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I'm looking for a stronger reel with better drag washers and bearings,
My go to reel for most situations has been My 25-30 year old Jig master. I'm retired as I've mentioned here before and on disability. I can fish the small stuff but a large YT or WSB i would have to pass the rod to a buddy.
After allot of reading the Penn 525 Mag looks like a perfect step up from my old tried and true Jiggy.
Could i get some opinions on this reel. I have all Penns and always will so the Japanese stuff will not even be considered. The Baja Special i bought is close but a lil on the lage side for me because i like to cast the iron and jigs when the back allows.
I've seen you tube casting contests with the Mag and it usually wins.
Thanks for any knowledgeable responses as they will be truly appreciated.
Mike In Garden Grove
 

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Some thoughts.

I read your post, and thought I could empathsize. I still use my jigmasters (with Accurate frames) but I would guess that about 1/2 of their parts have been replaced over the years.

Anyhow, I would think that the Penn GS535 was a closer replacement to your Jigmaster. It's a good reel. We have two of them, use them for 25 and 30 with no problem, and you could certainly use them for 20 if you wanted. If you know how to diddle with drags and so on, and if you used spectra, you could use them for 40 I suppose, but I wouldn't. I think the capacity of the 535 is closer to the jigmaster, and they cast similarly to better. You also have a choice of the regular (fast...I think ~6:1) gears or the "lower" gears (I think ~4.3:1).

On the other hand, the 525Mag makes casting easy. Though I don't have one, I really liked it when I've used it. It made me a better caster by adjusting the magnet....even tho I didn't believe it before I started. However, you line capacity is probably more like the Squidder than the Jigmaster (I think?). I don't know if it has options for the lower gears if you want. I would think the 525Mag would be great at 15lb and 20lb mono. It could do 25 Ok. I'm not sure I'd want to use it for 30 if I was expecting fish to run a lot.

Ahem. I'm sorry....cause I like and use Penn's a lot. HOWEVER, unless you invested in gold and oil, your retirement may be getting more proscribed. In that case, there is an amazingly decent simple reel that (in my mind) is a lot like the Jigmaster. It's the Shimano 15/30Star and 20/40 star. They are just tough solid inexpensive reels. Although they are graphite, they are tough. They cast well, and they have nice drag. If you decided you didn't wish to spend as much, you might consider one of these.

Good luck. Have fun replacing the old standby. (Although, I'm not sure why you don't send it to Hawk, and see if he can get her back in shape, perhaps adding a frame if you can afford it?)
 

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The jigmaster is still a fine reel, and maybe the best value out there.

I'm not clear, however, on what you want the new reel to do. For larger fish, the Baja Special you mention should do the trick fine, esp if used with a shorter rod. I've got a 525 mag--excellent casting, huge drags, fairly simple maintenance--a very good reel, but with its smaller capacity and 6:1 drag ratio, imho its best at 15-20# line. It also retails for $150 new at full price.

I'd agree that in the Penn line a 535 or 545 would be a better choice for replacing a jigmaster. Still nice casting, huge drags, easy maintenance. You can change the stock 6:1 gears to 5.3 or even 4.25, which is what I'd do, esp if bait fishing. But the stock handle isn't very comfortable (to me at least). New they're $129 at retail, good used ones are around $75.

For many years I've fished a 535 with 30# spectra backing, 5.3 gears and a Daiwa SL handle, and its probably the most versatile, most used reel I've ever had.
 

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The largest of the GS reels (the 555 GS) is the same capacity as a Jigmaster. I assume you're looking for a 15-20# local reel since you're mentioning the 525 Mag and not a 30# reel. It's an excellent choice! I have one that I use for 15# (I've used it for 20# too) and it's a great reel. I did replace the handle with a Daiwa SL handle since I don't like those rubber grips that Penn uses on many of their reels. I also have an original 525 GS for 15#, a 535 for 25# and a 545 for 30#. Both the 535 and 545 w/5.3:1 gears and Daiwa SL handles.

The GS reels have great drags, cast well and have plenty of gear choices (4.25, 5.3, 6.1:1).
For comparision purposes --
Penn 146/525 GS, Newell 220, TOR/TRN 14, Daiwa SL/SLX/SA/STT 20, Boss 197 are all the same size. PG 255, Avet SX are a little bigger.

Penn 501/506/535 GS, Newell 235/322, PG 280, TOR/TRN16, TYR12, Daiwa SA30/30T,STT30/30T, Boss 270, Avet MXJ, Tiburon SST7524 are all about the same size.

Penn 99/545 GS, Newell 332, PG 545/550/2500,TO/TRN20, Daiwa SLX-40, SA40/STT40, Boss 870, Avet JX, SST-7530 are all the same size.

Penn 500/505/555 GS, Newell 338, PG 541/540, TO/TRN30/TYR16, Daiwa SLX-50/SA50/STT50, Tiburon SST-8, Avet LX are all the same size.
 

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I have two 525 reels. They cast easily and have good drags. The handles are only so-so. The price is right.

One is in a baggie awaiting a new side plate; a small piece broke on the inside, disabling the eccentric. The other has been repaired as well. So I don't give mine high marks for reliability.

In that price range, I like the Shimanos too, and would look at them. But my first choice for a less expensive non-aluminum reel in that size and price range would be the Diawa SLX.
 

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Mark, I bet to differ this time.

You are usually dead on right. However, in this case, the GS545 most closely models the Jigmaster (500), not the GS555. Because line strength is proportional to diameter, one can approximate the "volume" of line capacity for a reel by multiplying line weight X length. For example, if a reel held 100 yards of 10 pound line, it would have a 1000 capacity. If a reel held 200 yards of 20lb line, it would have 4000 capacity. To figure out how much line a reel can hold, once you know its volume, just divide by the line size.

Anyhow, the Jigmaster (500) has a capacity volume of 8250. The reel is 22oz.
The GS545 has a capacity volume of 8400. The reel weighs 21oz.
The GS535 has a capacity volume of 6000. The reel weighs 20oz, so it's a bit smaller than the Jigmaster.

The GS555 has a capacity volume of 12,000, and weighs 22oz. So although it doesn't weight much more, it holds quite a bit more.

It's a small point. What was good about your post was that you corrected my mistake suggesting that the GS535 would mimic the Jigmaster. As the info above shows, its the GS545 that comes closest.

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PS--I was skeptical at first about this method of calculating line capacity, so I tested it by using actual line diameters to calculate a real volume. Made an assumption about space (10%) between the strands. Turns out that the simple method works even better at giving manufacturers specs on line capacities.
 

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re: Mark, I bet to differ this time.

You're right, the 500 is rated by Penn at 275 of 30#. For whatever reason I thought the 500 was rated at 350 yds of 30#. The 545 is rated the same size/capacity as a Torium/Trinidad 20 and does take 280 yds of 30# which is what I have on mine.
 

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re: Mark, I bet to differ this time.

I have a Penn 525 Mag loaded with 15 lb. mono on a 9 ft graphite rod.

I also have a Penn SS 6500 loaded with 15 lb. mono on the 9 ft. spinning version of the same rod.

I really like both of these outfits and use them for salt and fresh water fishing. I generally favor the spinning outfit on the lighter lures about 1/2 to 3/4oz. You may want to consider a spinner on lighter line.

Usually I favor conventional reels at 20 lbs and above and spinners below 20 lb. Although I recently put together a 25 lb. spinning outfit. That I really like.

I bought a Penn Jigmaster 505 years ago and never used it. I also got a Daiwa Sealine X about the same time. I like it much more than the Jigmaster. So I used the Daiwa instead.
 
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