When we were living in Florida I became interested in surf casting on the beaches of Daytona, New Smyrna and Cape Canaveral. I was not prepared for surf casting having moved from the Pacific NW for the type of gear required for enjoying the surf and jetty. The salt water destroyed my Shimano Calcutta in very short time. My rods were under sized for the task. I started by buying some long surf fishing rods from 11-13 feet. I had some old Abu Garcia’s from the 80’s that would do the job.
I started doing research on distance casting techniques and gear. I was always looking for more distance. Abu makes the 6500 series that holds the right amount of line but the frames are anything but sturdy. I settled first for a 6500 with no level wind. I found a nice magging system out of England and installed it. I used it for a while but always felt like I was the under dog when hooking into any thing that was of any size. Not to take anything away from light tackle fishing! But these fish needed more and stronger reels.
The distance casting champions seemed to migrate to the QTC machined aluminum frames for the 5500 and 6500 sized ABU reels. Once piece frames super strong and no twist.
I upgraded the drags and drag plates, and put a better handle and knob on it and sure enough I had build the surf casting beast. Spooled with 40b braid and a 30lb shock leader, this reel was perfect. I could easily cast my 4 oz+ bait as far as needed into the surf.
From 2lb Blue fish to 4 foot black tips, this little reel handled them all with ease and very few backlashes. The side plates were aluminum and I installed a mag system to control the speed of the spool on windy days. I polished the main gear, pinion and spool shaft ends. I even polished the small brass spacers in the spool bearing caps. Drags are very smooth and strong, free spool is awesome! Pod Manufacturing company is the company that makes the machined aluminum frames in a variety of colors and sizes. Two thumbs up for quality and fit!