Accurate Valiant BX 300L – B
There is no reason to switch away from quality gear once you’ve found what you like and it works well – I needed a 30lb reel to use for flylining baits and picked up this single speed 300. The reel is tiny and is super light, so it’s surprising that this thing can produce up to 23lbs of drag to help you bring in some quality sized yellows! This is my go-to 30lb setup which is so light it can be fished all day without a problem.
Currently spooled with 55lb J-braid
Accurate Valiant BX-2 400L – B
Picked up another one of these to always have two 40lb setups when fishing for yellows. I hate re-tying when on a boat so a second outfit definitely helps, but this setup also works well with my favorite rod – a Super Seeker D8 which I switch between 30lb and 40lb setups depending on the trip. To be honest, the 2-speed option is overkill on this reel so if I had to do it all over again I’d get the single speed. However, I’ve been on enough trips to know that the ocean is vast and schools of tuna are always around the corner so I guess it’s good to have just in case.
Reel is currently spooked with 50lb PowerPro.
Accurate Valiant BX-2 400L – SBL
The left-handed 500NL was so awesome that I invested in another Accurate reel. This thing is a beast! I managed to hook a small tuna the first time I used it and the reel worked great. I ended up losing the fish (user error) but the reel was solid.
I ran into a free spool issue following my first use of the reel which led me to try out Accurate’s warranty program (free 2 year service warranty from the time of purchase). I sent the reel off with some notes and got it back in about week. The entire reel was serviced and the issue resolved (loose screw). Customer service was/is top notch.
These reels can get pricey but they are completely worth the price. I am looking forward to enjoying both Accurate reels off-shore every summer!
Currently this reel is spooled with 50lb PowerPro braid. I try to use this primarily as a 40lb setup.
Accurate Valiant BX-2 500NL – SBL
Sorry Shimano, I’ve made the switch. Accurate seems to value lefties more than most companies by offering lefty versions of all of their reels. These are high quality, ultra-light, heavy duty reels. I opted for the narrow spool on this reel to avoid winding issues while reeling in a fish (I’m still a newbie at using conventional reels)
This is the heaviest reel I own (as far as line weight) but one of my lightest reels overall in terms of actual reel weight. The folks at Accurate are definitely doing something right.
Currently this reel is spooled with 65lb PowerPro braid. This reel is used as my 50lb setup as a heavy yellowtail rig or school-sized tuna rig.
Shimano Ocea Jigger 2001NR-HG
Apparently, Shimano could care less if your desire is to spend some good money on a lefty Trinidad reel because, well, they don’t exist. No cool white knob on a Trinidad for you if you’ve overcome your “rightiness” in life. All hope is not lost, however, as a Japanese version of the Trinidad exists (it appears) and can be yours (if you can find one). The Ocea Jigger comes in left and right hand retrieve and has the same specifications (and appears quality as well) as the Trinidad. The reel feels like a tank and is absolutely beautiful. The 2000 size of the Ocea Jigger follows the specs of the Trinidad 16NA. The smaller Ocea Jigger 1500 follows the specs of the Trinidad 12. And if you really want the white knob replacement, I’m sure you can find it somewhere online. I’d stick with the jigging handle though – very comfy!
One of the issues that you will run into with this reel is that it includes an auto-engage feature, which is convenient if you are using the reel for jigging, but not for throwing irons (the reel engages when the handle turns but only at the 12 o’clock position). I modified my reel by removing this feature to avoid having a surface iron flying back at my face should the handle turn while casting (which is a big possibility since the handle is not balanced. Once I modified the reel by using a dremel to grind away an internal pin (there is an easier way) the reel was ready for throwing irons!
My reel is loaded with 50# PowerPro line and with a 25# flouro leader.
Daiwa Saltiga SASD 15HL
A great all-around star drag conventional reel for fly-lining live baits or launching surface irons. The reel is super smooth and, while small, feels like a tank in hand – it is definitely built to last! Unfortunately the reel only comes in sizes 10 and 15 for lefties. My lefty Saltiga reel is the higher gear ratio version (SASD 15HL) which has a quick retrieve with a 6.4:1 gear ratio. Current line is 50lb Power Pro braided line with a 20lb leader. I use this mostly with my 9 foot Phenix rod for those extra long casts.
I managed to hook my first Yellowtail and Yellowfin Tuna with this reel during the summer of 2019. The reel handled the fight and showed no signs of distress.
If there were bigger versions of this reel I would have paid for them. Daiwa and lefties don’t seem to mix.
Shimano Tranx 301HG
Incredibly smooth, quick retrieve (this particular model has a 7.6:1 gear ratio) and nice looking (if that’s important to you). I currently have it spooled with 50# braided line and a 25# flourocarbon leader. Tranx reels are the real deal – I see a lot of these used on various charter boats and catching various sizes of fish. The 300 and 400 sizes seem to be the most popular. I’ve used this reel primarily for rockfishing and occasionally for flylining, but am shifting it’s purpose back to Calico Bass and Sculpin fishing (since I have 4 conventional reels that can handle the big ones).
Daiwa Lexa 300HSL-P
When I first started saltwater fishing a few years ago I wanted to get a reel that had powerful drag, higher gear ratio, and built to last. I didn’t really want to spend too much money on a fancier reel just in case I did not enjoy my time on saltwater, but I also did not want to buy something that would fall apart or be tough to use when hooked on a fish. After asking around and getting some opinions, I landed with the Daiwa Lexa.
I purchased 2 of these reels primarily for Calico Bass and Rockfish. They are easy to cast, have a higher gear ratio, and come with a balanced power handle as well. They are not as smooth as the Tranx or Ocea Jigger, but they work well and get the job done. I currently have one reel set up with 50lb PowerPro braided line and a 20lb leader. The other reel is loaded with 40lb braided line and 20lb leader. These have had minimal maintenance on them and still work like new. There are now newer models of this reel which look fancier but seem to do the same thing: catch fish.
Super Seeker D8 (20-50lb)
A “unicorn” of sorts – my buddy at Lifer Customs built this for me and its incredible! All glass so it has awesome parabolic action. Also has a tuna cord deckhand handle and red/white/burgundy wrap colors – my favorite fishing rod
Super Seeker CJB80F (20-40lb)
Root beer color blank with a Lifer Customs touch – perfect as my 30lb setup.
Lifer Customs Phenix Black Diamond PSW-869H
My favorite rod – period. My buddy at Lifer Customs built this for me primarily for Yellowtail but I’ve hooked Yellowfin Tuna with it as well. Solid Phenix blank with customized colors.
Phenix Black Diamond PSW-909H
This is the go-to rod for launching surface irons into the horizon or fly-lining live bait. Usually paired with my Saltiga 15. Awesome rod but it doesn’t fit anywhere…except on a boat of course.
Phenix Black Diamond PSW-809XH-J
My heaviest stick – I use this mostly for yo-yo fishing and occasional fly-lining. Good backbone on this rod. Usually paired with my Ocea Jigger 2001 reel.
Phenix Black Diamond PSW-808MH
This was my first black diamond rod and probably my favorite rod of the bunch (for saltwater anyway). I really like using this rod with my Tranx 301 (50lb braid/25lb flouro) with a fly-lining setup or dropper loop setup. The rod has a trigger handle which feels comfortable.
Phenix M1 Inshore SMX-79H
I use this rod for Rockfishing and Calico bass applications when I need something heavier. This is a great rod that I use with my Lexa 300 spooled with 50lb braid/25lb flouro).
Phenix M1 Inshore SMX-711MH
The Calico special! I mostly use this rod for swimbaits when Calico bass fishing. This is the go-to rod when fishing on the Long Beach breakwall and yanking those fish out of the rocks. This rod is usually paired with my Lexa 300 with 40lb braid/20lb flouro.
I’ve been gathering blanks for an eventual rod building effort. I’m not really looking to sell – mostly just wanting to come up with cool color combos and the experience of eventually catching a fish with something I built.
Seeker PH9 – Lime Green
Seeker 7x (Honey, Creamsicle)
Seeker White Tiger C S/B Ulua
Seeker S/B 100 – Lime Green
Seeker CSL 6480 – Lime Green
Steadfast ML 10
Steadfast M 10