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So I have been looking for a new casting reel, and with so many options at so many different price points I need some help.

looking for something for heavy cover and big bait applications but still has the power to crank in a pike or musky. Where I’m at it’s not uncommon to hook into a decent size pike or (depends on what fishery) musky. Price point between 200-250.

Thank you for your help in advance! 

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The Shimano Curado 70 and 200k are both under your price range and are, from what I hear, great reels. I got a Curado 200 I this past spring and it was a great reel. Smooth and easy to cast. Not to mention the quality. 

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Are you looking for a low profile or round reel? If a round reel, I'd go with the Calcutta 300D. I have one and it casts pretty large swimbaits and could easily handle a pike or muskie. If you're looking for something low profile, Id take a hard look at the Shimano tranx 300 or 400. I believe either one of those reels will be under your price point or right at it.

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i would just get a regular tatula 100 i use one for big baits and heavy cover dont have any issues

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47 minutes ago, Kyhokie said:

Are you looking for a low profile or round reel? If a round reel, I'd go with the Calcutta 300D. I have one and it casts pretty large swimbaits and could easily handle a pike or muskie. If you're looking for something low profile, Id take a hard look at the Shimano tranx 300 or 400. I believe either one of those reels will be under your price point or right at it.

Low profile is definitely preferable, I’m not trying to troll Lake Michigan. What is the hype around Shimano? It’s seems like you can get more for your buck with other reels. I’ve never owned one so I’m not sure if it is hype or real quality. 

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1 hour ago, BassMcallister said:

Low profile is definitely preferable, I’m not trying to troll Lake Michigan. What is the hype around Shimano? It’s seems like you can get more for your buck with other reels. I’ve never owned one so I’m not sure if it is hype or real quality. 

I love is post because I have been asking the same question for a few years. I would look at the Abu Garcia Revo Winch Gen 4. It will handle your big baits as well as Musky or Pike. I have personally fought both on the new Winch as I fish Lake St. Claire and a local lake that is over ran with pike.

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1 hour ago, BassMcallister said:

Low profile is definitely preferable, I’m not trying to troll Lake Michigan. What is the hype around Shimano? It’s seems like you can get more for your buck with other reels. I’ve never owned one so I’m not sure if it is hype or real quality. 

The hype around shimano is reel quality. You get what you pay for and they last forever. 

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2 hours ago, BassMcallister said:

Low profile is definitely preferable, I’m not trying to troll Lake Michigan. What is the hype around Shimano? It’s seems like you can get more for your buck with other reels.

Why does it seem that way?  I've never heard a Shimano owner say that.

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I use Shimano almost exclusively.    I have a few Shimano 200ks and I think they are great, they operate smoothly and are durable.  Being a long time Shimano guy, I'd say the quality of reel is without a doubt worth the price. I use my Shimanos  in both Salt and freshwater and I've never had any issues with corrosion.

 

Troy

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2 hours ago, BassMcallister said:

Low profile is definitely preferable, I’m not trying to troll Lake Michigan. What is the hype around Shimano? It’s seems like you can get more for your buck with other reels. I’ve never owned one so I’m not sure if it is hype or real quality. 

Tell us what that "more" is???

To some casting ability is a major component for a reel to possess. Look at these videos of $100 reels from a number of companies being tested throwing various lures. Results are the Shimano takes 3 of 4 segments.

 

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First thing to get cleared up is you don't crank in a big fish, you fight it by controlling where you want it to go using your rod and reel together. Fresh water game fish, including musky, are not long hard fighting fish compared to most salt water game fish.

My PB musky is 37 lbs and caught using Ambassador 2500C with 8 lb mono, 1/4 oz jig. PB LMB is 19.3 lbs using a Daiwa-X 103HIA with 10 lb mono, 7/16 oz jig.

So you want a reel that can apply maximum drag with high strength braid or FC, Mono/ copoly line and heavy lures. So let's disect this into line, lure weight, rod and then determine a reel to hold enough line and have high quality gears/drags to control big fresh water fish in heavy cover.

1. Rod?

2. Line?

3. Lure type and weight?

4. Reel in $200-$250 price range__tbd________.

Tom

 

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I own Abu, Diawa, ***, Shimano, Lews, and BPS low profile reels.  Most of them are in your price range.  I've found that they're ALL exceptional and factors that make one more popular over another, for me, are very small. 

 

They're all smooth and cast great.  I've grown to prefer *** and Diawa only because they've got 'set and forget' braking systems and just feel right in my hands.  

 

I've also had Delaware Valley Tackle tune and upgrade most of my reels.  *** and Abu were most improved which might lead one to believe the other brands use better quality bearings/drags/etc. out of the box.

 

Regarding the 'hype' surrounding Shimano.  Their build quality is, IMO, the best of the brands I own.  If you've ever driven European cars versus all others, you'll understand what I mean.

 

My advice is to take your favorite casting rod, if you have one, and mount each brand on it.  That 'subjective' feel is as important as the technical benefits the reel might offer.

 

OR - just let the Monkey do it's thing and buy each brand ....

 

Best of luck picking out a reel

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Shimano makes great products. They are highly recommend in the fishing world as well as the cycling world. I had a curado 200 and it was a workhorse. Smooth drag great castability, 0 problems. But it's like dogbone said, it didn't have that feel that I wanted for the rod I wanted to mount it on.  If I had to only use Shimano I'd be ok with it and catch just as many fish. But I fish for fun and wanna use what is going to be fun and most satisfying for me because I want to catch them how I want to and with what I want to. Any reputable company that has been named here has a reel that will fit your style and budget. You just have to use trial and error to find that perfect fit. Mine is the daiwa tatula line of reels. 

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The strongest high performance low profile 200 size reel today is......Curado K.

Until we learn more about the lures, line for capacity and rod for balance we can't make educated WAG's.

Tom

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On 12/18/2017 at 4:21 PM, BassMcallister said:

Anyone have experience with the Daiwa 200hs? 

Its alright, pretty much just an oversized tatula with a deep spool.

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Another Shimano fan here for the 17 years I have been bass fishing on the Potomac after I retired. I have the same reels I started with and never had to replace any parts. I would guess Daiwa is the same, I just happened to start buying Shimano.  I have always liked the way so many parts within some reel models are interchangeable with other models.

Edited by OnthePotomac

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On 12/18/2017 at 11:07 AM, BassMcallister said:

Low profile is definitely preferable, I’m not trying to troll Lake Michigan. What is the hype around Shimano? It’s seems like you can get more for your buck with other reels. I’ve never owned one so I’m not sure if it is hype or real quality. 

I don’t think it’s a fake or false hype when it comes to Shimano reels, and particularly the curados. There is decent bang for the buck and when you read testimonials from Shimano users here (or the Daiwa users), they’re typing from the heart. They bought them, use them, love them and are sharing it with us here. May their passion and enthusiasm for what they use and like not be confused with hype. 

 

With that said, we can all relate to how you’re feeling. I was actually like that about Shimano and other makes while I was fishing with my Walmart special spinning combo. The best way to dispel the hype is to use one for yourself so that you can make an informed decision. 😎

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On 12/18/2017 at 11:40 AM, BassMcallister said:

So I have been looking for a new casting reel, and with so many options at so many different price points I need some help.

looking for something for heavy cover and big bait applications but still has the power to crank in a pike or musky. Where I’m at it’s not uncommon to hook into a decent size pike or (depends on what fishery) musky. Price point between 200-250.

Thank you for your help in advance! 

Lot's of options out there, but tell us a little more about your primary use first. 

 

When you say heavy cover, do you mean thick weeds, or lots of structure (sunken trees, etc.)?

What Kinds of lures will you primarily be throwing?

What kind of rod will the reel go on?

 

...I'm a multi-species fisherman with a bias towards toothy fish, so I might be able to help dial you in better if had some more info.

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On 12/18/2017 at 4:52 PM, WRB said:

First thing to get cleared up is you don't crank in a big fish, you fight it by controlling where you want it to go using your rod and reel together. Fresh water game fish, including musky, are not long hard fighting fish compared to most salt water game fish.

My PB musky is 37 lbs and caught using Ambassador 2500C with 8 lb mono, 1/4 oz jig. PB LMB is 19.3 lbs using a Daiwa-X 103HIA with 10 lb mono, 7/16 oz jig.

So you want a reel that can apply maximum drag with high strength braid or FC, Mono/ copoly line and heavy lures. So let's disect this into line, lure weight, rod and then determine a reel to hold enough line and have high quality gears/drags to control big fresh water fish in heavy cover.

1. Rod?

2. Line?

3. Lure type and weight?

4. Reel in $200-$250 price range__tbd________.

Tom

 

Nailed a couple key points there!
 

  1. Pike and musky are not big running fish (very often...every once in a while one will surprise you, but it's going to be  a slowwer, steadier run as opposed to the explosive run of a steelhead or a saltwater fish...and it'll be years between these fish)...so...
  2. You don't need a lot of line...150 is plenty and you can make less work, no problem.
  3. What you do need, is strong line...Some may disagree, but 50# braid is plenty and 65# is what is on my "target" pike and musky rigs...but...and this is key point, rods, reels and everything else aside:
  4. You need good, solid leaders, and an effective way of connecting them to your braid. 
    1. Most of my leaders start out as about 18" of 30# or 50# tieable wire connected to the main line with an FG knot.  Sometimes I will use an Alberto/Albright knot.
      1. I will use heavy (80# and 100#) fluorocarbon for some specialty rigs.
      2. I will use single strand leaders (Knot 2 Kinky) on some specialty rigs as well.  Best example of this is that I have found a #5 Mepps to be an insanely effective search lure for toothy fish, so I've got 30# single strand Alberto knotted to 50# braid with a 100# Mustad Fastach swivel.  This rig has accounted for 48" musky and 42" pike....Rod is a 7 ft. medium TFO, reel is a 7:1 -ish regular low profile bass reel.
    2. I tie in either a swivel snap, or a snap at the business end, usually with a loop knot (I lean towards the perfection loop). I really like the Mustad Fastach clips and swivels...have not had one fail yet and they are much faster to swap lures on.

...so...what does all that mean?

 

I live in a - thank God - pike and musky infested area.  So...with the exception of of a few finesse set-ups, the lightest line you'll find on my rods is 50# braid FG'd to a leader of some kind (probably Tyger Leader, but I've got some AFW Surflon as well).

 

At the end of the day...ree;s don't make that much of a difference as long as they aren't junk and they have a decent drag.

 

...one thing: Get big toothy fish in the boat as fast as you can!  Toxins build up fast and unless you're planning on eating them, do the fish a favor and use appropriate gear...be prepared to de-hook them fast (even if it means you cut hooks and replace 'em later) and for God's sake, don't hold them vertically for your photo-op...their internal organs have not evolved for that.

 

Big pike and musky are decades old...Please don't be the guy that kills those fish and pulls them out of the breeding pool and the resource for the rest of us!

 

*******************************************************************

 

BTW, my #1* pike/musky rig is a Shimano Calais DC 201 on a 7' 9" TFO GTS 797 XH.

 

...that won't fit your price profile, but there are plenty of reels that'll work in place of the Calais.  Had I been on a budget, I'd have gone with an Abu Garcia REVO Beast, most likely.

 

*2017 stats: 20 musky...lost count of pike...but well over 100.

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