Re: your opinion on expensive reels?
More expensive reels have better materials, are usually lighter, and usually have better smoother drags. I don't think you need a real expensive reel unless you have more money than you know what to do with.
One example of a good deal is the Lamson Konic. It's heavier that the higher end Lamsons and it's cast instead of forged, but the good part is it has the same drag as the expensive Lamsons, and it's the most important part in fighting a big fish.
Just one example. There's others.