Steelheader or Matrix??

Discussion in 'Center Pin Fishing' started by Steelheadslayer1967, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. Steelheadslayer1967

    Steelheadslayer1967

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    I'm in the market for my first pin and I'm looking at the Raven Matrix xl and the Islander Steelheader. From everything I've read I should go ahead and buy the best I can afford. The Islander is in the top end of my budget but I'm not sure if it's really worth the extra $200. From what I've read, the matrix is a great reel and a strong competitor to the Islander. Just not sure if it's worth it to throw down and other $200 for the Islander. Also, the Matrix is a 5" reel where as the Islander is 4.5", therefore the retrieve will be on the Islander. Does that .5" make a big difference in retrieve speed? Please let me know your input and what might make the Islander worth the extra money. Also, if anyone has any recommendations for a 13' rod around $100 let me know. Thank you.
     
  2. flyrodder46

    flyrodder46

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    I owned two different Matrix reels shortly after I started using Center Pins, moved up to higher end reels the next year. So for my money, invest in the best you can afford to start with and don't look back. There is nothing wrong with the Matrix XL, they will work fine and are a good starter reel. The Islander is a very good workhorse of a reel and almost indestructible, a little more money but well worth it. If you look around a little you might be able to find a Milner Kingfisher for about the same money which would be my reel of choice.
    There is quite a bit of difference between cranking on a 4.5" and a 5" diameter reel after an unsuccessful float downstream, but you will not notice the difference when fighting a fish.
    As for a rod, try to find a Shimano Clarus, 13' 6-12# line. The rod is a 4 pc. with sliding rings and can be used for Steelhead and Salmon with no problem in most Mi. waters. Although they are no longer in production they are a great rod for the money, ($99 new) and one pops up occasionally on the for sale boards. With the sliding rings it will allow you to determine where you like the placement of the reel on the handle for your most comfort when floating and fighting a fish.
    Good luck, and welcome to a great site, and fishing style.

    D
     
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  3. Steelheadslayer1967

    Steelheadslayer1967

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    Thanks! I'll give it a couple weeks before making a purchase so hopefully a milner pops up at a decent price before I buy something else. So far the Steelheader is in the lead. I've read lots of good things about the Shimano clarus and hopefully I can find one. Thank you for all the feedback, it's much appreciated!
     
  4. abbatoys

    abbatoys

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    I like the handles on the islander, just a little more to hold on to. I don't have any info on the matrix xl, but have only heard good things.I have a matrix that I really like, I just don't like the small handles. That Shimano Clarus is about the best rod at the $100 mark you can find.
     
  5. Riverdude

    Riverdude

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    I had a Matrix xl and never cared for it really. Got a Raven T4 and like it much better, $330 shipped.
    That being said, my friend fishes with a custom reel maker who uses a Matrix xl over his own custom reels. Personal preference.
     
  6. Steelheadslayer1967

    Steelheadslayer1967

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    The steelheader won, just checked out with a blue islander. Can wait to see the beast. Now I just gotta find a 13ft clarus
     
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  7. flyrodder46

    flyrodder46

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    Start checking all the float boards and you should be able to find one. There was one up last week, but don't remember which board it was on right now. If I find it I will let you know.

    There is a new rod on eBay that is very similar called a Streamside, 13' 4 pc. $80, but I know nothing about it.

    D
     
  8. Steelheadslayer1967

    Steelheadslayer1967

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    A used lightly used clarus in good condition went up on eBay yesterday so I jumped on it and bought it for 85 bucks. Can't wait to put my new setup to use. Thanks everyone for the input and suggestions much appreciated!
     
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  9. Treven

    Treven Banned

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    I know its a little late, but next go around: Always put more money in your rod than your reel. The 5" Matrix XL that is not ported (do they make this anymore?) is a fantastic reel for the money. If somebody stole all my crap and I had to start over, I would put as much money on the rod as possible. More money pays for a lighter, faster rod that will help you catch more fish compared to the difference between a Raven Matrix and an Islander, or DeMarco, Milner, Colville, Kingpin, etc., etc.

    I am not saying these reels aren't worth their price, they are. The feel and refinement is better the more money you pay. I fish an Islander, 4.5" DeMarco, a 4-3/8" Matrix (wish they still made the basic 5" non-ported Matrix reels), and have had Milners, Mykiss', JW Young Bob James, and can tell you the Matrix reels caught fish just as easily as the other high-end reels. The higher end rods though, have made the difference between hooking some fish and not hooking some fish (power and speed), my arm getting tired quicker (weight in-hand), casting all the way across to a spot - or not (power, speed, and action). With the reel options available today, Raven Matrix or better, your choice of float rod will make a bigger difference on your fishing day-in and day-out, than your reel choice for most conditions.

    Now, if you are looking to fish frog water in OH with 2gr floats and pressured fish, you're reel choices may make a difference based solely on start-up alone. Those situations are a different can of worms...
     
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  10. slightofhand

    slightofhand

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    Islanders for sure. Indestructible at that price range and great resale value. You can probably find a used one also
     
  11. Fishndude

    Fishndude

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    I agree with Treven. All halfway decent centerpin reels work roughly the same. An awful lot of Pinners get caught up in hype, and different "new" brands of reel pop up from time to time, and become all the rage. Their similarities? They all release line with almost no resistance, to allow a drag-free float downstream. Then we manually add some tension to "trot" the line, so the bait leads the rest of the rig. Okuma Aventas do this, and almost as well as the highest-end reels.
    I moved up from an Aventa, to a Matrix (5" LTD, ported) when a great friend bought me one for a Christmas gift. The Aventa needs new bearings, so doesn't get used as much. The Matrix almost immediately had the "click" control break, so I've been fishing it without a clicker since it was new - and don't really care if it ever gets fixed, or not. I'll probably figure out upgrading bearings on the Aventa for a backup/loaner reel.

    If you have a fixed amount to spend, get a decent reel, but spend more on a high-quality rod. They do make a difference, as Treven pointed out. That said, I've never felt like spending the bucks needed for a GLX rod built specifically for pinning. $575 is ridiculous for a rod you will use for float fishing. You can get a rod that will help with faster hooksets for a lot less.
     
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  12. wyandot

    wyandot

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    I've owned a few different high end reels and the answer is yes, there's a noticeable difference in the quality of a handmade Milner and a mass produced Raven. But the fish don't care whether your reel was made by a 75 year old machinist in British Columbia or a 8 year old girl in a Malaysian sweat shop.
     
  13. slightofhand

    slightofhand

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    Even worse is this $599 lamiglass Centerpin rod...what a joke. I can get a custom rod with a high end blank from an established blank builder with my name on it, guide configurations I want, grip position and style that I want for less than that. However you are not going to get anyone to put an entry level pin reel on a high end rod of which you are describing....which is why you see high end reels and rods go together. There are some very nice high end reels with different overall weights, porting, rim designs, clickers that make them all unique and valuable to the person Fishing it. Suggesting an aventa or matrix is comparable to a Colville or kingpin is very misleading
     
  14. Treven

    Treven Banned

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    I’d have zero issue fishing my Matrix on my $599 Lamiglas (they are $699 MSRP, off my tag, if that makes it any more preposterous to you in this situation?) If somebody had only $850 to spend on an all around Michigan bobber rig, I would recommend this combo first and foremost.

    I’m having a custom 12’ Closer built right now too, just spiral wrapped into a baitcaster. But anyway...
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  15. Treven

    Treven Banned

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    The high end reels are only comparable to the low end reels from a catching fish standpoint only. I can catch just as many fish with my Matrix strapped to my “599 Lamiglas” or my 6 custom CTSs as I would with my DeMarco or Islander. Now, you strap my DeMarco or Islander on an Okuma float rod (or St. Croix, or G.Loomis GLX, or custom Rainshadow - I think I covered the gamut there?) and my Matrix on one of my other rods I just mentioned, my Matrix combo with one of my rods will catch me more fish.

    Yup, I prefer high end reels for the same reasons you stated, but when it comes down to it, my choice of rod will make a far bigger difference for landing me steelhead compared to whatever reel I choose.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018