Albright/Sea Level "Tempest"
The Tempest, originally developed by Albright and now marketed by the nice gentleman at Sea Level is a solid, smooth and stout dragged reel. Very well machined by a good shop in Korea this is not one of these new skeletonized designs, it is robust and can take the abuse of being tossed about in a boat. The cork disc responsible for its above normal drag range and strength is permanently sandwiched so it is a two sided assembly for doubled surface sweep area. A great idea developed originally by Ari't Hart. The draw back in this design , however, is how do you maintain the cork's natural elasticity? Dried out cork gazes in a drag so at least an annual application of neatsfoot oil is required. In a true draw-bar design like Abel, Islander, et al, one simply disassembles and rubs a few drops of this oil into the cork surface. You just cant fully disassemble Tempest to get to the cork though. I have a few of these reels from trout to saltwater sizes and have lost a memorable fish to dry cork lock-up. Grrr. Trying to remove the bolt beneath the drag knob felt like I was going to destroy the aluminum frame of this reel. I resorted to squirting excess neatsfoot oil into the micro-gap around the cork while the drag was set to free-spool zero. I managed to get enough in there to revitalize the cork and cleaned up the excess dripping everywhere, applied a drop of light oil to the spindle and was good to go...the reel was good as new. Unfortunately, once a reel has failed me it is unlikely to regain its original luster and my set of Tempests languish in a reel drawer to this day. Not that I would give them a negative rating, I think they are better than many in their modest price range as long as you maintain them properly.
My Tempest 1 with a Hendrickson mounted on an EXS; one of the early, high performance, Korean-built outfits designed by Americans.
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