Re: Drag style, material and rating factors?
I find myself to be a Click and Pawl guy on everything 6 weight and under and anything I fish for in cold water conditions up to 8/9 spey. I've taken really hot AK Silvers (which certainly pull as hard as bonefish) with C & P reels. I like the reliability and the control.
In larger reels as far as materials (with the right applications and Start up bearings), I'd rank them like this:
1) Avacab: It's a Carbon fiber Hardy uses that is also used for F! race car brake pads. It has a cross weave that dissipates heat and moisture better than other carbon discs. The new Hardy Fortuna reel produces 32 pounds of tension with zero start up. Hardy also used this material in the last model Gem and the Zane reels.
2) Cork: (Abel, Tibor, some Fin Nors) It's a great material if good quality cork is used and it is well maintained. Cork can dry up and must be lubricated. It also is susceptible to issues in cold water environments. But the biggest hang up with Cork is availability. As any rod builder knows good grade cork is getting harder and harder to come buy.
3) Conventional Carbon Fiber (Bauer, Nautilus, Sage) This stuff is very good, especially if its used with the right design. Seems to be great stuff if like cork its kept relatively clean.
4) Rulon ( Hardy UL DD, Hatch) Great stuff when used with a larger braking surface. It really has only one drawback, it can take a set if tension isn't eased up after each usage. I would hesitate to use Rulon on the real big SW bruisers but I have a customer that just got back from Belize and he had a ball on quality Tarpon with a Hardy UL DD and a rulon drag. He didn't even rinse the reel for 9 days for field testing purposes.