Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

By Joe Cermele Between getting jammed with sand, slammed on the rocks and corroded by constant whitewater poundings, you'd be hard-pressed to put a reel through tougher conditions than those presented by the roaring surf. But as technology continues to advance, reel makers keep building reels that can stand up to those challenges, and none do it better than these four. Here are our picks for the best surf reels of 2007.Joe Cermele
Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Baas Buster
Reel: ZeeBaas ZX2
Price: $1,300
While his debut model, the ZX2, is currently available with a bail or dual line rollers and with an oval or round handle, ZeeBaas founder Rob Koelewyn's goal is to provide all the pieces so anglers can make on-the-water adjustments. The reel can accommodate six different spool sizes for varying situations, with the ability to make quick modifications in a pinch. Bottom line: you buy one reel that is just as efficient on the beach as it is in the canyons. Offering up to 35 pounds of pressure, the fully sealed, dual-gasket drag can be adjusted with your thumb, while the corrosion-resistant finish meets military specs. When it came to creating gears, Koelewyn consulted with aerospace engineers to ensure his reels would operate quietly and be able to handle both fish and the environment. Best of all, the ZX2 is designed to be maintained by the owner. Despite literally throwing it in the sand and dunking it in the salt without a fresh-water washdown, our test crew has been unable to find a flaw or get the reel to malfunction. Visit www.zeebaas.com.
Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Killer Combo
Reel: Van Staal VS275
Price: $729
Combining the trimmed rotor cup of the VS300 and the body of the VS250, the VS275 is a dream machine for surfcasters who dig watching giant bass smack topwater lures. With a higher retrieve rate than other models, this reel is ideal for working pencil poppers. But if you need to drag rigged eels, it can easily switch to a slow-as-molasses pace. For added comfort and control, Van Staal went ahead and stuck the oversized handle from their bailed models on the 275, offering a wider surface for a better grip whether you're fishing with bare hands or gloves. Like its big brother, the 300, this new addition to the Van Staal lineup holds a whopping 675 yards of 50-pound braid and still weighs only two ounces more than the slightly smaller VS250. The VS275 is crafted from high-grade titanium and steel, and features the company's proven sealed-drag system—trusted by big-bass hunters from the rocks of Rhode Island to the sands of the Outer Banks. Visit www.vanstaal.com.
Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Long Gone
Reel: Daiwa SASURF30 Saltiga Surf Conventional
Price: $400
Although Daiwa released its high-end Saltiga spinning reels with adjustments for the surf angler in 2006, the company's new conventional model really grabbed our attention. When we fastened this reel to a Saltiga Ballistic rod, our lures were going, going, gone—right into the strike zone beyond the breakers. Equally capable of launching pyramid sinkers and bait chunks, the Saltiga Conventional's spool is constructed of lightweight aluminum that features a centrifugal brake. The reel sports a frame and sideplates of machined bar-stock aluminum, while the drag is made of grease-impregnated graphite and stainless steel. If you're a conventional surf-reel aficionado, the Saltiga may be the last reel you buy—it will practically last forever. The only problem we had was that we couldn't always see where our lures splashed down. Visit www.daiwa.com.
Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Bull Penn
Reel: Penn 750SSm
Price: $130
Penn recently stepped up with the new 750SSm reel. Capable of holding 250 yards of 20-pound mono, the model features a sealed drag knob and a tough infinite anti-reverse. During a test, the reel whipped blues and beached stripers. The level-line wrapping feature kept our 40-pound braid even on the spool whether we were cranking metals at high velocity or slowly bumping shads over the bottom. It was versatile, too, working just as well on our ten-foot heavers as it did on our eight-foot jetty sticks. Between the five ball bearings and a corrosion-resistant handle, the 750SSm is a true workhorse. Visit www.pennreels.com.
Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Surf & Jetty - Reels of Approval

Cult Classics
Check the flea market for hardcore vintage gear. Surfcasters prize certain reels for their timeless efficiency. In particular, Penn Spinfisher models 710, 706 and 704 from the 1960s through mid-'70s are famous for their simple, one-bearing designs that are easy to repair on the water and won't lock up if a little sand gets inside. Dubbed "Greenies" for their bright-green finishes, these reels can handle modern braid and have drags that can beat any cow. Other classics are the French-made Luxor spinning reel and the older Penn Squidder conventional. These antiques often appear for sale online or at neighborhood yard sales. Depending on their condition, expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $300.
"" J.C.