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