Dreadnaught: JW, just checking out the new format, seen your name and thought I'd giver'er a try. This is really great, now I gotta get all acclimated again, lol. I'm still a firm believer in Penns though, just to stay with the thread subject.
I got one from Wal-mart and had trouble casting it at first. Figured I needed a bit more weight and some help with the way I was casting. I looked up the "Off The Ground" cast and tripled my casting distance and stopped the bird-nesting. Had to put on a 60# shock leader due to the added weight.
I am interested if the baitclicker will stand the test of time or of it will break. All and all it is a great reel. I noticed at the store they had an older version and it had less plastic/graphite. That is the one I got.
Catman, I can tell you what, there is nothing wrong with graphite at all. The Penn 320 GTi is made of it, and its hard to find a reel better than that for that price.
Anyways, I finally got my tidewater in the mail today, and it feels like it could wench in a horse. It is super smooth, the clicker is a few decibels shy of a gunshot, and it can hold a truckload of line. The only thing bad about it is the brake is a little touchy, but that isnt anything that cant be compensated for. Overall looks like an excellent reel.
We've had about 10 tidewaters for 2 years, and now about 1/2 of them have been taken apart and fixed. They're alright for $35 but the baitclickers are hard to pull out, and the drag system is not very good. At one spot it will pull out easy, turn the spool a little and the drag is hard to pull out.
I'd agree they're decent reels for $35, but not all that great. Mine has a horrible clicker, barely audible from more than 15'. A ripple on the water could pull some line out with the clicker on. With large baits I have to tighten down the tension knob to hold them in place, which is behind the drag. It's impossible to get your fingers on, and even with a pair of pliers I have to torque on it to get it to move at all. The drag is weak, but I set mine very loose so that's not a problem with me. It's not a bad reel, but I have many others that I much prefer.
I used a tidewater for almost 5 years before I bought my Penn, and thought it was a great buy for the price. Great sounding clicker also. I tell all the new catfisherman that I know I to buy the Tidewater, its a great starter reel. I still use my tadewater as a secondary reel, even though it has saw its better days :sad: