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Thread: Level wind or open top for salmon trolling?

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    Member Boreal's Avatar
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    Default Level wind or open top for salmon trolling?

    So I'm looking for a new reel for salmon trolling next summer. Thinking about a Daiwa Saltist, but curious about the Avet SX or MX. Do any of you have opinions (Hah! Here they come!) about the utility of level-wind vs. open top reels for trolling for silvers and kings, with some time casting from the boat or from shore? The Avet appeals because of the cast control they offer, I'm not too experienced casting the casting reels, and thought the magnetic control could reduce birds nests. All advice is welcome.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    I've always used level winds for salmon fishing/trolling.
    I mostly see the non-level wind reels used for blue water trolling large marine fishes.
    I have seen salmon charge the boat many times and being able to reel like mad and not having to worry about using your thumb to lay the line on the reel is a big plus. IMHO

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boreal View Post
    Thinking about a Daiwa Saltist, but curious about the Avet SX or MX.
    I have both Saltists and Avets. Over the last couple of years the Avets have all moved on to halibut rods and Saltists are on all the salmon rods plus a couple of halibut rods. As the Avets give up the ghost I might well replace them with Saltists too.

    Open tops are fine for experienced anglers, but not everyone that fishes on my boat is experienced. Mix in big fish now and then with inexperienced anglers, and it can get a little too crazy for my blood. I really like the fast retrieve along with the levelwind on the Saltists when big salmon make a run at the boat and all heck is breaking loose. I've only got a couple of years on the Saltists, but even on the halibut rods they appear to be holding up better than the Avets. Time will tell, and I'll certainly put a few more years on the Saltists before making up my mind to dump the Avets.

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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    I've been partial to the Penn International 975 but those Daiwa Saltist reels have a lot of selling points....what model were you looking at?

  5. #5

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    The saltists are nice, for a pure downrigger applications. But, novices and kids have trouble without the levelwind, when fighting kings and working gear.


    My advice is to get a Tekota, so when mooching calls your name, you'll be ready.

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    I would stick with level-winds if I had the choice for trolling for salmon. As others have said - it takes the challenge out of dealing with inexperienced guests, fish charging the boat and, etc. I also "second" 270ti's suggestion for the Tekota as a choice.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I also prefer level winds for salmon trolling, and I "third" the suggestion of the Tekota, very good reel for the money
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    Charterboat Operator kodiakcombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boreal View Post
    So I'm looking for a new reel for salmon trolling next summer. Thinking about a Daiwa Saltist, but curious about the Avet SX or MX. Do any of you have opinions (Hah! Here they come!) about the utility of level-wind vs. open top reels for trolling for silvers and kings, with some time casting from the boat or from shore? The Avet appeals because of the cast control they offer, I'm not too experienced casting the casting reels, and thought the magnetic control could reduce birds nests. All advice is welcome.
    If your looking for personal reel and your fairly experienced? Go with the open,it has less moving parts and 6:1 ratio. If the reel if for novices go with a level wind. Big fish make long runs that's when you must use your thumb as a level wind to get the line back on the spool evenly or it could pile on one side of the spool and bind and cut the line. Level winds are great but I have had them fail with line out and a fish on!
    Providing trips for multilpe species for over 20 yrs
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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    I can't imagine why anyone who fishes a lot would want a levelwind. I use them on the charterboat becasue clients can't guide the line on the reels. The other reason is that is what comes on the reel you like..... If I had my choice of salmon reels it would be a Abu Garcia Revo Toro with level wind or the smallest Avet or Penn Torque without.

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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    Can't think of any reason why I WOULDN'T want a level wind reel. Especially when that big king gives me a bull rush and I'm reeling line like there's no tomorrow - just not a time to be finger banging line. Oh yeah, I'm a die hard Ambassadeur slutt - 6500 or 7000 for salmon. 7000 can do dual duty on salmon and butts with braided line.

  11. #11

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    When kings rush me, I just wind and catch up. My releases are so tight, that the hook is buried at the bite and it's not gonna fall out if the rod isn't cranked over. For some reason though people are trained that the rod needs to be doubled over to prevent from losing kings. I free spool kings all the time when they are heading in a direction I don't like. Take pressure off of them, and they'll stop running and usually swim back at the boat/surface. This summer one of my kids kings ran into a huge plume of kelp. He free spooled. A minute later the king same to the surface and I reached over and gaffed it into the boat, hook still in it's mouth, and the line woven through the kelp.

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Levelwinds are commonly not used for most other gamefish, Tuna, stripers, bluefish, amberjacks, kingfish,yellowtail, white seabass....So why us using them for King Salmon so desirable? Kings are nowhere near as strong or fast as those other fish, so why is a levelwind desirable for bass and salmon?

  13. #13

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    Anyone use the Saltist and Tekota side by side for a few years?

    I may pick up a Tekota or two and stir into the mix to see how they stand up for long term.

    The 6.1 retrieve on the Saltist beats the pants off the 4.2 retrieve of the Tekota in my book, but I'd switch if the Tekota lasted lots longer and parts were easier to get. Prices are virtually identical.

  14. #14
    Charterboat Operator kodiakcombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Anyone use the Saltist and Tekota side by side for a few years?

    I may pick up a Tekota or two and stir into the mix to see how they stand up for long term.

    The 6.1 retrieve on the Saltist beats the pants off the 4.2 retrieve of the Tekota in my book, but I'd switch if the Tekota lasted lots longer and parts were easier to get. Prices are virtually identical.
    I used the takota and charter special sidebyside and the charter special lasted longer, never tried the saltist ..yet I use the accurate and avets, accurates last longer
    Providing trips for multilpe species for over 20 yrs
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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    . . . so why is a levelwind desirable for bass and salmon?
    Some folks still like to drive a stick shift too . . . when he automatic keeps one hand free for other stuff.

    Retrieve rate is a plus. The ABU High Speeds are 5.3:1.

    I guess I'll let you guys imply that I'm a novice. Like I care . . . I know that some do get set in their ways

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakcombo View Post
    ...yet I use the accurate and avets, accurates last longer
    Good to know about the Accurates. I've been a little disappointed in the Avets after all the rave reviews I've heard. I have four of them, and three needed new bearings by the second year. And that's with thorough cleaning and recommended lubes.

    Saltists have my serious attention, but nothing is perfect.

  17. #17

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    I've got a saltist and a tekota side by side, on my skiff right now. The saltist is ok, but I wouldn't do it again.

  18. #18
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    I have a whole set of Avets for salmon and halibut (mxls and some 4/0 two speeds) and love them. I am going to get a magnetic mlx too for jigging.

    YET, when I am taking out novices I bring out my Penn Leverdrage 320s and Okuma Titus II reels.... why? Because my pretty avets get scratched every single time some newbie lands a fish and puts the rod on the floor or leans it up on the gunnel. I love the accurates to but those are even more than the avets.

    It sounds petty but if you are going to spend over $200/reel treat them like a fine rifle and they will last. My relatives or guests can make do with something more durable.

    All of my reels get rinsed with fresh water at the end of the day and have their drags backed off. I also like lever drags over star drags because you can tell how much drag is applied and your guests loose less fish.

    Sobie2

  19. #19

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    A quick spray at the end of the day with wd40 is what you want with the Tekotas. And we mooch with ours, for 5-7 hours a day on our charters. They get used. When we'd do the freshwater rinse, they'd be trashed (needing to be rebuilt) by the end of the season. WD40 solved that.

  20. #20
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    I have 6 of the Tekotas on my boat, 3 seasons and other that a line counter malfunction, no troubles. will admit i was a little sceptical at first, specifically with the counters, but it sure is handy on those ocasions when you have a double or tripple hooked up and you want to know where the fish is.
    I would agree that daily flushing, backing the drags off, and regular lubrication really help in the longevity.
    Will certainly replace them when the time comes with the same reel, unless something spectular comes out.

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