Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Level wind vs not

  1. #1
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Idaho/Valdez
    Posts
    980

    Default Level wind vs not

    My earlier west coast fishing was mainly with non-level wind reels (what are they called?). I prefer them especially when casting, which we did a lot of off the rocks on CA and OR coasts. But, when I started fishing in AK about 20 years ago, I gradually moved from my beloved Penn Jigmaster reels and a couple of Senators for big bottom fish, to Penn GTI levelwinds for bottoms, and Penn International 975 for jigging....the main reason being arthritic hands/thumbs that made thumbing the line back and forth on the spool to keep it mostly level really HURT after a few casts/drops.

    That said, I am really impressed with Avet reels (the main topic of discussion on the thread that started out and is named Jigging Rods Revisited) Now, since going to level winds, superbraid has come on strong and is almost exclusively what I use for all our conventional and spinning reels. So to a question: Some of the Avets have fairly narrow spools (is JX in this catagory, or just SX?) which would hold sufficent superbraid (minimum 300 yards for me, usually 50-65#, maybe 80# on a heavier rod...). I would think a more narrow spool would reduce the pain of moving the thumb back and forth so far? Also, do all of you Avet fans use your thumb to essentially level wind the line you are bringing in, even when fighting a fish? I re that some of the time with my old Jigmaster reels, I could tilt the reel to one side then the other and it helped wind a little better, this was always with mono, but without the thumb moving it back and forth, the line would pile up in the middle and eventually stop the reel on the crossbars before all the line was in.

    Suggestions? I've dropped the idea of a hand transplant, so I have to deal with my old thumbs which are very functional, just not for the wiggling back and forth constantly...I'd really like to go to an avet for casting jigs to fish a wider range of bottom, maybe stick with the level wind for dropping halibut bait rigs...

    Thanks ~~~~ Ron

  2. #2
    Member hoose35's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Soldotna, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    2,891

    Default

    I have both types for bottom fishing, and while I prefer the non level wind type, honestly I don't notice the difference really while actually using them. The thing I worry about with the level wind reels is the extra moving parts that can fail. I havent had any issues with the higher quality reels with level winds, but some of the cheaper ones i have
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

  3. #3
    Member Delta Tenderfoot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Pole
    Posts
    91

    Default

    As a teen my dad gave me a big box of Penn level winds to repair (aka, keep me out of trouble). Today I have several dozen 109ís (Now called a 9M), 209ís and 309ís with a few Senators thrown in there. Personally I use a Winona direct spool (aka,a knuckle buster) for salt water. Prefer lighter gear whenever possible. The level winds are much nicer when friends come to fish as I am not a fan of birdsínests. I usually toss a cheap level wind but the Pennís are a pleasure to repair and very straight forward in their design.
    Avet reels are very nice and light as well as having a smooth action. But they also come with nice price tags as well. I think I am relegated to fondling them at Cabalaís until I happen upon one at a garage sale.
    I would go for the hand transplant, I think it would be cheaper than an Avet!
    All paradise rests in the shadow of swords." ~K. Yates

  4. #4
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    Whether or not you use your thumb comes down to how much line you load on the reel. With the little sx if you load the spool to capacity moving the line back and forth with your thumb, then if you don't do that when landing a fish, it will hump up in the middle of the spool and hit the frame. If however you load the reel about 3/16" less than max fill, you can just reel away and shouldn't have a problem with the line lumped in the middle of the spool hitting the frame. The other advantage of not maxing out the fill on the reel is you increase the reels drag. Drag is a function of diameter of the line on the reel due to leverage, the less line you have on the reel, the higher the drag. Not a huge difference mind you, but it does have an affect.

    If you use no backing the Avet SX will hold at least 250yds of Daiwa Saltiga PE-4 55# braid with clearance.

    Yes, the JX is a narrow frame reel and it will hold 300yds of Daiwa Satltiga PE-5 70# braid and still require building up the spool to about 1" dia with backing before loading the reel with braid and leave you with some clearance.

    I take a fair number of people out each year that have little fishing experience and hence they don't thumb the line to load the reel so I know exactly what you're talking about.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  5. #5
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Idaho/Valdez
    Posts
    980

    Default

    Yeah I know Avet's are $$$ but a guy needs a new toy now and then I have a penn 109 too, and a couple of Ambassadors in several sizes, all have performed well over the years. One of the reasons I have so many level winds now is family and friends fishing, and they will keep using the level winds until they gain enough experience. The other danger of level wind is if someone, rookie usually but not always, puts a finger in the wrong place when a big fish hits, that level wind moves as the drag goes out and WHAM a finger is locked in and someone is screaming...

    Back to another part of the question: does everyone with Avet or similar open reel (non level wind, still don't know what to call them) use their thumb to guide the line back and forth to "level" wind it? I have watched TV shows where people are fighting big billfish with large internationals and they are just reeling...and are there any disadvantages to a narrow-spool Avet to reduce the range of motion for thumb leveling the line?

  6. #6
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    I've heard them referred to as conventional reels, don't know if that is the correct name or not.

    Anyhow, I haven't seen any disadvantage to the JX, I think I have 3 seasons on the first one I bought, have two others and will probably get a 4th one of these days. Another advantage to the narrow reel is the reel's crank is closer to the center of the rod so there is torque on the rod from cranking that wants to twist the rod as you're reeling up.

    I've spent a fair bit of $ over the years upgrading those other reels I mentioned as to me I find the JX a much more enjoyable reel to fish than the others which were decent solid reels but left me wanting in one way or another.

    I'd still like to try an sx raptor
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  7. #7
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Idaho/Valdez
    Posts
    980

    Default

    Paul....thanks, your replies came while I was typing my last, this is just what I was looking for. Sounds like the JX is a lot taller reel than the SX to hold that much line. My problem is that while wintering in land-bound Idaho, even at Cabelas, there are few salt reels to see, mostly just Penn and Shimano and those are the smaller ones. So I can't join Delta Tenderfoot in fondling Avets and comparing in hand. Will take a hard look at specs online. I think that JX has a lot more drag, something like 20# vs 14# max on the SX, and that is a consideration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Whether or not you use your thumb comes down to how much line you load on the reel. With the little sx if you load the spool to capacity moving the line back and forth with your thumb, then if you don't do that when landing a fish, it will hump up in the middle of the spool and hit the frame. If however you load the reel about 3/16" less than max fill, you can just reel away and shouldn't have a problem with the line lumped in the middle of the spool hitting the frame. The other advantage of not maxing out the fill on the reel is you increase the reels drag. Drag is a function of diameter of the line on the reel due to leverage, the less line you have on the reel, the higher the drag. Not a huge difference mind you, but it does have an affect.

    If you use no backing the Avet SX will hold at least 250yds of Daiwa Saltiga PE-4 55# braid with clearance.

    Yes, the JX is a narrow frame reel and it will hold 300yds of Daiwa Satltiga PE-5 70# braid and still require building up the spool to about 1" dia with backing before loading the reel with braid and leave you with some clearance.

    I take a fair number of people out each year that have little fishing experience and hence they don't thumb the line to load the reel so I know exactly what you're talking about.

  8. #8
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    Ron,

    The JX isn't that much taller than the SX 2 3/8" vs. 3" per Avets website. With braid it takes very little spool to hold 300 yds of line and when you increase a spools dia you significantly increase it's line capacity. And to me that is one of the things most reel manufacturers haven't done is build braid specific reels that have suitable drags and anti reverse setups that can handle the forces that used to be handled with a 4/0 sized reel when you only need a 1/0 or 2/0 sized spool to hold the line with braid.

    You're correct on the drags, the sx is 9# strike, 14# max, the jx is 15# strike and 20# max. One thing to note is when if you try and go beyond the max drag setting the reel will start binding. You can adjust the drag with the nob on the lever, when the lever is disengaged so you can set the reel for less than the max drag specs. I used to think the JX would be ideal with a bit more drag, say 20# strike and 28# max, but after having a ~100# halibut on PE-4 break off at the boat when the drag was set on max, I'm thinking that might not be the case. I'm also going to re-spool that reel with PE-5. Murphy's law would say that if you have 4 reels, 3 spooled with 70# and one with 55#, you'll end up with the rod with the 55# line when you catch a big fish.

    To me the sx is a great reel for a salmon rod or if you wanted to put together a specialized light jigging rod for shallow water rockfish where you'd be using 2-6 oz jigs. Last season I did catch a couple lings while fishing for rockfish in shallow water using my salmon rod and 4 oz jig. But I was using my thumb to add drag and the 9' rod's flex certainly helped as well. I did at first run an sx on a trevala 58XH I set up for my wife and son



    But on the times I helped reel in smaller halibut I found the drag lacking. I don't think I have a side to side comparison of the SX to the JX, here is a lineup of the jx, shimano charter special 1000, jx raptor and jx.



    Because the sx lacked drag and my wife and kids didn't use their thumb to spread the line on the sx I switched to the charter special 1000 and replaced the canvas drag washer with a carbontex and replaced the factory crank with a longer and larger aftermarket crank. In hindsight after one season with that reel I won't be setting up another. It does have much more drag than an sx, but is nowhere the quality of an avet reel. By the time you upgrade for another $75 you could have a JX which IME is a much better reel.

    So my advice is get a JX, put some 80# dacron on as backing, spool it with 300 yds of 65-80# braid (Saltiga PE-5 is my favorite and I've used power pro and tuffline as well) and top it off with a 10' length of 50-80# fluro for a top shot.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  9. #9
    Member Mel Roe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kodiak
    Posts
    200

    Default

    Ron, I use mainly mxl's for jigging and Lx's for my halibut reels and I do generally find myself using my thumb to level the line(power pro). I think you would enjoy the mxj for lings and rockfish or the Jx for halibut as the spools are a bit narrower and would require less movement of the thumbs. I would like avet to come out with a level wind but mostly for trolling, but it would be nice for a situation such as yours as well. The mxj will handle halibut but not hold up as good long term if you are catching bigger fish but the only thing that seems to ever go bad is a drag washer and a bearing here and there and the gears are all metal and I have not seen a single gear go bad in the last 8 or 9 years of owning the avets. Give me a call if you have any questions 907-539-6474

    Mel
    Kodiak Island Adventures
    907-539-6474
    Shearwater 38' Allen Marine Catamaran
    Lana J 40' USCG inspected

  10. #10
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Idaho/Valdez
    Posts
    980

    Default

    Mel....thanks for the response and info. I am primarily looking for a jigging reel, I am ok with my heavy bottom bait reels.

    Paul....wow, that took a lot of time but I am sure others will benefit from all your info and pictures too! Yeah, our biggest halibut was 244# on an old Penn Longbeach 2-piece rod, rated to 30# with a Penn 310GTI spooled with old original 50# Tuffline...in only 85 feet of water, I was working on some rigging and one of my sons saw a split pink head in the baitbox so dropped that...pretty much did that reel in and we were amazed that old rod held. Weird thing too, we were over rocks, and instead of heading to the 600' deep water only 50 yards or so away, that halibut pulled us into the rocks and 30 feet of water 6 times and we had to keep moving the boat out...smart old gal!

    Well, it looks like the JX is what I want....just found out the repair of a faulty compressor on our geothermal heat pump is going to be about $2K, so maybe I will have to feel those AVET's up awhile before I jump on one of those!

    Ron

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    1,959

    Default

    Take a 7000 Ambassador put 80lb super braid on a Trevala. I will put this set up against any other. I got rid of all but three big halibut reels (two speeds) for friends to use. I can fish with jigs or bait for butts the the 7000 it holds around 300yrds after fishing all I do is spray inside and out with WD-40. I got rid or my Avets too.

  12. #12
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,315

    Default

    Paul, excellent run-down on the reels, especially with the side-by side photo...and, perfect timing for me beacuse I bought myself a cedros speed jig rod a month or so ago and was getting really close to pulling the trigger on an avet to go with it. I had been leaning toward an mx series 6/4 but I'll take a closer look at the jx now, too. It really helps to see a reel on the rod for perspective...specs from a website can only go so far.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

  13. #13
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    Not that the MX is a bad reel, but I can't see using one on a jigging rod. You have the same drag as the SX, and you don't need the added spool capacity when fishing with braid. An MX 2 speed is the same weight as a JX, has less drag and costs $50 more. I'm not going to say the JX 4.6 is the ideal jigging reel, but of the various reels I've used of the years it has seldom left me thinking it's a good reel but would be better if...

    Yes, a tad more drag would be nice but currently to get more drag you have to add either weight for a larger reel or add significant cost to get a dual disc drag. Now if Avet would make an SX with a dual disc drag, single speed and the same cost as a JX I think they'd really have something. Honestly I prefer the JX over the JX raptor as for me a 20 oz or under reel is worth giving up some drag and the two speed feature.

    Having had the opportunity to fish quite a few different reels on those same rods over the past 5 years I've formed some opinions on the best balanced setup that you just aren't going to figure out from manufacturers specs.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  14. #14
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,315

    Default

    I will be going with a 2-speed, no matter what model I go with...not that it's really necessary, but there's nothing I love more than watching my boys try to race me back to the surface when I've got it in high gear (and they're on Penn 320gti's). They're already arguing over who gets to use my older (monstrously large) avet (I think it's an lx?)
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •