I recently acquired the Stone 20 Spinning reel, so I took it for a spin to see how it performed.
At first glance, the Stone 20 is a good looking reel. Black with gold highlights, the reel has a slick but muted appearance. In the hand the reel has a very sturdy feel to it, the main shaft has absolutely no give in it even after applying considerable force. The handle is quite long for a reel this size, and with a 5.2 gear ratio I can imagine you can bring some serious heat to bear on a fish. The EVA foam grip isn’t huge on the ST20, but its appropriately sized for the reel. The reel as a whole has a good balance of size, weight and proportion. The line capacity of the spool isn’t terribly large, so I decided to spool up with 150 meters of PE 2 braid. I generally bottom fish between 20-30 meters depth using a 50 to 100 gram sinker, so I paired the rod with a Shimano Bay Game X Kisu rod.
Impressions after use:
My hunch about the cranking power of this reel proved true. I was only cranking up 1-2 pound fish from 30 meters, but the reel made it seem very easy. I would have no problems going after a 5 kilo fish with this reel. The drag adjustment is quite smooth; very little pressure is required to change the drag, making for quite precise adjustments when fighting fish. I only hooked up to one fish that pulled drag, and it was very smooth, although many reels are quite smooth when new. It will be interesting to see how the drag holds up over time and use. When opening the bail, there is a deep grove the bail clicks into which keeps it open. This is a feature I like that is missing from quite a few reel brands. Overall, I am impressed with this reel. I think it’s a good value, both considering its price point and features, and will definitely be adding it into my rotation!
There were reports of a shoal of decent size flower croakers (nibea albiflora) in the region south of Lamma Island, so we headed out from Aberdeen to try our luck. The conditions were great in the morning, so we decided to first try a few spots known to produce grouper further offshore. I would have loved to try the Stone 20 reel against a large grouper, but the bite simply was not happening. After several hours we headed inshore to find the shoal of croakers. It took about an hour of spot hopping before we finally dialed into them, but then we started landing some decent fish.
The bite was very odd, with the fish rather languidly closing their mouth around the bait (live prawn) and just sitting there idle. Sometimes I had no idea I had a fish on until I started to feel a slow gradual pressure, mistaking the fish for the bottom. I have encountered this type of bite before, and the strategy I have employed is to make the prawn seem more lively by jigging it every so often. This can induce a reactionary bite from the fish. Once flower croakers reach over 1 pound like the specimen to the right, they put up a good fight all the way to the top. They tend to panic once they see the boat, so be ready for a second run near the end. I have lost many croakers in the final moments due to this last burst of energy. In total I caught around a dozen of these awesome fish for the cooler. They have delicate flesh that can be enjoyed steamed on the first day or fried afterwards. Thank you to the folks at Piscifun for sending me this reel, I intend to catch many more fish with it in the future!
Be sure to check out the video of the Piscifun Stone 20 reel in action below: