Reels like Shimano Conquest 300 and Daiwa Ryoga have the levelwider. You don’t need to worry about line management. But we hardly see slow pitch jiggers use them.


Why is it that the popular slow pitch reels like Ocea Jigger and Blue Heaven do not have this wonderful feature?

When selecting your reel to start slow pitch jigging, you may stumble on this.

shimano CALCUTTA CONQUEST 300 JM-500x500

There are 3 reasons why jigging reels do not have levelwinder.

#1 Friction

A monster fish can easily break the level wider or damage your line pretty badly during the fight. That is the biggest challenge in this game, and also the biggest excitement, that you may get a 30kg+ monster on the same tackle you are catching 1kg fish. You just never know.

You may get a lot of friction on your line by the levelwinder. You should be sensitive about it when you are in the tug of war with a monster on the light line. Especially in the kind of fight style of slow pitch, in which you point the tip down and don’t pump the rod to fight, the spool is where all the tension comes to directly. You would not want such a little thing that can curve the line so steeply.

The friction can be intense. I’ve seen a couple of people breaking the level winder in the big fight myself.

#2 Complexity

There are some reels that synchronizes the level winder and the spool even when the spool drags out the line. so that the level winder is always inline with with the line is loaded on the spool.

But this is just one extra function to the reel. It needs more parts and designing in the tiny reel case. You would want everything dedicated to the good power, good speed, and good drag in the simplest structure for the maximum and trouble free performance in the reel.

#2 Sensitivity

We are constantly feeling a lot of information from the line. We are not touching the line directly, but we are gathering information from the guides and spool to see how much tension is coming and how it’s changing. You change something and it shows in the information from the line. That communication becomes pretty intense especially when you have a big fish on the line. And that little thing between you and the fish is nothing but a disturbance when a lifetime opportunity is on the line.

Having a level winder in a highly dedicated jigging reel is like having a car stereo in a F1 racer. When you are paying full attention to the stirring wheel, information from the tires and the engine sounds, the car audio would get on your nerve and you can’t turn it off.

What would you take all these risks for? So that you can rest your thumb to manage the line while fighting? Come on. Get real.
The line management is not that hard. Even during the fight. Fish can not run flat-out for a long time, and there’s always time that you have a little margin to manage your line as you reel in. Especially if you fight in a point-down SPJ fight style.

In slow pitch jigging, we compromise a lot of strength of the tackle in order to HOOK the fish. We use light line, light hooks, small rings, and highly-resilient thin (= easy to break) blanks. We have very little margin when it comes to the fish fight. That is why we are so specific about the knots for maximum strength, and specific about fighting application and strategy for the effectiveness.
The levelwider would just be one extra worry that is totally unnecessary for most slow pitch anglers.


Sato Sensei does sometimes use Ocea Conquest 300. This reel does have the synchronizing feature.
He uses this reel only when he is targeting small bottom fish in the shallow. He does all kinds of tricks. For example, he uplifts fast 3 cranks, drops back down as he counts, and repeats this. He is searching for the difference of the count. If it changes, there’s a hole or a rise, some kind of structure of the bottom, where you are likely to find fish. This is one of his strategies to catch a fish when nobody else is catching. When he does many little things like this, and when he doesn’t expect a big fish, the levelwinder is a convenient tool as you don’t have to worry about the line management. And Ocea Conquest is just one of a dozen reels he brings in on the boat…