Originally Posted by troutchaser8
Which reel has the best drag performance, reliability, and durability? It will go on my new 9ft 6wt Winston Boron iii sx. It will be used for carp, bass, trout, and light steelhead.
I haven't fished for steelhead before. The majority of reels over $100 are really well made. I've chosen to use Galvan and Ross reels because of their appearance, weight, and the way the feel and sound. I also have Okuma reels that perform really well (especially the Okuma SLV), and while their drags work just fine for some rather large freshwater game fish, I like the Ross reels better (Evo LT and Rhythm). The F1 looks to have a beefier drag system that might have been designed with saltwater in mind. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be perfect for freshwater.
If it were my Winston rod, I'd forget the Orvis reel. They'd clash.
The Ross F1 looks nice, but has a large number of O-Rings, and I just can't imagine them lasting forever: Ross
The F1's drag knob maintains a constant pressure while increasing the drag, and that means adjusting on the fly is much easier than having to progressively crank down on a knob.
I've handled Tibor reels, but didn't like the little drag "knob". I also didn't like the solid face on the drag side of the reel. The Constant Lube system seems a bit under-engineered. There are better ways and materials to create a drag system.
While I might have some reservations about using a Ross LT for larger saltwater fish, its simple design and good looks have served me well for several years (going back to the original Evolution series). The Rhythm and Evo LT are tough to beat for the money, with the nod going to the newer LT series because it looks nicer than the original, keeps the same drag system, and uses a metal drag knob rather than the original's plastic. I've just never had any sort of issue with these reels.