Ross Big Game Reels [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Ross Big Game Reels


jimS
06-26-2006, 05:31 PM
This is a mid range priced reel that has admirable qualities. There is one caveat: it needs to be soaked after each use and then a spray of water on the disc drag is recommended. Having done the required routine, there is still a possibility that the drag will wobble and not be smooth. This is, in my opinion, a result of debris entering the drag washers. The solution, according to Ross, is to send the reel for service. The turnaround on service is great, but. As a harcore saltwater fly guy, there needs to be a better fix, either dealer or owner serviceable drag systems.

My buddy, a flyshop owner, contacted Ross about the so-called abnormal amount of complaints in the Mass area. They indicated to him that the saltwater they used to test the durability of the drag system came from Florida. Either we have too much saline or alkaline in our water, or we are whiners.

Ross suggested that we contact our dealers and voice our concerns. That would get the ball rolling to address our perceived problem. If you have this problem with your Ross Big Game reel, please voice your conern to your dealer. I have.

flysully
06-26-2006, 06:18 PM
JimS: My Ross Big Game is in for service as I speak for surging/sticking in the drag. Same as what you're referring to. spoke to Brad because they serviced my reel a couple of months ago, since unused, and I used it for the first time, after servicing, on my two week MVineyard trip. Same old story. Catch a big fish, drag surges, difficult to land the fish in the surfline because it's just not smooth. I've also had a squealing noise when I take line out when I get to the surf and strip off 16 pulls or so in order to prepare my reel for casting. They say not to lubricate the reel but it seems to me that the sqealing noise is clamoring for some sort of lube on the spindle. They say not. It will be interesting what I learn when the reel comes back.

As far as "soaking for 20 minutes, at the end of your fishing day, I spoke with Ross about this. If I'm fishing every day, I find it ridiculous to take my reel off the rod, dissassemble it and "soak it" in a bowl for 20 minutes! I feel soaping the rod/reel at the end of each day and rinsing it off with fresh water should suffice (as does with other mfrs). The rep told me if I'm fishing every day, the soaping should be just fine. However, I'm experiencing drag problems again even tho' I'm caring properly for the reel. Will post again after I get the repaired reel back. I do love the reel but feel the mfr's recommendation to "soak for 20 minutes" is a bit much. And, PS: Why should Ross suggest "we contact our dealers" re our problems? We've contacted Ross directly. No need for a dealer to get involved for a reel with a "lifetime warrantee". If, in a phone call, we speak to the head man at Ross and detail our problem, why should we need to get the dealer involved? I mean: Are there any other saltwater flyfishing reels out there nowadays which require soaking in fresh water for 20 minutes at the end of the fishing day? We just want to wash them off with soapy water, rinse them and dry/hang to dry.

juro
06-26-2006, 06:26 PM
I have two BG's, same story. I have to admit I was so psyched about them initially but then the drag issues started. Then I was happy about the service but then it got old having band-aid solutions instead of fixes. I haven't fished them in a long time as a result of the situation.

Jim - I find it odd to tell a dealer about a manufacturing / design issue.

Dave17
06-26-2006, 08:40 PM
I'm a former BG owner and had the same issue. I'm sure, from past experience and conversations with others, that this thread will probably get pretty large. I do give Ross credit for great service and would imagine that if this thread came to there attention, it could set the wheels in motion for a long term solution.

.02

salmo
06-26-2006, 09:10 PM
I had the problems with BG-4 when the reel was soak with water ( rain or river water). The drag was far from smooth… what cost me few nice Alaskan Silvers.
After the reels was twice serviced by Ross( very fast service!) I have sold it, because the problem was never corrected.
For the last 4 years I have been using only reels manufactured by Danielsson AB.
They never failed, and don’t require maintenance even after many weeks of fishing in harsh conditions in Alaska or Europe, thanks to super Swedish quality and sealed drag system.

Daielsson reels are also about $ 100 cheaper the comparable size Ross reels!

http://danielsson-flyreels.se/us/start.php

Eddie
06-28-2006, 08:16 PM
there are many posts on this issue. I think that the reels are really nice, but I only fish mine from a boat.

juro
06-29-2006, 01:02 AM
Synopsis of the probem:

If saltwater gets into the chamber under the drag knob it can not be cleaned effectively. Since this chamber is not sealed the drag mechanism corrodes and degrades over a rapid time until it requires service repeatedly.

Most likely from a boat you are never getting any water into the chamber. However the reel does have a flaw in that the drag is (a) not sealed and (b) not serviceable without a special tool that only Ross has at the factory.

I have two BGs with the issue. I don't use them much anymore. I don't have a boat.

Spock
06-29-2006, 12:34 PM
i have 3 BG that i fish with in the salt for stripers,bones,permit,cudas and anything else and i have had no problems at all, but with anything that is made by man it will break down thats my 2 cents

salmo
06-29-2006, 01:17 PM
but with anything that is made by man it will break down thats my 2 cents

The only question is how often!!! I have not seen any problems or reports related to Daielsson LW or DH post 2001, so far.
I can’t say this about BG Rosss reels. Lots of them, particularly from those who use them intensively.

KMcFly
06-29-2006, 06:33 PM
I call them Loss reels because thats what an owner gets in the end.I've owned one for four yrs. and its been back to the factory at least that many times for drag problems.The service is fast but the problem is back in a couple of weeks.The BG-5 that I own (not much longer) has never been in the water and has been rinsed and cleaned after each days fishing so I've given up and I'm trying to decide what to do.
I believe the company is okay but they refuse to admit that their product has problems in the salt water.

jimS
06-29-2006, 07:54 PM
Thanks for your input to this thread. I'm hopeful that Brad at Ross will pickup on this thread, and admit their is a problem. Shorebound anglers seem to have the most issues with the drag; however, I lost a good queenfish in Australia when the drag hesitated. I tend to keep my drag on the light side, and when a drag starts to convulate on a fish, that ain't right. Incidentally, the reel was fresh from conditioning at the factory, and was not dunked. I was on a boat.

Let's hope they have a fix. There are some good options that don't have the daily maintenance and still have a reliable, smooth drag.

BigDave
06-30-2006, 08:16 AM
No more "sealed" drags for this kid. Lamson has the same problem and they keep claiming to fix it. The design has to either be 100% completely waterproof or not water proof at all so it can be taken apart, rinsed, dried and lubricated.

Does anyone know how the Nautilus has held up? I'm not talking one week bonefish vacation but everyday, pounding the sand and surf, getting dunked and dropped in the sand.

juro
06-30-2006, 08:52 AM
Dave

Danielsson is for real, everyday salt sand you name it.

Sage also has earned its rep but the LW and HD are aesthetically on top

From there you need to go Charlton money or unsealed IMHO

BigDave
06-30-2006, 08:54 AM
To each his own. I learned the hard way and will not go back.

salmo
06-30-2006, 09:18 AM
From there you need to go Charlton money

Just few years ago when reels like LW or HD, designed and manufactures by Danielsson family were sold under Loop name ( they still had Danielsson engraving, in addition to Loop logo ) for $ 550-800 range. These reels were the second most expensive reels after Charlton, which btw are is many cases to heavy.
Now, because they are sold directly from the factory, we can enjoy the prices which in the past were only available to fly shops and fly-fishing guides.

The prices which are lower then Ross or Lamson and quality is at least as good as Charlton reels.

juro
06-30-2006, 06:16 PM
Salmo -

Charltons are a cut above anything out there, they are amazing feats of engineering but not the meat and potatoes reel for me. They are so overqualified for the task that I'd feel like I'm fishing a maserati in a 55 mph speed limit. Now if I could afford one I would probably buy one and be at the pinnacle of reel engineering for life.

But I need a few reels not just one, a good supply of extra spools all in my two in college budget and deadnuts reliability... and that's what I have with the LW and HD series.

I agree you can go the unsealed route and avoid the semi-sealed problems we all hear about and experience firsthand. My point is you can also go the truly sealed route and not have to babysit the reel. I didn't say anything about them until they passed the test of time. I admit I got all excited about the advent of "sealed" drags before and they turned out to be a disappointment. However with the LW and HD I have put them through the wringer and they come out shining inside and out.

I noticed that when on a fishing trip or sharing a rental with those using the high end non-sealed reels, those high-end cork reels are caringly washed and drying by the sink each night whereas my Danielssons are on the rods and don't come off until the trip is over. A quick rinse with the hose and I am relaxing looking for limes and salt. My boots are more work to clean off than the reel and it doesn't mind a bit.

sean
06-30-2006, 08:15 PM
Dave the nautilus had some early problems but they changed the sealing mechanism and for me things have been solid for the past year or so. I have purposely done no care just to see how they hold up and things have been great.

For me now it is loop/daniellson and the nautilus. Both I believe are truly sealed with the danielsson getting the nod in the looks department.

-sean

salmo
06-30-2006, 09:12 PM
Juro--

Is this true that 3M/SA decided to cease the production of the current Charlton reels in May 2003?
Any particular reason.?

I belive in 2004 3M was offering these reals at discout for guides for the first time, probably to clean the stock.


Slamo

Eddie
06-30-2006, 09:30 PM
Synopsis of the probem:

If saltwater gets into the chamber under the drag knob it can not be cleaned effectively. Since this chamber is not sealed the drag mechanism corrodes and degrades over a rapid time until it requires service repeatedly.

Most likely from a boat you are never getting any water into the chamber. However the reel does have a flaw in that the drag is (a) not sealed and (b) not serviceable without a special tool that only Ross has at the factory.

I have two BGs with the issue. I don't use them much anymore. I don't have a boat.

There is no part of the drag that is "sealed". Take a look. It is a sandwich just like most disc drags. But there is also another problem and that is the clutch can go free spool when the reel gets wet. I don't know if it is from fine silt or what, but the plastic clutch pawls do not have enough spring to keep working.
My reasons for keeping these reels on the boat are based on personal experience.
As for cork drag reels: mine get cleaned and lubed maybe once a year. I suspect that most top notch reels would benefit from LESS cleaning rather than more.

juro
06-30-2006, 09:53 PM
Eddie -

I am just speaking from seeing others' reels lined up at the sink, I don't own one of those so I am not qualified to comment first hand. I have no idea why they do that if it only requires a single cleaning a year, maybe it's because the boat keeps yours clean like your trouble-free BG's which seem to defy the experience of the majority.

I have not been able to get at the drag on mine, maybe we have a different model... I called the factory who told me only they can open it and I had to send it in. I probed with an oily q-tip and it came up red from corrosion. Great customer service though.


Salmo -

It's public knowledge that they were discontinued by 3M, most likely because of commercial ramifications in the real world. You might say it was "too good" for it's own sake at least in business terms. I met Jack Charlton briefly in Denver at the Trade Show, what an amazing man he is. Despite any business hoohah the reel will remain an icon in reel manufacture and the Charlton legacy lives on as those reels are literally indestructable.

Eddie
07-01-2006, 10:46 AM
Juro, I think that I am not being clear. The Ross drags may be inaccesable and not user serviceable but they are in no way sealed from water intrusion. I had bad experience with mine in the surf (actually due to tight tolerences and weak clutch springs) and now they stay on the boat where they work great.
My cork drag reels are mostly used wading on flats, and on a boat. I don't submerge them very often, and fish sealed reels in the surf. I'm not sure why reels need to be rinsed after every use. I think most people baby their reels more than is necesary. Maybe a habit like cleaning a gun.

Anything that needs an instruction book as fat as a telephone book or needs to be cleaned after every use is useless to me.

Bob Reynolds
07-01-2006, 03:29 PM
THERE ARE NO REELS EVEN A CLOSE SECOND TO CHARLTONS EITHER IN QUALITY OR PERFORMANCE - PERIOD. THIS MIGHT EXPLAIN WHY CHARLTONS ARE SELLING FOR 2/3 TIMES THEIR ORIGINAL SELLING PRICE.

Vince
07-01-2006, 05:13 PM
My Sage 3400 D (made in USA when I got it-now they are made overseas) has been submerged in saltwater and freshwater, and is used year-round in fresh and salt. Never had a problem with drag in over 5 years. All I have ever done is to rinse it down each day after use in the salt--once a month after use in fresh. Flawless operation, plus numbered drag system which come in handy at times.
Submerged many times like this:
http://www.cattarauguscreekoutfitters.com/viewImg.asp?src=/images/scottrodbone2006_lg.jpg

Bob Reynolds
07-01-2006, 05:35 PM
THE SAGE IS A GREAT DRAG SYSTEM FOR THE REASONS YOU MENTIONED. IT WAS DESIGNED BY JACK CHARLTON IN 1999 WHEN DON GREEN (FOUNDER OF SAGE) APPROACHED HIM WITH THE CHALLENGE OF ENGINEERING A MINIATURIZED CARBON FIBER DRAG SYSTEM THAT WAS FULLY SEALED.

salmo
07-01-2006, 05:59 PM
Here is 3 years old Danielsson/Loop FW 2-6 which has over 20 weeks of continuous fishing mainly in Alaska. It has caught lots of Rainbows, Arctic Chars and Graylings and has been beaten in very harsh conditions many times. It takes a shower only once a season and works flawlessly.
Now it cost only $235 directly from Ron Larson ( Danielsson US representative).

Salmo

Eddie
07-01-2006, 11:42 PM
My Sage 3400 D (made in USA when I got it-now they are made overseas) has been submerged in saltwater and freshwater, and is used year-round in fresh and salt. Never had a problem with drag in over 5 years. All I have ever done is to rinse it down each day after use in the salt--once a month after use in fresh. Flawless operation, plus numbered drag system which come in handy at times.
Submerged many times like this:
http://www.cattarauguscreekoutfitters.com/viewImg.asp?src=/images/scottrodbone2006_lg.jpg

TRUE THAT...DOUBLE TRUE!!:smokin: