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Knuckle buster reels for mooching

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  • Knuckle buster reels for mooching

    I have never used knuckle buster reels for mooching. They are popular in BC (I donít know about the southeast but I would guess that there are some out there who use them). What benefit is there to using these, other than providing comic relief to your fishing buddies when a big fish runs?
    If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • #2
    I used a Shimano Moocher Plus for a couple of weeks before returning it to a visitor forgot it on my boat. Gotta say it was a whole lot of fun, more like using a fly rod, and easier for taking "pulls" off the reel for hitting a depth. As much fun as it was though, I didn't see any clear advantages. I guess the best test is that after using it, I never got around to ordering my own.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard


    • #3
      Biggest advantage of a mooching reel (knuckle buster) is that it's the "proper" reel to use on a true mooching rod. The true mooching rods were a staple of the Canadain salmon fisherman. It's what they made and had. So if all one had was access to that type of rod, it's natural to see why the knuckle buster reel is/was the norm up there.

      Modern graphite and cross-breed rods, especially now that custom (high quality) rods can be easily purchased or built, knuckle busting setups are kinda either a regional thing, a "look at how cool I am thing", or somewhat of a novelty type thing.

      Mooching rods should be made out of fiberglass, or a fiberglass/graphite mixture. The rod needs to have the limberness to handle the extreme load while connected on the down rigger. With a rod under that type of load, there's a reason you want all the eyes of the rod facing DOWN toward the water. Not up.

      Here's what you want your proper mooching rod/reel setup to look like under a load:

      Now, the way to get around that is to have a custom rod made for downrigging use with a baitcaster. Same rod blank as above, but the rod builder will want to "acid wrap" the eyes. The end result is a rod that has the rods spiral from the upward position over to the downward position as you go up the rod. The rods look as if someone "on acid" had made your rod.

      Notice the spiral rotation of the first two guides......which ends up in a rod that's oriented for downrigging/use.

      What you do NOT want to do is to slap a knuckle buster on a rod built for a baitcaster, or vice versa. All you are gonna do is bust a bunch of rods, or have issues as the rod turns over on itself while under a load.

      Past that, there's not a lot of challenge reeling in a salmon with a baitcasting type reel. With drags that slip as you reel, and with the addition of higher speed gear ratios, it's more of a method of "harvest" then true sport fishing. Get a true mooching rod and reel and now it sorta/kinda (ok, not really THAT much....) levels out the playing field. 1:1 ratio. If you want the line to come in faster, you gotta crank faster. Drag just tightens down the spoon with no automatic slipping (you can get mooching reels that do do this), so if the fish takes line, you gotta let the spool back track - hence the knuckle busting.

      Dunno. Just something to do to make king fishing a little more entertaining. If you catch enough kings on regular gear, it does get a bit "boring". Just spicing things up a bit.

      I can take photos of both types of rods if you'd like. One that is a normal mooching rod with an Islander MR2 reel, the other is the same blank, but acid wrapped to which I use a Shimano Tekota 500LC.


      • #4
        I found this thread and wanted to test the waters with one this summer. Anybody want to sound off? I plan on using it for trolling deep water for kings. Thanks in advance.:topjob:


        • #5
          How deep is deep? Depending on what sort of $$$ you spend on the reel, it might not have enough smooth drag range to hold tension against the release if you hang some eelgrass/kelp/jellyfish. For trolling <100' they're a riot.


          • #6
            i use my knuckleduster all year long, i have caught fish on it down to 250'. all i use anymore!! they are a kick in the @$$


            • #7
              I plan to troll up to 150' deep at least. I've seen these reels used on TV in the PNW. Look like a great time. I seen cheaper set ups than my "cheap" trolling set up I'm using currently.


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