Return of a reel favourite…


Many many moons ago, before I came to my senses and realised my preference for sea fishing, I used to be a coarse fisherman and spent my fair share of time sat by a lake or on a river bank waiting for a float to be pulled under or for a bite alarm to go off. There was one piece of kit I had which I liked above anything else in them days – my Shimano Baitrunner reel which I generally used when I was carp or pike fishing.

For a while now, and certainly since I’ve had the kayak, I’ve been thinking about using a Baitrunner reel for live baiting. I was particularly thinking about trying it for bass in the summer as the mackerel shoals begin to show. Last year I had pondered the options out there with a Penn Live Slammer reel a good option but if I’m honest I really wanted the Shimano Baitrunner D option which I thought ticked all the right boxes, looked the business and reviewed well………trouble was the price differential. The Penn could be picked up for around the £80 mark whereas the Shimano option was nearer £140 and I just couldn’t bring myself to pay that for it bearing in mind the limited amount of use it would probably get.

How does a Baitrunner reel work you may ask? Well, a fixed spool reel is normally controlled by a clutch which may be at the front or at the rear of the reel body. This allows the angler to set the tension at which line can be pulled from the spool with the bale arm engaged to prevent breakage of the main line when playing a larger fish. The Baitrunner is an additional clutch facility that can be engaged to let line flow freely from the spool with the bale-arm engaged, but, with a simple turn of the reel or flick of the switch, normal clutch tension is applied to the spool.

I’d put it to the back of my mind over the winter and hadn’t really thought to much about it  …… until that is my wife said to me she’d ordered my birthday present but wasn’t sure if it was the right one. “The right one?” I said with an air of panic – what the hell was she doing ordering a reel for me – she knows nothing about fishing!! “Well it was on that Birthday/Christmas list you gave me last year” she retorts…… Surely she hadn’t taken a flyer on a list from last year had she?! Well, the answer was ‘”yes she has!” and yesterday  I once again became a lucky Shimano Baitrunner owner! It’s not something I was expecting and probably would still have been “umm-ing and ahhh-ing” over it this time next year knowing me. The wife has really come up trumps this time and has some serious Brownie points in the bank for sure!

The model is the Baitrunner BTR-8000D so is a fairly chunky bit of kit but the main plus with it is that it should handle the wear and tear of salt water which was the major consideration when I was doing my original research. Out of the box you get the reel itself, the maintenance oil, spare adjustment washers and the instruction guide…… so no spare spool which is a little disappointing but I can live with that. The features stated on the box of the reel include:

  • 4:8:1 Gear Ratio
  • 3 Shield A-RB Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
  • Baitrunner System
  • Dyna Balance Anti-Wobble System
  • Propulsion-Line Management System
  • Fluidrive II Gearing System
  • Super Stopper II Anti-Reverse
  • Oversized Power Roller Line Roller
  • Front Dial Water Proof Drag Mechanism With Positive Click
  • Direct Drive Mechanism (Thread In Handle)
  • One-Piece Bail Wire
  • Cold Forged Aluminium Spool

The technical bits are:

  • Weight 21.7oz (615g)
  • Line Capacity 14lb/295 yards, 17lb/250 yards, 20lb, 195yards

For full manufacturer information on the reel click here.

Obviously I haven’t had a chance to use it in anger just yet but the first ‘dry’ impressions are very good. In particular the smoothness of the winding, the comfort of the handle and the sturdiness of the Baitrunner mechanism all stand out. As soon as the opportunity presents itself I will be giving it a proper test. It will be an excellent spinning reel as well which will probably be the first outing it gets but we’ll see. I’ll write a post on my findings later in the year no doubt along with some pictures of it in action.

Thanks to the wife for a cracking birthday present!

Until next time…

2 thoughts on “Return of a reel favourite…”

  1. Yeah cheers Rob – looking forward to christening it! I used to love my old one so am chuffed to bits with this one – the girl did good! Reckon you could have fun with it tope fishing too!!


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