In 1980 I was 23 and my friends and I were crazy about cars, girls and rock n roll – in that order. My pride and joy was a triple black Pontiac GTO used for towing my centre console. Here’s a pic from back in those days – the car, the boat, a couple of sharks, and yours truly:
Back then, if you wanted more horsepower, your only options were bigger engines and/or bigger carburettors. The 400 cubic inch V8 in the GTO was a big one. But Chevrolet 350s and Cleveland 351s could deliver more horsepower depending on how they were set up and tuned.
Here’s a classic from those days, the Ford XB GT in Ryobi Aquila green:
We didn’t know it then, but the era of the muscle car was already on the way out. Smaller lighter cars would soon offer the same acceleration – or better – than the big V8s. Turbocharging meant you could improve the performance of a smaller and often less expensive) car.
And now I’m watching the same trend developing with fishing reels. Smaller, lighter, less expensive reels, offering the same performance as bigger costlier models. And just like bolting a turbocharger or a nitrous oxide kit onto the family car it’s possible to retrospectively upgrade the performance of your fishing reels. And it doesn’t cost much, either. The first improvement is the installation of carbontex drag washers. If you haven’t tried those you won’t believe how good your reel feels – and how more confident you feel using it – when the drag is super smooth.
Just so easy, and you can upgrade maybe five reels for a little over $20, including delivery.
Carbon fibre so many streets ahead of factory fibre drag washers.
Check this comparison,
a Daiwa 40H:
There’s two other options available to make your reel perform so much better. Firstly, regularly changing the line. With quality line so inexpensive now there’s no reason to have the same sun baked salt encrusted line on a reel for two or three years. The second and final upgrade being a replacement reel knob. Think about it. You don’t want a reel knob to stick to your hand, the way a tyre sticks to the road. But that’s what silicon knobs often do. And that’s why a lot of guys wear jigging gloves to prevent abrasion. But another way works so much better. Hot smelly jigging gloves not needed. And that is, replacing your stock factory reel knob with a polished aluminium one. Not only do they feel so much better, they look way better too:
But the real benefit is in the extra comfort when winding, or especially when fighting a fish.
Here’s how to do the swap, as shown on the Daiwa Procaster 4000X.
Time required, about three minutes.
1. Use a small piece of wire, in the jaws of set of pliers, to remove the rubber cap covering the screw head
2. Use a screwdriver to remove the screw holding the knob to the handle
3. There are two ball bearings inside the Procaster knob, as shown above.
Put those to one side, they can be used for the replacement knob
4. The replacement knob is supplied complete with main shaft, two ball bearings and screw.
In this case we will keep all those items for future servicing and use the ones on the Procaster, which are the same size.
To remove the shaft from the replacement knob, firstly unscrew the cover, using a coin
5. Then, unscrew the shaft inside the spindle
6. Remove the shaft, ball bearing and screw, and save it for later servicing of the reel
7. You are now ready to install the replacement knob
8.The first ball bearing goes on the shaft closest to the handle.
Then the spindle slides on, then another ball bearing.
Fit and tighten the screw, and lastly screw on the handle cover.
Here’s how the Procaster looks, with its new reel knob
Not only does it look much better, it works better too. These reel knobs fill the hand beautifully, and make a good reel even better Add a sheet of carbontex and you can give your reel a total revamp, in both performance and appearance. But don’t take my word for it. Check out these reviews from happy customers.
Monte ordered a replacement knob for his Daiwa Catalina 4500, and sent a pic after replacing the stock handle:
"It looks great on the Catalina, cant wait to try it out this sunday if the weathers ok."
Peter P stopped in at the boat show to pick a knob up, and generously sent me an image or two showing it fitted to his Saltist:
Andrew writes from Geelong in Victoria:
"Some pics attached of your Diawa Procaster and the feather jig that accounted for some school Blue Fin off Port Fairy yesterday. Was a very capable reel on the 7ft rod I showed you at the show. I handed it around the boat for the other blokes to try and everyone was very impressed with the custom knob and the smooth drag, particularly when the Tuna were taking those last lunges at the boat."
Here’s one on my personal Daiwa 4500T. Note that reel knobs are shipped with an installation page, it’s a quick and easy swap:
Duncan from D & H Reel Repairs pleased with those fitted to his clients’ ABU baitcasters. They look good, don’t they?
Matt Summerhayes pleased with his upgrade too.
It’s sort of hard to describe why a ball knob feels so much better, on a spin or jig reel.
But it *just does*.
"Reel knob looks and feels great on the Saltist 4500T and took 1 minute to fit. Thanks again Andy"
Frank from Predatek Lures super pleased with his reel knob swap. If you haven’t tried one, the improvement in comfort is incredible. Especially for the types of fishing where you’re winding all the time, like spinning or jigging:
"Hi Andrew, I had already purchased the knob from you but was unsure how to fit it to the TD SOL 3000. Thanks for the info, it made the job easy. It has transformed the reel, a great modification. Thanks once again. Photo attached. Regards Frank"
Glad you’re pleased, Frank! Here’s some colour options but note we can’t guarantee the full range will be in stock when you place an order. Send an email to check:
Jim pleased with reel knob upgrade on two favourite Shimanos. He sent some pics of how he did it, some reels need the tab at the back of the handle filed off. Not a hard job:
"Replaced the reel knobs on both Shimano Baitrunner and Sustain reels with your large knobs. No screw to easily remove existing knobs, and no raised nipples to file down - so used a 2mm drill bit to drill into recessed shaft. Then tapped out with a punch to enable new knob to screw on. Beautifully Optimized!! Thanks again, Jim"
I couldn’t go back to the factory handle Jim, not for jigging anyway.
Thanks for reading and call or email with any questions at all.