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I would say I’m sorry for all the tarpon threads but I know you guys love it.

I have a TFO BVK IV Reel that I bought for a back up to my Behemoth. What I really like about it is:
- lite for a 12wt at 8.7oz
- large diameter spool at 4.75”
- Seems like it would be easy to palm the spool
- free spinning retrieve, I can probably pick up a lot of line with just one quick spin of handle

What I don’t like:
- weak max drag

I put some fly line on it and put it on a rod to see how the reel drag relates to the real drag to the fish. I think I’m going to measure the REAL drag with some weights just to get an idea. I do kind of like the idea that the drag only gets so tight and that seem like a good thing for poons. Anyone measure this and like a specific pound of pressure? Also what everyone’s thoughts on poon reels?
 

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I will bite I guess, kinda. There are a lot of reels that will get the job done as long a drag is good and it doesn’t fall apart. I don’t really ever buy new rods but I love reels and have a lot of them.

I have 3 12wt’s I use year round chasing big redfish/jacks/poon.

I am a big fan of the super large arbor reels like the nautilus monster/silver king and Allen xla just for how quick you can pick up line.

My opinion on what I have used in the order of what I grab the most.

Nautilus monster- drag is a little weak for a big reel by today’s standards but it has enough pressure to function just fine and has good weight and line pickup.

Allen xla 5( poor mans monster)- bigger diameter and more retrieve than a monster and even lighter, has a much more powerful drag but it does have a kinda crappy startup on the drag so it wouldn’t be my choice if running smaller class tippet. If your running 15lb and up it would be fine. But Allen runs sales on them and I sure did get a new one for $235 shipped.

Tibor pacific- mine was the quick change model(heavier) and it I was to heavy for my tastes, I love tibors a lot but just didn’t like the weight and the smaller arbor meant you had to put like 600-700 yds of backing on it to get a big arbor.

Nautilus CCF 12- pre monster days had a killer drag and super smooth. They should put this drag in a monster. Had a smaller diameter that was just so so.

Colten terrapin- really strong drag similar to the xla and redington behemouth, light weight and bigger arbor than a ccf 12 but I had some service issues that made me sell it.

Redington behemouth- drag that you could stop your wife from leaving you with ( assuming you wanted to). Not quite as smooth as the above reels and not as nice a finish but it sure is cheap.

Cheeky- someone gave me a one of the larger cheeky reels as a present maybe a 575, drag was absolutely horrible for a big reel.

Tibor riptide- to small but great for 10wt.
 

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Max drag capacity isn’t that big of a deal IMHO. You want a smooth, consistent drag.

The reason being that unless you’re running homeboy leaders you can’t put much more than 5-6# of drag pressure on the fish without breaking them off. And even then you run the risk of busting your rod.

That being said, I make no bones about being a Tibor guy and you can’t go wrong with a Gulfstream on a 12wt tarpon setup.
 

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You want a smooth, consistent drag.
AND an "exposed" rim.
You really don't need a reel capable of more than a few pounds of drag.....
That said :) it would be blasphemy to suggest not getting any rod/reel you want because
if fly fishing.......
was just about catching we all would be throwing live bait instead of dead chicken feathers etc...
 

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For a tarpon reel I think the actual strength of the drag itself isn't that big a deal. It's a cool marketing point but thinking that if I crank the drag down super tight it's going to help me land a big fish... debatable. I think I read somewhere you want a max of 2/3 the strength of your tippet. That would be roughly 10-13 lbs up to 20 lb class. I don't know about rules like that, never measured.

What is important is the initial startup inertia. When that big girl takes off and your line comes flying through your hand and hits that point of engagement it better be smooth. You also don't want to fumble around if you do decide to adjust the drag during a fight. Having an adjustment knob that's easy to manipulate is good. Of course learning alternative drag methods like palming the spool is probably best.

Speaking of spools, the bigger the better I think, since the larger the size the more line you can gain per revolution. Pretty handy when she turns back at you or slows down/stops while you're chasing after her. That has to be balanced against total weight if that's a concern. Some people want a heavier reel. Andy Mill wrote in his book about using a huge heavy reel and that it's a tradeoff that allows a lot of line pickup.

Backing capacity is important as well since these things take off like rockets and it might be a while before you can catch up. 250 is probably good. 300 is better.
 

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I went to the Tibor Pacific last year and wont be looking back. At the end of a long fight I tend to crank the drag down and this is where it shines, along with the incredible line pick up rate.
I have fished most mainstream reel companies and the drag is not strong enough for my style of fighting fish.
I got tired of burning my hands pinching the line to the cork.
Abel would be my number two pick.
 

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I don't have as much experience but I went with the Hatch 11 plus for mine. I have only had one real fight with one and it did great.

On a another note I did test it and it lifted like 16 lbs vertically from the arbor to the ground and the weight very gently descended, super smooth.
 

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With the new lighter rods with the faster responsive tip, I have a preference to a reel that is lighter.

1. Agree with startup inertia is important, when the drag is high and little backing is how. I do not want to feel the rod jerked out of my hand, but once you got lots of backing out the line out is the shock absorber. When the backing is far out, you do not want to much stress at the line backing junction, because the reel did not give.
2. Large Arbour. Reel in fast, so the reel handle must be on the right side.
3. Something, I would like to "palm" to add drag.
4. I like to have the cage open for the backing, to allow the backing to dry after I soak the reel.

I added my voice, as I am not sure this last point was covered.

Though my partner (enjoys the saltwater), she is content to keep to bonefish and limited (no) interest to go after large tarpon. So I have two 11wts, that's it. In keep, with this, what I have is ....

A. Abel SDS - I did not like the old Abels (did not fell good to "palm")
B. Danielsson HD - no one else mention this, so I guess I stand out. I have had no issues.
C. Backup is an old Nautilus 12DD. I also have some Nautilus S for my long spey rods. I am always watching for another 12DD or even a much smaller Nautilus 8 (for a smaller trout spey).

When I had a choice for Nautilus versus Abel, I like the feel of the new Abel.

Never fished the Tibor Signature, nor palmed it, so I do not know if I like or not like its feel. I know there is a near cult following here for them (like Hardy on Spey rods).

Islander is an honourable mention.
 
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Tibor Gulfstream gets the job done for me. I’ve been known to hang a Tibor Pacific on an 11 or 12 weight as well.
 

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I have an Abel Super 12 that I put on my 12wt that has been great for tarpon. The reel has held up for years and I’ve never had any problems with it. I have a 3Tand TX series for my 10wt that I bought because Didn’t have much money to spend on a reel at the time, but it has been a decent reel. I’ve heard from some people that 3Tand reels tend to break down over time, I haven’t had that happen but will probably get another Abel if I have to replace it
 
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