Entry level reels

Discussion in 'Center Pin Fishing' started by Duck-Hunter, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Duck-Hunter

    Duck-Hunter Staff Member Mods

    Messages:
    3,614
    Likes Received:
    1,076
    Location:
    SE MI
    I'm going to pull the trigger on a centerpin, it's about time. Tired of messing around float fishing with spinning gear. My question is what would the experts recommend for a good entry level reel? I have three in mind. If anyone has experience with the reels I have listed below feel free to post some feedback.

    Okuma Aventa
    Raven Helix
    Raven Matrix

    Out of these three which one would have the best start up? Thanks in advance for the help. Can't wait to get into center pinning after kicking around the idea for a long time. Already shopping for blanks I plan on building my rod.
     
    Steve likes this.
  2. flyrodder46

    flyrodder46

    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    1,432
    Location:
    Fort Wayne, In.
    I can not help you with the first two on your list, but have owned a couple of different Matrix reels in the past. Nothing wrong with the ones I had, both were the SE series and performed well, start up was fairly good.
    If you are looking for something that will last, check out the Islander Steelheader reels, new they are only a little more than the SE reels and you can find them used for around $400 most of the time. One of the best on the rivers in my limited opinion is the John Milner reels and you can find them occasionally use for about the same money.
    If you are looking for a great blank for the Michigan rivers check out the Batson Rainshadow 1562, it is a 13' 6-10# blank, I also have a 1563-4 which is a 13' 6-12# 4 pc. blank that I really like. It gets used now more for Salmon than Steelhead, but works well for both.
    Good luck on your search, and welcome to the "dark side".
     

  3. michigandrake

    michigandrake

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    Whitehall, MI (Luther in the fall)
    My starter setup was a Aventa & a Shimano Clarus. Helped me learn the ropes without breaking the bank. Still use this combo today as a boat rod and it still catches fish. Startup on the Aventa is just OK but runs fine after that.
     
    jd4223 likes this.
  4. BMARKS

    BMARKS

    Messages:
    472
    Likes Received:
    479
    Location:
    Sanford
    i just got my first centerpin. i went with the amundson trend iron header. it is a nice reel as far as i can tell. does the job good for me very smooth with almost no startup inertia. i like the reel for the price.
     
  5. Chromedoggy

    Chromedoggy Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,269
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Howell
    The Matrix reels have considerably better tolerances than the Helix and Aventa.
    Any of the 3 would get you started, but you do get what you pay for.
     
  6. wyandot

    wyandot

    Messages:
    1,057
    Likes Received:
    757
    Location:
    Cheboygan
    I wouldn't worry too much about the start-up unless you fish a lot of really slow water. Personally, I didn't care for any of the smaller reels I owned regardless of brand. I would recommend the 5" Matrix or 51/8" special edition Matrix.
     
  7. Duck-Hunter

    Duck-Hunter Staff Member Mods

    Messages:
    3,614
    Likes Received:
    1,076
    Location:
    SE MI
    Thanks for the input, I already planned on going with rainshadow. Just couldn't make up my mind if I wanted the XST1562 (13') or XST1382(11' 6").

    Then planning on building a XST1563-4 for Kings.

    Thanks for the input from everyone else, that's another thing I've been looking into is that I want a larger reel. I already know the route this is going to go, going to end up with a starter then upgrading shortly which I'm cool with so I will have a backup rig or not have to swap out reels between salmon and steelhead fishing.
     
  8. AdamBradley

    AdamBradley

    Messages:
    1,001
    Likes Received:
    382
    Location:
    Novi, MI
    Like others have said, and it sounds like you have acknowledged, it is a “trial” that will probably stick. Of any of the 3 you will find yourself wanting to upgrade. But with that said, I started with an aventa then shortly thereafter upgraded the bearings, and found a trick to lightly threadlock the screw in the sweet spot. It was then a great performer. Looking back at it, the startup was on par with my Milners I know run.... but the other nuisances of diameter for faster pickup, stronger clicker so your stuff doesn’t unwind as your bouncing down the trail, and the increased weight of Milner balancing a rod tip weight better, and the quick reach and slap of the clicker lever opposed to rotating or sliding a knob - that kind of stuff functionally was missing. From a “picky” stance, the lack of slop In handles and spool, and just the classy authentic look of milners is what has me in love with them.... not saying you have to skip those and get a Milner/Paine falls/etc..... but good used deals come along. Just as an example, a guy was selling some unused colvilles for about the same price as a matrix xl on centerpintalk here recently.

    So just my two cents.

    For a short answer if you are set on getting one of the 3 I’d go with the matrix. They seem to feel better in hand with a slightly stronger clicker, and if you decide to sell, they seem easier to get offloaded.

    As for having a backup reel, I do own two reels, and that is it at the moment. I’ve never needed to go to my backup in the past 4 years, and honestly I only own it because we rig two rods/methods for a trip I take west each year. A backup rod is far more likely to be needed. I have needed mine unfortunately a half dozen times or so.

    A 1562 is an awesome choice for sure. Out of 4 of us fishing in the boat last weekend, 3 were running 1562. A lot of guys own them for good reason.

    Haha and as Denny has said - welcome to the dark side!
     
  9. Bob Hunter

    Bob Hunter

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    218
    Another consideration is how the reel feels in your hand,if you have the opportunity put the reel on a rod and see if it feels comfortable, if it doesn't you probably won't like it as much. Some reels have more of a rounded spool edge while others are more squared off. The feel and shape of the handles can differ also and be more comfortable than others. I personally like a larger diameter reel in the 5" range to pick up line faster while retrieving and when a hot fish is running straight at you. I also also prefer a reel with finger holes for reeling in, I rarely use the handles except when fighting a fish. My only complaint with my Matrix is a weak clicker which has got worse over time, I have to put a rubber band or a hair tie on my rod handle below the reel and loop one end over one of the handles to keep tension on it while in transport.My Okuma Raw 2 had the strongest clicker of all the production reels I have owned, but it was a smaller reel like the ones you have listed.
     
  10. Duck-Hunter

    Duck-Hunter Staff Member Mods

    Messages:
    3,614
    Likes Received:
    1,076
    Location:
    SE MI
    Thank you to everyone and their information, greatly appreciated. I think I'm going to pull the trigger on either Aventa or raw 2. Kinda over looked the raw 2. Strong clicker is definitely a plus. Also orange happens to be my signature color lol.
     
  11. brian0013

    brian0013

    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    131
    My first was a classic drifter from rapala.awesome reel and easy to work on great startup classic look at a great price.i love okuma rods but not the reels Imo if your going to spend 200 might as well spend 300 and get a quality reel .seen a couple islanders out the on the float forums