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.