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Fishing/Choosing a reel


Hi Timothy,

I have tried fishing about 5 times in my life and only twice caught something, 20 years ago as a teenager on a lake where we woke up on the boat with fish all around us and about a month ago where i caught a 12cm little fish with the rod my girlfriend gave me for Christmas.

I have 2 other rods also, the one I am looking for at present and the other I have.

I have decided to take up fishing as a more permanent hobby as I enjoy it thoroughly. (Including the camping part.)

I suppose as many people, I went out and bought a tent and gazebo and fishing box and filled it with stuff I mostly do not have a clue about :D

Thing is, I want to try everything for myself and not just go on blogs and pages and take advice as there is so much contradictory advice.

I do however read up regarding techniques and physics/build of equipment and that also helps allot. Also regarding what to use for what type of fishing.

As I said, at present I have the 2 full rod/reel sets (both spinning)

My question is basically what does the stuff mean that is written on all of the equipment, how do I know what I have and how good it is and what is better?

Here is the 2 set ups I have:

1. Okuma Fin Chaser Composite Graphite - That's what it say's on the rod...
- FN-90-50 LENTH:9'-280cm LURE WT 3/4-2.5oz;20-60g
  (That part I could figure out, 9' length and weight of lure...)
The reel that came with the rod is a Chaser AX-50
- Gear ration 4.5:1 (That I could figure out also, it spins 4.5 time for every time you turn the handle and also it is 1 ball bearing)
- LBS/YDS 10/270 12/220 15/160
  (That is the tension per yards? How does it work though?)

2. Elbe Force Composite Graphite 10' BWS10MH
  (This one does not give a lure weigth...)
The reel is a Elbe Force also.
- Gear ratio 4.4:1 (also 1 ball bearing)
- LBS/YDS 18/215 20/170 35/120
  (Does this mean the Elbe can take more "punch" ?)

Both are made of steel.

So, looking at the gear ratio, both are basically the same, also the ball bearing being only 1 per reel is the same.
Both of them sound the same and feel the same. (Not really noisy and both smooth enough.)

I do like the Okuma setup a bit more with the reverse switch and tension at the back, where the Elbe has the tension at the front and the reverse switch at the bottom. The Elbe is only 350g and the Okuma is 400g but the 50g is not such a big issue for me. (I weighed them myself.)

So now to the last wart, the weight/distance...
This part I do not understand and not sure what it means, could you please explain and ten I can work out which will be better for future reference when buying new reels. (As I suspect this could have an impact on actually catching a larger fish or losing it?)

Thank You!

Josias Van Zyl

Hi there! Thank you so much for the question, as I hope I can help.
Sorry about not getting back to you sooner, it's been really busy at work for me, so I do apologize ahead of time for the late response.  Well, sounds like you got a few great outfits for fishing! The information on the rods is so you can balance out your tackle. For example, you want the reel to balance out with the line specs that the rod is rated for. And vice versa. On the reel, where it says the line rating around the spool, this information is telling you what the lightest and the heaviest line you can put on. For example,  10/150 what this means it can hold 150 yards of 10 lb line and so on. Also on the rod, the lure weight is important. It's telling you the lightest weight it can throw with loading up, and the heaviest it can throw without breaking the rod on the cast. So it's very important to balance the rod with the reel. Try to keep the rod and reels line ratings within spec to compliment eachother. This will increase your casting accuracy,  and help you have proper leverage when landing a fish. Here in Michigan,  we do lots of muskie, pike, and bass fishing. So for bass, I typically use lighter tackle. For muskie, and pike, I throw lures up close to a pound in weight. So as you can see, it's very important to balance tackle. The tackle you have it sounds to me your after big game! :) Are you salt water fishing? Or fishing giant freshwater game? But yes, you are right with everything else you figured out on your own! This is a good start! But I must warn you once you get into this sport, it's addictive! Lots of fun too! So just to review, keep the line capacity on the reel balanced with the line rating on the rod. Anytime you see this on a reel  for example, 10/150 12/120 15/100 this is what the reel can hold. 10 lb line 150 yards max,  12 lb line 120 yards max, 15 lb line, 100 yards max. Also, if you like fishing braided line, you can go over or lighter than what the reel is rated for, because the line diameter is smaller. As long as you stick within the line diameter, you will be ok. For example,  if you wanted to put 50 lb braid on your reel you could, because it's diameter is equilivent to 15 lb line.
I hope this helps, so if you need more information,  please send me another question. I'm always happy to help out anyway I can! :) until then happy fishing and good luck!


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Timothy Howard


I'm willing and able to answer most questions regarding northern pike and bass. I can advise on specific rods, reels, lures and fishing line for specific fishing techniques. Also, I know alot about fishing in smaller waters and can give expert answers on optimal fishing weather conditions.


I have over 20 years of experience fishing for northern pike and bass. I don't have any published articles but have several trophy fish mounted on my wall. Also, I'm very methodical in my fishing and spend countless hours researching new and innovative techniques. I have an extensive fish research library.

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I have taken some classes at Lansing Community College, Michigan.

Awards and Honors
Several trophy bass and pike mounts

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I'm currently not working as a fishing guide, but plan to in the future.

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