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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 03-30-2013, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Ross F1 dilemma

I'm a little surprised that they hasn't lowered the F1's price given its poor sales. I even called a large, well-known fly shop that sell's the F1 and the staff was very reluctant to push the F1 due to its price. Seems like it should be an intermediate reel between the Lamson Litespeed and the Hatch Finatic, maybe $375+ as a sweet spot. I just wish some other reel manufacturers, particularly the high-end manufacturers, offered a matte finish similar to the guide finish. Seems like black or shiny (brushed if they get fancy) are the only options outside of Ross and Lamson.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:49 AM
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Default Re: Ross F1 dilemma

The F1 is too ugly and too heavy and costs too much. Especially for a trout reel!

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Old 03-31-2013, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: Ross F1 dilemma

I stopped at the largest, most reputable fly shop in my area. They carry Ross, Hatch, Nautilus, Lamson, etc. When I asked the long-time salesman if they carried the F1, he looked at me as if I was crazy. He said he wasn't familiar with that model in a patronizing way that suggested I didn't know what I was talking about. How strange is that -- a long-time employee of the largest Ross dealer in the area not even knowing the F1 exists!

On a side note, I played with the Nautilus FWX 5/6 and am surprised they went through the trouble of putting a drag on the reel. It is the weakest drag I've seen on a reel. My 12 year old Ross Canyon's drag failed and is still stronger! I highly doubt it would slow a 5lb fish on a lake, let alone in a current. Overall, it seemed like a quality product. One should just expect it to be more of a click and pawl reel.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: Ross F1 dilemma

After all of my rambling, I decided to take a chance on the Ross F1 #3 in guide finish (which was made much easier with the good discount I received). I was going to purchase another Hatch Finatic, but after comparing their specs (see below) I thought I would try something new and make a comparison. After all, if I'm not happy with the F1 then I'll have an excuse to get another reel!

Specs
Ross F1 #3 (5/6/7)
Width - 1.25" | Diameter - 3.65" | Weight - 6.5oz | Capacity - WF6+150

Hatch Finatic 5 Plus (5/6/7)
Width - 0.925" | Diameter - 3.625" | Weight - 6.5oz | Capacity - (LA)WF6+110; (MA)WF6+180 (These are with 20# Dacron, likely a more similar backing in relation to what Ross used)

Based on these specs, the reels are very similar, the only negligibly difference being that the Ross has slightly better backing capacity for the large arbor due to the extra spool width (though both amounts of backing are superfluous in my opinion).

Analysis
Having played with the F1, here are my initial thoughts comparing the F1 to my Finatic (which is a 3 plus).

Looks - I ever so slightly prefer the looks of the F1 because of the extensive spool machining, drag and matte guide finish, which makes it a bit more modern. The difference is very slight, however, as I love the looks of the Finatic.

Machining - While the Finatic is a an excellent example of machining, the F1 is actually better. The reel is full of sharp angles and rounded lines, a nice combination of two geometric shapes. The edges are slightly rounded to avoid any sense of sharpness. The Finatic has a more basic 90* machining entry on the fins in the spool and slightly rougher edging. Again, the Finatic is far superior to most reels, just not as refined as the F1. Both reels have very tight and accurate tolerances.

Finish - The F1's matter guide finish is clearly superior in looks to the Finatic. It's hard to tell at this point whether the guide finish will prove more durable that the Finatic's type II anodization. I admit I am partial to a less shiny finish, however, so this may be my personal bias. That said, I expected the guide finish to be a darker shade of grey (perhaps the 51st shade?). It has a little more tan in it than I thought, though it is still a nice look.

Drag - The F1's drag system is impressive. Its adjustment is very smooth and uniform, and the knob is easier to grip than that of the Finatic. The F1's high end seems very stout, though I can't compare it to the Finatic since I have only the 3 plus. Given my tests and the difference in size, I'm fairly certain the Finatic has a stronger drag. I also notice that once the F1's drag is tight enough to engage there is a tiny amount of "slop" between retrieve and drag engagement (perhaps no more than 1* or 2* of rotation, but noticeable). The Finatic has no slop and instantaneously engages. I also prefer the more fully sealed nature of the Finatic. Despite the 10 O-rings on the F1, I don't like that the spool attaches inside the drag mechanism -- which leads to my next categories.

Spool operation - The Finatic is superior in stability and spool attachment because it screws tight directly to the drag. The F1, on the other hand, attached via a spindle into the drag. This allows a very, very slight wobble when you try to bend the spool. During normal reeling and drag situations, the F1 doesn't wobble and is very smooth. Bear in mind that the wobble isn't significant, but the Finatic's spool is firmly attached the reel frame and can't wobble. In addition, the clicking and smoothness of the Finatic reel is the best I've ever felt. The F1 is among the best, but really is noticeably inferior to the Finatic.

Other - I prefer the solid metal handle on the Finatic to the carbon fiber on the F1. While the carbon fiber accents are undoubtedly strong, they don't feel as good. I also prefer the engraving on the Finatic because it looks more professional and better matches the overall aesthetics of the reel.

Summary
Overall, I can't pick a clear winner between the two reels. I do prefer the feel of the Finatic right now, while I prefer the looks, finish and styling of the F1. I suppose the true test will be on the water, which I hope will be this weekend! In the meantime, I suggest that price is the biggest factor for someone looking at these reels. One can likely get a Finatic for a better price right now. I also believe, however, that the F1's will be reduced due to slow sales.

As a final note, forum members are constantly discussing the weight of the F1 and the Finatic. While I can't speak to preferences, my fully loaded F1 perfectly balances my Scott S4 9' 6wt w/in a half inch of the front of the cork -- and this without line through the guides! For the life of me I can't figure out what all of the ultra-light reel lovers consider being balanced. To each his own!

---------- Post added at 10:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:33 AM ----------

FWIW, here are some pictures of my two reels. Enjoy!

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Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

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Old 04-11-2013, 12:06 PM
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Default Re: Ross F1 dilemma

Being a newbie, I read and compared of almost all the reel specs when I looked for a new reel 2-3 months ago. I checked on the F1 as well, but 1st the weight of the reel. 2nd the price turned me around just like a fish spooked by my bad cast.

The Evo LT 4 was more palatable for me but the Allen Kraken 3 came from behind and won the race.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:36 PM
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Default Re: Ross F1 dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by runningfish View Post
Being a newbie, I read and compared of almost all the reel specs when I looked for a new reel 2-3 months ago. I checked on the F1 as well, but 1st the weight of the reel. 2nd the price turned me around just like a fish spooked by my bad cast.

The Evo LT 4 was more palatable for me but the Allen Kraken 3 came from behind and won the race.
You certainly ended up with a fine reel. I agree that the price of the F1 (and the Hatch for that matter) is prohibitive to many cost-conscious consumers. I managed to get mine for a significant discount and suspect more retailers will follow suit.

Regarding the weight issue, I believe people are scared off for unwarranted reasons. The recent trend has been toward lighter pole and reels, so people see the heaviest reel in its class as a bad thing. But even with a modern, lighter rod (as mentioned at the end of my review), a fully-loaded F1 will barely balance the rod. People seem to forget that a rod that is 1/3 the weight of the reel still has an enormous amount of leverage at 9' long. Again, I can't for the life of me understand what people think "balance" means when they are match a 3oz. reel to a 3oz. rod.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Ross F1 dilemma

It is the "new" Ross reels personified. Personally, I can't stand the way the reel looks or their new ultra modern logo. I miss the old RR company.




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Old 04-11-2013, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: Ross F1 dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by cw76 View Post
It is the "new" Ross reels personified. Personally, I can't stand the way the reel looks or their new ultra modern logo. I miss the old RR company.




-R.I.P-
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While I do like the new reel, I completely agree that the old logo should have stayed. I still wear my old RR hat, but wouldn't consider wearing a hat with that new mess-of-a-logo.
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