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Tell me what you know about the Bass Pro Johnny Morris reel...

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Gabby

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....I am thinking about getting the JM Baitcasting reel combo.  The rod is light as a feather, and seems pretty strong.  

But I have heard mixed reviews on the reel.  When I held it, it seemed pretty smooth (11 bearings, I think).  I believe it is built by Pflueger, which I hear isn't worth a flip.

It seemed pretty sweet, and BPS can't keep them in stock...

Gabby
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danisfish

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I got one about a month ago. I had a reel die and needed a new one and thought why not give it a try. Sunday was the first time I used it. I liked it a lot. In the past I have only used Shimano reels and I like them, but when I would pick up the BPS reel, I did not notice a big drop off in performance. I do not know how long it will hold up. Some of my green reels are going on ten years now and have never been cleaned or anything so we will see.

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Mike Noble

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I've never used one of the Johnny Morris reels, but I do use the Bass Pro XPS reels.  I got 2 XPS Pro Qualifiers in early 1999 as a promotion for buying my Nitro.  I started using them and slowly converted all my reels to the XPS Pro Qualifiers.  I really like them.  Mine have 6 bearings and works pretty smooth.  Reels are like everything else....they make so many different kinds because people are different.  And I have never used anything but ambassador reels before converting to XPS, so I really don't have experience with other makes of reels to compare to.
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fishrman

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I used one that Bass Pro let us borrow for the Bass fishing demo's at the State Fair. It looked to be a copy of a Shimino Calis ($329), All of the Anglers that particapated in the fishing demo used the reel, and there were no complaints. I took it out for a test drive to Caddo before returning it to the store, and it performed as well as the Calis for less than one third of  the money. I have never owned  a Johnny Morris reel, but after using one for a few days it seems to be a great product for the money.
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Gabby

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I just used some of my BPS gift certificate money to get the Johnny Morris rod.  Light as a feather and decked out with titanium Fujis and a titanium shaft.  Best feeling rod I have (it will be second fiddle to my Scobee Delta V whenever I get around to hooking up with him).

IMPORTANT note if you are interested in getting this rod:  they are selling at the BPS for $149.99, but they are listed at $99.99 on the BPS website.  I printed out a page of the listed online price, and they sold it to me at the store for that price.

I saved $50!!!!

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conniek

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well, here's my take on the reel.  It is always a good idea to ask about the repairs if, Heaven forbid, ever needed. Bass Pro does have a repair shop so that is good. However, you are pretty well limited. Most shops won't work on BP reels. Possibly clean and service, but that is about extent most shops offer. So, it is a good idea when purchasing reels to inquire about the service and repairs.  From my experience, I have seen numerous anglers find a great "bargain" and then the cost to repair it so high that the bargain wasn't a bargain after all and if they would've invested a little bit more money, they might have had a better quality reel that repair is readily available.
Just my 2 cents. conniek
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BIG PAPA

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Gabby how have your Rick Clunn reels held up?
I bought a couple the other day and they fish well. I do not know how well they are made but the casting and reeling is compareable to my CuradoSFs. I guess 0only time will tell.
Gabby they make two Johnny Morris sig. rods do you know what the model is on the one you got
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Ron Fogelson

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These reels started out @ $149.00 last year, I picked one up @ the catalog return outlet in Springfield MO for $79.00.  BPS has them on sale in the main store now for $100.00.  Mine has held up good, I like how it casts & love how I cam pitch with it.  The only thing that's gone wrong is the thumb release padding, it fell off.  Still works great just a cheap way to put the padding cover on.

Fogy

Gabby

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Papa,

My Clunn's are still holding up great.  I notice that the body is made from plastic in some areas, and that attracted dings and such, but it is smooth as silk - and more than compares to my Curados.  I have 2 Clunn reels, but I have 4 Clunn rods - which are my favorite.
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Mike Cork

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Gabby, man I didn't realize what reel you were talking about here. I have two of them and would have gladly let you play with one at the ramp Sunday but I just didn't key in on what you were talking about here.

I absolutely love them. My oldest one is only 6 months old so as far as durability I don't know yet but as far as castablity, the are wonderful. They are bar none the smoothest, free spooling reel I have ever had. I use several curados and I think the Johny Morris reel is far better for pitching aplications. Don't get me wrong I think the curado is an excellent reel but the Johny Morris is a fantastic pitching reel. Now if you are like Trey and hit the edge of boat docks a lot you might want to be careful with this reel as it is very free spooling. But you could always use and extra brake or two if need be.

At the sale price of 100 bucks you absolutely can't beat it right now. And I am with Fishrman, if you were going to by a calais try this first. Could save a lot of doe.
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Gabby

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Mike - I hear you.  I am almost ashamed to say that I have a Johnny Morris - got it last year with my boocoo Bass Pro Gift Certificate collection.  I totally agree with you on that - my Johnny Morris combo is my favorite reel, and I use it as my main worm setup.  I mostly flip a worm, and agree that it is very good for that application.  I do like my new Castaics, though.  That flipping switch is pretty tough to beat, as it is basically a Curado SF with a switch.

So here it is, my unholy lineup of reels for an unpolished angler: 1 Johnny Morris, 2 Rick Clunn's, 2 Castaic 200SF, 2 Curado SF, & 2 Curados.  Now I just need to earn them....

Papa - I have a 6'6 Johnny Morris rod, Medium/Heavy.  It is SWEET.  It is model # JMX66MHT, and is marked for worms & jigs.  Light and strong.
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shadow

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I have a little bit of experience with the Johnny Morris combo I'd like to share. I bought one back in 2001. The rod is a true work of art. It's the Ti series and is first class all the way. The reel is a renamed Pinnacle Matrix, which seemed to be a good reel. I have caught some really big largemouth (up to 11 lbs., which is good for N.C.) on it with no problems. I didn't like the fact that when it would rain the casting performance dropped significantly. I know some reels may be affected by rain, but this reel was terrible. It worked fine until I took the handle off. Some of you may like the quick release handle that is on that reel (and others), but it's not the best design I've seen. I seem to have really good hand strength and when I put the handle back on I must have over tightened it to the point of stripping the threads in the handle and on the drive shaft. I admit it was my mistake, but the parts in/on that reel are a little weak compared to my other reels. There are several plastic and cheap metal parts in the reel that I just don't like. I could have bought new parts and continued to use it, but it just isn't that important. I have a Calcutta 150 and a TD-X 103 HSD that work wonderfully and are built as good as anything I've ever seen or used. I really do like the Ti series rods offered by BPS, but they do need a better reel for it. I know they recently introduced a new Johnny Morris combo so maybe it's an improvement over the older reel, but I don't see how they could improve the Ti series rods. Later!  

Mike Cork

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Shadow thanks for the heads up. I have two Johnny Morris reels and have been very satified with both of them. Now I have taken one apart for cleaning and it seemed very well built, but it was the newer model so maybe the have made some changes to it. I do know that the performance of the reel falls off when it is fished during a down pour and I haven't be able to figure out why, but may be it isn't sealed as well as others. Again thanks for the information.

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conniek

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I know nothing about Johnny Morris reels, but I can share this with you. The grease used in your reels is very important and so is the oil. In the rain, it could be that the grease and oil dis-integrate and quit functioning.Also, it could be that the reels need a good cleaning and when the water gets inthere, the dirt, grime and grunge take over.
Another thing I think I would do if it were my reels, I would contact the mfg'r and ask them. They are always interested in feed back with problems to see if something consistent going on so they can correct the design or problem. conniek
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Mike Cork

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Very good idea Connie K, I will do that. In the past with other products contacting them helps make a better future product. I have also been sent upgraded equipment before but I don't know if that will happen with a $100 + reel.
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shadow

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Some of the newer models of the Johnny Morris series might be better than the type I have. IMO the only thing really wrong with it is the quick release handle. I do take the blame for stripping it because I do tend to use a little too much strength on things of that nature. Mine is built OK, but when compared to my Calcutta or TD-X there's really no comparison. I personally don't think there's anything better than a Shimano or Daiwa. The issue I had with the rain could happen to other reels I'm sure. The cranking performance was fine, but water was actually getting into the friction ring and the brake weights and slowing it down when casting. In the rain I'd have to take the sideplate off every 20-30 casts and blow the water out of that area and it would be fine for a while. Hope this helps!

Mike Cork

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Shadow, did you strip it trying to take it off? or when you were putting it back on? I don't have a lot of experience with other reels but I though that was a pretty unique way to install a handle, made for less screws and nuts. But now I am rethinking that process.

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shadow

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I thought it was a nice feature until I encountered the problem mentioned. It came off fine, but stripped when I was putting it back on. The metal surrounding the threaded hole on the handle has small grooves made into it and those grooves have to line up with a part of the star drag (maybe the clicking mechanism) that has similar grooves. Basically they have to line up and click into place when the handle is tightened. It is this locking action that keeps the handle from backing off during use. I was having a bit of a problem getting them to click into place without overtightening the handle. Anyway, that's it in a nutshell. Yours may work fine for you for many years to come. If it hasn't caused any problems so far I wouldn't worry about it. You are right about it's performance though. It was a casting and reeling dream, as smooth as silk. One more thing I'd like to add is that the finish didn't seem to last too long, especially on the left side plate. I don't know if it's the coating that's used or something in my skin, but it did fade quite a bit. Later!

Mike Cork

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There is something not mentioned yet (guess everyone thinks it is in their skin) but the finish is not very durable. Granted it has nothing to do with the performance but it does make the reel look very beat up after a bit.
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shadow

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I agree 100%. I called the company that makes the reel that I have (Pinnacle) and the tech guy asked me how the finish was holding up. At the time it was like new. He said that they had noticed if the reel was left in a moist environment, such a damp boat locker, the finish could fade. That was never an issue with mine, however. It just started to fade to the point of being really shiny, like polished aluminum. I even thought about trying to rub the finish off of the entire reel so it would match. Other than that it did perform well. I notice that Shimano and Quantum use a similar coating on some of their reels. I hope they've mastered the technique a little better than others. 

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I got one about a month ago. I had a reel die and needed a new one and thought why not give it a try. Sunday was the first time I used it. I liked it a lot. In the past I have only used Shimano reels and I like them, but when I would pick up the BPS reel, I did not notice a big drop off in performance. I do not know how long it will hold up. Some of my green reels are going on ten years now and have never been cleaned or anything so we will see.

Ten years without any service? I bet they're silky smooth!

Mike Cork

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Wow, I guess maybe it is the mechanic in me but I tear them down every year wheather they need it or not.
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