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REELS AND LINES
By Jeff Vaughan
If any tackle company wants to test a reel send it to us. We
destroy them !!!
People bringing cheap reels to Long Sault rarely make it through
the week, before the gears strip, or the bail arm busts. Colin
must by now be one of the worlds leading repairers of bait
runner type reels, but when the gears strip they are dead.
Of course part of the reason the reels break is that anglers put
too much pressure on them. We use 50 to 80lb braid and the fish
pull back HARD. I see 75% of fisherman out here trying to crank
fish in rather than pumping them and this is what kills the
reels. Having said this I blew up two Shimano Long Casts this
year (admittedly after 8 years of hard use) and Colin got 4
seasons out of his two 10,000 XT whatever they were.
Before talking about reels we must first look at line as this
determines what size reel you need. Personally I think nylon
line out here is a complete waste of time. Yes it is better on
fish, (less hook pulls) and kinder to the inexperienced angler,
but it has three critical drawbacks. Firstly to cope with the
rocks you would need fairly heavy line which makes casting
difficult, of course you can get over this with shock leaders.
Secondly is the line twist problem. The fish WILL strip off
loads of line against the clutch which puts “twist” in the line.
After 6 or 8 fish (which can be two hours fishing) the stuff is
knackered. For those who think they can get around this by back
winding ……good luck. The third critical problem is line stretch.
Your good old super doper XYZ master mono is 15 lb b.s. when you
put it on the reel. Catch 6 or 8 good fish on it and all the
stretch has gone out of it and you are down to 8 lb or less.
Each fish you hook weakens it more until it is knackered. I made
a big mistake in my first year putting 18 lb nylon on the hire
reels. I was forever changing it. I thought I could not afford
to load the hire reels with expensive braid, now I know I cannot
afford NOT to put braid on.
I have tried dozens of different braids, and until this year had
settled on 50 Berkley Fire Line, and I must say it has never let
me down. This year I went over to Power Pro, it is the best
braid I have EVER used, Colin put me on to it and pretty much
every serious specimen hunter (of any species) in the US uses
it. I started off on the 65 lb, which is much thinner than even
30 lb Fire Line and then went onto 80lb as WHY NOT. The 80lb
Power pro is thinner than most other 50 lb braids by a long way,
it casts like a dream, is very good on abrasion, in fact it is
brilliant in every way. Those who know me will agree I never
push anything onto anyone, but in the case of Power Pro I will.
We sell it at the shop in the motel, it is cheaper than most UK
braids and if you are bringing your own stuff leave the reels
empty and fill up over here. I guarantee you will be buying the
30 lb to take back for your UK fishing.
So you will be using heavy lines, and whilst we rarely fish at
great distance you need at least 150 yds of line on the reel. So
this precludes the smaller carp reels. Personally I would say
you need some sort of free spool system, either the bait runner
type or the quick drag type on the spools. You can fish “off the
spool” on a regular reel, but personally I prefer my drag pre
set so I know where I am. The 10,000 size reels are about right
for most people. Personally I like the big pit type reels (when
my Shimanos blew up I went on to a Daiwa Infinity which I have
fallen in love with) I like the bigger spools simply because it
tends to make for a smoother drag (notice I have now gone
Canadian and no longer say clutch) There are only perhaps half a
dozen swims on the whole system where I need distance, but it is
nice to be able to hit it when you need to.
Unlike the rods I will name some names on the reel section. As
above the Shimano Long Casts and the Infinity are perfect, as
would be most of the better big reels but these are expensive. I
am itching to get my hands on one of the new Fox Big Pits, I saw
the samples last week, but they are £350 each (CAN $800) For my
money the old 10,000 series (all of them) were crap, they are
strong enough but the drags are very jerky on fast running fish.
I think the Fox Stratos (which is also great) has given Shimano
a much needed kick up the arse as the new 10,000 XTEA is
FANTASTIC. Colin took one late in the season and the drag is a
smooth as a babies bum.
The above are all at the top end, and most of the mid or lower
price reels just break, Except for our own SAP Aggressors (which
unfortunately are almost sold out) and the Okuma range. I do not
think we have blown up a single mid price Okuma, which is real
praise. The 60 and 65 size they do in many models selling for
£50 ($110) and over are great work horses. The cheaper Okuma
models are no good but £50.00 is not bad for a decent reel. They
are a little heavy, bulky and ugly but they have good drags and
There are a few other odds and ends that are good, but in the
main where you can get by with a cheap rod out here, the bulk of
the cheap reels will end up in Colin’s spares basket fairly
- Reels and Lines
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