Hi Kevin. While I'm ALWAYS a fan of using the lightest weight/smallest reel possible, regardless of what I'm fishing for, I really fail to see the advantage of a leverdrag reel for general inshore bottom fishing.
I know, I know, there's about 20,000 guys on this site that love their little SX's for togging, and that really says something. But I've never heard a compelling reason given for that usage, other than that they really love their AVET reels.
Know what? That's more than a good enough reason.
For me, give me a good star drag reel for bottom fishing - the Newell 220, Saltist 20, Torium 14, even the terrific little Tekota 300 (with a handle upgrade) - all of those reels fall within my personal definition of excellence in a good inshore bottom fishing reel.
Now if you're bux up and want to really "go for it," then the Saltiga 15 or the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) verison of the Trinidad 14 - the Ocea Jigger 1500, are both currently sitting on top of the inshore reel hill. For different reasons, though.
The Saltiga 15 is a very narrow-spooled reel and is intended for deep jigging off the Japanese coast with PE (Spectra) lines. Its trip to look at, especially when you see it for the first time, for sure - and its not tough to imagine it on that sharp new rod of yours - its just so darn cute. But do not be deceived. Its got the absolute toughest set of guts of any small star drag reel currently available to us, regardless of cost. Just a fine, fine piece of engineering and machine work. For those that want a slightly wider reel, then the Saltiga 20 is the way to go in a top-shelf bottom fishing reel.
The Shimano Ocea Jigger is a very different animal. Pretty much the same as the U.S.-version of the Trinidad 12/14 - EXCEPT, and this is big, Shimano Japan has wisely deleted the redockulously over-engineered and very gimmicky variable pressure spool clicker. What they gave us instead is the really useful spool locking feature - which comes in VERY handy when trying to bust a rig out of a snag. Also, Shimano substituted a nice 5:1 set of gears into it, instead of the U.S.-intended 6:1 ones. I'm all about lower gear ratios than the 6:1 that is seems to be so popular which the Japanese in their small boat reels.
I was the first to introduce these OJ reels to this site - many seasons ago - when they were first released by Shimano for their home market. Those that saw what I wrote, investigated the OJs, then bought and used them, report that my advise was right on the money. Great reel for tog - and nice and tiny, just how I like 'em.
Those little AVETs, i.e.: the SX and MXJ are really nice stuff for other forms of local inshore fishing. I'm talking bunker dunking, chunking, even eel drifting. But for bottom fishing, I think you really need to think hard about your OVERALL intended usage, before springing for one.
Then again, if you ARE intending to use it for the afore-mentioned bassing applications, maybe a leverdrag that can pull double-duty isn't such a bad idea after all.
This post edited by Leprechaun 09:06 AM 09/19/2008