coastalfreak

Thoughts on Seigler SM Star Drag

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Certainly a unique looking reel, haven’t heard a lot about it though. Based off the looks it looks robust as h*ll. Anybody have any experiences with it and how it compares to its competition? 
 

Main reason I ask is because I fish a lot of conditions where long casting, while not required, certainly comes in handy. Fishing large river systems like the Mississippi as well as surf and giant bays and estuaries like Lake Pontchartrain (maybe the Chesapeake is the better comparison). I also really on durability and ruggedness, and this reel, at least from the outside, looks promising. I’m also a big supporter of US made tackle from smaller companies like this. The price is uncomfortable to me but I’d be willing to pay if the reel meets the expectations. 

Edited by coastalfreak

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I have one since they first came out as “release reels”. I have used mine for surfcasting and on the boat. No complaints. I had the reel upgraded once after they improved the drag years ago. Service and communication was excellent. 
 

I am surprised they don’t have a bigger following in the North East. 
 

For the record, release, truth and Seigler are all the same. They were forced to change their name several times. 

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I have two of them with the newest Seigler name on them. For what’s it’s worth I love them. However.. both of my reels perform completely differently. If you enjoy tinkering with your reels in the off time then they are perfect, but if you perform a minimum of maintenance on your gear and still want it to function as desired when you pick it up after it has set for a month or two then stick with daiwa and penn. The updated drags are pretty decent, and they can be tuned to cast with the best of tournament casting reels. While they are tough, they are not designed to lock the drag down and rip a big fish out of current. I would not ever recommend spooling them with braid. They are designed to be loaded with premium 20lb mono with a shock leader for casting big baits, big distances. 

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1 hour ago, coastalfreak said:

Certainly a unique looking reel, haven’t heard a lot about it though. Based off the looks it looks robust as h*ll. Anybody have any experiences with it and how it compares to its competition? 
 

Main reason I ask is because I fish a lot of conditions where long casting, while not required, certainly comes in handy. Fishing large river systems like the Mississippi as well as surf and giant bays and estuaries like Lake Pontchartrain (maybe the Chesapeake is the better comparison). I also really on durability and ruggedness, and this reel, at least from the outside, looks promising. I’m also a big supporter of US made tackle from smaller companies like this. The price is uncomfortable to me but I’d be willing to pay if the reel meets the expectations. 

I've got a Seigler SM and I have fished it for 1 season.  When I first received the reel, I took it apart to see the guts the of the reel.  To my surprise, there was a lot of metal shaving on the interior of the reel.  I had to clean it all out which was kind of annoying for a reel of that price.  The grease that they use from the factory is VERY sticky stuff. 

 

My one main complaint about the reel is the spool tension knob.  If you bump the knob at all, it will make a significant impact on your spool tension.  When you have it set right the reel throw 8oz and bait no problem.  If you bump that knob and the spool gets too loose, you will blow up on your next cast.  My solution was to put a small plastic shim behind the spool tension knob and then tighten it all the way down.  I played around with a few different shim sizes to find one that gave me perfect spool tension when it was tighten all the way down. 

 

I also had a more powerful mag installed by Matt at ReelKustomReels.  I don't have to mess the mag at all now, it's perfect with the full mag on and I unwind the mag knob while my bait is flying through the air to pick up some extra distance. 

 

It's a cool looking reel and that's why I bought it, but you could almost by two Fathom 2's for the price of one Seigler.  If you were going to spend the money though, get yourself a Daiwa Saltiga 30h.  Costs about the same and is a WAY more refined reel. 

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1 hour ago, coastalfreak said:

Certainly a unique looking reel, haven’t heard a lot about it though. Based off the looks it looks robust as h*ll. Anybody have any experiences with it and how it compares to its competition? 
 

Main reason I ask is because I fish a lot of conditions where long casting, while not required, certainly comes in handy. Fishing large river systems like the Mississippi as well as surf and giant bays and estuaries like Lake Pontchartrain (maybe the Chesapeake is the better comparison). I also really on durability and ruggedness, and this reel, at least from the outside, looks promising. I’m also a big supporter of US made tackle from smaller companies like this. The price is uncomfortable to me but I’d be willing to pay if the reel meets the expectations. 

I was thinking the same thing. It is $400 and I’ve never used one, so it’s a gamble. The Penn Fathom casting edition is $260 or so. If USA made is a priority, the extra $140 might be worth it. Doesn’t Penn make the Torque 12 in the US? Those are usually around $350. Personally, I’d like to try it, and see if it suits my needs before putting down $400. 
Let’s say buy it. Does this mean you need a custom $400 surf rod to maximize distance? If your reel is a Bentley, do you stick it on a Chevy rod? 

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12 mins ago, fishhappy said:

I was thinking the same thing. It is $400 and I’ve never used one, so it’s a gamble. The Penn Fathom casting edition is $260 or so. If USA made is a priority, the extra $140 might be worth it. Doesn’t Penn make the Torque 12 in the US? Those are usually around $350. Personally, I’d like to try it, and see if it suits my needs before putting down $400. 
Let’s say buy it. Does this mean you need a custom $400 surf rod to maximize distance? If your reel is a Bentley, do you stick it on a Chevy rod? 

The Penn TRQ 12 has no brakes in it.  I own a black one and had to get a mag put in it.  It’s a beast of a reel with the mag.  
 

You can get a Fathom 2 15 casting special and a 12’ Penn Battalion XH 8-12oz for about the same price as a Seigler SM.  
 

Dont go cheap though.  You will end up replacing it at some point.   

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14 mins ago, fishhappy said:

I was thinking the same thing. It is $400 and I’ve never used one, so it’s a gamble. The Penn Fathom casting edition is $260 or so. If USA made is a priority, the extra $140 might be worth it. Doesn’t Penn make the Torque 12 in the US? Those are usually around $350. Personally, I’d like to try it, and see if it suits my needs before putting down $400. 
Let’s say buy it. Does this mean you need a custom $400 surf rod to maximize distance? If your reel is a Bentley, do you stick it on a Chevy rod? 

 

The feeling of taking a gamble with the Seigler's is what has kept me away from their star drags. I feel like 50% of the posts made about them are good and 50% bring up some kind of issue. Not something I care to see when dropping $400 on a reel.

 

I am considering getting an Avet MXJ star drag just for fun, down side is there is no mag. Though, they are supposed to be coming out with a magged version soon.

 

 

Regardless, there really is no better long casting conventional reel option for the price then a Fathom 12 or 15, you really don't need the casting special either. The reels are all metal, excellent free spin out of the box, and even simpler then an Abu to take apart and reassemble.

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5 mins ago, animalbarrie said:

The Penn TRQ 12 has no brakes in it.  I own a black one and had to get a mag put in it.  It’s a beast of a reel with the mag.  
 

You can get a Fathom 2 15 casting special and a 12’ Penn Battalion XH 8-12oz for about the same price as a Seigler SM.  
 

Dont go cheap though.  You will end up replacing it at some point.   

 

The casting special seems like a nice option, but for the vast majority of people the standard Fathom 15 is all you will ever need.

 

The Fathoms are one of those reels that will last a life time.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Prior to the SM I had Penn 525 with the knobby drag (not the US version) and the SM is better in every way. Certainly could be even better in more capable hands. 
 

I have 30lb fireline fused on my reel. That probably breaks at 60+ lbs. I use it at the canal every year. I have only seen I other there, but conventionals are rare there now. 
 

Some random photographer took some pictures of my 12 year old son with a 30lb+ striper in the canal last season. 
 

 

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Edited by ged

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I've had one for about four years now and it's seen plenty of large sharks, rays, and drum.  No real problems with it and have only taken down once for maintenance. So that speaks to it's durability. Also has a great warranty if ever needed. 

 

Having said that I wouldn't buy another one.  The wide framed reel with boxy corners hits my wrist while leveling the line while reeling in.  Might just be my style but the ergonomics don't work for me. I'd recommend mounting one to a rod and trying before buying.

 

Its also the only reel I've ever owned that required a soldering iron to take apart. Not a big deal but worth keeping in mind if you self maintenance.  The spool tension knob also doesn't stay put and requires you to shim or use plumbers tape on the threads.  Poor design for a $400 reel. 

 

It certainly has the cool factor and will catch fish.  I just can't say a love it based on the ergonomics.  My Avets just feel better in hand and do a better job shedding the small bits of sand that they inevitably see while surf fishing.

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The only issue I have is accidentally hitting the clicker while dragging in a fish. That is annoying. 

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3 mins ago, steve maranto said:

I've had one for about four years now and it's seen plenty of large sharks, rays, and drum.  No real problems with it and have only taken down once for maintenance. So that speaks to it's durability. Also has a great warranty if ever needed. 

 

Having said that I wouldn't buy another one.  The wide framed reel with boxy corners hits my wrist while leveling the line while reeling in.  Might just be my style but the ergonomics don't work for me. I'd recommend mounting one to a rod and trying before buying.

 

Its also the only reel I've ever owned that required a soldering iron to take apart. Not a big deal but worth keeping in mind if you self maintenance.  The spool tension knob also doesn't stay put and requires you to shim or use plumbers tape on the threads.  Poor design for a $400 reel. 

 

It certainly has the cool factor and will catch fish.  I just can't say a love it based on the ergonomics.  My Avets just feel better in hand and do a better job shedding the small bits of sand that they inevitably see while surf fishing.

 

40 mins ago, Beastly Backlash said:

 

The feeling of taking a gamble with the Seigler's is what has kept me away from their star drags. I feel like 50% of the posts made about them are good and 50% bring up some kind of issue. Not something I care to see when dropping $400 on a reel.

 

I am considering getting an Avet MXJ star drag just for fun, down side is there is no mag. Though, they are supposed to be coming out with a magged version soon.

 

 

Regardless, there really is no better long casting conventional reel option for the price then a Fathom 12 or 15, you really don't need the casting special either. The reels are all metal, excellent free spin out of the box, and even simpler then an Abu to take apart and reassemble.

I looked at an Avet MX at BPS the other day. Loved the look and construction of it; but I have to say, the antireverse was kinda funky to me at least. Seemed like I could feel it trying to click in before it finally did. Is this typical? I’m sure it’s not a problem and something I could get used to, just different. Also the reel seemed kind of stiff vs the more free spin feeling of Penn Warfare or something. 
 

Ive been considering an SX along with the Fathom. 

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The MXL is a big reel and what I use to cast for big sharks.  The SX is more comparable in size to the Seigler.  It casts equally as well as the Seigler in fishing conditions.  

 

The antireverse is not instant which is what you were noticing. Its extremely reliable but some might not like the feel.  

 

I honestly think and SX MC or the newer magged fathom are a better buy than the Seigler with its high price tag

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