Sport Fishing - - GEAR GUIDE -

Reel man­u­fac­tur­ers make it eas­ier than ever to pre­vent the dreaded bait­cast­ing blun­der: the back­lash. But an­glers should be in­ti­mately fa­mil­iar with two parts of the reel — the spool-ten­sion knob and the brake — to help fine-tune and ad­just their casts.

The spool-ten­sion knob helps avert over­runs by ap­ply­ing pres­sure to both sides of the spool. Some an­glers set the ten­sion con­trol by tight­en­ing the knob just enough so that their lure falls slowly to the ground dur­ing free-spool.

The reel’s brakes have an even larger ef­fect on cast con­trol.

“The two most com­mon brak­ing sys­tems, cen­trifu­gal and mag­netic, be­have slightly dif­fer­ently but serve the same pur­pose,” says Chris Lit­tau, se­nior prod­uct man­ager with Quan­tum reels. “Cen­trifu­gal brakes rely on weights. Mag­netic brakes uti­lize elec­tro­mag­netic force. No mat­ter the brake sys­tem, the faster the spool turns, the more brake pres­sure ap­plied to slow it down.”

With the ba­sics of baitcasters now in your rearview mir­ror, check out these six in­shore salt­wa­ter cast­ers that push the en­ve­lope in tech­nol­ogy and us­abil­ity.


“We use spe­cial­ized high-per­for­mance cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance (HPCR) bear­ings that re­sist rust and de­bris

con­tam­i­na­tion,” says An­drew Wheeler, with Abu Gar­cia. “Plus, a longer 95 mm han­dle and over­size knob adds ad­di­tional crank­ing power.”

An im­proved in­fin­itely vari­able cen­trifu­gal (IVC) brak­ing sys­tem of­fers an­glers a wide range of ad­just­ment. The C6 car­bon palm side plate pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant weight re­duc­tion. A power stack Car­bon Ma­trix Drag Sys­tem han­dles 24 pounds of drag, but also pro­duces smooth drag pres­sures across the en­tire drag range.

“The drag wash­ers are twice as thick as our stan­dard drag wash­ers to in­crease drag dura­bil­ity and re­sist washer dis­tor­tion,” says Wheeler.


Daiwa’s Coastal TWS 200 In­shore bait­caster in­cor­po­rates a pro­pri­etary T-Wing Sys­tem, best ex­plained as a mod­i­fied T-style lev­el­wind with a large aper­ture to pre­vent line fric­tion when cast­ing. The line is forced back into a tight groove af­ter the cast to make sure the line is po­si­tioned evenly along the spool when reel­ing.

Seven cor­ro­sion-re­sis­tant ball bear­ings and an alu­minum spool and frame help fight off salt wa­ter, says Marc Mills, Daiwa’s mar­ket­ing field spe­cial­ist. A 100 mm han­dle with an EVA knob pro­vides stout lever­age when crank­ing. The TWS 200 spool of­fers 35 per­cent more line ca­pac­ity than the 100 size.


“The Ko­modo SS models work great for cal­ico bass, yel­low­tail, white seabass and tuna in Cal­i­for­nia, but just as well tar­get­ing tar­pon, snook and red­fish on the East Coast,” says John Bretza, di­rec­tor of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment at Okuma Fish­ing Tackle.

The “SS” in the se­ries name stands for stain­less steel. Okuma equipped Ko­modo models with main gear, pin­ion gear and shafts ma­chined from stain­less steel. Other vi­tal features

in­clude an alu­minum frame, spool and side plates.

“Dif­fer­ent from other in­shore baitcasters, our lev­el­wind sys­tem does not dis­en­gage,” says Bretza. “With our reel, when you cast, the lev­el­wind guide trav­els back and forth. This de­sign was specif­i­cally meant for braided line and in­creased dura­bil­ity.”


Quan­tum en­gi­neered a 35.5 mm spool, when the av­er­age spool size is 32 to 34 mm, into a com­pact frame to pro­vide an­glers with in­creased line ca­pac­ity, longer casts and more inches of line pickup with the new Quan­tum Smoke Se­ries 3 (S3). To pro­tect against salt, the com­pany uti­lized pre­mium alu­minum salt-guard mul­ti­layer cor­ro­sion pro­tec­tion and anti-cor­ro­sion bear­ings. A unique PT thumb bar also sports spe­cial coat­ing to pre­vent cor­ro­sion and bind­ing.

“Our cast-con­trol brak­ing sys­tem min­i­mizes the en­ergy it takes to get the spool spin­ning on a cast, along with ad­di­tional brakes that dis­en­gage around 5,000 rpm to max­i­mize dis­tance,” says Lit­tau.

Six­teen dif­fer­ent cast-con­trol ad­just­ments are avail­able on an easyto-see ex­ter­nal dial.


The Chronarch G bait­caster was built with Texas wade-fish­er­men in mind, and is meant to tackle red­fish, speck­led trout and other in­shore species in close-quar­ters con­di­tions.

This Chronarch G model is salt­wa­ter safe, says Shi­mano’s John Mazurkiewicz, with a newly in­cor­po­rated cor­ro­sion-re­sis­tant spool, some­thing that wasn’t avail­able on past Chronarch models.

Key features in­clude mi­cro­mod­ule guid­ing, a gear­ing sys­tem with small, pre­cise teeth that pro­duces smooth en­gage­ment and ef­fi­ciency. An X-Ship pin­ion-gear sup­port main­tains pre­cise align­ment with the gear drive for

pow­er­ful re­trieves un­der heavy loads. Lastly, the SVS In­fin­ity brakes are di­aled in for bet­ter cast con­trol, spool con­trol and brake force.


The 13 Fish­ing Con­cept TX se­ries baitcasters are made specif­i­cally for salt­wa­ter use.

“It’s not the de­sign that makes reels salt­wa­ter spe­cific, but the qual­ity of ma­te­ri­als and pro­tec­tion pro­cesses,” says Matt Bald­win, prod­uct-de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor of 13 Fish­ing. “Our salt­wa­ter-spe­cific reels fea­ture Ocean Ar­mor 2 on alu­minum frames, cor­ro­sion-re­sis­tant bear­ings through­out the reel and at­ten­tion to ma­te­ri­als on the small parts that could be af­fected by the harsh salt­wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment.”

Gear ra­tios are im­por­tant to the an­gler, and Bald­win has no­ticed a trend to­ward higher-speed reels.

“I sug­gest, if bat­tling in­shore species with live bait, pur­chase a 6.6-to-1 reel,” he says. “If you work a lot of ar­ti­fi­cial baits, 7.3-to-1 is the sweet spot in our lineup.” 13 Fish­ing of­fers spe­cialty TX reels in three gear ra­tios.

Cast­ing light lures and soft plastics with a bait­cast reel re­quires a del­i­cate touch and is best left to ex­pe­ri­enced hands.

Abu Gar­cia Revo In­shore /RZ 3URƓOH


Quan­tum Smoke Se­ries 3

Okuma Ko­modo SS

13 Fish­ing Con­cept TX

Shi­mano Chronarch G

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