View Full Version : Salmon Reels
I was wondering what reels are good for both salmon and steelhead? Is a 7 weight good enough or is an 8 wt better? What are the cost of the reels?
08-04-2006, 04:40 PM
Well, it all depends. A 7 weight is good for steelies, but for salmon I'd go with an 8 weight, or even a 9 weight. I have Billy Pate "Salmon" reel for an 8-9 weight that I got from my parents a few years ago. I know it was well over $300, but it's anti-reverse and I love it, no more bruised knuckles. I also have a cheap G-Loomis Venture 7, for a 7-8 weight that I got for $50. It's alright and hasn't had too many problems. I guess choosing a reel all depends on your taste and preferences. I really want to save up to get an ***** Battenkill for an 8-9 weight. I've read the reviews and I've heard that it's an awesome reel. I've also heard good things about Harris reels. So do some research and see what you like.
08-04-2006, 04:45 PM
I cant help you on the reel but do know an 8wt, maybe 9wt.
08-04-2006, 05:11 PM
Check out Ross Reels, lots of guys like those. I have an ***** Battenkill that I really like, and have used for years. For many years, guys around MI loved the Harris Solitude, but the company was sold, and the new owners did an overhaul on the reel - not sure if they're available yet (though used reels are out there). Expect to pay from about $125 and up for a quality reel (you might find a deal on a good one now and then), but most good quality reels will be from about $200 and up (with many in the 250-350 range).
With salmon, you don't really want to skimp on the reel - they can really wear out a cheap drag in a hurry! You can get by with a less-expensive rod for salmon (but at least an 8wt), the takes aren't usually too subtle, but for steelies, you might want to check into something a bit smoother.
08-04-2006, 06:34 PM
A 7wt will work, but a heavier rod will get it in quicker so your not trashing the fish or the river.
08-04-2006, 07:28 PM
I've used a Harris Solitude IV for the past 10 years and its been the absolute best reel I have ever in my life owned. Not a single problem with it and probably landed over 800+ salmon with it to date.
Harris sold the company to a place that is out in Washington now. They kept the reel the same as it always was but are making one change to it. Use to you had to buy ethier a left or right hand reel, they were not interchangable. Now when they are re-released they will be interchangable. Everything else on the reel will be just the same as it has always been though. They were slated to be released this past spring but some hold ups have pushed the release date to this fall now.
Ross makes some nice reels as well. I had a Ross Gunnisin G5 and it was a real work horse for salmon, I also had a Ross rythme but I had a problem with the drag on that reel on the very first trip for salmon with it. Might have just been a fluke though because I have not heard anyone else have that problem.
Whatever you get for a salmon reel just make sure of a few things....
1)- Machined not cast. When it comes to large fish reels machined stock is the way to go. I have had cast Battenkills have the spool warp while fighting a large salmon (3 of them:mad: )
2)- 8wt size with ample room for backing is prefered
3)- easy to reach and adjust drag knob while fighting a fish
As was mentioned earlier by someone, dont expect to only spend $100 and have a good salmon reel. For something that will do the job and not give you problems you will most likely have to dig into the wallet for at least $225 or more.
08-05-2006, 12:44 AM
I agree with everything everyone has said. However not everyone has that kind of money - like me. So I picked up an Okuma Integrity 8/9 (not the biggest one they make as it weighs a ton) on ebay for $60 or so and have had very few problems with it. Clean and lube it often and don't get it wet (it will slip) and you should be ok. I have had mine for 3 seasons and would buy it again. Would I love to have a Tibor etc? YES! maybe some day.
08-05-2006, 09:03 AM
Budget has a lot to do with reel selection! I to have an Okuma Integrity 8/9 that I used for one season, worked very well and it's for sale ($40, like new) I've been using an ***** Battenkill 8/9 Disc for the past 10 years and have never had a problem with it, it's been a fabulous reel. I just picked up a Ross Cimmaron Large Arbor and am really looking forward to the quicker retreive. My brother loves his.
My 2 cents
08-05-2006, 11:01 AM
I've used the ***** Battenkill 8/9 For many years on redfish in Louisiana. They will make several long fast runs well into the backing. Never had on e fail..
08-05-2006, 06:41 PM
Ross CLA!! I have a few in stock! :) Don't have any ***** stuff however... :rolleyes:
08-06-2006, 11:03 AM
Though they just came out this last year, This Has got to be one of the best reels for the price, hands down.($220 ) It's got a sealed drag that's maintence free and a good warranty(not like you'll need it). If I had the means to put this on all my rods I would. I caught a 20# plus carp on that reel, never have i had a fish pull out line so quick and so far. I kept clicking the drag tighter and stopped his run flawlessly. It also tamed many a steelhead this past spring, and I look forward to hearing my CLA singing to me this fall. So anyway buy this reel.
08-06-2006, 10:59 PM
I have a Ross Rythym 7wt that I use for both Salmon and Steelhead. The drag is a little on the light side for Salmon, but will hold them. Better suited for Steelhead IMO. As for any problems with the Ross Rythym, not a single one. I have had this real for 2yrs, dropp'd in the dirt, mud, river, and it has hit just about everything you can think of (of course not meaning to either), and not a single problem with. Either this year, or next year, I will have another fly reel for salmon.
Good luck on your fly reel choice.
08-07-2006, 10:14 AM
I've never chased the steels or salmon with a fly rod before, always with spinning type of gear. I picked up a St. Croix Avid 9 wt and a Cabelas CSR 4 w/ 2 spools (the CSR real is cast, I couldn't affort the better machined stuff yet), one spool with floating and one with class IV sinking. I have every intention of spending more time in the river. I've been fly fishing for only a couple of years and I'm really enjoying it, so I thought to try to the bigger fish. :D
08-07-2006, 10:55 AM
Last year I got a nice St.Croix 8 wt. with a Tioga 10 reel from BBT during the run. A nice package deal. I'm sure they'll have more sets ready to go this year too. The Tioga has a real nice knob for the drag and is centered and easy to find when you have a honker running. It's a nice reel for a "fairly" moderate price. Whatever you decide on, spend the money on the reel more than the rod. (the reel is what really fights the fish for ya)
08-08-2006, 04:13 PM
I bought an Okuma Integrity trying to look for a cheap alternative for a salmon reel. The first trip i used it on was early run kings in August on the PM. The pure power and speed of the fish melted the drag so that it would stick for a second and then free spool when a fish was hooked. They aren't a good idea because your reel will get wet fishing for salmon and steelhead eventually. I bought the Harris and love it, no problems thus far. I think a few key features when looking for a salmon reel are a sealed drag system, a drag with a large surface area which creates maximum stopping power, and I like to have a reel with an outside diameter of 4" and a large arbor spool. This last feature is crucial when a big king or fresh steelhead decide to run at you because it allows you to pick up the line fast. I've heard the Teton Tioga reels are a nice cheap alternative for aroung $100 and I believe they have a fully sealed drag. Otherwise buy a used Harris, a new Harris when they come out, or a Ross.
08-08-2006, 04:30 PM
if cost is a factor, consider a gloomis venture, $100 (cabelas). I don't have one, but have seen many on the river and hear they hold up.
The teton tioga is about $155....at cabelas (I checked).
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