The first difference you may notice between saltwater and freshwater fishing reels is the price, because saltwater reels are much, much more expensive. After further inquiry, you may feel as though you are getting ripped off, because the two reels look like they are essentially the same thing. However, there are differences that are much bigger than the price, and there is one main reason why: the fish.
Ocean fish are much larger in size and generally have a much more savage temperament, meaning that they are highly likely to fight back when you catch them. Since this is the case, you need a stronger, more durable reel that can withstand the brute strength of these large sized saltwater fish without buckling or breaking. For this reason, saltwater tackle is made tough. Additionally, saltwater tackle must be able to withstand the damaging saltwater it will encounter on all of your fishing trips. Most saltwater reels are coated with a special covering that prevents the salt from corroding the reel and rod too much. Additionally, the inner-workings of the reel have to be salt resistant, so they are often times made from special alloys or alloy hybrids. This is where the price part comes in. Saltwater reels are so expensive because they have to be made to be so durable. Also, the alloys that the bearings must be made of are generally a lot more expensive than the metals used for regular use reels.
Freshwater fishing reels are, on the contrary, a lot less expensive. They do not need to be made of incredibly high quality materials because freshwater fish are not as large as those living in saltwater, and although some of them put up a fight, they generally are not strong enough to warrant the use of a large reel. However, simply because they are not made of as durable materials does not mean that they are of inferior quality; these materials are perfect for the type of fish that live in freshwater.
When fishing, it is crucial to have the right type of reel to ensure a disaster free trip. Using the wrong equipment can lead to personal injury if the rod or line snaps from not having strong enough tools. So, when fishing for large, powerful fish in saltwater, use a saltwater reel, and when fishing for smaller, less powerful fish, opt for a freshwater reel.