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I have a Shimano Aerlex GT8000 with a finger pick up instead of a bail arm. The reason I got this reel is because I was suffering from snap backs when using a normal bail arm, from what I have been told it was because of a poor casting style that the bail arm would snap back, but as I was more than happy with 140 yrds using a 12ft rod and fixed spool reel, I never saw the point in trying to correct my style. So I opted for a reel with no bail arm, never had any trouble with it and prefer it to my XS8000 which still has a full bail arm, it would appear that since buying the GT8000 with finger pick up, that I have resolved my casting problems as I no longer get snap backs on either my XS8000 or my Penn 850.

My dad has also had a problem with bail arms and too opted for the finger pick up system, he also converted one of his reels and just hacksawed off the bail arm, not bothering to leave a hook. This has never caused him any troubles and he is still using the reel now, after a good 8 years.
 

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for general fishing and a steady retreive no bail arm is ok.

but.. for a sink and draw method used for mackerel fishing where the line periodically drops slack you will have problems with the line coming off the roller.
never had a problem with that yet and that is all I really use my fixed spools for now, although my GT8000 does have the finger pick up, so it has the small hook over bar.
 
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