switching hats to the Loop Pro Staffer for a moment!
The new Evotec HD reels are a little heavier than the LWs and the drag system is a heavy duty version of what's inside the LWs. If you need a high capacity reel for a long belly spey line such as an Accelerator or Mastery Spey, you'll want to look at the HD 11fourteen; if you fish extended belly shooting heads or MidSpey lines the LW 8twelve with 50# gsp is a good choice.
I think any reel with any heavy duty saltwater-ready drag system is certainly overkill for steelhead, whether Loop, Ross, Waterworks etc--you don't need much of a drag for steelies, just enough tension to prevent backspooling when a hot fish heads home. As an example of this I use my Loop Traditionals and Hardy Marquis reels a lot on the Thompson--these reels don't have much in the way of drag--without problem or concern, and Thompson steelhead are as hot and powerful as you'll find anywhere. On my Evotec LWs I set a very light drag, and on the HD virtually no drag adjustment at all--I fish it at "one click", its lowest factory setting and it works great.
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