Capefox

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  1. The spool bearings from my star drag Squall 15 and star drag Fathom 15 were interchangeable. I replaced them with ABEC-7 hybrid ceramic bearings: SR166C-2OS measuring 4.763 x 9.525 x 3.175 mm (3/16" x 3/8" x 1/8") The following did NOT fit either the SQL15 or the FTH15 even though some companies claim they do: SMR104C-20S (nominally 4 x 10 x 4mm) SMR104C-YZZ #5 LD, 4x10x4 mm, Stainless Steel Ceramic Hybrid Radial Bearing
  2. Outermost ring shows a fully filled spool, the middle ring is the 2/3 full mark, and the innermost is 1/3 full. They aren't equidistant because the radius increases as you move away towards the rim of the spool. If you see the innermost ring, it's time to turn that fish around for photos or dinner, or dig into your bank account for more braid or mono when you get spooled.
  3. I heard back from a rep at Penn who told me the new FTH15IISD magged side plate/mag parts cannot simply be retrofitted to the current FTH15. In other words, you can't buy a couple of parts and turn the centrifugal drive Fathom 15 into a magged Fathom II 15. Will this matter though? Field testing time! This weekend I cast a magged Squall 15 (comparable to the forthcoming Fathom II 15 performance-wise) against the Generation 1 Fathom 15. After doing so, my desire to sell the Fathom 15 and throw $200 at a shiny new Fathom II 15 SD has cooled -- I found the magged system and centrifugal system work about as well as each other, and I don't really need to adjust the magnet a lot as I consistently throw 3 -4 oz lead and bait -- not widely different 2 oz spoons and 8 oz lead. I anticipate having to replace the brake blocks on the FTH15 at some point years from now but it's cheap and easy to do so.
  4. Is there a chance you can retrofit parts from an SX magic cast to this reel?
  5. The travel Nomad is teamed with a Penn Conflict II Long Cast loaded with 20 lb braided line for the surf, or with a Penn Pursuit II loaded with 30 lb braided line and 30 lb mono top line for piers and jetties. Delta, Alaska, and Jet Blue have all allowed me to take reels and the rod tube on board airliners without extra fees. I had no trouble making long casts with 2 oz and 3 oz sinkers, and 2 oz lures. It was a comfortable rig for surf and pier fishing on the U.S. West Coast. The rod is nicely balanced and has good power. I think you'd do well with other durable spinning reels in the 5000'ish class. Popular options I've seen in use are the Daiwa BG, Penn Spinfisher, and Shimano Ultegra.
  6. The marketing copy says the long cast Fathom 15 reel has a spool that is 15 - 20 percent bigger than the regular because the adjustable mag knob eliminates the need to thumb the spool rim. (I don't think this model for me. I foresee computer-controlled electro-magging of reels becoming the norm within a decade or two though. I'm not sure I'm ready for a solar charged lithium reel or plugging a reel into a USB/charging port yet.)
  7. History seems to be proving you correct. I was thrilled to see the new Fathom II 12 and 15 star drag models are magged. A long cast version of the 15 with a knobby mag and a bigger spool is also coming (I don't need this one but some might). They will be available in late September 2019 according to one website. Frankly, the centrifugal brakes work well on my 15, but I've read an article where some super long distance surf anglers have had the brake blocks wear out after a few months on the older 12 and 15. (Can you imagine the extreme RPMs generated on the small spooled 12 or 15 from pendulum casting a 5 to 8 ounce weight and big bait 200 yards with a 13 - 15 ft heaver?) Penn stuck with the centrifugal brakes on the bigger spooled 25N, 30, and 40 on the Fathom II. I wonder if the little spools reach such a furious RPM on the smaller models, that the plastic brake blocks suffer wear but the bigger ones don't. I imagine the magged Fathom II will perform at least as well as the Penn 525/Squall 15, which is very well but with the advantage of no potential for brake wear and easily adjusted resistance versus opening the reel and popping blocks. I hope Penn offers new high-tech plastic (super heat and wear resistant like Torlon instead of what I suspect is Nylon now) replacement braking blocks to Gen 1 owners or that the new Fathom 2 side plate and braking parts can be retrofitted to the Gen 1.
  8. I hope the parts from the new FTHII12 and FTHII15 can be retrofitted to the older FTM15 and FTM12 Gen 1 reels. Penn may as well print their own money if that's the case. It also means the Squall, 515, and 525 will be wiped out by the Fathom II. This reel is going to hammer the small Avets and low end Akios.
  9. Wait a minute Mr. Postman. Look what I found being sold by a Rulon plastics manufacturer. Looks exactly like the Torium 14's brake blocks. I wondered where they got them. Makes a lot of sense.
  10. Fishaholic, that was really helpful. I have a couple of theories: 1.) Braking block materials. I suspect the material Penn is using for the brake blocks (probably Nylon or worse Polyester) is vulnerable to accelerated wear and failure when the spool spins faster than the manufacturer anticipated and temperatures rise due to friction. Perhaps Engineers/QA didn't consider edge cases like the super distance casting crowd using 50 lb braid and 8 oz sinkers on 13+ ft Daiwa Tournament Ballistic heaver. The flawed Penn parts can be removed and more resilient ABU or Torium 14 braking blocks (about $1 each) retrofitted. I suspect these alternative blocks are made from a more heat and friction resilient plastic like Rulon or Torlon. 2.) Maintenance issues. The reel comes heavily greased, but the super distance casting crowd will dutifully clean it away and even install faster bearings. (Look what I did -- open the stock bearings, de-greased them, and put light 5W-20 oil in them). Now you have higher than expected RPMs -- esp. on smaller diameter reels such as the 12 and 15. To make matters worse, over time the braking disc loses its lubrication and friction and friction on the blocks worsens. Ensuring proper lube on the braking ring probably is a helpful mitigation. I wonder if a super light coating of lithium grease is the ticket. 3.) Making my own braking blocks. I wondered if one could fabricate blocks by drilling a thin hole through suitably thin plastic rods (Torlon, Rulon, PTFE etc.) and then cutting them to size.
  11. Can you explain in more detail.
  12. Two years later have you had much wear on the brakes?
  13. I just became aware that there is white plastic brake and a black plastic centrifugal system. Mine is the latter. How do they differ?
  14. I found myself on a business trip today and the hotel is next to these vast lucerne fields. My 4 pc Santiam 11 ft and Fathom 15 are practical for air travel. I bought a field measuring tape and 4 oz pyramids from a nearby sports store, and cast for about an hour among the pastures, trying to apply the lessons and advice from here and YouTube. Amazingly even with the sewing machine oil bearings and just 2 brakes out, the fathom remained easy to control. Towards the end of the session I was getting 275 to 285 feet. Not quite the 100 yards but a lot better. It was a bit hard to get a lot of leverage with the skimpy grips on the Santiam. And I have a feeling the 2 pc Solaris with its more substantial grips would do better so I will continue to practice when I return.