Why do we not use the reel with levelwider?
Reels like Shimano Conquest 300 and Daiwa Ryoga have the levelwider. You don’t need to worry about line management. But we hardly see slow pitch jiggers use them. Why? Why is it that the popular slow pitch reels like Ocea Jigger, Blue Heaven, Torsa, Marfix do not have this wonderful feature?
When selecting your reel to start slow pitch jigging, you may stumble on this.
There are 2 reasons why jigging reels do not have levelwinder.
#1 is that a monster fish can easily break the levelwider or damage your line pretty badly during the fight. You may get a lot of friction on your line by the levelwinder. You should be sensitive about it when you are in the tug of war with a monster on the light line. Especially in the kind of fight style of slow pitch, in which you point the tip down and don’t pump the rod to fight, the spool is where all the tension comes to directly.
The levelwider may have a feature to synchronize with the spool even when the spool is free to drop the jig and when the fish pulls out on your drag. Well, if the friction does not happen in any way, and if you can trust that, you should have no problem with the levelwinder. But I would be sure not to recommend the reels which don’t have this feature. I’ve seen a couple of people breaking the levelwinder in the big fight with the type of reel that doesn’t synchronize while being pulled out on the drag.
#2 is that synchronizing the levelwinder and the spool is an extra function to the reel. It needs more parts and designing in the tiny reel case. You would want the good power, good speed, and good drag in the simplest structure for the maximum and trouble free performance in the reel.
There’s also an issue about sensitivity. When the reel has more parts, it means that more information will be cut off from the angler. Slow pitch anglers pay so much attention to the information that the line provides. Information like the jig movements, the ocean water conditions and the fish movements. These information is picked up by the line and is delivered to you through your rod and your reel. The complex structure in the reel can lose a lot of information on the way.
What would you take all these risks for? So that you can rest your thumb to manage the line while fighting? Come on. Get real.
I tell you, if you fight in tip-down non-pumping slow pitch style, the line management is not that hard. Fish can not run flat-out for a long time, and there’s always time that you have a little margin to manage your line as you reel in. (Maybe not with fish like tuna and marlin. But it’s not the issue about the levelwinder.)
In slow pitch jigging, we compromise a lot of strength of the tackle in order to HOOK the fish. We use light line, light hooks, small rings, and highly-resilient thin (= easy to break) blanks. We have very little margin when it comes to the fish fight. That is why we are so specific about the knots for maximum strength, and specific about fighting application and strategy for the effectiveness.
The levelwider would just be one extra worry that is totally unnecessary for most slow pitch anglers.
Sato Sensei does sometimes use Ocea Conquest 300. This reel does have the synchronizing feature.
He uses this reel only when he is targeting small bottom fish in the shallow. He does all kinds of tricks. For example, he uplifts fast 3 cranks, drops back down as he counts, and repeats this. He is searching for the difference of the count. If it changes, there’s a hole or a rise, some kind of structure of the bottom, where you are likely to find fish. This is one of his strategies to catch a fish when nobody else is catching. When he does many little things like this, and when he doesn’t expect a big fish, the levelwinder is a convenient tool as you don’t have to worry about the line management. And Ocea Conquest is just one of a dozen reels he brings in on the boat…