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Which 8-weight saltwater reel will take the crown?

We are getting ready to do a big blockbuster 8 weight saltwater reel shootout this month, in addition to our 2014 8- weight rod shootout.  Our shootouts are structured like a car shootout you might read about in Car and Diver or Road and Track.  We’ll score each reel in these categories:  price, overall weight, craftsmanship, warranty, perceived durability, sealed drag, maintenance free, spool to frame tolerances, sound of drag (fish running), sound of retrieve, and reel case design.  As usual, performance categories will carry double points since we feel these categories determine the meat and potatoes of what makes a great saltwater reel.  The performance categories will include: start up inertia, range of drag adjustment, drag detent adjustment, smoothness of drag, minimum drag setting, and spool balance while running at speed.   Due to the large number of both rods and reels in this category,  only a certain number of the very best rods and reels are going to make the cut.   If anyone has something they would like us to discuss or compare in our write up, please e-mail us at [email protected].  Also if anyone would like to enter a rod or reel please do so immediately, sending it to our 5256 HWY 89 South address.  As with all the rods and reels tested in the past, we will return them promptly after testing them.