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Grouper Reel

Old 07-26-2020, 10:22 AM
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Default Grouper Reel

I'm looking to replace a TLD 20 that I use for grouper fishing. We are now fishing in deeper water, at least for us, of 100 - 120 ft. Up until this point I have been using Ande pink mono in 50 lbs. test. I do use a significant amount of braid but I continue to see instances where mono out fishes braid both inshore and offshore. So I'm looking for a suggestion on a reel that I could use for grouper fishing using either mono or braid in 120 ft. of water. The reel must have a lot of drag to get grouper off the bottom and also not be too heavy. I am considering Avet
but for some reason when I go to Avet's website all I get is confused. I am no longer a fan of Penn reels so let's keep those out of the discussion.
Old 07-26-2020, 10:45 AM
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Shimano speedmaster 2 12 with 80 lb braid. Put 10-15 ft of 80 lb floro above a 60 lb leader. 44 lbs of drag and 2 speeds to crank in low or high.
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Old 07-26-2020, 10:49 AM
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I have an Avet MXL that I’ve had for 5 or 6 years and it’s excellent. I would think the LX or HX series would be great for Grouper fishing as they are larger reels with more drag.
Too bad you gave up on Penn. I have a Fathom 30 2 spd lever drag on an Ugly stix 100-200lb jigging rod that is awesome.
Old 07-26-2020, 11:28 AM
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I just bought a Torium PG16 specifically for grouper. Put 65 pound braid on it with 50' of 60 # mono topshot, then I use 5' or so of 60# fluorocarbon to the hook below the weight. I fish for grouper in 100 - 200' in the GOM. I had continuous break off issues with a Talica 10, even in low gear it would not pull these fish out the structure. On my first drop with the new reel, no kidding, first drop, I got hit the second the bait got to the bottom (120' or so). Started cranking and winched him up off the bottom, a 20 pound red grouper. It just winched him up. I'm sold on it. It is very lightweight and a great deal, under $200.
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Old 07-26-2020, 11:45 AM
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I think the key, which I'm not used to, is to use braid with a topshot of mono and then a leader. Obviously this keeps the braided line out of sight of the grouper or snapper and provides the line capacity in the event you catch something that takes off. Up until now I've been using straight mono which takes a large reel to get that capacity.
Old 07-26-2020, 11:50 AM
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Diawa Saltiga Star Drag 35HA - The best

Braid sucks. I hate it. Mono all the way for grouper/snapper out to 125ft. You don't need line capacity in 125ft of water! Better to restring every season and have fresh line than hold 300yards when your only dropping down 35 yards. It cost 10 bucks to restring with 40lb. Small, light weight, powerful gearing, and drag is far better than some big ass bulky reel that holds a crap load of line that goes bad before it ever hits the water.
Old 07-26-2020, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by OffshoreApparel.com View Post
Diawa Saltiga Star Drag 35HA - The best

Braid sucks. I hate it. Mono all the way for grouper/snapper out to 125ft. You don't need line capacity in 125ft of water! Better to restring every season and have fresh line than hold 300yards when your only dropping down 35 yards. It cost 10 bucks to restring with 40lb. Small, light weight, powerful gearing, and drag is far better than some big ass bulky reel that holds a crap load of line that goes bad before it ever hits the water.
Please tell me how you really feel. Actually good advice and funny.
Old 07-26-2020, 12:06 PM
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I run all two speed lever drags for bottom fishing but star drags definitely hold up to the abuse of high drag better.

If you want a light weight, reasonably priced, durable grouper reel I would recommend the new torium 20PGA. It has a low gear ratio and puts out over 30lbs of drag. I would spool it with 250ish yds of 80lb braid and a 15-20ft topshot of 60-80lb fluoro.

If you prefer all mono I would step up to the 30 size but it will only hold 150ish yds of 50-60lb mono.

I'm in the opposite boat of offshore apparel.
Braid and a topshot is the way to go. It let's you fish tiny reels (not bigger reels) and have extra line capacity when you hook into something you didn't expect. The braid practically lasts forever and instead of respooling my entire reel every year I only replace 20ft of it. Plus running 40lb mono on a reel that puts out over 30lbs of drag isn't the best idea IF you ever decide to use the available max drag (most people don't but I do regularly). Also I can feel every single bump and twitch of the bait in 120ft with braid and a short fluoro topshot. Not 100% necessary to catch fish but it is nice and tell low to no stretch means it's easier to keep the grouper from rocking you up.

the new Shimano speed master would be worth a try if you want to stick with lever drags. For Avet I would recommend at a minimum a JX raptor but preferably an HXJ or HX raptor depending on line capacity needs. But know that with continuous high drag use (30lbs) the crappy pinion bearing Avet uses will eventually wear out and will need to be replaced. If you replace with boca bearings you likely won't have too much trouble out of them.




Last edited by mdees88; 07-26-2020 at 12:15 PM.
Old 07-26-2020, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mdees88 View Post
I run all two speed lever drags for bottom fishing but star drags definitely hold up to the abuse of high drag better.

If you want a light weight, reasonably priced, durable grouper reel I would recommend the new torium 20PGA. It has a low gear ratio and puts out over 30lbs of drag. I would spool it with 250ish yds of 80lb braid and a 15-20ft topshot of 60-80lb fluoro.

If you prefer all mono I would step up to the 30 size but it will only hold 150ish yds of 50-60lb mono.

I'm in the opposite boat of offshore apparel.
Braid and a topshot is the way to go. It let's you fish tiny reels (not bigger reels) and have extra line capacity when you hook into something you didn't expect. The braid practically lasts forever and instead of respooling my entire reel every year I only replace 20ft of it. Plus running 40lb mono on a reel that puts out over 30lbs of drag isn't the best idea IF you ever decide to use the available max drag (most people don't but I do regularly). Also I can feel every single bump and twitch of the bait in 120ft with braid and a short fluoro topshot. Not 100% necessary to catch fish but it is nice and tell low to no stretch means it's easier to keep the grouper from rocking you up.

the new Shimano speed master would be worth a try if you want to stick with lever drags. For Avet I would recommend at a minimum a JX raptor but preferably an HXJ or HX raptor depending on line capacity needs. But know that with continuous high drag use (30lbs) the crappy pinion bearing Avet uses will eventually wear out and will need to be replaced. If you replace with boca bearings you likely won't have too much trouble out of them.
I was hoping you'd show up. I value your opinion especially when it comes to Avet which confuses me terribly.What is the difference between a HXJ and a HX raptor?
Old 07-26-2020, 01:10 PM
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The braid/mono combo is a big part of what you want. the braid backing give you all the line you need on a smaller lightweight reel. The mono give you the stealth that you want. Also the braid make it easier to get to bottom with less weight and also give Mr. Grouper less stretch to get to his hole. So really what you are looking for is a reel that has High drag and is light enough for you desires. I have heard great things about the toriums. I personally like level drag reels, but most of my fishing is trolling. The 2 speed reels do give you winching capability if you are tired.

I would load 60# braid, with maybe 30-40' of 40-50# mono. Make the connection with a FG knot so that it goes through the guides smoothly.

I regularly pull up Aj's from 200' with a spinner mixed with braid/mono. So what you are looking to do should be easy with conventionals
Old 07-26-2020, 01:31 PM
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Keep your Ande line. Add penn 6/0 crank em up
Old 07-26-2020, 01:44 PM
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I use Avet HXJ 5/2 raptors on my grouper charters. Had kids and novices land grouper over 20# using the low gear. Lots of different ways to get it done. Just passing along what works for me.
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Old 07-26-2020, 01:54 PM
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HX series are the all the same size/height and have the same amount of drag. HXJ is a narrow width spool, HX is a standard width and HXW is the wide version. Just like the US senators US113N (narrow), US113 (standard), US113W (wide). I have two HXJ's that I'm probably going to sell on here soon and upgrade to HX's just to get a little more line capacity for tuna. For snapper, grouper, and AJ's the HXJ's are ideal. They hold around 300yds of 80lb braid.

I'm a lever drag guy because I like to know my drag is set perfectly for the size leader I'm using and I like to cheat and use low gear. It is cheating and it is awesome, not going to lie. Perfect for women and children and anytime you want an unfair advantage. But there's a little more maintenance keeping the lever drags in tip top shape, especially when they're getting sprayed with saltwater on the boat ride. I work on my own reels so I don't care.

Originally Posted by thechumbucket View Post
I use Avet HXJ 5/2 raptors on my grouper charters. Had kids and novices land grouper over 20# using the low gear. Lots of different ways to get it done. Just passing along what works for me.
​​​​.

How have your reels held up and how much drag do you typically fish?



.
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Old 07-26-2020, 02:06 PM
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I am a big fan of the penn fathom lever drags. I own a torium pg, Baja special, accurate tern, and still prefer the penn fathoms. The low gear is awesome.

I rig like most here, braid to mono top shot.
Old 07-26-2020, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mdees88 View Post
HX series are the all the same size/height and have the same amount of drag. HXJ is a narrow width spool, HX is a standard width and HXW is the wide version. Just like the US senators US113N (narrow), US113 (standard), US113W (wide). I have two HXJ's that I'm probably going to sell on here soon and upgrade to HX's just to get a little more line capacity for tuna. For snapper, grouper, and AJ's the HXJ's are ideal. They hold around 300yds of 80lb braid.

I'm a lever drag guy because I like to know my drag is set perfectly for the size leader I'm using and I like to cheat and use low gear. It is cheating and it is awesome, not going to lie. Perfect for women and children and anytime you want an unfair advantage. But there's a little more maintenance keeping the lever drags in tip top shape, especially when they're getting sprayed with saltwater on the boat ride. I work on my own reels so I don't care.


How have your reels held up and how much drag do you typically fish?



.
Reels have held up well over last 4 years with just annual service via Triumph Rick. They feel a bit rougher to reel as time goes on, but no performance issues. The low gear performance on grouper over 20# has made a believer out of many people.
Old 07-26-2020, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by thechumbucket View Post
Reels have held up well over last 4 years with just annual service via Triumph Rick. They feel a bit rougher to reel as time goes on, but no performance issues. The low gear performance on grouper over 20# has made a believer out of many people.
Good to hear. Pretty much same experience as me. I've had 5 raptors over the last several years. None of them ever failed but after the first year or so they all felt rougher at very high drags than they felt when new (similar to turning a coffee grinder but not near that bad). This is from the pinion bearing starting to wear out.

I replaced all my pinion bearings with abec5 boca bearings and they're back to feeling like new and have been for a couple years now. They definitely need to be properly lubed straight put of the box. I clean mine yearly but after the first proper cleaning they haven't really needed to be cleane since.

As you mentioned the performance is impressive and they've left quite an impression on everyone that's used them on my boat. The performance far outweighs the litte bit of maintenance they require, to me anyway.....

Last edited by mdees88; 07-26-2020 at 05:13 PM.
Old 07-26-2020, 05:05 PM
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I have used HX5/2s for over 10 years. They work great and have caught some very large AJs, African Pompanos, Blackfin, Grouper, etc., they never fail and the drags are so smooth.
Old 07-27-2020, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by tarpononecharter View Post
I was hoping you'd show up. I value your opinion especially when it comes to Avet which confuses me terribly.What is the difference between a HXJ and a HX raptor?
I second his recommendation on the Raptor. HXJ is a narrower spool, the J stands for jigging" Check the capacities of each and see what you need.
Old 07-27-2020, 07:15 PM
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After looking at the Avet reel specifications there's not much doubt that's the way to go. I'm still undecided between the HXJ and the HX Raptor. The HXJ is a little lighter and less expensive but the HX maybe a little more versatile.
Old 07-27-2020, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tarpononecharter View Post
After looking at the Avet reel specifications there's not much doubt that's the way to go. I'm still undecided between the HXJ and the HX Raptor. The HXJ is a little lighter and less expensive but the HX maybe a little more versatile.
Also, I am 3-4 years in on my Avets and have had no failures or issues with only a service every 2 years. The one issue a lot of people had with them was a quiet clicker, but that has ben fixed.

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