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.