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Hello from New Zealand | Category: Introduce yourself

kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Hello everyone,
First time poster, long-time NZ kayak fisho here.
Looking for a nice fishing forum to settle into, away from the usual social media suspects.
Found this place after sliding down an internet rabbit hole when researching my favourite cheap Shimano spinning reels and landing on an article on the FX4000FB reels. I'm a fan of the FX series and my two daily drivers are FX4000FC reels set up identically.

My fishing interests are almost exclusively livebaiting for almost anything that can take my kayak for a sleigh ride. Told myself I'd give softbaiting and micro jigging a proper go once I mastered livebaiting but every trip there are more livebaiting lessons to learn or things to test to add to the knowledgebase. So, other methods will have to wait. There always seems to be more livebaiting questions than I can find answers to - the curse of a curious mind I guess. Hopefully there are some experienced pros in here that can help when I strike something I can't answer through testing.

My current kayak is a Stealth Fisha 460 fishing weapon. Fibreglass, 4.6m (a bit over 15'), and I've a passion for fishing with the cheapest gear that will, as we say here, handle the jandal (be up to the task).

Anyhoo, thanks FR admin for letting me on. I'll have a wee snoop around the forum after posting this intro.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
Mark Totzke 1 year ago

Hi KingiFiddler,

Welcome to our Fishingreminder Forum. Looks like you and me have a lot in common
I've been using the FX4000 reels for many years and really like them.
Especially for the value you get for your money.

A while back though I switched to the Penn Spinfisher Reels because of their water resistance.
Quite happy with them and they are really water tight, even when accidentally dunking them in salt water every now and then.

I have done a bit of live baiting too but predominantly fish with lures from the kayak.

Whereabouts in NZ are you fishing?

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the welcome.
Do the Spinfishers needs to be taken apart after a dunking? As someone who falls out of his kayak at least once a month, I'm often taking my reels apart to wash down and re grease. One of the great attractions of the reels like the Penn Slammer seems to be that there's no maintennace and no tear-downs needed after a dunking. If that's the case with the Spinfishers too then I'll certainly look into them.

Am fishing North of Auckland, mainly from Mangawhai and North, ranging up to 35kms if the conditions are right. I've a few plans to head a bit further North this Winter, chasing a 20kg kingi on my cheap kidstix rod and FX4000 reel. They are out there somewhere but I've not had much success finding them.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
Mark Totzke 1 year ago

Yeah the spinfishers don't have the same water proofing rating as the slammers but almost as good. One is IPX6 and the other IPX8.
They can withstand dunking and salt spray, no problem. I have recently opened up my Spinfisher 3500 after nearly two years of heavy use on the kayak - just out of curiosity. And it was mint inside, just like new. No water ingress or corrosion at all despite many dunkings and neglection. Still full of grease. Didn't really have to do anything and just put it back together.
In size and handling it's comparable to the fx4000 but it's just a lot more durable also feels more sturdy.

The smallest size slammer is also a really good option, but a little bit more expensive.

I'll be in Mangawhai for the first two weeks of July. Perhaps we can do a session together if you're keen.

In terms of kingies - We just spent a week at the Tauranga Bay Holiday Park North of Kerikeri. Really good spot to target kingies at the entrance to the Whangaroa Harbour. If the weather is good you can launch right in front of your campsite and very short paddling distance to the harbour entrance and other reefs.

Our upcoming youtube video will be about this campsite. Checkout our fishingreminder youtube channel if you haven't already.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 1 year ago

Hi KingiFiddler, welcome to Fishing Reminder.

I think it might have been me that wrote the article about the FX.

If you are after a cheap robust reel that you don't have to worry about. Then take a look at the Ix series. They have NO bearings... all brass bushes.

I am pretty sure I have seen the Ix also sold as "FX" and "RX". They certainly are labelled as "R" for rear drag. I have a couple in size 2000 for catching live bait and the small table fish like bream and whiting. I also have a couple of 4000 and I can say they are a very capable little reel...The brass bushes are the real winner. It is a reel you can just leave in the boat and know it is ready to use next time.

But of course, if you want a reel that is very robust and doesn't care about sand, mud, dust or water, then you can't go past an Alvey.

I hear you regards social media !!

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Thanks Mark,

That's great info, thanks. I went looking but have to take a hard pass. The price of just one reel is more than the total cost of the two rods and fully spooled reels I take with me most trips.
It'll be great to not have to spend time looking after my cheapies but I don't take inshore fishing seriously enough to spend that sort of cash on a reel. Plus, I will admit to getting a kick out of finding the limits of cheap gear and making the naysayers ("cheap sh-t" seems to be the most often descriptor of my gear) eat their words or at least begrudgingly accept the nut behind the wheel has a larger part to play in the outcome, regardless of money spent, than they might have otherwise acknowledged.

I do have daydreams of getting wide and chasing marlin, for which I've a more expensive, conventional reel, and could use it for chasing big kings too, but I really like the cheap reels too much for that. On that note, another thing I like about the FX4000 is the fact there are no cut-outs in the spool. On bigger fish, mainly sharks, I'm using manual/hand drag washers . Without cut-outs to 'munt' my hand, the FX4000 spools are a much less painful experience.

To be honest, if I had two weeks in July to spend fishing I doubt I'd be spending it here in Mangawhai. Do you know the area here? If not, I don't need much encouragement to get out for a paddle and show you a few spots. That said, I don't usually target anything but kingfish, as nothing else worth keeping can drag me around as well as they do. Can certainly point you to a few big snapper spots though but I try to avoid them. I hate the thought of gut hooking and killing a big snapper. It's just not my thing.

One thing I'm quite prickly about though, is showing someone a good spot, advising when it works best, etc, then finding that spot plastered all over media or shared amongst 300 of their closest friends. It's happened before and I've paddled an hour to get to a spot I suspect will be firing only to find half a dozen new faces combing the same area because they heard or read a hot tip. There's nothing a good fisho couldn't work out for themselves though, but I try to avoid triggering the stampede of the usual herd.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

G'Day itsaboat,

You know, if those IX reels had just a wee bit more drag, a slightly larger spool, and they solved the issues with their Achilles heel that is the anti-reverse mechanism, I'd STILL be using them. I love the plastic spools - a bit easier on hands when manual dragging it. I used to drill a series of holes in the drag adjustment knob to let out water so it doesn't find a way back into the washers. I love those reels but the anti-reverse needs babying. It isn't tripped often enough during a revolution of the spool and the momentum when it does can break the plastic washer. Further, the trip lever that pivots, stops pivoting the moment it starts corroding (the spring isn't strong enough to overcome the friction of the corrosion) and while it's a fun kind of pandemonium to find you've got no anti-reverse while there's an angry 30lbs of kingfish on the line, it happened enough to make me sell or give them all away and move to the FX reels instead.

Here's a kingi caught on an IX4000 last Summer. I think it was the last time I was keen to roll the dice with the anti-reverse mechanism.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
itsaboat 1 year ago

Yes mate. I agree. But you asked about a cheap reel that needs little to no maintenance. The IX series is it.

Yeah, the anti-reverse is odd to start with. It is designed to place the trigger (lever) caster in the right spot each time. But at the end of the day, the IX is intended to be an entry level reel. It just happens to be a very good reel that can handle some pretty serious fishing...entry level or not.

I am with you. I have been saying for years. You do not need expensive gear to catch fish. A basic hand reel or even an old fashion cork reel is all you need. You get these people go on about this size that and this brand the other...I say, if it looks about right then it will do the job !!.......There is a limit to that thou - you get what you pay for

If you are already used to palming...That what it's called when you use your hand as the drag, palming. Then maybe a cheap or secondhand Alvey might be the go for you. My first ever live bait catching reel was (is, I still have it) a cheap "kids" Alvey. I have had it for about 30 or 40 years, but I think it cost something like $2.95 at the time.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 1 year ago

Cheers kingiFiddler, yeah Mangawhai is certainly not the best place to go fishing in July, haha. I know the area. Depending on the weather in July I might or might not head out one day. Will see. Perhaps I'll stick to some land-based fishing as I'm kinda enjoying this at the moment.

Hey itsa - I'm pretty sure that you have not written the article on the FX4000

This is definitely written with a German accent, LOL

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

thanks itsaboat,

Funny you should mention Alvey reels. Have been thinking about them on and off for years. I just went to their website and am shocked and saddened to read they are closing down soon. An Aussie icon with over a hundred years of history.

Might look for a cheap used one and give it a go. I guess will need to be a small one, as there's not much room on a kayak. And I guess I'll need to see how much clearance my rods have from the deck of the kayak to the reel seats, to see if a reel can fit in the holder without hitting the deck.

I've been experimenting with drop-back release clips when slow trolling livies. It looks like the Alveys might actually work well with such a system.

Is there any style or type I should be looking more closely at please? The challenge of no drag, no gearing appeals but I'm not sure I'm ready for that - it could end badly. But the simplicity of such a reel surely appeals to me. A kingfish on an Alvey from a kayak would be something to smile about!

*edit* Will I need a special Alvey rod - with the first guide further up the rod? I guess it depends on how big the spool is? I'm a big fan of short rods, having worked my way back down from 7' to 5'. The shorter rods put less hurt on me and it's easier to gaff a fish yak-side. Would I need to step up the rod size if the first guide is being pushed out further? Or maybe just get an existing 5' rod re-guided to suit the Alvey and see how that goes?

BTW, in keeping with my cheap reel fettish, I'm loving my cheap kidstix rods. They do the job well. But I doubt they'll suit an Alvey without modification. Would be great if they don't need it though.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
kingiFiddler 1 year ago


Are you travelling with your kayak?
We've a few small play yaks that are good for in-close missions and you are welcome to grab one of those if not bringing your yak.

Let's stay in touch and if all the stars line up, weather good, surf down, etc and a day or two available and you're keen for a fish, it sounds like a plan. No guarantees I can put you on any fish but will try.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
Mark Totzke 1 year ago

Cheers kingiFiddler, yeah I'm travelling with my kayak Sounds good, let's keep in touch and perhaps there'll be a good weather window for a mission. 👍

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 1 year ago

Yes. Alvey was in trouble a couple of years ago. But we all united and bought some Alvey stuff...All good now. But if things go pear shaped again we can pull together...It is an Aussie icon and I know how to use some very big words. And I know how to write letters that start with "Dear Minister"

Yeah, I can see you using an Alvey. I think it might fit in with your style. Sure, we are looking at price...but, second hand ?? I got a brand new Alvey, 6 inch, still with original wrapper on the spool for about $35 on eBay. I will post a pic of it later...All my Alvey reels are second hand except one. I forget how much it cost, but it was not cheap.

I just dragged it out...It is a Turbocast model - 6000BCVRR ... 6000BC-V Series. Bloody good reel but out of the price range of your project.

I cannot speak for Alvey of course. But I reckon if you were to happen to video a big kingie off a kayak using an Alvey. They might be interested !!

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Hmmmm, could I go wrong at this price for this combo?
The 4" size might mean it's a bit easier to find a local rod that will suit if the R40 in the above combo doesn't. I'm not a fan of 2-piece rods. They'd pack away in my centre hatch easier for when surf launching or landing, but the cheap ones seem to crack at the joining socket. Also, the guides on that R40 don't seem as robust as others and they tend to get knocked around when I'm stowing or retrieving the rod from the aforementioned hatch.

Or should I just bite the bullet, spend more for a better set and take the punt that I'll enjoy it enough to keep and be grateful to have bought a better set?

I note they never list the actual max-drag numbers for any of their reels on their website. I might drop them a line with a bunch of questions.

Cheers again for the nudge, itsaboat.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
itsaboat 1 year ago

That looks OK for what it is intended for.

However, for what you want to do ?? I would prefer a metal seat. Otherwise it looks good.

Yes, that rod is not suitable for what you want. You can buy the reel separate for about $45 by the looks of it. I am not going to talk about the rod included in the combo, it is not suitable, simply as that.

What to look for in a rod...A large stripper guide. That is the guide that is first or closest to the reel. You are casting line off a 4 inch reel down to the size of the stripper. So to reduce friction caused by the size change, you want the stripper to be fairly large. You can just look at the rod and imagine the line coming off the reel and forming a nice smooth cone shape as it goes through the guides. Use the rule - "it looks about right".

Not sure if they still make them. But 4 inch used to come (in some models) with a large stripper built into the reel. This allows the reel to be used on any standard rod. Like this -

The next feature to look for is a relatively short butt. Almost like a fly rod. The short rod butt is the "secret" to long casts. Alvey still holds the world record for the longest cast ever...Before you jump on me. Charles Alvey used stock standard rod and reel to set his record of just under 300m. These days they use specially modified equipment and the record is about 350m. But Alvey still hold the record for standard equipment.

The other rod features are what you should already be looking for anyway. You want double feet guides. That one in the combo has single foot guides. You want under wraps so the guides are on thread and not directly on the blank. This allows for some cushioning under pressure. You want the spine of the blank to be as close as possible to the line of the guides.

One more thing I just thought of that might be a game changer or even game over...You will want to be using braid !!! You can use braid on a Alvey but...and this is a BIG BUT...You have to use a finger guard. Just like laying line with your thumb on an overhead, you finger lay the line on an Alvey...Braid will literally slice your finger off. I don't know if you could get a finger guard tough enough for what you want to do...have to look into that.

As for drag. Most Alvey reels do have drag. Some even have multi plate drag systems and anti-reverse. I think this little reel you are looking at has anti-reverse. But palming is the main drag...the palm of your hand. Once you get used to it, palming is the best, most sensitive and fastest reaction drag system.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Thank you for all that great info itsaboat.

Just one point to clarify - I don't cast, just slow troll or drift livies.
Will give that R40 rod a miss, probably buy their cheapest reel:
and see if it fits any rod I have here or can find locally.

Cool - another neat Winter project to have some fun with. Looking forward to it. Will probably get absolutely smoked by the first big fish that strikes but I'm a stubborn @ss and will eventually get the hang of it or die trying.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Turns out there's a NZ agent - hooray.
But I've had a poor experience buying from them and they went on my boycott list a while back - boo.
That's Ok though, I'll order from the Alvey website directly - hooray.
But they wont sell to me in NZ - boo.
So I just ordered on the site, sending it to my sis in Aus - hooray.

Couldn't make up my mind between two reels so bought both. hopefully AusPost don't sting me too much to get it from Aus to here.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
itsaboat 1 year ago

Oh...I found a NZ retailer that I was going to suggest...But I wont now just in case it's the same one

Alvey do a 5 inch trolling reel. Bit larger than what you were looking for. But might work without having to finger lay the line.

Auspost is pretty good most of the time.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Thanks itsaboat. It'll be the same NZ retailer. Couldn't see a trolling reel on Alvey's website in my cheapskate price range but have noticed a few older models on trademe (our online auction site). I note also that without needing the sidecast feature, they sit a bit closer to the rod too, which is a good thing in my kayak slow trolling context.

As luck would have it, there was a used $30 Alvey rod and 'snapper' reel on trademe the other day. We're North of Auckland and the listing was in Wellington but a relly was flying down there next week so could pick it up for me. I snapped up the listing, fired off a few texts, and have just learned the ones in Wellington all have covid so the one up here that was flying down to visit isn't going there anymore. So, now I have a Alvey rod and reel stranded in Wellington. The best laid plans of mice and men turned upside down pretty quickly. Hopefully can get something sorted.

Another thought on these reels that just came to me (I'm a bit slow on the uptake sometimes), is they probably have enough line capacity to use mono rather than braid. That'll be cheaper in the long run and easier on my fingers too. I just got a heap of mono in from overseas to try. It's really cheap but supposed to be good quality, and I couldn't find it in the stores here. Tried it for the first time today and really like (although I'll need some time and a few more trips to see how well it holds up) it but I got absolutely smoked by a 15-20kg kingi. It was wise enough to realise I had manipulated it to run away from the rocks and once it realised that and did a 180, I couldn't get enough line back fast enough to stay over the top of it, so it dusted me in the bricks. Was a really nice fish too. I'm sure it smiled and waved as it flew just below my kayak.

Over the last few days I've been exchanging emails with Glenn Alvey. He mentioned I might notice the line recovery rate of the reels is the only downside and I had replied there's only been a few times when I've really needed a fast recovery. Nek minnit, today I'm reeling like a madman trying to recover line ASAP, but it still wasn't enough even on my geared reel, so if I have the same fight on an Alvey I'll have to find another tactic to outsmart the hoodlums here.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
itsaboat 1 year ago

That is an odd thing for him to say...Recovery rates of Alvey is higher than most comparable threadlines.

Recovery rate of an Alvey is simply dia x pi. So a 5in Alvey is just under 16 (5 x 3.14) inch per turn recovery. Because the spool is relatively large, the line does not build up enough to make any real difference.

Compared to even a high gear ratio threadline of say 6:1 the Alvey will win in most cases....The threadlines are very reliant on how much line is on the spool. So even at 6:1 the recovery is quite slow until the spool gets close to almost full. So between empty and full the dia could be 100% or more 1 inch empty to 2 inch full = 100% difference.

Where as an Alvey at 5 inch dia is going to hold about 1/4 maybe 1/2 inch of line. So the dia does not change much. If you have 1/2 inch of line that makes it 5 1/2 inch dia full, which is only 10% difference. So even at almost all line out, you still have more than 90% full power and full recovery rate.

The recovery ratio of an Alvey is 1:1. This gives maximum power while still a decent retrieval rate. Because the dia does not change much, that 1:1 is consistent.

Consider that you would be going for a slow ratio of 3:1 to 4:1 for the style of fishing you are doing. You should not notice any real difference. But if you wanted to be picky and actually measure you should find the Alvey wins the race.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Haven't measured it in the real world but the specs say the line retrieval per crank on the fx4000 I was using yesterday is about 30" (edit - I got about 29" when I tested but that was off a full spool, so considerably less on a half spool) . If that's accurate it's significantly more than Alveys.

Another thing to come out of yesterday's fishing was the motivation to scrape the snails, spiders, vermicast off my very first kayak (a cheap, small, heavy tank), check it's still semi-watertight, find the oldest rod gathering spiderwebs in the shed, slap an Alvey on it, paddle out and catch a kingi. Let's see if I can land one on old, heavy, slow, cheap gear. A mate was hassling me yesterday out there, suggesting I've forgotten my roots now I'm on a sleek, slipery, fibreglass fishing kayak.

I get a kick out of trying to prove results are more influenced by the fisho than the gear. It's even more satisfying when me catching fish on simple gear annoys those who've 'invested' up to $10k on their kayak fishing set-ups and gear and still struggle to bring anything good home.

Let's see if I can pull this off. Failure or success, I'll be laughing either way.

Oh, and the fishing forecast and timings for yesterday were bang-on here. I was saying to a mate yesterday that he was in the right place but to hang around for the first hour or two of the outgoing tide when it will turn on. I paddled elsewhere on the incoming but made sure I was back where he was, in time for the kingis to spark up. They turned up on time exactly as forecast, but sadly my mate had paddled in two hours earlier. Of course I made sure to let him know he should have listened to me. What are mates for

The world's a better place after a paddle.
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Believe it or not, Alvey still haven't sent the order. Since announcing their impending closure (remains to be seen), they are swamped and the lead time as of almost two weeks ago was about three weeks.

Meantime, the people with the used Alvey and rod in Wellington are coming up to Auckland in a few weeks and bringing it with them, so I'll meet them and collect it then.

Meantime, I spied this $10 Alvey on facebook two days ago and just collected it, so despite buying four Alveys in the last three or so weeks, this is the first one I have in my possession. I felt guilty buying it for $10 so offered him $15 and when I got there he had no change for a twenty, so the $10 Alvey cost $20. I figure I can only use one handle at a time so only having one is fine by me.

Hoping to get it wet sometime in the next week, if this crazy weather settles. Since about mid-Summer until now, I've not seen the weather so terrible for fishing in the decade or so we have been living in this location. Really has been exceptional, for all the wrong reasons.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
itsaboat 1 year ago

That is an old trolling reel. Looks like bakalite. Even with the damage $20 is not bad.

Bloody weather ???

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Yeah, no sidecast, but is labelled as a "snapper" model of reel, and yes, bakerlite.
I was wondering what was the difference between the snapper and trolling reels when I started noticing they seemed quite similar.
Will take this one apart tonight and get more acquainted with it. Clicker works, drag works (better than I was expecting actually).
Will mount it on a cheap 5' Shimano kidstix rod that's my current favourite and hopefully it fits and the first guide is big enough and far enough away to not be too bad for the line and lets see if I can still reach it with a gloved finger to guide it on the reel. Might be too much of a stretch but we'll see.

The goal is to catch a kingi, get a photo of it with the rod alongside the kingi at the waters edge, with a huge pile of sand smothering the reel. I think I'll call this reel the slammer slammer. That should sufficiently annoy a few $350 slammer owners here.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
itsaboat 1 year ago

There is no difference. Just depends on who you are talking to. A snapper reel is a trolling reel. They are also called boat reels.

We look forward to seeing the pics.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Good to know, thanks itsaboat. Will get pics if can get anything worth photographing.
Took the reel apart last night. Not many parts, not much to go wrong.
Coupla questions for the panel if I may:

  • There's room on the spindle thread for a few layers of drag washer/stainless steel washer combos for more drag. Is it worth a shot or is that just going to cause premature wear of the end of the brass bushing and bakerlight that seats on a small lip on the base of the spindle? *edit* Come to think of it, that's not going to work as there's really only one mating surface between the spinning and non-spinning parts, so adding more washers doesn't do anything.
  • It's a 520 model and it seems like I'll struggle to adjust the star drag while a hoodlum is pulling string. Even with just the one handle (hmm, I wonder if it'll be a bit out of balance with just one), there's not much room to reach in there while that handle is spinning around, threatening to skin my knuckles. Any tricks to it?
  • The line capacity is huge. As I'm not casting, is there any reason to fill the spool? I'm thinking as long as I've got enough line on there, leaving some extra room on the spool might help give me some wriggle room if I don't lay it back on the spool very well.
  • The huge line capacity has got me thinking. Having done a bunch of trials this Summer between mono and fluoro leaders, I've settled on mono leaders because the strike rates of fluoro simply didn't justify the price of the stuff, for me. I've read it's best to use swivels to avoid line twist on the Alveys but I'm a fan of none usually, and just cutting the hook off and trailing the line behind me on the paddle home to get any line twist out. So, I'm thinking, why not just load the Alvey up with my mono leader line (50lb - in a kayak, that's the absolute most I ever want to be trying to bust off if the need arises) and snell straight to the hook. No braid, no leaders, no swivels, no knots anywhere other than the hook. Worth a crack?

Any help much appreciated. Will nut this out with trial and error eventually but any help avoiding mistakes is very welcome indeed.

P.S. Have changed its name to antiSlammer, because according to a mate with a Penn Slammer I've made a deal with the devil and am going to Hell for using an Alvey.
P.P.S. It cleaned up well, seems to fit on my cheap 5' kidstix rod named pinkFury nicely and sits in the rod holder with just 1cm clearance to the deck of my kayak. May have got lucky.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
itsaboat 1 year ago

There is no need to use a swivel. The action of the line strip when casting causes line twist. But this is not a casting reel so you don't get line twist.

Having said that. It is also possible to not use a swivel on a casting Alvey. But not recommended unless you really know what you are doing and what is going on...The golden rule is to use a swivel the same dia as the line. That is, the wire of the eye of the swivel should be the same dia as the line.

The amount of line loaded has little affect. Because the spool dia from empty to full is not a big difference. If you measure a threadline (spin) reel you will find the change is very big. A small threadline might be 1 inch dia empty and 2 inch full which is a massive difference (100%) especially when considering that you are relying on gears. Whereas your Alvey at 5 inch dia empty might be 5.25 full (a 5% change) and with no gears.

If you have ever used an overhead and thumbed line, then you will have no problems fingering line onto an Alvey. If you are concerned about line lay to start, then your idea of loading with less line will work exactly as you are thinking. Line lay is more important on a casting reel because you want it fairly flat and even for the next cast. Being a trolling reel (or snapper reel) a bulge will not have any real affect.

Being a small reel, you should not notice any balance problems with the missing handle. But if you do, you could just epoxy on a small lead sinker in place of the missing handle.

It is standard for the star drag to be facing down. That is, the arms of the star to be pointing toward the spool. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot turn it round so that the arms point up. I prefer to have them pointing up because it is easier...You use your index finger to turn the star. There is no reason to let go of the handle to adjust the drag.

Drag washers. You already answered that. You most certainly can add extra washers. But, your main drag is the palm of your hand. The washers really just slow down any chance of an over run if you let the fish take some line.

You can use a leader and even braid...But mono is cheaper and easier. A leader will help in tight spots like rocks and jetties. Braid has some advantages when using geared reels like threadlines...But you are on a kayak using an Alvey - straight mono!

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Awsome info, thanks very much itsaboat.

Regarding adjusting the drag. As a direct wind reel, hopefully at some stage that handle is going to be spinning a million revs a minute when a hoodlum hits and runs. Here's the general order I'm used to:

  • drag set to zero/freespool (not even the clicker) and the line is held by my drop back clip when slow trolling a livie. The clip is set at just enough to hold the livie.
  • hoodlum hits, clip releases, reel starts giving up line with the least possible resistance
  • I asses which direction I want to persuade the still unspooked kingi to head and start paddling like a madman in the opposite direction
  • after a few seconds to a dozen seconds, depending on where I am and what else is going on, I'll stop padling just long enough to reach back to the rod still in the holder and turn up the drag a we bit
  • return to paddling, then stop to up the drag a bit more
  • rinse and repeat until the kingi has hit the afterburners in the desired direction or I run out of water between me and any hazards, being sure to not up the drag beyond a point where I can't lift the rod out of the holder
  • Pull rod out, let fish pull the bow around and then crank the drag to the max I can get away with, sit back and enjoy the sleigh ride.

The issue I foresee is upping the drag while the rod is still in the holder and the spool and handle are spinning like mad. I've just had the Mrs walk off with line while I tried to tweak up the drag and my hand/knuckles got in the way of the handle a few times. Trying to reach back and do that drag adjustment while the rod is still in the holder (so I can keep paddling straight away), is gonna be painful, me thinks.

Plan B is to try and get more drop-back when the clip goes off, so I can leave the drag set to the max I can still get the rod out of the holder, and hope the kingi still gets enough line with the drop back to swallow bait and not get spooked and spit it. Even if it does get enough time, the drag being higher might not get the gentle roll of the circle hook I'm used to, so it may not set well, and my livie coming back stripped of scales and non-too-happy about it.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see what I can and can't get away with.

*edit* Just had an idea. Might see if a short length of PVC pipe could fit over the star drag and stay there until I'm ready to pull rod out of the holder and play the fish. This way I can reach back, turn the pipe to tighten the drag a bit, without getting knuckles hammered.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
itsaboat 1 year ago

Yes, I know what you mean.

Turning the star so that the arms are up will give a little more room. You could even use some washers as spacers to bring the star up even higher.

Your idea of using a tube like PVC as a key to turn the star would work.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Thanks itsaboat.
Found a SS washer almost the same size as the drag plate that's recessed into the spool. Cut a drag washer from carbontex to match and the reel has more than enough drag to get me in trouble now.
Cut a small section of PVC tube, heated the end and formed it over the star drag and left it to cool and shrink, then made a series of cuts from the end of the tube up to where the points on the star drag are, so I could get the PVC tube off but it goes on snugly enough that it won't fall off in use.
Took it out today for a quick shakedown session and everything seemed to work well, but the only thing interested in my livies were the birds so I didn't stay out long.
Tomorrow is slay day for anti-slammer

*edit* slay day is delayed on account of too few fish and too many muppets (it's a holiday weekend and we are close to Auckland and a holiday destination, sadly). Caught three livies but the only one I could lose (and about 20m of line too) was to a pair of aforementioned muppets in a boat. On the plus side, their boat was a good 'huge fish' shakedown on the Alvey for me, which I failed, and have the blood blister under my left thumbnail to further evidence my Alvey newbie status. When the reel is spinning that fast, it pays not to get anything in the way of the handle. seems obvious, I know, but not so easy when pandemonium erupts and line is ripping off and the 'fish' is unstoppable.

Just to ensure my faith in humanity was dealt a significant blow, I watched as another import stalled out on their way out, couldn't restart their six-figure boat, dropped anchor and waited for someone to come rescue them. You'd think they'd have room in the budget for a VHF but, nope. That would have been too safety conscious. So I went to call in the stricken vessel only to hear someone had beat me to it and for the next three hours at least I watched a good two dozen boats motor passed without stopping to render assistance, including two charter skippers on their way back in. After a few hours I paddled over to them and he said he was waiting for the coastguard to tow them in, but without a radio he was unaware they were on another call that came in around the same time. He was so clueless he then refused the help of the boat I flagged down for him, citing they might damage his boat. Instead, I left him to wait for coastguard to turn up and went back to achieving nothing good with my fishing while even more muppets, this time locals, decided it was a great idea to drive their boat around me multiple times looking for baitfish. Having reached my idjit quota for the day and in fear i was going to lose the plot and start yelling like a madman at the next thing that came anywhere near me, I gave up and paddled in.

I am getting royally sick of the few, scarce good weather days being on long weekends. On the way back in I daydreamed of dropping a few trees over the multiple roads into this place, if the weather is looking good for a fish next weekend.

*edit 2* Once more unto the breach. This time, there were kahawai (Aus salmon), an 8lb snapper, and a shark (estimated 1.5m - it bit me off after about 10minutes but felt about that). Still no kingi, but at least no idiots this time around. Interestingly, the reel has plenty of power, more than I'm used to. There's almost no need to pump and wind, just wind. Old habits die hard but I'm getting the hang of it. Makes for a much smoother fight. Even on the shark fight, which was up to their usual unpredictable tricks, I felt like I was getting into the groove of going from palming to winding reasonably seamlessly. Also, am really happy with the PVC tube star drag extension. Works superbly. Bring on the hoodlum, I think I'm ready for it now.

*edit 3* So close! Got out yesterday, livie got smashed (so hard it popped like an over-ripe tomato, the poor thing) but the hoodlum dropped it almost immediately. AntiSlammer's freespool is so smooth I thought I could do away with the drop-back clip but won't make that mistake again.

The reels (a direct wind and the other a bit more fancy) from Alvey are finally in the post. Am leaning towards the simpler direct wind as anything else just feels like cheating, but time will tell. Have also come to realise I don't need drag, except enough to hold a fish yak-side for gaffing. The drop-back clip holds a trolled livie, and the reel stays in freespool, which means I'm not winding against the drag on the direct-wind reel. This also means the PVC extension isn't really needed, which is just as well because a kahawhai knocked it out of the yak and I learned solid PVC doesn't float .

*edit 4* This is turning into quite the OCD novel. Dear diary (hahahaha) today my new Alvey reels arrived from Aus. As suspected, I prefer the cheaper, direct-wind 40GDZ model. Like me it's ridiculously simple (some might say simply ridiculous) so hopefully fewer things to go wrong. First impression was I had succumbed to the curse of internet shopping - it is tiny and seemed much bigger online. But, if I wanted a fun test of my fishing skills and to put the sport back into sport fishing, this lil' reel is it. To land a kingi on this reel is going to be some achievement.

*edit 5* Dear diary, got out yesterday morning, still chasing the elusive Alvey kingfish. Couldn't find a suitably sized livebait so dragged a mammoth kahawai around for a few hours until Noah bit. It all but parked after just the first short run. It was a huge weight and just wasn't even bothered enough to seriously fight. It would take a few meters and allow me to get back just those few meters. I've lifted a 2.5m great white from 50m down on a rod half as strong as the one I was using, but there was no way I could lift this beast any closer than 10m from the kayak. It had serious weight on its side.

After about 20 minutes of stalemate I started to realise (hey, I'm a slow thinker and even slower learner) maybe I don't want to even see this thing or persuade it to come up at the kayak or for it to finally wake up and put up a real fight. It's certainly the biggest thing I've been hooked to for a long while. I prepared for the inevitable bust-off, gave it the requisite curry and my 40lb braid broke at what I think was just above the FG knot. So, another 'no kingis were harmed in the making of this episode', yet the Alvey has certainly proven itself as capable on some very big fish.

Whilst full of learnings that will pay dividends come Summer, this has been a cruel Winter with month after month of 'nothing worth keeping'. It does however seem like the fishing is just starting to turn and activity picking up. Huge schools of kahawai out there lately and I've seen quite a few dolphins (paddled out with a few the other day) and seals. In moments of weakness I have considered targeting snapper or JD's but they can't drag the kayak around or get the heart pumping quite like a kingi.

Oh, and for the record, whilst I like the little Alvey 40GDZ on my bait rod, it has one major weakness. The spring on the sidecast mechanism isn't strong enough and on a good kahawai or the like the spool can spin around and wrap the line around said sidecast mechanism. The trick seems to be to pump and wind that model Alvey so it's not seeing any real winching loads. It's not unusual for me to find the limits of cheap reels but I'm thankful the main limitation on this wee Alvey is me and having learned how to keep it alive while torturing it, one day it'll be put on kingi duty as a serious challenge. If I ever find the darn kingis again. The more I fish with the $20, broken handled direct wind 5" model Alvey, the more I think the best Alvey for me from the kayak is a 5-6" direct wind model, with no real drag and no clicker. Super simple, bullet proof, and lethal in the hands of anyone willing to put in the time to learn the skills needed to really, patiently, work and out-think a fish. I'm not there yet but am certainly progressing in my Alvey apprenticeship.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
KgKg 1 year ago

Hi just found this place.. anyone have any info/advice Re best setups, bait etc. for Chinamans and Army Bay at all please? Can you catch squid at either? I know snapper, Kahawai and Kingfish can be caught there, just if anyone has some tips and tricks it’d be much appreciated. Cheers!

Mark Totzke 1 year ago

Hi KgKg,

Do you mean land-based or boat fishing?
I did quite a bit of kayak fishing around Army Bay a couple of years ago. It used to be good for squid fishing as there is a lot of seaweed around the corner from the boat ramp. Just cast a few squid jigs around at dusk or dawn.
When kayak fishing I usually only fish with micro jigs or soft baits for snapper and kahawai. Works better than bait for me and you don't attract sharks.


a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
KgKg 1 year ago

Hey Mark,

Cheers for that! Currently I’m only land based fishing.. I know Chinamans gets busy so was trying to get some info on Army Bay in that event (busy at Chinamans).

Mark Totzke 1 year ago

I haven't fished at Chinamans. Where is that?
For land-based fishing, you could also try Shakespeare Regional Park on a calm day.
You can walk out to the rocks at low tide.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
KgKg 1 year ago

Awesome cheers! Chinaman’s rock is around the cliff/coastline between the marina and Okaromai Bay. It’s not a secret destination and has been discussed on other forums. There’s a pretty obvious and purpose built pathway and steps just off Pinecrest Drive. It is popular which puts me off a bit.

Mark Totzke 1 year ago

okay, I see. Yeah, I have never fished that spot. But I can imagine that this gets very busy.
The Point out from Stanmore bay could also be an option for land-based.
I did a bit of kayak fishing around that point and caught my PB snapper there back in the day.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
hairytaco 1 year ago

Another spot that I've tried is Little Manly at low tide. I walk right around towards Arkles Bay, there is a nice ledge there and your away from other anglers... Have caught Kahwai and Snapper.

KgKg 1 year ago

Just re Shakespeare do you mean the east or west end of the beach ? (left side or right side as you stand on the beach facing Rangitoto). Cheers!

Mark Totzke 1 year ago

The left side, when you're facing the beach. Fishing around there used to be fairly good.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
KgKg 1 year ago

Awesome thanks! I was also wondering whether anyone had tried cray pots from these points? (around the peninsula)

Mark Totzke 1 year ago

I wouldn't bother. If there would have been crays at some stage they're most likely all taken by now.
I don't think you can find any near Auckland anymore.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
KgKg 1 year ago

Ah that's a bugger.. Well at least I know now. I'm going to Shakespeare to do a wee recce this morning, may give it a nudge late afternoon early evening today or tomorrow as that's when the tide is more favourable?

kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Quick update on the alvey crusade. nailed a snapper over 20lb earlier this week (released)and finally after many lost opportunities the alvey got a legal (just) kingi today. It was gut hooked or I would have released it. Nice to open my kingi account for this summer though. A mate a few kms down the coast got his first kingi today too. We were probably fighting our kingis at the same time..

No pics if the snapper, I released it yak-side. But it was a horse. Second biggest moocher I've caught. Just as I got the hook out it thanked me by crushing the hook in its powerful jaws.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Thanks for the Alvey nudge itsaboat. Am having a blast with my ones.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
dazzling79 1 year ago

Wow! Did you get him on a fly rod??

kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Nope. That's my world-famous-in-New Zealand cheap Shimano eclipse rod, named "The Mighty Eclipse". it has caught more kingfish than every other rod I've owned, combined. It's a kingi-magnet. All $30 of it.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
dazzling79 1 year ago

Hahaha! Good on you! Looked a little bit like a fly reel! Big! or fish is small? How big was the kingie?

kingiFiddler 1 year ago

It's a 5 1/4" diameter Alvey reel. A bit like a fly reel. Hasn't much drag but is a great fun challenge. Am not sure of weight yet as I'm in a competition and weigh in isn't until 6pm. Gutted and gilled, it feels about 11-12kgs.
Nice to see they are coming back in, but I know the sharks are around too, so I think I got lucky this morning.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
itsaboat 1 year ago

You are welcome. I thought a little Alvey would be the ticket.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Like them so much I've got one I'm prepping for marlin missions
Bruce Alvey has kindly worked up a special spool just for me. It's on its way.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
Mark Totzke 1 year ago

😂😂😂 you're on the way to becoming the number one Alvey Ambassador!
Imagine you land a marlin on one, from a kayak...
Make sure you film it

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
kingiFiddler 1 year ago

It's impossible to even entertain the idea without smiling. Just imagine the size of the grin if Tweety (my yellow Alvey) and I actually stumble across one this summer. Whilst shark encounters are a poor substitute for the real thing, they (and one speed boat) are all I've hooked to compare so far, while using the above, cheap, almost no-drag direct-wind model. That reel handled it all just fine. Including this morning's shark (my luck ran out and they found me after weaving a course around them for the last few weeks while everyone else seemed to be finding them).

If I could be sponsored by anyone, I wish it was one of the salt ice makers. I spent more on ice, keeping the above kingi cool until weigh-in yesterday, than I did on the reel that caught it. For the record, it went somewhere over 10kgs gutted and gilled. Prize giving time for the contest is roughly about now but I'll give it a miss. It doesn't stand a snowball's chance (but auction proceeds go to a good cause so I weighed it in regardless). Or at least it shouldn't have any chance, if there are any serious fishos in the contest. If the boats can't beat a lone, hairy midget paddling a speed bump with his DIY wooden paddle and using a decades-old, cheap, facebook marketplace Alvey with next to no drag and a broken handle, then they should be ashamed of themselves.

The world's a better place after a paddle.
steven peebles 1 year ago

I switched from ambassador to shimano reels many moons ago - quality and performance up other reels went down. Hats off to them dam Asians! Say your from New Zeland can you do me a small favor - go over to crytopia exchange in new zeland and ask for my 3 bitcoins and numerous other smaller priced coins back. One of there good ole boys and/or girls stoled 16 million out of that (crytopia exchange there). It did a positve note ; When they were pulled to courts in new york it set a precedent that made bitcoin valued as money.
On a light ur note i burned two of kayaks in half in my backyard and part of a 20' flatbed trailer. Suggestions on what to do with them. I have parts of my totaled out nightrain harley in my pecan tree in my front yard as a reminder. An illegal pulled out in front of me broad side so i had to lay it down. The piece of work drove off and left me stuck under my bike. A positve to a negative (GOD sent) me a redheaded wine O to wave the traffic off me in the middle of the street. We found him later and the Houston police didn't even put him in jail. If i did that to him he would own everyting i have worked for all my life. The houston cop didn't even get out of his new suv. The ambulance driver kept apologizing after the cop told him to go get my drivers license. Strange times but thats not going to stop me from fishing. Started fishing @ 3 with my grandfather from the farm.

Craig Wheaton 1 year ago

How do you like the 460, i have a 480 its getting a bit heavy for my old bones on and off the roof

kingiFiddler 1 year ago

Love it. Can still get it on the roof racks after a 10hr paddle. Even after the one 12hr paddle last summer. Have only struggled twice - once after an exhausting 3hr fight with a shark, and about 5 weeks ago when I stuffed my wrist (once this weather passes through I'm going to try a tentative paddle to see if it's come right - fingers crossed).

Can handle fights with big fish. Is fun in the surf - wee bit more rocker than most. Sits really well in the water with a few kingis in the fish hatch.

Doesn't have the same glide of the other, longer f/glass models though but that was the tradeoff for the lighter weight and ease of storage. Before buying the 460 I tested the 595 length with some ply and a few sticks of framing and it was a nightmare to manoeuvre it around the shed so gave up on that length pretty quick.

Don't worry about the f/glass unless you are dragging it over oyster beds. Probably only thing I'm not stoked with, apart from a few cosmetic issues (if I ever order a new one I've got a list of things I want them to leave off it), is that when punching into a short chop it's bloody slappy. Slap, slap, slap, slap, all the way. Gets bloody annoying if you can't avoid it. Has a pretty fast transition from the sharpish bow to a flattish hull. I don't think it's such an issue on the longer models.

*edit* If you get a f/glass model, you are welcome to a NFB decal or two for it

The world's a better place after a paddle.
Craig Wheaton 1 year ago

I came off a Viking reload and PF400, the front storage in them was the winner for me.
Not so much of a issue now im based in Central Otago for work, originally from Marsden Point, i am enjoying the lakes and the southern coast is a couple of hours away
500 will fit nicely in the garage not so bothered about scraps and scratches.

Craig Wheaton 1 year ago

What changes would you order, mine has the rudder option that i quite like.?

kingiFiddler 1 year ago

So many things screwed to it don't need to be there for the way I use it. I hate holes in the yak that don't need to be there. There's no need for the foot paddle bungee and the bungee hooks for it on the deck. That's four penetrations on the deck for screws that are pointless. Just lots of little things like that.

The world's a better place after a paddle.