Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy
I bought a 101 based on the above review. My rationalizing was that IF this were true then about $50 would be well spent. If the reel was cr@p... Well – just be nice to the wife, do the dishes and get her flowers and all would be forgotten.
I put the 101 on a 4wt rod and had a blast with 1-2 pound trout. I went late-autumn fishing in some lakes here in Iceland for a couple of days. The reel functioned perfectly and gave me no trouble in extremely adverse conditions: rain, sleet, snow and very cold weather. I switched rods/reels and left the 101 exposed to the elements, as well as dropped it in sand.
I never had any problems with the reel. Adjusting the drag in the cold with numb fingers was easy and all in all I was very pleased with the performance.
In the same trip I had two other reels for my 6wt: a cheap reel (DAM Flytech ST) and an Orvis Battenkil Bar Stock. The 101 far surpassed the DAM in all ways and IMHO was more enjoyable to fish than the Orvis. Time will tell whether the 101 will last as well as the Orvis which has given me steady and reliable service for several years.
Mechanically the reel is simple. IMHO that is always a big plus in reels. Simple = less likely to break down.
I also purchased a WF line from A.R.E. It functioned adequately but IMHO is not an ideal line for cold conditions. Get’s “lumpy” in the cold and the memory increases.
There are some negative aspects to the 101 but they are minor:
Switching left/right is not easy. I recommend that is done before setting off and if you need to do it on-site then do so with your hands and reel in a clear plastic bag. Check and re-check assembly before use.
The reel I got had slight markings on it. These are hidden by the line and were insignificant. They do not in any way affect the functionality but if I had seen them in a shop I would probably have selected another 101 reel.
The info included is minimal but figuring out the backing and where to oil is easy.
My ONLY big complaint with the reel is the A.R.E. marking. It’s a measly silver sticker and looks cheap. Nothing else regarding this reel looks, feels or even indicates cheap. This is a great, solid and robust reel and A.R.E. should engrave their logo in it.
Bottom line: these reels are worth their price and more.