Great Lakes Angler Forum
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Hudsonville, MI

    Experience with Penn Squall or Okuma Cold Water?

    Has anyone used the Penn Squall 50LW or Okuma Cold Water 553-LS?

    Curious to know how you like either one of these.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    West Branch, MI
    Well, I don't have the 553 but I do have two CW303 linecounter reels for two of my wire divers. I imagine the drags are the same.

    The only knock I have is that the drag will not hold the pull of a mag size dipsy with wire line unless it's either 1) very calm or 2) cranked way-too-tight down. I have to use rubber bands to keep the line from creeping out while trolling. Not a big deal. I mean the rubber band is easily broken either by the initial strike or rips easily on the wire with a tug when you grab the rod.

    Other than that the drag is GREAT when actually fighting a fish--very smooth. And the retrieve ratio is great. Also, Okuma has those awesome, big handles that are very comfortable. I love fighting fish on them because the drag is smooth and the retrieve is awesome. I'm willing to deal with having to rubber band the line in place when it's rougher.

    My cousin/regular fishing buddy talked to an Okuma rep about the drag issue and it was recommended to take them someplace that can upgrade to a "tournament drag" system. Which I though was kind of silly as this reel was supposedly designed to handle heavier wire line setups in the first place.

    I splurged on two Shimano Tekotas for my other wire diver set-ups (we run high and low wires on both sides like a lot of fishermen).

    So, I would recommend the reel if you don't want to go for the price of Tekotas. I have both and will say that the Tekotas are definitely better. But the Coldwater is a quality reel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Kiel, WI
    The only Cold Water reels I've heard with that issue were very early ones and those could be returned for parts replacement. Even Tuna Tom's was doing the "recall" work so you may want to talk to them and have the serial number handy.

    When using a Cold Water always tighten the drag to your setting, don't loosen it to there. If your drag is to tight loosen it and bump the handle forward and then tighten to where you would like it.

    We use the Cold Water 553 for our 300 and 400 coppers and love them, no complaints from crew members since I make the switch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Springfield, IL
    Penn Squall: Clean, simple, efficient, and performs perfectly for great lakes fish. I have two without the levelwind that I use for my long Cu's, and they flat out perform under hard use.

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