Fixed spool reels are becoming increasingly popular with UK boat anglers, but many quickly pack in or fall to pieces if confronted with and real sea fishing pressure. But after years of dissatisfaction David Proudfoot believes he may have found the perfect reel from Spanish tackle giants Grauvell.
For the past ten years I’ve been using fixed spool reels from the boat, not just for the quiver tip match angler style fishing, but also for the brutal jigging around the north coast of Scotland and its islands. Until now I’ve been lucky if I’ve been able to find a reel which lasts the abuse of humping in three cod or pollack at a time for more than three months of the season. That was until I discovered the Grauvell Tuareg Boat 5000…a reel specifically designed for boat fishing.
This reel betrays its big pit carp ancestry with its large capacity aluminium spools and smaller gear housing body. However the use of stainless steel and graphite in the construction builds in the corrosion resistance required in a saltwater reel. The Tuareg is supplied with a spare spool.
The spool sits on a long stainless shaft, and with its capacity of 400 metres of 0.35 mm line, it is capable of holding more than enough braid or mono to cope with any sea angling task. The titanium-coated bail arm roller helps reduce line twist, and coupled with the long spool stroke, produces a perfect line lay whether using mono or braid.
A problem with some fixed spool reels – particularly when the braided line gets wet and loose – is that the line becomes entangled around the shaft at the base of the spool. Grauvell’s engineers have ensured that this cannot happen by incorporating two small lugs on the rotor that prevent the line being sucked below the spool.
The Tuareg displays excellent balance on the retrieve, with none of the side to side wobbles common in large fixed spool reels, and the smoothness of operation assisted by the six stainless steel ball bearings has to be experienced to be believed. While the 1:3.8 rate of retrieve is not the fastest in its class, it is in fact perfect for boat fishing applications, and still recovers 72cm of line with every turn of the rotor. Fixed spool reels with a typically high retrieve ration making playing a big fish very hard work indeed, and necessitate continual pumping of the rod to win back line. The sensible modest gearing of the Tuareg 5000 is the answer to boat anglers’ prayers.
The robust gearing and worm shaft ensures that this reel stays bullet-proof even after the months of heavy usage and minimal maintenance that I have subjected it to. With its graphite body, the Tuareg weighs in at 625 gms, or just over 22 ounces, and is light enough to be held all day without your arms feeling like they want to drop off. The superb feature is large ergonomic, soft feel handle, which is comfortable and helps prevent cramps when the fishing gets hectic.
With a big fish attached the micro-adjustable front drag ensures that any threat of line breakage is removed, as the smooth drag comes into play. Turning the drag either way gives an audible click, which allows for sensitive incremental adjustment. The drag washers and spool sit on a long stainless steel shaft which should reduce maintenance of this part of the reel. The solid feel of the reel is assisted by the infinite anti-reverse which locks the handle in place with no annoying back-shift movement.
Getting jiggy with it
Those who have tried fishing with pirks or jigging rigs will be aware that the fixed spool is fine for casting but it can be a pain having to open the bail arm each time you need to regain contact with the sea bed. Even reels with back and front control baitrunner facilities will not normally cope with the lighter 100 gms pirks or leadheads, for example. The Tuareg Boat scores here as its anti-reverse system, when disengaged, is sensitive enough to allow the rotor to release line even with the lighter weights permitting the angler to easily stay in contact with the bottom.
During the early stages of testing I coupled the reel with my tried-and-trusted Grauvell Anaga rod and the combination proved perfect for casting three Redgills or a pirk and flier uptide in the waters around Scrabster.
The main advantage of using a fixed spool for this style of fishing is that the angler has no problems casting with braid, even when the stroke is restricted by a crowded deck space. A flick up-drift saw the lures sail 40 metres from the boat and the rig reached the bottom much faster than they would have using a rotating spool multiplier. Two turns of the handle engaged the bail arm and took up the loose line to maintain contact with the terminal tackle. The retrieve rate of the Tuareg made it easy to keep in touch with the gear while bouncing it back towards the boat, and once past the vertical a quick flick of handily positioned anti-reverse lever allowed the pirk to flutter back to the seabed.
I’m not the gentlest when hauling fish to the boat but even without the pumping the internal gearing of this reel felt solid and double shots of pollack were effortless brought to the net. After a thorough testing as a jigging and pirking set up the Tuareg was attached to a longer quiver tip match rod to establish its credentials at the lighter end of the boat fishing spectrum. Again casting proved problem free with lighter braid, and to date I have had no problems with wind knots which indicates that the anti-twist roller is doing its job. I would recommend using nylon backing on the spool before loading with thin braid given the massive capacity of the spool.
The sensitive anti-reverse made it easy to bounce light leads downtide to contact the target flatfish with a switch of the rear mounted lever. This method removes the pain of having to open the bail arm each time you need to regain contact with the seabed. It doesn’t take long to obtain the knack of fishing “Italian Style” and controlling the drop with the handle and a little back-winding.
The Tuareg has performed brilliantly thus far. As yet I haven’t tried it for uptiding but a trip next month to Rhyl will see this test added to the task list. I have used the reel occasionally from the beach and it performs well here too. I can see a big future for this reel with those fishing with the new long rough ground rods from the shore.
I would have no hesitation in recommending the Tuareg Boat 5000 either to a new fixed spool convert or to anyone looking to replace their existing favourite.
Features & specifications
- Gear ratio: 3.8:1
- Line capacity: 400 metres of 0.35 mm
- Weight: 22 1/3 ozs / 680 gms
- Front drag
- Aluminium spool
- Balanced rotor
- Titanium coated anti-twist line roller
- 6 stainless steel ball bearings
- Infinite Anti Reverse
- RRP: £109.99
- Supplier Website: www.grauvell.com