Most know by now I’m a spin angler. Mainly live bait as well. Very seldom do I use artificial baits. So a while back, when I received a reel from Derrick Reece at Strike Tech, I was pretty stoked. You may have seen my write up on the ST30GG model already used; this new reel was the all aluminum model, the ST30AA. Honestly, it took me forever and a day to get this review out and I have to give a big thanks to Derrick for his patience. If I’m putting a review out, truthful feedback must be given and a true beating must be put on the product. Time was an issue, due to not using the product, as tarpon fever took hold of me. In addition live bait fishing is all that’s done during the summer.
This fall, I finally used the reel in freshwater for bass, and just recently, some low tide wade fishing in Tampa Bay.
I don’t want to reiterate all the previous information specified on the product in my review of the GG model, but some background information will be helpful if you didn’t see the previous write up.
Strike Tech reels are geared towards the seasoned or 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 or degree 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 getting a strike. When the hook is set, the spool automatically centers itself and all the angler is responsible for is reeling in the fish. That is the basic explanation in a nutshell.
Of course, I found the basic feature, the LAS of the new ST30AA model to be the same as the GG, but there were differences in other areas. First of all, the reel was lighter due to the aluminum construction, and felt very well balanced. The drag seemed a little enhanced as in terms of efficiency and the retrieve was much smoother than the entry level GG. On the retrieve, I did not notice any wobble when the offset was at max. The reel is very durable and well built, even after I accidentally dunked it slightly in saltwater, the reel works like new. Here is an excerpt for the AA from the Strike Tech website:
“This unique variable action two piece spool allows your lures to mimic the response of a panicking baitfish. Our ultimate high performance reel features a full Aluminum body and side plate for strength, six precision ball bearings. A RES 2 rotor equalizing system combined with the high-performance Carbon Clutch gives you the power to manipulate your lures for the action you require in order to excite the fish… This amazing new offset reel also features bearing infinite anti-reverse for solid hook setting all day long, Titanium E-Plate line roller, air tube positive lock bail and of course the patented Live Action Spool Technology”.
The main lures I used with this model were soft plastics; a Carolina Rig in ponds for bass, and more soft plastics with jig heads on the flats of Tampa Bay. For the last review, with the GG, I used mainly hard plastic baitfish imitations, such as a Mirrolure or equivalent, but no soft plastics in depth. This review that’s all I used. I wanted to make sure this reel was versatile.
With the soft plastics, after I found a good technique between twitching the bait and reeling in, it was obvious the action on the bottom was different. I tend to reel very slowly on the bottom between twitching a soft plastic, and it seemed when the reel was on max setting, an increase in strikes occurred on the reel in, not just the up and down jigging of the lure. This proved true in fresh and salt water. I would have liked to get more pictures of me actually fishing with the product but I was alone during most of the testing.
For both types of fishing I used a medium action IM6 graphite rod with the ST30AA. The reel was spooled with ten pound Power Pro braid and also ten pound Courtland Master Braid, as well as twenty pound fluorocarbon leader. Add to that various sized jig heads and soft plastics as well as bass hooks. I wanted to see if the different braids made any difference and they really did not.
The combo cast well when being put through the paces and I didn’t find the LAS to reset to zero on obstructions, unless hooked into serious cover or major snags. I used the max setting of the spool on most attempts and on a normal sized fish the LAS went to zero every time. On very small fish, the LAS would not zero out all the way, but would come close. When I say smaller fish though, I mean very small, like ten inch trout or bass.
In my opinion, the lines of Strike Tech reels are most beneficial for beginners. It’s a great tool to learn how an artificial lure should be presented when using a standard reel. The user can see what the lure should look like when in use, and then put the spool to zero and imitate the action. Add to that, the fact that it can be a real confidence builder for the novice angler. Plus, a seasoned angler can buy some of the lower end models for the wife and kids, as an example, or anyone who doesn’t fish arties often and they will be able to mimic the bait just as intended.
Overall, I like the innovation of these reels and for the versatility you get I think the price is reasonable. I wish more pictures were available of me using it in saltwater, but the majority of the time I was wading alone. Either way, this reel will catch you fish. Visit www.StrikeTech.net for more pricing information as well as specifications, models, videos and pictures.