SaltX Tsunami Spinning Reel Review | Field & Flow

If you’re looking for a saltwater spinning reel that’s equally at home on a beach, boat, or pier, the Tsunami SaltX is a great option.

I have been fishing in the saltwater environment – more specifically in the surf – for over 35 years. In that time I have had the pleasure and pain of using a wide variety of fishing tackle. From tried and true workhorses to prototypes that should never have seen the light of day to glorified boat reels repurposed in an attempt to move into a new market, very few fishing reels in the waters of salty have lasted more than a season or two (with some failing to survive more than a single outing.)

I don’t say this as some kind of brash, arrogant statement. Instead, we need to put perspective on the fact that when I find a reel that I like, one that I can count on night in and night out, whether fishing from a beach or boat, it says something about the reel. I can count on my hand – with a finger or two left to scratch my nose – the number of reels that have achieved this feat and the SaltX from Tsunami reels is one of them.

Specifications of the SaltX Tsunami Saltwater Spinning Coil

  • 14 internal seals
  • 7 sealed, stainless steel bearings plus 1 anti-reverse bearing
  • Maximum pull output 50 pounds
  • Stainless steel drive gears and wheels
  • Comfort handle with EVA foam and rubber
  • Forged and CNC machined A6061 aluminum body and rotor
  • Conditional manual travel
  • Conversion kit without warranty
  • Gear ratio: 4000 = 5.1:1; 6000 = 4.9:1
  • Line capacity: 4000 = 330 yards, 20 pound test braid; 6000 = 350 yards, 40 pound test braid

Tsunami SaltX fishing reel

X tsunami salt. Hair styles

What kind of wrapper is Tsunami SaltX?

The Tsunami SaltX is a heavy-duty, fully enclosed spinning reel built to be fished in the harsh and demanding saltwater environment. It is designed to be fully submersible, but to prevent water from entering the main body and damaging the internals, even when turning the handle. While this is not a requirement of every angler, for those who need such a feature the options are somewhat limited and often expensive.

That said, SaltX is not a cheap wrapper. But it’s not expensive either, entering the lower end of the mid-priced saltwater reel market. You can spend a lot more or a lot less money on a reel, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find the same features and qualities packed into the SaltX and keep the price under $400.

Essentially the SaltX is a big game reel in a small package that can be fished in virtually any saltwater environment.

How we tested Tsunami X salt

angler throwing Tsunami SaltX
The author prepares to jump off a rocky jetty. Toby Lapinski

I started fishing the Tsunami SaltX when it was still in the prototype stage. I put a pre-production model through the twister and experienced some issues. The guys at Tsunami took my comments, as well as those of other testers, to heart. What’s better, they made changes where needed, rather than blindly pushing a product out the door for consumers before it was ready.

Many saltwater spinning reels claim to be multi-species and multi-style capable, but few can do so for long. I have fished the 6000 size SaltX in the surf for striped bass one night, then a few days later I took it boat fishing to Block Island for striped bass. A few days later it steamed over 50 miles offshore and landed bluefin tuna on the same reel. I’ve done this to get through four full seasons on the same reel without so much as a hiccup. I recently put the smaller 4000 model to good use fishing from my kayak as well as some back bay marshes, tidal rivers and open surf areas, and it was more than up to the task as well.

When fishing the SaltX in the surf, I’ve cast all kinds of artificial lures from topwater to jigs, and I’ve used it for both live bait and jigging sessions. By boat, the SaltX is great for topwater casting to breaking fish as well as bucket casting to deep water dwellers. In tuna turf, it held its own mobile speed against reels costing twice as much. Had I come across a surface feed, I’m sure it would have been up to the challenge.

What does this rolling coil do best?

The traction system on the Tsunami SaltX is extremely strong and quiet. With an impressive 50-pound power, the reel has been more than capable of holding back 40-pound striped bass and 50-pound bluefin tuna. And I am more than convinced that it can do more. Further, the reel design keeps dirt and water from interfering with drag performance, a strong consideration when purchasing your next saltwater reel intended for surf fishing.

SaltX is reasonably priced. I say reasonably as it’s not priced like a big rod and reel box combo that comes complete with a color matched line, but it’s not cheap either. However, it is less expensive than any other reel available now that can do what it does—keep water out of the main body while being fished underwater in the salt. It can be counted among the best fishing reels regardless of the price.

This price point allows the angler to invest more money in other fishing equipment (rod, line, lures, etc.) rather than being forced to skimp somewhere in the equation in order to afford a more expensive reel. all this is accomplished without sacrificing quality. The SaltX has a solid feel in the hand and balances on a 10-foot surf pole as well as a 6-foot boat pole.

What makes this spinning reel worse

For the most part, I don’t fish sandy beaches. Instead, I spend most of my time in the surf working the rocky shoreline areas. That doesn’t mean I won’t hit the sand when the conditions are right or when I’m in the mood for a hot bite. On a recent trip to the wide beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, I discovered that when a wave would crash at my feet and throw a slush of sand and salt up to the reels, the largest grains of sand at a time sometimes they got stuck between the spool and the rotor for a few revolutions. A few times when I was fighting a fish, the same scenario happened, but it was never something that caused me to lose a fish; all it took when the time was right was to dip the reel into the surf to get the sand out and I was back to normal.

Tsunami SaltX is not a lightweight detailed reel. The 6000 weighs just under 20 ounces with a full spool of braid, and the 4000 weighs just under 16 ounces when fully wound. It doesn’t have the ultra-smooth, refined feel one might expect from a reel costing several hundred dollars; some might even say it feels a bit clunky. But you know what? It wasn’t meant to go that way. SaltX is meant to be used in saltwater, in harsh conditions and begs for more. SaltX has rather rough, almost masculine lines, further reinforcing its rugged feel.

Fisherman pulling apart a striped bass
The author landed a 45-pound striped bass using SaltX. Toby Lapinskyof

Does Tsunami SaltX accomplish its mission?

Yes, without a doubt.

When Tsunami set out to produce the SaltX, the goal was to produce an affordable saltwater spinner that was just as at home on a beach as a boat. I’ve put the SaltX 6000 through several tough seasons of saltwater fishing and it hasn’t wavered. I feel no hesitation on a given night to grab my SaltX over one of the few other reels I trust completely, and often the final decision comes down to the rod I want to use and the reel I have rigged on it. Coming from me and how I fish, that means a lot.

If you’re looking for a saltwater spinning reel that can be surf fished one day, and then used when making a second offshore run without blowing your budget completely, then the Tsunami SaltX might just fit the bill for you.

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