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Reel Review

Anglers can count on the real value that the Tekota levelwind reels offer

Date: 11/03/05
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.91 + BEST VALUE!

The Tekota series of reels is designed to offer freshwater and saltwater anglers an affordable yet robust reel that is capable of targeting a wide range of species. The Shimano Tekota can be paired up with the Talora rods to be a complete freshwater trolling system. While designed primarily for trolling the Tekota proves that it has other talents as well.

Shimano Tekota 600LC Specifications

Weight 16.9oz.
Gear Ratio 4.2:1
Bearings 3 Ball Bearings + 1 Roller Bearing
Line Capacity (lb-yds) 19-390 / 20-300 / 25-240
Additional Features Solid Aluminum frame and graphite (non handle) sideplate (reinforced with aluminum), Dartanium Drag. Line Counter, Oversized cast control knob. clicker, septon grip
MSRP $169.99

Impressions: Shimano released the Tekota at the same time as the Torium. While the Torium can be likened to a Trinidad-like reel for the masses the Tekota was something entirely new. Unlike the Calcutta series of reels the Tekota comes in a very wide range of sizes from the palm-able TEK500 to the gigantic TEK800. One thing remained consistent on these reels, every Tekota comes armed with a levelwind, making them ideal for lighter trolling applications. 


Introducing the Shimano Tekota (TEK600LC)


Materials: Overall the Tekota is a rather utilitarian looking reel, unlike Shimano's higher end offerings the Tekota doesn't have much in terms of the "gold" treatment, and instead is finished with a matte grey color throughout. I rather liked the look of the reel the first time I set eyes on it. The first thing I thought was "now here is a reel that is designed for business." Getting down to business is exactly how the Tekota is constructed. The TEK600LC features a die-cast aluminum frame, a stamped aluminum right sideplate, and a aluminum braced graphite non-handle side plate. To some saltwater anglers "graphite" is almost a dirty word, but I must say Shimano has done one heck of a job with the implementation on the Tekota. It's actually hard to tell the non-handle sideplate is even graphite at all. Overall the reel feels solid and is lighter than most reels of the same size due to the aluminum/graphite combo. The standard TEK600 weighs in at an even 16oz while the line counter version weighs .9oz more. 


The 500 and 600 sizes can come configured with or without a line counter


The Field Tests: To test the Tekota 600LC we fished the reel on the Talora TLA-70M for an entire season on the West Coast. We intercepted King Salmon as they made their way into the Sacramento river system. The good thing about testing one trolling reel the entire season is that it allowed us to get into many different schools of fish, making it possible for us to test the reel on a wider variety of different sized Salmon.


Complete Testing Rig for Shimano TEK600LC in Field Tests

Rod Shimano Talora (TLA-70M)
Reel Shimano Tekota 600LC
Line 20 lb. Trilene Big Game


While the majority of our tests were conducted trolling we did spend about 20% of our time mooching with this reel as well.


The Tekota features excellent ergonomics, every handle and switch is oversized

There's not a whole lot of casting involved with a reel like this. It is possible to use this for a bottom fishing reel, so we spent a short amount of time casting lead jigs. For the most part the Tekota is a sound caster, but then this isnít what the reel was intended for. For the most part we trolled or mooched in our field tests, casting wasnít a primary concern for us with the Tekota, but line management was. It was this reason why we were very pleased to see Shimano implement a non-disengaging levelwind system. This allows the levelwind to track back and forth during the cast which helps reduce drastic line angles that can potentially cause backlashes. While the Tekota won't win any casting contests it is good to know that if you have the flexibility to cast lures if your application calls for it.


Testing the Tekota in trolling applications


Retrieving: Anglers that fish the original Calcutta always tell me they canít believe how smooth the product is for a reel that makes use of only 4 bearings in itís design. The Tekota is similar, just on a bigger scale. The reel isnít silky smooth by any means, but it is considered quite smooth for a reel of this size. Near zero resistance is encountered between the connection between the main drive shaft and the oversized gearing even when really cranking down hard on the handle.


The Tekota has a generous line capacity for serious trolling applications

The smaller TEK600LC unit we tested features a counter balanced handle for wobble free retrieve, while the larger 700 and 800 sized reels make use of an adjustable power handle. During the entire season we got into plenty of Salmon in the 20+ lb class, each of them tested the reelís ability to effectively draw line in order to maintain pressure on the fish. Retrieving line while fishing for Salmon has to be one of my favorite activities on the Pacific. Unlike many other species the regulations here require barbless circle hooks which makes landing fish quite a bit more difficult. If there is any slack on the line the fish can easily extricate the hook. At 4.2:1 the Tekota isnít exactly fast, but it does offer a wonderful balance of speed and power for targeting Salmon. The reel can catch up with most fast running Kings quickly enough, and once you have adequate pressure on the line you can turn fish pretty easily, and let the drag do the rest.

The clicker is easy to engage and disengage and provides a very audible fish alarm


Next section: Retrieve continued, Drag, and Ratings









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