Captain Billy Dahlberg of World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, Key West, Florida favors the Shimano Tekota Level Wind reel. This reel features a level wind that doesn't disengage and a die-cast aluminum frame and spool. Like many newer conventional and baitcaster reels, it has anti-reverse for solid hooksets and a clicker for freespool tension.
Dahlberg's next go-to reel is the Shimano Calcutta. The Calcutta has anti-reverse, cold-forged aluminum frame, side plates and spool and anti-rust bearings. It's rated for mono, fluorocarbon and Powerpro lines.
Penn AF series
The Penn AF series reels are an outstanding choice for the saltwater fisherman who loves to haunt the Florida flats, the east coast inshore waters for stripers, or even freshwater favorites.
They have full-metal bodies, worm gear oscillation and stainless steel ball bearings, and are excellent for catching large fish on light lines. They function best with super-braid lines.
Captain Billy highly recommends them. He says, "They are light, durable and have great drags."
Penn 320 reels
The Penn 320's most noteworthy feature has to be the lever drag system. Captain Don Davenport of Ocean Charters in Westport, Washington says he loves the lever drag's consistency. He says the lever drag cuts down on the time it takes to land tuna by about 10 minutes per fish.
Penn 114HL or Senator Series
Captain Davenport also uses this reel for chasing halibut in the Pacific Ocean. He says the Penn 114HL or as it is known locally, the six ought, carries from 1,150 to1,200 feet of Powerpro line and is virtually indestructible. The 114HL is replaced by the Penn Senator series of saltwater reels.
Red Pig 80w saltwater reels
Want to chase swordfish or giant bluefin tuna? Try this popular two-speed saltwater reel. Red Pig manufacturing says it holds more than 1,000 yards of 130-pound test braided line. They mill this large reel from aluminum bar stock. It has anti-reverse, stainless steel sealed ball bearings and stainless steel gears and shaft.
Van Staal VSB series saltwater reels
These reels are favorites among saltwater tournament fishermen. They have titanium bails and an exclusive sealed waterproof lockdown drag that shuts the fish down cold with 30 pounds of braking power. The Van Staal pro team that uses these fine reels includes William Muller, Brian Ritter and Iron Mike Everin.
Mitchell 300X reels
Mitchell manufactured the world's first spinning reel in 1948. This progeny of an old-timer is a light tackle spinning reel used for fresh or saltwater fishing. It has a one-of-a-kind spool design that lets you change spools without altering the drag setting.
Penn Slammer 460 spinning reels
This Penn favorite of charter captains and guides is a heavy reel made with a stout aluminum alloy and extra-heavy shaft. It has a large drag-washer that provides for smoothness and fish-stopping power.
Accurate BX2 Boss Extreme reels
This reel has two speeds and is relatively small for a saltwater reel, but is poised to be one of the best-selling saltwater reels on the market. It comes with the patented TwinDrag system, a large capacity spool, titanium friction washers and stainless steel gears.