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Reel Review

The Sahara 750FB, a quality pint sized spinning reel for under 60 dollars (continued)

Casting: Fishing in the Eastern Sierras is just phenomenal. There are times when you can lose count of how many fish you catch, and without knowing it you can easily find yourself immersed in the beautiful scenery. The last thing you want to worry about once your up there is having a reel fail on you. Some anglers don’t believe in spending a lot of money for a premium ultralight reel, after all you are not fishing Tuna on these outfits, how often do they fail? Others feel that stalking trout in the rivers is just about the most refined fishing you can partake in, and wouldn’t think about going out armed with anything less than a premium reel sporting a double digit bearing count.


JIP field testing the Sahara right outside Eastern Yosemite

The Sahara rests in the lower middle section of that spectrum. It isn’t the cheapest reel, and it certainly isn’t priced like a premium offering, but it does offer plenty of the same performance found in it’s more cultured siblings. Casting however is one area where the Sahara is just as good as reels costing over twice as much. With Kastmasters tied on this reel casts very well, and for the applications this reel is intended for anglers will not be disappointed. With a combination of slower than normal oscillation and an oversized roller line is wrapped evenly to reduce line twist. The reduction of line twists not only makes it easier to manage your line while fishing, it increases overall casting distance. This reel casts so well I cast completely over streams entirely when I wasn’t careful in the backcountry. The inclusion of a spare aluminum spool was very useful for me out in the wilderness, enabling me to spec down to 2lb test when total stealth was necessary.


The free switch is located directly behind the rotor under the reel, this makes it easy to engage in between casts

Retrieving: It took a little while for me to really get a feel for the Sahara’s retrieve. It isn’t silky smooth like a Sustain, but it isn’t rough either. I could feel some resistance in the retrieve but it is so slight that it actually feels like the gearing feedback is being translated through the handle. When I compared it to the Sedona I could definitely feel less friction in the Sahara. Spool wobble is definitely a bigger concern with larger reels, but suffice to say, the 750FB was perfect. Part of this is because of Shimano’s “Dyna Balance” engineering, but the other part is that the 750 size is the only Sahara that features “slow oscillation,” to lay line in a uniform parallel pattern so it more easily spools off during outcast.

The oversized Power Roller II is a nice addition to this tiny reel


In rivers much more than lakes the trout would snap up our Kastmasters and Panther Martin spinners no more than a second after splashdown. In an effort to preserve fish we pressed all our barbs, but this meant we needed a decent hookset at times. With the Sahara obtaining positive hooksets was easy thanks to the implementation of Shimano “Super Stopper” which eliminated just about all backplay in the handle. Once a fish was on I noticed how powerful this little reel was. With a relatively slow retrieve ratio of 4.7:1 I found plenty of muscle in a reel of this size.


The Sahara comes with 2 cold forged aluminum spools, which really came in handy in the Sierras


The handle shank is ported to reduce weight as well. The knob is ergonomically shaped, but it isn't Septon


Testing alongside our new friends at a sweet honey hole

Drag: In our lab we were able to get 6.7lbs of drag pressure out of our test reel; this is quite close to the published spec of 7.0lbs. This is also more then enough drag pressure for any trout short of a steelhead, panfish, and even some bass fishing. In our tests the drag was smooth and can be adjusted in reasonably fine increments. No complaints here.


Next Section: Moving on to Ergonomics and Ratings










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