I purchased 2 Redington Reels in Feb, 2000. I use the 7/8 for Salt, and 5/6 for fresh. I hav fished the 7/8 everday since April, 4 hours per day. I have found the performance to be outstanding. The drag has held up just fine, the largest fish being a 38" Striper, with several in the 25-33" range. I have not had any drag related failures. I do take very good care of the reel, and I think that is the key to keeping the drag smooth. Another friend has the same reel, and NEVER cleans, lubes, or rinses it, and has had one freeze on a 29" Striper. He cleans and lubes it now. I have an Abel Super 8, and find that to be a superior reel too, however I find myself taking the Redington every morning. The wooden post/handle cracked and fell apart, but the fly shop gave me a new one. Spool cahnges are fine, and the sharp edge hasn't been a problem. Start up and smoothness during a run is fine wet or dry. I like cork drags as with the Abel because cork is more consistent, but so far the Redington has been worth the price in every respect.