Brian,I have a 6500 mag as the other two posters have said.. I know what kind of drag an abu has,and the Penn mag,definatly has a better one,and higher rate of retrieve... I bought mine before I knew about the Penn.....
I bought my ABU for a specific kind of fishing - throwing lures for stripers, blues, and trout in the 1/2 to 2 oz range. To cast lures all day long you HAVE to have a levelwind. I know the drags on the ABU 6500 CS Mag may leave something to be desired, but you can get high performance drag washers and an upgrade kit that will allow a smoother drag and a faster 6:1 retrieve.
For the fishing I do (and as a perfect match for my St Croix 8' rod), I chose the ABU. Of note, I have two other ABUs that I have had for years.
The Penn 525 is not a reel designed for casting lures as it does not have a levelwind and line must be leveled by hand during every retrieve.
I also did not choose the Penn as a surf reel as it does not have the line capacity that I need for my heaver. However, if you require a reel for your surf rod and do not need extra line capacity, it is one of the best.
I'm with you,Sandcrab on the capasity,I don't think either reel,IMHO,holds enought line for a big drum(that cuts the bar and goes to deep water) or cobe,beach or planks..Level wind isn't a big issue with me,although I do throw lures with the reel..Got kind of a "trained thumb".
I believe that "aftermarket" modifications,are just that,I'll go with the "outta the box model"....
You're right about the aftermarket add ons - I have no intent on doing anything to this reel. It has worked fine for me as is. Lost a couple of cow stripers at IRI last year but that was not due to the drag but by the cows going around a concrete piling with my line and cutting me off.
I too chose a conventional reel other than the Penn due to line capacity. My new Daiwa Grand Z should be in today and I will be casting with it this weekend.
The Daiwa reels are standard equipment for fishing for the big boys at AI or OBX. Most of the guys I know that use conventional reels go with the older Daiwa reels "SLH" or "SLOSH" for short. The "Z' reels are an improvement to these reels in that they are aluminum housed and have 6 ball bearings. The standard reel for AI or OBX is the SLH-30, SHV-30, or the Z-30 due to its line capacity, good drag, and fast retrieve.
With a slower retrieve ratio such as 4:1 (Four revolutions of the spool with one complete turn of the handle), these reels are better suited to extremely larger fish or boat applications. They may be too big to handle for surfcasting as I have never really checked them out.
IMHO (And AI and OBX diehards) - The 30 model (in any style SLH, SHV, or Z) is the way to go.
thanks guys, I think I might get the penn in the neer future and the abu after that, since I'm looking to do more bottom fishing with my setup. Thanks for the help. I never knew that the abu was such a good reel. The reason I am choosing to penn is that I'm new to casting with a conv. and don't want alot of nests. I've been spoiled with spinning most of my life and only used conv off of boats. Again thanks.
I'm with you Sandcrab the 30's no matter which model has and EXCELLENT drag!! I charter on weekends down here,and have 6 of them.. Believe me they get tested!! I'm not one to clean a reel ever time I use it. I wash em down and loosen the drag and hang em up.. Well,even with the abuse I have given these reels,4 of the sloosh 30's after 6 or 7 yr of use FINALLY had to be rebuilt! That is testament to those reels!
Baitfishing I wouldn't use any other for durability,none better,IMHO..
The 50's have to be just as good,they don't cast as well,but if you are pinriggin the drags are great and plenty of line capasity..
I don't own one of the "Z" reels,have thrown em,I like the 3 Shv series reels that I have as good though.. They cast great and the drag holds up well,unlike and abu,IMHO.... For da bigguns,none better.
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