Saltwater fishing reels are categorized into two distinct kinds, spinning and bait casting.
Spinning reels are opened faced. You flip the bail and the line goes out when you cast. When you close the bail it stops the line from going out and makes it stationary.
Spinning reels handle smaller baits for light saltwater fishing. They are easier to use and are great for inshore saltwater fishing. They handle a line capacity of 8 to 15 pounds. They can be top ultra light, top light, and top heavy spinning reels. Top ultra light reels handle 6 pounds or less test line, top light reels handle 6 to 15 pounds test line, while heavy spinning reels handle 15 pounds and up. Heavy spinning reels are used for surf fishing to trolling and deep water fishing.
Bait casting reels are harder to use than spinning reels. With bait casting reels you have to put your finger on the line on the spool to control the action of the line. If not careful you get backlash. This happens when you don't allow the right pressure from your thumb on to the reel. The backlash can become a real mess. These type of reels are more accurate and your line with the lure will go further out than the spinning. You can also use heavier line with bait casting then spinning. Many saltwater fishermen use this type for heavier lines and bigger fish.
Three things to consider when buying a reel are what kind of fish are you targeting, your method of fishing, and experience. Targeting the species of fish requires different rods and reels that enable you to catch fish under certain conditions. Your method of fishing plays important part. If fishing from a boat you are able to fight the fish better than fishing from land. Last but not least is your experience. If you new to fishing get the spinning reel. When you purchase either reel I would practice by putting on a weight on the end of the line and cast a few times in the backyard or open space until you feel comfortable with it.
How to take care of your new reel?
After each fishing trip you need to take care of your new reel. Start by clipping the line off where it might be worn, this is usually 10 to 12 feet from where you attached the lure. Wash the reel with baby shampoo on a wet rag. Again using another wet rag wipe down the reel with tap water. This will get the salt off your reel. Do not spray the reel down directly. This might cause the salt to get inside and ruin the inside.It is better to wipe it down with a wet rag. Then lubricate the moving parts with reel oil and wipe the excess with a dry rag. Then the reel is ready to go for another fishing trip.
Where to buy a saltwater reel? I would go to your local tackle shop and ask the salesman some questions about the reel you are interested in. He can answer all the questions you might have about the reel.
I love to fish and think it is a great family past time.