My go to fishing reel for trolling tubes is the Penn 113 Special Senator High Speed Reel (Penn 113HSP for short). I like this reel for several reasons:
My father bought me a Penn 113 more than a decade ago, when I first started trolling tubes from my family’s 19 foot Carolina Skiff. That Penn 113 has caught a ton of bass over the past decade, and continues to work flawlessly today. I’m not expecting this reel to last a lifetime, but I will not be surprised if it does.
2) Easy to Maintain
One of the reasons why the Penn 113 is so durable is that it is so simple to maintain. I am certainly no expert when it comes to cleaning and fixing reels. But after a little online research, I can now overhaul the Penn 113 in under an hour. The reel has saved me quite a bit of money over the long haul. There are some fantastic tutorials by Alan Tani on how to rebuild the Penn 113.
An easy way to cut equipment costs is to purchase equipment that fulfills many needs. This is where the Penn 113 really shines. The reel is perfect for trolling lead core, but it’s also spectacular for trolling wire. It’s even possible to three-way eels using this reel, with the same lead core usually used for trolling. Bunker spoons, tubes, jigs, live bait, you name it-this reel can do it.
4) Line Capacity
The Penn 113 sports plenty of line capacity, and fits enough 45 pound lead core or wire for any striped bass fishing situation.
The 113′s drag is easy to replace which is awesome if you plan on servicing your own reels. When battling big bass, the drag has always performed in silky smooth fashion-even at the end of a long salty season.
The 113 is a high quality reel for a reasonable price. I’ve bought my 113′s for around $120, although I have recently found them online for even less. Keep in mind that I have been using one of the reels for 10 years now. If you plan on getting into striped bass fishing, you really cannot beat that kind of investment.
Of course there are a few drawbacks to this reel; however I find that the pros immensely outweigh the cons. Here are a few potential negatives:
1) No level wind
If you are fishing with children or inexperienced folks, then there is a good chance that letting them use the 113 will result in a few birds’ nests and back lashes. However, learning how to use your thumb to keep the line even on the spool is pretty easy to do, and most people pick up on the technique quickly.
2) Non-interchangeable Handle
As with most conventional reels, you will be using your right hand to turn the handle on the 113. Again, this is just something that you or the people you fish with will have to overcome through practice. This should not pose much of a problem, since most people are right-handed to begin with.