Even while fishing reels for bass, walleye and saltwater species continue to evolve, advance and virtually launch into outer space, catfish reels still stake their claim on straightforward descriptors: tough, reliable, simple and powerful. No fuss. No muss. Casts with these reels donâ€™t require the user to read a technical manual. Drags yield line grudgingly, yet smooth as running water. Strap the tool to a favorite rod, load it with line, and simply start catching catfish. Gotta love, too, that some of the best cat reels ever made came into being decades ago; theyâ€™re the same ones you rely on after years and even a whole generation of catfish battles.
While we mostly donâ€™t need to heed such technological â€śadvancesâ€ť as carbonite drags, micro module gears or aerowrap oscillations, some features do give us an edge over our whiskered quarry. Line-counter reels, once primarily the property of bigwater trout and salmon trollers, now offer outstanding advantages for catfish anglers. Imagine marking a hotspot on your GPS, 120 feet behind the boat. With a line-counter reel, you can walk your bait downstream, watching the counter dial up exactly 120 feet, at which point your rod is likely to THUMP from the bite of a big catfish. Even for shore-fishing, a line counter reel offers the advantage of repeatabilityâ€”placing casts at the exact distance from shore where catfish previously ate your bait. Or imagine similar scenarios for drifting or trolling applications. Line counters equal precision; keeping baits in high percentage spots for extended periods.
And who hasnâ€™t delighted in the music of a bait clicker; that audible reel alarm that alerts anglers that a sizeable cat has seized the bait? Nearly every top cat reel has oneâ€”whether itâ€™s a classic Abu Garcia casting reel or a Shimano Baitrunner spinning reel. This key accoutrement has likely lead to millions of fish for Americaâ€™s 7-million catfish anglers. Simple. Reliable. Tough as nails. Gear that just plain works. Itâ€™s all a part of why we love to chase big cats.