Not loving my trolling reels (PS, A10)

firtree

Newbie
  • May 19, 2020
    81
    35
    Shilshole
    Name
    Nick
    Boat
    Scout Abaco 280
    After moving out from Massachusetts a couple of years ago, I bought up a set of used gear from a guy here on BD, and it has been good to get me started. Now, I am just not loving my trolling setup. I have 8'6" MH Taloras with Penn Warfare LCLW reels. I run braid with a 20' topshot of mono for a good downrigger clip connection. I have been using these as dual purpose Coho/King rigs in MA10. While I am not overly fond of the rod (it's a little stiff for my taste), I just have no love for the reels. They work fine, but they just don't provide the smooth action and feedback that I want. I got a great deal on Avets for my Ling rods and I think that it raised the bar too high on what I want out of my salmon reels. That said, with the shrinking seasons I don't want to go all out pouring money into these rigs. Any suggestions for a decent quality level wind reel under $200?
     
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    EJ Swanny

    Three Generations of Uff-Dah
    Nov 30, 2010
    2,871
    1,659
    Redondo/WA
    Name
    Erik
    Boat
    "Riley-J" 2006 21' Proline Tourney
    First of all I would run more than 20' of mono topshot. Sometimes you have to lop off a few feet due to abrasions next to the boat, in the net, etc. Plus I usually clip at least 20' from the wire....

    Shimano makes decent level winds. I bought a Tekota 500HG, very happy with it. Buttery smooth, and has a very nice drag......to each their own. Old Penns have caught millions of pounds of salmon. Google is your friend, lots of reviews and good advice as well....good-luck....
     
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    firtree

    Newbie
  • May 19, 2020
    81
    35
    Shilshole
    Name
    Nick
    Boat
    Scout Abaco 280
    First of all I would run more than 20' of mono topshot. Sometimes you have to lop off a few feet due to abrasions next to the boat, in the net, etc. Plus I usually clip at least 20' from the wire....

    Shimano makes decent level winds. I bought a Tekota 500HG, very happy with it. Buttery smooth, and has a very nice drag......to each their own. Old Penns have caught millions of pounds of salmon. Google is your friend, lots of reviews and good advice as well....good-luck....
    Good call on the mono. I will fix that when I wrap the new reels.
     
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    Dragon

    It is what it is...
    May 24, 2006
    423
    300
    SLO Co.
    Name
    Paul
    Boat
    22' Pro Sport CC / 20' Skipjack Open
    More AVETS...or maybe the old Shimano TLD 20 lever drag.

    I have an SX on my Salmon trolling rod...I like it!
     
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    Wild Bill

    Not Blackmouthing
    Aug 4, 2010
    3,620
    3,810
    Camano Island
    Name
    Steve
    Boat
    Otter Craft
    I have been running mxl avets on my salmon downrigger rods for the past 5 years or so and they work great. They hold so much 50# braid I purposely under fill them a bit to help the newbs from stacking line into frame. As a bonus you can put them on an a lighter jigging rod like a trevala and use the same reel for shallow water lings and bottom fish.
     
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    Salmon Hunter

    Member
    Apr 29, 2010
    272
    43
    West Richland WA
    Name
    Rick
    Boat
    19’ Northwest Jet
    First of all I would run more than 20' of mono topshot. Sometimes you have to lop off a few feet due to abrasions next to the boat, in the net, etc. Plus I usually clip at least 20' from the wire....

    Shimano makes decent level winds. I bought a Tekota 500HG, very happy with it. Buttery smooth, and has a very nice drag......to each their own. Old Penns have caught millions of pounds of salmon. Google is your friend, lots of reviews and good advice as well....good-luck....
    I have several Tekotas and have made them my new standard. As stated, reliable, reasonably priced and super smooth.
     
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    Wild Bill

    Not Blackmouthing
    Aug 4, 2010
    3,620
    3,810
    Camano Island
    Name
    Steve
    Boat
    Otter Craft
    I used to run tekotas and they were fine but the smooth drags only lasted a season or two and then they would need attention.
     
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    Wild Bill

    Not Blackmouthing
    Aug 4, 2010
    3,620
    3,810
    Camano Island
    Name
    Steve
    Boat
    Otter Craft
    I have carbon fiber upgraded drags in stock if you ever want to have them switched out. Makes a big difference.
    Yes, I need to send you my fleet this winter as I still use the tekotas for sockeye and silvers.
     
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    kwik_wurk

    Member
    Apr 10, 2012
    342
    281
    Indianola & Browns Point
    Name
    kwik_wurk
    Boat
    Montauk, Sailfish 2360, and Johnson18
    For $200: Tekota 600HG (aka the newer “A” series. These have been great new and old. There are good improvements on the gen two (A series) of the reel. Much easier to service these, super fast retrieve (6.3). Only knock IMO is the handle is offset from CL a bit more, and the spool access is almost bass fishing baitcaster small; makes for a small reel with an offshore crank feeling. (500’s have double paddle cranks)

    Also have many many Avets (mostly 2 speeds) but find the shimano’s to be smoother.

    This said if you want a lever drag suggest Avet SX or MXJ (in the G2 versions).

    For a rod suggest the shimano talora 8’6” Medium. MH are a much stiffer for some reason. Or just catch bigger fish.
     
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    tacklejacked

    Capt./ Ho if I get to drive
    Jun 2, 2009
    3,128
    3,498
    Seabeck
    Name
    Greg
    Boat
    22 Hewescraft Searunner ET HT
    9-10' rod for downrigger fishing, better bend, better release whip, better hook set. ...or 12' if you ever fish Canada...

    Avets are great for salmon...
    I have a huge avet arsenal but after guys not level winding them right all my avets went to dedicated bottom fish and tuna rods..I picked up 3 Okuma Coldwaters a few years ago dedicated to salmon and honestly no complaints. Pop the side off once a year, grease and ready to roll..I know some guys haven't had the same luck but I'm impressed for the price. They've caught a ton of salmon.
     
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    KimH

    Someday I'll live the dream.
    Mar 4, 2009
    2,827
    2,894
    Tacoma/Westport WA/USA
    Name
    Kim
    Boat
    28' Farallon Walkaround "Paragon"
    9-10' rod for downrigger fishing, better bend, better release whip, better hook set. ...or 12' if you ever fish Canada...

    Avets are great for salmon...
    I have a huge avet arsenal but after guys not level winding them right all my avets went to dedicated bottom fish and tuna rods..I picked up 3 Okuma Coldwaters a few years ago dedicated to salmon and honestly no complaints. Pop the side off once a year, grease and ready to roll..I know some guys haven't had the same luck but I'm impressed for the price. They've caught a ton of salmon.
    So I'm not the only guy with the "Theory" that a long rod with good bend in the downrigger is good for hook-set.
     
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    t_dub

    I remember when I used to fish.............
    Jan 3, 2010
    823
    390
    Kenmore
    Name
    Ty
    Boat
    20' Hewescraft Searunner
    Again on the Avets, just use those. The nice thing with the lever drag is that the drag is pre set, so you know exactly how much the drag is at strike. Especially if you have newer people fishing on your boat. Set the rod in the downrigger, reel at strike and tell them never move it.

    Also might try out a mooching set up. Shimano convergence rod, 10-6, and one of the inexpensive mooching reels. Way more fun playing a fish on that than a conventional setup. Only downside is if you have seals around and you need to pin the drag and winch the fish in quick, it's a little hard to do with a 1:1 reel.
     
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    SureThing

    Newbie
    Dec 12, 2011
    54
    23
    Enumclaw/wa
    Name
    Mark
    Boat
    22' Arima SureThing
    I agrree with Fishy on the Penn fathom reels. They are very solid and nice drag in a traditional level wind star / drag configuration. I have beaten the tar out of mine with little yo no maintenace other than spraying them fiwn with salt away when I get home and they are still like new.
    As far as the top shot all I have to say is why???
    I use the same pro release KimH suggested and it is a far superior release than the pinch style release. They last forever and don't require constant maintenace.
    they also allow you troll very very deep and once set right won’t trip on every jelly fish, blade of seaweed, or anything else your main line hits. The release trips when pulled on from the lure end but doesn’t release when you try to pull up from rod end. If you have fished with the pinch style for awhile you will need to learn how to set it and release it. If you are a neanderthal it may take you 5-10 minutes. Once you figure it out you won’t go back.
    To load you just wind the line onto the spindle 4-5 times from the release end to the open end and snap the pin into the clamp.
    to release hit your auto up button and reel in the slack. If there is a shaker on he will pop the release. When I get a bite and the fish does not trip the release I do not set the hook. I just hit the up button. I set my release very heavy. This insures I get a good hook set and if I have a smaller fish hitting or a following fish bite and he doesn’t stick I can tease him into committing suicide by raising and lowering the downrigger ball 10-20 feet.
     
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    Area13

    That's gonna leave a mark!
    Jul 21, 2014
    238
    237
    Fox Island, WA
    Name
    Clint
    Boat
    Hewes
    I’m with T_dub on trying a moocher setup. I haven’t reeled in a salmon in almost 10 years with a levelwind.
    It’s an absolute blast and the only way i will fish. Convergence 10.5’ is excellent, but have a couple of 9’ moocher rods for fishing by myself, easier to net.
    I just use the cheepy $120 shimano reels.
    Recommend give it a try.
     
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    KimH

    Someday I'll live the dream.
    Mar 4, 2009
    2,827
    2,894
    Tacoma/Westport WA/USA
    Name
    Kim
    Boat
    28' Farallon Walkaround "Paragon"
    There's only one problem I can see with the mooching reels which I use exclusively on my personal rod. I have both the the cheaper ones and an Islander. The problem is when fishing somewhat deep plus using the high speed Scotty, 2106, it's a bitch to impossible to keep up with the downrigger when it's hauling in. I get tangled occasionally because of not keeping up.
     
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    bladee

    Newbie
    Jul 19, 2020
    5
    3
    22
    san diego
    Name
    bladee
    Boat
    deadbait
    The drag on my sxj really had trouble with startup right when the line went tight on anything until i gave it the same drag grease treatment that i use on pretty much every one of my reels. I now grease every drag down to my largemouth bass reels. considering that although drag grease will considerably lower drag output at first, the sxj has the ability to put out enough drag that it can compensate for this period of low drag, and once it's worked in to the washers it feels like $$$$. Also, not sure if you are familiar with the abu Garcia levelwinds. The 6600 ambassadeur c4 holds 310 yards of 30# braid, and after my experience absolutely wringing mine out (i practically fish jigs only, thats another story, so my reels get wound in at absolute break-neck probably over 200 times every trip, x100 days i go fishing a year) not to mentioned i have dunked the ambassadeur c4 in water to no ill... But that is also saying that after i took it apart right outof the box and gave it drag grease, more grease than what came factory in it's nooks and crannies/worm gear, and a practical bath in "inox" anti-corrosion spray. I also clean the damn thing more than i clean my car. Try one out, they do not disappoint for salmon, not one bit.

    Queue sentance on how this is 'just my too scents'.
     

    Nosecrets

    Blackmouthers good side
    Jul 6, 2012
    1,841
    3,910
    North of seattle
    Name
    Blackmouther
    Boat
    9' bullfrog "mr big"
    If your sold on level wind reels check out the daiwa saltist. Not a tekota fan personally due to having one fall apart with a big fish. I vote the Avet. Load it with 80# braid and 50’ of 50# mono for a topper. Not much more in price than a level wind and reliable. As said above you can cut your reel needs in half because they work great for bottom fish as well. 10’6 medium heavy on the rods. I’m a fan of the kenai quik but pro lite is making a badass downrigger rod with an alloy reel seat thats comparable in price. As Kim said, a good snap out of the rigger increases hook ups and having a good fast retrieve reel with a lever drag lands more fish.
     
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    koopa

    Arima Adventures
    Feb 3, 2018
    122
    84
    40
    Puget sound
    Name
    Koopa
    Boat
    Arima
    If you want a decent rod that will do both chinook and coho for trolling. I would look into a graphite rod by Berkeley Buzz Ramsey in the 8’6” range and medium heavy action. The rod is awesome because it’s flexible enough to show a small shaker and has enough backbone to land 30 plus pound kings.
     
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