I started shark fishing 3 years ago and followed in the footsteps of many others by buying a penn 9/0 as my first reel. I caught some decent sharks on it just under the 6′ mark and then decided it was time to step up to a bigger reel.From there I bought a pair of 12/0’s to use as my main reels. They had the capacity I wanted and a little stronger drag than what the 9/0 was capable of. I caught many 6-7′ sandbars with these reels and we also got a 6’9″ bull on the 12/0 as well. It handled these fish fine, but I was not convinced that it could handle a true monster.

From there, I bought a pair of 14/0 reels. I rarely brought these out on TX beaches, but took them to the east coast last year on my first true stud hunting trip. I ended up catching 2 nice hammers on them at 8′ and another at 9’2″. The 9’2″ hammer was able to pull roughly 200 yards of line off that reel with the drag almost locked down. I was never worried about getting spooled, but I wasnt exactly able to just winch it in either. During a few of the better runs that fish gave me, the sideplate of that senator started to get warm enough that we had to pour water on it to cool things down.

From here, I started doing my research on 2 speed lever drag reels. Although the Senators are tried and true shark slayers, the newer technology of the Avet 2 speed reels really caught my attention. My fishing partners Lance and Dan jumped the gun on the Avets before me, so I got a chance to fish them before making my purchase. After only a few trips with their 50w’s I was sold. In TX, we often have very strong current/weed and are forced to fish big weights. In these conditions we usually use a 1lb weight with stainless legs. If you have fished with a stainless weight, you know how strong they are and how well they hold. Trying to break these weights loose with the 12/0 and reel them in on a 500 yard drop was more of a workout than kayaking it out there. With the 50w, you simply put the reel in low gear and can literally crank them in with 1 finger. Once the weight breaks loose you have the option to just drag it in using low gear, or kick it into high gear and skip the weight across the top of the water. After a few trips I decided to buy 2 50w’s and an 80w as my new primary shark fishing reels. I also picked up an MXL and an LX MC to use for my casted baits. I have the 50w’s spooled with 600 yards of 130lb Jerry Brown braid topped with about 350 yards of 100lb Sufix Superior. The 80w is spooled with 600 yards of 130lb Jerry Brown Hollow braid and topped with about 350 yards of 130lb Sufix Superior.

I fished them a couple times this winter in search of sandbars, but the sharks just didnt cooperate with me. Last week in Florida was the first time that I have actually had the chance to put these reels to good use. In total we caught 7 sharks in the 5′ class, 3 sharks in the 6′ class, 3 sharks in the 7′ class, and finished it off with a monster tiger that was just shy of 12′. All of these sharks were caught on the 50w’s, and none of them stood a chance against it (except for the tiger ;) ).

That tiger is what really makes me appreciate the strength and stamina of these reels. I dropped that bait about 150 yards off the beach. A few minutes later it takes off and I set the hook. I quickly set the lever to strike, but the fish on the other end didnt feel that big. I asked Lance to get me a harness and just as I was about to put it on, the reel takes off. Line is coming off the reel at an alarming pace, so crank the lever up a little more to almost full drag. This fish is not stopping and is not slowing down, so I set the lever all the way to full. We are now at over 40lbs of drag pressure and it is taking everything I have to stay on my feet. I finally get strapped into the harness and the fish has taken over 300 yards of line off the reel and the glowstick has now disappeared into the dark water. I finally feel the shark slowing down and am able to put about 10 yards of line back on the reel. Seconds later it takes off again and there goes 200 more yards of line. I am now well into my braid backing and have about 300 yards of line left when I start using my thumbs to slow the spool and put even more pressure on this fish. It finally stops and I can feel the shark turn. Its now headed down the beach and I am walking 1 step at a time trying to keep up with it while slowly packing line on the reel in low gear. Almost 90 minutes after hooking this fish, we finally have it just on the other side of the bar. Lance quickly put the rope on its tail and the little 50w has conquered the beast.

Not once throughout this long fight did that reel get hot from the extreme friction of the drag. Not once did the drag slip or jerk. The sheer power of a reel this size just amazes me. I am a firm believer in these reels now and would put that 50w up against a 14/0 any day of the week. I made the mistake of wasting alot of money on multiple senators before finding these reels. Hopefully this story will help you when deciding on which reel to buy for your land based shark fishing needs.

-Diesel Sharker