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January 07, 2008

Turning Points

Reel (and Angler) Performance Revolves Around Handle Design

Turning Things Around

Tackle manufacturers invest considerable time and effort designing something as "simple" as a reel handle. Here are some of the handle features available on today's reels to make your angling experience effective and enjoyable.

Offset shank: Bending the shank in toward the spool places the grip closer to a conventional reel's center of gravity. This configuration reduces wobble and, thereby, increases efficiency because anglers can devote more energy to cranking instead of working to keep the reel upright. Reels with offset shanks include the Accurate B-870C, Avet JX, Daiwa Saltist, Okuma Convector, Quantum Cabo PTs and Shimano Torsa. 
Counterbalanced handle: A weight at the end of the handle makes the circular winding motion feel less "lopsided," especially when turning at high speeds. Anglers usually find this type of handle easy to crank quickly and smoothly. You'll find counterbalanced handles on models like the Daiwa Sealine Levelwind, Penn GS Performance, Pflueger Contender, Quantum Blue Runner and Shimano Trinidad TN 12.

Variable length: Handles with two mounting holes offer the option to boost a reel's speed or power. Attaching handles via the outside hole makes them slightly longer, which results in more leverage/torque/power. Using the inside hole shortens the handle and allows anglers to crank faster (because it travels a shorter distance with each revolution) for speedier line pickup. Reels with adjustable handles include the Accurate B-665C, Daiwa Saltiga, Penn International Torque and Shimano Torium.

Grip styles: Light-duty reels usually have paddle grips so an angler can grasp the handle with thumb and forefinger, and turn it with wrist motion. Heavier reels feature large knobs, T grips or egg-shaped handles that fill the hand so anglers feel more comfortable while using their arms to crank on stubborn fish.