Shimano TLD25 – The best lever drag reel ever made

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There are many reel manufacturers and so any models of reels to choose from made from different materials and using different technologies.

The Shimano TLD 25 is a basic and simple reel with a graphite body and an aluminium spool.

There may be stronger and higher technology reels on the market but there is no reel on the market that can give you so much for the small amount of money that a TLD 25 costs.

The TLD is bullet proof, reliable, lasts forever and maintenance is low, whilst spare parts are available they hardly ever break and just keep going and going year after year, fish after fish even when they are abused and not cared for.

So the reason I say it is the best lever drag ever made is because you get so much reel for your money, simple, reliable, longevity and low maintenance for a very long time along with good performance fish after fish. No other reel on the market can give you so much bang for your buck.

Shimano TLD 25 is best spooled with 600m of Sufix 15kg Big Game mono filament line. Mine are paired with the Shimano 7ft Beast master boat rods.

The TLD Single Speed series has 3 models, all equal in what is said above, the 25, 20 and 15.

Shimano_TLD_2_FB_2017 2Written by Mike Laubscher

My Transkei Trip 2018

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On my recent trip was to the Transkei there were two setups that I took with me. My first setup was my trusty Technium Surf Elite (medium) and my Saragosa 20000, loaded with 40lb Sufix 832 braid. My second setup was my Technium Surf Elite (medium) with my Trusty Torium 30, spooled with 600 meters Sufix 832, 40 lb as backing, with 0.55 Sufix mono, top shot.

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On my throw bait setup I was targeting Hammerhead and Grey Sharks. I was throwing Mackerel baits. With this Saragosa and Technium setup, I managed to get great distance with my cast.  It didn’t take long for me to get my first bite and shortly after I hooked a beautiful HammerHead Shark. I managed to get the fish to the rocks in about 10 minutes. With Sufix 832 I managed to put a lot of pressure on the fish and I knew that the braid could handle some foul rocks. Once landed the fish was quickly measured and sent back unharmed. I caught two hammers this morning with the biggest being 122cm (25.4kg).

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I also got a lot of pleasure, helping young Nathan, to fight a Hammer that I had hooked. His enthusiasm and excitement is what fishing is all about.

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On my sliding setup, (Tourium 30 on Technium) I was sliding a whole Bonnito. I managed to hook into a good size Blackfin Shark. After fighting it for about 20 minutes, and with numerous jumps, it managed to cut me off on the rocks.

With the correct tackle, such as the Torium 30 and Saragosa 20000, paired with my two Techniums I was very confident in handling any fish the Wild Coast could throw at me.

Written by Craig Bashford

A bit of Summer in the middle of Winter

I recently returned from a trip to Cairns in Queensland, Australia where I attended a conference. Prior to leaving I decided to take a couple of days’ vacation and explore nearby fishing opportunities. I did some Google searches only to find out that a guided fishing trip would cost a small fortune, so I adopted plan B. I surveyed the surrounding area on Google Maps and to my surprise found a place called Cowley Beach, so I decided I had to go visit my “name sake” spot, approximately 120 km south of Cairns. On closer examination it looked like a remote location with a long deserted beach and a fair-sized estuary. Accommodation at the local caravan park was also affordable, so I was sorted. I packed a couple of rods and an assortment of lures and had my heart set on catching my first barramundi.

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After two days in aeroplanes and airports I arrived at Cairns in the evening and rented a car to travel down to Cowley Beach. Upon arrival my welcome wasn’t that big and nor was my room! This didn’t worry me as I knew I was on a three-day mission to catch a barra. Thanks to a serious dose of jet lag I was wide awake by 3h00 the next morning, so I got up, made a cup of coffee, packed a small tackle bag and set off on my first Oz outing. Without any knowledge of potential dangers (e.g. crocs and snakes) I walked along the beach casting small plugs and jigs along the way, until I got to the estuary mouth. I was told that the pushing tide was the best time to catch barramundi but the tide had already turned before I got there. The strong out-going tide started producing good current lines and eddies, and soon I noticed some nervous bait fish on the surface. I rigged up with a small STORM Gomoku popper and it wasn’t long before a small GT attacked the lure. My tackle consisted of my old faithful SHIMANO Sustain 2500 reel spooled with 15lb SUFIX 832 braid and a two-piece SHIMANO Beast Master spinning rod (SBMEX24XHP) that I was testing for the first time. This 8’2” rod gave me an advantage of casting light lures a good distance – almost across the estuary – and into the action zone when I noticed bait fish. I persisted with the Gomoku popper which soon got engulfed by a good sized fish, and after a first run of about 20m exploded into the air. It was a queenfish of approximately 1m in length. The battle ensued for another 5 minutes with the fish providing a spectacular aerial affair until it came off. My heart sunk to my knees as I had just lost the “bonus” fish of my trip! Hoping that others were still around I replaced the two small treble hooks with a single big treble on the back end, and continued to flog the water. Indeed, it was my lucky day because a little while later I hooked and landed a nice Queensland queenfish of about 60 cm on the little Gomoku popper.

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On Day 2 I decided to go straight to the estuary mouth before first light. We had some rain in the night and conditions had clearly changed. The water was more turbid and the nervous bait fish were absent and didn’t see any chases by bigger predatory fishes. Since I had nothing better to do I persevered and caught a few small GTs. Jet lag had set in so I called it an early day to get some much needed sleep.

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After a good night’s rest I hit the estuary mouth again at first light on Day 3.  I arrived on the full high tide and noticed lots of surface action further up the estuary, which was inaccessible on foot due to extensive mangrove stands and I wasn’t too keen to be wading in waters inhabited by crocs! Patience was the name of the game and it wasn’t long before the action started with a few small GTs which always punch above their weight on light tackle. While having fun with the small GTs using sub surface lures such as the STORM So-Run pencil and soft plastic baits, I notice something break the surface, so I switched back to the Gomoku popper. It was instant action as a shoal of oxeye tarpon moved into the estuary mouth to take advantage of the abundance of small bait fish that were feeding on the plankton in the current lines. I hooked plenty of the aerial acrobats but only landed three of them. This didn’t worry me in the least as I was in heaven, having a blast on a deserted beach thousands of kilometres away from home.

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The arrival of the mosquito squadron at sunset marked the end of my 3-day stay at Cowley Beach. Although I didn’t catch a barramundi, I was certainly entertained by other equally iconic species, and was not disappointed.

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Written by Paul Cowley

Popping Stick for KZN

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Value for money the Talavera TES 70 H is an amazing offshore rod. Paired with my Saragosa 10000, loaded with Suffix 832 65lb, it is a fantastic combination.

The Talavera has a very soft tip but a huge amount of backbone. With the soft tip you are able to target smaller species such as Snoek while the huge amount of back bone,  allows you to target bigger species such as  Yellow fin Tuna,  without worrying about the rod not coping.

The Talervera is a very good popping rod as it absorbs the swing of the rod when casting. It unloads beautifully in the cast which gives you that extra distance you often need.

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I have managed to pull  20kg Yellow fins to the boat  in approximately 3 to 6 minutes with my Talavera.

The Saragosa 10k has a very strong and smooth drag which allows you to put a huge amount of pressure on the reel without your drag sticking.

I have filled my Saragosa with the 65lb Sufux 832. It casts beautifully with Sufix 832 65Lb which has a small diameter for a fairly heavy braid, allowing you to fill 300 m of braid on you reel.

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This combo is not only great value for money but it has never let me down.

 

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Written By Craig Bashford

Winters Coming

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As the season changes into our winter months on the KZN South Coast we get our crispy off shore winds in the morning with very low temperatures which at times leave your fingers ice cold and blue and your bottom lip vibrating like a Rapala!!!! Never the less the ice cold mornings should not stop your motivation for fishing it’s an exciting time of the year for fishing on our shorelines. This time of year we get many good species of fish moving up the coast like the shoals of Shad, beautiful Kob, Garrick, Brusher and fat Bronze Bream feeding in the shallows which makes winter fishing so much more exciting. As the winter months can be challenging at times with big rough sea which can put a lot of anglers off but I’ve been a firm believer not to be a fair weather fishermen as you will find yourself disappointed many times, I’ve learnt to adapt to sessions change and different weather patterns as there are my skills to learn and many different ways of finding good quality fish on artificial lures and good bait presentation.
TACKLE TALK
As the years have passed by, targeting Garrick from the shoreline has become so exciting for me, my knees get knocking as they chase and smash your artificial lures on top of the water there is nothing more exciting. My choice of equipment for targeting Garrick this season is going to be a little bit lighter as I enjoy the challenges of fishing but testing the great quality of Shimano equipment, my first set up is the new Shimano Technium spin fishing rod matched with my old favourite Shimano Symetre 4000FJ reel, my second set is the Shimano Vengeance 8foot rod and Shimano exage 4000FD reel, both of the reels have been topped up with 20lb Sufix 832 Advanced Superline braid which is extremely strong and reliable and has proven it’s quality time and time again.My leader line is is generally about 1.2 meters in length using 40lb to 60lb Double X Super Shock fluorocarbon leader to join my braid to leader line i use the PR knot which I found is perfect to join these two lines as your knot is able to pass through your guides of your rod.
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LURES
Garrick are a sucker for a artificial lure skipping and splashing on top of the surface as they can put up an awesome show at most times,my choice of lures are going to be the Storm Sea Bass Thunder minnow 170mm long 34 grams in weight, Williamson Surface Pro 150 and Rapala X-Rap long cast shallow 140 all of the lures I’m going to be changing the treble hooks to VMC good quality inline singles as they do less damage to the fish and have a better hook up as I release these awesome species of fish.
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GULLY FISHING
As the the ocean swell can change and get a bit rough and nasty it’s the perfect time for me to do some gully fishing also known as scratching, lots of fun can be had finding the perfect white water and deep holes between the rocks, all types of fish can be found in these conditions from fat Bronze Bream, Brusher, Kob, Rockcod and Stumpies. For this type of fishing i just enjoy using my Shimano Exage Surf 110H matched with the shimano Spheros Sw6000 and topped with 20lb Sufix 832 Advanced Superline braid which is the perfect combination for this type of fishing not heavy and not to light. VMC have a wide range of good strong, extremely sharp quality hooks, I’m currently using VMC Chinu eyed 7136 no’1 perfect size for smaller baits like crayfish and prawns for bronze bream for the bigger baits and many different types of presentations I’v really enjoyed using the VMC Sunset Circle 7381 no’4/0 and the VMC Sport circle 7384 no’3/0 as these hooks will find there way into the corner of a fishes mouth without damaging any bone structure or stressing the fish out as we can release the fish for another day to come.
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Written by Justin Alborough

Gearing up for Winter Fishing.

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The Eastern Cape winters can be some of the harshest along the coast of Southern Africa with cold front cells moving up further North during this period they brush our coast line more often than in the Summer months and bring Gail force South Westerly winds, swells upto 6 meters and a severe drop in ocean temperatures with estuaries often having an average of 12C to 14C during the peak winter period.

Although years ago the average estuary angler would merely just service and pack ones tackle away during these cooler months most anglers now fish harder during winter  as often the colder water brings better fishing and by far some of the largest local estuary species are present.

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The estuaries like Gamtoos and Sundays have good showings of dusky cob of which can be caught spinning and trolling. Tidal phases play a massive roll in the feeding habits of the dusky and when the right conditions present itself it can be game on with a short window period producing great fishing.

When targeting these fish in deeper water  I often take 2 to 3 outfits with me to cover all the lure sizes making sure the lures can get to the optimum depths at the right speed.

Fishing 1/4oz to 1/2oz jigs I would use a 6.6ft to 7ft fast action rod. My 2 piece 6.6ft crucial does this job perfectly matched with a 2500 sustain and 15lbs Sufix 832 performance braid.

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My medium outfit would cover the 1/2oz to 3/4oz jigs and plastics range from the 5inch to 7inch sizes. For this I use the 2 piece bassterra 7ft rod. Matched with a Sahara 4000 or similar make reel its an outfit that can land any sized estuary fish with the capability to fish lighter lures as well. The reel I spool with 20lbs Sufix Pro 8 braid and with fishing mixed coral to red bait structure if one does get snagged you often will be able to remove the lure with the heavier braid.

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My heavier outfit consists of my Terez Wax Wing which is fitted with Fuji K series guides allowing braid to flow through the guide easily in tough windy conditions. Seated to it is my Shimano Socorro 5000SW spooled with Sufix 832 braid which any angler knows who has fished it is remarkably strong braid.This outfit is used when the wind and tide is rather strong and fished with 7 to 8 inch plastics on 3/4 oz to 1oz jigs.

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Its crucial that when big fish are around to be able to present a lure to them in the right area where they would be holding and for the lure to drop into the zone through the current correctly and this outfit does that and once a hook up happens the fast action allows a good hook set and plenty of back bone allows the hook to set through any hard facial bone.
Even a 20kg plus fish with the right drag tension will be landed with in 10 to 15 minutes and larger fish who would demand more attention one can turn and lift fish towards the boat to he netted.

Best of luck with the winter fishing and be prepared for a good fish every cast.

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 Written by Chris Schoultz

A New Era of Angling

I have been fishing light tackle boat since the tender age of 8 years old, whether it be on the rivers, the dams or on the sea. Over the years I have come to a conclusion that the sea side of light tackle boat tends to be the most challenging and landing an 80kg diamond ray or 70kg ragged tooth on 4kg line is no easy task. Over the last two years I have embarked on a journey in order to find the best reel and line combination in order to gain an edge on my competitors at local, national and international levels by finding the reel with the smoothest drag and the 4kg line with the strongest pooling capacity with the least abrasion in order to pull the fish that little bit harder and a little faster to maximise my fishing time on the water.

It was in April this year at the annual South African Light Tackle Boat National championships that I found that sweet point between a smooth drag, the strongest spooling capacity and lowest abrasion of the line, and it is by far a combination that is unbeatable. I have owned a pair of Torium 14’s for two years and there drags are smooth as silk, but the issue was finding the correct line to pair with them. SALTBAA (the South African Light Tackle Boat Angling Association) provides line to all the competitors before the championships commence and to my pleasure they supplied all the anglers with Double X 4kg IGFA rated tournament line.

The Double X 4kg line has super high abrasion allowing you to land many fish before having to pull a couple meters of line off your reel and when tested after landing multiple fish on this line, it was still breaking at the same weight as when it was tested before we fished with it, and as a matter of fact it was breaking a little over 4kgs, it was breaking at 4.1kgs allowing the angler to still pull the fish that little bit harder. This is a massive advantage, especially when considering that previous brands of line supplied in the past were breaking at a weight of as low as 2.8kgs! From my personal experience, the Double X 4kg line is by far the best LTB line on the market and definitely takes pole position on the podium.

This line performs even better still if you pair it with the best LTB reels on the market, Torium 14’s. The Drags on these reels is incredibly smooth, so much so that when I was fighting the Diamond rays on the boat I didn’t even realise that the fish was taking line until I looked down at my reels and saw the line peeling off at a rate of knots. If your reels have a rough drag and jerk as the line is coming off the reel, it adds more pressure to the line, and when fighting a large fish with a tight drag, this little bit of extra pressure is enough to cause your line to snap.

The area where these reels and the line impressed me the most is the finals stage of the fight in LTB, a stage that I like to call “the danger zone”. This occurs when you bring a large fish along side the boat in order to bring it on board. This is the point in the fight when you have the least amount of line off your reel and in turn have the least amount of stretch in your line. In this stage of the fight, when the fish sees the boat it will almost definitely make a run and try get away from the boat, but this is where a smooth drag is essential. When the fish turns to run, it adds extra pressure on the line, which at this time has very little stretch and is guaranteed to snap if you are using reels with a poor drag system. During the four day tournament, I landed a total of around 600kgs of fish, 90% of this weight being diamond rays with the rest being made up by raggies and I never lost a single fish in “the danger zone”. My reels by far gave me an edge with their top notch drag system, allowing the fish to make their run and run as hard as they can without a single bit of added pressure on the line.

I can happily say that Double X line and my Shimano Torium reels played a big part in me being 2017 South African U/21 LTB champion. My team (Border U/21A) was placed first and I won the individual section, being named the top angler across the age categories for 2017 and a big shout out has to go to the Rapala VMC team, as without their top notch tackle, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

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Written by Kyle Schmidt

Gomoku Slow Rocker

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I have had a lot of fun fishing with the new Gomoku Slow Rocker. I have used it off the boat as a jig, and also thrown it off the beach and retrieve it like a spoon.

The slow rocker is available in sizes ranging from the small 40g jig, through to the 70g, 90g and 120g.

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The Gomoku also comes in 8 different dual faced, glow and metallic finishes. This giving you a wide rage to choose from, depending on the time of the day you are fishing and water colour.

I have caught some lovely fish while jigging off the boat. They include Shad, Bonnies, Sada Sada and many more.

This jig has a very erratic action as you retrieve it off the bottom with a very fast jigging motion. You can also do big long and slow sweeps to give the jig a different action. You can retrieve this jig fast or slow without it loosing its rolling action.

The 40g jig is also ideal for throwing off the rocks or beach. I have caught Pick handle Barracuda, and shad off the bricks with this jig.

I would recommend this lure to anyone who is looking for some fun and lots of rod bending and Shimano music.

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Written by Craig Bashford

Rapala MaxRap 17cm

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The Rapala MaxRap 17cm is by far my favourite multi species lure of choice. It is a long thin type lure with three sets of trebles. You can cast this lure about 60 to 70 metres. It has a very realistic swimming action. I normally like to retrieve this lure with a sweep of the rod but keeping a constant retrieve of the reel.

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The MaxRap is weighted with two metal balls which give the lure a bit more weight, a good swimming action and a rattle that will bring the fish in to investigate. These weight aqlso move to the front of the lure when casting and assist in getting the lure to fly aerodynamically thereby assisting with the dist you can throw it.

On this lure I have caught some memorable fish that I will never forget.  They include a shad of 6,2kg, a Black tip Kingie of about 6 kg and a beautiful Giant Trevally of approx 4kg. I would recommend this lure to not only shore anglers but also for those fishing deep sea.

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VMC Boat Hooks

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In my fishing career off the Ski boat has been very interesting as much I’ve been disappointed in quality of fishing hooks that are on the market today as all fishermen we all have a favourite hook types and brands which can be quite a heated subject between top anglers.J1

I spend a lot of time fishing off the ski boat for quality game fish species with live bait’s, thread baits and dead baits presented my different traces, my personal best hook has got to be the VMC Inox Stainless Steel 8117s live bait hook in the 4/0 and 5/0 two perfect size hooks for live bait fishing which the 4/0 I use in front of my trace and the 5/0 as my main hook as demonstrated in the photo with no5 wire in between the hooks and 700mm of the same no5 wire attached to the front hook which I finish it off with a no8 power swivel, perfect simple straight forward trace universal for Couta, dorado, tuna and wahoo this trace all depends on the size of live bait been used as I have many different sizes. The VMC 8117S is my number one live bait hook for many reasons, they never rust, always have a needle sharp tip which the tip does not snap off, good off set to the hook and most of all reliable and strong, the beauty of the VMC 8117S if you maintain washing off your traces properly and they are in good condition there should be no reason for changing and wasting traces.

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written by Justin Alborough.