How well does a fly reel need to work? - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 04-18-2008, 11:29 AM
josko josko is offline
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How well does a fly reel need to work?

I have a mid-level bonefishing reel from a large, well-known company. The reel's got 300 yds of backing, a large arbor, a synthetic disk drag, and works well enough in that it's never obviously cost me a fish.
However, I'm now getting bothered at watching its' stick-slip pulsing action whenever it's giving out line. While it's easy enough to compensate by lifting or dropping the rod slightly, and it really makes no difference as far as the fish is concerned, it seems to detract from the overall experience, and I'm thinkign of upgrading.
At one level this is silly, as the reel works fine and it's not compromising my ability to catch fish in any way.
On another level, it's not performing as well as more expensive reels. I can even tweak it up to minimize this 'sticktion', but as soon as it gets wet or any of many other things happen, it's back to it's usual self.

I've been ruminating for months now about whether I'm being unreasonable or whether flawless reel performance is part of the overall flyfishing experience. It would seem gear performance is more important in fly fishing than in virtually any other form of fishing, and I wonder if it's become an end in itself, transcending its role as a tool to catch fish.

For many years I fished with a Sci Angler II, which had its limits. I liked it a lot, partly because of the limits and because I knew just how to get around them. Now I've passed it to my son, and can't seem to get the same rapport with the replacement. When I look at these posts about Charltons, Abels, and such, I really wonder what performance to expect out of fly gear. We don't need those reels to catch fish, so there's got to be something else here. Maybe you can help me define just what it is.
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  #2  
Old 04-18-2008, 11:50 AM
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Adrian Adrian is offline
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I guess a well functioning drag becomes important when the fish of a lifetime inhales your fly and heads for the next time zone

That said, a lot of early s/w pioneers did pretty well with modified Pfluger Medalists. I too am a Sci Angler II fan and fished them on my first bonefish trip to CXI. Once I got used to the drags tendency to occasionally disengage and go into freespool they were fine. I still resurect them from time to time.

I have had a lot of dissapointments with so called 'sealed' drags until I got my Danielsson. I have to say it has been rock solid and I would take it anywhere with confidence.

Bottom line is if a reel had a drag, it needs to be reliable, otherwise no-drag would be better imho.
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Old 04-18-2008, 05:36 PM
fishordie fishordie is offline
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I'd say that your reel is not working well, if it sticks when giving out the line. My Tioga 12 and Lamson Velocity developed this problem in the last year or so after being used on the flats many times. The Tioga's sticking problem costed me a large fish and the butt section of a strong 10wt rod. The manufactures considered it as a problem and told me to send the reels in for repair. After having them serviced by the manufactures, the reels are working well again. Still, I found that these reels have a very small window of knob adjustment between a very strong drag and complete lock-up. When they develop the problem of sticking, it gets so tricky to tighten the drag beyond a pound or two.

I have been also using Danielsson LW6/9 and LW8/12 since last fall and feel that their design is superior to many other "sealed" drag reels. Their drag is super-smooth though not so strong. I hooked a large bonefish (probably one of those 30"+ fish) recently on my 12wt Horizon with a 25lb tippet. I tightened the drag to its max (about 4 pounds off the reel) and palmed the spool, but the fish kept taking the line out and cut the leader clean on a coral rock. I really wished then that I were fishing with one of those Makos, or Danielsson HDs. I'm now waiting for my Makos to do the job. I'm sure that Tibors and Abels would be just fine, too. I picked the Makos because I like the idea of smooth and strong drag working consistently at the calibrated strength. We have a realistic chance of catching a world record bonefish on the Oahu. So, I want to be ready if/when I hook one of those monsters. On the other hand, most of the bonefish I catch, 3 to 6 pounds, don't require any heavy drag at all, and can be delt with without drag and by just palming the spool.

If you have a good chance of hooking a fish that really requires a reel drag, I think you will be better off investing some extra $ in a better reel to improve the odds of landing the fish.
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Old 04-18-2008, 08:03 PM
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salmo salmo is offline
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fishordie,

If money is not a consideration, get anti-reverse Danielsson Control 7-12. See:
http://www.flyfishingforum.com/flyta...9&postcount=15

for pictures, description and pdf files with spool capacity. In one of the files you can compare Danielsson LW, HD and Control using spool volume ( mL), which will help you to compare them on relative basis.

As for your LWs, you can increase the drag tension but not very significantly.
If you need any help with this regards drop me an e-mail and we can discuss it by phone.

Zb
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Old 04-19-2008, 12:25 AM
fishordie fishordie is offline
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salmo,

I have jacked up the drag tension on my LWs to the max usable range (the strongest setting that still gives me perceptible changes in the drag strength in one turn of the drag knob), and get about 4 pounds off the reel. I hear that the max usable on HDs is about 8 pounds off the reel. (Could you test this yourself and give us a report sometime? I'm curious.) I don't know about the Control, but Mako 9550 and 9600 have a range of 0.5 to 18 pounds in just one turn. I'm sure that the Controls are wonderful reels, but am not convinced that they can match the Makos. So, after extensive research, I decided to put my money into the Makos. The time will tell us how good the Controls are. To be honest, HDs seem to be more than enough for almost all saltwater fishing, except for the heaviest pulling you might do. If someone can land a 70lb tuna (Sean did), it's pretty darn impressive. I sold it, but wish that I could have kept it.

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Old 04-19-2008, 01:22 AM
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salmo salmo is offline
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As you know the LW was design for fresh water fishing, but is adaptable to salt water fishing.

The two lightest Control 7-12 and 8-13 I have shares the same drag ( total of 8 composite carbon plates interacting with each other).
On the handle ( anti-reverse) side there is large drag knob with the adjustor under the knob. You can removed the drag know in a similar way as on HD and adjust the min/max of the main drag. With the minimum drag tension set about the same as factory set HD, the max is ( I will check out it out more specifically later as I don't have around fish balance)
about 20% stronger then HD, but you can adjusted minimum/max upward to keep min at usable level

However at this point it gets interesting. When you move the handle just 6-7 degree forward to retrieve the line or backward ( you will feel resistance when pressing backward) the power convertor will increase the drag tension substantially.

I have not seen the two largest reels , which have even stronger drag system, but was told it is much stronger and was designed to fight the largest ocean swimming creatures.

If what you claimed is true and HD max usable is around is 8 lb, then the 8-13 for example ( line/backing capacity ca. 10% larger then HD 11-14) would be around 10-12 lb, and I guess both 9-fourteen and 11-infinity would go substantially higher as their drag is described as an extra strong compare to 7-12 and 8-13 Control.

Lets say for example you set up the main drag to tension equal 70% of the LW max. for fish you are catching. Suddenly you have some hot fish running. You don't even have to adjust the main drag which is on the same side as the handle . By pressing handle forward or backward 6-7 degree you tension will near double.

So if HD can handle 70 lb Tuna, then Control 8-13 will do it even easier and 9-14 or 11-infinity at max usable drag set-up will probably challenge the sperm whale

As for drag system it is not the overall size of the drag disk but rather total surface of all disks and the strength of the cap springs which all affects the drag tension.

Like LW and HD , a Control is fully sealed and drag knob makes only one turn.

Zb
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  #7  
Old 04-19-2008, 05:49 AM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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back to josko's question. there is a lot of bs and excessive compulsiveness when it comes to fly fishing gear-rods and reels particularly. that said, i'm of the mind that if you're concerned that the reel may not hold up and/or your fishing experience is diminished as a result, then for god's sake get rid of it. at the end of the day, it's all about the experience.
myself, i've fished with nautilus, sci angler systemII and danielson.
the danielson surely looks the best and is the lightest, but has an awkward spool changing system. also it's a bit sloppy in that the spool has lots of play when in the reel. that, however may be a result of the awkward and unusual spool changing system.
the nautilus seem to be the smoothest and also looks great, but once in a while the line somehow slips out from, or gets caught between the reel and spool. also, it's a bit on the heavy side.
the systemII is a workhorse. i've had it for 8 years and used and abused the hell out of it. it's all banged up and the paint on the rims has all warn off. but, it just keeps on going without a problem. however, changing spools on the systemII is a maddening chore. it's an art just to keep the line out from between the spool and the reel when changing spools. and it's an art that, after almost a decade of working at it, i have not quite figured out, let alone mastered. trying to change the systemII spool while on the flats would be an "experience" killer of the first order. i will only use it on my boat where i have a number of rods with different lines on them and thus do not have to change spools.
one of my regular fishing buddies is a former hot rod builder. he's enamored by all things mechanical. he buys the cheapest knock off rods and low end lines that he can find and uses the highest end able reels made, until his bogden's finally arrive. go figure. but that's what he values in his experience, and i cannot feel anything but admiration for the fact that he allows himself the leeway to maximise his experience and thus enjoys the fishing to its fullest..........
at the end of the day, my preference is for the nautilus. the reel changing stuff is far more bothersome to me than the extra weight or the line catching. but that's me and my experience. probably most guys would choose the low weight, high tech, danielson. i doubt many would choose the systemII-a workhorse without refinement. however, i'm pretty sure most decisions would be made based upon each persons individual taste and what they value in the experience.
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:55 AM
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the danielson surely looks the best and is the lightest, but has an awkward spool changing system.

What do you mean by saying that ? There are two ways to change the spool
The long way: to completely remove the remove the cover cap ( the one which squeeze the retention spider) . Note the cap has o-ring which seals the drag.

short way: turn the cover cap 2-3 revolution, lift the spool retention spider outwards and rotate a bit in either direction to disengage form star-like flanger.
If you turn the reel with handle pointing downwards it is Extremely easy.
After doing this a few times, it take me approximately 5-7 seconds to remove the spool and about the same to put it back.

Since we don't chance the spool every hours or so it is not a big deal.

The Nautilus is a very good reel !!!. When you put the spool back it is not automatic ( you have to watch to adjust position) and one design element I wish was different is that when the spool is remove form shaft, it has lots of surface it is holding on which is greased ( at least the early models when they used sealed cork drag , 2004 or so) which can easily catch some dust during windy condition when fishing in land ( first water fishing).

The No 10 model I had ( I think 2004) had small knob which require a lot of fingers work.

As for weight of Danielsson reels , the HD 9-13 and 11-14 weigh in 10.5-11.6 oz . These are noticeable heavier then LW .
It does not look sloppy to me, but it is extremely reliable
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:55 AM
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Jim Miller Jim Miller is offline
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Hey Josko
Knowing how fussy you are w/ maintainence, I'm wondering if those reels are at the end of their life cycle.
My take on reels & drag. I think a drag with minimum start up inertia is most critical for lighter tippets and faster fish. (bonefish, steelhead, albies , tuna etc). I don't think it matters that much with brutes like stripers, bluefish, etc. As long as it doesn't bind up completely. Lots of shock absorber in a fly rod.....

That being said I have been swapping out my older reels for Tibors and Abels.
Some great deals to be had buying used .... from people selling on these forums and on E-Bay. Maybe I've been lucky... but I've gotten some "almost new "and "new" reels for 1/3 to 1/2 retail.
I also like the reel bodies that accept different spools. I've got an Abel 4 that accepts the deep spool and the Abel Super 10 spool. Covers me from 9 wt to 14 wt. I also like a Orvis Mach reel I bought. Very light with a nice smooth drag... my go to steelie reel! I've got 3 Tibors now.... love them all!
Give me a call if I can help .... or maybe I can let you try out the reels at the clave or before....
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Old 04-22-2008, 07:06 PM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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josko, i think a little correction is in order regarding my comments concerning the "awkwardness" in changing the danielson spools. a friend of mine on the forum gave me a call and pointed out that i was not inserting the spool properly and that is why it seemed loose in the reel. he showed me how to do it correctly. while the method for inserting the spool into the reel is a bit strange, once you get it down it is quite simple and the spool will not be "sloppy" in the reel. that said, and for whatever it's worth, i would give the danielson the edge over the nautilus. but you must be shown how to insert the spools. you'll never figure it out otherwise and it could lead to more diminished experiences.
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:01 PM
shotgunner shotgunner is offline
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Quote:
but you must be shown how to insert the spools. you'll never figure it out otherwise and it could lead to more diminished experiences.
I disagree. The spool change is quite simple. Back the retention knob off 2.5 turns, rotate the spider 1/8 and spool lifts right off, no loose parts to drop in the drink. Slight Attention to proper spool placement is the only difference from removal before rotating the spider back into position and tightening.
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:44 PM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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danielson reel-back the retention knob 2.5 times-rotate spider 1/8. that's hardly simple? . hold reel and insert spool-now that's simple. unless you are schooled on the nutty danielson system, and have it down pat, you're in for lots of frustration. you can just look at the others and figure it out in a second. good luck trying to figure out the the danielson puzzle on your own. granted, once you've got it figured out, the reel is a reel dream.
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:23 AM
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Warren Warren is offline
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Apparently Neil you are mechanically challenged. Like the others, I had none of the problems you describe. I looked at it & said to myself this is simple pure genius. No spring catch to break, simple positive locking & no lost parts. As a matter of fact you are the first person I have heard that has had problems.
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:59 AM
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juro juro is offline
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My take on this is the design maximizes gripping power while minimizing weight BUT I see two things that would make the exchange easier -

1) if the gripped lip went all the way around the inner circumference it would be a pc of cake

2) if the inner surface of the lower equilateral had a different finish it would be more obvious which is the base visually, e.g. "rim on black"

however, 1 adds weight and 2 cost

I agree with both sides. It's not the most obvious to figure out on one's own, however once understood it's pure genius.

It's no secret I love these reels and for what I do (steelhead, stripers, bones, tarpon, small tuna, etc) I don't bother wasting my time or money with anything else.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:13 AM
nmbrowncom nmbrowncom is offline
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warrren, you're exactly right, i am mechanically challenged. hell, i have trouble figuring out a zipper. my only point is that changing spools is not odvious like other reels. that said it took my friend all of 3 minutes( if that) to show me how.. i don't think i, or most people would ever figure it out on their own. but once you get it , it is simple and, in fact it's elegent. i agree that once you get it, the system and reel is perhaps without peer.
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