"Affordable" big, fast, fish reels?

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

  1. SilverFly

    SilverFly Active Member

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    Alrighty then. I appreciate the renewed interest and input but my dilemma has been resolved by a friend who's selling me one of his Ross BG7's.

    On another note, does anyone have input on TFO Lefty Kreh Professional Series Fly Rods? In addition to a new 12wt I need to gear up with 4pc travel rods in wts 7,8, & 10. These rods seem to fit the bill based on cost and reputation.
     
  2. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    The Pro series wouldn't be my first pick for a 10 or 12 weight. I have that rod in 12 weight and it has less backbone than my 10 weight TiCrX. Also, I've found it throws an 11 weight line best, as the 12's seem to overload it considerably. The TiCr or TiCrX are the way to go if you're looking at the TFO lineup.
     
  3. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    Where are these newbies that I have supposedly thumped on? If you interpreted my explanation that my opinions of gear are based on on-the-water experience rather than lofty theories of brand enthusiasm as bragging about my angling achievements, you're dead wrong. You spoke up without any facts to back your opinion, wouldn't admit that you were wrong, and now you won't let it go. Who has the fragile ego?
     
  4. Philster

    Philster Active Member

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    Someone organize an ass-kicking contest and didn't invite me?:p

    Seriously though, nothing wrong with the conical drag concept. I have a pair of ULA 4s, one that's only been used in fresh, and one that I've used in salt. I've landed a bunch of Dorado, and lots of yellowfin up to about 22 lbs on it. Nothing bigger, but you get a sense of a reel with those two species. The drag just plain works, very adjustable and no stutter.

    However I do treat that reel differently than I treat my abel, tibor, and especially my Pate reels. I trap the line against the cork more and cup, but don't lock down on the reel when I'm lifting. With my "real" big game reels, I put the death grip on them when lifting. I never saw the reel flex, but it just looks like I can't trust it to take the same abuse the others do. And the ULA is light-years beyond the light speed (get it?!) in engineering and structural strength.

    The bottom line is confidence in your gear. As Richard noted I wouldn't put the death grip on a redington either. I had a client, who was an old dude, and he used to fish the august Dorado fest (this was when they actually had big returns) with a 15 weight rod and when the Brakewaters first came out he got a big one of those. This dude used that outfit like a Penn senator. Just reel 'em in like he was in a fighting chair. No rod pumping. That thing was shaped like pumpkin the first night. I had to unspool it and respool, and it mostly regained it's shape, but I told him I wasn't doing it again. By the third day he had to rent an outfit because they wouldnt' rent him just a reel. Now that was pure reel abuse and no fly reel is designed with that fishing approach in mind, but an abel, pate, tibor would have survived the trip.

    If you're fishing in your own backyard I'd use a redington. In other words, for Chinook I'd use it. How much does a Albacore trip cost? Close to $400? Gonna run all night and have your reel freeze up on the first fish? I'd never rely on a redington or similar reel on a trip that costs $1200 to $6000. I'd take one as a backup, but count on it? Nope. When it comes to big salt water fish, If you can't afford appropriate gear you can't afford to go on the trip, because gear failure can cost you the whole trip. I've seen tons of two piece spools, which all the SA IIs I had used, split. I've used the crap out of Lamson LP3.5s off the beach in baja with zero failures. But that's not the same as albacore.

    So there really isn't an inexpensive reel that can handle back yard chinook, AND those big bad saltwater boys because reliability becomes THE most important factor when you're flying for 5 hours or more, but there are tons of inexpensive reels that can handle back yard chinook because if your gear craps out you can head to the Denny's and laugh about the fish that blew up your reel. Anything beyond that is a hell of a crap shoot. Repeat after me "If you can't afford the gear, you can't afford the trip..."

    That my Noob Whompin' opinion anyway...
     
  5. SilverFly

    SilverFly Active Member

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    Good points, particularly considering the cost of the trips I'm taking. However, I don't think the Ross BG 7 is considered "inexpensive" or mediocre quality, even though I'm getting it used (very well cared for though). New it was around $475. My friend is a well traveled angler and has caught big chinook and GT's on this reel.

    Yeah, I probably can't afford the trip, at least this year anyway (just bought a house, got remarried, + lots of bad country song material previously). However I'm doing the trips anyway even though I'm cashing in some stock options to pull them off. The Belize trip isn't "technically" about fishing anyway since it's our honeymoon. So if I blow up a reel on a big tarpon it will simply provide visual justification for "quality equipment" with my new spouse (insert evil grin icon here). My fishing goals in Belize are to keep things simple and fun. We have only scheduled 2 days of guided fishing the week we are there along with Mayan ruins, snorkeling, booze-cruises and "other" activities.

    The last thing I want to do is indoctrinate my lovely wife into fly fishing, with extremely challenging, technical, and frustrating experiences (i.e. no permit!). I will be asking our guide to put us on the easiest, most enjoyable, fishing available at the time. I'll be happy to get my first bone, but personally I won't care if we're catching 1lb snapper on the reef. We will also have kayaks available for DIY fishing. That said, August IS the peak of the tarpon migration when the big boys show up, - so I definitely want a 12wt rig handy if a monster school shows up in casting range. And if I do lose a big fish to gear failure, - hopefully it will happen in a very spectacular manner. My wife is a fun and adventurous gal. Anything that demonstrates how exciting fly-fishing can be is a success in my book. Hopefully that will translate to return trips in the future :D.

    I'm also taking a conventional rig on the Albie charter so I don't come home empty handed.
     
  6. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

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    good luck on your trip, Silverfly, and best wishes. Sounds like you're the real deal.
    the earlier point of discussion on drags has come full circle hasn't it, personal attacks and curmudgeon-baiting aside. God I love the forum.
    The recommendation I'm forwarding to the managing partners at Lamson/Waterworks is that perhaps they should consider an HD saltwater big game model, because the only real issue that's come out in this string has to do with excessive flex in the spool frame; no reports of drag failure or spool collapse. One additional suggestion I will make would be to increase backing capacity too, although that hasn't been discussed. I agree with Philster's thoughts about the ULA 3.5, hope that doesn't discredit him in any way...
    When I was a deckhand I dealt with guys like alpinetrout every day...thank God those days are over.
    I'm out, will look for a more open-minded corner of the forum.
     
  7. Richard E

    Richard E Active Member

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    I agree. I had (past-tense) the Professional in the 12 weight, and it didn't have much butt section. I have a TiCr, in the 10 weight, that has way more oomph than did the Professional. There's a guy who fairly regularly posts on Dan Blanton's board who indicates he's caught tarpon in the 100+ range on his 10 weight TiCr, with no problems.

    The late Bob Nauheim, the originator/inventor of the Crazy Charlie, would use an 11 weight for tarpon and his big fish. The TiCr 10 weight thinks it's an 11+ weight . . . great stick, particularly if you like to use sinking line or tips. If you use a floating line on it, I would upline it at least one line weight, probably 2. Seriously. It will absolutely rope a 12 weight line, no problem. That rod model likes to be abused. :)
     
  8. Philster

    Philster Active Member

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    Nothing wrong with the BG series silverfly. It isn't world class, but it's in that grouping along with Bauers where it's just one step short of worldclass, and they will probably handle anything you can throw at them. I used to argue with the Ross rep that I preferred the Saltwater series for every thing other than the drag itself on the reel, as the BG drag is engineered alot better than the saltwaters. Serious gear. You might want to contact ross and see what it would cost to head to toe service it if you have time before your trip. It shouldn't cost more than $35 to $50 and if your friend really did nab some GTs on it might be money well spent since that BG is good enough to be a lifetime fishing investment. If when you back the drag off completely the spool doesnt' turn really easily, it might be a wise move.

    From personal experience I don't think you have to worry too much about a Tarpon big enough to blow up your gear in Belize, although breaking a rod at boatside is always possible. The good news is that what you give up in size you more than make up in numbers. And the biggest one you catch on the trip will still be the biggest one you caught on the trip and one heck of a memory. Belize is awesome. Trophy locations are often a gamble to get a shot at a trophy and possibly never see a fish. Places like belize, while nothing is guaranteed, are just great places to fish with lots of opportunities for really cool species and great numbers of fish.

    Seriously, if you have the time call ross and see about servicing. If it's too much just blow it off.

    And spending money on experiences is always better than spending it on stuff that isn't essential! You'll remember the trip forever. That new IPhone? Not so much...
     
  9. Philster

    Philster Active Member

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    Actually I was referring to the LP 3.5. The best all around mid sized saltwater reel with a drag originally designed for troutfishing you'll ever find. Ball Bearings? We don't have no stinkin' ball bearings! We don't need no stinkin' ball bearings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  10. Richard E

    Richard E Active Member

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    iagree Phil speaks the gospel.

    The Brakewater has a great drag, and I very much like the reel, but I can't lock down on it like the stouter Abel, Pates, Tibor, Islander, Penn, et al. I don't have any experience with the TFO Hayden reels, but based on their construction and materials, I wouldn't be afraid of including them in that last group of reels. Interestingly, many people focus on the drags for these reels, but there are other aspects of them that (to me) are at least important, such as drag engagement systems, frame construction, one or two piece spools, etc.

    The big SA reels were notoriously known for spool splits (two piece spools) when pulling on big tropic fishies. Some of the Lamson products, same.

    I hate to borrow his saying (really), and I'm quite sure I'm not quoting him exactly, but Dan Blanton says something like "Buy the most expensive reel you can afford and get the crying with over once." In other words, buy a lesser reel, it will blow out, and you'll end up buying that more expensive reel anyway, so buy the better reel the first time. Have your reel blow up on a trip to, say, Baja and you can't just run on down to the local fly shop and pick one up. You can do that in Islamorada, but there will be some crying going on. bawling:

    I was showing my Abel Super 8/Big Game 3 to my 4 year old daughter the other day, and let her know that some day it will be hers, and I'm sure it will last her a long time, too. I (hopefully) will get a lot of mileage out of that item before it gets passed on. :)
     
  11. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

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  12. salt dog

    salt dog card shark

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    iagree
    I use the TiCr 10wt with a 11 wt line when fishing the ocean side of the out Islands in the Bahamas for 15 - 25lb dorado, big baracuda and modest sized sharks and jacks, and it's a good stick for the money. I match that rod with Lamson's Velocity 4, which has the same drag as the litespeed, but is a sturdier reel, and has less flex. Still, that is about the limit of the stress I would want to put on that reel (or the rod) as it is not designed for truly big salt water fish, both as to speed and fighting weight. Plus with a 11 wt line on it, I would need to go to gel to get over 200 yards of backing.
     
  13. SilverFly

    SilverFly Active Member

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    Numbers and variety are the reasons I chose Belize from a fishing standpoint. I think I'd rather catch 5, 20# Tarpon than 1, 100#er (I say that now). I really just want to experience the place, and be ready to throw a fly at anything since these will all be new species for me. Bonefish are the only of the "big 3" species there that I will be disappointed to not catch. For some reason I'm intrigued by fishing the mangroves for snook, snapper, baby tarpon,...? That and watching a big cuda chase down and inhale my fly is something that I hope to fit in. Oh yeah, crossing paths with a school of jacks would be a hoot too.

    Permit scare me. From everthing I've heard, chasing them sounds like the fly-fishing equivalent of getting hooked on heroin. I can see myself going back to the lodge after being severely humbled all day, and tying dozens of new crab and shrimp patterns into the wee hours. Not a good scenario for a honeymoon.
     
  14. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    With this thread back on track, I'd like to seek some clarification of my own. I've only been salt water fishing one time (flats in Ascension Mexico), and that was for small bonefish. I thought that heavy duty fly reels are necessary only for blue water fishing for really large fish that run really, really fast. So knowing that the bonefish where we went run small, my GF and I used Ross Colorados, the simple spring and pawl model, loaded with 5 and 6 wt lines. Not one bonefish I hooked ever made it into my backing. I was a bit disappointed, but then most steelhead I hook never make it into my backing either. I don't give fish backing; I make them earn it.

    We're thinking of going back there, or alternately to Belize, mainly to fish for bonefish, and hopefully permit, and maybe some other flats species. I have two larger reels that I bought for Spey reel use that I thought would also double for saltwater. I have an Elkhorn T-5 and a Tioga 12. I just learned from a friend who took his Elkhorn T-5 to Mexico a couple weeks ago - fishing blue water - the bearings got fried. Not from really large fish, but up to 15 pound dorado. OK, scratch the Elkhorn, is the Tioga up to the task if I put it on a 10 wt rod or so?

    This thread has started me thinking I might actually need more fishing tackle. We've been thinking about making somewhat regular winter breaks to the tropics somewhere, and we might as well fish.

    Thanks.

    Sincerely,

    Salmo g.
     
  15. East Fork

    East Fork Active Member

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    The Tioga and a 10 wt. will handle dorado. But what ya gonna do if sail grabs your fly. Thats a good reason to buy more tackle :)