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The best soft bait reels for 2018 - 2019

By Greg Hill, Go Fish Tackle CoNZ Fishing World
The best soft bait reels for 2018 - 2019

When you not only sell, but also service tackle, you get a bit more of an insight as to what works, and what are the strengths and weaknesses of particular products. Here’s a quick snapshot breakdown of the best soft bait reels, according to Greg Hill from Go Fish Tackle in Auckland, across a range of price points for the upcoming season.

Soft bait reels get a hard life, constantly working, wet and often not cared for, here's our top 8 best soft bait reels for NZ regardless of price or brand, these reels represent the best value for money and performance (rated in no particular order) 

We've left out line capacity as they all have at least 150m plus backing capacity of PE:1 or PE:1.5 (10-15lb) which is recommended for best practice soft bait fishing.

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1: Abu Roxani 3000MSH reel

Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
lineal retrieve: 96cm
Max Drag/Strike: 5.2kg
Drag material: carbon
Body material: alloy
Weight: 242g
Bearings: 6+1 
MSRP: $239.90 

What we like.

Carbon drags
Salt shield bearings
Carbon handle, EVA knob
Constant anti-reverse
line cast/lay with rocket management.

What could be better?

Nothing for the price!

SUMMARY: The new reel on the block, and it's straight up for best value finesse soft bait reel in NZ. 

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2: Penn Spinfisher 2500 VI

Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
lineal retrieve: 84cm
Max Drag/Strike: 6.8kg
Drag material:Carbon 
Body material: Alloy
Weight: 303g
Bearings: 6
MSRP: $219.99

What we like.

Carbon drags
IPX5 water proof sealed
Kayak friendly, dunk away!

What could be better?  It's a bit heavy, but Hey!

SUMMARY: Best value for a hard out Kayak reel, release date Oct 2018 

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3: Shimano Stradic 3000FK

Gear Ratio: 6:1 
lineal retrieve: 88cm
Max Drag/Strike: 9kg ( a bit over enthusiastic on that rating !)
Drag material: felt
Body material: Alloy
Weight: 230g
Bearings: 6+1 
MSRP: $269.95 

What we like.

Braid bail 
light weight, don't bother with a CI4 
Worm drive, smooth with lots of torque
Spool taper for ease of casting

What could be better?

The felt drag washers tend to fail after a few good fish.
line roller bearing not replaceable in bail (whole roller unit required).

SUMMARY:  If you're a "Team Shimano" member this is the best value in their range, but buy a replacement carbon drag upgrade for best performance.

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4: Daiwa BG 3000

Gear Ratio: 5.6:1 
lineal retrieve: 95cm
Max Drag/Strike: 7kg
Drag material: Carbon 
Body material: alloy
Weight: 306g
Bearings: 6+1 
MSRP: $249.95 

What we like.

Strong gear box
Ridgid body
Non magseal

What could be better?

Braid friendly bail missing
loose the anti reverse lever.
A tapered spool lip would be better for distance
If it did have all of this, it would be a different model!

SUMMARY: A bit agricultural, but all the same a solid reliable reel, not 100% braid friendly. Would suit light jigging more but awesome value for money at the lower end price point

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5: Shimano Twinpower 3000  XD

Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
lineal retrieve: 88cm
Max Drag/Strike: 11kg
Drag material: Felt
Body material: Ci4 
Weight: 235g
Bearings: 9+1 
MSRP: $649.95 

What we like.

G Free body, for smooth for oscillation
ARC spool lip for casting ease
Water labyrinth system ( weather proofing)
Smooth as silk!
 

What could be better?

Nothing unless it was free!

SUMMARY: Stunning reel with a smooth level-wind drive for effortless torque, almost the equal of a Stella, small salt water Shimano's  could stop here.

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6: Penn Fierce II 2500

Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
lineal retrieve: 84cm
Max Drag/Strike: 3.1Kg
Drag material: Felt
Body material: Alloy
Weight: 274g
Bearings: 5
MSRP: $139.95

What we like.

Alloy body
Thick bail wire
Nice balance for budget reel
Good bearings

What could be better?  More drag would be nice, the Fierce 3000 has another 1kg

SUMMARY: Best value budget reel, better than the price

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7: Penn Clash 2500 

Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
lineal retrieve: 84cm
Max Drag/Strike: 5.2kg
Drag material: HT-100 carbon
Body material: alloy
Weight: 240g
Bearings: 8 Sealed stainless steel ball bearing
MSRP: $299.95 

What we like.

Carbon drags
Sealed ball bearings
CNC cut gears
Chunky EVA knob
No anti reverse lever.

What could be better? One piece braid bail should be improvement for the price.
Line lay is flat, ideally needs a spool taper

SUMMARY:  Best value for a $300-ish reel tough and ready to go, carbon drags good bearings and CNC cut gears

What another Penn!, you are thinking? well yes they have lifted the game.

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8: Daiwa Certate 3000 2016

Gear Ratio: 4.8:1
lineal retrieve:  81cm
Max Drag/Strike: 7kg
Drag material: fFelt
Body material: Alloy
Weight: 265g
Bearings 10+1
MSRP: $799.95 

What we like.

Real four gearbox
Digi gear
ATD drag progression

What could be better? Has flat line lay
Spool front taper 
Mag seal oil should be available
Carbon drags

SUMMARY: Thinks it's a baby Saltiga.

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Thanks to Greg from Go Fish Tackle.  You can find them here: https://www.gofish.co.nz/

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