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Penn Fathom: Star or Lever?

Old 03-12-2019, 09:09 AM
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Default Penn Fathom: Star or Lever?

Looking to buy a new budget bottom reel. I've always used star drag for bottom conventional, as I could crank the drag down and it's just a quick flip of the lever to send it back down. However, it seems that many are using lever drags for the bottom, and that also seems to be the only way for me to be able to get a 2-speed reel.

I am looking at the FTH30LD2 or FTH40LD2, but am also open to other reels in that price range. If i wanted to go even more budget, I'd probably go for the Daiwa Black Gold Saltist.

So what say you? Lever drag worth it for the 2-speed? Go with what has always worked with the star drag? Look at something else altogether?
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:30 AM
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You catching monsters that require a lower gear? Ever going to use it for trolling? If yes to either, go for the lever drag 2-speed.

Otherwise, might as well go star drag. Especially if you might ever use it to cast live bait.

Yes, Fathoms are awesome.
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ajgraz View Post
You catching monsters that require a lower gear? Ever going to use it for trolling? If yes to either, go for the lever drag 2-speed.

Otherwise, might as well go star drag. Especially if you might ever use it to cast live bait.

Yes, Fathoms are awesome.
Sometimes hook into decent sized sharks and large amberjacks. May or may not use it for trolling. Main purpose would be bottom fishing for snapper, grouper, maybe a little amberjack jigging in 100-200ft depths. Almost feel that the 30 would be better, sacrifice a little drag for some shaved off weight.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:15 AM
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I have 2 of the 30 lever single speed on our boat. Best reels I have ever owned. Smooth drag. No problem with grouper, snapper or AJ's.
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:15 PM
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So if going lever drag, can anyone recommend the FTH30LD2 vs the FTH40NLD2? The 40 has a narrow spool, but is slightly heavier. Curious as to which might feel better for a day of bottom fishing and jigging.
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by krocks View Post
So if going lever drag, can anyone recommend the FTH30LD2 vs the FTH40NLD2? The 40 has a narrow spool, but is slightly heavier. Curious as to which might feel better for a day of bottom fishing and jigging.
I would go 40 for the narrow spool. I have no experience with Penn fathoms but I own several Avet Raptors. I got 2 HXJ's , a JX, and an SX Raptor. 2 speed is where it's at for big AJs. The HXJs have a very narrow spool and the line lays good on them without doing anything. From my own experiences my lever drags have required more routine maintenance and cleaning than any star drags I've ever owned. The performance gain is worth it though and I enjoy tearing down my reels after each season. I fish 25-30lbs of drag at full on all my reels and they're fished at full drag almost every drop.

Penn fathoms seem to be the best bang for your buck but I think Okuma Andros would be a good choice too.... and they sure look a lot better.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:54 PM
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Love my 25N two speed!
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:22 PM
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I run the Penn Fathom FTH30LD2 on all my rods fishing depths to 300ft. I love them! They work great and haven’t had any issues and they won’t break the bank. I recommend them strongly
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:45 PM
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K Rocks. Check out my very recent and honest review of the Penn Fathom 40NLD2 and see it in action. I'd go with the lever all day every day.

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Old 03-12-2019, 09:32 PM
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I use a 30LD2 for bottom, its great. I set normal drag at the first stop and its very consistent despite constantly flipping to free spool. If you need more line the 40/50/60 is good but the 30 hold 300 yds of 30 lb mono which is plenty even for trolling kings and its a nice compact package.
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:32 AM
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Thanks guys. After looking at reviews I like the narrow spool of the 40 so I'm going to go ahead and go with that, likely pair it with a Bluewater Carnage rod and 80lb braid.
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:58 PM
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I've owned both star and lever fathom. Lever hands down, the star drags are very limited on drag performance.
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by krocks View Post
So if going lever drag, can anyone recommend the FTH30LD2 vs the FTH40NLD2? The 40 has a narrow spool, but is slightly heavier. Curious as to which might feel better for a day of bottom fishing and jigging.

I have the 40s paired with Okuma Cedros XXH Jigging rods and 80LB metered braid. I can fish them all day long. I've taken snapper, grouper, amberjacks, and even a large hammer head and never lost a step. I didn't care for the 30 being so wide. I also have the 25N on a Cedros MH rod for lighter duty.
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by krocks View Post
Thanks guys. After looking at reviews I like the narrow spool of the 40 so I'm going to go ahead and go with that, likely pair it with a Bluewater Carnage rod and 80lb braid.
That's a ver ideal setup =)
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:22 AM
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The main reason I like lever drags is that after every trip, I back off my drags. So for a lever drag, I just put it in free-spool. But for the star drag, you need to loosen the star until the drags are free.
But then next time out, you have to set the drag again.
Granted I do 95% trolling...but its also good when I switch from trolling dead baits to live baiting as then I can set the lever drag to a known lesser position for the fish I'm targeting.
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by krocks View Post
So if going lever drag, can anyone recommend the FTH30LD2 vs the FTH40NLD2? The 40 has a narrow spool, but is slightly heavier. Curious as to which might feel better for a day of bottom fishing and jigging.
We have a few makes and models ranging from the 25N Star to the 40NLD2. All have been great reels for bottom fishing. The 25N Star on a 350g black hole cape cod custom is my go to when jigging deep in strong current say just inside or outside the occulina. Using the star drag makes it much easier for me to keep the jig on the bottom when drift jigging in such conditions. On the other hand, I prefer the 40NLD2 when dropping large natural baits.
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