Re: Sealed drag vs non sealed.
Any reel used in the salt, North or South, must be rinsed thoroughly and dried after use. Think of sealed drags as the same as open designs just less user maintainable. Really, no fly reel drag is that complex and every reel maker worth its salt (pardon the pun) will offer full diagrams and instruction on proper reel care. It is no big deal. Those serious about their angling should take a certain satisfaction in understanding the inner workings of their tackle and how to maintain it just as they might take pride in the special knots required in their rigging.
Tropical flats fishing is far and away the most expensive fishing I participate in. OK, I am not flying to the Kola or Kamchatka Peninsulas... If I am flying to fish in the Bahamas or Belize and hiring guides or staying in a Camp I am going to not look to save money on the rods and reels I bring with me! The best and most reliable are a return investment that I use over and over again in environments devoid of tackle shops. Yes, I have caught bonefish on modest and experimental tackle but not without having my quality, proven gear along with me. I have seen MANY reels fail and many rods not live up to expectations. There is concentrated salt, wind, heat, banging around in boats, distance casts to be made and, fundamentally, you get ONE cast at an ever-moving bonefish, secondary shots have drastically diminishing returns. This is extremely rewarding fly fishing that is demanding of your ever evolving skill development and specialized equipment.