It's almost inevitable that really cheap fishing reels won't stand up to the rigours of saltwater fishing. They are let down by the use of low quality materials that soon fall prey to corrosion, and poor manufacturing techniques that will lead to mechanical failure - a sure recipe for early disappointment.
But it doesn't have to be so ...
Even with a limited budget, you can get good quality reels that wont break the bank.
OK, you may have to pay a little more than you would for cheap fishing reels manufactured in distant lands by companies you've never heard of, but a low-cost saltwater fishing reel from the likes of Daiwa, Okuma, Shakespeare or Penn for example, will represent far better value for money.
Such household names as these (to anglers, anyway) have a reputation to uphold and can't afford to have their name associated with 'cheap' unreliable fishing reels. Budget price, low cost reels of good value yes, but cheap fishing reels? No.
So from here on in 'cheap' means 'low cost, but good value for money' - and not 'cheap' as in 'cheap and nasty'.
Unlike spinning reels, where no mechanical parts are moving during the cast, there's plenty going on mechanically in a baitcast reel - the spool is rotating at high speed, the line level-wind system is moving back and forth across the reel cage, and the braking system is trying to keep everything under control.
All of this complexity demands a level of engineering quality that is difficult to come by in cheap fishing reels of this kind.
So if you want a reel primarily for casting and you need to keep your expenditure to a minimum, my advice would be to go for a spinning reel rather than a baitcasting reel.
Clearly you can't expect the same quality and performance in cheap spinning reels that you'll find in expensive ones, but here's what to look for ...
In the USA
In the UK
Downrigger ~ The cranelike device incorporating a line-counter reel often seen on the sterns of sport-fishing boats, which lowers a trolling weight on a wire line to a pre-determined depth. The trolling line is attached just above the weight, which gets the lure down to depths that would otherwise be unachievable.