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Old 04-14-2013, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

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An amazing reel with an amazing finish.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

hardy perfect reels get my vote.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

Wow, what a tough question.

Given all of the answers here, I can see that I have a lot of experience to gain with gear. And so my choice of 'best' trout reel is limited to the few reels I've owned and fished (LAMSON LITESPEED, SAGE 2450, ROSS EVOLUTION LT, ORVIS BBS, ORVIS BLA, HATCH FINATICS, ORVIS CFO)...

Since we're talking trout (eastern trout for me) most of the reels I've fished are probably more than I need. That said I consider my best reel(s) to be the Hatch Finactic series:

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• They are built like tanks
• The reel is machined from 1 piece of aluminum no screwed on foot (the fewer screws the better)
• Completely sealed drag (the less I have to screw with it the better)
• Aesthetics is completely subjective but I have to say they look great. I'd love to pickup a limited edition someday

All this aside, if I had to pick the 'best' trout reel based solely on its staying power and influence on reel design, I'd have to go with the CFO vented reel design from 1874 which was revamped by Bogdan in 1974.

I do have a Saracione Mark IV coming in the mail so that might change my answer.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

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Originally Posted by moucheur2003 View Post
It's a tie between the Hardy Lightweight series and the (English-made, not current) Orvis CFO series.

The Lightweights get the edge for sheer classic elegance, especially the older 2-screw line guard models.

The CFOs get the edge for utility, because they have a palming rim.
This is my second reply on the thread................... The above statement is close to what I said the first time around. I like all reels but the ones mentioned are indeed among the more popular fly reels since 1970 through 2000 I think. I have used both types a lot with good service from the reels and really like them.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

My 2 cents - as a Classic Reel Collector - Hardy circa 1894 All Brass Perfect Houghton 2 5/8" have fished iwth this for 20 years - still works as perfect as the day it was made.

My 3 cents - for somewhat becoming a classic - Ari T Hart Aras 1 and 2 - for Trout and Steelhead.

My 4 cents for Salmon - Stan Bogdan/Hardy Cascapedia Ltd ed.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

I'm a bit shocked the names of Edward vom Hofe, Zwarg, or Walker haven't popped up on this thread.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

My opinion is that fly reels are basically the same except for two features - appearance and drag. Appearance or the look of the reel is a personal preference but drag performance can be measured.

For trout reels, I submit that the most important feature of the drag is the percent start up momentum. That is the percentage above the drag setting that it takes to get the drag to release the line. For example, if the drag is set right at 5 lbs of tension, and the start up momentum was 10%, it would take 5.5 lbs of pull before the drag released line and then the drag would keep releasing line at the set 5 lbs.

Fly Fish America did a test of trout reels back in the 1990s and the lowest and most consistent drag was the Ross San Miguel. Its start up momentum was less than 5% and if I remember correctly it was about 2 - 3 %. No other reel was even close. Some reels had start up momentums of 25%. So my vote goes to the San Miguel. I happen to own several of them and for a trout reel, I have not found a reel that compares. BTW it is also anodized so it can be used in salt water, although I don't know who would.

The only negative is that it was made before large arbor reels became the standard. For me, it is still the reel to beat. Ross just couldn't sell enough of them. The cost was too high.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
My opinion is that fly reels are basically the same except for two features - appearance and drag. Appearance or the look of the reel is a personal preference but drag performance can be measured.

For trout reels, I submit that the most important feature of the drag is the percent start up momentum. That is the percentage above the drag setting that it takes to get the drag to release the line. For example, if the drag is set right at 5 lbs of tension, and the start up momentum was 10%, it would take 5.5 lbs of pull before the drag released line and then the drag would keep releasing line at the set 5 lbs.

Fly Fish America did a test of trout reels back in the 1990s and the lowest and most consistent drag was the Ross San Miguel. Its start up momentum was less than 5% and if I remember correctly it was about 2 - 3 %. No other reel was even close. Some reels had start up momentums of 25%. So my vote goes to the San Miguel. I happen to own several of them and for a trout reel, I have not found a reel that compares. BTW it is also anodized so it can be used in salt water, although I don't know who would.

The only negative is that it was made before large arbor reels became the standard. For me, it is still the reel to beat. Ross just couldn't sell enough of them. The cost was too high.
I'm going to expose my ignorance, but have to ask why such a low start up inertia is even valued in fly fishing? Yea its a nice thing to have, and shows a inherent quality in engineering........ but please explain how it helps me catch fish. I fail to understand this commonly accepted correspondence. Many fly reels that are used to pursue fish of this size are not going to snap even the lightest tippets regardless of price. This very well might be the opinion of a in-experienced angler, but I tend to think the market has sold many of us on a theory that does not have a practical purpose.

I first entered into this hobby equipped with a lamson low inertia drag reel. The only day I have ever needed it was the same day I talked to the sales guy I purchased it from.

Last edited by charged; 05-13-2013 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

charged, besides being one heck of a good sales feature if a reel has a low start-up inertia it can help save a break off if you happen to nab a fish at the limit of your tippet strength. During the fight in a situation like that you might have several start-up cycles before the fight ends.
Think opposite. If a reel has a large amount of start up tension but is smooth as silk during the run you might never get the chance to experience how smooth the drag is after the start.
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: What is the best trout fly reel ever made?

Quote:
Originally Posted by charged View Post
I'm going to expose my ignorance, but have to ask why such a low start up inertia is even valued in fly fishing? Yea its a nice thing to have, and shows a inherent quality in engineering........ but please explain how it helps me catch fish. I fail to understand this commonly accepted correspondence.
The purpose of a drag is to release line at a set tension and continue to release at that tension. The higher the start up inertia the lower you have to set your drag to protect identical strength tippets.

Here's another way to think of it.

Suppose we can fish 5 lb tippet or 4 lb tippet that is one "X" size smaller than the 5 lb tippet. Say one reel has zero start up inertial and the other reel has 33% start up inertia.

With the first reel you can set the drag at 3 lbs pull using the thinner 4 lb tippet and have 1 lb of safety. With the second reel, if you set the drag at 3 lbs of pull, but it will take 4 lbs of pull for the drag to start to slip. So you need to use the 5 lb tippet to get 1 lb of safety.

More often what happens is that the low inertial drag gives us a safety margin that protects against tippet wear, abrasion, nicks that gradually lower the breaking strength of the tippet. So even if the tippet gets weaker, the low inertial drag can protects us against the stupid things we do.
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