Hi Bobby, sorry I just saw this one.
MM, the shop that I saw the reel in Caters to GT popping, you should see the rod I got, casting wt 100 - 180 grams, real beauty, you can really give those huge poppers a go, some protection for the index finger would help but I could never cast with my finger taped.
There now are some pretty decent popping rods coming out of Singapore from smaller companies and builders. Some times the ratings on the rods have to be taken with a pinch of salt, but the majority will handle GT of up to 25 or even 30kilos. Gloves are a must in this game. We've been through well over a dozen pairs here. We're working out a way to sleeve the braid for the first 3 meters or splice into heavier hollow core. A work in progress at the moment.
You will be interested to note that this guy said the Saltiga series is gaining in popularity and is evolving into a more robust reel (he was not selling any Saltigas). Furthermore the told me that the Shimano Japan were getting their major parts for the Stella like gears etc from Daiwa, if one of those companies was buying reel gears from another I would have thought it would be the other way round. But on handling both the Stella and Stella, the Saltiga “Feels” more robust. Jeen uses both these reels; he will be able to give us some more info.
I've always gone with Shimano over Daiwa, but in the last 3 years my views have somewhat shifted. The Stella is a brilliant reel no doubt and immaculately engineered....which might just be its downfall. They're far too delicate, specially roller bearing, the finish on the body of the reel and the water-proof washers. Initially we were all skeptical about the Saltigas when they came out and there were reports of the stems breaking under pressure. I know a guy firsthand who lost a decent sized blue fin tuna when the stem of his reel snapped after a couple of hours of fighting the fish. Apparently Daiwa have sorted out the issue and the Dog Fights/Expeditions now are fine. My next reel will probably be the Daiwa Expedition, it can double as a popping and jigging reel. Since I like using larger poppers the low gear ratio isn't really an issue.
MM, A question after how many good fish (do you feel) as Stella needs to go in for severing?
She's going in for the first time, after a couple of years. Fish... I have no idea Bobby
I fish a lot. The Stella has been good and never let me down once while fighting a fish.
I have a bust roller bearing near the bail arm, the bearings on the handle knob have ceased and I have no idea what else... waiting to hear from Singapore. I am rough with my reels and I hardly have the time to sit and open them out and oil/grease and fiddle. I need them working all the time. Will probably keep the Stella next season and then let go of it.