Nomenclature Opinion: Often anglers refer to classic Hardy-style reels as well as contemporary reels derived from that concept as being,"click and pawl" reels. I am not sure that is quite right...are they not "spring and pawl" reels that generate a "click" as a function of their "line over-run" prevention mechanism? They have no "drag", they have a marginally adjustable "check". Drag is applied by the use of ones' fingers on the spool or line and the angle the rod is held in as a fish takes line.
What is your opinion and your favorite example of this type of design new or old? Not to compete with Ard, but what is the most unlikely fish you have brought to hand with such a reel?
Interesting question sweetandsalt. I'm not sure either term would be incorrect? Would it not be possible for these reels to fall into either classification? If not, what would the fundamental difference be between a click and spring be other than the design and type of spring used? Pawl is clearly the constant.
Admittedly, I am just discovering these gems. I grew up fishing reels with drag from my spin fishing days and when I made the transition to fly fishing, I assumed that I needed drag and wanted any advantage I could get since I was mostly self taught. This goes back before the explosion of the internet.
Last year, I fished my first non disc drag reel, a Hardy LRH and got hooked. I then went and acquired a St. John to fish Great Lakes steelhead with and was blown away at how well it handled large fish. Even with the tension knob backed all the way out, fish in the 10-15 lb class were no problem to land. Although not an unlikely fish landed with the St. John, given that's what I was targeting, I was really impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of design characteristics that go back over a hundred years. The simplicity is historic, incredibly functional and takes fishing to a new to me dimension.
Current favorites would include most reels from the Lightweight Series and the Perfects both the Hardy version and made for Winston version. Something about those old perfects is, well perfect. I'm also quite fond of the CFO's and am looking forward to seeing the Hardy issued Sage 500 series in hand.
what is the most unlikely fish you have brought to hand with such a reel?
After my first chopper bluefish on a click drag reel, (always called it that, not going to change now ) I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
The fish was 35" and around 15 pounds and I remember it as if it were yesterday instead of 35+ years ago
Often anglers refer to classic Hardy-style reels as well as contemporary reels derived from that concept as being,"click and pawl" reels.
There were never any Hardys in my house. We used blue collar rods and reels.
My "big" reel growing up was Pflueger GEM. I also had a Bristol 65 from the same company that made famous collapsible steel rods. My "little" reel was a Airex Ablette. I had another reel that was also manufactured here in CT (in addition to the Bristol). It has no markings but I was told it was made by some tool & die company in Bridgeport.
That one is a bit of a problem. It's a handsome reel but it needs a new flat spring, and that's something that I'll have to fashion myself .... yet another project that I need to take care of.
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I have a few other spring/pawl reels
The 1990s Martin Classic is certainly a Hardy knock-off and the Cabala's Cahill reel may be too.. I don't remember.
I recently picked up a as-new Medalist 1492 also.
I think the terms got mismatched a bit; maybe "click check" and "spring pawl" are both correct terms but ended up getting jumbled. I've also heard them called "click paw"; pretty sure that ISN'T correct
Chimney was once "chimley" when I was younger and my favorite local word massacre is a stream called "Presque Isle stream" which is almost without fail called "pressteel stream" by young and old alike.
I too had one reel, a Pfluger Medalist, my first half decade as a fly fisher and my first saltwater reel in the 70's was a yet bigger Medalist. I bought my first Hardy, an LRH Lightweight, in about 1970. While it is obvious I have long since evolved into a gear obsessed angler (at least during the winter while I have time to think about it) and, for the fishes sake, mostly fish reels with drags now, my simple reel roots are still strong. Writing about these reels today, that I believe all evolved from early Hardy's, I noted the linguistic discrepancy applied to describing this class of reels that check line's flow off the spool via a spring loaded pawl engaging a toothed gear encircling the interior spindle recess of the spool. I have long referred to such reels as "spring and pawl" models and am simply, if not particularly importantly, wondering if there is a historically correct terminology to referre to these reels by.
Name and brand aside, their charm lies in their simplicity and the emphasis they place on the angler to manually manipulate his tackle, engaging and informing his/her technique regardless of the sophistication of future fly reels he winds up fishing with.
I think Spring & Pawl pretty well covers the genera but my Medalists are not spring & pawl reels. Regarding the tension of this type reel I've seen those with which you could not discern a difference between full on and full off tension. Conversely some are very noticeable, my St. Andrew had a tremendous range of drag as did my Marquis #7. The reels are great for general fishing but once you venture into really big game you may quickly want to convert to disc drags. I've landed some big fish with the spring & pawl reels but would not recommend it to everyone. While it is exciting there is a real feeling of control when I can reach to the back plate of a reel and fine tune the amount of outgoing tension on a 30 pound fish. I love clickers and still buy them. Some are unused but I'm hoping to get them on the water this year.
Certainly my big Medalist (1498 I think) was of the brake shoe variety. But starting with my LRH, my reels were mostly Hardy or Orvis "spring and pawls" for the next two decades. Even my salmon reel was a Marquis (labeled on these shores, "Scientific Anglers System") which had the high tech advantage of an exposed rim. When I began bonefishing though, in the later 80's, I got a cork disc-drag, draw-bar reel made by Frank Catino in Florida. That got me experimenting with some early trout sized reels featuring actual drag mechanisms, which, at least on large, wild trout rivers, where the fish have room to run, quickly convinced me that big trout were brought to net greener and released with less lactic acid build up, promoting safer catch and release. I still fish an old CFO occasionally though.