Continuing on from part 1 of my description of the sea fishing tackle we use and why, this installment explains the different types of reels we use.
The main reel I use is the Abu Garcia 6500C3 CT Mag Elite (pictured to the left). I have a pair of these multiplier (or baitcaster) reels set up in exactly the same way just in case the line breaks and I have to change over in a hurry. They are a great casting reel, are easy to control (for a multiplier!) and I match them with my Tip Tornado rods when fishing mainly ‘clean’ beaches or areas where massive winching power is not an issue. These reels are good with line of about 15lbs breaking strain.
Wendy has a pair of Penn Surfmaster fixed spool reels, in fact these are the first proper reels we got and have been very reliable and with two spools for each she is able to load different line for different applications / types of venue (usually 2 x 15lbs, 1 x 18lbs and the last at 25lbs breaking strain).
Fixed spool reels are much easier to control than multipliers, especially in the dark, and although they have a much faster line retrieve rate they can lack power on retrieving line when a lot of weed is in the water. These reels are used with the Zziplex 3500 for the majority of Wendys fishing where distance is an issue.
We each have a light / medium sized fixed spool reel for our lighter ‘Odessa Bass’ rods. These are Okuma Epix Pro 50’s and again they both come with extra spools so we can put different line on each. We use these for light fishing in estuaries and amongst the rocks close to shore for Bass. They also make excellent heavy spinning reels when fishing for predatory fish such as pollock. They have a system called ‘rear drag’ where you can easily adjust the tension of the line while playing a fish. I also use mine on my light Daiwa spinning rod as if necessary I can use one of the Mag Elites on my Bass rod. We normal have line of around 12lb breaking strain on these.
This summer we bought a Mitchell Avocet 4000 for use with Wendys Daiwa spinning rod and as a light spinning reel this has been very good. We’ve only had it for a month so we’ll see how well it puts up with the rest of the summers fishing.
For heavy rock fishing I have a Daiwa Sealine SL30SH (nicknamed SLOSH 30). This reel has massive winching power and coupled with the Tip Tornado Sport is more than capable of landing fish from the most demanding areas. Although it doesn’t cast well due to its size and the thickness of line I usually have on it, the venues where it is used are usually rock ledges and give access to deep water close in. This reel is also used by some as a medium sized boat fishing reel. I normally have 25lb breaking strain on this reel.
The reels we use to cast any distance with have a leader ( of approx. 10lbs breaking strain per 1oz of weight or sinker / lead) attached to the main line to absorb some of the shock of the cast. This also protects the line when fishing close in to the rocks where a light line can easily by cut by sharp edges.
Here is an excellent article by John Holden on the pros and cons of fixed spool and multiplier reels for surfcasting, titled ‘Choosing Surf Reels’. The site is an excellent resource for anyone who casts a rod from the beach and John’s book – Long distance Casting is a classic in this field.
With reels it does seem the more you spend the better quality / performance you get and my advice is get the best reel (no matter what type) that you can afford as given a bit of care it will easily outlast any cheaper model. Remember though, a reel is just a ‘thing’ to hold line, release it in a controlled way to the distance you require and retrieve your end tackle, with or without a fish. You can have the best gear money can buy, but if you are fishing in the wrong place at the wrong time or even using the wrong bait non of it will matter. There will be more on what is termed ‘watercraft’ in a later article.
The next tackle installment with be all about the business end of the tackle, or rigs as they are called.