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Need Advice On First Baitcasting Reel

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Hello everyone. I know this question has been asked many times however my situation is a bit different. I'm going to be looking at purchasing my first baitcasting reel soon.

I have a couple criteria's, first it must be a left hand retrieve reel, and second it must cost no more than $80. The reason for the price limit is because I want to find out if I like baitcasting setups. If I do like them I will buy another more expensive setup. But right now I just need a decent reel to help me get started.

Okay I've looked online and found a couple reels that might work.

Abu Garcia Black Max

http://www.***.com/descpageRLCABUGAR-AGBM.html

Daiwa Megaforce

http://www.***.com/descpageRLCDAIWA-DMF.html

They both have received decent ratings from both Cabelas and Basspro but I'm just not sure.

Has anyone used these reels before? If so any feedback regarding them is much appreciated.

Also if anyone has other recommendations for baitcasting reels I would really appreciate it.  :)

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Buddy's using a Black Maxx right now and i've played with it a few times now. Personally i dont like it. It small but feels heavy, and i have a weird feeling that its slowly falling apart. Does feel solid in the hands.

If i were you i would look on Ebay and try and find a 201 shimano Citica. Great little reel for the price. You should be able to find a pretty cheap one on there right now since the new 201 E series are coming out.

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I don't know that either of those reels ar bad, but I think you can do better for not a whole lot more.  

I'd recommend an Abu Garcia Revo S or one of the new Shimano Citica Es.  Both go for a little over $100 (msrp) but you can probably find a good deal on a 'new in box" reel on Ebay.  Both these reels are well made and will last you many years with proper care.  Best of all, your reel won't take a back seat to very many more expensive reels.  

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A couple of month's ago I was facing the same question as you are.  A Gander MTN clerk suggested I try a Gander special reel for $60, after some thought, I figured that if I bought a cheeper reel and liked it, depending on it's sturdiness, I would end up buying another reel, (more $).  So essentially, the 'learner' reel $60 plus the longevity reel $100 plus???  Now, knowing those that use baitcasters, much prefer them over spinner's, I knew that as hardheaded  as I am, I would without a doubt master the BC!  

I bought a Quantum EnergyPT for $130, took me about three weeks to get it down.  The Quantum Accurist PT is also a good quality reel and costs less.  A friend of mine who has used Quantums his whole life suggested that I get a Quantum PT series.  I am very thankful for his suggestion.  And they do come in either hand retrieves.  Now I have two 8-)

As far as learning, this site as well as google, offer plenty of help.  Google "How to use a baitcaster", read everything you can, and watch the videos on how to set them up.  Then, try casting.  Baby steps, progress not perfection.

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#1 You're gonna get backlashes no matter what! Don't let them get you down. Even the pro's backlash once in a while.

The daiwa megaforce is a good reel. My brother has had it since last christmas and it's still working well! I've throwin it around at the lake and I thought it was pretty nice as well.

Funny thing is I learned to throw a baitcaster because my Brother got a rod and reel combo that was a b/c I wasn't letting him get better than me!!!!He got it cause he wanted to look like my uncle Jack. That was when I was 12 ;D

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Bass Pro Shops Extreme. Nuff said..................but anyone who knows me knows that's not all I'm sayin'!!!

I would put this reel up against virtually any other reel on the market. My brother in law uses nothing but Shimano Curado D series reels, a reel that I know had quite a following while it was being produced. I fish my little green Extreme right beside his Curados and I'm able to do everything he can with them. Cast distance, smoothness and all, his Curado was just unable to beat my Extreme in any way. Not saying one is better than the other, they were just dead equal was all. But his costed $200 and mine costed $60 on sale. You do the math.

Bragging aside, based on the facts alone this reel is worth every penny of it's full retail price and then some. It's got an aluminum frame where most reels priced this low have a graphite frame.

It has a very easy to use braking system to help prevent backlashing it. I have mine adjusted so that I can cast a 1/4 oz crankbait straight into the wind and get no backlash, not even a line overrun. With no wind it will cast a very long distance, I was hitting over 70 feet with the 1/4 oz crankbait, and I don't have to thumb it at all. Just touch it to stop it before it hits water, and no overruns that way. The longest cast I was able to make was 125 feet using a 3/8 oz Roostertail.  No overruns or backlashes at all.  Never had a reel any easier to use than this one.

Comfort factor is a big deal to me too. This reels ergonomics are awesome. It's very small and fits perfectly into the palm of my hand the way I hold the rod. It also comes in 9 different versions, 3 of which are left handed since I know you said you wanted that. There's a wide spool version, a finesse version, you can get a flippin' switch, 3 different gear ratios available, where else are you gonna find a reel that gives you so many options to buy from??

And right now in the Bass Pro Shops catalog they're on sale for $65 plus shipping. Get the Christmas catalog and get a $20 off coupon for spending over $100 and then purchase over the internet or call in an order (not in stores though). That way you can get 2 of them and save even more. Normally they're $80 each.

You'll never beat the Extreme for value, quality compared to price (heck, quality in general), usability, comfort and ease of use, and it looks great too. I have one already and ordered one more that should be here tomorrow. With any luck I'll get 2 more by Christmas.

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Bass Pro Shops Extreme. Nuff said..................but anyone who knows me knows that's not all I'm sayin'!!!

I would put this reel up against virtually any other reel on the market. My brother in law uses nothing but Shimano Curado D series reels, a reel that I know had quite a following while it was being produced. I fish my little green Extreme right beside his Curados and I'm able to do everything he can with them. Cast distance, smoothness and all, his Curado was just unable to beat my Extreme in any way. Not saying one is better than the other, they were just dead equal was all. But his costed $200 and mine costed $60 on sale. You do the math.

Bragging aside, based on the facts alone this reel is worth every penny of it's full retail price and then some. It's got an aluminum frame where most reels priced this low have a graphite frame.

It has a very easy to use braking system to help prevent backlashing it. I have mine adjusted so that I can cast a 1/4 oz crankbait straight into the wind and get no backlash, not even a line overrun. With no wind it will cast a very long distance, I was hitting over 70 feet with the 1/4 oz crankbait, and I don't have to thumb it at all. Just touch it to stop it before it hits water, and no overruns that way. The longest cast I was able to make was 125 feet using a 3/8 oz Roostertail. No overruns or backlashes at all. Never had a reel any easier to use than this one.

Comfort factor is a big deal to me too. This reels ergonomics are awesome. It's very small and fits perfectly into the palm of my hand the way I hold the rod. It also comes in 9 different versions, 3 of which are left handed since I know you said you wanted that. There's a wide spool version, a finesse version, you can get a flippin' switch, 3 different gear ratios available, where else are you gonna find a reel that gives you so many options to buy from??

And right now in the Bass Pro Shops catalog they're on sale for $65 plus shipping. Get the Christmas catalog and get a $20 off coupon for spending over $100 and then purchase over the internet or call in an order (not in stores though). That way you can get 2 of them and save even more. Normally they're $80 each.

You'll never beat the Extreme for value, quality compared to price (heck, quality in general), usability, comfort and ease of use, and it looks great too. I have one already and ordered one more that should be here tomorrow. With any luck I'll get 2 more by Christmas.

You make good points and I don't doubt you at all. However, on the Curado's side comes longevity, service, and parts for a very long time. Let's say perhaps 5-7 years down the road, Shimano will still have spare parts for even the Curado BSF. Perhaps that can also said about BPS reels, as I don't know for certain. It might very well behoove you to find out and let us know too, how much support there will be from BPS years down the road since they're reels change every so often.

To the subject, given the two, I think it is a toss up.  I would go with the advice of investing a little more $$ for a reel in the $100 range. When it comes to baitcasters, the adage, "You get what you pay for," has some truth to it.

I'll pick the Max since that is my son's name. 8-)

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A couple of month's ago I was facing the same question as you are.  A Gander MTN clerk suggested I try a Gander special reel for $60, after some thought, I figured that if I bought a cheeper reel and liked it, depending on it's sturdiness, I would end up buying another reel, (more $).  So essentially, the 'learner' reel $60 plus the longevity reel $100 plus???  Now, knowing those that use baitcasters, much prefer them over spinner's, I knew that as hardheaded  as I am, I would without a doubt master the BC!  

Very good point.  I did the same thing.  I borrowed a friends BC to learn with to make sure I could do it.  Once I learned a baitcaster I wasn't turning back.  Bought the citica 200E (109$) and I couldn't be happier with the purchase.  I would make myself only bring a BC to fish with so I wouldn't regress to my spinning tackle.  In less than 2 weeks I had it down.  Go ahead and buy a nice one if you are determined to learn it, I believe you really will prefer it.  The citica E is a great reel and not much more then the 80$ you are looking at.

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Bass Pro Shops Extreme.  Nuff said..................but anyone who knows me knows that's not all I'm sayin'!!!

I would put this reel up against virtually any other reel on the market.  My brother in law uses nothing but Shimano Curado D series reels, a reel that I know had quite a following while it was being produced.  I fish my little green Extreme right beside his Curados and I'm able to do everything he can with them.  Cast distance, smoothness and all, his Curado was just unable to beat my Extreme in any way.  Not saying one is better than the other, they were just dead equal was all.  But his costed $200 and mine costed $60 on sale.  You do the math.  

Bragging aside, based on the facts alone this reel is worth every penny of it's full retail price and then some.  It's got an aluminum frame where most reels priced this low have a graphite frame.  

It has a very easy to use braking system to help prevent backlashing it.

I totally agree. I guess im not the only one who loves extremes.

For the money no reel can top it.

I cant say id put them against  any other reel, but in your situation, if you don't buy the extreme you are seriously missing out on a great bargain

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I recently bought my father-in-law his first baitcaster. It was a BPS extrme, and to say the least he loves it.  Good first reel to learn on.  Once you get the hang of use a baitcaster, you wont want to use anything else.. 8-)

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Of the reels you've shown interest in,  I would go to Ebay and purchase them.  For the money BPS wants for that Black Max, you can purchase the Gold Max for the same $$.  In fact, the Silver Max can be had there NIB for $45 on a regular basis.

I just sold a pair of the Megaforce reels.  They seemed like good reels at that price point.  I didn't use them though.  

I had 2 of the Garcia Silver Max reels I used for about 6 months just to test drive them.  The cast a country mile.  They have a Revo feel about them on the rod.  Unfortunately when you're actually in the process of reeling in line or a fish, you definitely know you're not using an aluminum frame reel.  They just don't feel solid and I wonder about the longevity of the reels mechanics.

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Stick with Shimano reels: Strong, smooth, silent and reliant.

Be patient and keep an eye on our Flea Market section, reels come up

every week. You should be able to find a wrong-handed Citica for $75

or less, the Curado D is a possibility.

Or you can step up a few bucks and buy one new, today!

The CI201D is left-hand retrieve:

http://www.basstackledepot.com/shimanocitica.aspx

Good luck!

8-)

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I like THe Rooster's advice......... your getting a lot of quality for the money and durablility....... you'll be very happy taking his advice......

I do like SHIMANo very much in fact, but would have to upgrade way over your price range and get the Chronarch MG 50.........

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I agree with R.W. on this one,,, Shimano reels are excellent choices.

My only question is.... has EVERYONE here forgotten about Diawa,,,is that a bad word around here?!    Or are the only good reels Diawa ever made in my possesion :-?

I have 2 older Diawa's, that NEVER get left at home, and with routine maint. have never broke.

The rest of my arsenal is comprised of Shimano with a couple Quantum's for good measure :)

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I would try one of the BPS Extreme reels, they seem to be very well like by a lot of people.  But on that note you cannot go wrong with a Shimano Citica either the 201D or wait for the 201E(December).

Later, :)

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You might be ok with the Mega or the Max. If you go to cheap in your experiment you will guarantee yourself not to like BC's due to frustration.

One of your reels might do it. I'd try the Extreme or find a used or sale priced older Citica.

You might keep an eye on this e-bay item as well. If ou could get this for $90 or less it would be a great buy (perhaps). The left hand might make it less appealing to buyers on e-bay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/SHIMANO-CURADO-SF-251-LH-EXCELLANT-COND_W0QQitemZ160292850833QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item160292850833&_trkparms=39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A1%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

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You might be ok with the Mega or the Max. If you go to cheap in your experiment you will guarantee yourself not to like BC's due to frustration.

One of your reels might do it. I'd try the Extreme or find a used or sale priced older Citica.

I could not agree more.  I tried a handful of cheaper BCs and all I ended up doing is spending a bunch of money on cheapo reels that frustrated me like crazy.  Once I bought a citica I truly learned to appreciate a nice BC.  Now I fish them almost exclusively.  My advice would be to save a few extra pennies and pick up a nicer used reel.

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IMHO any current BC reel in the $85 + range is an acceptable tool. It might not be as smooth, pitch as well, cast quite as far, last as long or handle light baits as well as some of the pricer models but they are pretty decent.

A friend I have fished with for many years thought he wanted a bait caster some years ago so he bought a Quantum and paired it with an Uglystick. He didn't practice so when we went for our annual trip he backlashed often and put the rig away.

He was sure he needed to get a more upscale outfit so he bought a Curado just as they came out with the $200 version and matched it with a St. Croix rod. Again he did not practice and that high end outfit was just like the other medium priced gear. He had backlashes. I bet he hasn't used his baitcasters a total of one hour in three years.

Backlash prevention is aided by the reel and controlled by your thumb which is educated by practice.

The moral of this is that whether you go with a mid range or high end equipment unless you practice you won't like the baitcaster. Most that I know who have made the switch and practiced now prefer bait casters.

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I will spend time practicing with the baitcasting setup until I get comfortable using it.

I think I've decide on the BassPro Extreme reel. From the reviews I've read from BassPro and here it seems like a good reel to learn with.

However I have question about the reel. They have three different models available. Each has a different gear ratio. 5.4:1, 6.4:1, and 7.1:1. I'm not sure which one to get. What would be the ideal gear ratio for someones first baitcasting reel?

Thanks for all your help so far.

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hey NBR,  does your buddy want to get rid of that quantum and ugly stick??!! ;D :)

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I will spend time practicing with the baitcasting setup until I get comfortable using it.

I think I've decide on the BassPro Extreme reel. From the reviews I've read from BassPro and here it seems like a good reel to learn with.

However I have question about the reel. They have three different models available. Each has a different gear ratio. 5.4:1, 6.4:1, and 7.1:1. I'm not sure which one to get. What would be the ideal gear ratio for someones first baitcasting reel?

Thanks for all your help so far.

I would say 6.4:1, good ratio for pretty much everything.

Later, :)

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Hmm...You must have missed this on page 2

Stick with Shimano reels: Strong, smooth, silent and reliant.

Be patient and keep an eye on our Flea Market section, reels come up

every week. You should be able to find a wrong-handed Citica for $75

or less, the Curado D is a possibility.

Or you can step up a few bucks and buy one new, today!

The CI201D is left-hand retrieve:

http://www.basstackledepot.com/shimanocitica.aspx

Good luck!

:)

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Hmm...You must have missed this on page 2
Stick with Shimano reels: Strong, smooth, silent and reliant.

Be patient and keep an eye on our Flea Market section, reels come up

every week. You should be able to find a wrong-handed Citica for $75

or less, the Curado D is a possibility.

Or you can step up a few bucks and buy one new, today!

The CI201D is left-hand retrieve:

http://www.basstackledepot.com/shimanocitica.aspx

Good luck!

:)

 Kent you are relentless you should be in car sales!

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