Welcome to our new blog. We plan to feature articles by Texas fishermen who are skilled in the art of catching sunfish. If you would like to join our group please feel welcome. If you would like to post on this site please contact me at lilburn@uwmail.com. I have contacted many of you, and I await hearing from you and receiving your first article. Please limit your posts to how-to articles and stories about your fishing experiences. The more pictures the better. Controversial items, criticism of TPWD, and such should best be posted on the TFF or other forum. If you decide to post on a regular basis I will need a picture of you, your real name and your website if you have one. You will be added to the sidebar as one of our fishermen. No handles or avatars, please.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reels for Sunfishing

Four types of reels are in use for sunfishing. They are the bait casting reel, the spincasting reel, the spinning reel and the fly reel.

Bait casting reels are the oldest type. They are most useful for casting heavier baits and lures and are the favorite type for catching black bass and other large fish. Small ones are sold for use with ultralight rods. Most of the people I know who use bait casting reels for sunfish use them for straight down fishing in brush.

The next type and my personal favorite is the spincast reel, otherwise called push button reels or closed face reels. To my mind they are by far the best reels for sunfishing. Spincast reels got a bad rap when they were first invented because of their large somewhat clunky design and poor quality construction. They were primarily used for casting by people who could not learn to cast with the only other kind of reel available, the bait casting reel.
Experienced fishermen jeered the early spincast reels. They cast aspersions on the ability of those who use them, claiming the lack of precision. Today with my quality spincast equipment I can outcast most anglers with bait or spinning outfits.

Most of the early spincast reels were very inexpensive compared with bait casting reels. Unfortunately, most of the spincast reels sold today are cheap plastic. Avoid at all costs the Zebco 202 and 404 series and their colorful plastic equivalents or the Shakespeare plastic reels.

The Zebco 33 was the first popular spincast reel with some claim to quality. Today they are made in China with little regard for quality. They still cast well if you are prepared to discard the reel when it begins to wear.

 The little Zebco 11 series works well when first purchased but wears out soon. The brake system is quickly ruined if you hook a large fish while sunfishing.

Modern spincast reels are of high quality and not all are inexpensive.

The Daiwa Goldcast reel represents the top of the line in spincast reels. At about $50.00 it is more costly than a Shakespeare, Zebco or other low cost reel but the difference in quality and years of service more than makes up for the cost.

Daiwa Goldcast Reel
Zebco 11T Triggerspin Reel
The trigger spin reel is a variant of the spincast reel. Its sole purpose is to use the closed face reel on a spinning rod handle. I cannot recommend that anyone use the trigger spin. Most of the ones I have seen are of low quality and have all of the disadvantages of the spinning handle without its advantages. However, spinning rods are much more available in ultralight than spincast rods, and the trigger spin allows one to use them.

The next type is the spinning or open-faced reel. It was invented to cast small lures or baits with little chance of the backlashes common to bait casting reels. It is the second most popular type of reel, although I cannot see why. With its clumsy bail system and left-hand retrieve it is most awkward. Spinning reels range in price from under $20.00 to hundreds of dollars. The Shakespeare USP25 is a very popular sunfishing reel. Paired with the SPL 1102 5-foot Ugly stick it is a great way to catch the little fishes.

The last type is the fly fishing reel. Fly fishing is a world of its own and has more web pages than any other type of fishing. If you are interested in learning there is ample web material and I would not presume to add to it.

I plan one more blog on tackle where I will discuss how to rig your terminal tackle – bobber, weight and hook. Then we will move on to more interesting subjects with the other fishermen sharing their experiences.


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