I need a reel...but salt and sand....

I used the search function…but couldn’t come up with anything. Here’s my dilema…

I’ve been fishing from my little surf SOT the past couple years. I have pretty sturdy rod and reel combo…but it is a spinning reel. My problem is that when I go to and from my fishing grounds (just outside the break), I have to paddle out through the waves and everything gets soaked. Then, when I come back into the beach, I surf a wave in. Sometimes I dump…but whatever the case…the reel gets a ton of sand and salt water in it. Now…the salt water…I think I get out of the reel by rinsing it thoroughly then using some WD-40. But the accumulating sand and grit…is really taking a toll on the inside of the reel. Tonight I took it apart, cleaned it, put it back together (so many parts!) and while it functions, it certainly isn’t as smooth as it was when it was new.

So, is a bait-casting reel better for my ocean fishing? Would it be easier to clean and maintain? Any advice would be welcomed!



w/ a lil surf yak you can’t put it down inside the hull like they do in Cali so maybe you could use a plastic bag and a few wraps of tape to seal it up before you go out and again before you come in.

I think casting reels have more moving parts than spinning reels. Which suffers most from sand? I dunno. I don’t think either are sand-proof.

Shimano reels are usually packed at
the factory with grease. When I took my Shimano Sahara spinning reel apart, I was amazed at how solid it was packed. That helps keep sand out of the body. As for grit getting into the bail system, not much will help that, just rinsing thoroughly with fresh water. I’ve had the same problem fishing sandy bottom small rivers out of a small kayak. Usually, when fishing, I just dunk the reel in clear stream water and swishing it around. That’ll wash out the sand. I’d do the same in salt, though rinse it good when I got home or before. I’ve been know to shower with my rods and reels when I get home. As for baitcasting reels, you will have the same or more problems with them in sandy water. The worm gear for the level wind is exposed for most baitcasters and will gunk up with sand and silt pretty quickly.

Penn Slammer Series
withstands sand and salt very well. 260 or 360 with braid is big enough for most yak fishing.

Stay away from spools whose skirts have holes in them, like Captiva.

Van Staal
If money is not an issue, then a Van Staal would do the trick. However, the possibility of it going overboard may be to great.

What’s that Van Staal cost? About
$600? The boy would be better of getting a bigger kayak that’ll handle the surf and give him room to carry and secure his gear. I’ll take 5 Shimano Stardics and raise you a kayak.

A reel good for the surf for the
discriminating fisherman:


Another suggestion, one of the problems
I’ve had with spinning reels and sand is that it gets in the bail spring area and soon the bail doesn’t spring back when you turn the handle. Used to, there were no bails on spinning reels, it was a convenience added to get more folk to try them. You can buy some spinners without a bail or find kits to modify them, or just close the bail manually after a cast.

Speaking of…
Quote Jer “or just close the bail manually after a cast.”

About two years ago I read somewhere that you should be closing the bail manually even if it’s designed to close automatically. I had two Mitchell 300 reels that didn’t close reliably so I started closing them manually. (I eventually replaced those two Mitchells with Shimano’s.) Next thing ya know I’m still closing the bail manually. Once you get used to doing it, it’s so automatic that it takes no thought or time.

Van Staal
The key to my comment was “if money is not an issue”. You can get them for much less than retail, but like I said, I don’t think I would risk having it go overboard.

– Last Updated: Jun-22-06 10:34 AM EST –

Thanks for the suggestion..but yeah..a really expensive reel probably isn't a good idea since I regularly plow out through the surf and then ride it back in. I would hate myself if I dropped a several hundred dollar reel overboard somehow. The best suggestion might be to go ahead and wrap the reel with some sort of plastic just to get it through the surf zones. The salt water isn't that big of a problem..cleaning it with fresh water and then using a lubricant should solve that. The difficult part, traditionally, has been the sand that gets churned up in the surf zone that then works its way into the reel mechanics. And I'm not real good at taking things apart and putting them back together correctly.. :P

And yeah..I always close the bail manually..I don't know how I developed that habit..but I always do it. Go figure...

Thanks for the suggestions though..I appreciate it..


Dry bag
Remove the reel from the rod and put it into a dry bab or box for the trip in and out. Check out Cabelas own brand of salt water reels which will have sealed bearings and drag.