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Alvey Reels

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
I've searched, and while I've seen topics that addressed this issue peripherally, I haven't seen one that deal with it directly: how do you feel about those Aussie-made Alvey sidecast reels? Like them? Hate them? Intrigued by them? Think they're stupid?

Like just about everything, these reels have good traits and bad traits. Feel free to opine on both, and on your general thoughts about them.
post #2 of 70
I've got a 600C5 my sister picked up for me while in Australia. It feels more like a winch than a reel and it's great for heaving bait. But just like any other reel it needs the right rod (with a line runner). Kind of like a big fly rod looking setup but for bait fishing. The rod needs a short butt and the first eye is set at half the rod length to accomodate the large spool.

The required casting technigue takes some practice before going to the beach because the reel draws a crowd of curious onlookers. And as you know, fellow fisherman arent afraid to comment when you fub a cast. I take it surf fishing everytime I fish bait.
post #3 of 70
Actually it's really easy to cast, different, but easy. If it takes you more than 1/2 dozen practice casts to figure it out, you probably should find another hobby, one that doesn't involve the slightest amount of physical dexterity



What I like about it is the power, you can lift a cinder block off the bottom, then cast it back out.



What I don't like is the line twist and the fact that it's supposedly not a braid friendly reel (and I've been afraid to try it).

If you use it on a glass rod, the rod and the mono combination makes it feel like you're fighting a fish on the end of a giant rubber band. I had mine on an 11' honey Lami, - hated it. I'm building a graphite rod now to use with it this spring.



Also, because of the large issue with line twist, you can completely forget about ever trying to plug with it (although I've no idea why anyone would ever want to attempt that with a reel of this size and weight anyway)
post #4 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belmo View Post
I've searched, and while I've seen topics that addressed this issue peripherally, I haven't seen one that deal with it directly: how do you feel about those Aussie-made Alvey sidecast reels? Like them? Hate them? Intrigued by them? Think they're stupid?

Like just about everything, these reels have good traits and bad traits. Feel free to opine on both, and on your general thoughts about them.


Never even held one.

The Alveys intrigue me because of their enormous line capacity, unique design, simplicity/durability, and use of lightweight materials/stainless steel.

post #5 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudsy View Post
What I don't like is the line twist and the fact that it's supposedly not a braid friendly reel (and I've been afraid to try it).


You can use braid on an Alvey. My 700C5 is spooled with a topshot of about 200 yards of braid. The only thing you have to remember is that you need thick braid, or else you'll slice your fingers terribly. I learned this the hard way when I tried to use 50-lb. braid, and sliced my finger terribly; I switched to 80 lb, and found it's thick enough not to cause the problem.

As you could probably tell from the subject of this thread, I'm a fan of Alveys. I think that for specific applications, like bait fishing, they work great. They hold a ton of line, fight fish well, and, not least, they are impervious to sand and salt water. Guys spend $700 for sealed spinning reels, but the Alvey (which is not sealed, but because of its simplicity functions like it is) can be had for a small fraction of that. The 650BCXL retails for about $150, Can someone show me a better all-around surf bait reel in this price range?

Take beach sharking as an example. There's no reel in the world that combines the capacity, fish-fighting, and casting capabilities of the 651C5. Sure, it weighs nearly 4 lbs, but it holds 1,000 yards of 30-lb. mono, and you can actually cast with it.

The line twist is a bit of a hassle, but using a good ball bearing swivel will get rid of most of the headaches. And the rod thing is another issue: you really need a custom to get the most out of an Alvey (Sudsy, drop me a line if you need help with your Alvey rod. I've built a few customs for Alveys, and might be able to save you some time if you run into configuration questions).

Lichum, by the way, the reel in that picture is the 650BCXLV (the V is for vented spool). The 650BCXL (non-vented) is my go-to bait slinging reel, but if the vented version was available when I bought it (it wasn't), I woulda gotten that instead. I've been eyeing that reel lustily since it became available in the US.
post #6 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belmo View Post


Lichum, by the way, the reel in that picture is the 650BCXLV (the V is for vented spool). The 650BCXL (non-vented) is my go-to bait slinging reel, but if the vented version was available when I bought it (it wasn't), I woulda gotten that instead. I've been eyeing that reel lustily since it became available in the US.



A fishing outing I think about:

I'd like to use a BIG Alvey to float a big bait (maybe on a balloon float) hundreds of yards from the beach then hook a monster shark.

I'd set the drag and let the shark run for hundreds and hundreds of yards.
I'd let the big Alvey do the work and tire the shark out.

Someday I might realize this very scenario.
post #7 of 70
Alvey are the most popular surf reel here in Queensland they are impervious to sand and salt blokes here rinse them in the sea while fishing, they cast wonderfully the drag is adequate and you generally palm the reel while playing fish. You do need two swivels as line twist can be an issue. The usual setup here is with whole pilchard ganged hooks and sinker if required the pillie is slowly retrieved and re-cast, some kayak fishers here are using them because they are so tough and simple to use and take dunking. With regard to braid on them yes its ok to use I usually use a mono leader 2-3 times rod length so cutting fingers isnt an issue. Some of the bigger spool odels also retrieve metal slugs at a good speed.
post #8 of 70
As someone who grew up using Alvey's here's some tips.

Braid:
No problems, I've got over 600 yards of #30 PP on my 650 GRBC.

Line cuts on fingers are a problem with braid, not just with Alveys but with spin reels as well, just use a leather finger stall and get an open runner if you can.

Top shots in mono are recommended but not compulsory.

Reel:
Despite what others have said elsewhere on this forum, if you want to get the maximum distance out of your Alvey, you need to set it low exactly like a fly rod, and use the recommended guide spacings.

Without getting too technical, the launching principle of an Alvey is very similar to that of a trebuchet (google it and see how it works - type of catapult), then go to the Alvey USA site and watch the videos on using it. It is not that complicated and even a novice will be distance casting effortlessly.

An Alvey rig is perfect for bait fishing.

I use the recommended two ball bearing swivels, weight in between the swivels, seldom get line twist.

Unless you don't mind a little extra weight, an Alvey rig is not the ideal rig for throwing lures, but it is excellent for throwing metal providing you use the two swivel setup.

If you want to multipurpose an existing rod to use an Alvey I use an adjustable reel seat. I use this mounted low on a 10' Tica meat stick and it casts almost as far as my dedicated Alvey rod. Paid around $18 from a rod supply company.
525
post #9 of 70
Further to my above post, here's some detail of my Alvey rod, it's a 14'7" custom Snyderglas.

Open runner



Alvey reel seat, I use a rod bucket as a pivot point, in a lot of ways it's a lot more comfortable than sticking my other surf rods between my legs.

post #10 of 70
I would like to see more rod details( sorry to hijack Chris) I often thought of an alvey reel for big baits or as a shark rig but the rod choice has held me back.
post #11 of 70


Quote:
















Originally Posted by Finnbar

View Post



I would like to see more rod details( sorry to hijack Chris) I often thought of an alvey reel for big baits or as a shark rig but the rod choice has held me back.








Finnbar, I'm happy to answer any questions.

The Alvey would certainly be up to the task of sharking, aside from reasonably solid drags, you can also palm the reel similar to the way a fly reel is palmed.

This Alvey rod is rated 85 grams to 150 grams (3oz to 5.25 oz).



Using a similar rod in Australia, I caught a 23kg mulloway (around 50lbs) on a live mullet in the suds.

I put the adjustable reel seat on a Tica UEHA630501S, the rods a bit stiff, but still cast a decent distance.
post #12 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finnbar View Post
I would like to see more rod details( sorry to hijack Chris) I often thought of an alvey reel for big baits or as a shark rig but the rod choice has held me back.


For what it's worth, I've toyed with setups on rods being built for Alveys, and I've come to the conclusion that some of what Alvey suggests is hokum. Here are the thoughts I have on building a rod for use with an Alvey reel:

  • Zyba is right: you want your reel mounted low -- very low -- on the rod. When I do Alvey rods, I put the reel seat even lower on the blank than Alvey does on their factory rods. When my Alvey rods are finished, I'm left with a cigar butt of only four or five inches -- only enough space to keep the reel out of my ample beer gut when I'm fighting a fish. Because of the way these reels are cast, anything below the reel is a waste, except to give the reel clearance from your surf top and/or beer belly. The end result is that they do get configured a bit like fly rods - the reel is not mounted as far down the blank as a fly reel is, but it's close.
  • You absolutely do need an open runner. Fortunately, every Alvey reel I've ever bought comes with one (and the kind folks at Alvey's US distributor will send you one if you need one). I put the open runner about 5 or 6 inches above where my index finger sits when I'm holding the rod.
  • Alvey recommends that you use very long rods for their reels. For a 650 reel, they recommend 11-12 feet. You needn't feel tied to this -- I have 10-footers that work very well with both a 650BCXL and a 700C5.
  • Alvey's other recommendation, that the butt guide gets placed halfway up the blank, should also be taken with a grain of salt. Take a 650, for example: if you use an 11'6" blank, and place the butt guide halfway between the reel and the tip, you'll end up with a butt guide about 5.5 feet from the reel. I've found that this is NOT necessary -- my Alvey setups have butt guides way, way closer than this (and these outfits were configured for mono, not braid). You have to do a good bit of testing to get away with this kind of configuration, but just because it's an Alvey, you needn't put the first guide halfway to the moon.
  • The deal with butt guide size is the same: it doesn't have to be as large as Alvey recommends. My 650 rod has a 40 butt guide, and my 700 rod has a 50. And these are closer to the reel than Alvey recommends: if you want to put the butt guide farther away, you can probably get away with smaller guides.
I'll probably think of more things later. I'll post them if I remember
post #13 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belmo View Post
When my Alvey rods are finished, I'm left with a cigar butt of only four or five inches -- only enough space to keep the reel out of my ample beer gut when I'm fighting a fish.


I'm going to disagree on practical grounds, 4-5 inches isn't enough to stick the rod securely in a sand spike, I find the 12 inches about right, remember I also use a rod bucket and 12 inches is very comfortable to turn the reel handle with minimal fatigue.

Rod height is a contentious point, the main posit is that the extra length gets the line above wave height and reduces the pulling action of an incoming swell.

Alvey developed these rigs on the Pacific east coast of Australia where there are big rolling swells.

I can't argue on the guide spacing, I don't build rods, all I know is that I really lay into the Tica and the 3oz sinker absolutely flies, I've been thinking of getting one of the Breakaway impact shields.
post #14 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by zybathegeek View Post
I'm going to disagree on practical grounds, 4-5 inches isn't enough to stick the rod securely in a sand spike, I find the 12 inches about right, remember I also use a rod bucket and 12 inches is very comfortable to turn the reel handle with minimal fatigue.


I don't know for sure between 4" and 12", but I have one and the spike issue held me back on using it more (even if I was willing to stand and hold it, I eventually needed 2 hands to rebait). Even a 4" butt is not too short for a rod holder like those from this thread from the DelMarVa forum http://www.stripersonline.com/surfta...ght=rod+holder .

post #15 of 70
[quote=zybathegeek;6891542]Further to my above post, here's some detail of my Alvey rod, it's a 14'7" custom Snyderglas.

Open runner and reel seat of a custom Alvey rod
Further to my above post, here's some detail of my Alvey rod, it's a 14'7" custom Snyderglas.

Open runner




Open runner

/quote]

Now I know what an open runner is.

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