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Frank Whiton 03-27-2010 01:33 PM

Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
A Review of the Allen Fly Fishing XL 5/6 Fly Reel…..

I am sitting here at my desk looking at an Allen Fly Fishing XL 5/6 reel. The members of the North American Fly Fishing Forum that have this reel are praising it highly. I talked to Justin, the owner of Allen Fly Fishing, and he sent me a reel to take a look at. As soon as I removed it from the box there was no doubt that this was a quality built reel. It was light in hand and just felt solid. I could see right off why people were so high on this reel.


http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/ph...en_Photo_1.jpg
Allen Fly Fishing XL 5/6 Reel

The first thing I did was weigh the reel and it comes in at 4.2 oz. on my postal scale. To me that is about the ideal weight for a 5/6 reel. Not so light to be flimsy but heavy enough to balance your rod and have longevity. The design is an open back style with three legs feeding out from the center of the frame. There are lightening holes drilled into the legs that add to the looks of the frame. It is a basic skeleton style frame and the foot is screwed to the frame. The shaft and housing for the brake is stainless steel. The stainless does contain some level of carbon and I would keep it protected. Some paste wax on the brake housing and a little grease on the shaft will keep things in order.

The spool has the same holes as the frame drilled around the perimeter. I tested the spool balance and it is well balanced. There is a very nice counter balance and the handle is some type of plastic. Both the handle and counter balance are fastened to the frame with screws. I did notice that all of the screws used on the reel are bright colored. My preference would have been blued or darken screw heads to better match the color of the reel. To remove the spool from the frame you have to unscrew a cap that screws onto the shaft end. This is a very positive way to fasten the spool to the frame. In fact it is much more positive attachment method than a lever or push button used on many reels. The cap is retained on the spool when it is unscrewed so you don’t have to worry about losing or dropping it if you change spools while fishing.


http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/ph...en_Photo_2.jpg
You can see the spool retaining cap. It is loose but still stays attached to the Spool

With the frame and spool together I see the tolerance between them is very high. There are no high or low spots in the spool rim. You won’t have to ever worry about getting your fly line caught between the frame and the spool. The knurling on the drag control is very well done with flat diamonds. It looks good and gives a good grip. The flat diamonds are much more comfortable on your fingers than some drag control knobs with sharp diamonds. The drag control knob and the spool removal cap are high gloss and give a nice contrast to the semi-gloss of the rest of the reel.

The drag from low to high is just a little more than three quarters of a turn. The low end of the adjustment still has a slight amount of drag. Probably just about right to keep the spool from over travel when you pull line off. The maximum drag setting is not locked down but it is more than adequate for a reel of this size. The carbon sealed disc drag has a large knob and is a good size for operating with out looking.

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/ph...en_Photo_3.jpg
Nice Brake Control Knob and Stainless Steel Shaft

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/ph...en_Photo_4.jpg
You can see the stainless brake housing and this should be protected with some paste wax. The cap on the center of the spool hub is removed to change left/right wind.

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/ph...en_Photo_6.jpg
Preperation for left/right wind.

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/ph...en_Photo_5.jpg
The ventaleted arbor and off set reel foot.

Over all this is a heck of a lot of reel for the asking price. It is made on CNC equipment from bar-stock aluminum and stainless steel. The finish is some type of electro-plating and looks great. Allen Fly Fishing advises that the finish is adequate for fresh and saltwater fishing. It has no incoming click which I really appreciate. The outgoing click is soft and pleasant, very nice. Other features include 2+1 BB, 1:1 gear ratio, exposed palming rim and easy right to left hand change over. The XL reel also comes in a 3/4, 7/8 and a 9/10 Model.

This is a top notch reel from overseas and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed. It may be the best reel available at this price point. This reel and others are available from Allen Fly Fishing at Allen & Co., Fishing Tackle . You need to keep checking Allen Fly Fishing for specials and other new products.

Frank E. Whiton
Manger, North American Fly Fishing Forum.

FrankB2 03-27-2010 04:37 PM

Re: Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
Nice review, Frank. Do you know if spare parts are available? Namely the one way clutch bearing? Is the drag user serviceable? It's certainly a fine looking
reel.

EDIT: The reel does look user serviceable if the parts are available: http://www.allenflyfishing.com/images/xl_specs.jpg

Frank Whiton 03-28-2010 12:00 PM

Re: Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
Hi FrankB2,

I don't know about parts. That is a question for Justin.

Frank

FrankB2 03-28-2010 01:42 PM

Re: Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
Justin has informed me that he has plenty of parts for the reels. Now you can field strip that baby, and get back to us..... :D ;)

ab fisher 03-28-2010 04:27 PM

Re: Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
nice review there frank i can second everything you just said

mcnerney 03-29-2010 05:31 PM

Re: Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
I just wanted to let everyone on the forum know that Justin from Allen Fly Fishing has generously donated one of his XL 5/6 reels to lambster. Thank you Justin, your generosity is much appreciated!

Larry

coldspring 03-29-2010 10:07 PM

Re: Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
Nice review. Hoping to get one of these to go along with the Alpha, but I want to catch at least one fish before I get a second rod and reel!

Frank Whiton 04-05-2010 10:05 AM

Re: Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
Hi FrankB2,

Sorry, but that reel is off to Bear to help him out. Besides I hate to take other peoples stuff apart.:)

Frank

smallieman 05-02-2010 01:33 AM

Re: Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
I just got an XL5/6 and looking to line it up I have the Sharkin GPX 5wt line do you guys know how much backing I sold add on it?

Jimmie 05-02-2010 11:05 AM

Re: Review of Allen XL Fly Reel
 
Nice review Frank. Thanks for doing that.


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