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Hello There. I am going to be purchasing some trolling rods/reels for this upcoming season. I know a ton of people use Penn's, but to be honest, I would like to stay away from them if at all possible!

If it were just me and the regular's on the boat at all times, I would 100% sure go with TLD20's, BUT I have people come out (dad, brothers, cousins, friends, etc) who are not fisherman and have enough trouble reeling WITH a levelwind.

I am basically looking for a reel similar in size to a TLD20, that has a levelwind and lever drag. Anyone have any ideas what I could use? I am looking to get 6 of them, so lower cost is best!

I looked at the Shimano Charter Specials (basically a smaller TLD with a levelwind), but I am not sure if their line capacity will be enough... Any thoughts/ideas?

Thanks, ste
 

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I think the charter specials are what you are looking for.. Why do you need more line capacity for the bay? I have all 330gtis and they hold WAY too much line for striped bass. unfortunately the 320's dont have enough drag for umbrellas, especially with in line weight. The Charter special has pleanty of drag and pleanty of line for striped bass.
 

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You might want to give the Penn 113 or 113 H a good look.
The 113 has a lower gear ratio - perfect for deep / short lines.

These reels are tough as nails and do not break the budget. They do not have a level wind but an old trick is to only fill the reel 3/4 full.
This way - new anglers can not " high side " the line and jam the reel.

Shimano Tekota is a nice level wind reel but pricey.

If you get serious about trolling - often you'll have various outfits to match the lures you troll.
 

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I bought some okuma combos last spring to bring my spread up some. I think they were about $90ish per combo. The reels were metal, levelwind and had a nice drag. I like them so much I plan on buying some more for next spring.
 

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Not sure why you do not care for the Penn's. Their trolling reels (not spinning gear) are work horses that have been proven over time. I do realize it is possible to get an occasional lemon. I've used the Penn 330 lever drag (level wind) and had never had a problem. Generally the sale price on them is around $130 if your not in a hurry and watch for bargains. They list closer to $200. They hold more line than you normally need. But I find there are times when I want to do something crazy like troll a mile (exaggeration) behind the boat for some strange reason. Also, if you get snagged or have to cut off line due to a tangle, you have enough left to finish out the year before re-rigging.

The new Release reels being sold around the Northern Neck have also caught my attention. I have not seen a bad review yet and their features are impressive. I just have not owned one and cannot provide first hand information.
 

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Penn 309's are inexpensive and only have 2lbs. less drag than a 330.
Get them used off EBAY or buy them new at $60 a pop.
Easy to work on and parts are readily available.
 

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I second Skip's 113 recommendation. I have some and never have had a problem. They are a solid reel that regularly handles my biggest umbrella rigs with 28 oz to 32 oz of additional weight. The drags are as smooth today as when I bought them 10 years ago....

Sean
 

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For the price, you can't go wrong with the Reel Draggin Tackle reels. They have HT-100 drag system similar to the Penn 309 and will hold up to pull in a big Rock trolled on heavy umbrella or whatever trolling gear you use in the Bay. The price is extremely reasonable and with a 2 year guarentee, how could you miss? I do troll Penn 330GT2 reels because I bought them long before I knew anything about RDTKL equipment. I now own four of the JC-30 trolling reels as well and have landed some big fish with them. This Fall I landed several 38 - 42 inch fish on the JC-30 reels trolling umbrella rigs deep with 28 to 32 oz. in line weights. The reels handle the load with no problems. They have 15 - 18 lbs of drag, compared to a Penn 330 which I believe has 16 lbs. You can get close to three JC-30s for the cost of a Penn 330.

http://www.reeldraggintackle.com/Tackle/reels.html
 

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I"d go with Penn 330 GTI's for planers or tandems/solo rigs. I have caught a lot of fish with these reels and never had one break down during a fight. They might be made in China but for the money they are tough to beat. The levelwind feature keeps things simple when your crew is setting lines for you. 1 bar/pass of the levelwind generally ='s 10 feet of line out....easy to understand. Follow a good maintenance schedule and you'll get your money out of these reels and then some.

I"d use the money I saved with the 330's to buy Shimano Tekota's in either the 700 or 800 series. Same internal parts/different spool sizes. I had three of the 800's and they were easily my favorite reel. Pricey but smooth and powerful. Pull your heavier lines with these powerful reels. They'll pull weighted umbrella's easily and if you have kids on board it enables them to reel in a large fish while trolling:thumbup:

TLD's are great reels but given what you stated levelwinds are your best bet. Haven't fished the Charter Specials but they seem light to me. Penn 113's are used on many charters due to gear ratio's, strength, and availability of parts...but are not levelwinds.

Okuma changes/discontinues products too often for me to trust that you could get parts for your reel if you needed them. I recently sold a couple of T20L's to charter capt's that find it hard to find parts for these discontinued reels. They bought mine for parts and my reels were 4-5 years old. You will not have this problem with Penn or Shimano. Good luck and let us know how you do...winter is slow around here.
 

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Go with my suggestions now that I know you want to spend around 150.00 per reel. Just by 3 or 4 line counters for the TLD 25's and you are set. The Tekota 800's are levelwinds. I run 40 lb inline. They are 11 ft every pass. Only one thinig I will say about the Tekota 800's. Make sure you buy some reel covers for those. They will scratch real easy but the reel is AWESOME, period.


Think of this. Shimano TLD 30 2 speed. Spoon rod off the roof, back 350 ft. When that :bigfish: hits its like reeling in a "BLUEGILL".

If you go with Shimano's like I have suggested, send me a b-mail and I can get you one helluva deal if you buy more than 4.

Trust me going with anything less and you will be kicking yourself in the head. I would rather spend a little more and get something that never breaks or has problems.



Good Luck

Phil(lily):yes:
 

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Penn 330LD cant beat them. We use them for everything. Also have a 114 and 115 that we use for the heavier stuff. The 320's are absolutley awesome reels. But if you must stay away from penn okuma make s a decent reel that isnt toio expoensive. cant remember the name to save my life though. Bout the same size as a 320
 

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Not sure why you want to stay away from Penn. I troll 15 rods and all my reels are either 330's or 309M. Never had a problem with any of them. You can buy 15 of the 309's on your budget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the great responses so far. I had not taken a look at the Tekotas, and they look to be a nice reel, only thing is they are not a lever drag. I am going to take a ride up to BPS this weekend to hopefully look at the Tekotas, charter specials, and TLD's (and anything else they may have worth looking at. I am just not a fan of Penn, but if they have the best reel for my application (like the 320LD) then I may just end up going that route.

ALso, if anyone was wondering... I am trying to figure this out and plan now so I can spread the purchases out over the next 4 months, rather than buying (or actually paying for) all the reels at once when spring gets here!
 
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