Help me choose a reel... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Help me choose a reel...

09-01-2000, 09:02 PM
I'm looking for a high end reel, folks. I'd appreciate your comments on the topic. No real rush to buy, but since it will not be cheap I want to make the right choice.

I've been very happy with the hard working Lamson LP machined disc drag reels for years. I've been so satisfied with them that I haven't purchased a reel in years. Coming at ~$200-250, they are a great value... but now I am ready for an heirloom reel.

Let's see... it can't be a Spey sized reel but it has to be big enough to use on a Spey rod in a pinch. 4" class is good. Might as well be large / wide or ultra large arbor, but that can be waived for the right reel. Disc drag... I like the Hardy click system but this things gotta be able to tame inshore tuna, blues, big stripers, steelhead, kings, ocean coho, bonefish, baby tarpon, who knows what else. Room for 9wt or 10wt line and 200 yards of 30# dacron minimum. Of course, machined bar stock. Light weight - although I love the Islander it's a little heavy for my tastes. I could live with that but I need to be able to swap spools easily with zero loose parts during the transition. Aesthetics are important too, I want to look at it and say to myself... "I finally got you after all these years!".

Any ideas?

09-02-2000, 12:15 AM
I like the Billy Pates I have 3.They are a little heavy but you can really abuse them and they will be around after you and I are gone.

09-02-2000, 05:13 AM
Bigcat - tell me more... cork or delrin drag? any loose parts when swapping spools? How simple is the swap? Conversion to left hand?

Does the reel body have a full ring on the open side (like the Tioga, Teton, SciAngler) or does it just have the partial top/bottom braces (like the Lamson, Waterworks, etc). With the Open sides you never have to thread the fly line thru the hole; just put the spool on from the side and the line is ready. This is especially convenient when you have some line out and you want to remove, clean out, or swap spools.

Pate's aesthetics are top notch, I just love the way they look.

09-13-2000, 11:35 AM
Juro, I've never owned one personally(out of my price range) but if you're looking for a real heirloom reel you might want to look at the Charlton 8550C. It is designed to accomodate a variety of different spool designs from a WA 8/9 weight spool to a 12w 'offshore' spool. The reel also sports a completely sealed drag system. I got a chance to play around with one of these at a flyshop by my house in NH and it's a great looking/feeling reel.

If you just won the lottery or are looking to spend an obscene amount of money, i've heard they make these same reels in all titanium.


09-13-2000, 06:05 PM
Matt -

Thanks a lot for the suggestion. A flyshop I hang out at often sells them too, I should go take a close look.

Say do you live near Hunter's?

09-15-2000, 04:14 PM
Juro, I have several high end reel and Big cat is right the Pates are great. Apart for the Abel Super series which is substantially lighter than their big game series. I would take a serious look at the TIBOR. Light ,great looks(since If you pay that much It should be nice to look At). The pate reels are made by the same manufacturer. You can also have a name plate which comes with it. It come in four models and can come in black or silverish. I have the "Rip Tide". Also, large arbor standard and Super drag system

09-15-2000, 04:44 PM
John -

Yeah boy do I love those swanky looking reels but I am concerned about swapping spools... most of those reels are designed for tropical flats fishing where one never really needs to swap a spool.

I personally gotta be able to swap quick with no loose parts.

Maybe someday I will be able to afford TWO like Ruben!

09-16-2000, 05:25 AM
Juro, I rate Billy Pate among the best, but DO Not try to change spools on the beach. It has a very small screw that can easily get lost. I do have a Bill Pate "Bonefish". This reel I use with an intermediate line, as I do not have an extrra spool. I do have a Teton 9/11 which I have setup with another rod. I find it quicker to carry two rods instead of an extra spool. I do go offshore once in a while and have darn near lost my thumb trying to slow a tuna down. If you buy an expensive reel, in my opinion one needs an anti-reverse model.

09-16-2000, 07:46 AM
Juro, I think most of the those high end reel have a screw anyway except the Islander, so reel removal requires the use of a small screw driver or dime, etc. I know of none that has a lever type release excetp the next tier down in price, which obviously does not necessarily effect preformance. Also, my opinion on the anti-reverse is not to get it unless it is for big off shore fish since I believe you lose control of the line at times when reeling in.

09-18-2000, 12:35 AM
Juro, you are asking for alot, but you deserve alot.
Billy Pate: +'s bombproof, proven, smooth strong cork disc drag, not too expensive. A classic. -'s full cage frame, small arbor, many parts and a special tool involved in changing the spool, kind of a tweener...Bone fish is too small, tarpon is too big.
Tibor Riptide: +'s This is the reel that the Billy Pate spawned. Has all of the +'s of the Pate, as well as a large arbor. Same drag as the Gulf Stream reel used to break the IGFA blue marlin record, nonported body( beach friendly) This is a perfect #9-#10 reel. -'s a little heavy to be false casting all day. maybe not quite 200yds. of 30# backing, a few parts in the hand when changing spools and expensive spools.
Abel Super 11: +'s flawless fit and finish, proven, silky smooth, just about the perfect #10-#11 reel but weighs about the same as the Rip tide. -'s no outgoing click! same spool considerations as with the Tibor.
Islander 4.0W: +'s not that heavy, almost as good as the Tibor and the Abel( which is more than good enough), easier to change spools (parts remain captive until popped out). I think that this is about perfect for a #9. -'s hmm...can't think of any. Drag has a little start up inertia( very little). Not as sexy as the abel and tibor.
Charlton: these are cool reels. Spools for tarpon, off shore, and spey. Very spendy and too big and heavy to be false casting all day. Too bad because the drag is totally sealed and would be perfect for the surf. I have not used this one, but the tolerances are incredable...maybe too tight?
Bauer: not in the same league.
Orvis Vortex: +'s Juro, this one is very close to what you have asked for. The spools are cheap enough to actually have a few(about $90). They click on and off with no loose bits. The reel seems to be first rate. Unbeatable warrenty. -'s Heavy, My brother's neglected reel that lives out side is starting to stain. I have heard of spools deforming under a lot of pressure. Having to listen to buddies rip on Orvis. Fit and finish is not up to Abel standards. Open back is a sandy disaster waiting to happen.
Reddington: not in the same league.
Sage: +'s this new reel is going to be really cool. Large arbor, sealed carbon fiber drag, easily changed spools, light, and new. -'s who knows? Maybe none.
None of these reels will work with a true spey(wind cutter, accelerator, DT#10 etc.)line. A shooting head would be cool though.
These are just a few of my many opinions. They are based on experience, observation, and a little hearsay. All of these reels are really good and I think that selecting one is like looking for a puppy. Play around with them in the shop and one is going to pop out of the pack and say,"take me home".
I think it will be the Tibor. Have fun, Eddie

09-18-2000, 07:03 PM
Juro, There is alot of advise in these responses but you said you were looking for an heirloom... If that's the case. don't worry about changing spools.... Go with the Abel Super series and look at the platnun series. Yes they are expensive... but you did ay heirloom... right.

09-19-2000, 02:03 PM
I live in Concord NH, and work in Nashua, so Hunter's is sort of(20 mins out of the way) on my way home. It's great having such a well stocked shop near home, especially since i don't think i've ever gone into a fly shop to get tying supplies and remembered more than 2/3 of what i wanted. If you're in the area i'd recommend stopping by the shop, i think they carry most of the reels mentioned in this post and with a purchase like this i'm sure you're going to want to be able to compare some of the reels side by side.


09-21-2000, 01:44 PM

IMHO the Van Staal FR40 deserves a serious look.

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09-21-2000, 04:02 PM

Please keep it comin'!! I've never gotten such good advice by reading any magazine. I'll go as far as to say that even the words of the 'pros' can't always be as objective and revealing as the words of those who really know - consumers!

I'll definitely be compiling this info (plus all the great email, thank you!) as I move to the next part of the experience... hands-on touchy feely store hopping! yeehah!

10-11-2000, 10:04 AM
Starting to think I can't get it all in one. I love some of the SW reels but most high end can not exchange a spool without a lot of trouble... and I can't live with either and intermediate -or- a sinking line; never mind the steelhead line as a third need.

Aesthetically speaking, I like a click on the way out, and don't need one on the way in but a subtle one is nice. What's with the Abel? I don't want a lot of writing on the reel, but if there is writing I like it to be tasteful like the Tibor. The Van Staal looked serious, and I love that - but the vented advertising on the side is not for me. Gold is cool for SWFF, but I want to be able to admire it's place on a wild steelhead river in a rain forest too.

The search continues...

10-11-2000, 02:42 PM
Juro, the only writing on the Abel is on the drag screw.. very small, tasteful, etc. Don't forget the Tibor is not gold but more like a silver.

10-11-2000, 03:13 PM

I believe that Van Stall omitts the logo brand name on the reel body if you spend the bucks with your name ingraved in it's place. You had better check though.

Rodeo some silver missles out west. Ridem cowboy!!! Yipe Tiyay!

Yep, I was correct. For *ouch* big bucks:

Van Staal is proud to have Master Firearms Engraver Bob Krain of Vermont turn his
craft to our reels. His hand engraving is done with mallet and chisel, transforming a
plain back into a magnificent work of art. Send us your design and Bob will personalize
a reel for you. Laser engraving is also available for all Van Staal Fly Reels. For all hand
engraving, a thirty percent deposit is required. Under no condition can engraved reels
be returned.

11-12-2000, 01:29 PM
Try the Teton and Tioga reels, They do not cost alot and are a great value, They have good drag systems too. My other choice would be an Orvis CFO disc, If it comes in a saze you like.

11-12-2000, 04:14 PM
Juro...Howdy pardner! I've used the Charlton 8550c and it's to die for but the second mortgage might mean more time at work and less time at the working end of a tight line...
I did happen to stumble onto some interesting classified ads on and noticed a few ported Abels and an interesting Bauer M7 with two extra spools (the price was quite reasonable).
I've got an M6 and like it's large diameter for a ripping retrieve, light weight, an overall quality...It's a keeper. I've never heard anyone say anything bad about Bauer and a few of my friends LOVE them...and it's Spey compatible!
But if you win the lottery and decide on wreckless abandon, go with Jack Charlton's 8550c...
When the airline industry lays off the engineers, fly fishing technology soars and we are confronted with SO MANY WONDERFUL CHOICES!
Regards, Petey
Any thoughts on my Gore-Tex jacket dilemma?

11-12-2000, 04:32 PM
I've got a pal who has an almost new Billy Pate Tarpon for sale...For Juro, special good deal!...