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Best Conventional Reels Reviewed - Big Reels for Big Water

Not sure what makes a conventional reel superior for offshore fishing or trolling on the Great Lakes? Curious about which models are the best options for you? Keep reading!

Here’s a quick glance at the best conventional reels:

Table of Contents (clickable)

Best Conventional Reel Reviews

Penn Fathom Lever Drag -- Our Pick!

PENN Fathom Lever Drag

Available at: Amazon  | FishUSA

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Gear ratio: (15, 25, and 30) 5.3:1; (40) 4.8:1; (40HS and 60) 7.1:1
RPT: 15 (27”); 25 and 30 (36”); 40 (40”); 40HS and 60 (60”)
Capacity: 15 -- 12/355, 15/305, 20/200
25 -- 20/325, 25/295, 30/240
30 -- 20/435, 30/325, 40/250
40 -- 30/410, 40/315, 50/235
60 -- 40/480, 50/355, 60/315
Maximum drag: 15 (20 lbs.); 30 (33 lbs.); 40 and 60 (40 lbs.)
Bearings: 5
Weight: 15 -- 15.1 oz.
25 -- 19.4 oz.
30 -- 19.8 oz.
40 -- 24.7 oz.
60 -- 27.3 oz.
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Awesome body--very strong and stiff
  • Smooth cranking, great gear ratio, and excellent retrieval rates
  • Awesome drag
  • Excellent capacity
  • Excellent durability
  • No level wind means more work with mono
  • No line counter makes precision trolling tough

Summary

Penn is perhaps the most trusted name in offshore angling, and the Fathom Lever Drag series is everything you’d expect in a top-flight reel.

The Fathom series sport a solid-metal body and stainless steel gearing, providing the durability big fish and tough conditions demand. All that metal comes at a cost, of course, and these reels are by no means featherweights.

That said, expect bomb-proof durability and unrivaled stiffness, as well as cranking power to spare. Indeed, the Fathom’s stainless gears and bearings, available in three gear ratios, produce excellent retrieval rates. You’ll have no trouble keeping your line tight, which is always an important consideration, but absolutely essential in places where the law requires a barbless hook.

Capacity is excellent in all sizes, too, and you’ll find the spool marked with line capacity rings that keep you in the know at a glance.

The Fathom series is equipped with an excellent, extremely durable drag system. Ranging from 20 pounds in the smallest size, to fully 40 pounds on the 40 and 60 series, there’s power to spare in a hard fight, with no slipping or binding, even at high settings. Drag adjustments are made via a thumb lever near the crank, making this system very easy to adjust on the fly.

Count me as impressed!

Penn knows that you can’t always control what bites what you’re throwing, and to help ensure you catch what you hook, they’ve built in a dog-paw anti-reverse--essentially a ratcheting clutch that locks-up quickly.

Cranking power is excellent, as I mentioned above, and the Fathom is admirably smooth, too.

There’s no level wind on this reel--a plus for durability--but an extra chore if you’re fishing mono rather than braid. The Fathom features a clicker, but no line counter, so I’d look elsewhere if I needed precision trolling.

Overall, the Penn Fathom Lever Drag is an excellent choice of offshore fishing with braid, where the absence of a level wind and line counter simply won’t come into play.

Avet LX 6.0

Avet 6.0:1 Lever Drag Conventional Reel, Silver, 280 yd/30 lb

Available at: Amazon 

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Gear ratio: 6.0:1
RPT: 46”
Capacity: 25/350, 30/300, 40/220
Maximum drag: 20 lbs.
Bearings: 6
Weight: 22 oz.
  • Fantastic sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Quality handles
  • Awesome guides

Summary

No list of conventional reels would be complete without an Avet. And while this reel can be had in a lower 4.6:1 gear ratio, that’s simply too slow for most anglers’ needs. Instead, it’s the beefy LX 6.0 that gets everyone’s attention, and just one look can tell you why.

The Avet features a solid, machined-aluminum body. A one-piece unit, there’s no competition on this front, and dollar for dollar, this is probably the best on the market. Very, very strong and unbelievably stiff, there’s no room for improvement.

As in Penn’s Fathom, Avet has chosen to run stainless steel gears. And like the Fathom, expect acceptable smoothness and fantastic power. On this front, I’d say that the Avet is as good as the Fathom, a virtual tie.

In terms of capacity, the Avet is about middle-of-the-pack. Available in a single size that’s roughly equivalent to a Penn 30, the Fathom has it beat in this department, as do larger Daiwa Saltists. That said, this is perhaps the most respected reel among sailfish enthusiasts, and plenty of pros rely on the Avet to keep them in the money.

That’s saying something right there.

The Avet’s drag is on the lighter end, probably a nod to its reputation on sailfish rather than as a reel designed for anything and everything. It’s easy to set, easy to adjust after a strike, and provides admirable grip.

And for the size of the reel, the LX 6.0 is smoking! Picking up an incredible 46 inches per turn, it’s nearly on par with the blazing Saltist.

That’s truly impressive performance, and there’s a lot to like about this reel. I think the Penn Fathom edges it out with a wide range of sizes, faster options, and larger capacities, but you definitely won’t feel poorly served if you choose the Avet!

Pros:

  • Superb body--probably the best in the business
  • Smooth cranking, great gear ratio, and excellent retrieval rates
  • Awesome, though relatively light, drag
  • Excellent capacity
  • Outstanding durability

Cons:

  • No level wind means more work with mono
  • No line counter makes precision trolling tough
  • No size options

Daiwa Saltist Levelwind Line Counter

Daiwa STTLW20LCHA 6.1:1 Saltist Levelwind Line Counter High Speed Reel

Available at: FishUSA

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Gear ratio: (20 and 30) 6.1:1; (40 and 50) 6.4:1
RPT: 20 and 30 (35”); 40 and 50 (47.2”)
Capacity: 20 -- 12/420, 14/350, 20/210
30 -- 14/490, 20/295, 25/230
40 -- 25/400, 30/270, 40/240
50 -- 30/350, 40/310, 50/220
Maximum drag: 20 and 30 (15.4 lbs.); 40 and 50 (24 lbs.)
Bearings: 4 + 1
Weight: 20 -- 18.5 oz.
30 -- 19.4 oz.
40 -- 23.1 oz.
50 -- 24 oz.
  • Available in a range of sizes
  • Small, compact body
  • Very stiff and durable
  • Extremely fast retrieval rates!!!
  • Great drag
  • Equipped with a level wind
  • Equipped with a line counter
  • Not as capacious as similarly-sized reels
  • Lighter drag options than the Fathom

Summary

Daiwa’s conventional reels are solid performers, but only the best of the bunch makes our list: the Saltist Levelwind. Initially designed as an answer to anglers’ prayers for a smaller reel with high-speed gearing and a level wind, it’s a solid performer when you need precision trolling and casting for smaller fish.

Daiwa knows reels, and the Saltist has the body to prove that. Made from solid aluminum, it’s an all-metal nod to the need for stiffness and durability. These reels have proven that they can take what the salt dishes out, season after season, and you just don’t get stiffer than solid metal.

These aren’t large reels, even in the biggest sizes, and the biggest of the bunch is about mid-range for a Penn Fathom. As such, don’t expect miles of line even on the most capacious spools. That said, I think there’s plenty of space on these reels for all but the biggest, farthest running fish.

And that’s not really what the Saltist was made for. Instead, think bull reds, monster blues, lake trout, wahoo, and the like.

As a result, don’t expect monstrous drag settings, either, and like Penn’s Squall, you’ll find two options in the series: 15.4 pounds and 24 pounds. Those numbers make sense in light of this reel’s capacity, and you wouldn’t want to push the Daiwa to 60 or 80-pound mono in any case, as the drag just isn’t designed to keep up.

Clearly, heavier braid is not an ideal choice, just as with the Squall, as the drag will quickly fall behind.

The Saltist’s solid brass gearing is plenty powerful, but where it really stands out is its retrieval rate. While neither 6.1:1 nor 6.4:1 are shockingly high numbers, 35 and 47.2 inches are jaw-dropping, especially in a reel this size.

I’m sure that speed goes a long way toward explaining the fan base for this reel, and if you need to burn lures, snatch jigs from the bottom, or keep a tight line when in a hard fight, the Saltist is a great option to reach for.

Be aware that the spool release must be re-engaged manually; simply turning the crank will not engage the spool!

Equipped with a level wind, line counter, and (somewhat fragile) clicker, this is an excellent reel for casting applications as well as precision trolling for all but the largest fish.

Penn Squall LevelWind

PENN Fishing SQL20LWLC Squall LevelWind , Black Gold, 315yd/20Lb

Available at: Amazon  | FishUSA

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Gear ratio: (15, 20, and 30) 4.9:1; (50) 4.0:1
RPT: 15 and 20 (28”); 30 (35”); 50 (32”)
Capacity: 15 -- 15/320, 17/280, 20/220
20 -- 17/415, 20/315, 25/290
30 -- 25/455, 30/370, 40/285
50 -- 40/435, 50/320, 60/285
Maximum drag: 15 and 20 (15 lbs.); 30 and 50 (20 lbs.)
Bearings: 2 + 1
Weight: 15 -- 16.2 oz.
20/20LC -- 16.9/17.8 oz.
30 -- 20.9 oz.
50 -- 24.6 oz.
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Light body that’s plenty stiff
  • Smooth cranking, good gear ratio, and nice retrieval rates
  • Great drag
  • Excellent capacity
  • Equipped with a level wind
  • Size 20 offers a line counter
  • Not as stiff or durable as an all-metal body
  • Lighter drag options than the Fathom

Summary

Penn’s Squall LevelWind series is an excellent conventional reel for anglers who run monofilament or those who plan on casting. Available in a wide range of sizes, the 20 is available with the option of line counter, making it a good choice for precision trolling.

The Squall’s body is graphite--but don’t shy away just yet! Yes, graphite isn’t as stiff as aluminum, but it will stand up to years of abuse. And what it lacks in pure rigidity it makes up for in weight-savings, allowing a level wind reel to come in a relatively svelte on the scale.

In the real world, the Squall has been proving that graphite works as body material for conventional reels, and if weight matters to you, you’ll be glad to have it.

Available in four sizes, expect capacious spools on all of them. Size to size, the Squall holds more line than the Penn Fathom and simply dwarfs the capacity of the Shimano Tekota. Ounce for ounce, then, you get a ton of line from that graphite body and aluminum spool, and its line capacity rings allow at-a-glance assessments when a fight is on.

Its solid brass gears are plenty smooth, and they provide reassuring torque with each crank. Retrieval rates are great in each size, and though they pale in comparison to the big (or fast) Fathoms, they’re more than enough to keep a tight line. Moreover, the Squall LevelWind sports an instant anti-reverse bearing that works well and holds strong.

But where this Squall stands out from the Fathom is casting, running monofilament main line, and precision trolling.

The Squall LevelWind, as its name suggests, comes equipped with one, helping to distribute line across the spool. Especially for anglers who prefer to run mono, this is a big help, and you’ll really notice the difference if you plan on casting with this reel.

The 20 series can be had with a line counter, too, making it an excellent choice for precision trolling. The clicker is loud and reliable, making this a good choice for bottom fishing as well.

The drag system on this Squall is controlled via the typical star-shaped knob behind the crank. Not as powerful as the awesome system on the Fathom, it’s still plenty for most anglers and holds its own at any setting without slipping or binding. That said, it’s designed for “lighter” lines (and clearly built around mono), so running heavy braid isn’t the best idea as you’ll quickly outstrip the power of its drag.

If you’re after real monsters, though, and can accept the absence of the level wind and line counter on the Fathom, I think it’s the better option.

Overall, the Squall LevelWind is an excellent reel that’s an ideal choice for anglers who cast or precision troll.

Piscifun Salis X

Piscifun Salis X 3000 Right Handed Trolling Reel 6.2:1 High Speed Inshore Saltwater Round Baitcasting Fishing Reels Level Wind Conventional Reel

Available at: Amazon 

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Gear ratio: 6.2:1
RPT: 3000 (39”) and 5000 (49”)
Capacity: 3000 -- 24/330
5000 -- 30/490
Maximum drag: 3000 (26 lbs.); 5000 (37 lbs.)
Bearings: 6 + 1
Weight: 3000 --25.7 oz.
5000 -- 35.6 oz.
  • Great price!
  • Excellent capacity
  • Good drag
  • Excellent gear ratios with amazing retrieval rates
  • Equipped with a level wind
  • Heavy for a graphite body
  • Doesn’t offer the refinement of more expensive reels
  • Only two sizes available

Summary

Conventional reels tend to be pricey--that’s an unpleasant offshore reality. And many of the budget-priced options just aren’t up to snuff--we’re looking at you, KastKing Rover! With pathetic capacities, light drags, and questionable components, they’re just not built to work or last.

The Piscifun Salis X series is an exception, though the question you should be asking isn’t “is this as good as the Shimano, Penn, or Daiwa?” Instead, the right question is, “How well does it close the gap with the more expensive reels in terms of performance?”

Let’s find out.

Like Penn Squall, the Salis X offers anglers a graphite frame. Not as rigid as aluminum or steel, you may eventually end up with a bit of play in the body, but that’ll take time and some hard fights! Almost certainly, Piscifun was pushed into this material by the overall weight of these reels, which despite the savings of graphite, still come in at a hefty 25.7 and 35.6 ounces.

Clearly, these aren’t really lightweight reels.

Expect solid brass gearing that’s reliably smooth and plenty powerful. I don’t have any complaints here, and the Hamai teeth really hold under strain.

And if you’re looking for a fast reel at a reasonable price, you’ve found it. Retrieval rates per size are simply awesome. The Salis X 3000 is roughly the same size as the Squall 20 (though it’s a disappointing 10 ounces heavier!), but it picks up 39 inches of line per turn to the Penn’s 28.

That’s impressive by any standard--and closing the gap with the lightning-fast Daiwa at a fraction of the cost!

The drag on the Salis X isn’t its best feature, but it’s plenty strong. Just don’t ask for the refinement and precision of reels that cost three or four times as much. Maxing out at 26 and 37 pounds, respectively, there’s enough power there for big fish if you do your job.

That’s in part due to the excellent capacity these reels offer, which is roughly in the same league as the Penn Fathom!

Equipped with a level wind and clicker, but no line counter, I’d skip precision trolling with this reel.

So what’s the verdict?

Surprisingly, the Salis X delivers a lot of performance for the price, ably keeping up with more expensive rivals. So if you’re looking for a budget-priced conventional reel that won’t let you down, look no further.

Shimano Tekota

Shimano Tekota 700 Saltwater Star Drag Fishing Reel

Available at: FishUSA

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Gear ratio: 4.2:1
RPT: 25” per turn (300, 500, 600 series) or 33” per turn (700 and 800 series)
Capacity: 300 -- 12/275,14/220,16/185
500 -- 12/440,14/340,16/285
600 -- 16/390, 20/300,25/240
700 -- 25/410,30/350,40/290
800 -- 25/530,30/450,40/370
Maximum drag: 18 lbs. (300, 500, 600 series) or 24 lbs.(700 and 800 series) maximum
Bearings: 3 + 1
Weight: 300/300LC -- 13.3/14.3 oz.
500/500LC -- 15.3 oz.
600/600LC -- 16 oz.
700/700LC -- 28.8/29.8 oz.
800/800LC -- 30/31 oz.
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Excellent, lightweight body
  • Smooth cranking
  • Effective level wind
  • Accurate line counter
  • Nice drag
  • The 4.2:1 gear ratio is a little slow
  • Small spools mean low capacity

Summary

Shimano’s Tekota series is impressive, helping to explain the company’s popularity in the fishing world. And the wide range of sizes make this a versatile option for anglers from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Unlike some of Shimano’s higher-end reels, the Tekota’s body is understated, combining graphite and aluminum to keep weight down, while skipping the bright gold trim that’s a hallmark of the company.

Yes, the dreaded “g-word.” The Tekota doesn’t come with an all-metal body, using graphite reinforced with aluminum on the side plate opposite the crank (the rest is solid metal).

That might not be ideal, but it cuts weight considerably, and in the real world, the Tekota has proven itself to be as stiff as a shot of Jim Beam. Expect no flex even when you’ve got a brute on the other end--making it clear that Shimano knows what it’s doing with that graphite addition.

Indeed, the Tekota series are incredibly light-for-size, and if that matters to you, these reels deserve a second look.

The Tekota is available in five sizes, all geared to the same 4.2:1 ratio. On the smaller models, that translates into a 25 inch-per-turn retrieve; on the 700 and 800, you’ll find 33 inches of line gathered on the spool with each crank. A level wind keeps your line evenly distributed on the spool, and on the off chance you cast, works in reverse as well.

Unfortunately, though Shimano has delivered a reel that’s smaller and lighter than some competitors, capacity suffers. With the 600 series holding just 300 yards of 20-pound mono, it’s far behind alternatives like Penn. I’m not sure that’s a deal-breaker, but it’s something to think about.

Those are hardly numbers to write home about, but they’re enough to keep a tight line. I’m not sure why Shimano doesn’t run a higher gear ratio on these reels, but I suppose that’s because good enough is...well...good enough.

Despite just four bearings--one dedicated to anti-reverse--the Tekota is plenty smooth. The crank, while not silky, spins easily and transmits torque with the best of them. You’ll find plenty of power in the Tekota’s gearing, allowing you to muscle massive fish when the situation calls for it.

The Tekota’s drag system is excellent, too. Available in two weights--corresponding to the size of the reel, of course--it’s confidence-inspiring, smooth, and reliable. Controlled via the usual star-shaped knob, it’s easy to set, too.

This series of reels features a loud clicker, as well as a fantastic mechanical line counter. It’s accurate and easy-to-use, a must-have for accurate trolling.

Overall, if you can live with the gear ratio, the Tekota series is an excellent option for anglers who demand accurate trolling.

Conventional Reel Basics

Conventional reels have the mechanical heart similar to baitcasters.

That is, they use a similar basic mechanism, allowing a free-spinning spool to travel in the direction of the line. This allows more direct, powerful gearing and drag systems, just as on baitcasters. And you’ll find the same basic controls you’ve come to expect from a baitcaster; a spool tensioning knob, a spool release, a drag knob, and a crank.

The inside of this spool is marked to tell you instantly how much line you have left.

But that’s effectively where the similarities end.

Conventional reels really aren’t designed for casting, and ounce for ounce, foot for foot, they’ll fall well behind a comparable spinning or baitcasting reel on that front. Instead, their focus is on power, drag, and capacity.

That’s because they’re built around fighting.

This design imperative starts with a spool that can hold an incredible amount of line for the size of the reel. And some offer marks that can tell you at a glance how much line you have left--a testament to just how bad the fights can be!

Many also feature two-speed gearing, allowing ultra-fast retrieves from the bottom.

And you’ll find a “clicker” on most of them that sounds-off when a fish starts taking line from the spool. That’s essential for detecting a bite on the bottom or when you have yard after yard of line in the water.

Finally, these reels wear one of two kinds of drag control: either the standard star-shaped knob behind the crank, or a thumb lever on the body.

This reel wears a drag lever. That’s not the spool release!

This reel uses the traditional star-shaped drag control, and the lever you see here is the spool release.

Conventional reels are a different beast than spinning reels and baitcasting alternatives. And because they’ll be pitted against potentially massive fish, they’re built a bit differently and demand a few things you might not expect.

Gear ratio and RPT

The gear ratio and RPT (retrieve per turn) on a conventional reel is more important than you might think.

Yes, the baitcasting reels you use for bass need gear ratios that are matched to their application, and big surf-casting reels can always use speed.

That’s all true.

But when you hook a big tuna, for instance, a “fast” baitcasting or spinning reel just won’t get it done. Tuna can swim an incredible 47 miles per hour, and if a fish like this turns toward your boat and makes a hard run, you’ll struggle to keep a tight line unless you’re retrieving nearly a yard per turn.

The best conventional reels have gear ratios and spool sizes that work to deliver incredible speed for their size, and “too fast” really isn’t something you need to worry about.

On smaller reels, I like to see no less than 24” RPT. A good mid-sized reel should pick up about 36” per crank, and the largest reels will be in the neighborhood of 45” or so.

Drag

Offshore fishing means serious fights.

When you tie into an 8-foot shark, a 400-pound grouper, or a 300-pound tarpon, you need a drag that can reliably help your heavy line hold. Finesse is less important than strength and durability, and you’ll never be setting these drag systems down into the single digits.

Instead, you need to think about reasonable maximums as well as how well the drag holds and releases at 50% to 80% of that number.

You also want to consider the drag control.

Two options are available, a thumb lever and the usual star-shaped knob. Which one is better for you is largely a matter of preference, though the thumb levers are a bit easier to use when the fight’s on.

Capacity

If you’re fishing specks all day in 20 feet of water just off the Intercoastal, there’s no need for a big conventional reel. But if you’re trolling off Grand Isle, and you hook a 300-pound tarpon, you’re going to need a lot of line to give him room to run!

Otherwise, prepare for your heart to drop as you watch the last few feet of line whirl off your spool!

For serious offshore fishing, you’ll want the biggest, toughest reels on this list, and you’ll want them carrying yard after yard of high-strength braid to give you the most line your reel can hold. And while you always want to size your reel to the fish you’re after, you generally need much more line offshore than you do inshore.

The important thing to understand is that absolute numbers don’t tell the whole tale.

Instead, you need to compare reel to reel, size to size, looking for which brands and models pack the most punch.

Note: All reviews list monofilament capacities in yards per weight.

Construction

Monster tuna, grouper, shark, and lake trout put an enormous amount of stress on a reel.

Keep in mind that the reel acts as your line’s anchor to your rod, and though mitigated by the rod’s action and power, line stretch, and your drag, each big fight is a test of every component comprising your reel, from the teeth on the gears to the discs in the drag to the frame that holds everything together.

Most offshore anglers prefer a solid metal body. It’s simply stronger, stiffer, and more durable than graphite. Graphite cuts weight as effectively as a college wrestler, but it just can’t offer the absolute stiffness or durability of machined aluminum.

Plastic gears have no place in conventional reels either. Their teeth will deform and break under the loads you’ll ask them to hold. Instead, solid brass and stainless steel are the best options.

And every reel on our list offers some sort of sealed module to protect the gears and bearings from saltwater intrusion. While these are nice features on rods for freshwater, they’re essential for offshore applications.

Line Counter

Modern precision trolling requires that you know exactly how much line you’re dragging, and the proper use of a downrigger demands a careful accounting of every foot.

Reels that are purpose-built for this technique may offer a line counter that keeps track of every foot that leaves the reel.

Of course, you can run metered line as a stop-gap, and plenty of anglers do. But you’ll appreciate a line counter if precision trolling is your go-to technique.

Levelwind

As Garry Brummett explains, “Level wind reels feature a moving line guide that sports a pawl which runs back and forth across the front of the reel upon a worm shaft. As line is retrieved back onto the reel, the moving line guide ensures that the line is evenly distributed onto the spool, from side to side, without any large build-ups of line in any one spot on the spool. Open style conventional reels have no line guide and the distribution of the line back onto the spool is the responsibility of the angler.”

Mono is particularly prone to bunching on the reel, and care must be taken to avoid this. You’ll need to direct the line with your thumb as you retrieve, helping to disperse it along the full length of the spool.

If you don’t, bunching will impair casting--which may not matter, depending on your application--but in extreme cases, it can lock the spool via direct contact with the body.

Braid tends to lay flat, self-distributing well, so if this is your prefered main line, a level wind may not be something you need.

Finally, level winds are a fragile component and often break. As Brummett warns, “On a final note, as a repair shop owner, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the level wind feature is at the top of the repair parade of reels we see each year. This is exclusive of manufacturer. All level winds from all manufacturers are susceptible to failure. It’s just the nature of the designs. A very small pawl runs across an equally small worm gear. When fighting a large fish with 15-20 pounds of drag, the line guide system is under a tremendous amount of pressure. Then we throw in some salt and some sand, and maybe we don’t clean and lube the reel like we know we should. All of these factors can increase the potential for a failure. Open faced conventional reels know no such failure.”

Should you use a level wind reel?

If you regularly run mono main-line, it just might be worth it.

Our Pick -- the Penn Fathom Lever Drag!

To my mind, Penn still manufactures the best conventional reels on the market, though Daiwa and Avet are close on its heels.

The Fathom demonstrates why it’s our top pick and a perennial favorite of offshore anglers. Available in a range of sizes to suit the fish you’re chasing, whichever model you select offers outstanding capacity, blazing speed, a strong drag, and tough, confidence-inspiring gears. United in a rigid, durable body, it’s easy to see why this reel is so often the choice of charter captains who need to give their clients every advantage.

Dedicated precision trollers may want to look elsewhere, or simply run metered line and take adequate care with trolling depths. And if you really like mono main line, it may be better to choose an option with a level wind, like the outstanding Penn Squall LevelWind.

It’s also worth noting the outstanding Avet LX 6.0. If you can live with a single size and slightly slower retrieves than the Fathom 40 HS, the Avet delivers tournament-tested performance for sailfish, and it just might be the best overall reel for its size.

Whatever your choice, any of the reels on our list will help you keep tight lines in a fight, delivering the performance offshore anglers demand to deliver their adrenaline.

Sours: https://usangler.com/best-conventional-reel-reviews/

Accurate Extreme Reels BX2-30

Accurate has spent countless hours researching the needs of anglers at shows throughout the country as well as time spent on the water putting your feedback to the test. Our initial idea of Small reels � Big Fish has become more wide spread throughout the country with anglers using smaller tackle to conquer the bigger Gamefish.

With that type of mentality growing in popularity, the BX2-30 and BX2-50 were developed for those anglers in mind.

Key Features:

  • Harden 17-4 spool shaft for increased strength and pulling power.
  • Oversized 17-4 stainless steel gear system
  • 30 pounds of built in drag and standard harness lugs, these reels are ready to snap in for the long run.
  • Oversized reel clamp with beefier studs for a solid connection to the rod.


  • Gear Ratio: 5:1 & 2.2:1
  • Weight: 36oz (0.74kg)
  • Mono Line Capacity: 50lb/400yd's
  • Spectra Line Capacity: 100lb/500yd's


  • Sours: http://www.mahitackle.com/b230.html
    1. Nutrition management salary
    2. Wwe barefoot
    3. Archer 5e

    EatMyTackle 30 Wide 2 Speed Fishing Reels on 30-50 Pound Tournament Rods (2 Pack)

    EatMyTackle 30 Wide 2 Speed Fishing Reels on 30-50 Pound Tournament Rods (2 Pack)

    EAT MY TACKLE

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    Item #:

    IDR31225370

    This product is not Fulfilled by Ubuy and can take minimum 10 days in delivery. We might cancel the product from the order and refund you if any issue arise with the delivery of this product.

    Note: Electronic products sold in US store operate on (110-120) volts, a step-down power converter is required for the smooth device function. It is mandatory to know the wattage of the device in order to choose the appropriate power converter. Recommended power converters Buy Now.


    Product Details

    • 30 Wide 2 Speed Blue Marlin Tournament Edition reels and 2 Blue Marlin Tournament Edition 30 - 5- lb. rods
    • 5'5" carbon composite blank with span wrap construction, wide mouth wind on leader roller guides, Eva foam grips
    • 2 speed gear ratio 3.6 : 1 and 1.6 : 1, stainless steel gears, max drag 85 lbs.
    • Line capacity 950 yards of 30 lb. mono, oversize big game handles
    • 9 stainless steel ball bearings, one touch 2 speed shift,
    Is Discontinued By Manufacturer ‏ : ‎No
    Manufacturer ‏ : ‎Eat My Tackle
    ASIN ‏ : ‎B00SI0XYRK

    Description

    Now offering FREE MONO LINE SPOOLING for all Eat My Tackle reel purchases. Clear monofilament line is available in 30, 50, 80, & 100 lb. tests. Please either message us or make a note on your order indicating which line you would prefer. All rod and reel combo packs are identical to ensure perfectly matched sets. Combo (2) 30 - 50 lb. Blue Marlin Tournament Edition all roller rods with (2) 30 wide 2 speed Blue Marlin Tournament Edition fishing reels. Reels feature 9 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, one touch two speed shift, and a CNC machine cut aircraft aluminum frame and spool that is anodized for a durable saltwater resistant finish. All internal components, gears and shaft are hardened and tempered stainless steel. Perfect drag system utilizing the best aircraft brake material. Precision cut stainless steel gears are manufactured to exacting standards. 2 speed gear ratio: 3.6 : 1 and 1.6 : 1, max drag of 85 lbs., line capacity 30 lb. mono/950 yards 100 lb. braid/700yds., over sized big game handles, and rod clamp and wrench system. The 2 speed reels allow you to retrieve the line quickly in a high speed gear if a fish runs toward the boat and then shift to a low gear when they go down and you need to pump them up. Made with the highest quality materials these reels are designed for the rugged offshore environment. Ideal for chasing Blue Marlin, Wahoo and Tuna. They have the smoothest drag system and are manufactured in China just like the major competitors. The rods are made from the finest high carbon composite blank span wrap construction to minimize side loads and twist. The rod features wide mouth wind on roller guides double wrapped for strength, a roller tip, and EVA foam grips for nonslip and comfort. The comfortable 5'5" rod also includes a gimbal cross on the butt of the rod for rod holders and fighting chairs. We are so confident in our reels, that we offer a full 2 year warranty again any defects

    Similar Products

    Game fishing tackle, Shark fishing reel, Shark fishing tackle, Tuna fishing combos, 30 lbs of drag, Offshore fishing rods

    Customer Questions & Answers

    • Question: Are these good for tuna and shark in new england

      Answer: We had great luck in the Florida Keys on our recent trip with these combos. Caught barracuda, blackfin tuna, and dolphin. Easy to use and set correctly. Awesome set up, would definitely recommend them.
    • Question: Is this 2 reels and 2 rods? also i might have missed my question in the q&a section but ( thoughts on this combo for shark ) I live in S. Texas

      Answer: That is correct, 2x reels and 2x rods. These reels are plenty strong enough to handle just about any species of shark, however you may be a bit limited on line capacity. Generally speaking, our 50W and 80W are more popular for shark fishing because of the (greatly) increased line capacities. Hope this helps!

    Customer Ratings

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    Customer Reviews

    Ja•• ••sk

    September 23, 2021

    It's awesome

    Can't beat these set ups ..they get it done

    le•• ••ey

    September 7, 2021

    It everything I expected

    It arrived two days early and in perfect shape.

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    Sours: https://www.ubuy.co.id/en/product/CXQBNMY-eatmytackle-30-wide-2-speed-fishing-reels-on-30-50-pound-tournament-rods-2-pack
    80 Wide 2 Speed Saltwater Fishing Reel: Recommended Fishing Rods \u0026 Reels
    Two men holding a fishing rod and a line

    The pros and cons of the classic 30W/50w stand-up gear and smaller, lighter 16 size reels—let the mid-shore tuna battle begin!

    Ah, the classic big gold reel loaded with pink Ande mono on a 50-pound class stand up rod. This has been the trustworthy standby for years. However, setups like this have had some advancements in the technology of reel and rod construction, making them lighter and stronger overall.

    Shimano and PENN for example are two of the biggest rod and reel manufacturers in the industry; for decades, they have made reliable and exceptional offshore gear.  While their respective Tiagra and International lines have always been two of the more popular selections in the offshore arena, more and more you’ll now find the likes of Accurate ATD, Okuma Makaira, Avet’s EXW, Alutecnos and the Canyon EX series in big game cockpits as anglers look for the latest new gear options to put to the test.

    With the new advancements in fishing technology, manufacturers have continued developing smaller, lighter reels. Smaller and lighter reels call for smaller and lighter rods as well, which makes them more comfortable to hold over longer periods of fishing time or when fighting big fish.  Tiagra and Internationals in the 16 to 20 size range have become popular, along with other new “big reels in a small packages” like the Maxell Ocean Max, Avet, Accurate, Okuma or Seigler OS Offshore Series reels for jigging.

    Consider that reels in the 50W size range have max drags between 40 and 50 pounds, which is typically much higher than needed for most anglers. The smaller reels are putting out 25 to 30 pounds of drag, which is still plenty of drag for small to medium sized tuna.  But the question that many anglers have is, are these smaller setups a sufficient replacement for the tried and true classics?

    Bigger Benefits

    Two men on a boat with rods and a fish caught

    There are many reasons why the larger 30W and 50W reels have been popular for so long. One reason is line capacity. If using only monofilament line, 30W reels can fit roughly 500 yards of 50- or 60-pound mono and 50W reels can fit about 500 yards of 80-pound mono. When using a braid or hollow core backing, fishermen can fit about 500 yards of 130-pound hollow core with a 100-pound, 150-yard top shot of mono on top. Not only can anglers fit more line on the reel this way, but this also allows anglers to use a line with a higher strength.

    Another advantage of the larger size reels is the increased drag at strike and at full. Larger reel frames allow larger drag washers to be added, which means more drag overall. While smaller reels do provide drag that is usually more than enough for small and medium tuna, it is nice to have the extra little bit if necessary.

    Larger rods and reels also have more stopping power overall. Heavier rods, heavier line, and more drag can really put some heat on a fish if necessary. The heavier rods also open the door to bent-butts, which can add a serious advantage when it comes to fighting fish with bucket harnesses or fighting chairs. This can lead to shorter fight times and more time with lines in the water.

    When Big’s Not Better

    While the larger 30W and 50W combos are effective for a wide array of fishing, they definitely aren’t the perfect solution for everything. One reason some people are opting for smaller setups is because the larger ones are double – if not more – the weight of the 16 size reels. When fighting a fish for a while, that much weight could cause fatigue. Take for example holding a 6-ounce sinker straight out in your hand. Not too heavy right? Initially, it takes little to no effort to hold that sinker. After a little while, that sinker will slowly get heavier in your hand; the same concept applies to rods and reels.

    Another not-so favorable side of the larger setups is that they’re mainly catered toward trolling. When spooled with 80-pound mono or even 100- to 130-pound top shots, it doesn’t make for a favorable jigging or chunking setup. The bait presentation won’t look as natural when compared to being jigged or chunked on 30- or 40-pound leader.

    One other drawback of the bigger reels is the cost. Fishing isn’t a cheap sport to begin with, especially on the offshore grounds.  When it comes right down to it, every dollar counts for most of us recreational guys. A Shimano Tiagra 50W retails for roughly $850 to $900, multiplied by an eight-rod spread that’s almost $6,000 in just the reels, before considering the rods, line, lures, and terminal rigging.  Of course, with proper care and maintenance, these reels will last a lifetime.

    And Light Is Right

    One obvious advantage to smaller and lighter setups is the weight and size. With a Tiagra 16 weighing in at less than half the weight of a 50W, it ultimately provides the angler an easier time handling the gear without getting as fatigued. Anglers can also strip off the tuna fishing line and use those reels in the fall for bass trolling if they wanted to use it for more than a few months out of the season.

    Another great aspect of these smaller reels and setups is that they are great for jigging and chunking. The lighter line and lighter leaders allow for a better and more natural presentation of baits and jigs. The lighter setups also let the angler feel the bait and lure a little bit better than the large rods/reels and heavy line. This could make a huge difference on days when the fish are finicky and leader shy. The smallest differences in bait presentation could have a huge impact!

    Cost can also be an advantage when it comes to smaller gear. A size 16 Tiagra retails for between $600 and $650, about $200 less than a 50W, a savings of around $2,000 when outfitting that eight-rod spread. The rods paired with these reels typically don’t have roller guides either, so that could also save in cost too.

    Sample specs table

    Smaller Disadvantage

    While the smaller setups do have advantages over bigger gear, there are some drawbacks that cause anglers to stay away. One of the obvious and most important drawbacks of the smaller gear is the line capacity. Even with lighter pound test hollow core, some of these smaller reels can only hold the amount of line that the big reels can hold of heavier mono alone. This makes them unsuitable for trolling canyons or for larger size fish when there is already sometimes 75 to 100 or more yards of line out to start.

    Another reason that fishermen will choose larger reels over smaller models is the increased max drag. The difference in drag at strike and max between the bigger and smaller reels is more than 10 pounds. While it is rare that anglers will ever use max drag, it’s nice to have the extra room. I think of it this way; you can tow a 28-foot boat with an F150, but it’s nicer to tow it with an F350. In some instances, the max drag on a 16 size reel is what the strike drag is set at on some the 50W reels!

    Rod selection and configuration can also be a drawback for the smaller gear. Typically, smaller reels in the 16 size aren’t put on bent butts, and there aren’t a lot of different selections on roller guides either. Roller guides and bent butts are usually saved for the bigger guns. Not that these things are necessities, some anglers prefer to have rollers on some rods or have the ability to have a bent butt for certain applications.

    Weighing the Options

    two baits attached to a hook and line

    When it comes to choosing setups to add to the offshore arsenal, there really is no one-size-fits all option. You can kill a mosquito with a sledge hammer, but you don’t want to bring a knife to a gunfight either. If fishing for small to medium size school tuna, the smaller setups may work just fine. They would also be great for trolling Clarkspoons and small feathers for bonito and some mahi on the inshore grounds. However, the larger setups will also work just fine for that size tuna. This may be a time when braid or hollow core backing may not be needed on the bigger reels.

    The nice thing about the heavier gear is that even if an angler mainly fishes inshore and mid-shore, they could always put some braid or hollow core backing on and then they’ll have canyon setups ready to go!

    While I don’t get out fishing as much as I’d like, I get out enough to be able to put some fish on the deck and have fun! Since we fish a smaller boat – a 26-foot center console with twin outboards to be exact – it is rare that we fish the canyon. The mid-shore grounds in the 30- to 60-mile range seem to be where we spend most of our time. While our arsenal consists of setups from smaller 16, 20, 25, and 30 size Tyrnos and TLD setups (spooled with mono between 30- and 50-pound), our usual loadout consists of four 30W Tiagras and three 50W Tiagras when targeting tuna. The smaller 30W setups are used for flatlines and short-baits, with the 50W used for way back and heavy lures or diving plugs.

    When specifically targeting smaller pelagic species like bonito, mahi, and false albacore along the inshore grounds (15 to 25 miles out), we will opt for the 16, 20, 25, and 30 size Tyrnos and TLD reels. It’s nice to have some fun with the smaller pelagics, but it is also reassuring to know that these rods and reels can handle tuna if needed!

    Our 30W and 50W reels are spooled with 60- and 80-pound mono, and no backing. Some say we’re crazy for going out without hollow core backing, but we aren’t targeting large fish or fishing canyons. There definitely is a chance though that there could be that lone big bluefin on the mid-shore grounds, and it’s happened before! We haven’t boated anything too big yet but we have had fish upwards of 80 pounds with no problems at all. Hollow core backing is in the future; the initial cost is the only thing keeping all mono on the reels right now!

    When it comes down to it, the decision really depends on what kind of fishing you plan to do and what fits best in the budget. One thing is for sure though; no matter what setups are being used, getting out and putting time in out there is time well-spent.

    TACKLING BLUEFIN

    Something to note when fishing for bluefin, the limits are stricter than those of yellowfin and other tunas. This leads to releasing more fish than an angler typically would when fishing for other tuna species or mahi. I specifically don’t like using lighter gear for bluefin because if I want to release a fish, I like to crank it in relatively quickly and not “play” the fish near exhaustion. Shorter fight times also means more time with lines in the water!

    – J. Mitchell

     

     

     

    Sours: https://www.thefisherman.com/article/offshore-battle-heavyweights-vs-lightweights/

    Reels 30 wide

    Conventional trolling reels hold lots of fishing line, have strong drags, and are able to catch large fish. When I think of conventional reels, the first reel that comes to mind is a Penn International 80 which is a big game offshore fishing reel. This 80 class reel can catch the biggest fish in the ocean like bluefin tuna, marlin, swordfish, and large sharks.

    There are many different styles and sizes of conventional reels and can be used to catch all types of fish. Small conventional trolling reels are used in freshwater to catch walleye, bass, musky, steelhead and salmon.

    best conventional offshore trolling reel

    Lever drag and star drag are the two drag-styles for conventional reels. Star drag should be set in advance to the desired tension level. Lever drag should alow be set in advance but can be adjusted with the level to different pre-set values depending on the fishing situation.

    Many conventional reels are two-speed reels which means that they have two line retrieval speeds. This is a nice feature because the fast line retrieval speed allows lures to be reeled in quickly and helps keep slack out of the line when fighting fast-moving fish. The low gear setting retrieves line slowly but provides higher torque. With a higher torque value, less force is needed to turn the handle. This is a good setting to use when fighting large powerful fish.

    Here Are the Best Conventional Fishing Reels


    1. Penn International VIS 2 Speed Big Game Reel

    penn international vis 2-speed big game offshore trolling reel

    Buy from Amazon

    Estimated Price: $480-$1780

    Models and Specifications
    16:
    Drag 20 lbs, weighs 36 oz, retrieves 48-14 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 770/20, braid 765/80.

    30: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 56 oz, retrieves 41-14 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 1030/30, braid 1015/130.

    70: Drag 55 lbs, weighs 74 oz, retrieves 40-19 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 960/60, braid 2230/100.

    80: Drag 65 lbs, weighs 113 oz, retrieves 40-19 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 1120/80, braid 3025/130.

    130: Drag 100 lbs, weighs 169 oz, retrieves 41-19 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 1330/100, braid 4175/130.

    Note: The drag values are the max drag for the reel.

    The Penn International VI series reels come in gold or silver color options. This is the 6th generation of this classic high-quality big game fishing reel. Features of the reel include quick shift two-speed drag, dura-drag with two large-diameter drag washers, stainless steel gears, and an anodized aluminum reel body.

    Line capacity rings mark approximately one third, two-third, and a full spool. These reels have line shedding lugs. The lugs allow a fishing harness to be hooked onto the reel. Vesa-strike allows the strike button position to be adjusted with a screwdriver. These Penn reels are made in Philadelphia USA. Below is a video that goes over all the new features of Penn International reels.


    2. Penn Squall Two Speed Big Game Offshore Reel

    penn squall 2-speed offshore trolling reel

    Buy from Amazon

    Estimated Price: $250-$350

    Models and Specifications
    16:
    Drag 26 lbs, weighs 38.5 oz, retrieves 39-18 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 540/30, braid 1040/65.

    30: Drag 32 lbs, weighs 47 oz, retrieves 41-18 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 595/50, braid 1435/80.

    50: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 55.6 oz, retrieves 33-17 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 890/50, braid 1835/100.

    Note: The drag values are the max drag for the reel.

    The Penn Squall 50 VSW is one of my favorite big game offshore fishing reels. This reel and the Shimano TLD 50 which is reviewed later are both awesome lightweight reels that can catch big fish. This reel even works well for high-speed trolling for wahoo.  The size 50 reel weight is about the same a Penn international 30 and is half the weight of a Penn international 80. I like to always have a 50 class reel on the boat because a reel this large can catch almost any fish in the ocean.

    Features of the reel include the Dura-drag system, 4 stainless steel bearings, and aluminum spool that has line capacity rings. The body of the reel is lightweight graphite and the gears are made of stainless steel. It also has a quiet double-dog anti-reverse system.


    3. Penn International VISX 2 Speed Gold Reel

    penn international visx 2-speed conventional fishing reel

    Buy from Amazon

    Estimated Price: $475-$1,782

    Models and Specifications
    12:
    Drag 40 lbs, weighs 32 oz, retrieves 40-14 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 880/15, braid 840/50.

    16: Drag 45 lbs, weighs 36 oz, retrieves 40-14 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 280/60, braid 765/80.

    20: Drag 50 lbs, weighs 51 oz, retrieves 41-14 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 325/60, braid 750/100.

    30: Drag 55 lbs, weighs 53 oz, retrieves 40-14 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 390/60, braid 905/100.

    50: Drag 60 lbs, weighs 63 oz, retrieves 40-15 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 575/60, braid 1330/100.

    The Penn International VSIX is a topless reel similar to the VIS. This reel has higher drag which works well with a strong braided fishing line. Since it is a topless reel anglers can have their finger on the spool to change the drag on the bait, lure or fish. If there is slack in the line the topless reel has a higher chance the line will come out of the spool. If this happens, be careful the line does not go over the lug hooks that are on the reel for the fighting harness. The lugs are line shedding lugs and are shaped so the line is less likely to get cut or stuck if this happens.

    Features of the VISX reel include 5 stainless steel ball bearings, Dura-drag, quick-shift 2-speed reel, and anti-reverse. The body of the reel is made with aircraft grade anodized aluminum and the gears are made with stainless steel. This is a great reel for catching large pelagic fish like tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi, marlin, and large sharks.


    4. Penn Torque Gold Lever Drag Fishing Reel

    penn torque gold reel lever drag conventional bottom fishing reel

    Buy from Amazon

    Estimated Price: $440-$580

    Models and Specifications
    15:
    Drag 20 lbs, weighs 16.7 oz, retrieves 30-14 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/20, braid 290/50.

    25N: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 21.1 oz, retrieves 38-19 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 245/30, braid 475/50.

    30: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 21.5 oz, retrieves 38-19 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/30, braid 455/80.

    40N: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 27.4 oz, retrieves 42-21 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 235/50, braid 565/80.

    60: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 28.3 oz, retrieves 42-21 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 335/50, braid 860/80.

    The Penn Torque LD2 is much smaller and lighter than the international series reels. However, they do not hold as much line. These reels are well-built and are great for trolling or verticle jigging.

    Color options are silver or gold. Features of the reel include 6 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, anti-reverse, and Dura-drag. This reel has a lever drag system and has two reel retrieve speeds than can be adjusted with one hand using the quick shift system. The Penn Torque 25N and 40N have a narrow spool. These hold about the same amount of line though because the spool is taller than the standard width spool.


    5. Penn Fathom Lever Drag Fishing Reel

    penn fathom lever drag conventional fishing reel

    Buy from Amazon

    Estimated Price: $182-$262

    Models and Specifications
    15:
    Drag 20 lbs, weighs 15.6 oz, retrieves 31-14 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/20, braid 290/50.

    25N: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 19.6 oz, retrieves 38-19 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 245/30, braid 475/50.

    30: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 20.0 oz, retrieves 38-19 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/30, braid 455/80.

    40N: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 25.7 oz, retrieves 42-21 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 235/50, braid 565/80.

    60: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 27.3 oz, retrieves 42-21 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 335/50, braid 860/80.

    The Penn Fathom LD2 is very similar to the Torque LD2 above except its body and side plates are made from diecast aluminum rather than machined aluminum. This does make the reel slightly lighter.

    Left-handed reels are available in the 25N and 30 size options. When using a conventional fishing reel most right-handed people hold the reel with their right hand. If you are left-handed getting a left-handed reel is likely a good idea. The narrow reels are less wide but have taller spools.


    6. Penn Fathom Star Drag Fishing Reel

    penn fathom star drag conventional fishing reels

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    Estimated Price: $178-$220

    Models and Specifications
    12:
    Drag 30 lbs, weighs 16.9 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 250/15, braid 345/30.

    15: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 17.1 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/20, braid 290/50.

    25N: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 19.4 oz, retrieves 42 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 255/30, braid 495/50.

    30: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 20.1 oz, retrieves 42 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 355/30, braid 495/80.

    40: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 20.3 oz, retrieves 42 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 240/50, braid 580/80.

    This Penn Fathom II is a similar version to the Fathom LD2 but has a star drag system rather than a lever drag system. Features include a diecast aluminum body, bronze main gear, Versa drag with carbon fiber washers, and 6+1 shielded stainless steel bearings. The size 12 and 15 reels also have a magnetic casting braking system rather than the standard centrifugal braking system.

    The stand out feature of this reel is the live spindle design, this allows a bait to be pitched, cast, or jigged with minimal resistance against the spool. This is possible because the design allows the spool to spin independently of the gears.


    7. Penn Fathom II Levelwind Trolling Reel

    penn fathom II level wind conventional fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $200-$260

    Models and Specifications
    15: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 19.8 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 215/20, braid 310/50.

    20: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 20.9 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 315/20, braid 450/50.

    30: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 26.1 oz, retrieves 31 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 375/30, braid 725/50.

    50: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 27 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 320/50, braid 770/80.

    The Penn Fathom II is a levelwind reel. This means that line is evenly placed on the spool without having the move the line back and forth with your hand. For novice anglers this a great feature. Levelwinds can bend under high force and are not place on large high drag reels. LH stands for left-handed reel and LC stands for line counter reel.

    This reel with 30 pounds of drag is still large enough to catch most types of fish including small tuna, mahi-mahi, mackerel, barracuda, striped bass, and many more. Features of the reel include a star drag system with HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers, diecast aluminum body, and 4+1 stainless steel bearing system. This Penn Fantom is a great option for a large levelwind reel. Other good large levelwind reels are the Penn Squall and Shimano Tekota 800 which will be reviewed below.


    8. Penn Squall Levelwind Conventional Trolling Reel

    penn squall level wind conventional trolling reel

    Buy from Amazon

    Estimated Price: $120-$150

    Models and Specifications
    15: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 16.2 oz, retrieves 28 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 220/20, braid 305/50.

    20: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 16.9 oz, retrieves 28 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 315/20, braid 455/50.

    30: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 20.9 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 370/30, braid 710/50.

    50: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 24.6 oz, retrieves 32 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 320/50, braid 775/80.

    The Penn Squall is a cheaper version of the Fathom II shown above. Rather than being made from aluminum, this reels frame and side plates are made from graphite. The max drag strength is 10-15 pounds less than the Fanthom depending on the size of the reel. This is still a great conventional trolling reel and works well to catch fish under 50 pounds.

    LW stands for levelwind and this reel does automatically spool the reel evenly during line retrieval. LC stands for line counter and the size 20 has a line counter option. This allows the angler to know how much fishing line has been taken off the spool. The line counter allows the depth of lure and distance behind the boat to be estimated. LH stands for a left-handed reel.  Other features include a machined aluminum spool, bronze main gear, HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers, and 2+1 stainless steel bearings. The size 50 reel has switchblade lugs than come up and down to secure a fishing fighting belt if desired.


    9. Penn Squall Lever Drag Conventional Reels

    penn squall lever drag conventional fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $160-$192

    Models and Specifications
    30: Drag 13 lbs, weighs 18.2 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 260/30, braid 550/50.

    40: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 20.9 oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 360/30, braid 750/50.

    50: Drag 27 lbs, weighs 27.4 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 310/50, braid 750/80.

    60: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 28.1 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 370/50, braid 900/80.

    The Penn Squall LD is a lever drag conventional reel. Size 30 and 40 are topless and size 50 and 60 have a top reel frame. Features include a graphite frame, aluminum spool, Dura-drag, and 6+1 stainless steel ball bearings. On the size 50 and 60 reels, there are retractable lugs which are also called switchblade lugs.

    This lever drag reel has more drag that than the star drag levelwind Penn Squall. The Penn Fathom LD2 is a very similar reel but is made of aluminum and has a higher max drag. This Penn Squall is a great reel though and works well for trolling and bottom fishing with bait or jigs.


    10. Penn Warefare Star Drag Fishing Reel

    penn warefare star drag conventional bottom fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $90-$100

    Models and Specifications
    20: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 18.3 oz, retrieves 34 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 280/20, braid 400/50.

    30: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 19.6 oz, retrieves 34 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 360/30, braid 690/50.

    The Penn Warfare comes in levelwind and non-levelwind versions. Both models have star drag systems. There is a 30cp version that comes in a plastic clam pack rather than a box. However, both reels are identical. These reels are only available in right-handed models.


    11. Penn Senator Star Drag Conventional Reel

    penn senator high speed star drag conventional fishing reel

    Buy from Amazon

    Estimated Price: $115-$180

    Models and Specifications
    112: Drag 11 lbs, weighs 22.0 oz, retrieves 29 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 300/30, braid 625/50.

    113: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 30 oz, retrieves 26 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 370/40, braid 925/50.

    113LW: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 31 oz, retrieves 26 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 490/40, braid 1200/50.

    114: Drag 22 lbs, weighs 45 oz, retrieves 28 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 450/50, braid 1075/80.

    114LW: Drag 22 lbs, weighs 48 oz, retrieves 28 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 560/50, braid 1350/80.

    The Penn Senator is an iconic saltwater fishing reel that has been sold since 1936. Whether it is fishing from a pier or fishing from a party boat the Penn Senators have been an industry leader for decades. Today there are many lighter-weight reels with higher performance but you will still see many people fishing these reels today.

    Features include an anodized aluminum spool, stainless steel reinforced rings, bronze main gear, stainless steel pinion gear, HT-100 carbon fiber drag, and shielded stainless steel ball bearings.  This reel can be used for trolling or bottom fishing. It has a low gear ratio and is most often used for bottom fishing for fish like grouper, salmon, ling-cod, and halibut.

    These are also good reels to troll teasers or umbrella rigs. Some people use the large 114LW to fish for large goliath groupers. The star drag is hit forward with a hammer and the reel is basically used as a winch with a really heavy 200 plus pound fishing line.


    12. Penn Rival Levelwind Conventional Trolling Reel

    penn rival level wind conventional fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $40-$122

    Models and Specifications
    15: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 17.7 oz, retrieves 29 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 215/20, braid 305/50.

    20: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 18.40 oz, retrieves 29 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 315/20, braid 455/50.

    30: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 22.0 oz, retrieves 27 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 370/30, braid 710/50.

    The Penn Rival is a levelwind star drag conventional fishing reel. This reel can be used in saltwater but is best suited for freshwater. It comes with left-handed and right-handed options. All sizes are available with line counters. This reel can be used for trolling, bottom fishing, or flatline baits when on anchor.

    Features of the reel include a lightweight graphite body, bronze main gear, brass pinion, HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers, and 2 shielded stainless steel bearings. The spool has line capacity rings to help determine the amount of line left on the reel.


    13. Shimano Tiagra Big Game Offshore Reel

    shimano tiagra offshore big game fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $550-$1170

    Models and Specifications
    16:
    Drag 31 lbs, weighs 37.4 oz, retrieves 36-16 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 430/30, braid 520/80.

    30A: Drag 35 lbs, weighs 52.4 oz, retrieves 41-18 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 420/50, braid 770/80.

    30WLRSA: Drag 35 lbs, weighs 55.6 oz, retrieves 41-18 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 570/50, braid 1180/80.

    50WA: Drag 37.5 lbs, weighs 86.2 oz, retrieves 37-15 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 850/50, braid 1575/80.

    80WA: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 115.2 oz, retrieves 37-19 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 950/80, braid 2445/100.

    130A: Drag 88 lbs, weighs 174.1 oz, retrieves 39-22 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 1000/130, braid 3315/150.

    This Shimano Tiagra A is one of the highest quality big game offshore fishing reels on the market today. The A model is the standard size, the WA model has and wide spool and the WLRSA model is the wide spool long rage model. The drag values are similar for both reels but LRS reels are said to have a narrow range of low drag settings and a large range for high drag settings. Hooker Electric turns the Shimao Tiagra into an electric fishing reel.

    Features of Tiagra include cross carbon drag, A-RB treated stainless steel bearings, corrosion-resistant body, large drive gear, large pinion gear, and a rigid frame that reduces flexing that could cause gears to grind. This is a powerhouse of a reel that will last for decades with proper care and maintenance. The 130 size is the largest class fishing reel made. It can be used to catch 1000 pounds plus sharks, marlin, and bluefin tuna. The size 30 – 50 reels are commonly used when trolling offshore for wahoo, tuna, marlin, and mahi-mahi.


    14. Shimano TLD Two Speed Conventional Trolling Reel

    shimano tld 2 speed big game conventional fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $310-$600

    Models and Specifications
    20A:
    Drag 30 lbs, weighs 36.2 oz, retrieves 37-16 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 250/50, braid 820/50.

    30A: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 37.5 oz, retrieves 37-18 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 350/50, braid 1210/50.

    50A: Drag 37 lbs, weighs 57.3 oz, retrieves 38-15 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 700/50, braid 920/100.

    50LRS: Drag 42 lbs, weighs 57.3 oz, retrieves 38-15 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 700/50, braid 920/100.

    The Shimano TLD-II is an offshore trolling reel that is widely used in charger fishing operations. This is because it is lightweight, durable, strong, and a great value compared to similar class reels. The TLD 50LRS can catch all types of fish from a 1 pound bonito to a 500 pound blue marlin.

    This is a two-speed reel with lever drag. Features of the reel include 4+1 A-RB corrosion-resistant ball bearings, stamped graphite frame, aluminum spool, and a loud clicker. There is a football-shaped handle on the 20-30 size reels and a large offset handle on the 50 class reels. These reels will last for many years of heavy use with proper care and maintenance.

    Related Article: 27 Best Fishing Lines


    15. Shimano Talica Big Game Offshore Fishing Reel

    shimano talic big game offshore trolling fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $395-$1000

    Models and Specifications
    8:
    Drag 20 lbs, weighs 18.2 oz, retrieves 38-25 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/20, braid 390/30.

    10: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 18.6 oz, retrieves 38-25 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 270/20, braid 535/50.

    12: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 25.7 oz, retrieves 41-22 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 230/30, braid 700/50.

    16: Drag 40 lbs, weighs 26.5 oz, retrieves 41-22 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 300/30, braid 430/80.

    20: Drag 45 lbs, weighs 32.3 oz, retrieves 46-20 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 260/50, braid 575/80.

    25: Drag 45 lbs, weighs 33.2 oz, retrieves 46-20 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 340/50, braid 730/80.

    50: Drag 60 lbs, weighs 56 oz, retrieves 45-20 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 440/60, braid 1120/80.

    The Shimano Talica is an offshore trolling reel with sizes to catch all types of fish. This is a big game lever drag reel but is smaller and lighter than the Shimano Tiagra model. This is one of the few lever drag reels that can actually be cast. The super free spool stops the pinion gears contact with the spool during the cast which eliminates a large amount of friction.

    It also has powerful low torque gears that can be used to catch large fish. This is a lightweight 2-speed reel that can be used with braided fishing lines to allow stand up reeling on big game pelagic fish.  Features include a topless design, one-piece cold-forged aluminum frame, oversized cross carbon drag washers, shielded A-RB ball bearings, and an S-compact body.


    16. Shimano Torium Conventional Saltwater Reel

    shimano torium conventional saltwater star drag fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $215-$263

    Models and Specifications
    16: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 18.9 oz, retrieves 46 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 320/20, braid 370/50.

    20: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 19.2 oz, retrieves 46 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 280/30, braid 710/50.

    20PGA: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 19.4 oz, retrieves 34 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 260/25, braid 530/50.

    30: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 19.8 oz, retrieves 46 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 350/30, braid 1015/50.

    This Shimano Torium is a high-speed star drag reel. It has a super free spool so the lures and baits can be cast with minimal spool resistance. Other features include cross carbon drag, HEG gearing, one-piece frame, S-compact body, and 3+1 A-RB shielded corrosion resistant bearings. This is a popular reel for mooching, trolling, jigging, and bottom-fishing.


    17. Shimano Tyronos II Conventional 2 Speed Reel

    shimano tyrnos 2-speed conventional fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $380-$470

    Models and Specifications
    20:
    Drag 33 lbs, weighs 39.2 oz, retrieves 45-18 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 450/30, braid 660/80.

    30: Drag 33 lbs, weighs 40.9 oz, retrieves 45-18 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 350/50, braid 790/80.

    50: Drag 42 lbs, weighs 57.4 oz, retrieves 44-16 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 700/50, braid 1120/80.

    The Tyrnos is a solid high-quality two-speed lever drag reel. This reel in a size 50 is what I used on charters to bottom fish for halibut and rockfish. The high gear was nice for bring up the 2-pound lead weights quickly from around 400 feet of water depth. Pushing the button in the reel handle puts the reel in low-speed for more torque when reeling in a large heavy halibut. This reel also works well when trolling inshore or offshore for small and large pelagic fish.

    Feature of the reel includes a Hagane rigid die-cast aluminum body, 4+1 A-RB corrosion resistant ball bearings, and cross carbon drag. In the video below I show how to properly set your drag using a pull scale on both star and lever drag conventional reels.


    18. Shimano Tekota Levelwind Trolling Reel

    shimano tekota level wind conventional trolling reel

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    Estimated Price: $200-$280

    Models and Specifications
    300: Drag 18 lbs, weighs 13.3 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 185/16, braid 255/30.

    500: Drag 18 lbs, weighs 15.3 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 285/16, braid 390/40.

    600: Drag 18 lbs, weighs 16.0 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 390/16, braid 750/80.

    700: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 28.8 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 350/30, braid 430/80.

    800: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 30.0 oz, retrieves 33 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 450/30, braid 640/80.

    The Shimano Tekota series are levelwind reels. This is a very popular reel for trolling and bottom fishing because the levelwind feature automatically places the line evenly back on the spool. These reels can be used in both freshwater and saltwater. Line counters can break after heavy use in saltwater. The line counter LC version of this reel is widely used in the great lakes to fish for walleye and salmon. If the reel is used on a downrigger the line counter is not needed.

    When trolling offshore the Tekota 800 with the levelwind makes a great reel for novice anglers. This is a durable smooth levelwind and holds enough line to catch big fish. Feature of this reel includes 3+1 corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings, rigid Hagane aluminum body, cross carbon drag, and a super free spool to reduce friction during casts. The clicker on the reel can be turned on to slow the descent rate of heavy baits without birdnesting the spool.


    19. Shimano Tekota 600 Line Counter Reel

    shimano tek500hglca tekota A 500 line counter level wind star drag reel

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    Estimated Price: $220-$270

    Models and Specifications
    500: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 15.3 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 285/16, braid 330/50.

    600: Drag 24 lbs, weighs 15.3 oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 390/16, braid 460/50.

    I used these Shimano Tekota 500 line counter reels for a full salmon charter season in Alaska. My initial thought was that it did not hold enough line. I spooled the reels with a 30-pound monofilament line. When mooching this reel would get to about 220 feet. If you fish deeper than the next size up the Tekota 600 would be needed.

    The HGLCA model has a line counter the HGA does not have a line counter. The 501 and 601 series are left-handed versions of this reel.

    These reels worked great for both mooching and trolling for salmon. Out of 10 reels, one did have a levelwind that broke pretty much right out of the box and got returned. The line counters held up all season fishing pretty much every day without any problems. My only complaint about the reel is the star drag would not always hold a constant value. The drag would decrease at times when fighting fish. I do not like touch drags once a fish is hooked but often had to increase the drag if I notice the pole was not bending over enough.

    The super free spoon this reel is great for casting when mooching for salmon. Other features are 3+1 A-RB stainless steel ball bearings, cross carbon drag, and a compact Hagane metal body.


    20. Shimano Calcutta Conventional Baitcasting Reel

    shimano calcutta conventional trolling reel

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    Estimated Price: $188-$325

    Models and Specifications
    100: Drag 9.5 lbs, weighs 9.0 oz, retrieves 23 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 110/14, braid 175/30.

    200: Drag 11 lbs, weighs 10.1 oz, retrieves 27 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 120/14, braid 130/50.

    400: Drag 17 lbs, weighs 11.7 oz, retrieves 24 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 160/20, braid 305/50.

    700: Drag 16 lbs, weighs 18.2 oz, retrieves 28 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 310/20, braid 620/50.

    The Shimano Calcutta is actually a baitcasting reel. These reels are most often used for pitching jigs when bass fishing. This reel can be used in freshwater or saltwater and the larger sizes work well for casting and trolling.

    Features of the reel include a cold forged-aluminum body, 3+1 A-RB stainless steel bearings, cross carbon drag, and a super-free spool for low resistance casting. The cast breaking system uses centrifugal force to control the spool speed during a cast.


    21. Fin-Nor Marquesa Lever Drag Bottom Fishing Reel

    fin nor marquesa lever drag conventional fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $247-$370

    Models and Specifications
    12: Drag 17 lbs, weighs 20 oz, retrieves 43 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 270/15, braid 280/50.

    16: Drag 17 lbs, weighs 21.0 oz, retrieves 43 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 290/20, braid 400/50.

    20: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 26.8 oz, retrieves 51 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 300/25, braid 530/50.

    The Fin-Nor Marquesa is a great conventional reel for jigging and bottom fishing. It is lightweight and can be fished standing up with the rod and reel in hand.

    The reel body and handle are made from 6061 aluminum. Features of the reel include a topless design, 5+1 ball bearings, and continuously anti-reverse. This is a high-speed reel and the Marquesa II is the same reel in a two speed. This is a popular high-end reel that is built to last.


    22. Avet Lever Drag Jigging Reel

    avet lever drag conventional reel

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    Estimated Price: $180-$240

    Models and Specifications
    SX5.3:
    Drag 14 lbs, weighs 14 oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 350/15, braid 350/50.

    The Avet is a lever drag reel with a 5.3:1 gear ratio. Color options include gold, blue, green, green camo, pink, red, and silver. The body and handle of the reel are made with 6061-T6 marine-grade aluminum. These reels are made in the USA.

    If you see a bright-colored conventional reel on a boat it is very likely an Avet fishing reel. Feature of the reel includes Avedrag carbon fiber drag, 8 sealed stainless steel ball bearings, and an alarm clicker. The reel is constructed with a one-piece aluminum frame, machined aluminum rod clamp that fits most rod seats, and machined stainless steel gears.


    23. Daiwa Seagate Jigging Reel

    daiwa seagate star drag conventional bottom fishing reel

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    Estimated Price: $121-$175

    Models and Specifications
    30: Drag 15.4 lbs, weighs 15.0 oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 295/20, braid 280/50.

    35: Drag 19.8 lbs, weighs 20.4 oz, retrieves 48 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 300/20, braid 360/50.

    50: Drag 19.8 lbs, weighs 21.9 oz, retrieves 48 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 350/30, braid 630/50.

    The Daiwa Seagate is a topless conventional reel with a star drag. Features include 3 corrosion resistant ball bearings, an anti-reverse bearing, power handle, centrifugal spool break, and ultimate tournament carbon drag. The reel is constructed with an anodized aluminum spool, aluminum frame, aluminum side plate, and brass gears.

    This reel also comes in a version with star drag and a levelwind. A line counter version of the reel is also available and is called the Sealine SG-3B. Diawa and Okuma are both known for their line counter reels.


    24. Okuma Cold Water Line Counter Trolling Reel

    okuma cold water line counter trolling reel

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    Estimated Price: $102-$140

    Models and Specifications
    153: Drag 18 lbs, weighs 14.6 oz, retrieves 23 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 290/12, braid 290/40.

    203: Drag 18 lbs, weighs 15 oz, retrieves 23 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 290/14, braid 290/45.

    303: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 20 oz, retrieves 24 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 420/20, braid 420/65.

    453: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 21.8 oz, retrieves 26 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 580/20, braid 580/65.

    The Okuma Cold Water is a very popular line counter fishing reel. Features of the reel include 2+1 stainless steel bearings, a drop-down gearbox that lubricates the gears, ratcheting star drag, and a speed lock pinion gear system. This reel is constructed with an aluminum two-tone spool, large brass drive gear, and a graphite body. The 203 model is a ladies edition reel with pink rather than orange anodized parts.

    This is a great reel for trolling for walleye, striped bass, steelhead, and salmon. The levelwind of this trolling reel does work with a lead core fishing line. There is an Okuma Cold Water Cw-553ls levelwind reel that works with wire-line. That particular reel retrieves 40.7 inches of line per turn of the handle. However, the reel does not have a line counter.


    25. Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Trolling Reel

    okuma magda pro line counter trolling reel

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    Estimated Price: $50-$80

    Models and Specifications
    15: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 12.6 oz, retrieves 23 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 290/12, braid 290/40.

    20: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 13.8 oz, retrieves 23 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 290/14, braid 290/45.

    30: Drag 17 lbs, weighs 16.4 oz, retrieves 24 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 420/20, braid 420/65.

    45: Drag 18 lbs, weighs 17.4 oz, retrieves 26 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 580/20, braid 580/65.

    This is the newest model of the very popular Okuma Magda Pro line counter reel. Left-hand reel versions are available in size 20 and size 30. The size 15 has twin handles like a baitcasting reel.

    Features of this reel include 2 stainless steel ball bearings, a 16 point anti-reverse stop, multi-disk carbonite drag, lubricated gears. The reel is constructed with a graphite body, stainless steel levelwind guides, and brass gearing. This is a very affordable reel that works great on freshwater. I would not recommend using this reel in saltwater.

    Related Article: 24 Best Rod and Reel Combos


    26. Kastking Rover Round Conventional Reel

    kastking rover round conventional reel for catfish and salmon fishing

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    Estimated Price: $45-$72

    Models and Specifications
    40: Drag 15 lbs, weighs 11.6 oz, retrieves 25.9 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 200/12, braid 200/50.

    60: Drag 20 lbs, weighs 12.6 oz, retrieves 25.9 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 2250/16, braid 250/70.

    70: Drag 25 lbs, weighs 19 oz, retrieves 24.9 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 430/16, braid 430/70.

    90: Drag 30 lbs, weighs 21.2 oz, retrieves 25.4 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 750/16, braid 750/70.

    The KastKing Rover is a Baitcasting reel but it can also be fished like a conventional fishing reel.  This reel has modes that are much larger than typical baitcasting reels. Right-handed and left-handed reels should be available in all sizes. This reel works well in both freshwater and saltwater. It is commonly used to catch catfish, walleye, and striped bass.

    Features of the reel include a minimum of 4+1 shielded ball bearings, stainless steel worm shaft, centrifugal braking system, and carbon fiber drag. The reel’s body is all metal and has a forged aluminum handle, stainless steel washers, a one-piece aluminum frame, and a stainless steel main shaft. Size 70 and 90 have an oversized T-handle and the smaller sizes have two paddle handles.


    27. Piscifun Salis X Conventional Trolling Reel

    piscifun salis-x saltwater conventional trolling reel

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    Estimated Price: $96-$103

    Models and Specifications
    3000: Drag 26 lbs, weighs 25.7 oz, retrieves 39 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 330/24, braid 290/80.

    5000: Drag 37 lbs, weighs 35.6 oz, retrieves 49 in/turn.
    Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 490/30, braid 520/80.

    The Salis X is a levelwind star drag conventional reel. Both the 3000 and 5000 sizes come in right-handed and left-handed reels. This is a great reel for trolling offshore or bottom fishing on the reef. It is built to work in both freshwater and saltwater.

    Features of the reel include a linkage levelwind, bait clicker, and 6+1 ball bearings.  The reel’s body is made of graphite and has an oversize main gear and pinion gear. It has a super-wide spool that is knurled so it is ready for braided fishing line.

    Related Article: Best Saltwater Fishing Rods


    Frequently asked Questions

    What is a conventional fishing reel?

    Conventional fishing reels are sometimes called trolling reels, big game reels, deep-sea fishing reels, and bottom fishing reels. These reels hold lots of fishing line and are built to catch large fish. Some conventional reels have a levelwind to evenly place the line on the spool. However, with big game reels, the force on the line can bend and break the levelwind. 50 class reels, 80 class reels, and 130 class reels do not come with a levelwind and the angler has to move the line back and forth with his hand.

    Another important feature for a conventional reel is the type of drag. There is lever drag and star drag. Lever drag is typically stronger and more consistent. A newer feature on many conventional reels is a topless design. This makes it so the angler can manually adjust the force on the spool when sending out lures and jigs. This is done by pressing down on the spool with your fingers.

    What is a star drag fishing reel?

    A star drag fishing reel has a drag that is adjusted by a star-shaped knob next to the handle. These drag systems are very similar to spinning reel drags. The drag should maintain its value but it is important to pull the line out to make sure the value seems reasonable before setting lines out. If a reel is not going to be used for a week or longer the drag should be set loose. Star drags work but are not typically as precise as a lever drag system. However, star drag reels are typically cheaper and frequently have level winds to evenly place the fishing line on the spool.

    What is a lever drag fishing reel?

    A lever drag fishing reel is a conventional reel with a lever on the right side that moves about 90 degrees to adjust the drag. When the lever is pulled all the way down the reel is in free spool. This free spool setting allows the line to be easily let off the reel. If the clicker is turned on there will be some resistance on the spool as the line is let out. This can help prevent the spool from bird-nesting.

    There is typically a strike position about 3/4 of the way up the levers movement range. A button on the side of the reel blocks the lever from going forward. This is the position that the fish should initially be fought from and is about 25-30 percent of the line strength. If the lever is placed all the way forward that is the max drag. The max drag should be set no higher than 50 percent of the line strength. What is nice about the lever drag is as you adjust the drag you can know exactly how much force is going to be added to the line. Star drag adjustments are arbitrary so you can add to much drag and break the line.

    What is a levelwind fishing reel?

    A levelwind fishing reel has a worm shaft geat that moves a line guide back and forth as the reel handle turns. This places the fishing line evenly on the reel spool on conventional fishing reels. This is a really nice feature because the line does not need to be manually moved back and forth with your hand. Having the hand available allows a better grip of the pole and allow the angler to focus on reeling in the fish.

    There is a limit to how much force a levelwind can handle. I would not put more than 30 pounds of max drag on a levelwind reel. The risk is you could bend the levelwind or break the guide within the wormgear. When fighting big game fish like marlin and tuna it is better to have open spool. If using a braided fishing line wearing a glove to move the line back and forth is a good idea.

    What are two-speed reels for?

    Two-speed reels have both a high gear ratio and a low gear ratio. Different gear ratios change the amount line that is retrieved per crank of the handle. The low gear ratio brings in less line per crank of the handle but has higher torque so the handle can be turned with less force. When bringing in a heavy fish like a halibut or large tuna a low gear ratio is a great option. When bringing in line or fighting a fast fish like a mahi-mahi a higher line retrieve rate is the better option.

    Which gear ratio the reel is in can be changed by pressing a button. Pushing the button in takes the reel from high gear to low gear. By turning a knob the button comes out and the reel is back in high gear.

    How do I choose a conventional reel?

    When choosing a conventional reel is is important to buy the proper size reel. The two main factors when it comes to size is line capacity and max drag. Braided fishing line is much thinner than monofilament and often allows smaller lighter reels to be a good option.

    The max drag should be 50 percent or more of the line strength intended to be fished with. For example, if you plan to fish with a 50-pound test line the max drag should be 25 pounds or greater. If fishing in saltwater the reel should have a sealed drag and a sealed bearing system. Having a line counter on the reel is nice when fishing with diving plugs to help estimate lure depth.

    What reels are good for trolling and bottom fishing?

    Topless conventional reels work well for trolling and bottom fishing. These reels often have lever drag that is strong and smooth for trolling. The open-top area allows manual resistance to be easily applied to the spool with fingers. This is nice when sending lines deep when bottom fishing or jigging.

    When bottom fishing casting is not needed so a spinning reel is not the best option. Spinning reels are nice when jigging because they are lightweight. There are many small conventional reels today that can be spooled with braided line and perfect for stand up jigging.

    What is the best tuna reel?

    The best tuna reel depends on what size tuna is being targeted. For small skipjack, bonito, albacore, and blackfin tuna a 30 class reel is a great option. When trolling for yellowfin tuna a Penn International 50 or Shimano Tiagra 50 would be a good option. For bluefin tuna, over 400 pounds a Penn International 80 or Penn International 130 class reel is needed.

    There are some heavy-duty saltwater spinning reels that can catch large tuna up to about 400 pounds. That is more for the challenge though than for practical reasons. For smaller tuna spinning reels are a good way to pitch live baits and use topwater poppers.

    Can you troll with a braided line?

    There are advantages and disadvantages to trolling with a braided fishing line. When trolling with diving lip plug lures braided fishing lines allow the lures to dive deeper into the water because there is less drag on the line itself. However, the braided line is more visible to the fish and using a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader is a good idea.

    Braided line is stronger for a given thickness but is static and has very little stretch to the line. For this reason, it is important to have a reel with a quality smooth drag when trolling with a braided line. When high speed trolling for wahoo with a braided fishing line a 20-foot shock leader is added to add some flex to the system to prevent high forces from pulling the hook or breaking the line.

    How do you spool a big game reel?

    The most common way to spool a big game reel is to use a 60-pound monofilament line on the entire spool. This line is strong enough to catch wahoo, tuna, marlin, and mahi-mahi. Often times the leader line will be much heavier than the mainline.

    When fishing for fish over 500 pounds it is common to use a 200-pound dacron line as backing to add lots of line to the spool that will stay good for several years. The reel is then topped off with a 130-pound monofilament line that is replaced once a year or as needed with heavy use. When daytime swordfishing it is common to fish deeper than 1800 feet. For swordfish reel it common to spool a large electric 80 class reel completely with braided line. The thinner diameter braid also has less drag in the current which helps keep the bait deep with less weight.

    What are the best brands for conventional fishing reels?

    The two larges brands for conventional reels are Penn and Shimano. Penn has a larger part of the market and is typically lower cost. Shimano has a very quality product at a slightly higher price point. One exception is the Shimano TLD 50 which is a great affordable conventional reel from Shimano. Other major brands are Fin-Nor, Avet, Diawa, and Okuma.

    Can you use a conventional reel from shore?

    Most conventional reels can only be cast a short distance and do not work well from shore. However, sometimes when fishing for large sharks, for example, a large conventional reel that holds lots of line is needed. Rather than casting the line can be set by the wind or current by using a float. Another common way to set a line from shore is by sending the out with a kayak but still fishing from shore. Some people even used drones to drop fishing lines while beach fishing. In general, though a bait runner spinning reel is the best option for shore and surf fishing.

    Are expensive reels worth it?

    Low-cost reels have become more and more quality and do not have a significantly different performance compared to the highest price reel options. Expensive reels like a Penn International or a Shimano Tiagra are heavy quality reels and with proper care and maintenance can last for decades. However, the disadvantage is they are much heavier than some of the graphite-based reels. These graphite reels have very similar internal parts which is why they have a similar performance. If you go to small or too cheap the reel will not have a similar performance which can result in broken gear and big fish that getaway.


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    Captain Cody Wabiszewski

    Captain Cody Wabiszewski

    Captain Cody has worked on charter fishing boats in the Florida Keys, Virgin Islands, and Alaska. Growing up in Pennsylvania Cody has also done extensive freshwater fishing including bass fishing tournaments. Cody strives to provide detailed information about the best fishing gear and tactics to help both novice and experienced anglers have a more productive and enjoyable time on the water. Cody also has a background in aerospace engineering and neuroscience but really only takes pride in being good at one thing and that is fishing!

    Sours: https://www.globalfishingreports.com/best-conventional-reels/
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    When I'm in the mood. Well, maybe in five minutes, maybe in an hour. I have not decided yet. So at the front, the wounded are sometimes taken out - they taught us to OBZH. We dragged all the girls in the class like this.



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