of my favorite Jr Bomb Poppers from Tactical Anglers.  I was able to land a few smaller snook in the 26″ range and the reel performed flawlessly.

The thing that really stands out to me with the Daiwa Saltist is just how refined all the features are, from the super smooth handle to the UTD drag system.  What’s cool about this drag system is the fact that when the fish first strikes, some line is let out and then the set drag kicks in immediately afterwards, which seems to make for a smoother hook set.

Before the night was out, I managed to hook into a 34″ bruiser, which ripped the line off the reel and made such a sweet sound.  With a few quick adjustments to the drag, I was able to get the fish under control and back to my shore location in about 5 minutes.

The Penn Battalion did a good job but I can only imagine the difference in feel I would have had with that new St. Croix Avid, which, by the way, took Best Saltwater Rod at ICAST this year.

The next day, we headed over to the east coast to try our luck with some Yellowfin Tuna and Mahi Mahi.  I paired the big Daiwa Saltiga Dogfight SALTIGA8000HDF in the highspeed model on a Penn Carnage II Boat Spinning Rod in a 7’6″ Medium Heavy model.

We headed out of Jensen Beach early in the morning and within a few hours we had managed to get to where the fish were.  We encountered a large group of dolphin with a few big bulls running around.  I was lucky enough to hook into a good sized 27 lb. that put this setup to the test.  I just love the way the dolphin rip line from the reel.

The Saltiga was flawless and even though it is a larger reel, I did not tire from using it. I can not say the same about getting tired from the fish.


  • Rolex of fishing reels
  • Magsealed throughout
  • Super smooth drag and gearing


  • Priced around $800-1,000


How can you compare such an incredible reel? Well, by finding some other incredible reels and taking a look at the positives and negatives of each.

First, we have the Shimano Stella SW Spinning Reel, and many people call this the “King of Saltwater Reels.” After fishing with the Daiwa Saltiga, I’m willing to put that up for debate. The Shimano Stella SW will bring around a $1,000+ price tag, but it’s packed with a bunch of great features.

It has an X-Tough drag system between 29 and 66 pounds of drag, so that’s comparable to the Saltiga. Their waterproofing isn’t quite like magsealing, but they use a series of o-rings and gaskets to prevent water or sand from getting inside the reel. As with any reel of this price range, it is buttery smooth, with no friction or resistance at all in the retrieval.

Shimano also uses a Dyna-Balance system, which helps balance the rotors to improve performance and prevent vibration.

For the complete Shimano Stella SW Spinning Reel review, CLICK HERE.

The second reel that I would have you take a look at, which is only comparable to the Dogfight would be the Okuma Makaira in the 20000 size.  This reel is a very high-end reel like the Saltiga and the Stella that has similar levels of manufacturing and waterproofing.  This reel is designed specifically to target those larger big game fish, such as Tuna and billfish.

Read the full Okuma Makaira spinning reel review HERE.

In Conclusion

That’s all, folks! The Daiwa Saltiga is an incredible reel, and I had a lot of fun with this review. At around $800-1,000+ depending on the size, this is not a reel you simply, “swing by and pick up.”

It’s as smooth as you could ever want, the magsealed technology makes it indestructible, and I can’t see any other reel comparing to this one. The Shimano Stella SW is a good alternative and there are Shimano fanboys and girls that are going to want to stay with their brand.

If you’re serious about saltwater fishing and you want the best of the best, look no further.