The Solterra series has been a great budget line of lever drag reels especially so with the recent bluefin fishing that has become normal in California. They carry an entry level price with great performance, they come in the right two speed sizes that give you the line capacity you need with the appropriate gear ratios and drag for the sizes. I saw quite a few fish over 100lb landed on the larger 30 and 50W on our own Red Rooster charters. The Solterra’s also make great trolling reels whether bluefin are around or not, they still make a great backup wahoo piece or budget reel for the local marlin, yellowtail and threshers.
All of the two speed and even the other single speed models feature two thrust bearings which is great for winding under a lot of pressure, this also keeps your freespool solid at high drag which is something other reels get wrong. The gear ratios are 3.8 and 1.7:1 on the low for the smaller two sizes which is lower than the Penn Fathom 40’s and 60’s guys have been using as their budget alternatives. The larger 50W size goes all the way down to 1.3:1 which will be great if you hook into a bluefin on the troll since you’re likely going to be missing 200-300 yards off the reel already. While the model sizes are similar these aren’t Makaira’s so they don’t have the extra durability of a machined aluminum frame. Despite the lack of machined aluminum the graphite frame that is heavily reinforced with steel hold up well even in a harness.
|MODEL||BEARINGS||BRAID LINE CAPACITY||GEAR RATIO||LINE CAPACITY||LINE RETRIEVE||MAX DRAG PRESSURE||WEIGHT OZ|
|SLX-20IIB||5-BB+2TB||850/65, 770/80||3.8:1 / 1.7:1||620/25 (0.48), 480/30 (0.55), 400/40 (0.60)||35″ & 15″||26-LBS / 33-LBS||39.2|
|SLX-30IIB||5-BB+2TB||1050/80, 880/100||3.8:1 / 1.7:1||640/30 (0.55), 540/40 (0.60), 400/50 (0.70)||35″ & 15″||26-LBS / 33-LBS||40.5|
|SLX-50WIIB||5-BB+2TB||1825/80, 1530/100||3.1:1 / 1.3:1||710/50 (0.70), 600/60 (0.75), 420/80 (0.90)||32″ & 13″||32-LBS / 40-LBS||53.3|