What is the toughest most reliable reel?

Discussion in 'Fishing Reel Review' started by mtrimble, May 23, 2006.

  1. mtrimble

    mtrimble New Member

    Messages:
    290
    State:
    oklahoma
    I fish around two or three times a week. About 3/4ths of the time I fish rivers and lakes from the bank. About 1/4th of the time I fish from a boat. My Abu 6500 has served me fairly well. It does however get cranky when it gets in the sand and dirt. Recently I had to have several components replaced. Just wondering what reels hold up to heavy heavy wear. Im particularly interested in the opinions of you guys that fish constantly with the same reel many many days a year. I have heard Penn is good in this regard. Opinions?
     
  2. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Messages:
    1,227
    State:
    Tracy Calif
    Penn reels are legendary for being bullet proof. I expect my penn reels be around as long as there are fish to catch and will be passed down to my grandchildren. Cleaning and lube regularly of course!
     

  3. mtrimble

    mtrimble New Member

    Messages:
    290
    State:
    oklahoma
    What Penn reel would you recommend if I'm used to the Abu 6500?
     
  4. polecatter

    polecatter Member

    Messages:
    117
    State:
    Oklahoma
    Matt, a Penn Peer 209 will more than meet your needs. They are great reels for Catfishing and can be found on Ebay very reasonably priced. Just make sure it has the "spare pawl" compartment on the left sideplate. The sideplates on mine are dark brown and/or deep maroon.....this will be an older 209 Peer series unless the sideplates have been changed. The 209 probably won't cast quite as far as the Abu, but they are double tough durable reels that will last for many years to come with proper care.

    There are other Penns that would also serve you well such as the 320gti. Both the Peer 209 and 320gti are level-wind reels. You won't go wrong with a Penn!

    Larry
     
  5. Gator

    Gator New Member

    Messages:
    1,116
    State:
    Ludowici GA
    Go with the Penn 209 if you need a levelwind but the best Penn made is the Jigmaster 500.
     
  6. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    The simple Penns have been around forever,refuse to die,and seem to be bullet proof.Abu has been there too,but you hear of more maintenance.As for spin casting the Zebco 808 & 888s are the ageless Ox.My opinion is based on 55+ years of fishing,owning and observing.Remember that these old reels that have stood up to the test of time,use bushings for bearings.Only time will tell if the modern reels with ball and roller bearings will equal or exceed their durability.Unfortunately,time seems to be the only true and proven answer for most things.You young fellows will have to live to be the "Old Timers" to judge the reels and components of today.peewee-williams
     
  7. gofish

    gofish New Member

    Messages:
    658
    State:
    Greenville MS
    I recently switched to Penn reels for my heavy catfishing. I used Abus before that. My Abus served their purpose and are still very dependable reels. The reason for going to Penns was mainly line capacity. I have 3 309s and a 330gt1. They are durable and strong! I don't think you'd go wrong with either brand. The Abus are probably smoother but require a little more TLC. The Penns will hold more line but will be a little less smooth. Either way, they are both solid, dependable reels.
     
  8. countrycat15

    countrycat15 New Member

    Messages:
    668
    State:
    gastiona,nc
    i have heard very good things about the penn reels, i would try one of those and see how u like it.
     
  9. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    I would vote with penn also, with the abu 6500 a close second.
     
  10. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    Will they survive a mellon?peewee-williams
     
  11. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    i owned a couple penns years ago, didnt like 'em at all. yes they are tough but very hard to not backlash when distance casting. toughest reel ive ever owned, and still have it, is a shimano bantam-50 baitcaster (12yrs old?). that thing has been through hell and back and never had an issue with it! only downside is you have to thumb the spool quite a bit on a long cast. if they only had an internal braking system like the abu's id use them exclusively.
     
  12. mtrimble

    mtrimble New Member

    Messages:
    290
    State:
    oklahoma
    So it sound like Penn and Abu so far. What about some other brands like Diawa, Quantam, ect. This is starting to sound like ford verses chevy.

    By the way, what is special about that the jigmaster500 that makes it the best?
     
  13. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Messages:
    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    If you are going for ANY fish, or if you are going for fish up to about 35 - 40 lbs, I'd say the toughest reel by FAR is the Zebco 808/888. I've seen some of those old zebcos that are only oiled once a year, used every day, dropped in the water, the sand, the mud, and they just keep on workin. Oh, and you can cast them a country mile.
     
  14. gofish

    gofish New Member

    Messages:
    658
    State:
    Greenville MS
    I can't qualify the Jigmaster but I will tell you this about Penn reels. They are solid workhorses. They hold plenty of line. They will crank up a Ford or Chevy from the depths. Your choice. :roll_eyes:

    The Penns that I have will hold over 250 yards of 80 pound mono. My 6500s won't. I'm not knocking the Abus. They have their place. IMO, fishing the Mississippi for 100+ pound catfish is not the place. I have 5500s that are 15 years old give or take. I'd put 'em against any largemouth or redfish any day. They are tried and true. Fill 'em up with 20 pound test and go after 'em. I use 20 pound break-away leaders to my weight when fishing the river.

    I guess it boils down to Ford or Chevy. What do you really want? Which one is really better? They are probably very close to the same when it comes right down to it. Personal preference.

    As for the other brands you mentioned, I don't have a lot of experience with those but have owned a few Quantam, Diawa, and Shimano reels. I don't remember any particular bad experiences but I do remember that they have more complex internal workings. Probably not beyond my capabilities to repair but more complex than the Abus I've used for years and years.

    With a little TLC, practically any reel will provide the service you are looking for when used in a practical setting.
     
  15. Arkansascatman777

    Arkansascatman777 New Member

    Messages:
    7,782
    State:
    AR
    Matt,
    I started out using a penn 209 bumping bait below the generators at kerr lake some years ago. The reel was tough but did not cast as far as I wanted. I switched to an abu 7000 with 40 lb. test it in my opinion for bank fishing cant be beat on a 14 ft. fenwick rod. I started using pvc pipe for rod holders and didnt have as much trouble with the sand getting in my reels. For boat fishing I use 8 ft. 1 peice rods with either 6500 or 6000 garcia reels the only thing I will have to do is occasionally replace the worm gear and paw on them. 777
     
  16. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    I've got two or three Penn reels that are over 50 years old; and I still use them as backup reels. I've got a Penn jigmaster 500 and a Penn levelline that I still use; both are about 40 years old. I've also got an Abu 6500 that I like for certain fishing, but not for serious catfishing where I might need to really put pressure on the fish. Why? Because a couple of years ago while anchored below the powerhouse at Wilbur D. Mills dam, I hooked a 10# blue, and couldn't tighten the drag enough to pull that fish in. I had to put my thumb on the spool to add enough drag to get the fish in the boat. Now, I'll admit that it casts very smooth, so smooth in fact, that I can cast about 2/3 of the line off the reel; and I already switched over to braided superline so that the reel would hold more line. IMO, the Penn GTI series reels cast even better than the Abu reels, hold more line, and are tougher. I've bought my last Abu.
     
  17. Gator

    Gator New Member

    Messages:
    1,116
    State:
    Ludowici GA
    The Penn jigmaster held the casting distance record for 15 years so when it comes to casting it is supper tough to beat, then there is the drag system it is the same system in the senators only on a small scale and it has no plastics when it comes to gears they are all brass and stainless steel. The line capacity of the jigmaster is better than that of the 209 also.

    I have caught 130# sharks and 100# tarpon on these reels and they have never failed me. A 100# tarpon will rip off 150 yards of line in less than 45 seconds if they want to take there time, and a 130# bull shark will make your arms tired in the first 30 minutes of the fight. If that reel can stand up to those types of test then tell me why you would not say it is the best. I am fixing to have to send my ABU 7000 big game reel back for repair after a in with a 57 pound Sandbar shark the level wind dose not work any more and the main drive gear has a broken tooth. I got the fish but think that the fish in conjunction with a very heavy current was just too much for the reel. I had to have my 6500 rebuilt after a 63 pound tarpon had his way with it.

    ABU’s are very good reels don’t get me wrong but they are just not built for the type of fishing I do. I mean look at the stats, Penn fishing reels hold more salt water records that any other reel on the market. So with reel built for saltwater you will get a work horse if there was one made. The only question you need to ask your self is do you want “Eye candy” or proven performance, level wind or non-level wind. A non-level wind reel on average will out cast a level wind reel because the worm gear creates a drag on the r
     
  18. mtrimble

    mtrimble New Member

    Messages:
    290
    State:
    oklahoma
    I see. Thanks for filling in the details, Gator. Didn't know all that about salt water fishing. That sounds like a lot of fun.
     
  19. three_rivers

    three_rivers New Member

    Messages:
    688
    State:
    Tupelo Ar
    My experiences with abus and penns are about the same as the fellas here. Both are great and dependable reels. Recently i got to fish with a Quantum Cabo levelwind and i'll tell ya there is sho nuff a difference. It was smoother than an abu, the handle fit perfectly in the hand, felt extremely solid (no frame flex, handle flex absolutely none) and was bar none the best reel i've ever had to handle. It made easy work of a 33 pound blue and will be the reel i'll be keeping an eye out for!
     
  20. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    I have tried a number of reels over the years. For me the abu 7000 is the most versitile reel for catfishing. It holds plenty of line and casts great, taking care of it just involves a little lubricating and an occasional cleaning. I also own an Abu 6000 and a Penn 309 that doesn't get to fish with me anymore, two Shakespere tidewaters(the black ones) and an Okuma. All these reels have there positives and negitives and all can be used effectively for catfishing. Ultimately it involves how you fish and your preference. I could rant about my 7000s and why I love them but they might not work as well for you. If you get a chance to fish with someone who has a reel your interested in ask to try it. Thats the only answer that will give you the information you seek.

    The thing about us "old timers" PeeWee is we are stubborn when it comes to the things we like. I don't like to change and thats why a rod I bought at K-Mart in the 70s still has a place in my boat. Its been stepped on(it used to be a ten ftr now around 8ft) beat up and banged around yet I can't retire the thing. I call it "Old Faithful" and it has produced more big Cats then any other rod I've ever owned. Its like a favorite pet that is terminally ill that you love to much to have put down. My wife has bought me three different rods to replace it but as of yet none has. I'm thinking that I might have to find a way to take that rod with me when I go to that "Big river in the sky". I might even let ole St Peter use it on his day off ...... oh who am I kidding me and that "Red Horned Dude" will probably be fighting over that rod till the whole place ices over!:hell_boy:

    See ya on the water!