RE:For the love of Hardys
Why decide between disc or click when you can have wheels? For the last four years of pretty intense fishing (close to 100 days a year), I have been fishing the Loop 4 on my big two-hander. For this type of fishing, it's ideal. It holds my fat line plus a ton of 30lb. backing and due to it's design, it's amazingly trouble free. The drag is smooth and always the same wet or dry, and if it gets some grit in it while landing a fish, all you have to do is submerge it and crank a little and it cleans itself. Of course, if you need it to double in a situation (albacore? tarpon? dorado?) where you need to count on a serious drag, it's not so great, as you would have to reel against this same drag. But for steelheading, where you just want a smooth start-up and enough resistance to stop over-runs, it's perfect. You Hardy traditionalists may miss that shrieking sound, but I've come to love the smooth hum of spinning wheels. Plus, people all up and down the river don't know when and where you've hooked up. In any event, I give it a big thumbs up--especially when you need to pick up a lot of slack fast.
I also fish a big Lamson on my 7136, but I've found that if it gets dunked, the drag pretty much stops working. Also, the handle screw has an annoying habit of unscrewing itself, which leads to the unnerving experience of the handle coming off in your hand. It's an okay reel, but I can't recommend it.
I have, I must admit, been eyeing the Bauer M7 so that I could use it for saltwater also. I'm just getting ready for the annual trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and wishing I owned one in the unlikely event that the hurricanes will give me enough of a break to get outside and fish albacore and amberjacks on the wrecks. Seems like that big Bauer could work in both places for a few bills less than a Tibor Gulfstream or Abel. Still a lot of bucks involved for something I do pretty infrequently.
Just got back from the Dean, and up there you see a lot of overkill reels, even for those hot fish--lots of Tibors, Fin-Nors and Abels. But then most of those guys fish a lot of saltwater too, plus if they're staying at the lodges I guess they have money to burn. Man, the do-it-yourself gig on the Dean is a LOT of work. Great fishing, but I figure, out of 12 days being gone, you spend three driving, three or four setting up or tearing down camp, loading the boat, rowing, etc...plus a day or two of the river being out. At least that's how it's gone for the last four years for me. The fish are awesome, though. I got four of my top ten biggest steelhead ever this year.
Anyway, I got a little diverted there. Basically, that's my .02 on the big reels I fish. Hope it helps a little in your decision making process. Let me know what you end up getting and how it works out. That Hardy you pictured sure is pretty.