Chasing daydreams?

My Daiwa 7HT is at least ten years old. Apart from a new pinion gear, it’s original right down to the bearings and drag washers. Owing to my own stupidity the main gear lost a few teeth last week, so I’m about to pension the old thing off. But what to buy?

All that concerns me in a fishing reel is reasonable performance and build quality, sensible price and decent after-sales service. Unfair and narrow minded as it may be, I also prefer to stick with the long established brands. Abu, Daiwa and Shimano, basically. Other reels are probably just as good.

Like practical beach fishing itself, this piece has nothing to do with tournament casting, advanced reel tuning and custom conversions. I make the point not because I’m anti-technology but because I hear from so many fishermen who can’t see the wood for the trees.

A guy emailed me just last night: “I cast about 120yd. I’ve just fitted ceramic spool bearings and they make no difference. Do I need to use special oil as well?” Another one: “My CT backlashes almost every cast even with the biggest brake blocks. Should I get a magnetic reel?”

Given that hardly anyone can fish at 150m, why are we so hypnotised by reel technology – or rod technology, come to that? You can cast a long way comfortably and consistently with something like an ancient Penn Surfmaster 100 tamed by nothing more sophisticated than a drop of gearbox oil.

So many fishermen spend a fortune on all the latest gear in the forlorn hope of gaining another 20 yards. They would do far better to stick with the old kit and invest in a few casting lessons. And by the way, 99 per cent of reel tuning problems disappear as soon as a caster’s skill improves. Fluidity of technique is the most effective spool controller of them all. Meanwhile, I’ll order myself another 7HT, stick in one brake block, and soldier on happily for the next ten years.

8 thoughts on “Chasing daydreams?”

  1. If my Dad was still alive, he could probably make you a new cog. He was a Clockmaker. I’ve sat and watched him actually solder a new tooth on to a cog. He also understood the importance of lubricants and their differences but he never shared that knowledge with me.

  2. Couldnt have said it better.

    My dad and I still use the Ultramag 3’s. You can still tune them up to rival most modern tourney reels but you can pick them up for twenty or thirty quid. People don’t realise that its only when you reach that top tier of tournament casting, when you need to fight and scramble for every extra yard, that you really need to concern yourself with serious reel customisation.

    I use a 6500C3 with a speed bullet and 3 brakes (max I believe) its safe as houses for fishing and I can still put it on a TTR and put a lead over 200yds without a problem.

  3. Repair the reel by replacing the main cog and it will last another ten years. I spent a few quid on my vintage 7ht recently and it must be getting on for 20 years old. I purchased it when they first came on the market. Outwardly it looks a bit battered but it still works fine. Failing that get a new one because the 7ht is still the tops for fishing clean sandy beaches.

  4. I too have a 7HT, I bought a pinion sleeve from blakdog tackle many moons ago and it is still going strong. Like you said John its not the tackle its the angler. I have a friend who is a complete tackle tart and still can not outcast me. It drives him mad when i outfish him too!

  5. I agree with you John. I spoke to Terry a few weeks ago about rods and how the fishing quality of the rod was last thing on most peoples minds over the last decade or more . They heard of these huge distances being achieved and thought if they bought the same rod they could do it as well.
    In the early 70s Les Moncrief hit 257yards with an ABU 484 and 6000 combo. As you say its the technique not just the tackle. The new zziplex glass tip series will become popular because they are fishing rods. Most people with casting “poles ” cant cast and cant fish with that rod. 150yards with bait is still out of range for most anglers. Study your video I say.

  6. Hi John, welcome back. You gave me some advice a while ago,much appreciated.Nice to know you are back in harness, I read your column in Sea Angler, still giving the canny advice, thank you.

  7. Can you tell us where it was published, that Les Moncrieff cast 257 yards with an ABU Zoom 4? Les cast for Hardy Bros. not ABU.

  8. Dave

    It was probably Peter Bagnall if I remember correctly? I’ve got some old ABU catalogues from the 70’s so I’ll have a look.


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