Daiwa doesn’t change products unless they feel they need to, and in the case of the Saltist reels, they really didn’t need to make a change. They’ve been solid performers, great casters, and have established a very favorable reputation. The update to the reels seems minor at first glance, but we see couple things evolved for the better. Specs are still quite good for what these reels are intended to do, they’ll cast well, have more drag available than necessary, and they are a nicer build. One thing I quickly noticed, of course my pet peeve, how’s the drainage? Are they trapping saltwater internally or allowing for easier cleanup by a tired angler after a day on the water? How’s the freespool? Overall feel???
Feel, well they feel tight and smooooth, spin like tops, and they addressed drainage like Okuma did on the Makaira series reels. The old Saltists did a great job with four ports for drainage, getting the job done vertically or horizontally. The new models took that design and made the ports about double the size. That’s great in my estimation! Gearing on all reels in the series is 6.4:1, quick. Daiwa’s conservative with their products, very conservative company, and conservatively rates their reels for use with 12-40# mono, and double that for braid (typical for Japanese manufacturers – but I see no reason to claim a higher test with braid than mono – pressure is pressure… It’s all about line capacity and drag capability. Given the drag these reel put out, you can indeed fish them quite successfully. Also, most of us fish a mix of braid and mono. So, I’m going to suggest that Daiwa made an error calling the reels 12-40# models. Clearly with their drag and capacity numbers, these reels cover lines/leaders greater than 40#. Frankly, the 50# sill see duty at 50-60# by many anglers, and there will be those fishing straight 50# braid with a short topshot of 30# on the small 20 size. But, Daiwa provides some guidance.