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New IT&T Board Feature – Hands-on Tackle Reviews

Hi all, so as I mentioned on the "Reels" board earlier today, we are gonna be starting up a tackle review feature on this forum. George and I think this has the potential to help a lot of guys with their rod/reel and tackle selection – what works well together and what doesn’t.

What we are probably NOT going to do is get into $500 rods and $400 reels. That is not what the majority of our members buy and fish and so we will aim for more affordable tackle that will still get it done. I know many believe that all my stuff is $500 CTS custom sticks, with uber-modded matching reels, but this just isn’t true. In fact I’m sailing tomorrow to hunt the still rare and quite elusive mid-South Shore ocean fluke – and wonder of wonders, of the five setups I’m bringing, four are pretty much dead-stock, off the shelf tackle. Heck, that surprised even me. 

Anyway, First outfit up for review is a Daiwa Harrier Slow Pitch spinning rod, carrying the brand-new Tsunami Evict 2000. Nice outfit for right around $250, give or take. My original plan was to go with a Daiwa Black Gold BG2500 reel, but John over at Trophy Tackle recommended this new reel, as it is specifically built for light/medium inshore jiggging. This is so because it employs a full stainless steel drive train, meaning the main and pinion gears and the drive shaft are all machined from super tough Stainless Steel, vs the weaker cast zinc gears of the Daiwa BG series. John is a warranty shop for Daiwa and sees a ton of reels come in over the course of a season – if he says to try something else, who am I to argue, its got to be for good reason. The man knows his business.

So far I can say for sure that right out of the box this is the smoothest turning steel-geared reel I’ve ever held. Amazingly fluid. Not in a free-wheeling Daiwa manner, rather in a slightly tighter, more connected fashion. You have to turn the handle to experience it – so nice! Here’s a few initial shots from this afternoon:

6597

6599

6600

Cool looking, right? I love the aluminum ball knob handle and the fact that Tsunami included an over sized EVA flat knob, for those that do not care for the machined aluminum ball, or who might want to use this reel in colder weather. Its a 1-minute conversion, from one to the other, so its nice to have the option.

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Both John’s knowledgeable advice and my further research today have indicated that Tsunami brought this reel to market for just the type of fishing we do off our boats – fluke jigging with any sort of practical weight jig, and even tog jigging, which explains the beefed-up stainless steel drive train.

This is NOT a super light weight graphite (Ci4+ or Zaion) reel. Its carries that heavy SS gear train and a full aluminum body, hence at 10.8 ounces it weights a little bit more than reels like the Stradic or BG/Back Bay – for instance, from the big two players . But on a properly balanced stick – like the one we picked, it feels terrific. I mean REALLY nice!

Along with the reel, we went with a Diawa Harrier Slow Pitch jigging stick, the HRJ64MS. At 6’4" its about perfect for use from a smaller boat’s cockpit. Although its the somewhat lighter "M" vs the heavier "MH," it appears to have plenty of power and will do well for the application that I have in mind.

And what is that, you ask? Well, there are times on the ocean fluke grounds that feature almost no wind or tide – having the boat move 10 yards in a half-hour is NOT conducive to proper fluke jig presentation – and I frequently grow tired of using one of my bait casting outfits to flip the jig rigs out around the boat. This outfit will address that set of circumstances.

Also, this outfit might just work out in times of the "Opposite" conditions – the drift being so fast that heaving a 4oz jig head/GULP combo up-tide might prove to be the winning ticket. I intend to find out this season.

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Additionally, I have yet to give the new-ish blackfish jigging craze a fair shot – and this outfit looks to be a good contender for that type of fishing. We shall see. Hey, Tsunami says they designed this little reel for that purpose, so we’ll give it a go, in due course.

The reel is spooled with the also new Berkeley X9 braid in 20lb test. John was very high on this line as it underwent extensive proto-testing during last season’s Nantucket fluke run. They used 30lb up there, but because the 20lb actually test at a true 37lbs, I think I’m good to go on the line. I’ll say this, it SEEMS to be considerably thinner than the 20lb Sufix 832 that is loaded onto just about every other fluke reel I own. Testing begins this weekend.

I honestly do not yet know how long the testing will go on. I really want to give all three components a fair workout before passing judgement one way or the other. But what I will do is to post up any findings/commentary that might be relevant up to the point that I am ready to write out a full report.

One last thing – if you have not been to John’s Trophy Tackle shop in West Babylon, by all means do so as its well worth your time. Stocked to the gills, he has TONS of rods to wiggle, and all the reels and terminal tackle you could ever ask for. Its actually more of a fishing boutique than an old-style B&T – give it a walk-through and you will see what I mean. I took a long look at the new Centaur line of slow pitch-specific rods. Holy smokes, I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a lighter weight salt water-intended stick.

So stay tuned, this is gonna be interesting. And of course, if you have experience with anything being tested, or have any other on-point commentary, it is more than welcome. Lep

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
221
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40 26.470/73 32.350
Thanks all!

LC- John pre-loaded the reel for me and according to the sales receipt, he got 150 yards on the spool.

I fished outside today and took this outfit along for its initial shake-down. I found quite a bit more short life than on previous trips - at least six 18.5" fish and one true NY keeper at 20 inches. And of course that one keeper came on an up-drift cast/retrieve in 75' with this new outfit, just as the line came straight up and down. Funny huh? I never really fish that way, but this outfit flips that Gulp/Lead head combo out there like nobody's business. More "research" needed!

Later on I hit some rocks and jigged up a mess of ling, with more than a few on the new outfit. Not a great tussle, but the toaster oven ling oreganata is gonna be epic! Hey, some may turn up their nose at a mess of fat ling - but not me. Capt. Pete doesn't believe in coming back to the dock with an empty cooler. The way I see it, this is what the ocean gave me today, and I am grateful.
 
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Flukinit

New Angler
Dec 19, 2018
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Pete. Very nice topic to discuss. Excellent review of the 3 items and why you went with this partiuclar outfit. Looking foward to more reviews. Last thing your right on a out Trophy Tackle. Like you im on the road all over the area and do my share of looking around other shops but when its time for me to make a purchase I always stop at Trophy to do that. John and Joe are great to deal with very knowledgeable about the products they sell and the shop is always well stocked.
 
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longcast

New Angler
Mar 7, 2019
58
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Thanks all!

LC- John pre-loaded the reel for me and according to the sales receipt, he got 150 yards on the spool.

I fished outside today and took this outfit along for its initial shake-down. I found quite a bit more short life than on previous trips - at least six 18.5" fish and one true NY keeper at 20 inches. And of course that one keeper came on an up-drift cast/retrieve in 75' with this new outfit, just as the line came straight up and down. Funny huh? I never really fish that way, but this outfit flips that Gulp/Lead head combo out there like nobody's business. More "research" needed!

Later on I hit some rocks and jigged up a mess of ling, with more than a few on the new outfit. Not a great tussle, but the toaster oven ling oreganata is gonna be epic! Hey, some may turn up their nose at a mess of fat ling - but not me. Capt. Pete doesn't believe in coming back to the dock with an empty cooler. The way I see it, this is what the ocean gave me today, and I am grateful.
Thank you!
 

Chinacat

Angler
Dec 20, 2018
396
194
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so according to my research 130g = approx 4.6 oz.
If that rod is rated 50-130g how far could you push that if needed?
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
221
166
43
40 26.470/73 32.350
I dunno as yet. Last time out I did use it with a 4oz lead head briefly and it seemed more than fine. If the wind ever lets me off the dock I can further my "exhaustive" research - and maybe put a few fish in the box. Its almost time for the deep stuff to bust loose anyway. . .

I also dunno what the h*ll has happened to our early-season ocean fluke fishing. Up 'til about 4 seasons ago we ALWAYS had good fishing before Memorial Day and on into June on the local sand - meaning in around 50-60' of water. That fishing appears to have become extinct. The squid boats have been working those depths for weeks - right on the grounds that we usually fish. Those guys aren't wasting their time and fuel money pulling around empty nets, so the bait has to have been here for a while - so where are the fluke?

Anyway, back to your question - normally the manufacturers state the safest casting weight, not the amount of weight that a rod can handle when fishing straight up an down, from a boat. I dunno if this is the case with rods that are intended from the get-go to be used in jigging applications. Maybe. More time on the water will reveal all.

But in truth, to go more than 4oz with any spinning setup seems a bit counter-productive to me. There are far better options for heavier jigging work - which we have discussed extensively over the years, here and on the old board. A 4oz bucktail will nearly always find bottom in 80 feet, if cast far enough up-drift - and this is one of the applications that I am focusing on for this review.