There are few products that I’ll give my blessing to before I field test them in the fish-filled waters of Southeast Alaska. I spend my summer months running salmon and halibut charters in Craig, Alaska, a place where very few reels last more than a couple of days. Read on to see how the Daiwa Saltist 30 line counter reel fared in these harsh Alaskan waters.
Between the sheer numbers of fish, severe abuse by charter customers, and harsh Alaskan weather any reel in service on a charter boat in these waters gets the living you-know-what beat out it. I can’t think of a better place in the entire world to test a line counter reel!
I recieved my shipment of Saltist’s in early July and they promptly went into service. At first I only switched out a couple of rods to the Saltist’s just to see how they felt and it wasn’t long before all of my Lamiglas “Salmon Moochers” were sporting them.
I opted for the Saltist 30′s because I could stuff 230 yards of 25 pound test Trilene Transoptic line on them. Break offs aren’t uncommon and we at times mooch cut plug herring in water as deep as 300 feet. I wanted plenty of line capacity to get the job done.
The Saltist comes with a power handle that makes cranking in large salmon, halibut, or bottomfish quite comfortable for even the most inexperienced angler. I also like the fact that the spool, frame, and sideplates are all made of machined aluminum, which greatly reduces any corrosion that’s caused by dissimilar metals. A carbon drag system and sealed, corrosion-resistant ball bearings come stock with the Saltist. The drags on the four reels that I put into service full-time were just as smooth at the end of the season as they were when they first started. In addition, there was no gravelly feeling in any of the reels that we used, and abused.
These reels cycled thru thousands of fish, were punished by lord-only-knows how many snags on the bottom, and survived multiple encounters with our favorite fur bag…the Stellar sea lion. A 1,500 hundred pound sea lion will smoke a lesser reel in seconds. The Saltist took everything Southeast Alaska could throw at it and was still standing strong at the end of the beatings.
Lastly, and this is a big one for me, the counters were still working at the end of the season. The line counter always seems to be the weakest link on any line counter reel. Go figure!
If you’re looking for a reel for the Columbia River, Puget Sound, or the Washington coast I’d probably opt for the Saltist 20 instead of the 30. The smaller 20 still holds 210 yards of 20 pound test and is super light and sweet on a light jigging, mooching, or trolling rod. For our charter application in Southeast Alaska, however, the Saltist 30 is the perfect reel.
As you can tell I’m happy with the performance of my Saltist’s and I’ll be ordering a few more for next season. If they hadn’t passed the ultimate test, well, I wouldn’t be talking about them here on the Outdoor Line. I really like these reels.
The Daiwa Saltist 30…worth every penny!
The Outdoor Line
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