Over the years, i have seen many Newell 400 series reels used on the long range cod trips on the Viking boats...and i have to say, that even the F' or 5-1 models held their own. Then in the late 80s, Carl improved the gear train of the same size reels by coming out with the 500 series. And they worked even better. I know of many fishermen using Newell 540 3.2 reels fishing the deep, Valley of the Giants wrecks in over 300 feet of water. And some of these enterprising fishermen like myself would get a few Newell 533 reels since they are the same width as the 440 reels, and take the whole right side plate off and put it on their old 440 P series reels so that they would have the 4/0 gear train combined with the narrower reel. A really sweet setup...but then you were left with sticking the 400 guts on the who leftside part of the original 500 series reels. But that was the price you paid if you wanted to narrow the newell 500 series reel down.
But today, with Pro Gear making the all aluminum framed 454 and the GR 3500 series reels, we do not have to look any further. Lightweight, great casting, and proven by some of the top codfishermen who fish on the Bunny Clark in the Gulf of Maine. And with Codkiller installing a new bushing kit inside the reel, why look any further then these reels?
Personally for fishing water roughly in the 35 fathoms and under, the 300 newells in 3.6 gear ratio are fine. But if you cannot locate one of the older ss bearing cupped reels, pickup the Pro Gears that i have mentioned, and send them out for the bushing conversion kits. It does not get any better then this for us cod fishermen!
EC NEWELL MAN*