Daiwa Saltist level-wind reel

by Des Westmore

A tough, reliable, uncomplicated reel that does the hard work of spreading the line evenly across the spool, and requires minimal maintenance is the stuff of dreams… right? Wrong. The Daiwa Saltist range of level-wind multipliers are exactly what boat anglers have been screaming after for years says Des ‘the Test’ Westmore.

Daiwa Saltist reels have been with us for while and have proven to be rugged reels capable of handling most things that European boat anglers can throw at them and then some. I reviewed one when they first arrived a couple of years back and that reel is still going strong despite absolutely minimal maintenance. The Saltist LW30HA reel on test here is one of six new level-wind models added to the existing range.

Daiwa Saltist level-wind reel on rod at sea

Saltist multipliers boast a metal one-piece frame. They are very well sealed against saltwater, and therefore suffer little water intrusion. The internal gearing and drag stack structure conforms to a simple layout incorporating robust and hardwearing components. The main gear is brass and the pinion is phosphor bronze. The one-way bearing is also backed up by a silent ratchet and pawl while four corrosion resistant bearings are fitted. Apart from a few serial reel fiddlers professing a little trouble with drag washers, this is not a range of reels that I get negative feedback about.

Daiwa Saltist level-wind reel main gears

Bombproof Build Quality

Besides the addition of a strong level-wind mechanism there is little or no difference between this particular reel and the existing Saltist that I can determine. It possesses the same bombproof build quality, large recessed ratchet button, chunky spool release lever and powerful drag, only this time anglers who want the ease of operation that comes with a reliable line distribution function are well and truly catered for. In addition the LW30H has a capacity for 270m of 20lb mono combined with 6.1:1 gears. This is a pretty unique spec’, as a reel of this size usually sports a high speed retrieve or a level-wind… but not both. A huge number of anglers have been banging drums for a reel exactly like this for years. Well, here is the answer to many prayers.

Daiwa Saltist level-wind reel level wind Daiwa Saltist level-wind reel sideplate Daiwa Saltist level-wind reel reel foot

It is very hard to find fault with a reel as reliable as the Saltist, and my only grumble – more of a personal wish really – is one of functionality. I would prefer the drive to engage automatically when you turn the handle where as it has to be done manually. RRP for the Saltist is £185, which I think is a fair price especially as you can chase it down for considerably less if you hunt about online.

I have used the Saltist LW30H reel and Kenzaki rod combo a lot this year and it is good news all the way. In fact I think the Saltist is possibly the best all-round lure and boat bass fishing reel available at the moment… and there are a lot of good reels out there. An illustration of just how good and easy-to-use the Saltist level-wind reel is comes courtesy of Duncan Fisher.

a pollack catch using the Daiwa Saltist level-wind reel

I put Saltist/Kenzaki combo into Duncan’s hands on his first ever offshore trip. The combination of level-wind, high speed retrieve, sweet drag and a forgiving rod meant he had no problems fishing with braid for the very first time in up to 300 feet of water. Some of the fruits of his happy labours are seen in the picture. For more information on these Saltist reels click over to Diawa or telephone 01698 355723.

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