Reels [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Reels

02-26-2001, 12:47 PM
Hello folks;

The Striped Bass migration is just around the corner. I'm wondering what fly reels my fellow fly-fishers use when chasing Stripers. I have an Islander no. 3 which I think may be a little heavy for my nine weight. Most of the fish I catch are relatively small, but every now and then I get into a larger fish (15-20 lbs) and the drag is needed (however, the line capacity is not needed). The reel weighs 11.3 ounces. Is this to much for a nine weight? Is it possible for the reel seat to be adversly affected? What are some of your experiences with saltwater reels?


Nathan Smith
02-26-2001, 01:33 PM
I am the woulds biggest Bauer Fan. There are the low cost reel (teton, Battenkeel, SA) that are usually pretty good but there drags are not very smooth. Then there are the high-ends (Abel, tibor, Islander) then there is bauer right in the middle. They are not machine as nice as the high ends but the still look pretty dang good and there drags are butter. They are also just shy of 300.00 less then a tibor. Also you can replace the spool fairly easy.

02-26-2001, 01:51 PM
For $140 the Tioga #10 is hard to beat. Lifetime warranty, very durable, almost maintenance free, good capacity, fairly easy to change spools. On the down side, a little heavy & no palming rim, which can mean bashed thumb from a big fish!

Which reminds me, Does anyone use any anti-reverse reels??

02-26-2001, 01:58 PM
The Islander is a brick sh*thouse reel, solid throughout and about the only thing worth questioning is in fact the weight. The traditional cork drag is hard to improve upon although it does require some care, most wouldn't have it any other way. I doubt any of today's reel seats would be affected in any way.

If the weight is a concern to you, your shoulder, or your sense of balance, then there are a number of options to try.

What parameters are you interested in controlling - price? weight?

It would be fun to put together a little product review here based on what you are trying to achieve.

BTW - I am hot on the new for 2001 Ross Big Game Canyon reels this year. Light, good looking, great drag - promises to be what I have been looking for. Too soon to tell, to be honest, but I will be fishing one this year and I hope it's all it appears to be.

02-26-2001, 02:30 PM
Thanks for the replies. Juro, I love the Islander drag. It comes in very handy with larger fish and I imagine is helps ensure survival of fish once revived and released. The capacity (300 yards of 30lb) is not necessary for the type of fishing I do. I don't mind the weight of the reel on my shoulder - I can cast it all day long. A couple of years ago, the reel was shifting a little bit when I was casting. I noticed some of the anodization coming off of the reel seat. I'm not sure if this was do to the weight of the reel or the reel not being secured tight enough on the rod. I also use a healthy amount of Boe-Shield on the reel seat - maybe it was over lubricated?

02-26-2001, 02:38 PM
I hate when the reel seat and the foot don't match. This is more common than people think. They should come up with tighter controls on how these dimensions are made.

What if reels within a given range of line weight designations used a standard footsize, and the rod makers also stuck to it by line weight? Also, a replaceable reel foot would be nice, anyone ever hear of one?

Most of my reels and rods match up, but some don't and over the course of a day's fishing it can drive you nuts.

02-26-2001, 03:14 PM
Here are a couple suggestions. You could mention your problem to Islander and perhaps they could drill some holes to lighten the reel in the off season. Second you could find a machine shop in your area to do the job for you. However, once you modify the reel it might*void the warranty . I would contact Islander and see what they recommend. I too am looking hard at reels. The low end Bauer costs 325 and has the same cork drag as the high end Bauer which costs 415. The Ross Canyon CA-5 costs 335 without a full cork drag. I would go with the Bauer.

02-26-2001, 04:38 PM
The Ross does not have a cork drag, I agree - but it does have a sealed no-maintenance drag. You can't get sand in it, although the excessive venting does raise concerns for debris entry in Ross Canyon reels... we'll see.

The cork drag is generally believed to be the ultimate in performance but it requires loosening between trips to prevent compression and periodic oiling and maintenance thru the season. I've gotten used to non-cork drags and like them - although the ol' cork drags are hard to beat for performance when cared for properly. Like everything, it's a tradeoff. I tend to lean toward the low-maintenance solutions.

One little nuance I noticed about Bauer reels - I like to keep my drag pretty tight, and the Bauer reel becomes harder to reel in when the drag is applied. Other than that I love them and would buy one if I had the cash for an MX, which has the drag adjustment on the side away from the crank - a necessary design element for steelhead, tunoids, rip stripers, blues and other fast running fish.

Beautiful reels, all of them! I wish I could try them all

Actually, I still love my ol' Lamson LP series reels!

02-26-2001, 06:55 PM
I have an old StCroix 9'Legend 8/9 wt...the reel seat was too narrow and tended to scuff the corners of everything I hung on it...After a few calls to factory ground zero I sent the rod back and they mounted an upscaled and more "standard" reel seat which works just great (looks good too). StCroix was eager to make things right...Something to consider when buying gear.
...just in case anyone is partial to the Billy Pate Tarpon by Ted Juracsik...right AND left hand, almost new $325.

02-26-2001, 09:10 PM
I have a couple lamson 3.5 reels, solid, machined well, smooth drag and the cost is only $225.00 , Tom D

02-26-2001, 10:12 PM
To Fishhawk's and Nathan's point(s) - the Bauer not only has a full cork drag but has a matching teflon surface for the cork to work against; the best of both worlds. The MX series reels would get my vote in this discussion but since we are talking $595 w/ $295 spool price, the Canyon got my "toys for 2001" contest at the right price point. Besides I am curious as hell about the reel.

If anyone's interested in trying it out, let me know and we can swap reels for the day on one of the numerous outings that lie ahead. COME ON SPRING!

02-27-2001, 10:19 AM
Enter the Lamson Velocity... same sealed conical drag as the Lightspeed, but in a more conservative black machined body and the price is right... $205 for the 3.5; a good match for 8/9 rods.

A great bargain, brick outhouse reel with one of the best drag designs out there. Maybe I need one of these too

02-27-2001, 11:10 AM

I looked at the Lamson 3.5 on the website. It looks fine and seems to have a more logical capacity and weight for most striper fishing. I'm wondering about the finish - would it be suitable for the saltwater? Also, is the drag stout enough for the larger fish in heavy current? Please advise - I may grab one and save the Islander for a two-hander or for tarpon fishing (if I ever go tarpon fishing).

02-27-2001, 11:23 AM
Was Lamson bought by Sage?

02-27-2001, 12:38 PM
Yes, then bought again by Waterworks of Boise ID. They have developed an awesome conical sealed drag system and always take reel technology to the next level (ie: LS).

I have always wanted the LP body with the LS drag, the Velocity goes that way and I am anxious to see it.

02-28-2001, 04:36 AM
I am glad we are having this discussion. Here is another reel to consider. The Loop traditional reel. They have dropped their price on this model and its maintenance free sealed drag. As to Islander. They have just come out with a ligth weight model. For me it boils down to the Loop , Low or mid priced Bauer with the cork drag. I am a Lampson man but people who I talked to says the mid priced Bauer is the one to get if you can't afford the Abels and Tibors. I want a reel that will hold up to Albie fishing in* North Carolina. Its a difficult problem because there are so many reels to choose from.

02-28-2001, 08:14 AM
hey Juro, if you get the velocity 3.5 look at this link... a free fly line + backing with the reel

Tom D

02-28-2001, 08:16 AM
Wow, fifteen responses on reels and no one has even mentioned Reddington. No cork drag, but if you want well machined, light weight, true large arbor option, maintenance-free sealed drag at a great price.....

It's not a Bauer but it's very smooth and has a great lifetime warranty which I fortunately haven't had to use.

02-28-2001, 08:16 AM
just curious. if you were to buy a reel for an 11/12wt rod for tarpon etc... what would you suggest guys??? Tom D

02-28-2001, 02:37 PM
Hello TomD:

I would recommend the Islander no. 3. I have one and love it - however it is a little heavy for my nine weight. I was thinking about putting it on ebay and getting the no. 2 instead. If you are in the market for a tarpon reel for 11-12 weight rod and are interested in looking at an Islander, I could save you some bucks. It is in mint condition. Let me know -

Bill Roche

02-28-2001, 06:27 PM
Tom...I'll be bringing an almost new Billy Pate Tarpon to the Wilmington Show for the benefit of another interested friend...if he turns it down ($325), you might consider a look. Cheers

03-01-2001, 01:35 AM
The Canyon looks to me to be the perfect inshore reel. Not too light, easy change spools, enough capacity, smooth and a very gradual drag adjustment(not common among the non-cork drag reels), a drag that, while not sealed, is well protected, good looking and well priced to boot.
I have only fished with my Canyon #5 once. No fish, but the sound of the clutch gears now has a more muted sound. It's been a couple of weeks so everything should have dried out. It feels normal, just sounds different. I'll keep you posted.
I'm not so sure about the Loop Traditional reel on the beach. Those wheels hate the sand. Nice reels though.

03-05-2001, 02:02 AM
I think I have mentioned this before but the Canyon's are amazing reels. We sold one to a freind of ours who lives in Mass and he loves it. Bought a couple of spools too, I believe. And like you guys, he is striper fisherman. And like Juro has said, you can not beat the price. Plus I love the totally encased drag.

And now for a comment or two about the Lamsons. It seems that over the years, if there is one real that has cult following, away from the classics, are the LPs. There are some that hate them and there are many that love them. They are workhorse reels. A finish that takes the abuse like no other. Plus they are light and have a smooth drag system. And they are not expensive. There are some that do not like them because when they get wet, the drags do tend to spin.

I love the Litespeeds. I have my own w/ an extra spool in the mail right now. I have fished with them and they are FANTASTIC!! A freind of mine fished his on the Kispiox along with his LPs. He is true to his LPs but after fighting one super hot Kispiox fish after another he came to the conclusion that the Litespeeds are above the LPs by far. They are a lighter reel, unlimited drag adjustments, super strong drag system that is not only silky smooth but will not over run no matter how fast line is stripped from the reel on the lightest drag setting. Plus they have literally no parts that can break or detoriate, unlike the LPs. Anyone who has fished the LPs hard for years knows about the problems that the LPs have with their clutches. A quick and easy fix but still a pain in the butt.

But like has been mentioned in many places before the Litespeeds are UGLY. They are not a pretty reel no matter how you look at them. So with that I really sat down and played around with the Velocitys and the Litespeeds and compared the two to the best of my ability. Same drag systems but the Velocity is a prettier reel.

My conclusions were that the Litespeed has a larger arbor and tended to pick up line faster then the Velocitys (one point for the Litespeeds), also the drag adjustments on the larger Velocities seem to be very inconsistent among each reel. Some will have the unlimited adjustments like the Litespeeds and others seemed to have very large jumps in drag tension between adjustments (one point for the Velocities).

Since that I was looking for the most functional reel, I swallowed the ugliness of the Litespeed and ordered one of those. I would have gone with the Canyon but sadly Ross does not have the killer spiff program for its dealers that Waterworks/Lamson does. You can not beat a free reel and a spool!!! :)

03-05-2001, 09:27 AM
I don't think they are 'ugly' - just a little space aged looking. I think they seem a little distant from the Hardy's of the world in terms of appearance but in terms of features it's a pretty amazing reel.

My prediction is that they will see the Canyon taking some of their claims to fame out from under them and come out with a nice ultra-large arbor, sealed conical silky smooth drag reel in the black or gun-metal gray genre next year.

What I wouldn't do to put the lightspeed drag in all 5 of my Lamson LP's!!!

BTW - I have only had one clutch give out in all the years I've been using the Lamson LP's... and it was the newest one! I think their growth from a bunch of Boeing machinists to big business did them in.

Remember the full cork drag Lamsons like the bonefish and the tarpon? Now that was a package worth searching for. I'm off to EBay!

Willie Gunn
03-05-2001, 05:02 PM
I use a 4 1/4" Hardy Perfect it may be a bit on the heavy side and does not have disc drag. But just listen to the noise as a salmon pulls out line.

All a salmon fly reel does is store line. All you need is something that looks good, feels good, and stores the line and backing.

Classic or what ?

03-05-2001, 06:12 PM
Willie. I agreee... true classics. I have an old Hardy perfect, circa 1940 and it is great to hold and works like a watch. I know what you mean about the sound. I use it for freashwater along with a Hardy featherweight, Marquese #6 and I have some of the Orvis CFO's which are made by Hardy. All my saltwater reels are not Hardy ,but for Freashwater they are indeed classics. I am thinking of getting the repro Bougee( I know the spelling is wrong,but you know the one).

03-06-2001, 01:21 AM
Juro, I have a Lamson Permit(and a couple of spools) that I would love to ...uh..sell/trade. This reel would be perfect for a #9, except that the cork keeps delaminating from the disk. This has happened three or four times(there are two sides of cork and I can reel both ways). This was a common problem for these reels. Old Florida uses plyobond to glue their cork, now all I need is some appropriate cork. I wonder if Light Speed even services these any more. I'll have to give 'em a call.

03-06-2001, 09:20 AM
Eddie -

What do you want for the reel / spool?

Would you trade for a brand new LP-4 Lamson w/ standard drag?


03-08-2001, 05:38 PM
My Ross Canyon #5 finally showed up in the mail this afternoon. It looks even better when it's yours and not the property of a fly shop.

As I told my little brother earlier today, the fish don't stand a chance this year.

See you all at the clave.


03-08-2001, 05:46 PM
Can't wait to see the Canyon.

I am thinkin' I am going to pick up a Waterworks ULA Saltwater/Spey in the 4.25" size this year... have you seen them? Any comments from you Spey guys?

I think it will double nicely for both SWFF and Spey...

03-08-2001, 10:20 PM
I have heard very good things about the ULAs but at the same time I sort of question the structural integrity of them. They do not seem overely sturdy. For 3 weights they seem okay but for heavy duty Spey/saltwater use I would give them a second thought, escpecially if you truly use and ABUSE your gear.

03-08-2001, 10:57 PM
Good feedback... but if I understand correctly, the ULA Saltwater/Spey is the rugged older brother of the ULA Force and Purist series reels. From what I've heard it's built stout, has a higher torque conical sealed drag system and room for 300 yards of 30# test backing over a full flyline! The catalog shows it's use in a Spey rodder's hands and it definitely looks the part. I'll be looking for it at the fly show here in the northeast (Wilmington MA) this weekend.

My 2001 reel strategy du jour is to get the Canyon #4 to match the RPLXi (like Mr.Doogue) and am now considering the ULA/SWS for a new Spey reel (among others).