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Old 07-20-2012, 08:31 AM
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Default upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

Hi all,

I've been fishing for years with a Cabelas Prestige and Ross flystart on my 4wt, 8'6" St. Croix Imperial and 9' St. Croix Avid. I do a lot of backpacking, so I want something durable and nothing fancy enough to ruin my day if I scratch it. My budget is around $130. I've been looking at the Lamson Konic and Cortland Retro. They are two totally different beasts, but they both have some sense of appeal.

The Cortland is machined and harkens back to a time when reels were simple. And the Konic is more of a modern design with a sealed drag. It sounds like I can't go wrong with either, but would you prefer one over the other if you had to count on it for a whole week with no civilization in sight? I'll bring the Flystart as a backup, but would hate to have to fall back on it.

Is there a sweet reel in that price point I am overlooking? I looked at the Reddington Drift. It looks nice, but when it comes to a click pawl, I like the looks of the Cortland.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

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Originally Posted by markv77 View Post
I looked at the Redington Drift. It looks nice, but when it comes to a click pawl, I like the looks of the Cortland.
I'm part of that old school crowd that prefers click and pawl reels for light line rods. They are usually lighter than their disk drag counterparts and usually start up smoother as well. In most situations, you will be fighting a fish off the rod rather than the reel anyways.

If you like the looks better, go for it.

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Old 07-20-2012, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

You may also want to check out the Allen Trout. I use the Allen Trout I on my 2/3 and 4wt rods and it's a great balance. As a reel with more modern styling it doesn't have the traditional looks of the Cortland Retro (which is a great looking reel), but it performs very well and is highly recommended by many people on the forum (myself included). The warranty and customer service from Allen are both great, and most importantly, it's on sale right now so will bring you in well under your price point. And as far as leaning toward the Lamson due to the sealed drag, I've fished the Allen Trout II in saltwater for weeks on end and not had any problems with the inner workings from salt build-up or anything. The reel has seen quite a bit of abuse but stays smooth and functions well. Just another option to make your choice more difficult (but the price right now is hard to beat!).
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

I have handled the Konic and I own and frequently use a Cortland Retro I. The Konic seems a lot heavier and bulkier, and even a bit on the ugly side in my eyes, but it does have a good drag that can take a beating. The Retro is very light, simple, and good sounding/looking. I have put the Retro through hell bushwhacking through small creeks and landing unexpected 20 inch rainbows on it and it still looks almost as good as it did new. I would definitely go with the Retro since you like the looks.
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

On a reel that size the large arbor has absolutely no benefits, I mean how often are you going to have to fight a fish on the reel with a 4wt. Some do look nice but the Konic isn't one of them(they are decent in the larger sizes). I use a bauer MSL .5 on my 4wt wich has a large arbor but the overall size of the reel is about the size or smaller than the Retro, it just has alot less backing capacity. I think the Allen reels in the smaller sizes look like wagon wheels on little rods, but to each their own.

If I were looking for a 4wt reel I'd keep my eye on Ebay, you can get a nicer reel if you don't mind buying used. Most of the time you can find them in new condition because alot of guys buy gear with good intentions but never use the stuff(like most of my Trout gear, wich might be going up for sale soon).

Last edited by wishiniwerfishin; 07-23-2012 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

Thanks for all the help. I pulled the trigger on the Cortland Retro. The sealed drag on the Konic is overkill for trout, and I like the weight on the Cortland better. The Allen reels didn't strike my fancy and delayed shipping got in the way of my upcoming trip.

The only concern I have is that I went with the #2 Retro. A bit larger, but I like the idea of it being usable on a 5wt down the road. The #2 was still much lighter than my cheap flystart 1. So I figured it would be ok, balance wise?
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

The Retro 2 should balance fine, if not you can most likely exchange it where you bought it without too much trouble.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:14 AM
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Default Re: upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

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Originally Posted by wishiniwerfishin View Post
On a reel that size the large arbor has absolutely no benefits, I mean how often are oyu going to have to fight a fish on the reel with a 4wt.
Two bones to pick:

Especially on reels in the 3-4wt size, a larger arbor puts the line in larger coils and reduces the "slinky effect" after you pull the line off the reel.

Also, I spent about ten minutes each fighting these fish Saturday on my 4wt, and the drag definitely was involved-

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Old 07-23-2012, 09:39 AM
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Default Re: upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

Coils in the line have no relevance in my reel choices....I always stretch my line when I pull it of any reel large arbor or small, I guess I just assumed everyone did this.

As far as fighting oversized fish on undersized rods.... I don't think it's fair to the fish to do this. Yes it's alot more fun to fight a big fish on a small rod but is it realy good for a fish that is intended to be released? I see this alot in flyfishing (not even a fraction as much with gear guys) and just don't feel it's the right thing to do. Alot of guys think your giving the fish a "fair" chance by using light gear but alot of times your just exhauting them to the point of not fully recovering, especially in warm water with low oxygen levels where it is hard for the fish to absorb the o2 it just burned out of its red blood cells during the fight....... but like I said in my earlier post, to each their own. A 10 munite fight on a 5lb fish, when I see posts or hear stories like that I just ask myself, "why?". People shouldn't be so naive to think just because the fish swims away that it is guaranteed to live. I also don't choose to lay my fish in the dirt/mud/rocks, out of water just to get a glory shot, most of the time I don't even take pics just so I can get them back in the water as fast as possible... But again "to each their own".

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Old 07-24-2012, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: upgrading my 4wt reel, Lamson Konic or Cortland Retro?

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Originally Posted by wishiniwerfishin View Post
Coils in the line have no relevance in my reel choices....I always stretch my line when I pull it of any reel large arbor or small, I guess I just assumed everyone did this.

As far as fighting oversized fish on undersized rods.... I don't think it's fair to the fish to do this. Yes it's alot more fun to fight a big fish on a small rod but is it realy good for a fish that is intended to be released? I see this alot in flyfishing (not even a fraction as much with gear guys) and just don't feel it's the right thing to do. Alot of guys think your giving the fish a "fair" chance by using light gear but alot of times your just exhauting them to the point of not fully recovering, especially in warm water with low oxygen levels where it is hard for the fish to absorb the o2 it just burned out of its red blood cells during the fight....... but like I said in my earlier post, to each their own. A 10 munite fight on a 5lb fish, when I see posts or hear stories like that I just ask myself, "why?". People shouldn't be so naive to think just because the fish swims away that it is guaranteed to live. I also don't choose to lay my fish in the dirt/mud/rocks, out of water just to get a glory shot, most of the time I don't even take pics just so I can get them back in the water as fast as possible... But again "to each their own".
I generally agree, but carp are tougher than you think.

Also, you can see above all the fish I've EVER laid on the ground for pics.

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