As a rule, I don’t take good stuff for granted. I marvel at good equipment and reliable gear every time I use it. I also value getting my money out of something and I can’t say that I’ve been deeply disappointed with most of the stuff I’ve used over the years. From tools to ice fishing gear, I have found that the amount of money your pay for the item does not always correspond to the operational quality you can expect from the tool. I have a large supply of cheap tools that lasted 15 years beyond the time I gave them and are still operating today. I have an air riveter that I’ve used to pull boxes and boxes of rivets at 80 to 100 psi. It cost me $37 in the mid-nineties and I could dig it out right now and pull rivets with no issues. That is only one of the many off-brand tools that I’ve come to appreciate over many years. For it’s initial cost, had it conked out after the first job, that would have still been reasonable to me.
Well, guess what? I’ve had the same experience with all kinds of stuff. Off-brand stuff, or perhaps I should say “less heavily marketed” products never bothered me in taking the risk. I still feel that they are worth the chance as long as one does a little shopping and fully realizes the risks involved. It may not work, but it didn’t cost a lot of money, either. The optimist side of me always asks “What if it does work and it’s truly great?”. And, like a gambler with a problem, I usually end up going that route and when it comes to fishing gear, I’m seldom disappointed. That brings me to the company “HT Enterprises”.
HT is an old company and to put it in perspective, I consider them to be to the ice fishing industry as Coghlan’s is to the camping industry. Like Coghlans who makes inexpensive-but-effective-and-sometimes-innovative camping gear, HT makes a massive variety of products for ice fishing. It’s almost mind-numbing to look at it all during a buying show. They have everything from slightly “knocked-off and improved” items to original products that they developed and produced, to inexpensive gear, to really good stuff and neat ideas. Every time I see an HT spread of their products, I wonder who comes up with all of these ideas and puts them all together for market. That is NO small feat in itself. From a concept drawing on a dinner napkin to a finished product with a quality level, color theme, hang tags, features & benefits, and wholesale pricing, if you have never done product development like this before, you have no idea what it takes to get one, simple product to your table at a buying show for display. It is neither a cheap gamble nor for the feint of heart. HT produces volumes of cool, affordable, stuff and then sells it by the truck load all over the place and a lot of consumers don’t even know who HT is.
With that background, I present this particular reel by HT. It’s an Accucast 106AC, built for ice fishing mainly, although it would fit on an ultra-light open water spinning rod nicely as well.
I have one of these reels on an HT rod as well. HT makes a ton of rods of all different price ranges from cheap to premium and they put nice features on them as well. But this particular reel makes more sense than even our more expensive brand-name models and it performs reliably for me time and again.
The features I really like on the Accucast reel:
- Long reel stem for getting your hand in place without having the rotor knock your knuckles
- Smooth cranking with positve anti-reverse
- The bail shuts easily with low-effort
- The drag performs very well
- The cost is peanuts compared to other brand-name reels of this quality
This is a picture of some trout that I caught with that Accucast reel. Note how the spool of the reel aims up at the first eyelet of the rod. That eliminates the bouncing rod tip that virtually all other reels cause because they haven’t figured this part out yet. Now, does the bouncing rod tip affect your catch? Maybe not, but I it bugs me. Until you get used to it, every time you crank up, you forget and think you had a “bump” on the retrieve depending on the weight of the jig below – then you remember the bouncing rod tip particularly when using shorter rods. Heavier jigs bounce more. Sometimes, I prefer a smoother action in retrieving light jigs when fishing finicky panfish and most spinning reels will give you the bobbing action due to the orientation of the spinning reel’s rotor. Not HT’s Accucast. That bigger rainbow fought pretty hard and that reel performed flawlessly. I find nothing more satisfying than enjoying stuff that didn’t cost an arm and a leg and is NOT a piece of junk.
Now, note that there are different models of Accucasts and you can find cheaper ones out there that come equipped with line on the spool. I always opt for the more expensive model because I find it to be notably smoother and not “rickety” feeling. You get “rickety” sometimes when you get the line already on the spool, plus that line is OK, but it’s not really all that serious. Line-on-rod-combos are intended for the occasional weekender who wants to go ice fishing. Put your own line on and you’ll usually get a better reel right off the bat.
If you’ve never tried an HT reel because you are a marketing slave, you need to break the chains than bind you. Take a $22 buck and change gamble and put one of these Accucasts on a rod in your bag. I’m telling you right here, as a seller of some pretty expensive reels, that you don’t always have to spend a ton to get good stuff. The HT Accucast, in my opinion is good stuff.