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High Performance Reels

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High Performance Reels

About eighteen months ago I was on an internet bulletin board doing a little surfing when I came across a batch of posts about high performance reels. As I read the posts I became fascinated with all of the technical data that these guys were talking about. They had some links in the posts and I went to them. After cruising through these sites I found one that seemed to have it all. The site was www.japantackle.com A fellow by the name of Jun runs the site. I began reading through the articles that Jun has written and I was just blown away by all of the technical data on so many different reels. Reels that I had never heard of and have never seen. There were breakdowns and comparisons of different breaking systems, spools, bearings, and different materials that are used to make them. page_break

I decided I had to try one of these reels. But which reel should I choose? The prices on these things are enough to give the workingman a heart attack. I started reading everything that I could get my hands on about the individual reels. I read on how different components, such as bearings, are made. Then it was a study on the different materials that are used to make the components. The result was eight months of reading and parsing through more data than I have ever done in my life. I learned more about titanium and magnesium than I cared to. I learned about physics with topics that included terms like the ?moment of inertia? and mathematics with gear ratios. Then it was charts and graphs on casting distance vs. breaking systems vs. spool weight vs. clutch systems and on and on. By the time I was done I felt like I should have been awarded an honorary engineering degree.

I chose to buy a Shimano Scorpion 1000. I went on line and ordered the reel. I watched the minute hand on the clock in my den until it was delivered. It was a beautiful piece and I couldn?t wait to get on the water and try it. I adjusted the reel like I have done all of my reels in the past. I got out on the water and got to one of my favorite cranking spots. I picked up my cranking rod with the new reel and made the first cast with my new equipment. The result was a balled reel. I sat down on the front deck of my boat and picked out the birds nest. It was a beauty. When I was done I made another adjustment to the reel and made another cast. Balled it again, and again, and again. I was really getting upset with this thing. I had made all kinds of adjustments to the reel and I could not seem to throw it. I finally adjusted the reel so tight that the large crankbait that I had on the end of the line would not even drop once the clutch was disengaged. All of the braking pins were on. I was going to give this reel one more shot before I put it down and picked up old faithful for the remainder of the day. I had spent more than an hour trying to make one good cast. I stood up and made the cast. The lure sailed farther than any cast I had ever made. I mean this sucker was headed to the moon. It probably would have made it if I hadn?t had my thumb all over the spool during the cast. I threw the reel for about another hour and went back to my usual reel for the remainder of the day. During that hour I was getting the hang of the new reel, but I was still having my problems. With all of this said, it took me about 5 trips in the boat to learn how to throw this reel with some proficiency. I have been throwing casting reels for over 16 years and have never had this much difficulty with anything. This reel was HOT!!!! After using the reel for quite some time I have learned how to cast with it. But it was a real patience game.

So the question is if this purchase was really worth it. Do these reels really live up to the hype. My Scorpion has advantages and disadvantages. I assume that other high performance reels have similar attributes. I will list both the advantages and disadvantages that I have experienced below.

Advantages:

1. Extremely well constructed ? Everything on my Scorpion is well made. The frame and components all fit well. Everything is tight with close tolerances. All of the moving parts are smooth and the components perform extremely well. These reels are very tough and durable.

2. Light weight - My reel weighs 8.2 oz. When matched with a light rod, it is easy to throw all day. Some of these reels get down to 5.7 oz. This is extremely light. Most reels that are this light are made from magnesium. Matched with a light rod it is like holding a feather. This can be a big advantage for those who experience pain from arthritis, bursitis, and other problems. It really does make a huge difference on the pain factor during and after a day of fishing.

3. Performance ? There is no comparison. These reels will throw much farther

with less effort than anything I have thrown. They are smooth as silk. For flippers and pitchers I feel this type of reel is a must. My pitching accuracy improved tremendously with every type of bait conceivable. Even with weights of 1/8 of an ounce, my flipping and pitching distance greatly increased with little effort. I no longer have to work for that long pitch and I am no longer splashing baits on entry. My longest cast with a crankbait has been 85 yards. I could have gone longer, but I emptied the spool of 12 lb. line. Most of these reels are very small and compact. They fit extremely well in the palm of your hand. Your grip on your whole outfit as you palm the reel is greatly increased along with the accuracy of your casting. Even though most of these reels are very small, their cranking power is tremendous.

4. Dependability ? I have never had a failure of a component or a function. The clutch always engages and disengages with no failure. Nothing slips and nothing fails. Everything is tight and solid.

Disadvantages:

1. The reels are high maintenance - The components such as bearings, gears, etc. are high performance parts. Lubrication of these parts with either factory or specialized lubricants are recommended. You have to be handy with reels to maintain them. They require lubrication more often than normal reels. Normally I lubricate things like bearings and spool shafts after 24 hours of use. I clean and grease gears, pinion gears and level wind gears every two months with factory lubricants. Usually only one drop of oil on these parts is all that is needed. More than that decreases the performance of the reel.

2. Documentation ? most of these reels are from Japan. Therefore, the instructions are in Japanese. You can usually find English versions of instructions and schematic breakdowns of the reels on the internet.

3. Service and Parts ? There are only a couple of places that I know of in the U.S. that service these reels. You should really know how to service your own reel. Otherwise it can get tedious and expensive to get it done. Parts are usually not available in the U.S. Most dealers that sell these reels will take care of getting parts to you. This is something that you need to verify with the dealer before you buy. The parts for these reels are shipped from Japan. Very few of these reels have American versions of the reels that parts will interchange with. The turn around time on orders with the vendors is really pretty fast. Normally a part can be shipped to your door within 3 to 5 working days.

4. Practice required ? At least for me there was a big learning curve. It took allot of practice and patience for me to become proficient with my reel. My Scorpion was so sensitive that I had to learn to make adjustments to the reel even throughout the day to maintain peak performance. If you are fishing and it is calm and then comes a prolonged period of wind you will have to make adjustments to the reel or you will spend the day picking line. After you have done this for awhile you will be able to make those adjustments very quickly. It is not as bad as it sounds, but you will need to take the time and have the patience to learn how to do it.

I feel that one of these reels would make a good choice for someone that needs to do long distance casting, especially crankbait lovers. It is an excellent choice for the flippers and pitchers. Using one of these reels for the above specialties is a large asset. Also if you are into light line and light lures, these reels will perform well. These reels are the ticket for folks that would like to use a bait caster instead of a spinning reel for tactics such as drop shoting. These reels will handle anything from 6 to 20lb. test with ease.

If the majority of your fishing is done in close and with short distances then I feel one of these reels would be a waste of money. There are plenty of well made reels on the market that handle that style of fishing. The price is allot better also.

If you are thinking about buying one of these reels and have concerns or questions that were not covered in this article then leave me a post under this article or drop me an email and I will be glad to answer you. If I don?t have the answer to your question then I will get it for you.

Skeeter

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Skeeter, very nice artical. Very well written. Thanks you for all the info and research. I have been looking at these reels for a long time now and have been trying to justify the $$$. My brother got the Calis for steelhead and he LOVES it. 300+ bones is a lot of money though.

Thanks again

Brent

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Enjoyed reading your synopsis of this reel, I am sure this would

apply to many more reels in this class. I cannot imagine casting

a lure 85 yds. I don't think I could hit a golf ball that far.

Good work.

Coley

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To be honest Coley, I can't see a reason to have to throw a bait 85 yds. I guess the real point is that if you do enough deep crankbait fishing, you don't have to worry about your equipment being able to deliver a long enough cast to get good depth out of the lure.

Skeeter

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Skeeter-

I enjoyed reading about high performance reels. I guess I am from the old school when it comes to fishing equipment and there are many who will think I am wrong, but to each his own. Every reel I own (that is not retired) is a Shimano Calcutta. It doesn't matter if I am throwing a jig, spinner, crank, worm or ect. I am using a Calcutta. Again, maybe old school, but when I change from a jig to a spinner I do not have to worry about adjusting to a different reel. The best part is, when I buy a New Calcutta, I know what I am getting for my dollar. Now, after meeting you, I will have to pay a little more attention to just how far I can cast. Deep water cranking is unpounded water and I aim to start pounding it and after reading your article I might need to change my way of thinking on reels. Thanks for the article and keep them coming.

Tally

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Tally,

The Calcutta is definitely worth every penny. They are solid reels that stand up through time. Their performance throughout the years is well known. If you are satisfied with your casting distance, I wouldn't change. You don't need 10 bearings to have good performance from a reel. Mine only has 4. But, you might try playing with your spool adjustment. Also keep the reels lubed properly and they should deliver. Like the old saying goes.... "If it aint broke, don't fix it"

Skeeter

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Skeeter, great article...I own a Scorpion 1000 also, if I think we once talked about trading me out of it. Your dead on with the maintence being so critical. It started getting rough to the point where I didn't even use it and would probably ebay'ed it away if a buddy with a severe curado addiction had not over-hauled it for me. A good cleaning and Rocket Fuel lovin got her smoking again and at a time where I really needed a good reel. Have you tried the 1500sf or the MG1000 yet...can't wait till your next review, JIM

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I am a firm believer in using either factory lubricants or any of the Rocket Fuel products for these reels. I haven't used the Rocket Fuel, but everyone praises it. I haven't tried the 1500sf. If I am not mistaken it was built on the 200 frame. I believe it is a little larger. The MG from what I have read casts the same as the 1000. Everyone says they notice the weight difference. But it is not worth the extra 60 to 75 bucks to me just to loose the weight.

Skeeter

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No, I haven't purchased any others. Yes, I definitely know that the Scorp 1000 is just the tip of the iceberg. It is said that the 1000 is the best casting among the Shimano baitcasters. Also the 4X4 SVS braking system is the most adjustable braking system in the industry on either shore. It is also the easiest and fastest system to adjust on the fly. The reel has way surpassed my expectations. I can throw baits of all weights with it and it has a rigid aluminum frame that won't twist. I have even used it for flipping and it is truely a dream. I bought another one several months ago. I gave away all of my Lews reels to my son. I wll definitely be purchasing more 1000s shortly. You definitely get more than what you pay for with this reel.

The new Diawa Sol and Fuego are here in the US market this year. The Sol from looking at the specs and actually playing with the reel, does not seem like too much to me. It is alot like the Pixy. The Fuego is a nice reel. It is small, really compact, and light. It has an excellent spool capacity. I have seen this reel and with its red color it is a beautiful piece. But I believe that I would purchase the Air Metal Diawa first. Even the durability of the paint on the Japanese reels is of better quality than that of the US models. It doesn't affect the performace of the reel, but for the price you pay for these puppies the astetics should be durable also.

Skeeter

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Skeeter,

I, unfortunately or fortunately, at one time or another have possessed much of the iceberg. It's a bit of a misnomer to say the Scorpion is the best casting reel among the Shimano lineup as the DC reels, Antares AR and Conquest reels are all better performing but there is no denying the value of the Scorpion.

The Daiwa Alphas is the Japanese market counterpart to the TD Sol and has a couple upgrades from the Sol like a nicer handle and I believe corrosion resistant bearings. The Alphas blows the Scorpion away but at a much higher price. The finishes on the Japanese market reels, unfortunately, is not much more durable if any than their American market counterpart, but I agree they look better. The Fuego has been rumored to be a US Market TD-X Air Metal and while it might share the same lineage, the spools are not interchangeable so something is different with them.

Bottom line, if you're happy with the Scorpion, stay with them, be cause once you start down that iceberg, there's no climbing back up!! ;)

Happy New Year!

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The DC is just an unnecessary thing. The computer board controls the spool and not the angler. The Antares and the Conquest will never match the casting distance of the Scorpion. Plus their sheer weight is a negative in my opinion. But those two reels are probably two of the best built reels in the world. Their components and sheer smoothness is unmatched. If taken care of properly, they will last someone a lifetime.

The Alphas were created to compete with the Scorp. Maybe they will match the casting distance, I really don't know. But for the money I'll take the Scorp. I will agree with you that the Fuego may be the American version of the Air Metal. But the Japanese version of these reels always seem to have some higher quality components. For the money, I will go with the Japanese versions.

Skeeter

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The Antares and the Conquest will never match the casting distance of the Scorpion.

The Alphas were created to compete with the Scorp. Maybe they will match the casting distance' date=' I really don't know. But for the money I'll take the Scorp. [/quote']

Guess we can agree to disagree here... I have the Antares AR and several Conquest reels and they all cast better and further than my Scorpions. I also have the Alphas and that casts better as well. But again, taking into consideration its price point, the Scorpion is no slouch.

Cheers.

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I have thrown the Antares AR. It is an extremely smooth and well built reel. It belonged to a friend of mine. I could not throw it as far as my Scorpion. But I really don't know how well he takes care of his reel either. I would love to try a Conquest. I will probably own one before all of this is over. In my opinion it is the finest reel built. But I cannot honestly say that it will not throw as far. I can only go on what I read. I just haven't gotten the nerve to throw $350.00 for the reel yet. I just don't care for the alpha. I saw one at the Classic outdoor show and I just didn't care for it. Like you said, we can agree to disagree. But I will still match my Scorp against anything out there. If it is cared for properly it is a really hot reel. The more I throw it the farther I can cast. But as you know, it takes practice to throw all of these reels. They are definitely not for the beginner.

Skeeter

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i have owned a lot of baitcasting reel, my first was a C3 abu garcia 4601 and i think abu is one of the top brand, very "bullet proof" for salt and freshwater, i have too TDX 103hl daiwa, very good casting reel, a daiwa millionnaire 103L for salt application and another Abu 5501 for jigging and big bait.

Japan reel are very good long distance baitcasting reel, but for me, i don't want to spend a lot of time to prepare ball bearings so, i tend to change my point of view and to be found of Abu Garcia and theirs 3 stainless ball bearing, i would buy new revo STX as soon as possible.

regards

Bigbar50

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I've used a Scorpion 1000 for 3 yrs and like it except for a few things. First, IMO the handle is too short, to the extent that the reel almost feels like its about to bind when reeling against a heavy lure or fighting a large fish. Fix? Exchange the handle for a longer one from a US Chronarch SF (about $16). Don't forget to put some blue threadlocker on those screws when you replace them! If you do your own maintenance and plan to take apart the levelwind system, be aware that it is NOT as simple as on a Curado 200. It caused me an hour or two of frustration the first time I tried it. Once done a couple of times, it becomes a bit more routine. Also, do not fail to wrap teflon plumber's tape around the wiffle spool to prevent water entry (true for ALL wiffle spool reels). A tournament fisherman friend who often has to fish in the rain had a problem with his 1000 getting water into the brake drum, causing very unreliable performance. When I serviced his reel, I coated the threads of the left sideplate and the frame with Superlube grease. No problem since then. The thing I really love about my 1000 is the SVS brake system. It's much better than typical centrifugal brake systems on other reels, IMO. I've cast a 1/3 oz crankbait into the wind for hours without a backlash from the 1000. That's almost unique performance. With the great casts, small size and light weight, all at a reasonable price compared to other reels of this class, the 1000 is a winner.

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I have been throwing Scorpion 1000s since 2003. I use the short handle and throw large crankbaits alot. Trust me... nothing will bind. If you have that feeling in your reel, then you better fix it. I have never felt this. This short handle thing is junk. Jun has been recommending the long handle forever. If you have real big hands, then maybe you want one. But it will change the speed of the reel. They use the blue loctite on the screws when they come from the factory. They are a real pain to get loose. I put mine back together without it and they stay put just fine. The deal with the Teflon tape over the spool is not neccessary. Water won't get to the inside of the reel. I used my reels in 6 tournaments last year. 4 of the tournaments were in POURING down rain. All of my reels were on the deck. No problems. The brakes are magnetic, rain does not bother magnets. The thing that really makes this reel great is that I have been throwing them for 4 years and have NEVER had a mechanical failure. Never. Everytime I engage the clutch is works. And everytime I turn the handle after the cast it locks. Everything works the first time, every time. That is just plain reliability.

Skeeter

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Bigbar,

Some of the Abu reels are ok. The C series are tough reels. But their performace has alot to be desired. But boat anchors weigh less than those reels do. Plus you have to have hands like Shaq to palm them. I have a EON that I use. It is a nice reel. But the sheer weight of the spool is just a backlash waiting to happen. When that reel balls up, you are in for a very long sit on the front deck picking it out. All reels need to be maintained. If you do not maintain your reels then they will not perform. Period. The Revo is ok. I have seen them. But they will never match the performance of the Scorpion. Plus, they cost more. If you ever get a chance to hold a Revo next to a 1000, then the choice will be clear.

Skeeter

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This must be one curmudgeon to another, Skeeter :) I love my Scorpion 1000 but we'll disagree about a few features. I totally agree it's one of the best casting reels I've ever used and think Shimanos are the gold standard for baitcaster reliability. I like my Scorpion for small crankbaits and for finesse plastics since it casts light lures so well (and I hate spinning!). But its retrieve is not as smooth as some Shimanos (the 5.9 oz Chronarch 50Mg for one). A longer handle is a significant upgrade at modest cost, IMO. No, a short handle Scorpion will not actually bind. But it can feel like it's on the ragged edge when retrieving a big heavy bait sometimes. A longer handle won't change the gear ratio. It does supply more mechanical leverage to the drive system. One revolution of the handle still turns the spool 6.2 times.

Keeping H2O out of any reel is a good thing. Is that even arguable? I was just reporting my experience and that of a friend who is a frequent BASS and FLW coangler. 4 or 5 consecutive days fishing in downpours is not that unusual for him. Teflon taped spool and grease on the sideplate threads works well, is easy to do, and doesn't harm the dry performance one iota. What's not to like? On a wiffle spool, water and dirt can infiltrate even in dry conditions since the spool is being filled with wet line on the retrieve. Water in the brake drum can adversely affect brake reliability. Finally, that brass brake drum and the little white plastic brake blocks you see when you open the left sideplate are the SVS mechanical centrifugal brake system. No magnets.

We're arguing details of a very good reel but I like mine to work perfectly and I do everything reasonable to bulletproof its performance. That includes annual disassembly (to the very last screw), cleaning and lubrication (bearings more often). I'll continue using a drop of blue thread locker on those handle screws, just like they do at the factory. Lose one and you're out of business for awhile.

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Thanks For Helping With My Christmas List Of Reels. Im New To All The Bass Reels Besides Shimano Calcutta 700 And Abu 5000 - 6000 . I Throw Big Plugs 6-10 In. 2-6 Oz. With Very Poor Maintinence To My Reels. (i Just Got Rid Of My Semi-auto Shotguns For Cheap Pumps Cause Im Lazy) One Reel Not Mentioned That I Have A Hard Time Breaking Is (i Can't Belive Im Writing This Lol) A Quantim Iron 6/1 Levelwind Highspeed With 20 Pound And An 8 Ft. Jig Stick. It'll Cast A 4 Oz. Plug 60-75 Yards With The Wind, Wont Smash The Magnets, Screams For Oil But Wont Fail, Big Easy Wood Handle, And Their Pretty Cheap!! If Any Of You Guys Go Up In Size Try One And I Don't Think Youll Be Sorry. I Do Not Like The Bigger Saltwater Quantim Its Way Too Slow For Fast Plugs And Jigs, Also Its Double The Price Of Of The Iron. The Rep In Socal Didn't Know What He Was Talking About And I Listened To Him.

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Well Bob....now you can teach me something. Explain the "mechanical" SV4. How does it work. All of this time I believed it was magnetic. And I will agree that the Scorp 1000 is not the smoothest of reels. There is "noise that you can feel" in the reel. I would love to have an Antares AR. That reel is the smoothest I have ever felt. But that extreme smoothness will run me $400.00. Maybe someday. The longer handle will change the ipt (inches per turn) on the reel. The speed will increase. Maybe not that much, but it will increase. But hey, I have always preached that it is the individual that controls the speed of the reel. If you fish with intensity, then it should not be a problem. Water will not bother the SV4. I have proven that to my self time and again. Of course I believe in a clean reel. Equipment performing at its peak is always a plus. But you cannot keep dirt from the reel by putting teflon tape on the spool. Water will always find a way in no matter what you do. Maintenance is the key. And regardless of how you or I do it.... at least we can both agree on that my friend.

Skeeter

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I did pretty much the same thing and bought a daiwa millionaire cv-z 203. It is a round level wind and incorporates the feature that separates the spool from the gearing during casting. Something that the shamano reels did not have until this year or last. I suspect that yours has something simular. Yes they are nice, I have the oportunity to cast side by side against any and all of the best spinning outfits. On one particular occasion I was using a lot lighter jig than the rest and was still outcasting them most of the time. I had one fellow comment on the distance. They do wear out or at least get to needing work after awhile. The reel that I bought I casted it so many times that I wore the crome off of the level wind post. I guess that I caught 500 or 600 pompanos and assorted by- catch with it before I could tell that it was in need of some work. It still works just not like it did when it was new. I remember my first level wind reel , it was a direct drive and you would be suprised how far those will actually cast all oiled up. The new calcuttas have the newest computer installed technology which may be a smidge out of my finanaces but for now I am satisfied with what I am using.

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