Sunday, June 12, 2016

Update on the Cheap Spinning Combos

I bought the first cheap combos for kid friendly charters.  These were Aires AS60 reels with a seven foot contour graphite rod.  Nice and light with a cork handle that is easy for kids to use.   I really didn't expect the reels to last a full year, but thought the rods would be pretty rugged.  Surprisingly, the reels lasted nearly two years before the first one bit the dust.  One rod broke, which was also a surprise.  The one reel that is still working has a spritz of WD 40 after a little soap and water so it is still going strong.

The big problem with cheap tackle isn't so much that they break but when they break.  You really don't want gear breaking on your fish of a lifetime.  However, if you are targeting dinner or wanting a five year old to fish without constant supervision, you are a bit more tolerant of things breaking and going overboard if they aren't expensive.  So you have some trade offs to consider.

I did put the cheap stuff to quite a few tests on big fish, and that is really more of a drag test than anything else.  The drag design for most of the cheap reels is similar to Daiwa BG series drags.  Not a great drag system, but pretty reliable as long as the washers are reasonably clean and you don't make a habit of hammering your drag down.  I go a bit heavy on my drags but not over 50% of line rating.  Since I use mono and not braid, that is considered light drag to many.

Part of my test was to not do anything other than rinsing the reels off with fresh water.  Just off the shelf and in the water which is pretty common for vacationing do it yourselfers.  Had I broken the reels down and added some quality lube, I am pretty sure both would still be in action.

Since I expected the reels to die early, I bought a few super cheap Chinese reels for back ups.  These no name reels are a complete crap shoot.  One brand I bought sucked big time but another actually has potential provided I do the break down, lube and grease drill.  both cost less than $15 which is pretty much ultra cheap.  Handles and the anti-reverses are the major issues.  These are both things that need oil more than grease or the buildup is just about as bad as the corrosion.  This could mean a revival of old school Vaseline which protects and lubricates without buildup only with the need for regular application plus knowledge of how to spray WD 40 on things that are supposed to move.  Even the ultra cheap can do a good job with a little TLC.  The sad part of this test was that the cheap stuff, less than $30 isn't that much worse than the mid range stuff, $50 to $100.  

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

 Tight lines,

 Capt. Dallas

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