Unless your talking penn 704z with the manual roller installed, your talking Van Staal. Not trying to stir things up, the people who slam or say they wouldn't spend that much on a reel kill me. How many reels do most of us own? How big is their boat? How much do they have into their boat? Please, it's cool if you have a reason not to like the staals. But to say you wouldn't pay that much is a joke. Maybe it's jealousy! The guy with 70 what ever reels could sell a few and own 2 or 3 Staals. As far as quality goes, can anyone say there is a better reel on the market? NO!. Accurates twin spin is in answer to the staal, and they got it wrong. It's heavier with less line cap. Sorry I take this soooo personally! alright.gif
Van Staal is a truly great reel. one of the best ever made, but it's a tool for a specific purpose. If you fish places where the reel is getting dunked or you have to swim out to a rock or sandbar then the VS is absolutely the right reel. If you don't do any of these things, if most of your fishing is from high and dry then a VS is over kill, much more reel than you need (we're strictly talking striper fishing here, pelagics and exotics are a different situation). I had one but realized I wasn't using it to anywhere near its full potential and sold it.
Crack and Luxor (same reel, different name) is another classic MP (manual pickup) reel. During the peak of it's popularity it was the go to reel for the Montauk crowd. They were designed so that the bail wire can be popped on or off by turning a thumbscrew and with a few modifications they can be completely waterproofed. Great reel, strong, reliable and the prototype for the Van Staal. On the flip side, parts are very hard to get and the 300, the size most often used for striper fishing, is brutally heavy.
At the same time the Crack/Luxors were popular in M, the Mitchells were the reel of choice with the guys up on the Cape. Unfortunately parts, in particular the line rollers, for manual pickup Mitchells, 396, 496, 498 and the MP conversion kits for the standard spool Mitchells, 302, 304....., have become nearly impossible to get.
That leaves Penn. When anyone thinks of a bailess reel the first one that comes to mind is the Penn 706. Without a doubt the most commonly seen MP reel out there and very common everywhere people surf fish for striped bass.
The Penn spinfisher series are the workhorses of the Penn line and rarely break down. I have a green 706, a green 710 and a pair of green 704's that have been seeing regular use by myself and their previous owners going back to the 1960's. They exterior design was chanced from the green color to the current black and gold and renamed the z series. With the exception of cosmetics, they are unchanged from the original Greenies with all internal parts being interchangeable. The parts are easy to find and cheap, and the reels are simple enough in design that a person with 10 thumbs can repair them themselves.
The Penn 706z is. along with Van Staal, the most commonly used reel in places where you'll be swimming or dunking the reel. Simply by packing it with blue marine grease (I like Corrosion Blocker brand) it's waterproof enough to survive places like Montauk and Rhode island, places where the reel spends as much time under water as above.
The 704 is just a bit smaller in the spool than the 706 and comes with a bail. For $10 to $12 you can pick up a conversion kit to remove the bail wire and make it MP.
Unfortunately Penn has decided to drop the series and what you see on the shelves, as of right now, are the last you'll see of them.
Penn also makes an MP conversion kit that fits the 850SS to 550SS, the 757 and 747 and the 710z. I haven't used my SS reels in 15 years and never tried converting them so I really can't comment on how well they work.
The 710 conversion requires the roller and roller washer from an SS reel on top of the basic kit. I have done that conversion and I do recommend it.
The Penn conversion kits can probably be used with other reels as well. For example, the 704 conversion kit fits the Dam Quick 550 so well you'd think it was designed for it.
If anyone has done any other conversion modifications I'd love to hear about them.
I read a little about them - don't come with extra spool, tool kit, or fancy wooden box. Looks like a very nice reel, but I'd go with the Van Staal for now - just because the company itself (zeebaas) is so new and who knows if it will last. I know that Zebco now has Van Staal - but I haven't read anything bad about that and they are obviously well established.
Since I last posted in the thread I picked up a VS and a zeebaas zx25rd.
Both great reels. The VS cranks a little stiff for a while until they're broken in.
Craig Cantelmo of VS says if you dont get them wet you probably wont need to send them in for maintenance at all.
True and false. you do need to be aware how much oil is in your reel - they do sometimes leak and using it dry can be catastrophic.
Weigh it on a fine scale
If you know someone who reloads bullets those are by far the best scales for the job. They measure in grains which are very small increments and are very precise. They have to be or people can go boom, which is a bad thing.
Every now and then reweigh the reel to make sure it hasn't lost any weight.
If it does, send it in for service, you're gettin low on oil.
Dual roller system as a counterbalance. The ability to change to any size spool and have One roller - two rollers or even a bail.
It wont help you catch fish but for 900 bucks you think it ought to.
It will however add to your confidence. The drag is unbelievable.
The different spools are $269
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