Tuning Guide by “Blackbeard” AKA Neil Mackellow
The final puzzle in the casting jigsaw is the reel and how to make sure it doesn’t let you down. So here is a run down covering most popular reels used on our beaches today. Multipliers can be split into two groups, the smaller baitcasters and the larger heavy haulers.
All the reels featured here can be made to perform on the beach, the suggested tunes are a guide to get you FISHING. Most can be made to cast further, at the price of reliability and of course the individual anglers ability then comes into play.
One thing to remember when tuning a reel is to only make one change at a time. Once you are up and running and feel the need for more distance just make sure you only alter one aspect at a time. Change the whole set up at one fell swoop and blow it up first time means you have to start all over again from scratch. Take it one step at a time and you will get there safely and with your line budget still intact!
Not to be confused with the green Mag Elite, the standard Elite is blue and took over from the older 6500 Sports Rocket.
Sporting an Ultra Cast spool with two 10mm bearing housed in the spool itself rotating on a separate spindle.
For Rockets and Elite’s a medium weight oil – Red Rocket Fuel – to keep things under control. For fishing use one of the fibre brake blocks and line level 2mm down from the spool lip with 0.35mm mono.
With its conventional centrifugal brakes coupled to rare earth magnets the Mag Elite offers practically idiot proof casting with dial in performance courtesy of the sliding control numbered 0 to 9.
Out of the box these reels have Yellow Rocket Fuel in the bearings and the two brake blocks are in a bag with the spanner and spare oil.
Use a single brake block for fishing with Yellow RF or to slow things down a little more use the thicker Red RF.
Start with the magnets on maximum – that’s number 9 – and gradually work towards to 2 or 3 one click at a time until you feel you are getting maximum distance with maximum safety for your style.
Be aware, from 9 down to 4 on the mag scale there is not a lot of difference, below 4 however, the mags come off much quicker per notch.
The original CT used a single unit spool/spindle controlled by two centrifugal brake blocks, bearing oil, line level and end tension.
The original Yellow RF was designed for these reels so this is the one to go for in conjunction with two of the small fibre blocks.
End tension does work against the rotating shaft so if an unexpected weather front comes through a couple of notches of end tension on the left hand end plate should do the trick. Make sure you return things to a little end float when not in use.
Beloved by tournament casters but a little fragile for prolonged beach use. If you use one for fishing rinsing away any salt immediately after every session is essential to keep corrosion at bay.
The magnets are not as strong as the tiny rare earth jobs in the later Mag Elite so leave all 8 in place and dose up the two inboard spool bearings with Red RF. Start with the mags on maximum, work back one click at a time until it feels comfortable.
For a big chunky reel the Slosh as it fondly named actually casts well. Beware of too much line on the spool however, as this will generate difficult to control centrifugal forces.
Normally used over rough ground with 20lb plus line so Red Rocket Fuel in the two bearings and two blocks is a must. High spool and big drop down gears can make it awkward to grip for those not equipped with large hands.
The Daiwa 7HT is a user friendly multiplier with a combined spool/spindle design. It holds fractionally more line than the Abu’s and offers similar performance on the beach. It has two centrifugal brakes, at the opposite end of the reel to the Abu and uses one large and one small bearing for the spool to run in.
It is this large bearing at the handle end of the spool that makes it so user friendly. The initial surge of the cast is tempered by the oil in the large bearing. But once up and running at maximum revs it performs as normal.
Best run with two small fibre blocks and Yellow RF. End tension, or lack of it is important with a 7HT, with the counter ring set at 0 for minimal end float, unscrew it two notches for optimum results.
Like it’s little brother the 30 is a rough ground reel with a big retrieve. Keep the tune as the Slosh and things should be okay, just don’t overdo the line level.
Early Speedmasters were coded TSM 2CFS and had two brake pins plus the Fightin’ Star. Later TSM 2C models had NO brake blocks and should be avoided at all costs for any casting application. The original even with two big brake blocks is a very fast reel so you need to carry out some serious down tuning to maintain control.
Make sure you have two brake blocks in place and look at Red Rocketfuel as a minimum, XS if you can get it or even a drop of Liquid Grease in the bearings. Line level too has a big effect on tuning, the spool is over square, in that the diameter is greater than the width so too much line creates a greater centrifugal force for the braking system to overcome.
Six, yes six brake blocks on a click on/click off basis are available to slow the spool.
User friendly? Yes, but at a distance price, so keep the blocks engaged down to four or less. Run on Yellow Rocket Fuel and four blocks engaged will put paid to any over runs. The thumb bar is a little awkward at first but easily gotten used to.