Originally Posted by zugbugz
Hi, all...new to the site. Thought I'd tap the collective in regards to value-priced saltwater reels. I'm looking to find a decent 8/9 wt reel with a sturdy, well-performing drag, good backing capacity, good corrosion resistance...one that will stand up well to Bones or Reds. I seem to be fixed on Redington and the Orvis Mach V right now - do any of you have any experience with the AL or AS series Redingtons (a lot of these on ebay right now), the new Brakewater series (large arbor) or CD series (mid-arbor) reels or the Orvis Mach series? The Redingtons sure are pretty to look at, but I wonder if the durability is there. I have experience with Orvis reels (favorable), but not with the Mach series. I love the look and feel of the Abels, Tibors and Ross Big Game, but really want to spend less money! I'm also very curious about Old Florida reels, especially the Nautilus, but I'd be in the same boat as far as price goes with these...any ideas or suggestions? Junk is definitely not an option...just want the best I can get for a good value.
I have four reels upon which I can opine from experience -- the Mach V, Brakewater, Abel BG2, and the Lamson LP-4.
I use the LP-4 almost exclusively for striper fishing in Maine. It has performed flawlessly for me and -- keeping in mind that the largest striper I have caught was only 36" long -- I feel confident, would do the same for you fisihng for reds. You can pick up a virtually new LP-4 on eBay for about $120, $200 with an extra spool.
I use the other three reels for atlantic salmon fishing and had a chance to compare them side-by-side, so to speak, last season on the same trip to Quebec. They, unlike the user, all performed flawlessly, with the edge going to the Mach V, followed by the Brakewater, with the Abel a close thrid. I love to look at the Abel and hold it, but it is seldom my "go to" reel when fishing. The drags on all three perform comparably. I think the Mach V gets the edge because it is light, it is pretty, it carries more than enough dacron backing (I don't like gelspun), and it picks up more line with each turn of the spool than either of the other two. Its a little more expensive ($26 at list) than the Brakewater and considerably less expensive ($110) than the Abel.
I have also owned the Redington AS -- way too heavy and the drag is suspect. If the "AL" to which you refer is the same reel as the Redington/Orvis Battenkill LA, I owned that reel too -- great reel, but not enough backing capacity.
Those are my $0.02. I hope they help you make the right decision for yourself.