Question about cheap fly reels you can sacrifice in the saltwater

Troutfrthwin

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Hello fellow fisherman,

I am what you would call a budget fisherman, I have an eight weight and I am going to get new fly line for saltwater. Since I don't have the money to invest in a reel I am going to use once a year.... how long will a cheap fly reel last in saltwater if taken care of properly? any fly reel suggestions?
 

bigjim5589

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I've got several Okuma Integrity reels that I've used in saltwater, and like Rip said, they have to be cleaned after every days use. They have a few dings & spots of corrosion now, even with the constant cleaning, but so far they have lasted many years ( about 15 so far).

Any reel, even a high dollar "saltwater" reel isn't impervious to the affects of saltwater, and will need care. I still use those reels I have, more in freshwater now, but I've certainly got my monies worth from them. I would have preferred to have purchased a 'better" reel for saltwater, but like you, couldn't afford to have a reel sitting that I may only have used in "real" saltwater a few times. I did a lot more fishing in brackish & freshwater than actual salt, so the reels I got fit my budget and did what I needed. I will have to replace them eventually I'm sure.

I also have an Allen Kraken reel which I use on a 10 wt, and it's a higher quality & priced reel than the Okuma's, but still needs care. I wouldn't hesitate to use it in saltwater, but again there are other reels that are probably a better choice if you're willing to pay the price for them. And that's what it often boils down to for selecting a reel for any use.
 

bigjim5589

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I had forgot to include this in my comment, but check this product. https://www.saltx.com/ It's a good way to clean salt from anything that gets exposed to it. I've used it for years. The stuff isn't cheap to buy, but goes a long ways, so there's value in it. There's other ways to clean salt for sure, but mix this in a spray bottle and clean & rinse a reel & rod right after use in saltwater, and it will remove all the salt.

I have no association with this company either. It's just a product that I had happened to find years ago, and once I used it, it lived up to it's advertising for me.
 

joelp

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we did some bonefish and tarpon trips back in the day. mex/belize. no big bones, but lots of them. my dad used a cheap okuma for quite some time to 'see how long it would last.' he didn't buy into the fancy reels thing. he caught a ton of bones on that old okuma and wasn't too worried about maintenance past placing it in a bucket of fresh water at the end of the day, but one day after a bunch of back to back runs on the flats it gave up the ghost. it was certainly a case i'd describe as abuse. not the reel's fault.

bottom line on reels is that most anything will work about 99.5% of the time if you take some semblance of care of it. you pay for idea that the other 0.5% of the time when you have the fish of a lifetime on there, you don't want to risk losing it due to your equipment. the fancy reels also make you look like a real pro around the lodge before you get on the water and that 10 cent cast blows your cover!

if you can find a lamson somewhere for cheap, that conical drag has served me well over the last 20 years. still have the original litespeed 3 and 3.5 that have been both heavily used in salt at times and set in a bag for years at a time. they both still function 100%. lamson seems to have some inexpensive offerings these days that feature that same simple, sealed conical drag.
 
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I've only fished salt water once for a week last june and did not rinse my 1960's medalists once during the week. I continued to use the reels for the rest of the year in fresh water with no corrosion. These old reels have been oiled and greased lightly as appropriate. It would seem to me that any reel you choose should be easy to open or drain or have completely sealed innards to keep out water. There are apparently allot of reels in the middle group that are neither easy to open nor waterproof. But who am I to judge, all my daily use reels are medalists at this point.
 

Classtime

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I have noticed that the bigger medalists are "cheaper" than the smaller ones. Riptide's drag is classic but for your first "once a year" try out the disk drag. The 1/2 wider Pfleugers are even "Cheaper". Get a 1495 1/2.
 

Pikebones

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I've got several Okuma Integrity reels that I've used in saltwater, and like Rip said, they have to be cleaned after every days use. They have a few dings & spots of corrosion now, even with the constant cleaning, but so far they have lasted many years ( about 15 so far).
X2 on the Okuma Integrity reels... They may be clunky, ugly and generally not too sexy,,, but they are durable and relatively inexpensive with a pretty decent drag system to boot.
 

Lamarsh

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I think if the premise is that it's taken care of properly, it would last as long as it would last not being used in salt water. Rinse off every time you're done fishing, and do all of the typical maintenance on it. Since budget reels may not be made with the same materials that would be as resistant to corrosion, you may need to pay even closer attention to cleaning it off, but that is a very doable task.
 

Ganderzone

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Search eBay for temple fork large arbor 375, bullet proof and can be had cheap. If you are lucky you can score a tfo Hayden ns1 cheap as well and these are lifetime reels
 
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