fishing advice needed - first conventional reel

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I'm about to buy my first conventional reel. I've been using spinning reals ever since I was a kid and stopped using spincast reels. I'm probably going to need a lot of practice before I can cast effectively but wanted to make the jump.

Plan is to use it for larger catfish and maybe an occasional trip to the coast.

I've narrowed it down to these two models and would love advice/input on which you think is better or if there's another alternative I should consider? Will be mostly bank fishing with occasional trips on a boat.

Lew's SC600
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...title_srh_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A200RT2GD87MLR


Penn Squall LevelWind 20. 15 would probably be fine for the reel size here as well, but the 20 is currently at a better price so why not. I believe the diameter is the same, the 20 is just a little wider.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ER7G19G/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1


Pairing it with a KastKing KatTech rod I got the other day. Heavy fast action 8' rod which is designed for 30-60 pound line. Thoughts?
 

kmccormick100

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I picked up a Kastking Rover conventional reel for $60ish (have to Double check the model) for my heavy swimbait bass rod, used a couple times, but wasn’t really a fan of the conventional reel, so I switched up to a lower profile casting reel because I’ve gotten used (ruined by) centrifugal braking systems. Happy to pass it along to you cheaply if you just wanna give it a shot first, it’s well reviewed I just didn’t like the style.
 

mike32

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I’m no expert on these types of reels for big cats but I bet that Penn is a pain in the ass to cast. I’d recommend a large spinning reel, probably a good shimano or at least as mentioned above something with a braking system. I’ve got a good shimano bait casting reel with a braking system that I can usually cast without even thumbing the line. But the more I fish the more I just use spinning reels. I may not look as cool as the pros on tv, but I don’t know what else I’m giving up.
 

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I picked up a Kastking Rover conventional reel for $60ish (have to Double check the model) for my heavy swimbait bass rod, used a couple times, but wasn’t really a fan of the conventional reel, so I switched up to a lower profile casting reel because I’ve gotten used (ruined by) centrifugal braking systems. Happy to pass it along to you cheaply if you just wanna give it a shot first, it’s well reviewed I just didn’t like the style.
I’ve been watching Dieter Melhorn’s YouTube channel and he said that was a suggested buy. I’ll send you a PM
 

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I’m no expert on these types of reels for big cats but I bet that Penn is a pain in the ass to cast. I’d recommend a large spinning reel, probably a good shimano or at least as mentioned above something with a braking system. I’ve got a good shimano bait casting reel with a braking system that I can usually cast without even thumbing the line. But the more I fish the more I just use spinning reels. I may not look as cool as the pros on tv, but I don’t know what else I’m giving up.
I've got a couple of Pflueger President reels (30 and 40 sizes). Everything I've been reading is saying the conventional is better for the bigger fish so figured I would give them a try. I was looking at a larger spinning reel and rod that would work in saltwater as well but figured I wanted to venture into conventional and maybe baitcast reels later on. It's going to take a lot of practice casting in the backyard I think.
 

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Also over the weekend I went to 3 different stores to find fishing gear and they were aisles were all empty likely due to a surge in fishing interest and lack of material/workforce. Academy has only half full aisles, Wal-mart was pretty empty and limited to one aisle, Field and Stream which is a offshoot of Dick's sporting goods had limited selection of rods and reels. I'm sticking with buying things online for now until I can find a decently stocked local store. I'll try to visit the Bass Pro Shop later this week.
 

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All I've ever fished with (except the bamboo pole when I was a kid) is the open bail. I keep seeing these casting reels. All the pros (and YouTubers) use them, so there must be an advantage.

I guess I'm more content with the Nextgen of fishing reels.
 

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This was the video that got me wanting to try a baitcast type reel.

 

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Took the Lew’s out to the lake today and I really dig it. I still don’t cast it as well as my spinning rod but did catch a couple of good sized bass. One from my spinning reel and one from the Lew’s. I see why they recommend these for bigger fish as it was so much smoother reeling in the fish with the conventional reel. Sadly the first fish got off the hook soon as I got him to shore. The second one was landed successfully

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