Sometimes not knowing how to do certain things can keep one from pursuing a goal or achievement. I know at times, I get discouraged from a lack of knowledge on a subject, and it definitely affects my confidence. This used to be the case for me when using artificial lures in saltwater, but I overcame this with years of practice and instruction. Not all are like me of course, and some just need a little push or edge to get going. Where exactly is this going you say?
I received a Strike Tech reel from the ICAST show. Strike Tech is a company based out of New Zealand that has come up with a pretty great idea when it comes to fishing with artificial baits. ICAST is all about innovation and the newest stuff on the market; Strike Tech reels are definitely fresh and very innovative, an perfect example of what the show is about.
Geared towards the novice artificial angler, this distinctive reel is said to help with lure presentations, doing much of the work for you; all that is needed is a cast and retrieve. Their reels look like any other, but Strike Tech has designed a unique two piece spool for the reel, what they call a “Live Action Spool”, or LAS. With the spool being a two piece set up, it acts as a cam to alter the action of the lure you are using while retrieving it. The action of the lure is easily adjusted by turning the top of the spool or rotor by hand, to the level of action the angler wants for the lure being presented. The degree of action is clearly marked on the spool base, all one has to do is set it to the preferred amount and cast it out. While reeling in, every turn of the reel provides five pulses or twitches of the line, increasing noise and vibration, escalating the chances of a big bruiser hammering your bait. When a fish strikes, the spool automatically centers itself and all the angler is responsible for is reeling in the fish. Simple enough.
Being wintertime, I busted out the arties and gave it a shot on the flats of Tampa Bay. I wanted to see if this reel actually does what Strike Tech claims. The model I tested was the ST30GG, an all graphite model. The reel is fairly light weight and meshed well with my seven foot Calico Jack rod. With the spool rotor turned for use, the reel looked strange and I thought it would be awkward on the retrieve; this was not so due to the two piece design. The spool base stays centered throughout the range of motion, giving a very smooth retrieve. I have to be honest; I was skeptical of the claims, but became pleasantly surprised. Using a variety of subsurface lures, spoons, jigs and deep diving plugs, I could feel the action created and how it varied by a quick twist of the spool rotor. Every time I reeled a different lure to the boat I watched the action. This thing really worked. When hooking into a fish, the spool rotor did center itself as claimed, and the drag was pretty smooth. The only lure that did not work as it should with this reel was a topwater, so newcomers will have to keep on practicing with that.
Three models of reels are currently manufactured by Strike Tech. All models come in four sizes ranging from light to heavy, accommodating five to ten pound test line, and can be used in saltwater and fresh. The entry level reel, the “GG,” is the one I tested. This reel has a smooth retrieve and drag, but leaves a little more to be desired. The “GA,” has a graphite body with aluminum spool, and is lighter than the GG. The “AA,” is the all aluminum, higher end model, the smoothest and lightest of them all. All have a 5:1 ratio, and 5+1 ball bearings except the GG, which has 2+1 ball bearings. All reels carry a one year manufacturer warranty. Pricing is anywhere from fifty dollars for the GG, to one hundred fifty for the high end AA. The reels are available on the company website, www.striketech.net.
In my opinion this is a great real for the beginner artificial angler, especially children. When all that is needed is a cast and retrieve, fishing can’t get much simpler.