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Thread: Spinnign reel for Kenai Kings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Spinnign reel for Kenai Kings

    Well guys i have the rod now i have to get a reel for it. i cant stand level wind reels and will only fish with a spinning reel. Any recommendations for a spinning reel for Kings on the Kenai. we will be mostly drifting. Thanks again guys!

  2. #2
    Member FishSean's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Anchorage Alaska

    Default >>>------->

    Three Hot Ones

  3. #3
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Aberdeen WA

    Default Some reconsideration might be in order....

    If free-drifting (dragging) is all you intend to do, then a spinning rod may suffice.

    Personally, I find a conventional reel to be a much more efficient fish fighting tool. Additionally there are no issues with line twist. With a spinning reel, even when you are doing everything perfect during the battle, you will be imparting line twist. When a fish takes off for a LONG run (which any decent Kenai fish will do) line leaves the reel in one configuration (twist-free off of a revolving spool against a fixed bail) but is later recovered in another configuration (one twist for every revolution of the bail around a stationary spool). Repeated enough times... which is exactly what will happen with a decent Kenai king... you will have a twisted mess when it's all over. During the excitement of the battle, if you find yourself reeling against the drag (turning the crank and gaining no line), you can multiply the twisting effect by the gear ratio of your chosen reel. If you have a 5:1 retrieve, you will impart 5 twists in the line every time you take one crank against the drag.

    YES... it's that bad!

    If the fish takes repeated runs out against the drag on a baitcaster, or if you inadvertently crank against the drag, there is ZERO twist imparted to the line.

    Also, if you wish to later branch out into mastering other Kenai king techniques like backtrolling or backbouncing, you will need to buy a baitcaster to be properly equipped.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
    The KeenEye MD

  4. #4

    Default Kenai King Reel

    Myself I prefer a Penn Capitva 6000 series. So far it has been ultra smooth and no major problems. It is a pretty good bargain for around $50-60.

  5. #5

    Default Amen

    I want to echo FNP's assertations. While casting with a spinning reel is easier to master, it definitely has its shortcomings as well. Here are a few more to add: weaker drag, less line capacity, indirect pull against the spool (around the bail).

    The choice of reel is very obvious with a 5 minute observation at the boat launch. I would venture a guess that greater than 95% of anglers on the Kenai (way higher for guides) use casting, levelwind reels when fishing for kings. There is a very good reason for that... they are what stand up to the big fish on the big water.

    That being said, there have been many trophy kings (and I believe the world record) caught with spinning gear, however those were many years ago when the fish had plenty of room to run, and the boat operator had plenty of room to work the fish.

    If you are serious about king fishing, I would encourage you to look at a casting reel. You don't have to spend a lot of money either. There are many on the Kenai using Ambasadeur 6500's and doing a fine job at that.


  6. #6



    Keep in mind that a baitcasting reel on the Kenai is used almost exclusively for the fight. It's not bass fishing where you cast 2-3 times a minute. If you backtroll you let the current take your line back. If you backbounce you let your sinker take your line to the bottom. Now dragging, you will cast your gear out but that will happen every 5-10 minutes. Heck, my wife can do this type of casting. I only use a spinning reel on the Kenai when I'm fishing silvers/pinks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    Most spinning reels (under say $500.00) will have a slight hesitation when you are fighting a big fish when the line is going out against the drag. This slight hesitation could cost you a chance at landing the Kenai King you have been spending all this time preparing for.

    Remember that a king has a really hard yet soft mouth. Hard bone to penetrate with that hook yet real soft tissue past and around this mouth bone. If you have ever put a big king on a hanging scale with the hook thru the kings mouth you know what I am talking about. If the king hangs on that scale long enough the scale will rip thru the mouth of the king and the king will fall to the ground. This hard yet soft mouth makes it ultra important that once the hook is set in the mouth of the king that steady pressure is applied throughout the ensuing battle.

    Imagine the line going out off of the spinning reel and hesitating every few seconds as the bail struggles to keep up with the line leaving the reel. Now imagine the hook in the kings hard yet soft mouth and how this would cause the hook to loosen the grip that it holds.

    Baitcasting reels have ultra smooth drags and high line capacity which are two crucial elements when dealing with Kenai Kings. Ambassador 6500, Penn 965 or 975, Shimano Tritons, & Shimano Calcutta are all good baitcasting reels that many use on the Kenai. I would highly recommend not using a spining reel for Kenai Kings if it can be avoided and to repeat what has allready been said I do not know of a single Kenai River Guide that uses a spinning reel while fishing for king salmon. Spinning reels for trout, silvers, and even sockeyes but not for kings. There has to be a reason for that.


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