"Affordable" big, fast, fish reels?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by SilverFly, May 27, 2008.

  1. SilverFly

    SilverFly Active Member

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    Posted this on the main forum but didn't want to miss any salty advice here.

    Besides needing a quality chinook reel, I need to gear up for a couple of trips in August, one to Belize and an albacore charter. So I'm looking for a sturdy reel with a smooth drag that won't incinerate with an 80# tarpon or a 30# tuna heading for the horizon. I am willing to spend what I need to, but personally I think many fly reels are way over-priced, or priced based on essentially aesthetic details which have little to do with the performance of the reel (stuff I can hopefully afford to care about some day). For that reason I've been looking at the 12wt model Pfloooger trion which is under $200. Generally I've heard good things about the reel with one exception about it's free spooling performance.

    Anyone have "big fish" experience with the Trion or other reasonably priced reels?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Anil

    Anil Active Member

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    While I can’t personally attest to the durability of the Trion in big game situations, I will say that I’ve seen many similar reels fail in such situations. Most high-end reels do feature fit and finish that are not strictly necessary, however you will appreciate every dollar that you spent on a reel as soon as you hook a fish worthy of a 12 weight rod.
    Once you reach line sizes of 10 and larger, I’ve always felt that the reel becomes as or more important than the rod. Having said that, we can’t all afford an Abel or Tibor class reel. A reel that I would look very hard at would be a Galvan Rush. The 10 will cost $320 the 12 $345. This reel is extremely bare bones, but extremely well built. If you can spend a little more, consider a Ross Momentum or Nautilus C.C.F. Both of these reels will cost you more (somewhere between $450 and $500), but I doubt you’ll regret it.
    The important thing to consider with any of this equipment is not how it will handle the first Tarpon you hook. These reels pay for themselves on day four of a six day trip, you just dropped your rod and reel on the deck, you think it’s still working well then you hook the biggest fish of the trip…
    Anil
     
  3. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    I'm with Anil on this one. I had been agonizing over the choice between the Nautilus and the Ross. Long story short, I've been using a Momentum 4 for a year, and have been very pleased. That carbon drag system is buttery smooth, and has exceeded expectations, both in the salt and on large steelhead.

    Haven't been south yet, but plan to test scream it on tuna this summer. Anil, is a Momentum 4 adequate for Albacore? I packed every inch of 30# backing I could put on it, but didn't spring for the gel spun, mostly because of the abrasion.
     
  4. Anil

    Anil Active Member

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    In short, probably yes, but you might have some trouble.
    Out of curiosity, several years ago I put some markers in my Backing and the furthest I had an Albacore run was 175 yds. This was a particularly hot larger fish and most of the other fish didn’t run that far. In typical Albacore fashion, the initial run is long and fast near the surface. After this first run, they typically stop and are easily turned toward the boat. This may be where you regret not having a larger reel more than at any other moment. While Albacore rarely run at you, you will have trouble gaining line with almost all of your backing gone. At this point, the fish will almost always sound. Here’s where the rod starts doing more of the work than the reel.
    I have no doubt in the ability of the reel to hold up to the fish and conditions. You may consider G.S.P. to increase your capacity. A bigger reel would be nicer, but you will get by.
    Anil
     
  5. SilverFly

    SilverFly Active Member

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    Thanks Anil, I was hoping you would put in your 2 cents. So how's the Ross BG7, I'm getting one from a friend who's been upgrading reels. He takes great care of his stuff so I know it's in good condition even though it's seen plenty of action with big chinook and GT's at Christmas Island. Do I even need to get a new reel?
     
  6. Anil

    Anil Active Member

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    The Canyon 'Big Game' series of reels are great performing and well built reels. I've seen numerous trophy fish caught on those.
    You won't go wrong with one that's been taken care of.
    Anil
     
  7. SilverFly

    SilverFly Active Member

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    Thanks!
     
  8. Denny

    Denny Active Member

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    Great call! The Galvan Rush is a very overlooked reel . . .
     
  9. Philster

    Philster Active Member

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    Not as overlooked as the Danielssons... My only argument with Anil is that I think the reel is ALWAYS more important than the rod. Rod technology changes so fast that in 3 years your cutting edge rod is discontinued and the graphite and technology that went into it is available in rods costing half as much. Still have my unported, solid walled billy pate. There are lighter reels that have come along since. There are reels that require less maintenance, and some claim no maintenance. But are there truly any better ones in terms of landing a big game fish? Nope. Get a great reel and good to very good rod. You'll replace the rod over and over again. The reel will still be in your hands 20 years down the road.
     
  10. Denny

    Denny Active Member

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    iagree Word.

    For the $$ the dude's talking, though, it's pretty tough to find a Danielsson in that price range. I still think the Rush is very overlooked reel; all the performance features of the highly regarded Galvan Torque with less extensive porting and a lower price tag. (my Rush spools even interchange with the same sized Torque).

    If the poster got a buddy deal on that BG7, that sounds like the 'deal' and that reel should perform and last him for a long time.

    I don't know that there are many reels that will outlast a Pate; tanks, built to last for generations.
     
  11. Philster

    Philster Active Member

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    Yikes! Just looked. Seems the Danielsson's have gone up ALOT since I got mine. I paid just under $400 for my HD11/14! And that's the big heavy duty bluewater model! Never lined it or the spare spool up so I guess I'm sitting on some coin if I choose to sell it:thumb: I guess the direct marketing experiment failed...

    Anyway here's a first come first served deal. The Flyfishing Shop in Welches has a Ross Saltwater 4 for $250 and a load of spools for $100 each:eek: I like them better than the BGs!:ray1:
     
  12. sturgeon crazy

    sturgeon crazy Member

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    Don't forget to check Ebay. I was able to pick up my Abel reels for 1/2 price. Set your high bid and wait. If you don't get the first one another auction will pop up in a day or two. Eventually you will get a great deal. My Abel's were new and with waranty.
    SC
     
  13. Porter

    Porter Active Member

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    Based on your original thinking...I would think the Sea Level (Albright Tempest) or Redington CDL would be right up your alley...tried and trued great performing reels for less than 300 bones.
     
  14. 1wapiti

    1wapiti New Member

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    Has anyone heard of or used a Colton reel? They are salt rated.
     
  15. Denny

    Denny Active Member

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    Just returned from a week-long trip to La Paz, where my Redington Brakewater 11/12 got plenty of catchin' time. That's a great reel for the money. I use it on both my 'heavy' 10's (my TFO TiCr, which is an incredible fish fishing machine that really is more like an 11) and a Loomis IMX 12 weight. The Brakewater's drag is soooooo smooth, and the 'click' on the outgoing and the incoming is a fine purr . . .

    If you want new, you really can't go wrong with the Brakewater, the new Redington CDL, or the Sea Level Tempest. A used Abel or similar quality product would be a great score . . .

    I respect Pflueger products, but for your stated intended purpose, the Trion or President are ill-advised choices. For 10 weight and up rods, buy the very best reel you can afford, and get the crying over with once.

    Listen to me now and believe me later . . .
     
  16. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

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    Dudes, don't agonize. Spend the 400$ and get a Lamson Litespeed 4. Light, purty, bulletproof, and maintenance free, and they back their product to the hilt.
    If a lesser reel blows up on you or doesn't last, is it really a bargain?
    And no I don't work for lamson, but I do own a bunch of them.
     
  17. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    I own several Lamson reels and have always been happy with their performance, but there's no way in hell I'd use one for tarpon or albacore. I've used my Litespeed 3.5 on small tuna up to about 15 pounds and that's about as fast a fish as I felt comfortable using the conical drag on. I would choose any of the previously mentioned reels over the Litespeed for this type of fishing.
     
  18. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

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    I disagree, I'd be happy using it for Chinook/Albacore, but you may have a point on the big tarpon-that would be pushing it.
    have you ever seen the conical drag fail? I'm curious.
     
  19. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    SpeySpaz - I haven't personally had one fail, but I also don't push the limits of their capabilities. It's just a matter of confidence and experience. Like I said, I own multiple Litespeeds and fish them regularly, they just aren't anywhere near the top of the list when it comes to rigging up for fish that really pull. I've proven my other fly reels on fish up to several hundred pounds and I know those reels will perform. The Litespeed is a great trout/salmon/steelhead reel, but it's out of its class when it comes to things like tarpon, tuna, and trevally. I like the Lamsons and I'm not trying to trash them, but like anything else, they have their limits. Also, there has been an influx of quality, inexpensive reels on the market over the past few years that really make it hard to recommend the Litespeed for best bang for the buck when you're on a tight budget.

    One other thing I forgot to mention is that the Litespeed is a rather flimsy reel and it will flex under strain. I fight fish hard and put a lot of pressure on them and have found that lightweight, flexible reels do not fare well when you're really putting heat on the fish.

    Based on your choice of words, "I'd be happy using it for Chinook/Albacore", it sounds like you haven't actually put it to the test. Is that the case?
     
  20. Ken Hunter

    Ken Hunter Member

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