I can only speak on Atlantic salmon as that's mostly what I target. I have used the Salmon I very successfully through the years (40+)for these fish. Having said that, I think if you were targeting fish in the +20 lb range, you might want the Salmon II (which I also use as it balances my 8wt better). You can of course get more backing on it should it be required. The drag is much the same in both reels, a bit stronger in the II. It mainly prevents over run of the spool. You control tension by palming the reel. Great, dependable reels IMO.
Personally, I see no reason why you couldn't use these reels for any species of Salmon. Hopefully others will have advice to share.
Gregor nailed it pretty much. The big difference between the 1, 2 and 3 is capacity and weight. Line holding capability aside, the one will limit you somewhat in backing capacity, the two will handle enough for most needs and the three is left for long bellied lines and mega backing. Regarding salmon, the one or two will handle any pink, cherry, coho or sockeye you are likely to find. For Chum, I think a two will do it most times although I have been almost spooled before running 200 yds backing. For Kings, go big. The Marquis would not be my choice for fresh kings but to each their own.
Huh, and I thought Salmon I meant that you could only hook and catch one salmon at a time, regardless of species. In the interest of efficiency I have in addition a Salmon II so that I can hook and catch those salmon twice as fast and get off the water fast, before a storm comes up. In retrospect it occurs to me that a Salmon I might be adequate to catch up to 2, or even 3, pink salmon at a time, but only 1 of the larger species. And chinook, powerful as they are, pretty well demand a Salmon II, if not III. And if using a Salmon I for chinook, you better use two of them. And even though the Hardy Marquis is THE salmon reel, I use neither my Salmon I or Salmon II when chasing chinook salmon, but I wouldn't hesitate to pusue any other salmon species with my Hardy Salmon I or II. And my name isn't even Hardy.
I answered you on the NA fly fishing forum for this question, but I'll copy it here, pretty much echoing Gregor's comments:
I have landed atlantics in excess of 20 pounds on it. Having said that, its all about being able to palm the rim effectively as a drag; the reel effectively has no drag of its own. Additionally, its also all about: does it balance the rod you have it on, does it hold sufficient backing and line for the task at hand?
I only use Marquis Salmon 1 and 2 reels these days for all my fishing except tiny trout streams where they would be far too heavy for the rod at hand.
So the simple answer is, yes, it will handle just about any salmon situation, but its just not that simple.
Sorry if I over-thought this for you.
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