Adding hookless teasers and heavily weighted multi-armed dredges to your trolling spread can pay big dividends in just about any offshore fishery in the world. But one requirement is the ability to clear those extra lines quickly once the moment of truth is at hand and a billfish (or three) appears in the spread. For that, you need the proper equipment.
Dredge and teaser reels can range from something as simple as a power-assisted reel or electric downrigger all the way up to a fully automated, multi-line system. Here’s a review of some of the most popular setups on the market.
The LP S-1200 from Lindgren-Pitman sets the standard for dredge-fishing, thanks to its beefy construction, gear-driven levelwinder, digital counter and a host of fishing-friendly features like auto-stop, where a dredge can be cleared by pushing just one button. The spools are also quickly interchangeable, so teams can go from dredge-fishing for billfish to deep-dropping or daytime swordfishing in minutes.
12-volt DC power
Interchangeable spool design
Another option for a rod-mounted dredge reel comes from Kristal. The XL 651 features on/off and momentary retrieve buttons, and it can be mounted on any standard big-game rod (although most prefer the short purpose-built rods for dredge-fishing). The XL 651 weighs 16.5 pounds and features 330 feet-per-minute retrieval speed, a spool capacity of 3,000 feet of 130-pound-test braid for deep-dropping and an average power consumption of 12 amps.
12- and 24-volt models
High-speed retrieve rate
Multipurpose use (deep-dropping and dredge retrieval)
The hefty MP 3000 from Daiwa features a full 24 volts of power and Daiwa’s proprietary mag-sealed ball bearings for the ultimate in protection from saltwater-induced corrosion. The reel can pull double duty between deep-dropping, and dredge or teaser retrieval.
Machine-cut aluminum frame, side plates and spool
Another option for auto-retrieving dredges or spreader bars is Hooker Electric. The company manufactures a variety of systems for both Penn and Shimano, but the Shimano 130 Dual Motor version is their top-of-the-line unit. The module is constructed from 6061 aluminum and weighs only about 3 pounds more than the original reel. It has a full variable-speed control, which operates from 0 to 500 feet per minute with no loss of power. The 12-volt DC motor features a remote with two momentary buttons for half and full speed, and the unit retains the reel’s original handle as a backup or for manually reeling in a teaser.
Dual motor with auto-stop and levelwinding
12- and 24-volt DC options
Line-retrieval rate: 500 feet per minute (12-volt);1,000 feet per minute (24-volt)
MSRP: $4,549 (Installed on a customer-supplied Shimano 130 reel); $5,808 (Installed on a new Shimano 130 reel)
Look in the overhead helm station pods of just about any top-flight sport-fishing boat on the circuit today and there’s a good chance you’ll find teaser reels by Miya Epoch. Each is constructed as one unit and factory-balanced, which helps ensure both quality and long-term durability. And while the US-9R can be used for kite retrieval and deep-dropping, it’s perfect as a teaser reel mounted in the overhead. The US-9R can also be operated by remote control.
24-volt DC power
Retrieve rate of 400 rpm
Auto-stop with one-button retrieve
Line capacity: 300 yards of 200-pound-test monofilament
Elec-Tra-Mate has been a leading name in electric reels for decades, so it’s no surprise their Teezer series is a leader for teasers. Each is custom-machined from 6160 T6 aircraft-grade anodized aluminum, with a line capacity of 300 feet of 300-pound monofilament. They’re designed for flat installation beneath T-tops, hardtops and towers. The computerized versions can be operated via a remote key fob too.
Ability to set Home and Fishing positions
Automatic speed selection and variable-speed control
Ability to control two Teezer reels with one wireless key fob
12-, 24- and 32-volt systems available
For the captain who wants total control of his teasers and dredges from the bridge, the Teezer TD-4000 from Elec-Tra-Mate is the most advanced teaser reel ever created. The complete system incorporates computerized microprocessors to program and control four separate motors and spools independently. This allows for complete control of multiple dredges and teasers all from one keypad. And once the exact distances are programmed into the unit’s memory, each line is fished in exactly the same spot and is auto-retrieved to the same stopping point every time.
Program each of the four spools independently to set Home and Fishing positions
Digital readout on each spool
Retrieve all four lines to Home position independently, or left side, right side, or all at once
Ability to add up to two additional control panels (in the tower, cockpit, etc.)
24-volt DC power
For small-boaters who still want the ability to retrieve a heavy dredge quickly and easily, there’s the Dredge Master 400 from Elec-Tra-Mate. It’s a retrieval system constructed of anodized aluminum to eliminate unwanted flex, unlike fiberglass rods. There’s a built-in roller tip to reduce twist as well. The unit is available in two sizes: The DM-4 is designed to fit an 80-pound-class curved rod butt, while the DM-6 is designed for a 130-pound-class curved rod butt (the customer supplies the reel and butt).
Aircraft-aluminum construction, anodized in black and gold
Solid aluminum shaft
Swivel roller top with 2½-inch roller on stainless-steel bearings
Thrust bearing with 1,910 pounds of load capacity
Machined for up to 400-pound-test monofilament line
MSRP: $499.99 (reel and butt not included)
A relatively inexpensive option for dredge retrieval (especially if you already have a Penn manual downrigger) is the 6000-D downrigger drive, which converts a manual downrigger to electric. The 6000-D easily converts the popular Penn Fathom-Master 600 and 625 manual downriggers to electric models for push-button dredge retrieval.
Retrieval rate of 314 feet per minute with 10-pound downrigger ball
12-volt DC power with 6 feet of 30-amp twist-lock marine plug and three-position toggle switch included
Fits the Penn Manual Fathom-Master Models 600 and 625
MSRP: $669.99 (Customer supplies the manual downrigger)