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Reel for winter steelheading


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32 replies to this topic

#1 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:44 PM

I am thinking about finally getting more serious about fall/winter/spring steelhead fishing here in Michigan. I've picked out the rod I want to build (a 10' 7 wt.), and now I'm pondering which reel to pair with it. I read an article today in which the author (an experienced Great Lakes steelheader) recommended a reel with a fully sealed disc drag. His argument was that the seal would keep water from entering the drag housing and potentially freezing in cold temperatures, thus rendering the drag useless.

 

I'd like to hear from some of you guys that fish through the winter (that's real winter, with below-freezing air temps and snow, :) )--do you agree that a sealed drag is a "must"? Have you ever had a non-sealed drag freeze up on you in cold weather? How likely is this to actually happen?

 

Thanks as always for any guidance--

 

Bryon

 


"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman


#2 steeldrifter

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:58 PM

Yep sealed drag is best for a winter steelhead rig. I've had non sealed ones lock up tight on those real cold days steelheading after a dunking of the reel in water. Keep your eye's on ebay for an old Harris Soiltude IV if you want the best winter steelhead reel ever made IMO. I used mine for about 15 yrs of winter fishing and selling it a few years back was probably the dumbest thing I ever did, outside of a few women whom shall remain nameless laugh.png


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Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doin, than a long life spent in a miserable way- Alan Watts

 

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#3 Bruce Derington

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 05:09 PM

Yep sealed drag is best for a winter steelhead rig. I've had none sealed ones lock up tight on those real cold days steelheading after a dunking of the reel in water. Keep your eye's on ebay for an old Harris Soiltude IV if you want the best winter steelhead reel ever made IMO. I used mine for about 15 yrs of winter fishing and selling it a few years back was probably the dumbest thing I ever did, outside of a few women whom shall remain nameless laugh.png

Yah, I agree on those Solitudes, got my two right out Craigs Harris's shop, and they are still running strong! Sealed drags are a must. Frozen eyelets are a bigger problem, and yeah I know about all the things to be done about that, but on those cold days, I'm dipping my rod tip constantly.


Bruce Derington


#4 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 09:15 PM

Thanks Steve and Bruce, that's good to know. I'm looking at this one; it's sold under the Cabela's brand but I believe it's a Lamson reel:

 

https://www.cabelas....16.uts?slotId=7

 

Bruce, could you share some of your tips for dealing with ice buildup in the guides? My only solution to that at present is not fishing when the air temp is below 32 Farenheit. :)


"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman


#5 Rocco

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 09:55 PM

Bryon,

 

I'd look intp the Redington Behemoth 7/8 too.  It not only has a sealed drag but one that has stood up to some pretty rigorous use in the salt too on bigger fish. Near the same price point and will be around for spare spools etc. Cabelas fly gear is likely going to get lost in the BASS PRO merger.

 

I have a bunch of the Behemoths in 5/6 through 9/10.and like them a lot. But then,  IMO ice in the guides is God's way of telling you to go home.

 

Put a fightmg but on that rod. That way you can two hand cast with it and fight fish with the butt in your gut w/o jamming the reel in your heavy clothes.

 

Good luck,

Rocco



#6 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 10:19 PM

Bryon,

 

I'd look intp the Redington Behemoth 7/8 too.  It not only has a sealed drag but one that has stood up to some pretty rigorous use in the salt too on bigger fish. Near the same price point and will be around for spare spools etc. Cabelas fly gear is likely going to get lost in the BASS PRO merger.

 

I have a bunch of the Behemoths in 5/6 through 9/10.and like them a lot. But then,  IMO ice in the guides is God's way of telling you to go home.

 

Put a fightmg but on that rod. That way you can two hand cast with it and fight fish with the butt in your gut w/o jamming the reel in your heavy clothes.

 

Good luck,

Rocco

Thanks Rocco -- actually, the Behemoth was the first reel I considered, as it appears to be an excellent value for the money. However, I can't find anything--including on Redington's website--that says that the drag is sealed on that reel, and I found one article that specifically says that it is not sealed. Have they changed something for 2019 that just isn't widely known yet?


"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman


#7 steeldrifter

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 10:29 PM

Haven't had any exp with that Cabelas reel Bryon so I cant comment on that with any first hand exp with that one. Looks pretty decent though and says the drag is 100% sealed so sounds good.

 

Far as iced up guides and what you can do, Pam cooking spray is a winter steelheaders best friend smile.png The silicone in the spray helps to prevent....well,let me rephrase that. Helps to DELAY ice build up in the guides. In 20 yrs of winter steelheading I have yet to find a product that will "prevent" ice in guides lol. The spay helps though.

 

I always said one of these days I'm gonna build a series of steelhead rods with batteries in the grip and heated guides, then I'll be able to retire off the profit from the GL guys alone smile.png


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Owner- Steve Clark
Midwestcustomflyrods.com


Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doin, than a long life spent in a miserable way- Alan Watts

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=je3rQevW-cw


#8 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 11:17 PM

I always said one of these days I'm gonna build a series of steelhead rods with batteries in the grip and heated guides, then I'll be able to retire off the profit from the GL guys alone smile.png

 

I would absolutely buy one of those lol!

 

Thanks for the tip on the Pam spray -- I'll give that a try. :)


"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman


#9 Dave G.

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 06:33 AM

Also watch what lube you use on the bearings and spool shaft. Years ago I used a lube from the Penn reel manufacturer and it would freeze up or at least gum up so thick you couldn't reel in the spool in freezing weather. One 17 deg day ( it wasn't 17 when I left the house but ended up there) I ended up hiking back to my car with the line looped around my neck and shoulders, Couldn't remove the spool, couldn't reel it in etc.. And that was a click drag reel. I've been using a hobby store synthetic oil lately on my reels that is compatible with plastic or metal. It has to be applied more often though. Course too i'm getting older and tend not to fish in 17 deg weather at all, in fact not all winter anymore.


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#10 fishinguy

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:29 AM

I've had good luck steel heading with my lamson. Can't say for sure I've dunked the reel in significantly sub freezing temps though. Chap stick on the guides is an alternative to the Pam. And something you might be more likely to have on hand in cold weather.

#11 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:45 AM

Chap stick on the guides is an alternative to the Pam. And something you might be more likely to have on hand in cold weather.


Good to know about the chap Stick- I usually have that stuff on hand all winter anyway. Thanks!

"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman


#12 xvigauge

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 02:54 PM

IMHO, if it's that cold, it is just too cold for fishing. Instead of investing in a new rod and reel, I would use the money and take a long Florida fishing vacation.
Joe

#13 steeldrifter

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 03:04 PM

IMHO, if it's that cold, it is just too cold for fishing. Instead of investing in a new rod and reel, I would use the money and take a long Florida fishing vacation.
Joe

 

Now THAT would be one crazy steelhead to migrate all the way down to FL biggrin.png


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#14 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 07:08 PM

IMHO, if it's that cold, it is just too cold for fishing. Instead of investing in a new rod and reel, I would use the money and take a long Florida fishing vacation.
Joe

A nice thought -- but I doubt that the $300 or so that I'll have in the whole outfit when it's done would even get me down to Florida! smile.png

 

Winter is just part of the deal here -- a big part at that. If you're a regular guy like me, you either fish in the cold, or you find a new pastime for 5 months of the year, and, well...you can only tie so many flies. :)


"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman


#15 steeldrifter

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 07:37 PM

Yep. All kidding aside..... I love fishing winter steelhead a few times a year. It's just pure peace and solitude on a river with the woods covered in snow. Its amazing how peaceful it is and how you can hear every little thing because of the snow.


mcfr.jpg
Owner- Steve Clark
Midwestcustomflyrods.com


Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doin, than a long life spent in a miserable way- Alan Watts

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=je3rQevW-cw