Need Advice on Baitcast Reels

Posted by MNAngler On April - 27 - 2010

So the Dick’s Sporting Goods sale I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. As some of you know, I’ve been waiting for their annual fishing sale so that I could pick up the Quantum Code rod and reel combo I’ve been lusting after since last fall. I have credit, a gift card, and 20% off coupon that I’ve been itching to use. But when I went to my local store this weekend, I had second thoughts. Here’s why:

When I got to my local store, it took me a while to find the combo because they didn’t have it on display front and center like they did last year. When I finally found them, they had only 3 in stock. When I pressed the release, they weren’t as smooth as I remembered. I chalked it up to the reels that were in the store and when I visited another Dick’s location the next day, I was right. The first store must have had too many people playing with them. But there were other issues.

First, I noticed that the magnetic brake dial for the reel had a label for 9 settings, but the dial only clicked into setting 3, 6, and 9. I couldn’t get it to go in between. Other reels I looked at could be set at any of the 9 or 10 labeled spots. Second, the rod was a medium heavy action rod. I was hoping for a medium action rod for more sensitivity.

Because of these reasons, I started to investigate other options. I stumbled upon the St. Croix rods display and got really excited. I have never been able to spend more than $40 on a rod. I’ve been wanting a nice higher end rod for while and now I have the opportunity. I’ve focused in on the Mojo Bass 7 ft medium action rod.

Then I had to pair it with a baitcast reel. While looking through the various reels, I found the Abu Garcia Blackmax, the Daiwa Takara, and Daiwa Grigsby Signature reels that were all in my price range. But I haven’t settled on any of them. They all seemed like decent reels.

So here are my questions for you more those of you that are more experienced:

  • I’m still considering the Quantum Code because it has 8 bearings, more than any of the other reels I am considering. Is the 3 clicks for the magnetic brake dial on the Quantum Code a big deal? If I bought the combo, will I regret not being able to do more fine tuning adjustments like on the other reels?
  • Are you familiar with any of the three baitcast reels I’ve honed in on? The Daiwa Takara seems to be a Dick’s exclusive. Do you know of an equivalent out on the non-Dick’s market that I could read about?
  • Can you recommend a different baitcast reel (preferably available at Dick’s) for less than $80?
  • Do you have any general advice in what to look for when looking at baitcast reels?

And the bonus question:

  • I’ve been wanting a medium action rod, but should I go for a medium heavy action rod? As many of you know, I tend to fish the Zoom Super Fluke a lot, but plan to expand into swim baits and jigs this year. Will a medium heavy rod be sensitive enough to detect bites? What are the pros and cons of each?

Please leave a comment with any of your insights or recommendations. I would really appreciate it!

12 Responses to “Need Advice on Baitcast Reels”

  1. Wolfy says:

    A couple of points to consider:

    The sensitivity of the rod isn’t determined by the power or action – it’s more a result of the materials used in the making of the rod. I use M for just about all bass fishing needs. That 7′ Mojo MD is a terrific choice.

    Re: Private label reels – i’m not sure which reels the Dick’s model isth eequivalent of, but I do know this: The big guys (Dick’s, Gander, Cabelas) do have their own brands made by the established reel manufacturers. generally speaking, the P/L reels are better than the equiv. from the manufacturer – that’s how the big stores can advertise a 10 bb casting reel from XYZ Manufacturer for $60, regularly $120. I’ve owned multiple P/L reels and have yet to get a bad one.

    Get the one that feels the best, and take it out and enjoy.

    Remember – no paralysis by over-analysis!!!


    • MNAngler says:

      Thanx, Wolfy, for your advice. Just today one of my friends said I was over-analyzing it. You’re both right.

      I’ve narrowed it down to one of two private label reels: one by Daiwa and one by Quantum. Not to keep analyzing, but do you have an opinion on whether Daiwa or Quantum is better?

      Thanx for leaving a comment.

  2. Clif says:

    My personal opinion is this… Don’t worry about the number of bearings. I think manufacturers use bearing quantity as a marketing ploy (like megapixels in cameras). More bearings are really just more weight and more opportunities for quality problems. The key is simple: find something that reels smoothly and has other features you like (such as a good drag system, and smooth trigger). If it reels smoothly, it’ll “unreel” smoothly when you cast. Learn how to adjust that reel for the lure you’re throwing and you’ll be in business.

    As a budding baitcaster, I do make fine adjustments to my brakes all the time and I would pass on a reel that didn’t allow it. However, if you are an expert at thumbing your spool the magnetic brakes are worthless.

    And I agree with Wolfy on the store brands. My Gander branded spinner is made by Shimano (i think) and works great.

  3. Wolfy says:

    I fish Quantum and Daiwa all the time for my baitcasters, and you can’t go wrong with either one. The only time I have a preference for one over the other is when I’m fishing inshore SW, and then I like the Daiwa.

    Clif is right on the ballbearing issue, too – unless you are a 300 day per year tournament angler, you’ll never burn out a reel due to “not enough bearings”. Finally, re: magnetic braking adjustment – I’m aparently in the minority here, but I adjust my reels once and never look at the sideplate again unless there’s a problem.

  4. Rebecca says:

    It’s been so long since I’ve purchased a reel that wasn’t for fly fishing I’m afraid I can’t help out on this one. Good thing Wolfy and Clif are here. They sound like they know what they are talking about for sure ~

  5. […] but when I went to buy it, I determined that it wasn’t really the quality I wanted. After struggling with new choices and discovering that I really couldn’t spend what I wanted to, I decided to scale back my […]

  6. Linnea Dixey says:

    I really love the shimano fishing rod, the shimano is a better choice for the money but i guess shimano will not let me down. I would like to see more info about shimano rods and reels. If there is more information about these rodswill you publish it here and I will be looking for more. thank you

  7. Kent Sidney says:

    Everyone needs various kinds of fishing gear to target different a number of situations. The most important purpose just for this is it can help people hook more fish. If the absolutely wrong fishing gear has been chosen, hits will be a lot more difficult to feel, and therefore significantly less fish will probably be busted

  8. mike says:

    i live in florida and do alot of inshore sw and alot of bass fishing, the best reel for price and preformance that i’ve found were the quantum code(mainly for bass), shimano citica(sw+bass) and the daiwa td zillion(a little pricey).

  9. mike says:

    oh and offshore angler(basspro) inshore extreme is just as good as the zillion imo

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