Tsunami SaltX Reel Review – Insanely Powerful Reel!

Are you looking for a sealed, waterproof reel that’s price doesn’t leave your eyes wincing and your bank account smoldering like the Van Staal VR reel might?

Then the TSunami SaltX might be the pick for you.

This is a serious reel with solid engineering and hardy construction behind its design.

When this reel was first coming out there was tons of hype about it and you can see why.

Now so many anglers, particularly saltwater surf casters, use these tough reels in harsh conditions, where they are getting dunked and soaked in saltwater, with little impact to the reel itself.

That’s why the Tsunami SaltX caught my eye initially, so let’s look a little deeper into this reel…

We chose the Tsunamis SaltX as the best sealed surf reel due to its waterproofing, durability and price.

Tsunami Saltx Rating Score

4.8 stars

  • Performance: 4.8 stars
  • Durability: 4.8 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.7 stars

Who should invest in the Tsunami SaltX? 

The Tsunami SaltX has ‘SaltX’ in its name for a reason.

This reel was designed specifically for tough saltwater fishing.

In surf conditions, there is lots of exposure to the water, even dunking.

So there is a requirement for durability, a smooth fishing experience, and tonnes of drag to tackle hard-fighting fish in the surf from any reel you choose.

This reel is for the more serious, targeted surf angler. And one who is likely to get wet.

It only comes in a 4000 or 6000 size. So this reel is not about finesse ultralight inshore fishing, but built to tackle larger salty beasts.

There are some surf anglers that completely submerse themselves in the water to get closer to stripers and tuna in and beyond the breakers, and this reel would be perfect for those conditions.

It plays a similar role to the Van Staal, but comes at maybe around two-thirds the price to a Van Staal VR.

So if you’re a little tighter on your budget but you want a max-performance and durable saltwater reel, the Tsunami SaltX might be the one for you.

Tsunami SaltX Specs

  • Best for: Tough surf conditions, a popular game fishing reel with tonnes of drag. Better for bait fishing than lure fishing. It’s a little heavier than rivals such as the Shimano Stradic FL in the same size.
  • Sizes: 4000 or 6000
  • Drag: 50lbs (!) on the 4000 size
  • Line capacity: 330yds/ 20lb braid on the 4000
  • Weight: 14.6oz on the 4000 size
  • Bearings: 8 stainless steel sealed bearings
  • Gear ratio and retrieval: 5.1:1, 37in
  • Handle side: Interchangeable right and left

Tsunami SaltX Pros

Comprehensive waterproof sealing

The Tsunami SaltX is built well for water exposure. It has something like 14 waterproof seals throughout the reel.

This protects it from the invasion of saltwater and corrosion over time.

Thanks to the comprehensive waterproof sealing, the SaltX is supposedly able to be completely submerged and cranked underwater without letting water in.

You can’t do this with something like a Penn Battle, or Daiwa BG. They would allow saltwater in, damaging the reel.

Much of the reel is made of stainless steel too, making it solid and resistant to corrosion.

Huge 50lbs of drag that’s also sensitive

This reel has a whopping 50lbs of max rag. This makes it really suited for fighting big prize fish from the shore or the boat.

That’s a ton of stopping power to help handle hard-fighting fish like monster stripers, tuna or snook.

The 50lbs max drag comes from Tsunami’s ‘Hammer’ drag system.

Which I think is just about one of the coolest names for a drag system and sums this reel’s drag up pretty well!

Taking the powerful drag system combined with hundreds of yards of braid capacity, you don’t need to worry about being spooled too soon on the Tsunami SaltX by fish like a fast-moving tuna.

Tsunami SaltX under review

Exceptionally smooth reeling feel

The reel feels incredibly smooth thanks to the seven stainless steel ball bearings, the titanium-coated line roller, and the well-balanced rotor.

This smoothness continues throughout the use of the reel too, because the SaltX is built for durability.

If you’re fishing surf conditions then this is an important factor.

Because I’ve had many reels that start to get sticky and ‘grindy’ after a few good uses and exposure to salt and sand on the beach.

If rinsed after every use, the SaltX should continue to perform nice and smoothly.

The sound of the drag is awesome

The drag system sounds awesome.

It’s got a great zipping noise to it. And also this cool metallic ring that sounds out nicely when a fish strips the line.

The sound seems to match the reel’s solid metal appearance too.

Some say it keeps out sand better than a Van Staal

I’ve heard reports from some anglers that the Tsunami SaltX keeps sand out better than the Van Staal VR series.

Sand is a real problem for the VR series reels, they’re great at waterproofing but sand can be a real problem for those reels.

If this is true, then that’s pretty surprising given the price difference between the SaltX and the VR series reels.

Nice grippy non-slip knob on a solid metal handle

The other thing that contributes to the solidity of the Tsunami SaltX is the one-piece metal handle that feels super sturdy in your hand.

That, combined with the nice grippy handle knob creates a decent confident grip to tackle and crank bigger, heavier fish that tend to make big runs back for the nearest trough during the fight.

Tsunami SaltX Cons

Limited size range

The SaltX comes in only a couple sizes.

At the time of writing I could only find a 4000 and a 6000 size.

But with the type of fishing you’ll be doing and the target species – hopefully, big ones! – these sizes are adequate.

These sizes mean you can race lures through the surf or on the top water to attract those hard-smashing predatory fish that are so fun to catch.

Or get chunks of cut bait or use live bait to attract those trough-dwelling monsters in to come and challenge the SaltX to a fight.

Slow retrieve rate for a reel that’s designed to target fast fish

One drawback though of the SaltX is that some anglers may complain about its slightly slower retrieval rate.

Which stands at around ~30inches per crank of the solid metal handle.

This may be too slow for some anglers that really want to zip some hard bodied lures or metal spoons across breakers, holes, and troughs.

Compared to Van Staal VR200 retrieval rate which is 40inches per crank, it is a little slower.

So if this is crucial to your fishing style then you may want to consider upgrading.

Tuna fish that can be caught on the Tsunami SaltX

The SaltX is heavier than other similar reels

Because it’s a full metal reel with all that waterproof sealing too, it’s on the heavier side of reels similar in specs and price range.

For example, the Shimano Stradic FL 4000 is 9.9oz, but the Tsunami SaltX is 14oz!

That’s a considerable difference, especially if your plan is to spend a few hours throwing lures back and forth across the breakers or holes that large predatory fish might be hiding in.

Your wrist might not feel so great after a long session of doing that.

That’s why I’d say this is better for fishing live or cut bait in the surf rather than lures.

Some models are not so durable

There have been reports of some of the SaltX reels either having issues right from the get go, or after any exposure to saltwater or sand, and that their waterproofing and seals is not comparable to say the Van Staal VR series.

Now as disappointing as this may be to the individual angler that has it happen to them, the phenomenon of dud reels is not uncommon across all brands.

Top brands like Simano, Daiwa and Penn have all suffered dud reels at some point, I’m sure – just look at some of the popular forums out there: Stripers Online, Bass Resource, Pensacola Fishing Forum.

It doesn’t mean the whole reel line is a dud, just that in manufacturing and releasing thousands of reels to the market, there are bound to be some that fail Quality Checks, but that actually make it through to the market.

After all, they say the squeaky wheel gets the attention, and perhaps we don’t hear so much news from those SaltX reels that have been absolutely fine and performed really well.

If you do have an issue, it’s also good to know that the SaltX customer service seems to be rated fairly high among the angling community.

Your retailer you bought the reel from should be able to help too, so there isn’t just a dead end for you.

Tsunami SaltX Performance

For the price range, this reel kicks out tons of performance.

The reel’s design and construction materials are solid against tough conditions and heavy fish. It’s a really stable reel to have in your hand.

The reel performs excellently in the surf when paired with 30lb braid and a fluoro leader and used to catch large striper, redfish or snook from the beach.

These fish love to stay in the trough when you’re fighting them and use the swell to help battle the pull of the angler.

The Tsunami SaltX’s huge amount of drag means you can adjust the drag to suit the species you think you have on and match the size and heft of the fighting fish.

This means you can fish large species with confidence that the reel drag isn’t going to cause stress on the line and create breakage – you have so much to play with in the palm of your hand with the SaltX.

If taken good care of, the reel will stay smooth as anything and continue to have a responsive drag system thanks to the sealed drag.

Tsunami SaltX sizes

The SaltX only comes in two sizes – see the size chart below:

SizeBearingsMax dragWeightGear ratioLine Retrieve (In)Braid Cap yds/lbs

Tsunami SaltX Construction Specs

This is an all-metal reel making it super solid. The drawback is it’s a little heavier for casting lures back and forth all day – you might get tired and achey quicker than lighter reels in its price range.

The stem, body, rotor and eight ball bearings within the reel are all stainless steel to bolster its corrosion resistance and durability.

The stainless steel makes the reel very rigid. Even when that 50lb max drag is being tested by a monster red drum.

The handle is one piece of solid metal too. This helps with durability, but also rigidity and control when cranking and stopping the reel quickly.

Combined with the strip of non-slip material they’ve lined the center of the knob with, this handle feels easy to grip and hold onto when needed.

We chose the Tsunamis SaltX as the best sealed surf reel due to its waterproofing, durability and price.

Tsunami SaltX FAQs

Is the Tsunami SaltX a bail-less reel?

The Tsunami SaltX can be converted to a bail-less spinning reel in about 10-20 minutes using the bail-less kit the reel comes with.

If this is your preferred type of using reels then the SaltX allows this customization to be easily made.

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