I love this reel. It was left to me by my late stepfather, who used if for years catching bonefish in the Bahamas, Christmas Island, Mexico and Cuba. I now use it for all manner of species – from exotic saltwater species like bonefish and this trevally to small trout in the reservoirs of Northamptonshire. It is perfect for both.
Overall build quality
The build quality is undeniable. The reel has lasted more than fifteen years without needing any servicing or replacement parts. It came ready-to-use, so there was no complicated set-up or maintenance routines – just add a line and go fishing.
Ease of use and special features
One notable feature of this reel is its unusual anti-reverse mechanism. You don’t see this feature very often, even in modern reels, but when fishing for fast swimming fish like bonefish it’s a definite advantage (indeed that’s why Roy bought it in the first place). As those of you who have caught a bonefish on the flats will know, they are extremely fast fish and any attempts to manually ‘brake’ the reel by applying pressure to the outside edge of spool will lead to friction burns or wrapped knuckles. You’ve never seen a reel handle move so fast! There is no such issue with this reel, as the outside edge and reel handle remain static while the inner spool spins. It may feel a bit disconcerting at first, but the drag is so efficient that it soon becomes second nature.
This is an old reel, so whether or not you get the original reel case will depend entirely on the seller, but mine has come with a rather cute Orvis reel case.
Although this reel was designed for saltwater flyfishermen, there is no reason why it can’t be used for all kinds of flyfishing. This model is probably too small for the thick lines required for salmon fishing, but is perfect for other UK species, the rainbow trout, brown trout or seatrout.
Value for money
It was an expensive reel in its time but, provided you can find one second hand, this should make an excellent purchase. With only mild care and attention (foe example, rinsing in fresh water after each saltwater outing), mine is as good as new and I don’t intend to replace it any time soon.
Tips for buyers
The secret to this reel is its drag. Without the ability to apply pressure manually, it is imperative that the drag is working smoothly and reliably. Please make sure you ask the seller about the reel’s drag and, if possible, give it a try before buying.
If you are trout fishing, there is no real need to purchase a reel of this quality; apart from the behemoths of Dever Springs and similar stocked still waters, it is rare to find trout that will make long runs, so a powerful drag is not generally necessary.
If you’re looking for an all-round fly reel that will suit both fresh and saltwater species, you could also consider newer reels from Orvis, Abel, Allbright, Airflo, Loop, Hardy, Mako and Sage.
How/where to buy
Summary of pros and cons
|Excellent build quality||Possibly over-engineered for trout fishermen|
|Anti-reverse drag||Hard to find|
|Suitable for salt and fresh water|
|Robust drag for hard-fighting fish|
|Easy to maintain|
|Build quality and finish:||9.5/10|
|Ease of use:||9/10|
|Value for money:||10/10|