Billy Pate Tarpon Reel Crashes & Burns [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Billy Pate Tarpon Reel Crashes & Burns

02-17-2013, 03:33 PM

On a recent trip to Belize in search of tarpon and snook (post to follow), I went armed, along with other reels, thank goodness, with my very beautiful Billy Pate (Tibor) Tarpon model reel.

I had used this reel before in Florida and in Alaska, and never experienced any problems. This trip, however, very different: on the second day of the trip, I was winding in my line at the close of the day's fishing and felt a metal-on-metal grinding sensation on the last few turns. I wondered what that could have been, so I pulled off a little line to see if that sensation would repeat. It didn't. The reel was in total free-spool mode and therefore, as far as I was concerned, useless until repaired. Weird.

When I got back to the place where we were staying, I disassembled the reel to see what was wrong. The most obvious thing was the anti-reverse dog had disengaged from the anti-reverse plate somehow. That seemed an easy fix: I repositioned the dog and reassembled the reel.

When I pulled out a little line, I found to my dismay the thing was still free-spooling. So, back to disassembly.

I called my friends over to help me and eventually someone discovered that one of three tiny pins on the anti-reverse plate was missing. I mean, this pin was smaller than a brad in diameter and about a quarter inch long, if it were the same as the other two. Apparently, the missing pin caused enough of a misalignment that the anti-reverse dog had enough play to pop out of position.

So, our analysis was that the failure of this tiny part resulted in the failure of the reel. "For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost" sort of thing.

What a stupid design. Especially for a reel intended to cope with 100 lb. plus tarpon. If the reel had failed while battling such a fish, gone into free-spool, backlashed and the "fish of a life-time" popped off, I might be a tad disappointed.

I sent the reel back to Tibor and it will cost me $50 (shipping and insurance both ways) to have them fix the thing. Me thinks they should foot the entire cost of repair, shipping included. But that won't happen.

If you own one of these reels, I would write Tibor and request several of these pins. Maybe your reel will never break down as mine did, but at least you'll have the ability to fix the thing on the spot, if it does.

For my part, I certainly will never trust the reel again, despite any assurances from Tibor that all is well. To me, it's a poorly designed tool: too fragile to stand up to the task it was supposedly made for.

== Eric

02-18-2013, 06:21 AM
I hope they treat you right.

Me, I'm a Danielsson reel man all the way. Ten, maybe fifteen years of flawless performance in my fresh and saltwater reels (I own several) and only opened up the drag casing one time. They just work, and I like those curvy scandinavian lines.

02-22-2013, 04:05 PM
I will second Juro regarding Danielsson reels. After an Abel failed me knee deep on a South Pacific flat I made a change. Zero issues with my Danielssons. If I were to do it all over again I'd probably outfit myself with a handful of Charleton's and be done.