I was first introduced to IRT by my friend Scott Binkley in 2009. The years prior, he had reintroduced me to the passion of saltwater fishing. One day, before heading to Belmar, New Jersey, he handed me a blue and gold reel and said, “Give this a go on these Whopper Blues.” He then stated that his friend, Greg Header, had decided to venture into the reel business. I graciously accepted this reel, and the rest has become somewhat of a wild ride into the world of design, mechanics, and testing of these innovative reels.
Needless to say, I instantly became a believer in the performance and future of these reels. Countless trips were made to the Belmar Marina, where we became known as the guys with ‘those fancy reels.’ This picture illustrates the kind of haul that we’d have on a trip:
Over the following years, I have used this same reel to catch hundreds of these large bluefish, as well as large striped bass throughout the Northeast. My reel is a prototype reel, and the ONLY service I have needed in 6+ years is to have a minor shim upgrade and a gear replacement due to overworking the reel on a 200 lb shark while jigging blackfin tuna off Hatteras, NC in Dec 2015. This 700 sized reel has made pretty work of many large game fish, as I’ve become more obsessed and devoted to fishing:
Blackfin on popper with black hole rod aboard Good Times Sportfishing,
Hatteras, North Carolina
In the summer of 2014, Scott arranged for me to test the 400 sized spinning reel. ‘TEST’ wasn’t really the word, in my opinion. I was now landing fish off of the beach and in the sound with a reel nearly half the size I had previously been using. Only time I had trouble was when I hooked into a skate the size of a Volkswagen, and any angler knows how that story ends. The 400 has become my favorite all around reel. Versatile off the beach and the perfect inshore weapon for big reds, sharks and cobias. Here are some exceptional catches on my IRT 400:
One of many sharks landed on north facing beach off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
With that being said, I now have the privilege of testing the IRT 300 size spinning reel. Salmon in Lake Michigan and redfish in Hatteras make this thing sing, but eventually the drag quits howling and the reel wins. I enjoy light tackle fishing with larger game, which makes this reel a perfect union in the style of fishing I’ve come to love:
40lb red sight casted in a foot of water in Pamlico Sound, Hatteras, North Carolina
Small Chinook on 10lb mono from shore in Chicago, Illinois.
In conclusion, the most gratifying aspect of all of this is to be a part of something. Part of what IRT means and stands for: a collective comprised of friends, family, acquaintances, master anglers and overall positive individuals to create and share the joy of fishing. AMERICAN MADE.
Captain Derek Nelson and Dennis Unger with an exceptional King Mackerel aboard Fin-Again. Teach’s Lair in Hatteras, North Carolina.
My Nephew, Grey, with his first Wahoo on IRT 700 and Black Hole Challenger combo aboard GOODTIMES in Hatteras, North Carolina.
Captain Aaron with Aaron of Tightline Charters in Hatteras, North Carolina. One of our biggest supporters with yet another over slot redfish.
Kil Song, representative for Black Hole USA putting IRT to the test. A true master of angling.
IRT Pro Staff Angler Scott Binkley and I with a haul of dinner,
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Captain Josh Small and IRT Pro Staff Angler Kathy Binkley with a big ol’ redfish from North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
I look forward to what the future of IRT holds. I’ve found my team, this is going to be fun.