All the reels I have are Shimano. From small baitcasting to TLD 30 two speed. As mentioned above they are a quality reel at a reasonable price. One reason I prefer shimano is the drag on the TLD models. It is very smooth and seldom needs the drag washer replaced. The small baitcasting reels like the calcutta need to have drag washer replaced occasionally like any other reel. By the way - for you shimano owners - I was having trouble getting my drag on a calcutta to run smooth. Went by Cut Rate and talked to reel repair guy. He sold me a small container of "Shimano Star drag washer Grease" which according to him was the only grease that would make shimano reel drags work properly. Went home and cleaned out old lubricant and replaced with shimano lubricant and reel drag works like new. He also recommended Remington gun oil for the reel bearings. I used the Rem oil when repairing the drag and had to make some adjustments to the reel it spun so easy I started to get backlashes. The old 3 in 1 oil is not a very good oil for those small ball bearings.
i own a few reels and it seems that most of my go to reels are shimano's. i have accurate platinum's that are great but there boss series still needs more improvement. i have an avet that works well but i seem to grab the shimano digitana when i go after a big amberjack. i keep trying to test the avet out but i have not given it enough time to rate its useability and durability. the blue avet sure is pretty if that counts for anything. the penns that are gold have been trouble free but some of there non gold stuff has let me down. the diawa's that i own are not the top of the line and i am not happy with them. i don't own any okuma's and at this time don't plan on purchasing any. with avet coming into the market place it has made several of the top manufacturers re-evaluate there bluewater lines and make some changes for the better. shimano brought out the toriums and tekota's to stop there errosion of sales to the avet. avet has a strong following on the west coast and that has always been shimano's home turf in the usa. shimano on the west coast. penn's on the east coast and anything goes on the gulf coast....rick
I have sold penn and shimano and repair both for customers all the time, as listed above, buy shimano, shimano tld's are by far the way to go, these guys are 100% correct.
stay away from okuma, shakespeare, diawa and pinnacle and especially quantum. they use inferior parts for the abuse that blue water fish can dish out and parts can be hard to get.
I used to work in the reel repair shop of Cut-Rate, so I would say it all depends on how much you abuse your stuff. First of all, when rinsing reels use low water pressure or better yet wipe them off with a damp rag. Totally rebuild your reels twice a year if possible. Use grease(penn power greese) on gears and maybe clickers, oil on bearings and levelwinds. In the shop they use Reel Scrubber to spray the bearings clean, at home I use brake parts cleaner(a lot cheaper) and spin the bearing on the end of a pencil at the same time. Remington gun oil is great for small stuff but you want something heavier for an offshore reel. I personally use 3in1 oil, it may slow the reel up a bit but it runs smooth. I like Shimanos, but you have to take care of them, I have seen a lot of them that had to be trashed because of abuse. Their tolerances are higher and the drags are smooth. Penns senators on the other hand are pretty much bullet proof. A MAJOR consideration is parts availability. Penn and Shimano are great, as a side note I have been waiting 3 months for jigmaster conversion kits from Accurate. Fishing reels are one small facet of Accurate's business and they treat you like it. I don't believe I would ever buy their product line again because of problems you will encounter getting parts. I have inspected Okumas and they look like quality to me, definately a lot of bang for the buck, however, I am unfamiliar with their parts availability. I am also unfamiliar with Avets, since they have only come along very recently.
Thought I'd share a link that I happened across. I called around and was unable to find a 'cog wheel' for the 20 yr old Daiwa Millionaire that my grandpa gave me as my first saltwater reel. Did a search on the net and ran across these guys.
Schematics for most common reels and quick service.
I went fishing with Rick last weekend and we had 26 rods and reels on the boat (5 were mine). I think we might have taken more if he had more rod holders. LOL We used all but 5or 6. All first class stuff. I especially liked the shimano kaikon 4000t reels with the line counters and the spool lock. it is nice to find where the fish are holding and catch one and drop right back down to the same depth you got bit before. It made a believer out of me. I think the kaikons are like a beefed up trinidad 30. I wish they were easier to get a hold of .
I too have a few reels,have been useing my AVETS for over a year now.They have worked flawlessly,have become my GO TO reels.But the Shimano stuff is top shelf too as are Penn,Okuma is junk from what I've seen,someone brought two of them out on my boat took both home broken(big AJ's).Play with all of them and see what FEELS best to you.Lever drags are something to seriously consider when buying.