Shimano has provided us anglers with an array of quality fishing reels. From the Calcuttas, Torsas, Trinidads and Curado's, etc, no doubt Shimano is the best in its class. One line of Shimano reels that gets overlooked are the TLD series. I believe they are overlooked because they lack the "BLING" factor(Usually Gold colored reels, and EXPENSIVE) and also Shimano does not advertise the TLD reels as much as their "BLING" reels. But without a doubt, the TLD reels are the real deal.
Lets narrow this review to the TLD 15/30. This was my go to reel until I got into the "BLING" reels. I sold my original a few years back but recently bought another one because I feel this is one of the better reels around. Here are the specifics:
This is the Shimano TLD Star 15/30 TLD1530S reel that holds 290 yds of 25 lb mono with a gear ratio of 5.2:1. The Shimano TLD 15/30 of the Star Drag Series Reels is a high speed, rugged reel that excels at casting and stands up to tough saltwater conditions. The TLD Star reels have a smooth and balanced feel with stainless steel gears. Solid and light weight, with A-RB Bearings, the star-drag TLD Star reel is a great multi-purpose offshore reel.
Now out of the box, this reel is ready to go. But this reel can be kicked up a bit. You can find the total break down on Alan Tani's website. But basically you can remove the bushing and replace it with some bearings. Also various power handles can fit this reel. Also the stock drags can be replaced with Carbon fiber material. With all these add-ons, the already powerful reel can max out to 20 lbs of drag.
As far as price, I have seen these reels go as low as 50.00 to as high as 110.00 for a new one. I recently bought a new one on Ebay for 55.00 shipped. Dont let this cheap price fool you into thinking this is a "cheap" reel. Quoted from Alan Tani, " take particular note of the size and strength of this stainless steel main gear and pinion gear." "These are much more heavy duty than the gear sets found in equivalent size trinidads and toriums" end qoute. I have 100% confidence if I hook into a Bruiser yellow, the reel will not let me down. Also its compact size, still makes is fun to catch Local Calico's and Barracuda without making it feel like the reel is over kill for the smaller local game fish.
One thing that stands out on the 15/30 is its versatility. I love its 5.2:1 gear ratio because its a combo of Speed and Strength. It can be used as a Jig reel on the surface and strong enough to drop down and Yo-Yo a heavier jig. Strong but still light in weight to fly line a live bait. Its Non Corrosive Graphite frame will make it last forever.
If I had to find one draw back, it would be the stock handle. You look at every Shimano reel made, usually they have a quality handle. I guess its due to me having big hands, but I am not a fan of this handle. Again, this is an easy fix and a number of different styles of handles is available to upgrade this reel.
I know its nice to treat yourself and buy one of the more expensive, hyped, and blinged out reels. Nothing wrong with that, those reels are awesome. But do not overlook this gem of a reel. You will not be dissappointed with the TLD 15/30.