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What reel for grouper/snapper

chaselongchaselong OrlandoPosts: 4 Greenhorn
Hello everyone, I have been flats fishing for years now but have recently started fishing around and in Tampa bay for snapper and grouper. I have been using my 3000 size spinning reels though and break off all the bigger fish in the rocks. I’m looking for a smaller sized conventional reel to catch smaller snapper around 20 inches and grouper up to 30” but could occasionally catch something a little bigger as well. I was considering a avet mxj in either the 5.8 g2 version or the raptor because I would like a small light reel with a good amount of drag. Would this be a good reel for that purpose or would something else work better? Thanks

Replies

  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 4,891 Moderator
    A Torium PGA 20 or 30, (34# of drag) loaded with 65# braid and a Terez  rod rated for 65 or 80 to 200 braid will do great.  Light and powerful.
  • mara5mara5 Posts: 158 Deckhand
    Options for reel: Okuma Makaira 10ii sea, Penn Fathom 25, either lever or star. The Okuma PCH rods are pretty nice for the price also.
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 628 Officer
      For years I've used a TD-5.Shimano made the reels for one year only
    and quit.Why that reel?Its caught 25lb.grouper,14lb.Mutton,flag yellowtails
    wahoo,blackfin tuna and sailfish.Light enough for small fish and line
     for larger fish.Still have two of these reels.
  • pjepje Orlando , FlPosts: 768 Officer
    I use Saltiga star drag 50's , everyone that has tried them has bought one or wants one . They are awesome reels
  • chaselongchaselong OrlandoPosts: 4 Greenhorn
    Thanks everyone for the reply’s, I like the idea of the Okuma Makaira, I like some of the Shimano reels as well. I’m definitely leaning more towards a lever than star drag, I think that style would just be more comfortable for me to use. 
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,031 Admiral

    I prefer star drags for bottom fishing, but to each their own.

    I will tell you this, the Avet you mentioned won't have enough drag for grouper fishing, unless you get the raptor model. I have an MXL and while it's a fine reel, it just doesn't have enough power to stop a big grouper.

  • pjepje Orlando , FlPosts: 768 Officer
    Lever drag reels are not designed for bottom fishing , they are made for trolling/live baiting . They are not designed to be fished at max drag . You will bind/crush the pinion bearing on an LD and need to replace it , because you are using it outside of what it was designed for . 

     Star drags are set it and forget it , also much better reaction time to go from free spool to full drag and vice versa .
  • Salty Dawg44Salty Dawg44 Homosassa, FLPosts: 1,191 Officer
    I use Avet MXJ 5.8 reels for shallow water Grouper trolling up here in the Big Bend area and have no problems. I load with mono and then a top shot of  150 yards of 50# Sufix832 braid.
     I also have the same reels on lighter rods that I use with 20# mono that I use for Kings and bigger Spanish.




    If I wasn't satisfied with their dependability. i would have switched to something else after the first one.




    MY WORST FEAR......THAT WHEN I DIE MY WIFE WILL SELL ALL MY BOATS & FISHING GEAR FOR WHAT I TOLD HER I PAID FOR IT.......

    I may not always agree with what you say,
    but I will always respect your right to be wrong!
  • mango mikemango mike Posts: 248 Deckhand
    penn squall 30 or 40 star drag of course , they both work well.  caught red snapper to 30 lbs in the atlantic and handled them great. economical light weight and powerful

  • K-DawgK-Dawg Posts: 223 Deckhand
    I have a set of Fathom 25N Star Drag for snappers and small groupers. A Torium 16HGA would work as well. Nice and light. Spool it with 65lb braid. I prefer a narrow spool.

    I prefer a star drag's instant switch between free spool and max drag. 

    Lever drag reels with a thrust bearing (Makaira, Fathom LD) won't crush the bearings at high drag settings. Makairas are nice, but even the smallest one is heavier than I would want for snapper.
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,031 Admiral

    Trolling for grouper and bottom fishing with bait are two entirely different animals.

    As said above, the instant switch between free and max drag is an advantage for bottom fishing, no guesswork on a strike. Also, when hit while trolling you immediately drag the fish away from its structure.

    My MXL is a fine trolling reel, and enough for snapper, but no match for big grouper on the bottom.

  • SloughSlough S.w. Ga./ St. JamesPosts: 5,244 Admiral
    Call me old school, 4/0 penn senator
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
  • chaselongchaselong OrlandoPosts: 4 Greenhorn
    edited November 2019 #14
    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. The grouper I am fishing for aren’t monsters with the biggest being only around 30”. I just caught a 25” gag yesterday on a 3000 sized Shimano ci4. That’s why I was thinking lever drag will be good. I understand under high drag they can fail but I would get one rated for 25 pounds of drag and only use it at 10 pounds... I do like how some of you have mentioned the Instant drag out of free spool though which could be useful on the star drag.
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 206 Deckhand
    Slough said:
    Call me old school, 4/0 penn senator
    Excellent versatile and durable reel that will last a long, long time. I’ve got 4 of the older American made models and they’re awesome.
  • RJMurphy4142RJMurphy4142 Posts: 149 Deckhand
    edited November 2019 #16
    Sounds like you’re fishing the shipping channel and nearshore.  You’re getting beat by gags, not mangs.  You need a smaller, narrow, lightweight, low speed, high torque, low gear ratio, star drag reel.  

    Penn Fathom 25N 
    Shimano Torium PG 20
  • chaselongchaselong OrlandoPosts: 4 Greenhorn
    Sounds like you’re fishing the shipping channel and nearshore.  You’re getting beat by gags, not mangs.  You need a smaller, narrow, lightweight, low speed, high torque, low gear ratio, star drag reel.  

    Penn Fathom 25N 
    Shimano Torium PG 20
    Thanks for the suggestions, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I have found some very productive rock piles around the channel and have started venturing a little offshore recently. I can catch a few keeper gags but it is defiantly a losing battle with my current setup. I’ll check those reels out, thanks
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,031 Admiral

    I like my narrow-spool Penn Baja Special.

    They now call it the US Senator, same exact reel.

  • K-DawgK-Dawg Posts: 223 Deckhand
    edited November 2019 #19
    tankard said:

    I like my narrow-spool Penn Baja Special.

    They now call it the US Senator, same exact reel.

    It's a cool reel for what it is. But mine usually only gets used by newbs because it has mono on it and the Fathom 25N is just a better reel to use for this application.

    My only gripe with the Fathom star drags is that you can't release the free spool lever with a load on the reel. You have to use your thumb to roll the spool back a little so you can move the lever into free spool. Not a big deal once you're aware of it. My understanding is that this is due to the live spindle design of the reel.
  • ALASKA GUYALASKA GUY Posts: 112 Deckhand
    I use Avet MXJ 5.8 reels for shallow water Grouper trolling up here in the Big Bend area and have no problems. I load with mono and then a top shot of  150 yards of 50# Sufix832 braid.
     I also have the same reels on lighter rods that I use with 20# mono that I use for Kings and bigger Spanish.




    If I wasn't satisfied with their dependability. i would have switched to something else after the first one.



    I use all Avet reels in Alaska for Halibut them bring the same reels to the fl house for Bay  fishing, this way I only have to buy two sets of rods, the guy that says lever drag reels are not for bottom fishing has never used a Avet
  • pjepje Orlando , FlPosts: 768 Officer
    What I said was lever drags were not designed for bottom fishing , they aren't . Lever drag reels are designed for trolling/live baiting , not for max drag bottom fishing .  I have plenty of experience with Avet reels , and I also believe in using the right tool for the job . 

     Fishing Avets at max drag will bind your pinion bearing , might happen immediately , might take a while . It is a very common issue when people use them for bottom fishing or high drag usage . 

    This should explain it a little better .

     https://alantani.com/index.php?topic=1198.0

    I would link more , but don't want to get in trouble for linking other sites . Google Avet pinion bearing failure 








  • MathGeekMathGeek Posts: 476 Deckhand
    With experience, it is hard to beat a star drag.  Practice gives quick adjustment over the wide range.  But the star gives the needed fine control in the important area.  Never wished for anything else.
    “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" - The Messiah
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,031 Admiral
    K-Dawg said:
    tankard said:

    I like my narrow-spool Penn Baja Special.

    They now call it the US Senator, same exact reel.

    It's a cool reel for what it is. But mine usually only gets used by newbs because it has mono on it and the Fathom 25N is just a better reel to use for this application.

    My only gripe with the Fathom star drags is that you can't release the free spool lever with a load on the reel. You have to use your thumb to roll the spool back a little so you can move the lever into free spool. Not a big deal once you're aware of it. My understanding is that this is due to the live spindle design of the reel.


    I had a Daiwa Saltist that was the same way as far as releasing the freespool, and if you force it you will break it.

    Baja, US senator, whatever, is better IMO.

    As far as Avets, I have one and it is great for trolling and snapper fishing, I've even used it at the middle grounds. But it just does not have enough drag to stop big grouper, again unless you want to break something.

  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 206 Deckhand
    pje said:
    What I said was lever drags were not designed for bottom fishing , they aren't . Lever drag reels are designed for trolling/live baiting , not for max drag bottom fishing .  I have plenty of experience with Avet reels , and I also believe in using the right tool for the job . 

     Fishing Avets at max drag will bind your pinion bearing , might happen immediately , might take a while . It is a very common issue when people use them for bottom fishing or high drag usage . 

    This should explain it a little better .

     https://alantani.com/index.php?topic=1198.0

    I would link more , but don't want to get in trouble for linking other sites . Google Avet pinion bearing failure 








    Very true. Even if not fished at max drag, there will be problems with the pinion bearing on Avet reels, at least smaller models that’s all I have experience with. I don’t even have the preset turned up to full capacity on my avet lx, never have, and on top of that never put the lever more than very slightly past strike mode and have worn through multiple pinion bearings. Aside from that and issues with the poorly designed clicker (plastic click gear and plastic washer that holds the knob in place) I do like the reel. I use it for land based tarpon fishing and they absolutely scream off line before I can get to the rod and turn the clicker off, and a metal click tooth hitting against a plastic gear is a bad idea. All my other conventional setups have metal on metal clicker systems 
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,465 Officer
    Has anyone seen what happens when you put a reel in free spool under load?  They might do that on purpose to make sure your thumb is on the spool.
  • K-DawgK-Dawg Posts: 223 Deckhand
    Has anyone seen what happens when you put a reel in free spool under load?  They might do that on purpose to make sure your thumb is on the spool.
    On a Star Drag Fathom, you could damage the eccentric. It's not necessarily on purpose, but a result of the Live Spindle design that gives you such a freely spinning spool.
  • trousertroutmantrousertroutman Posts: 1,363 Officer
    US senator, and tap the star drag tight with a ball **** hammer!!! lol I also get "left handed" conventional reels because the handle is on the same side as my usual "right handed" spinning reels. Just feels more comfortable FWIW
    Make the forum great again.....consolidate general fishing with for sale or business but keep reports separate!
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