Fishing Reels, Can They Get Wet? – Fishin Money – Fishing Tips – Trout,Striped Bass,Crappie and More

Fishing Reels, Can They Get Wet?

Today we are going to talk about fishing reels. We will tell you about the 3 main reels, discuss freshwater and saltwater reels, and cover whether or not your reel can get wet. If your reel does get wet, what are the consequences or best ways to handle it. 

Have you ever had one of those reels that gets dunked or dropped in the water and gets sand in it? Then it feels like a pepper grinder when you reel it? Ewwww…

For the most part, fishing reels were made to get wet occasionally, however if you are fishing in salt water it’s a good idea to rinse your reel with fresh clean water in an effort to get the salt off. This will make your equipment last longer and protect it from rust. It’s also recommended to lubricate your reels more often if they are getting wet.

How To Fix It, I Dropped My Spinning Reel In Saltwater

There are 3 main reels on the market today. We are going to cover some basic information on each one for you.

  1. Spinning Reel, also known as an open face reel. These are my favorite by far! These reels are the most popular, easy to cast, and are more accurate. You can cast farther with the spinning reel than you can with the closed-face reel. Here you have good line capacity, which allows you to have more line than other reels. There is also an extra spool making it easier to change out your line on the water. The spinning reel is great for light lures and the line flows freely. These reels are recommended for experienced anglers, though they are pretty easy for a beginner to learn to use. Spinning reels are not recommended for heavy test line and they are one of the more expensive reels. 
  2. Baitcasting Reel is the most advanced of the 3 reels that we are discussing today. Many Bass fishermen use them. I’m not too good with them though. You need a lot more skill and practice to effectively use a baitcasting reel. These are frequently used by professional anglers at tournaments. As the line is released the spool will rotate. The baitcasting reel has the most accuracy, distance and is the most expensive. This reel offers a fast and powerful retrieve and is ideal in catching the bigger, heavier, and harder fighting fish. There is one con to using a baitcasting reel; they are prone to tangled lines and backlash.
  3. Spin-casting Reel, also known as the closed face reel has all of the components enclosed under a nose cone. In the center of the cover is a hole, where the line comes out. To cast, all you do is push the button on the back of the reel, throw out the line and just before it hits the water you release the button. The spin-caster is best for kids and beginners to learn with as there is no backlash or tangled lines to worry about. It is also the least expensive of the 3 reels. 

The difference between freshwater and saltwater also determines whether or not you can/should or shouldn’t let your reel get wet. You can actually divide reels into categories of freshwater or saltwater:

  • Saltwater is brutal on metal, therefore saltwater reels are usually made from stainless steel and other parts that are non-corroding. But even after long periods of time, these reels will show some damage.
  • Freshwater reels will get corroded and damaged with any kind of saltwater contact. You can help prevent this by rinsing your reel with freshwater as soon as you can after a fishing trip, but this is no way a long term solution.
Sometimes when the water is quiet you can almost hear the fish laughing at you...

Saltwater reels are more expensive, but if you can afford it, it is highly recommended. This ensures that you can fish anywhere that you want to go, whether it is freshwater or saltwater. Otherwise you need two seperate poles or you can risk using your reel in saltwater and replacing it fairly often. 

If you are fishing in freshwater, it is not going to hurt your reel to get wet. The salt in saltwater is what eats at the material that your reel is constructed of. But it is advised to dry off/out your reel is it is completely submerged in water.

There are five main differences between saltwater and freshwater reels:

  1. Materials used – freshwater reels are made with more simple metals and work fine for fishing strictly in freshwater. Saltwater reels are constructed of tough metals and alloys that can withstand the corrosion of saltwater, because they are coated with a protective sealant. 
  2. Sealed components – this includes bearing, drag systems, gear boxes, and other pieces. These are not as vulnerable to saltwater corrosion. The seals function like gaskets on a car and they keep the saltwater from reaching the inner working parts.
  3. Line & lure – Saltwater are designed for heavier line and bigger lures, where as the freshwater reels normally run 4 pound test line and ⅛ to ½ ounce lures. There is a little bit of a cross over between the 2, but it mostly pertains to the lures/bait that you are using. You can’t get too heavy on 4 pound test, but you can’t be too light on a saltwater line that is 12+ test. 
  4. Cost – Saltwater reels are going to be quite a bit more expensive than a freshwater reel because of the pieces/parts used to make them. So, invest in a saltwater reel that you will still be using in ten or fifteen years instead of replacing your reel every single fishing season. 
  5. Reel types – freshwater anglers most generally use the spinner reel, spin-casting, or baitcasting reel. Saltwater fishermen use a different reel depending on the fishing situation.

Unless your reel is made of wood, paper, or another water soluble material, it is not going to harm anything if it gets dunked or dropped into the freshwater. Just make sure you dry it as well as you can when you get home. You can also lay them out in the open air to help dry any extra moisture. 

So fear not, if you have your younger children with you and they let go of the whole pole when they cast or they freak out when they get a fish and let go. It is not going to damage the reel to get wet. But you may have to replace a pole if the fish runs away with it. 

I hope we have covered all you wanted and needed to know about saltwater and freshwater reels. When you go in to buy your reel, make sure it is a great fit for your pole. There are some combinations that are not very compatible. When you are saltwater/deep water fishing you definitely want a stronger rod, so that you are not replacing them continuously.
As always, Happy Fishing!

Darren Enns

For me, fishing is an enjoyable release from the pressures of life. It gets me out into nature and I love it!

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