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Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel Review

Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel Review

The Daiwa Saltist spinning reel is as the name implies, a reel designed specifically for saltwater fishing.

The Daiwa Saltist fishing reel comes in 7 models ranging from a SALTIST2500 all the way up to a SALTIST8000 to cover a wide spectrum of different lures and baits.

This fishing reel is designed for the angler that wants a reel that is strong, durable and dependable under the harshest conditions.

Daiwa has long been known as a company that delivers on high-end fishing equipment and thus the name is not as familiar to the novice angler. The Daiwa Saltist is an exceptional reel particularly for targeting your larger Pelagic species from either the boat or the beach.

The Bottom Line

  • Excellent mid-price saltwater spinning reel for targeting mid to large sized pelagics.
  • Very smooth reel with average drag 15-33 lbs. for this size reel.
  • Nearly waterproof design with Magseal technology to keep dirt and seawater out.
  • Very durable metal alloy body and side plate.

If you are looking for a solid saltwater spinning reel without breaking the bank this is a good choice, check pricing HERE.

With drag ratings starting out at 15 lbs on the 2500 and 3000 models, and going up to a maximum of 33 lbs on the 6500 and 8000 models, you can be assured that you will be able to muscle in the larger Tuna, Wahoo, Blues and Dolphin or whatever it is that you fancy.

If you are looking for a reel in the 5000 – 1000 range, then I would definitely keep reading and I would also read the reviews on the Penn Spinfisher V and the Okuma Azores as both of those fall in the same camp as the Daiwa Saltist.


Mags Sealed line roller and main shaft – The Mag Sealed technology is what really helps to make this reel stand out and prevent the penetration of dirt, saltwater, and dust between the rotor and the body.

Daiwa uses a special magnetic oil that was originally developed by NASA and is now manufactured by Daiwa, so it is not something that you are going to find in other reels.

Basically, the molecules in the “metal oil” can change and thus allow for a nearly waterproof seal.  The principal is to keep the water away from the reel in the first place and thus eliminate corrosion.

The other main benefit of this design is that you get an extremely smooth retrieve.  To read all the techie stuff, visit the Daiwa site HERE.

“HardBodyz” body and side cover – The Daiwa Saltist reel uses its own proprietary metal alloy that they call HardBodyz which is designed to provide strength and durability while keeping weight down to a minimum.

8+1 Corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings – The Daiwa Saltist reel uses 8 corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings plus 1 corrosion resistant stainless steel anti-reverse ball bearing

Lightweight Air Rotor design – Daiwa’s Air Rotor design is somewhat similar to what Okuma has done with their Cyclonic Flow Rotor on the Inspira and Helios models.

The air rotor design provides for a reduction in weight of 15%, distributes the pressure from the line and line roller evenly and helps to dry the reel faster especially under the spool area where saltwater is a known issue.

Air Bail®–tubular stainless -While most companies are leaning towards solid aluminum bail designs these days for strength, Daiwa has created their own solution that they call Air Bail.

The Air Bail design uses the tubular principal to add strength while reducing weight at the same time.  The bail is designed with a conical finish near the line roller.  The loose line tends to drop right into the line roller and that reduces your chances of getting an unwanted loop.

Digigear™ digital gear design – This design uses milled gears that are precisely machined for maximum performance and durability which in turn transmits the cranking power of every handle rotation directly to the gears and spool.

Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS spool – The aluminum spool on the Daiwa Saltist spinning reel is designed to hold quite a bit of line which is just what you need when you are going after large species.  The spool comes braid ready so there is no need for mono backing.

Waterproof Carbon ATD Drag System – The ATD or Automatic Tournament Drag system is smooth from the beginning.

By incorporating a new design that transmits the pressure imposed from the spool to the main shaft much more evenly, Daiwa has been able to minimize the sometimes jerky or pulsing sensation that is common particularly at the beginning of the drag.

Features at a Glance

  • Magsealed line roller and main shaft
  • “HardBodyz” body and side cover
  • 9 Corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings
  • Light weight Air Rotor design
  • Air Bail®–tubular stainless for lightweight strength
  • Digigear™ digital gear design
  • Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS spool
  • Waterproof Carbon ATD Drag System

The Daiwa Saltist reel is also a good choice if you are looking for a durable reel to accompany your favorite surf casting rod.  Keep in mind that once you get to the model 4000 and above, the weight of these reels starts to get significant.

But that is where some of the durability comes in. The model 4000 sports an aggressive 39.9″ retrieve rate using a 5.7:1 gear ratio and weighs in at 15 oz.

If it was me and I was looking to put together a good surf casting combo, I would probably go with a model Saltist 6500 that packs a punch of power with the ability to spool 440 yards of 65 lbs test mono and will put it back on the spool smoothly at a rate of almost 49″ with every crank of the handle.

If you are on a budget know how to take care of your gear and having a waterproof reel is not necessary then I would almost recommend saving yourself some money and going with the Daiwa BG SW or Daiwa Black and Gold Saltwater spinning reel for about half the cost.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

ModelMono Cap (yds/lb)Braid Cap (yds/lb)BearingsMax Drag (lbs)Gear RatioLine Retrieve (in)Weight (oz.)
SALTIST25006/210, 8/170, 10/14015/190, 20/170, 30/1208CRBB, 1RB155.6:133.2”9.5
SALTIST30008/240, 10/200, 12/17015/280, 20/240, 30/1908CRBB, 1RB155.6:137.4”10.8
SALTIST400010/300, 12/260, 14/21020/370, 30/280, 40/2008CRBB, 1RB185.7:139.9”15
SALTIST450014/350, 17/280, 20/21040/340, 50/270, 65/2301MBB, 7CRBB, 1RB225.7:143.1”22.2
SALTIST500014/470, 17/380, 20/28040/480, 50/360, 65/3101MBB, 7CRBB, 1RB225.7:147.4”22.9
SALTIST650020/370, 25/310, 30/26050/550, 65/440, 80/3301MBB, 7CRBB, 1RB335.3:148.7”29.6
SALTIST800020/550, 25/440, 30/37050/730, 65/590, 80/4401MBB, 7CRBB, 1RB335.3:153.3”30

In this review of the Daiwa Saltist spinning reel, you can see that it is a workhorse designed from the ground up to deliver continuous smooth results for fishing in harsh saltwater conditions.

While the smaller 2500 – 4000 series are good for inshore fishing, they are on the heavier side of quality reels designed specifically for saltwater fishing.  If you are gong to be targeting larger snook and bull reds, then a 4000 is going to do the trick loaded up with 280 yards of 30 lbs mono.


  • Nearly waterproof design
  • Waterproof Drag System
  • Line capacity
  • Daiwa warranty


  • Larger models 4000+ are heavy
  • Price

Daiwa Saltist Spinning Alternatives

For a reel that will definitely make the most of your budget and still deliver on quality and strength that is designed specifically for saltwater fishing, I would strongly recommend that you take a look at the Okuma Azores.

Every time I pick up an Okuma reel, I am impressed with the quality and the silky smooth retrieve.  Read the full review of the Okuma Azores spinning reel Here.

I would also recommend that you take a look at the Penn Spinfisher V as this is a reel that has truly stood the test of time and only runs about $25 more that the Okuma Azores.  Personally, I would choose the Okuma Azores as it is lighter weight and I tend not to dunk my reels.

But the Penn Spinfisher V is a fully sealed reel, so if you have a tendency to submerge the reel then the Saltist of the Spinfisher V might be a better choice.  Read the full Penn Spinfisher V review Here.

From Shimano, I would have you take a look at either the Shimano Spheros SW of the Shimano Saragosa SW if you need a larger size 5000 and above.  Read the full Shimano Spheros SW review HERE and the full Shimano Saragosa SW.

If you are wanting to possibly step up in size you can take a look at the Penn Slammer III.  The Penn Slammer III is going to be similar in price and is also going to give you incredible drag capacity with the Dura-Drag material, brass gearing and a broad selection of reel sizes like the Daiwa Saltist.  Read the full Penn Slammer III Spinning Reel review HERE.

In Conclusion

At the end of the day, I really like the Daiwa Saltist spinning reel and would not hesitate to have one in my fishing arsenal, as I am sure it will last for many years of fishing particularly under harsh conditions or for someone who might not be meticulous about rinsing their gear after each use.

As you probably have figured out by now from reading my reviews I like to find a good deal which is a combination of price and performance.

The Daiwa Saltist delivers on quality and durability, but this does come at a price.  I think that the Penn Spinfisher V is an excellent reel for about 2/3 of the price and for the budget conscious the Okuma Azores or staying with the Daiwa brand one of my all-time favorites the Daiwa BG SW will get the job done extremely well.

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