Although threadlines are the most widely used and accepted reels in Australia at the moment, overhead reels still have their place in our local fishing scene. I remember when we first started chasing deepwater reef species here in SA, no one contemplated using a threadline, and just about everyone kitted themselves out with a mid-size overhead on a slow tapered rod for fishing reefs in the 40 to 80m depth range.
If you could afford it at the time, you would run braid, but most had to settle for mono mainline until braided lines started dropping in price and became more readily available. In those early days, spooling some of these reels up with braid was more expensive than the fishing reel itself. How times have changed. We now have access to high quality braided line at a reasonable price, and we are spoilt for choice with overhead reels on the market; especially when compared to the cumbersome slow-retrieve reels of the 80s and 90s.
While a lot of my fishing has gone down the threadline path, I must admit I still prefer using an overhead for reef fishing in deeper water. It was around three years ago when I began using a Trinidad 16 for my deep water fishing. There are 3 sizes in the Trinidad range, with the 16 the baby of the group. I was keen for an overhead reel that was smooth to use and packed a real punch, but at the same time small enough that you could comfortably use all day – big ask.
We do a fair bit of bottom bouncing for table species here in SA, mainly in the 30 to 50m range. This involves dropping baits together with 8oz of lead down against tapering reef edges. It involves a lot of retrieving, re-baiting and (all going to plan) fighting some nice reef fish. We also do a bit of jigging over these deeper reefs, so a quick retrieve was desirable. After much deliberation I decided on the Trinidad.
The first thing I noticed when I picked up the fishing reel was how compact and lightweight it was, weighing in at only 560g. I decided to run 50lb Power Pro braid (depth hunter to aid with the deep water), and got a massive 500m of line on the spool. In hindsight I could have put 200m of mono backing underneath to save on braid.
The Trinidad has a quick retrieve of 6.2:1 which is useful when jigging, but also makes retrieving baits from these deeper reefs a lot quicker. Every turn of the handle equates to 117cm of line retrieved, which is huge for a fishing reel of this size. The reel is super-smooth to retrieve, even under load, courtesy of 9 bearings.
And while jigging the bottom bouncing were the main fishing styles I had in mind when I got the reel, the Trinidad had doubled nicely for trolling skirts and hard bodied lures for our school SBTs, and also for live baiting for kingfish and samsons over some mid-depth reefs here in SA, so the reel has proved to be very versatile.
The drag system is smooth under the weight of a good fish – no gripping or grabbing - and can deliver 11kg of drag pressure. This may not seem like a lot compared to the drag ratings of some other reels, but for the purpose in which the reel was designed for, 11kg is plenty.
After three seasons using the Trinidad 16, I can honestly at attest the reel has performed flawlessly, is smooth to use and light enough that I can spend a whole day on the water with the rod and reel in hand without fatigue.