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Thread: Level wind or open top?

  1. #1
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    Default Level wind or open top?

    How big of a pain is it to distribute the line on a bigger reel with out the level wind feature? another thing to consider in my new halibut reel.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    No big deal once you get used to it. Let your thumb do the work. I think it is tougher going back to a level wind. That level wind will pinch your thumb! My wife says I am a slow learner. I agree.
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    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    All my Avet's,Accurates,and Penn Internationals are open top. Several years back I purchased some 345 Penns with the level wind and every one of the level wind guides broke. The reels worked just fine with out them. All my electric reels are level wind but they are heavy duty.

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Totally personal preference. I was sure when I started reading this thread that someone would say level winds break, but I have never personally had one break, although I have tossed several level wind reals for other reasons recently. Open reals are more bullet proof, whereas level winds give you, or your inexperienced guest, one less thing to worry about. Either work find, and I run a mix and really dont care which one I end up with when fishing.
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    I have to agree with the others. I have been manipulating reels for most of my life and started with open tops. I guess ou could say I have an educated thumb that just does the work without me even thinking about it. For the last number of seasons I have fished salmon with Penn 320s and while it is nice to not have to guide the line onto the reel, I still have some open tops for halibut and everyone has no problems.

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    Member FISHFACE's Avatar
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    I have all avet for halibut and sometimes I have to remind people about the line building up, but usually not an issue because it has so much line capacity. With salmon I have one avet and the rest are level wind shimano's. I'm the only one who uses the avet for salmon, because everyone seems to let the line build up with the smaller arbor and no level wind.
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    Member Mel Roe's Avatar
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    I think Fishface nailed it. I run all avets for halibut and jigging but my trolling rods are set up with penn international 975 lever drags. With the halibut reels there is enough spool that you can load up a good amount of line and still leave enough room for the inexperienced to stack the line and not interfere with the spool. On smaller reels the level wind is a good idea as they can stack up fast and impede the spool.
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  8. #8

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    As a charter operator and one that takes a LOT of inexperienced fisherpeople out I won't use anything but a levelwind. If it were my own reel, and I could afford one, I'd be using an Avet. But having levelwinds for people that don't have a clue as to what they're doing just is taking one more SNAFU out of the equation.

    And the Penns that I use are very easy to fix if the levelwind gets fouled up. If you keep a supply of pawl gears and the little swiveling doo-dad that goes back and forth on hand at all times it takes about 2 minutes to put new ones in.
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    I'll doom myself by saying this, but I've never had a foul-up with a level wind reel. But I'm careful to not pull the tag end of the line through the winder onto the reel and thus let the winder get out of time with the line. I think that's where problems arise - when a big side load is put on the winder from a fish pulling hard against a winder on one side of the spool and the line piled up on the other.

    All of my bottomfish rigs these days are open-top, though. I don't completely load the reel with line (I leave ~1/8" or so from where I'd finish loading a level wind), and folks seem to do good enough at winding with their thumbs with coaching.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I have both types on my halibut setups, I have no personal preference when it comes to them, but on my salmon setups, they are all level wind.
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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    I used to use all open tops, including on the lighter rigs, such as a Penn Jigmaster, because they would cast farther than a level-wind, due to less drag and parts having to move. I had an educated thumb too, as several have mentioned. It's still educated but incapable, hands are limited by arthritus and it hurts now to thumb the line so the spools load evenly. The newer level winds, like the Penn GT series and the Penn 975 baitcaster, do the job now, and also the new Abu Garcia Revo Toro on a heavy salmon rod is a hoot to jig halibut with....I also use spectra, mostly PowerPro, line and it is a lot more of a problem with newbies on an open top as it tends to slip down inside the ball of line and hang up, and I've seen this happen when halibut hit and put a lot of tension on the line, start pulling the drag, and the uneven line lay causes it to bind and lock the reel.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The only reason spectra will bind up is if the reel wasn't spooled under tension. You have to put a good load of tension on the reel when spooling spectra, and it won't dig in.

    I guess I'm like most, my salmon/rockfish rods have levelwinds, my halibut/ling rods have opentops. Also it seems to manufacturers just don't make levelwinds in the higher end reels, so not really a choice.

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