What makes a reel good?

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Well-known member
Sep 28, 2005
I have quite a few decent reels now.  The wife doesn't know what I paid, or I would probably be single. 
Anyway, during last weeks trip I used several pole/reels throughout the day.  I have Fenwick poles with several different reels.  My prized reel is a shiny Shimano Calcutta 700 which cost me about $260.  I was also using a Fenwick pole with a Shimano Tekota 600 reel which was in the $100 range.  I noticed a huge difference between the two reels.  When reeling in the Calcutta with a 5 oz. weight, I could feel resistance.  When reeling in the much cheaper Tekota, it felt as though the line had broke and I was just reeling in line.  Little to no resistance.  I had my buddy verify this and he was also amazed.  I am looking for a new reel and was wondering what makes a reel good.  Anyone have positive/negative experience with either of these two reels.  And lastly, while watching the fishing shows on tv, I hear over and over again about the high quality of the Ambassadeur reels.  My fishing buddy has one of these he just bought at Wal-Mart for about $60.  I have always heard you get what you pay for, but is that true with fishing gear?
FX said:
I have always heard you get what you pay for, but is that true with fishing gear?

In a word, yes. I've caught fish on a spectrum of tackle, from cheap to expensive (or as expensive as I'm prepared to go), from good to bad. I even commented to a friend that I was fishing that day with a $200 Shimano Curado Bantam reel on a $9.95 no-name rod bought at KMart. But there's no doubt in my mind that you can quickly tell the difference, whether it's the action of a fly rod, the controlled casting of a Shimano, or the cheap bait casting rod that doesn't cast very well or breaks in two just when it shouldn't.

If Chris can't find me in a store, she just looks over the top of the shelves and, when she sees fly rod actions being checked out, she knows where I am.

My first fishing rod was a bamboo pole that my Dad screwed metal eyes into. My first reel was made by my Dad from a large cotton reel with a screw for a handle and a metal L-piece from a "Mechano" errector kit as the bracket. I had as much fun with that setup as I've had with any tackle since.

Ambassador used to have a good name in reels, but they've been off my radar screen for over 20 years, so I can't reely (really) comment.
If your catching fish it's gotta be a good reel and pole.  Now if a fisherman isn't catching fish then its also gotta be the real, pole or both. ;D ;D

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