AaronWilde

Help deciding on Surf baitcaster

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Hey guys, Sorry to beat a dead horse some more but I was hoping to get some help with deciding what baitcaster to buy next.

 

I fish the surf for Coho and Chinook, and sometimes off a rock jetty but just as often I am waded to my knees and being pounded by waves.

 

I've been using Daiwa BG which is amazing for its salt resistant qualities in the meantime, and Abu Ambassadeur 5601 C3 which take a beating and stop working so fast, even with maintenance. It's always the anti-reverse bearings that stop working and can't really be maintained since the bearing housing is plastic with little plastic V springs which bend when you try to clean them, or the main gears end up going. I maintain them every few days sometimes but it doesn't seem to matter as water wicks up my line and directly into the reel or waves hit me and get it wet, and the thing just lets water right in. I fish the surf hard in the summer, sometimes 8 hours a day,5 days a week casting lures from 7 grams to about 28 grams (ounce) max. 

 

I would like a casting reel as I can get further distance with 15lb mono and I land far more Coho on mono as they flip around like crazy at the shore and pop off with braid. Spinning works with 20lb braid for distance but I find I lose more fish on it even with a mono shock leader. 

 

I've read tons over the past week on these and other forums and have come to the conclusion that there is no salt sealed baitcaster as the spool needs to be free to spin, so water will always enter there.

 

I am leaning towards a Daiwa lexa 300 HD Left hand, or a Daiwa Coastal tws 200 left hand/ sv tw 150 left hand, or an Abu revo 4 inshore. I am sort of leaning towards the lexa 300 HD but I just can't choose. If they all will take water and need maintenance I am even tempted to just replace the 5601 c3 parts but it's very annoying having to buy a whole new side plate for 40$ to replace the anti-reverse (I don't have access to a press to press the bearing out, I am in an apartment), and new gears for 50$. Almost may as well buy a whole new reel at that point.

 

Any advice is appreciated, open to other reels too. I am in Canada. Looking to spend 300$ Canadian, could got a little over. Looking for sheer casting distance with 7 grams to 20 grams on average (sinker with 6 foot leader to a weightless size 5 spinner), salt will be getting into the reel so maybe ease of maintenance, and DURABILITY of the parts being the most important I reckon. 

 

Thanks!!!

Edited by AaronWilde

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Lexus do not like saltwater, I have a 400hd and am still waiting for the bearings to come in. If you’re taking waves, do not use a bait caster.

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I have to agree with rdiezel, no bait caster will work very long in the salt without regular cleaning ,like every time you go out you have to at least do a minor breakdown to clean  and oil the critical components. I fish on a  boat and still rinse and clean my bait casters every time I go out.

Wish it were an easy answer. JP

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Posted (edited) · Report post

7 hours ago, AaronWilde said:

Hey guys, Sorry to beat a dead horse some more but I was hoping to get some help with deciding what baitcaster to buy next.

 

I fish the surf for Coho and Chinook, and sometimes off a rock jetty but just as often I am waded to my knees and being pounded by waves.

 

I've been using Daiwa BG which is amazing for its salt resistant qualities in the meantime, and Abu Ambassadeur 5601 C3 which take a beating and stop working so fast, even with maintenance. It's always the anti-reverse bearings that stop working and can't really be maintained since the bearing housing is plastic with little plastic V springs which bend when you try to clean them, or the main gears end up going. I maintain them every few days sometimes but it doesn't seem to matter as water wicks up my line and directly into the reel or waves hit me and get it wet, and the thing just lets water right in. I fish the surf hard in the summer, sometimes 8 hours a day,5 days a week casting lures from 7 grams to about 28 grams (ounce) max. 

 

I would like a casting reel as I can get further distance with 15lb mono and I land far more Coho on mono as they flip around like crazy at the shore and pop off with braid. Spinning works with 20lb braid for distance but I find I lose more fish on it even with a mono shock leader. 

 

I've read tons over the past week on these and other forums and have come to the conclusion that there is no salt sealed baitcaster as the spool needs to be free to spin, so water will always enter there.

 

I am leaning towards a Daiwa lexa 300 HD Left hand, or a Daiwa Coastal tws 200 left hand/ sv tw 150 left hand, or an Abu revo 4 inshore. I am sort of leaning towards the lexa 300 HD but I just can't choose. If they all will take water and need maintenance I am even tempted to just replace the 5601 c3 parts but it's very annoying having to buy a whole new side plate for 40$ to replace the anti-reverse (I don't have access to a press to press the bearing out, I am in an apartment), and new gears for 50$. Almost may as well buy a whole new reel at that point.

 

Any advice is appreciated, open to other reels too. I am in Canada. Looking to spend 300$ Canadian, could got a little over. Looking for sheer casting distance with 7 grams to 20 grams on average (sinker with 6 foot leader to a weightless size 5 spinner), salt will be getting into the reel so maybe ease of maintenance, and DURABILITY of the parts being the most important I reckon. 

 

Thanks!!!

my first thought was the lexa HD-400Hs-P.

not sure what kinda weights you'll be throwing but I love mine and I fish them without any worry about salt getting in because it does.

before I fished it,I used Alan Tani's pretrip prepping on it and it has not missed a beat since day one.

perhaps someone here can find/share a link here to guide you to it and use it.

if you opt for the 300 still use it,it is for the good of the reel.

I give all my gear a good washing off in the shower with me when I go in so,they alwys get a good rinsing out/off.

what I like abou the lexa is the space where the thumbar connects is a good spot for water to drain from the reel as well as the drain slots[x2] on the belly of the reel.

it allows water to get out easy.

when I am not going directly in the shower I just run the hose all over the reel and then run water in the belly drains and the thumbar openings to flush out any salty water.

when I stand the rig up in the corner,it drips out fully and I let it dry there.

now following the pretrip I mentioned,I would say that is a very good preventative gesture.

also,before I head out,the spool bearings get a single drop of oil[I use 3-in-1]and I go fish!

HH

ps,as for your IAR bearing,just wash it out and then give it a drop of oil,a single drop and it will be good.

Edited by Heavy Hooksetter

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you can clean the IAR bearing,slide the sleeve out carefully,,spray it out with some kind of spray lube then give it a drop of motoroil and put it back together.

you will have to do it from time to time because it gets wet but,WTH.

HH

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Vintage Penn "Surfmaster" or "Squidder"  "200" or "250" (number is line capacity with either 20 or 30 pound test hollow braided Dacron, I forget which. They also made a 150 size which a "few" years ago was very popular among those who use vintage gear here on the forum. Search the Tackle Collectors forum, I'm sure stuff will show up.)

Both have quick change interchangeable spools, but they are not interchangeable between series (Squidder spools don't fit Surfmaster) You loosen a not removable thumb screw, then twist the right side plate about 1/2 turn to remove it, pull the spool, set in another (with different line or whatever), position the right side plate, twist about 1/2 turn the other way, and tighten the thumb screw.

The "Surfmaster" was the "slow speed" version of the Squidder.

There was also a "Beacmaster" that was available in the same sizes, but didn't have the quick change spools, and had the same retrieve ratio as the Surfmaster.

They all had chromed bronze spools, and centrifugal spool brakes. (mag brakes had not been invented yet when they were in production. There was a mag conversion kit available for the Squidder. I don't remember if it was Surfmaster/Beachmaster compatible, or if it is still available. 

There was a company that made an aluminum frame and side plates for the Squidder, too.

 

In essence, they were mini Penn Senator reels (quick change spools aside)  Very tough and reliable.

Ocean City, and J.A. Coxe (Michigan) also made some nice surf casting reels. Some of the Ocean City reels had quick change spools, as well.

 

They are not "waterproof", the drags may still be oiled leather washers on some that you find on the big auction site.

They do not have plastic or aluminum internal parts;marine brass, marine bronze "ruled the day" back then.

With minimal care they lasted decades, even exposed to saltwater.

They might only have two bearings: one each side of the spool. Bronze or brass bushings were used everywhere else.

Click/dog leg anti-reverse. In short, nothing fragile and unreliable like a fist full of bearings and instant anti-reverse bearings.

All had star drags and lever activated free spool.

Fancy they were/are not. However, they work, and they've caught a heck of a lotta fish since their introduction decades ago.

No doubt there are still some "old timer's" still fishing them and taking home fish. :)

 

Best of all, you should be able to pick up a good one on eBay or perhaps on the BST here, for a lot less than "The Latest and 'Greatest'" that may only last a season or two.

Edited by afishhunter

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6 hours ago, Heavy Hooksetter said:

you can clean the IAR bearing,slide the sleeve out carefully,,spray it out with some kind of spray lube then give it a drop of motoroil and put it back together.

you will have to do it from time to time because it gets wet but,WTH.

HH

You can't just slip the IAR bearing out on Abu ambassadeurs. You need some sort of mechanical press as it is pressed into the side plate. I try lightly cleaning it by lubing it then running cloth through and turning the cloth in a circle like the clutch sleeve would do, and it gets the grit out however, it bends the small plastic bearing springs that engage the IAR as they are incredibly delicate. Clearly it is designed to be a failure point so you have to buy a new one or it'd be easier to access or non plastic..

 

4 hours ago, afishhunter said:

Vintage Penn "Surfmaster" or "Squidder"  "200" or "250" (number is line capacity with either 20 or 30 pound test hollow braided Dacron, I forget which. They also made a 150 size which a "few" years ago was very popular among those who use vintage gear here on the forum. Search the Tackle Collectors forum, I'm sure stuff will show up.)

Both have quick change interchangeable spools, but they are not interchangeable between series (Squidder spools don't fit Surfmaster) You loosen a not removable thumb screw, then twist the right side plate about 1/2 turn to remove it, pull the spool, set in another (with different line or whatever), position the right side plate, twist about 1/2 turn the other way, and tighten the thumb screw.

The "Surfmaster" was the "slow speed" version of the Squidder.

There was also a "Beacmaster" that was available in the same sizes, but didn't have the quick change spools, and had the same retrieve ratio as the Surfmaster.

They all had chromed bronze spools, and centrifugal spool brakes. (mag brakes had not been invented yet when they were in production. There was a mag conversion kit available for the Squidder. I don't remember if it was Surfmaster/Beachmaster compatible, or if it is still available. 

There was a company that made an aluminum frame and side plates for the Squidder, too.

 

In essence, they were mini Penn Senator reels (quick change spools aside)  Very tough and reliable.

Ocean City, and J.A. Coxe (Michigan) also made some nice surf casting reels. Some of the Ocean City reels had quick change spools, as well.

 

They are not "waterproof", the drags may still be oiled leather washers on some that you find on the big auction site.

They do not have plastic or aluminum internal parts;marine brass, marine bronze "ruled the day" back then.

With minimal care they lasted decades, even exposed to saltwater.

They might only have two bearings: one each side of the spool. Bronze or brass bushings were used everywhere else.

Click/dog leg anti-reverse. In short, nothing fragile and unreliable like a fist full of bearings and instant anti-reverse bearings.

All had star drags and lever activated free spool.

Fancy they were/are not. However, they work, and they've caught a heck of a lotta fish since their introduction decades ago.

No doubt there are still some "old timer's" still fishing them and taking home fish. :)

 

Best of all, you should be able to pick up a good one on eBay or perhaps on the BST here, for a lot less than "The Latest and 'Greatest'" that may only last a season or two.

Thanks for the advice. Considering beach season only has another month, or month and a half at best here, and shipping is quite slow at the moment (especially to Canada), I will look into these reels for next summer. It sounds like you're saying what the guys and old timers on the beach say about Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 5500 reels. Old design, very very simple inside, and easy to break down for maintenance.

 

My problem is I am not as perfect at keeping it dry. The "top rods" (guys who catch most of the fish) with baitcasters have perfect cast/line control. Stopping their cast before it hits the water so that the line pulls tight and the belly of the line doesn't slap the water and pick up water as they reel. Combined with keeping their rod tip lifted quite high as they reel and there isn't a as much water wicking up the line and down into the reel as if you just cast without paying attention and have your rod tip down as you reel (your line all be wet and bringing tons of water back to your reel).

 

One guy who takes summer off to catch Coho daily there just decimates the beach with an Abu 5501 C3. He services it once a week and fishes it 8 hours a day 7 days a week casting lures, but he is so perfect with line control that hardly any water comes up the line and it stays fairly dry, it's pretty amazing. Takes skill.

 

I'm not sure what to do with all this advice. Sounds like these fancy low pros would just be a hassle as they are complicated to take apart in comparison to older style round reels and they will get water in them just as badly lol

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Light weights (7-20 grams) and revolving spool reels don’t play well together. If it has to be a lo-pro/ round reel, braid will get you more distance than monofilament. Look for a older Shimano Curado (green body) 201. Ive soaked a couple on a kayak in the salt for over 10 years, and they cast light stuff well, 

Edited by cheech

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Squidder 146.  Get an aluminum spool and mag it if you like.  One screw takes off the handle side so cleaning is fast and easy.  They are tanks and can be bought for $45 or so for a nice one.  Or you could step up to a 970 power mag. Super awesome reel from the 80’s but fairly hard to find.  It’s already magged and has a faster retrieve than the Squidder . Also has larger drags.  These reels are bulletproof!!!  Made for salt and sand. The black and gold reel in the pic is the power mag.  What a great reel!

E726CB34-85CE-495A-AE05-D8865B1D7938.jpeg

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5 mins ago, cheech said:

Light weights (7-20 grams) and revolving spool reels don’t play well together. If it has to be a lo-pro/ round reel, braid will get you more distance than monofilament.

I never had a problem with Abu 5601 c3 and distance with 7-20 grams. 20lb mono and I can cast a good 60 feet with 7 grams. Under 13 grams or so is a bit trickier but works fine. Though I hear Abu round reels are great for casting distance compared to others. Which is why I want a baitcaster to use in the surf with mono - it casts further with 15-20lb mono than a spinning reel would with that thick of line and 7-20 grams of lead. Try casting 7 grams with a spinning reel and 15-20lb mono lol. Though I haven't tried casting such in many years, from my memory it wasn't very nice.

 

I might just buy another Abu Ambassadeur at this point lol

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18 hours ago, rdiezel said:

Lexus do not like saltwater, I have a 400hd and am still waiting for the bearings to come in. If you’re taking waves, do not use a bait caster.

I would agree with you if one does not service their reel before the next trip knowing it will get hammered with salt water.

that will kill any reel.

I have to say following the Tani pretrip as a guide one will be just fine wit their lexa and it will take care of you if you take care of it.

I have had not a single qualm with either of mine,all my reels get the same treatment after and before a session.

if you don't do whats needed,it will fail you eventually.

HH

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9 hours ago, AaronWilde said:

You can't just slip the IAR bearing out on Abu ambassadeurs. You need some sort of mechanical press as it is pressed into the side plate. I try lightly cleaning it by lubing it then running cloth through and turning the cloth in a circle like the clutch sleeve would do, and it gets the grit out however, it bends the small plastic bearing springs that engage the IAR as they are incredibly delicate. Clearly it is designed to be a failure point so you have to buy a new one or it'd be easier to access or non plastic..

 

Thanks for the advice. Considering beach season only has another month, or month and a half at best here, and shipping is quite slow at the moment (especially to Canada), I will look into these reels for next summer. It sounds like you're saying what the guys and old timers on the beach say about Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 5500 reels. Old design, very very simple inside, and easy to break down for maintenance.

 

My problem is I am not as perfect at keeping it dry. The "top rods" (guys who catch most of the fish) with baitcasters have perfect cast/line control. Stopping their cast before it hits the water so that the line pulls tight and the belly of the line doesn't slap the water and pick up water as they reel. Combined with keeping their rod tip lifted quite high as they reel and there isn't a as much water wicking up the line and down into the reel as if you just cast without paying attention and have your rod tip down as you reel (your line all be wet and bringing tons of water back to your reel).

 

One guy who takes summer off to catch Coho daily there just decimates the beach with an Abu 5501 C3. He services it once a week and fishes it 8 hours a day 7 days a week casting lures, but he is so perfect with line control that hardly any water comes up the line and it stays fairly dry, it's pretty amazing. Takes skill.

 

I'm not sure what to do with all this advice. Sounds like these fancy low pros would just be a hassle as they are complicated to take apart in comparison to older style round reels and they will get water in them just as badly lol

I know all about the fingers in them,what I said was slided the sleeve out and then spray the bearing with lube spray then put the sleeve back in carefully and give it a drop of motor oil.

done,ready to fish.

HH

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at 7 grams perhaps a small lowpro is the way to go for you.

the freshwater types can sling that light weight.

I don't know about the lexa 400 doing it either.

perhaps the 300 can do it,otherwise a LMB reel is what you will need.

HH

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11 mins ago, Heavy Hooksetter said:

I would agree with you if one does not service their reel before the next trip knowing it will get hammered with salt water.

that will kill any reel.

I have to say following the Tani pretrip as a guide one will be just fine wit their lexa and it will take care of you if you take care of it.

I have had not a single qualm with either of mine,all my reels get the same treatment after and before a session.

if you don't do whats needed,it will fail you eventually.

HH

Well I did not pretrip the reel but did rinse it right after fishing jetties., thinking it would be okay. Next trip , took a cast and jig didn’t even make it 20yds, bearings just screamed lol. But I’ve been waiting for many months for the bearings now.

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If you are going to take waves to the chest, your best bet would be to ditch the levelwind. It doesn't take a tiny sand particle long to destroy a pawl, or worm. My current favorite is the Penn Fathom12, but, unfortunately, they don't make a lefty. Look or an old Abu 5000 or 5500 from before the instant anti reverse tragedy, and either remove the traveler and the plastic gear that drives the worm, or find a CT cage. If you remove the leveling parts, be sure to leave the worm, but gob a bunch of grease on the ends to keep saltwater out of the guts, A CT 500 allows acceleration close to that of a spinning reel

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