To me the "best" spinning reel ever invented was the old two-tone green Cardinal 4/6/7 series from the mid-'70's. Bulletproof and most guys that still own them continue to use them. I am lucky to be an original owner of a beautiful minty Cardinal 6 - still silky smooth after almost 30 seasons. I did upgrade to the high-speed 5:1 gears a few seasons back. Not too easy to find an N.O.S. set of those after all these years. It was a bit of an e-search to get that done, believe me.
Anyway, to me, The "best" spinning reels currently in production are probably the Shimano Stella and Daiwa Saltiga-Z reels. Best materials, best engineering, best performance.
Other than maybe a LARGE VS or possibly a Z-Bass, what other spinning reel would you dare take out to hunt 150lb tuna?
Think about it.
U.S. Reels makes a decent product, but they have their roots in the freshwater largemouth bass market and have a bit to go before we can take them seriously as a major player on the SW scene. Just looking at the little paddle handle they build their largest model reel with and you'll know what they are intended to be used for.
BTW, they used to be made in the U.S.A. - now they're made "in the Far East" under supervision, whatever that means. I do doubt its in a high-end Japanese factory - I'm not sure how much any manufacterer would save much having their reels built in Japan over America.
Probably U.S. Reels has their newer reels built in one of the "Seven Little Dragons" to better keep pricing in line. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. I just prefer the "Best" to name exactly where their "Best" reels are manufactured. Shimano makes no bones about their best reel lines still being built in Japan proper. Penn - nearly the same - their gold Internationals are still built here in the U.S.A.
U.S. Reels looks to be selling a very decent product, just not the best of the best - regardless of claims to the contrary.
To me, after looking them over very closely, they fall somewhere around the range of a Spheros or possibly a Stradic. Or if you prefer a Daiwa analogy - think Team Advantage or Capricorn.
p.s. - for further research on the wonderful Abu Cardinal reels, click Here.
This post edited by Leprechaun 05:58 PM 02/09/2008
You know what was another excellent reel from that same time period?
The German-built D.A.M. Quick 110/220/330/440/550 series were right there with the Swdish Abu Cardinals, quality-wise. Same unique worm-drive gearing - which I believe that D.A.M. actually invented, and possibly even tighter manufacturing clearances than the Abu Svangsta Cardinals. Also, I do believe that the Quicks were the first to offer either-side handle locating.
Twenty-five years before the Japanese "discovered" how great an advantage that option really is.
Can you imagine what a precision reel like that would cost to build today in Germany? Oh man. It would probably be a $300 piece new.
I also am lucky enough to own an original D.A.M. Quick 221 - that was the 5:1 hi-speed version. I bought it as a young fella right out of the Cabelas catalog. Or at least I think it was Cabelas. It was sooo long ago, I can't really recall. Was there another old catalog operation back in the early-70's? Possibly.
Though it caught more than its share of '70's-era weakfish and plenty of schoolie bass in its day, its still so very nice that I wouldn't even consider using it today.
The bail still closes on it with a solid and precise "Snick."
That reel just oozes old-fashioned old-world engineering excellence.
This post edited by Leprechaun 06:34 PM 02/09/2008
checked out those usa reels
montauk would eat them up
one good run and they look like they would come apart
definitly would not trust them in the surf
not saying whether or not they are good reels
just saying for surf application they do not belong
I too had a few 301's and 401's back in the day, in addition to a 407 that saw major duty in shore casting and plugging the bays. In truth I never cared for the whiney gears and weak anti-reverse of those French Mitchell reels. Worked on many of them over the years and never was I impressed with the 8 soft aluminum gears in the drivetrain.
I know, I know, they've been around forever and some will continue to hold them in high regard. That's always just a natural thing. But I wonder if its the reels or the old-time plentiful fishing that's behind those fond recollections? Both I suppose.
But when viewed in comparison to the Swedish Cardinals and German D.A.M Quick reels, I can't help but think of relating those French-made reels to the chinzy French tanks from WWII, compared to the very well engineered German armored vehicles from the same period. No contest there. Not much of a comparison at all.
But, I don't really want to insult those that hold the Mitchell reels in high regard. They just didn't cut it for me, at the time.
For "Retro fishing?"
In fact this topic, though it wandered away from the initial question concerning U.S. Reels, has inspired me. I think that this coming Sat I may just speak with our good Capt Neil at the Freeport show about designing and building me a light spinner based on an old Lami gold blank, to use my Quick 221 on. No reel seat, just a wrap of cork tape with the reel electric-taped to it - just like we used to do in the late '60's and early '70's - my high school days.
And its got to have those old-fashioned V-framed chromed guides on it. That's a MUST. I wonder if those are still l around, given the universal acceptance of ceramic-ringed guides. Have to check the Merrick Tackle catalog. Hey, I'm talking a real authentic old-time period piece here.
It ought to be a kick to once again see that silly little German plastic spool spin against the drag as a healthy Bay schoolie takes off in the tide with an equally old-school Creek Chub "Striper Strike" in its mouth. I think I still have a few of those old 3/4oz poppers in blue and/or solid chrome somewhere in the basement that I can resurrect.
Yep, I think that's what I'm gonna do.
Hey, TWO freakin' fluke? I'm gonna run all over the ocean at 10 gallons an hour for TWO fluke?
I think not.
More back-Bay bass & bluefish plugging, less throwing back 19 and 20" fluke.
Yep, I do believe that's the ticket for me next May-July.
Bassman909, are you listening?
This post edited by Leprechaun 02:04 PM 02/10/2008
The Penn 704 greenie was my first reel. I lost it accidently after 20 years of use. Last year I got my second 704 greenie, I had it restored and it looks awesome. It could go on for another 50 years easy. It's got to rate as one of the best ever.
Yes Sealos - you're right. But look inside that classic and nearly indestructible Penn oldie. Can you guess where Penn "borrowed" that geartrain setup from?
You got it.
I also own, and geez, this really goes back, a pretty decent Penn 716 ultra-light spinner. Remember those? The spittin' image of your 704, except in 1/8th scale. Used to catch lots of White Perch on it, up on the North Shore and in a few tidal Creeks here on the central South shore.
With the way things are going on this Island regulation-wise, it does appear that I may be slowly returning to the types of fishing that got me started. I think a few juicy SW-run perch fillets make a nice substitute for some of the species we're being pulled away from. Haven't eaten a white perch in more than 30 years.
This post edited by Leprechaun 11:17 PM 02/10/2008
LEP, YOU JOGGED MY MEMORY ABOUT THE PENN ULTRALITE,RAN DOWN TO BASEMENT TO DOUBLE CHECK #. MINES A 714 WHICH I USE ON OCCASION BAIT FISHING FOR TROUT.VERY HEAVY BY TODAYS STANDARDS AND ALSO RATHER LOUD.STILL,IT WOULD BE HARD TO FIND MANY REELS THAT OLD THAT WORK AS WELL.
stella the best???? supercaster getting eat up in the surf???
the stella is silky smooth as they come. put it in the suds a few times and u are screwed. alot of money to pay for a reel that will not hold up for long if u put it under those circumstances. vs the high end workhorse of all time. z-bass dynamite reel but too much money. i would not blow my money on one until they got there design straight. too many changes in too little time. us reel supercaster for the surf in montauk?????????? come'on they don't make one in the size class you would want out there anyway so why talk about it??? they never claimed to be a vs250 and or a 704Z.
now what i can tell you from extensive use with the reel. they tested the **** out of it in bull red's grounds. not just freshwater bass. bull red's in the salt. also i have fished one since the first models came out. i intentionally neglected the reel and fished it for more sessions in a month than some do in a year. it is amazing how light it is and how resilient it is. its drag is powerful and very smooth. even after not cleaning it for a few weeks of abuse. when i say abuse i mean catching several hundred fish on it. the largest fighting fish on it was a blue weighin in at 15#'s. the largest bass was close to 20#'s. now keep in mind this reel is more for finesse and light tackle. however it has no problem sucking larger fish in. no problem at all. u do not need a oversize handle if u actually no how to fish. an over size handle will actually throw off the balance of the reel. another thing is that it is one of the best light reels i have ever used with braided line. it has been dunked and used extensively. i can't say any of my stradic's ever held up if dunked. maybe the new model stradic will hold up???
the supercaster in carbon fiber may weigh a feather. but for the money it will be the best light tackle spinning reel u ever purchased.
This topic has taken a couple of interesting turns. You bring up
"retro tackle" for retro fishing today. Along the north and south
shores. Both the backbays and surf. There's something cool about that. Match the equipment with the old creed chub's , atoms and tins,
but with the new super lines. Man Oh Man! Time to start digging out the old goodies from their basement crates and the back of closets.