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Drag Repair on the Shimano Tekota 700 & 800 Series Reels        by Capt. Jimmy Samia

Monster Lake Ontario king salmon caught on Ace Charters.  

During the off season when not fishing and running charters on Lake Ontario and the Hudson River, I often find myself frequenting the message boards that relate to fishing. A frequent topic that often comes up is the problem or really just the lack of know-how on how to properly set a 700 and 800 Shimano Tekota reel when deploying and using these reels fishing on Lake Ontario. This will be the topic of this article.

I will first go on the record and say that I am not sponsored by Shimano, although I wouldnít mind it one bit. We have been using Shimano Tekota series reels since their introduction several years ago. Our first purchase was the model 600lc reel which we still have and use for our dipsey wire line applications as well as our rigger rods today. Right out of the package they operated just fine. We liked them so much that we later acquired more Tekota reels in the larger 700/800 sizes for our copper and lead core applications.



We were using the big Shimano reels on a daily basis and after several days a problem arose. The drags would not loosen up after the star drag was backed off. It seems that the drags would ďstickĒ in the tighter position, i.e. in the heavier drag setting. This malady didnít happen right out of the box, but sort of just crept up. It seemed that when the drags w


I spoke with a couple of the other charter captains and mates in our marina to see what their experiences were using their Tekota reels. They all responded pretty much the same saying that the drags on the bigger Tekotas would stick in the heavy drag position and would not loosen up on their own when the star was backed off. So, what were we supposed to do about this problem? Capt. Andy Bliss figured out the solution. To stop the drags from being froze in the heavy drag setting he suggested that one should just put their thumb on the spool and hold it down with pressure while taking the reel hand and crank the handle. It worked!!!! Thank you Capt. Andy.

Capt. Andyís cranking the handle while putting pressure on the spool was a solution and works just fine, until you forget to do it. And you donít want to forget to do it, because if you do all kinds of bad things can happen! We had a bad experience of this nature happen to us while fishing in the Pro Division of the Lake Ontario Pro-Am series. One of our less experienced team members forgot to set the reel with Andyís method when deploying a copper set-up out on the big board. Want to guess what happened? That 400 copper that was on the board took a vicious strike from an adult spring king and after the  rubber band broke on the release and the line grew taught, well letís just say the fish went away.

  Shimano Tekota Reel

That fish hit so hard and took off running so fast that before we could even get the rod out of the holder, the fish was gone. The drag was never reset properly and freed up during the initial set to allow the fish to run. Two out of the three hooks on the rear treble came back bent and broken. The guy that set the rod didnít feel too good about it either. As it turned out, that lost fish would have placed us better in the standings that day. That particular day every fish counted as it was an extremely tough bite for most of the competitors. That day stuck in my mind. I am an advocate of always checking the drag settings on all my reels whenever I set them. ALWAYS!!! Anytime I touch a drag, even if itís to just add a little more pressure on too loose of a setting, I check it. ALWAYS!!! ALWAYS!!! ALWAYS!!!

Will the Shimano Tekota reels work right out of the box and continue to work? Yes they will, but they have to be set properly using Capt. Andyís method. Guess what?  There is a better way! After doing a bit of research I came across aftermarket drag kits. There are a few companies out there that produce them and they are quite inexpensive. One of the best is available from Tunaís Reel Troubles. They have aftermarket tournament series drags to fit many different makes and models of fishing reels. They also have reel schematics, useful when taking reels apart and putting them back together again. Tuna  offers for sale reel parts, reel repair, service and have a great reputation with fellow anglers.

I have included a link below courtesy of Tunaís that outlines how to change out the stock drags and replace them with the aftermarket units. The process isnít all that difficult and after you do a few the replacements can be installed in only about 15 minutes. The hardest part is the click pin. Follow the directions closely because it is real easy to lose this tiny part if youíre not careful. If you do lose it, replacements are available from Shimano. The click pin part number is available in the schematics.


Capt. Jimmy Samia clearing a rod during a king salmon strike.  

Capt. Jimmy Samia is a long time professional charter captain operating Ace Charters out of Oswego Marina, New York on Lake Ontario. Jimmy has been featured on several fishing TV shows including Bob Redfern's Outdoor Magazine, Outdoors with Bob Coker, New York Outdoors and other shows on The Sportsman Channel and Versus. Ace Charters has an outstanding king salmon tournament record of wins and placing in the money so any tips like this from a highly respected angler like Jimmy are always appreciated. Jimmy said that if you have any questions about this article to go ahead contact him through his Ace Charters website.





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