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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may have ruined a couple of my baitcast reels by using them in the salt water. I like to bass fish, I also like to fish inshore for reds, trout and flounder. I'd like to be able to do some near shore fishing as well, but I haven't tried braving the inlets yet in my boat. So I've searched a bit on the forum and I believe I have a mostly unique question.

I'd like to get myself set up with some baitcast reels to replace the aforementioned 'ruined' ones, that will perform well in both salt and fresh water for the species I've mentioned above. I do NOT have an unlimited budget, however, I am willing to spend what it takes to obtain a quality product. I know there are some ridiculously expensive reels out there, that being said, let's just say I'd be willing to spend $300 or less per reel. I'd love to have one that will allow me to throw a 3oz Owen Lupton Rig for Old Drum that has the drag to effectively get the fish to the boat in under 10 minutes, but is still small enough for me to cast most of the day. I prefer to use braided line in about 20-30# test range.

So the question at last: What reel or reels should I get? I need one immediately, but will be looking to purchase three total to mate to the rods I have at this time, for now anyway. I am not cemented to either round or low profile designs, just quality and effectiveness. FYI, I have some spinning setups already and I like them, no need to suggest or mention them here. Thanks for your knowledge, experience and input in advance.
 

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Please don't take this the wrong way as it is not meant with harm. I'll start by saying you didn't ruin your reels by using them in saltwater, you ruined them by not properly maintaining them. Even the cheapest of baitcasters won't ruin if disassembled and cleaned/lubricated properly after use. What you get with something rated for saltwater is, the comfort in not having to be meticulous with your gear. I'm personally not going to completely tear down and clean after every single use. It's not practical for me. I give a good rinsing with a hose after use and clean/lubricate a couple of times a year or as needed.

Now, moving on with recommendations for a reel. For what you want to do, a Calcutta 400B would be at the top of my list.

Seems I remember you have a gheenoe. If so, please don't ever decide to take your boat out of the inlet. It's definitely not safe.
 

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x2 on the calcutta 400 EXCELLENT reel for slingin' bait with lead ie:carolina rigs/lupton rigs. These will last forever with proper maintenance. I have2 400s and 4 200-250s and have used them a ton in last 10years or so, all but one work almost like new
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Please don't take this the wrong way as it is not meant with harm. I'll start by saying you didn't ruin your reels by using them in saltwater, you ruined them by not properly maintaining them. Even the cheapest of baitcasters won't ruin if disassembled and cleaned/lubricated properly after use. What you get with something rated for saltwater is, the comfort in not having to be meticulous with your gear. I'm personally not going to completely tear down and clean after every single use. It's not practical for me. I give a good rinsing with a hose after use and clean/lubricate a couple of times a year or as needed.

Now, moving on with recommendations for a reel. For what you want to do, a Calcutta 400B would be at the top of my list.

Seems I remember you have a gheenoe. If so, please don't ever decide to take your boat out of the inlet. It's definitely not safe.
Thanks for the tip about the inlet, that's what I was thinking too (your memory serves, I do have a Gheenoe).

As far as the reels, I wash them down with the hose THOROUGHLY immediately after I pull in my driveway, whether I used them or not. I have one that I just bought end of February this year and one that is a little over a year old with hardly any use on them at all and maybe 8-10 trips to the salt this year tops (I try to use my spinning setups as much as possible in the salt). I tried to take apart the reel to service, lube, detect any issues, and I can't even take the side plate off now. So aside from complete disassembly and lube after each trip to the salt, I'm not sure what I could have done differently. I completely understand and agree with your statements about reel maintenance, no offense taken.
 

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If you live inland, I can tell you that washing off with a hose is not enough if you want reels to last.
Every time you get back home to Raeford the reels come apart. All the way down and rebuilt.

You do that and they'll last a long time.
Some of the ABU C3's I'm using have been surf fishing for the last 15 years. But they are maintained for saltwater use.
When I get home, sometime in the next day or so they are in pieces.

Sometimes I immediately field strip my reels and put them all in an alcohol bath until I can get to them.

It is the only way. A water hose aint gonna get it. In fact it's going to force salt into the reels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you live inland, I can tell you that washing off with a hose is not enough if you want reels to last.
Every time you get back home to Raeford the reels come apart. All the way down and rebuilt.

You do that and they'll last a long time.
Some of the ABU C3's I'm using have been surf fishing for the last 15 years. But they are maintained for saltwater use.
Two questions: Do you do this whether the reel is rated for salt or not? Are the Abu C3's salt rated (from a brief search, it appears they are not)?
 

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C3's are not. Other models are.
Regardless, no matter what the rating on a baitcaster, if you want it to last you have to have an aggressive approach to reel maintenance. 15 years in the surf for non rated reels and they still look exceptionally well and perform flawlessly. My reels never break down.

15 minutes tops I can completely disassemble, clean, and lube a C3 and she is ready to cast. Because I've done it so many times.
It's just like brushing your teeth. You get in the habit of doing it.

You can't seal a baitcaster up like you can a spinning reel. Too many ways for saltwater to get in. You'll get saltwater in many reels just from reeling line in. Water goes from the line to the levelwind gear and migrates right down to the end of the gear shaft which is in the reel. Another place is the push button release. That whole mechanism is susceptible to saltwater intrusion.

There is no magic reel that doesn't have to be maintained for salt. Some may last longer than others if they aren't maintained but none of them will last like a well maintained reel. They are too expensive not to maintain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Have you looked at the newer low profile reels. The okuma komodo 300, Abu Revo winch 60. Both reels are nice and have strong drags for the red drum.
Never handled either one, yet. I've always gone cheap till now, so I never even tried them out in the store or looked into them at all until now.
 

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Swedish Abu or Calcutta if you want reels that last - and reels you can get parts for.
That said, IMO, a reel that handles 3oz of lead comfortably isn't going to cast a 1/8oz jig and plastic like a dream........
 

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All 6500's are Swedish made at this time but it doesn't matter much. Wherever they are made they are made to what ABU specs out. A 6500 is plenty enough for big drum. It'll hold 300 yards of 30 pound Power Pro. I drum fish with 6500's and 7000's. You'll get better distance out of 6500 and it's all around a more ergo reel. In other words, sized nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I guess I should probably clarify a bit here after reading some of the posts. I agree that a reel that handles a 3oz Lupton rig would not be one's first choice for throwing a 1/8oz shakey head for bass. I would like to eventually get a variety reels ranging in sizes to handle the different loads required, but that will take time so for now I'm looking to double duty as much as possible. If the Calcutta 400 or similar for example will throw the 3oz lupton rig at the bay river this year, that'd be great, but I don't expect a reel of that size to constantly handle that load. The Abu 6500 seems a bit more suited for that. My goal is to eventually have a plethora of rod and reel combos to handle any situation, but as my budget allows, I need to start somewhere. I appreciate all the input so far, I have some shopping and handling to do. I did get to handle one of the Abu Garcia inshore low profile reels Sunday evening and that thing felt incredible, smooth as silk. I'll definitely be considering that one when it comes time to drop some coin pending further hands on with the other reels mentioned above.
 

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Double duty for a multiple species live baiting and artificial casting. The ABU 5500 would fit the bill. I cast Gulp with my 500's but I've been casting baitcasters for years. With 20 pound Power Pro you are going to get some decent yardage on the spool.
Seen old drum caught on less.
I'm a round reel man. I'm not familiar with the ABU low profilers.
 

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that Calcutta 400 will handle that load for years and years to come with minimal maintenance, and stay as smooth as any reel you have used before. It will also handle those old drum like a champ and is not oversized like the 700 is to me. Dont get me wrong, there is a place for the 700 on the boat as well. I've caught thousands and thousands of stripers in the roanoke in the last 10 years with calcuttas and they hold up nicely.. A little pricey BUT well worth it, especially if you might can find a deal online for a good used one.
 
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