I got a Zenith 10' 4wt (old reel seat) a few weeks ago for my 30th birthday as well as a airflow mend line for it. I also have an 8' 2wt tfo, and between the two, a lamson konic 1.5 and velocity 1.5.
The airflow line must be a larger diameter than other brands as on the velocity, I had to go with layer of backing that just covers the spool and cut off about 20' at the rear of the line. It still will only fit if I wind it up evenly. I swapped it to the konic, and it fits much better, but that konic is very beat up.
I have found some stores that will let me trade in the velocity. I am looking at the Galvan Rush Light 4, Nautilus FWX 5/6, and Hardy Ultralite DD 4000/5000. In all likelihood I will not buy a new rod or reel for the next several years.
I am in Denver and love fishing in the winter, and have had a few experiences of drags getting wet and presumably a sheen of ice on them and offering no resistance. Hence why I am looking to avoid exposed drags and why I really liked the lamsons (a speedster is possible, but I dislike the look). I am also fairly hard on my gear, and the reel will get dunked regularly and I tend to always lay it down in places where there is sand or sediment on the reel when I pick it up. I do get regular opportunities to fish some great very private water where 10lb+ trout are the norm, so a quality drag would be great, but the rest of the time I rarely have a trout take any line worth noting.
Weight doesn't matter much to me.
I'd like it to look good/match the zenith's reel seat, or in the case of the Galvan, I would get it in the green to match the blank.
I like the lamsons as they have never failed me, or froze, and a quick rinse gets any sand out. So, I was considering a guru, speedster, or konic in a larger size. However, the 2wt needs new line, and some of the stores offer free line on the three other brands.
Can anybody give feedback on the Hardy, Nautilus, or Galvan? I have gotten mixed thoughts from these shops. Anything at all would be helpful, as I have read everything I could find through search on here and google. Ease of maintenance? Durability? Quality of machining? Element resistant drag? Other quirks/pros/cons?
I have an old series 1 Lamson Litespeed that has been my main reel, this past winter I was having issues with no drag, probably a bit of water got in there and froze. After a little use each time the drag would start working again, granted this is one of the early Lamson reels, they probably are much better now. I also have an old Galvan OB-5 that I bought used off EBay, about six months later I started having drag issues where the adjustment just wasn't working correctly. I called Galvan, told them I had bought the reel second hand and would gladly pay to have it repaired. They told me that they no longer made that model but would take a look and see if it could be repaired. I sent it in and didn't hear back after three weeks so I called them to make sure they received the reel. Sure enough they had and would give me a call when it was repaired. Another couple weeks go by and the reel shows up on my door step repaired and no invoice, so I called and explained that I didn't intend for them to repair the reel for free, but they said that is the way they do business. So I just wanted to relay that story and how Galvan stands behind their products. Sorry I have no experience with any of the other reels in your list.
I've got a pretty good number of Galvan reels and I'm incredibly pleased with each of them. They're very well made, as Larry points out Galvan's customer service is top notch. Although I don't own either of the others, many members have good things to say about Nautilus and the DD. Honestly between those three reels, you're splitting hairs of sorts. They're all solid choices, I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. Pick one that best suits the look you want. As much as I like my Galvans, the natural choice for your Zenith with the funky reel seat is the Hardy DD. At least for me anyway.
Thanks, I read on at least one other thread where you mentioned the same. I've gotten great service from lamson (loose handle that I cross threaded the screw on after I removed and put a drop of Loctite on), but I feel like they don't offer much for me past the konic.
How has that Galvan compared to other reels? How is it after the repair?
If you will go to page 96 of the "Reel Love" thread above in this Reel section of the Forum, you will help me from not having to repeat myself. I will add though that, capacity and performance criteria being appropriate, I select a new reel by how precisely it will balance my new rod. You are correct that fly shops may have their prejudices and I do too but it is different as I buy reels to fish with rather than sell them. All three of the reels I wrote about are on your list and are superior in drag performance, sealing from the watery elements and aspect ratio to your current reels. To match your new Zenith the U DD 5000 would be the simplest choice but any one of these three in the appropriate weight (disregard mgf. recommended line sizes and go by balance...as I pointed out I use the FWX 7/8 on my light weight #5) would be a reliable, fine tunable and enjoyable reel to fish with.
If you further search this Reel Forum you will also find a thread dedicated to Nautilus and another to Hatch Reels.
I've got a few Galvan's myself, no problems, I slipped last year and slammed my 3wt spoke into the rocks, I thought that would be it, when I looked at it there where no dents dings nothing, maybe I just got lucky but I don't think so.
My first thought was they are all fantastic and will do what you want.
What stood out to me is you said you are fairly rough on gear. Assuming all things being equal from quality of the internal features and functionality. Is it worth paying for "pretty" if you are going to beat it up.
Per SweetAndSalt above what you will see in the reel threads mentioned Lamson (except speedster) got a few negative remarks due to spool ratio. I sold a Guru and Velocity because of it. I pinched and ruined two new lines when they barreled.
I dont own any Galvans unfortunately, I love my FWX but it is to "pretty" to beat up. So for value in my mind Hardy might be the best bet.
Go to Front Range Anglers in Boulder tomorrow if you can. They are having customer appreciation day. See their twitter feed for a coupon. They had all 3 reels you are asking about just the other day. Go try them all on for size. SA is also doing a line trade in deal their tomorrow too.
I was going to go get a new FWX 5/6 tomorrow but I was lucky enough to have to buy a brand spanking new Dyson vacuum today so no dice for me.
The Airflo mend line is fantastic but it is a fat line and longer then 90 ft so it takes up quite a bit of space on any 4 wt reel. Since you are familiar with and like the Velocity 1.5 I would grab the same thing in 2.0 as they are currently discontinued and heavily discounted. The Velocity spool ratio is closer to what's considered traditional and thus line pinching should not be a problem.
Yes, I kind of thought before starting this thread from what I read that they would all be good choices. I was hoping someone would throw out a stop sign on one of them to make the choice easier. While I would like it to match nice with the rod, ultimately it is a tool first, and functionality is the main goal. I suppose I could get another Lamson, but with some of the trade up programs I have found, the cost of the three in question would be cut in half, and I would get free line. Or I could trade straight across for another konic.
comeoneavs, I am thinking about going today if my plans in Castle Rock go quicker than expected.
S&S thanks for your info on the other thread.
I have the Ross Evo LTs, Galvan Torque and also the Nautilus FWX reels on my other rods, but for my Zenith the older Orvis Battenkill II in the gold finish suits my eye fine. The balance on the 10' 3wt rod is right below the index finger...Have used the combo this past winter on a local tailwater and despite my guides freezing, the drag was unaffected.