Daiwa Saltiga Spinning Reels

Daiwa Saltiga Dogfight Daiwa Saltiga Dogfight
Daiwa Saltiga

Daiwa Saltiga

Every trade has its tools. Fishing is no different. Its no surprise to anyone in the industry that I use exclusively Daiwa products for my days on the water and my company Dream Catcher Charters is completely outfitted with Daiwa rods, reels and Braided lines. We like Daiwa for many reasons mostly because they work – every day. Here is a little something about one of the reels that I use.

The Daiwa Saltiga is my spinning reel of choice for anything over 15lb test. I use this reel for flats fishing, casting, bottom fishing, sight fishing and all round go to for anything I need to throw at a fish. I have been using the Daiwa Saltigas now for about 4 years and although have bought more Saltigas since my first ones have not replaced any of them, I have just added to my collection of awesome spinning reels.

The Saltiga line from Daiwa comes in many different sizes starting at the 4000 size and going up to the 8000 otherwise known as (aptly named) the “Dog Fight”. I have two of each size reels and can tell you its a joy to have them on my boat. From the most novice anglers to the most experienced it never stops with the compliments on these reels and I have to say I am proud to have them on my boat.

Daiwa Saltiga Fishing Reel

My Favorite Key West Tarpon Fishing Reel. Daiwa Saltiga 4000.

The first part I would like to brag about on the Daiwa Saltiga line is the varying drag capabilities from 22 – 66 lbs these reels have the smoothest stopping power I have ever experienced. I always tell people that I don’t care how strong the drag is on a reel if the amount of force to start the drag exceeds the drag setting desired failure may occur on your line or elsewhere in your connection to the trophy fish. To me the best drag is one that starts at the setting I have it on and stays at that setting from start to finish with a smooth release once the pressure is exceeded. No lope no stall… just smooth release of line once that weight of drag setting is met. All of my Saltigas are like this with the Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag system. This allows me to use lighter line to accomplish the same job as a heavier line. With lighter line I have better presentation, casting and feel for my fishing across the board. Also no concern when I want to push the limits of my line class with some heat on a fish. Thats worth the price of admission right there.

For my “all round” application and purpose I use mostly the 400o series loaded with the Daiwa Samurai or J Braid braided lines 15-20lb test. My anglers are able to tackle 100 plus pound tarpon with this reel every day during tarpon season on my boats. I also use this reel on some custom made rods I have for casting on the reefs for jacks, snapper and permit. As we all know these fish don’t just come to the boat.

Daiwa Saltiga

Ready For Battle. Live Bait Rigged Fishing The Marquesas Keys Daiwa Saltiga

Battle is required for most of our species of fish here in Key West. Daiwa recognized how important the roller bearing is for fishermen who target hard fighters, so they created the mag sealed roller bearing. This technology keeps salt water out and the lube in. The roller is in perfect shape for paying out and taking in line without chafing for the life of the reel. This saves in many areas. First.. you won’t lose your fish because of a stalled or stuck roller burning through your running line. Second… a stuck roller will wear out any fishing line through heat and friction at that 90 degree bend also adding to the drag total on your reel. Huge thing for me in my world. Huge thing in anyones world buying these expensive braided lines, the savings here alone is worth the price of this reel over time.



Red Grouper Daiwa Saltiga

Daiwa Saltiga Red Grouper Caught Casting Plugs. As You Can See These Reels Have Stopping Power!

On the market of spinning reels often times I see 10 ball bearings being a thing that is promoted. That makes for a nice smooth reel. The Daiwa Saltiga has 14 ball bearings. Is that over kill? I don’t think so. Most novice anglers will not notice it but as a professional fisherman and a 25 year veteran guide this is also a big deal. The load on the reel is spread out over more area against the bearings making the reel super smooth. Making the reel smoother makes transitions of lifting to reeling easier and more concise. Definitely a technical thing but I can tell you its a big advantage and one that certainly sets this reel on the pedestal it is on. Like I mentioned earlier I have been using these reels for 4 years. My oldest saltiga is still working great and smooth as silk.

I have heard some ups and downs on the reel handle itself. The Saltiga has a nice big ball handle that allows for a good ergo grip on it. Some of my more “technical” inshore guys don’t like it as much but I feel as though I do. My hands are a little larger and I find that handle to be perfect so I think this is a matter of preference. Many of my novice anglers I have asked say they really like it, making it easier to control the reel when hooked up on larger fish. I will say its not dainty but definitely gets the job done.

Daiwa Saltiga Dogfight Red Grouper

Daiwa Saltiga Dogfight. My Angler With A Nice Red Grouper. A Fire Truck Stopped By The Dogfight!

Bottom fishing in the past was always delighted in my world to the conventional side of reels. Reels I could put some heat with the drag on and lift. I never thought I would ever use a spinning reel for pulling grouper and snapper from the depths. Enter the Daiwa Saltiga Dog Fight to the ring. With 60+ lbs of drag capable this work horse 8000 series with all the goodies that Saltiga stands for in a reel, is an epic bottom fish stopper. Its so strong I sometimes feel it necessary to keep the rod and reel in harness to keep from pulling my anglers over or the reel out of their hands. I have my Dog Fights both loaded with 40lb Daiwa Samurai Braid and this has been a winning combo for grouper and snapper on my boats for 4 years now.

Here is a Link To The Braid I Like To Use For Bottom Fishing

Daiwa J-braid 40lb 550yd/500m Line Multi Color

Manual bail closing is part of the Saltiga world. You have to close the bail yourself. I prefer it this way but others are surprised. Less moving parts and stuff to go wrong.. I like a manual bail close personally. It puts me more in touch with my casting.

Now lets talk about the 700.00 gorilla in the room. The price. This is the biggest thing I get when people ask me about the cost of a Saltiga. They start at 700.00 retail and go North from there. Here is my answer. If you buy a set of Saltigas they might be the last reels you ever buy. For the average fisherman this will be a win. But bad news, less trips to the tackle store looking at reels, you will already have the best. If you think thats too much money then I say look at the Daiwa Saltist, a whole other animal of fishing reel that is bullet proof and more affordable. Here are some links where you can buy these reels on line..

Daiwa Saltiga Dogfight

Daiwa Saltiga Dogfight


About Capt. Steven Lamp
Dr Catcher Is - Capt. Steven Lamp - Owner of Dream Catcher Charters is a veteran Key West fishing guide for flats fishing, deep sea fishing, wrecks and reef fishing, and fly fishing. An expert waterman and licensed captain since 1986. A Veteran of the United States Coast Guard Heavy Weather Search and Rescue, I.G.F.A. Certified Captain and Standing regional board member of The Florida Fishing Guides Association