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jbdba01

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This is a place holder for my review of the quantum smoke PTs 30. I find reviews are somewhat useless the first 2-3 months because most gear holds up during those first couple months, but reviews after 6-12 months are more meaningful.

So here's a picture of the Quamtum Smoke PTs 3000. She's a good looking reel for sure, but when it comes to gear I'm not so much into looks as I am function. Here's her profile - a pretty blue and flat black. Pretty, but is she like a Jaguar where you're always fixing her up just so can "style and profile"? Does it want to be a poser or a contender? Time will tell.
pDSP1-15095362p275w.jpg

Under the hood these are the specs...

Interchangeable: 30
  • Model: SL30PTS
  • Size: 30
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Line Capacity (yd/lb): 150/10
  • Inches per Turn: 31"
  • Max Drag: 18 lbs.
  • Retrieve: Interchangeable
  • Weight: 7.9 oz.
That 7.9 oz weight is a big deal for all artificial guys; heavy reels are a hassle if you cast ALL day. The 2500 comes in at 7.6 oz, so I went with more line and more inches per crank on the handle. Again if you're throwing all artificials ALL day those extra inches really count [insert rim shot here for all the guys who just said to themselves "he said extra inches really count"].

Note that Max drag - 18#; that's insane for such a small reel. As a point of reference I use a scale to calibrate drag when poon fishing. I go with 25-30% of the weight of the line. So at 30# braid that's 10# of force. 50# braid I use 12-15# of force - try pulling that out with a bare hand and you'll cut yourself for sure. So 18# is crazy.

So...let's talk $ - whoa at $179 this is not a cheap reel, and everyone who knows me knows I fish Sabalo reels that I get on sale at Dicks for $59. Why? Because I have 2 kids and I make sure that each has 2 rigs to cast in the kayaks. Do the math on that and if you're buying $300 rigs that's a chunk of change - you're looking at 6-9 rigs. Also the reality is that if you get tired of the Sabalo you throw it away and go get another one. The theory being how many years can I get out of a Sabalo versus a high end reel. Right now I have 5-6 Sabalo reels that I've been fishing 5-6 years, but I digress this is not a Sabalo review; just making the point that gear that's properly maintained can last a very long time.

So...at $179 what was I thinking? Well...fortunately I had won a tournament last year here and I had some $ left over on a TA Mahoney gift card.  So I decided to splurge on a reel (After 6 years of cranking and umteem dunks one 3000 Sabalo had had enough.).  

I also opted to have the boys at TA Mahoney spool up 10# Power Pro. Those guys are the best and without a doubt you get the ultimate customer service in town.

The reel has a good feel, but I'm not so sure about the handle. It has a kinda "cushiony nerf" feel to it that I get the feeling will dry out and crack over the years, but let's she where that lands. All my other reels are a hard plastic grip so this was interesting. You can see it has an indentation for a better grip - not really used to that either.

What to pair her up with. Well...I didn't want to buy a new rod, so she went with the 7'9" Wright MCGill rod that I had a Sabalo 3000 on. It felt pretty good so I went with it. I'm sure there are some folks going 7'9" - WTH? I have 7'6" and 7'9" rods so I can get distance; it's pretty simple math, the farther you cast the more water you cover; the more water you cover the more likely you are to catch. I call it the CA Richardson rule of Power Fishing - it's not so much technique as it is the law of large numbers. Kinda like when you were in college - you've had to much to drink and it shows, but you just keeping asking girls to dance until one them finally does. Why because you have no pride, and more than likely she has a ham bone tied around her neck just so the dog would play with her, but hey you're dancing. So think of those big reds as girls you just keep asking out to dance. Sooner or later they will, but you just have to keep that lure in the water longer than the guy next to you. How do you do that - longer cast.

Confused? That's OK - this is a reel review not how to score with chicks in 10 easy lessons. Note however, each are equally important. If you don't feel that way - skip the rest of the review. You're merely involved in fishing versus committed.

So...now the rig is properly rigged up and it looks really pretty. All that camo blue and pretty blue handle; what lure to use on the next trip? Winds were going to be low so some top water action would be cool. I went with a white and chartreuse Heddon Spook Jr - $2 from Walmart last spring. Upgrade the hooks.

Conditions were ideal for the plug and winds were at zero - also perfect for No-see-ums in March. Really?? Regardless we made our way on to the water and eventually found ourselves wading around looking for fish. I saw a huge bulge and opted to pass on some power plant size Jacks - probably +25".

Now you talk about distance - I was casting that plug a country mile. I'm thinking 75' minimum. Course there weren't any fish interested in it the plug the first two hours so that had me cranking on that reel a bunch. It was a smooth retrieve and I had the drag set somewhat loose. No issues on the casts, no wind knots.

Eventually we found a school of reds, and my buddy had picked off at least 3 by the time I showed up. Like two weeks ago the rays were thick and I'm not a fan of pain, so a slow and steady wade effort it was. Eventually I got there and cast on the outside part of the school and as expected the feed bag was on. The plug was in the water about 3 seconds when multiple hits took place. Eventually I was on solid and I was trying to coax the fish out of the school but with 10# test and 20# leader there wasn't much horsing this fish around. Based on my buddy's efforts this was a school of mid-to-upper slot fish.

As luck would have it I downgraded to a decent sized Jack who stole the plug from the red, but then upgraded to a another red. So three fish on one cast and wait for it...I manged to lose the last red right next to me. Nice. That said the drag on this reel was phenomenal - ultra smooth no issues. The back bone of the rod with a decently fast tip paired up nicely. That camo blue may have me looking "sweet", but she did the job. Perhaps I'll sport a pink buff to accentuate the outfit and skip down the flats."Looking good Billy Ray. Feeling good Louis."

Lost fish aside, it was after 10 am so I opted to switch to a white/gold jerk bait - the Riptide Flats chub in Firefly pattern works great in the gin clear water. And boy did it - I was hammering the Jacks and frankly was tiring of the game (Jacks in March on the flats?? Yes. Lots of them.) What I thought was mullet was school after school of Jacks mixed in the Reds/Mullet. I was up to about 6 Jacks and found myself slowly applying more drag and feathering the spool more and more - especially once I realized it was a Jack.

Finding a particularly large school of "mullet" way off in the distance I heaved as far as I could - and boy did that lure fly; winds were probably 5 knots now to my back and this was a monster cast. Easily 100' - probably more. As soon as the bait landed it was a solid thwack. And drag was REALLY humming...straight away from me and towards the bay. As I looked down I thought I was going to get spooled, but I was only half way down the spool - nice to have lots of line for a change. That's why you go with the 3000 versus 2500.

Unfortunately the angle of the line was slowly becoming more horizontal as line just kept going farther and farther away, and I was like damn another friggin' Jack. Probably one of those power plant ones. Loosing my patience I clicked twice on the drag, feathered the spool some more, and starting pulling out poon tricks by "getting down and dirty". Meanwhile my associate had already pulled in two more lower 20" reds. [sigh] This was a REALLY long fight.

Eventually I managed to get the Jack over some nice sandy bottom and to my chagrin I suddenly realized this was a big red - like +30". Holy poop!! I played him out a bit nicer now and eventually landed him; I used my fancy wade fishing measuring stick and placed him on my arm. He ran from the tips of my fingers to my shoulder. Nice and fat too. Not a single shake on the surface to give away that he was a red - interesting. Well...at least I had 3 reds now and something like 7 Jacks.

The Smoke did fine and the clicks on the drag are nice and loud and increment slowly enough that you don't put too much heat on too quickly.

Calling it a day we worked our way back and with the winds still to my back I was casting over 75-100' pretty consistently. Sure enough at the end of the cast I got on another fish and I was convinced I would have a two 30" redfish day. It was another long fight, but this time I pulled in a power plant Jack. Using the aforementioned measuring stick it went about 25". Let me tell you - those big Jacks fight like hell. Fun, but not the targeted specie.

By the end of the day the Smoke (and I) had quite a work out. It's a solid reel with no issues; it feels right on the 7'9" rod and 10# feels about right. At $179 it's a shame that they do not include another spool. Sabalo does.

Kudos to TA Mahoney for sponsoring our events and making the above possible.  I'm not a high end gear kinda guy, and this was certainly a bonus for me.

I'll come back to this review in 6 months or so and give an update. 

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JB
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