Is Makaira 16 SEA a cow reel?

Lake

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Mar 31, 2003
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This conversation seems to be about the appropriateness of stock 16-sized reels versus larger reels, for YFT over 200#. I got a killer deal (well under $400) on a Penn 16 VSX and sent it down to Cal Sheets last year, where they performed their machining magic to increase line capacity and drag (with a decent curve). Because I'm light-boned, not built like your typical fireman/linebacker long range angler, they also put in the lower low gear set (1:3 to 1). I asked Cal and Eric to install a BIG Tib handle, where the crank arm is at least a half inch longer than the stock Penn unit. My question for you experts is: Since modern bigger reels (30s, 50s) have, out of the box: 1) bigger drag capacity, 2) bigger line capacity, 3) lower low gears and 4) longer crank arms, why is this Penn 16 VSX, modified by Cal with specific intent on all of these 4 criteria, not a legit reel for cow tuna? I easily got 6oo yards of Jerry Brown hollow on it with plenty of room for long top shots, or the more fashionable short flouro or mono toppers. I wrapped a United Composites USA VIPER blank as a rail rod for this reel. Last year's November 10 day yielded plenty of great YFT, wahoo, and dodos for the freezer, but only 2 YFT over 100# came on board, so I didn't get a chance to test the reel, rod or myself on a +200# tuna yet.

Try an experiment with your reel, if you can. Get on a balcony and try to straight crank a solid 15# weight with you reel, then with a 50 if you have access, and see if you notice a difference.
I'm curious as to how much money you have invested in your reel with the upgrades. Also, how did he increase the line capacity?
 
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dh515

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    This conversation seems to be about the appropriateness of stock 16-sized reels versus larger reels, for YFT over 200#. I got a killer deal (well under $400) on a Penn 16 VSX and sent it down to Cal Sheets last year, where they performed their machining magic to increase line capacity and drag (with a decent curve). Because I'm light-boned, not built like your typical fireman/linebacker long range angler, they also put in the lower low gear set (1:3 to 1). I asked Cal and Eric to install a BIG Tib handle, where the crank arm is at least a half inch longer than the stock Penn unit. My question for you experts is: Since modern bigger reels (30s, 50s) have, out of the box: 1) bigger drag capacity, 2) bigger line capacity, 3) lower low gears and 4) longer crank arms, why is this Penn 16 VSX, modified by Cal with specific intent on all of these 4 criteria, not a legit reel for cow tuna? I easily got 6oo yards of Jerry Brown hollow on it with plenty of room for long top shots, or the more fashionable short flouro or mono toppers. I wrapped a United Composites USA VIPER blank as a rail rod for this reel. Last year's November 10 day yielded plenty of great YFT, wahoo, and dodos for the freezer, but only 2 YFT over 100# came on board, so I didn't get a chance to test the reel, rod or myself on a +200# tuna yet.

    Not an expert by any means but part of the answer to your question lies in the mechanical differences between the size of the gears and spools in the various reels. Many feel that bigger gears, like in a 50 size reel for instance, gives it a mechanical advantage (easier cranking) over the same gear ratio in a smaller reel like a 30. Here's a link to a cranking test I did at home which answered the question for me.

    Beyond this, Steve K has it right that you'll just have to pull on some fish to appreciate the difference. On my trip last year, I lost both of the biggest fish I've ever hooked. According to the Captain, one was over 200, the other over 300. One sawed me off and the other pulled the hook in heavy weather conditions. Both were on for over an hour. Prior to those two fish, I've caught lots of smaller tuna in the 100-160 pound range. The difference in power and stamina between fish of this size and something over 200 is hard to describe but very significant.

    So, can a 16 land a cow? Of course. I think lots of guys have. But is it the preferred weapon of choice if you know 200+ pounders are swimming around the boat? Smart money says it isn't.
     
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    I used the Mak 16 specifically on that trip to see if it was cow capable, it was a prototype that passed with flying colors..... me not so much LOL......it is more than capable, it is the human factor that enters the equation and can lead to failure......Okuma has built IMO in the Makaria series the best performing offshore reels out of the box that you can buy. It was a long tough 2.5 hour battle and the reel never missed a lick.

    The Mak 16 has landed cows and if you want to challenge yourself and your skills the reel is more than up to it...... but the margin for human error is small using this size reel. IMO life is easier hooked up to a cow with a Mak 20 or Mak 50.

    I would use a Mak 16 for tuna in the 150#/175# range all day.......is it be my go to reel for 200# plus tuna?.....no.....can it handle them?....yes.... the question I suppose is can you????

    Give me a Mak 30 or 50 when hooked up to a cow ...JMO

    You know that was a reel nice fish, but now my neck is fucked up from trying to look at the picture again. That said I like a 50 on big ones if possible
     
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    AbrahamsR6

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    i just picked up a phenix 7'6 rail rod
    rated 60-130

    makaira 16 sea spooled with 512yards of 100lb power pro


    can i slay?
     
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    Steve K

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    i just picked up a phenix 7'6 rail rod
    rated 60-130

    makaira 16 sea spooled with 512yards of 100lb power pro


    can i slay?
    Can you slay? You’re the only one who can answer that question.

    I just finished reading this post and all of the replies. Good information and some shared experiences from a number of experienced anglers. We thank them for that.

    On the Golf comparison, can you use a Pitching Wedge on a Par 5?
    Of course you can. You can reach the green, just going to take a little longer.
     
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    Tom Honaker

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    What makes a reel a "cow" reel? You scale the leader size down to get bit, a cow bites that hook and its a 16 whatever, thats your cow reel.

    I have two 16's not Makaira's and have caught cows on both of them. Great sized reel on a new "Wahoodad" 1x3! or regular 1x3.
    I caught a cow on a penn 6/0 senator trolling a dynatrol for wahoo at Roca Partido in the 80's. Straight 80# line. I wanted my dynatrol back, otherwise I would have broken that fish off intentionally. Having a Mak 16 would have been a dream come true back then, I've caught 1 cow on a Mak 16 at the lower banks, was 215 # and handled it fine, one helluva lot better than a penn 6/0 senator star drag reel.
     
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    MAG0121

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    I've caught cows on a Mak20, VISX20, VSX30 (same size as the newer 20) and VISX16 (not counting kite fish, just flat fall night stuff). Ultimately, they're all capable of cows, and even super-cows in the right hands and under the right conditions. I like to fish with very tight drag (25 at strike, and quickly moved up to 30 when the fish settles down after its first big run). If the fish stays high, it's nice to have the 16 because it is noticeably lighter and easier to fight standing up. That being said, for the up-and-down part of the fight, I prefer the larger reels because they give you a lot of room to clamp down on the line and pinch the sides of the spool to add pressure. All of this being said, I tend to grab for the 16 first just because of its nimbleness when I'm grinding trying to get the bite in the first place.
     
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    locvetter

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    Not an expert by any means but part of the answer to your question lies in the mechanical differences between the size of the gears and spools in the various reels. Many feel that bigger gears, like in a 50 size reel for instance, gives it a mechanical advantage (easier cranking) over the same gear ratio in a smaller reel like a 30. Here's a link to a cranking test I did at home which answered the question for me.

    Beyond this, Steve K has it right that you'll just have to pull on some fish to appreciate the difference. On my trip last year, I lost both of the biggest fish I've ever hooked. According to the Captain, one was over 200, the other over 300. One sawed me off and the other pulled the hook in heavy weather conditions. Both were on for over an hour. Prior to those two fish, I've caught lots of smaller tuna in the 100-160 pound range. The difference in power and stamina between fish of this size and something over 200 is hard to describe but very significant.

    So, can a 16 land a cow? Of course. I think lots of guys have. But is it the preferred weapon of choice if you know 200+ pounders are swimming around the boat? Smart money says it isn't.
    I don't see the link to the cranking test - -just sayn'
     
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    dh515

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    It was there with pics in 2013 when I posted that. I’ll see if I can find it.

    Found it although the pics disappeared.

     
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    AbrahamsR6

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    So I recently picked up the makaira 16sea and spooled it with 100lb braid got around 512yards

    I have it on a phenix axis 3xh rated60-130 to use this for flat falls
    What size leader and top shot do you all recommend?
     
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    MAG0121

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    So I recently picked up the makaira 16sea and spooled it with 100lb braid got around 512yards

    I have it on a phenix axis 3xh rated60-130 to use this for flat falls
    What size leader and top shot do you all recommend?
    Put a loop (bimini if solid or knotless if hollow) at the end of the 100lb and attach a 130lb fluoro wind-on (25ft), crimp the jig straight to the end.
     
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    AbrahamsR6

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    Put a loop (bimini if solid or knotless if hollow) at the end of the 100lb and attach a 130lb fluoro wind-on (25ft), crimp the jig straight to the end.
    So run 130 months top shot to a floro leader? Should I have them crimp my flat fall in shop?
     
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    Steve K

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    Jan 2, 2005
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    18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
    So I recently picked up the makaira 16sea and spooled it with 100lb braid got around 512yards

    I have it on a phenix axis 3xh rated60-130 to use this for flat falls
    What size leader and top shot do you all recommend?

    Personal experience, I fought a 260 lb YFT with an X3H, gave me all the lift I needed. Wouldn't hesitate to fish it with 30+ lbs of drag.
     
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    Fishybuzz

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    Personal experience, I fought a 260 lb YFT with an X3H, gave me all the lift I needed. Wouldn't hesitate to fish it with 30+ lbs of drag.
    Hmmm I f caught a 178# yft and it bottomed out with 28# of drag ...never used it again for cows .....sold it.....

    Not the same as a fish but dead lift 30# with it ......
     
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    MAG0121

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    So run 130 months top shot to a floro leader? Should I have them crimp my flat fall in shop?

    The windon is a piece of hollow braid with a loop and 25ft of 130 fluoro inserted. I wouldn't consider this a topshot so much as an extra long leader. The point is that you don't then have to connect the wind-on to another leader, but rather, just crimp the jig to the end. I guess this is not as viable if you don't crimp yourself on the boat (i.e. you rely on the shop to crimp for you). In that situation my recommendation would be to set it up and have the shop set up the wind-on (through the guides) and then crimp a swivel to the end. Then use an extra heavy split ring to connect your jig when you're out on the boat.
     
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    So for my connection Knott. My braid to leader..
    Uni to uni?
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    NO -- JC knot is simple to tie and very strong, or you can take a little time and do the FG knot
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    2Rotten

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    So I recently picked up the makaira 16sea and spooled it with 100lb braid got around 512yards

    I have it on a phenix axis 3xh rated60-130 to use this for flat falls
    What size leader and top shot do you all recommend?

    The answer to your question depends on whether you intend to Bridle your jigs and fish a single large Circle Hook, or whether you want to fish Assist and/or big "J" hooks.

    Last May on a Tomahawk 1.5-Day I fished my Viper/Mak 20 with 700 yards of 100# brain and a 15' top shot of 100# fluoro. I used an FG/Rizzuto knot to join the leader to the braid. I tied the fluoro directly to a 12/0 Eagle Claw 2004 Circle Hook with a 5-Turn San Diego Jam knot, and bridled a "Hook-less" 350 gram SK jig to the bend of the hook. This rig went 3-for-3 on BFT 120, 125 and 185#. Point is, if you bridle the jig you do not need to use a heavy bite leader.

    PXL_20210922_044937491.jpg


    If you choose to not bridle your jigs then you need to plan for the BFT swallowing your jig, and your leader must survive their teeth. I have personally heard of several chew offs with people using 200# bite leader. For this reason I use 300# fluoro bite leader on my larger knife jigs (I prefer to not bridle large knife jigs). I still use 15' of 100# fluoro at the end of my braid, in front of the bite leader, to provide abrasion resistance during the end game.

    PXL_20210922_043643764.jpg



    Good luck!
     
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