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dougm's Avatar The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy
dougm
07-30-2007
Fly Fishing with Doug Macnair:
A Product Update©
The Finest Fly Reels you can Ill Afford
Not...
  #30 (permalink)  
By mojo on 07-22-2008, 08:29 PM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

My opinion is you get what you pay for. Right now, the ones that have them seem to like them except for the drag. Chinese made reel with probably no quality control. But for the price what do you expect. I have a friend that bought one. He likes it but he's just getting back into fly fishing and the reel he had before was an old Browning. He does like the new reel being lighter than the Browning, but he's yet to have a fish on that needed the drag.
I'll keep my money on US made reels. Or old English reels. I doubt the chinese made will last more than a couple seasons if that long.

FWIW- I think you'll find "writers/reviewers" out there that will happily write up a great review for an item. Especially if they get to keep said item. Cheap advertising.

Dire Straits had it right in the song 'Money for Nothing'

Now that aint workin thats the way you do it
You play the guitar on the mtv
That aint workin thats the way you do it
Money for nothin and your chicks for free
Money for nothin and chicks for free
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  #31 (permalink)  
By Cangetcold on 07-23-2008, 06:53 AM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

My only interaction with A.R.E. has been as a customer. I have no other connections to the company, its staff or owners.
I consider myself an experienced fly-fisher. When I started fishing I heard the theory that the reel was only storage for the line and therefore you should save money on reels. Experience has taught me that a reel needs to be good; In those few seconds you have when a fish bites you need to remove slack, adjust drag and start getting that fish in. You need to trust and rely on your reel. However – especially at lighter weights – the reel is still probably the best place to save money as far as fishing equipment is concerned.

I have now been using my A.R.E. 101 for a year and have been extremely happy with it. After reading Pllands comment about the drag I checked the drag on mine and there is no variance at any given setting that I can feel. Mind you – to evaluate drag fairly you have to make sure the line is on the reel does not affect your measurements. I took all the line off the spool except for the last few yards of backing.

All my correspondence with A.R.E. has been has been answered promptly, courteously and efficiently. I ordered a spare reel recently and received a wrong type. A replacement was sent right away without any hassle despite the mistake probably being mine.

I agree with the comment about lack of quality control. My reel had slight markings when I got it and I don’t doubt plland’s comments on the drag – only point out that MY reel does not have that problem.

I have a 4wt rod from A.R.E. that I enjoy using but isn’t anything special. It get’s the job done. It does not compare to my Sage, TFO and Loop rods. Cost me about $50 and therefore comparing it to $200-400 rod’s isn’t really fair.

I also have a WF line from A.R.E. that is OK but nothing special. My first WF line was from a known major brand and I don’t think the A.R.E. line is any worse than that. I think selecting the “best” line is very individual based and what works for one person might not apply to another. I threw away my first major brand line because it didn’t work for me and I cast further and more precisely with my Scierra HMT line than I do with my A.R.E. line. For the price ($15) the lines are worth a try or fine for a beginner.

Based on my experience I have no qualms about ordering these reels from A.R.E. I would however make it clear to A.R.E. that I reserve the right to examine the reel thoroughly and return for a replacement if there is any fault in it and recommend they personally examine the reel they plan on sending me to save all the hassle.

Get what you pay for? Well – I got my reel and extra spool for about $70. With the line and rod the total was around $135. If I go to Cabela’s home page and look at the reels then I can see some major brands (and yes – some American brands) that are offering reels that look a LOT like the 101 or the other Chinese reels that are mentioned in this thread. The price is usually in the $100-120 range, with extra spools at around $50. Paying $70 for a reel and extra spool sure beats paying $150-170 for a Chinese reel and spool with American packaging.
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  #32 (permalink)  
By hardhat on 07-23-2008, 08:36 AM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

This is a very amusing thread. The reality is the vast majority of items we purchase on a daily basis are manufactured over seas. China and the new China, Viet Nam, supply a tremendous amout of our goods. By sending the manufacturing process overseas CEO's produce great profits for their respective stock holders. In turn sometimes the consumer will get a better deal. And many American jobs are out sourced.
As far as the reel in question goes, I have used one on several occasions. I found that the build quality was good. However, I did not like the design and function of the drag. Also, the knurled knob holding the spool on would come loose.
When you can buy American!
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  #33 (permalink)  
By Shane Stroud on 11-29-2008, 06:00 PM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

These look very similar to the ones manufactured by Weihai Bota Fishing Tackle Co., Ltd. in China. That explains the lack of instructions and other paper with them. But if you know the seller and are a little mechanically inclined, it really doesn't matter much. I've drooled over pictures of these for a while and wondered if they were as good as they look. Based on the reviews, it sounds like a bargain.

The 4/5 weight rated reel advertises 100 yards of 20# backing.
The 5/6 weight rated reel advertises 120 yards of 20# backing.
The 7/8 weight rated reel advertises 140 yards of 20# backing.
The 9/10 weight rated reel advertises 180 yards of 20# backing.

I remember reading somewhere on the net that they do have silent retrieve, but can't find that site anymore.

Fly Fishing Reel (FR34, FR56, FR78, FR910), China Fly Fishing Reel (FR34, FR56, FR78, FR910) products- China Fly Fishing Reel (FR34, FR56, FR78, FR910) Manufacturer, supplier

Check out www.fishingset.com/New Products

Let me know if you think it's the same reel.
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  #34 (permalink)  
By fieldsofdreams on 01-26-2009, 04:38 PM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

I can help here. I have helped with introducing these reels in the US Market for wide distribution. I own a company that builds/imports these reels and helps upgrade and introduce options and pays FET taxes and import duty through a legitimate import/export business. Meaning, we provide a warranty and product customer support as opposed to buying off eBay and getting a one-off production model. You can buy these reels through independent operators or go through a legitimate business who pays import/export fees and taxes and will give you a warranty and customer support. Albeit a great value, there will be some additional charges to have this luxury but nothing to compare to the gouging that is going on in the market now days anyway. You can google Deschutes Fly Reel, FireHole Fly Reel, Potomac Fly reel, Project Healing Waters Limited Edition Fly reel, Snake Fly reel, Green Fly reel, and Rapidan Fly reel and come up with companies here in the US that are selling these Chinese CNC's 6061 aircraft aluminum reels with customer support and warranties. For the money, they have no equal. In performance based value, they are hard to beat. All the equipment that manufactures these reels came right off the floors of companies here in the US a few years ago and are re-located in the heart of the Chinese industry. Same US cnc technology, different operators. Hope this helps.
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  #35 (permalink)  
By Aljack on 02-17-2009, 05:22 PM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

So what you are saying or implying, is that ebay dealer(s) selling this reel are not legit? The "American Rooster" name goes way back and has been noted by fishing authors such as Charles Brooks. It is not the same fly shop that was in New York City, but it is the same licensed name. I have dealt with John and have found him to be an outstanding dealer. He does not sell top of the line equipment and one does not come close to paying for just the name of some products ie: Sage, Hardy, etc. I have purchased 2 of these reels and as stated, they can't be beat for the money. I have had correspondence with John pertaining to many things, including these reels, and he has always been prompt with his replies and very easy to deal with.
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  #36 (permalink)  
By fieldsofdreams on 02-18-2009, 06:49 AM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aljack View Post
So what you are saying or implying, is that ebay dealer(s) selling this reel are not legit? The "American Rooster" name goes way back and has been noted by fishing authors such as Charles Brooks. It is not the same fly shop that was in New York City, but it is the same licensed name. I have dealt with John and have found him to be an outstanding dealer. He does not sell top of the line equipment and one does not come close to paying for just the name of some products ie: Sage, Hardy, etc. I have purchased 2 of these reels and as stated, they can't be beat for the money. I have had correspondence with John pertaining to many things, including these reels, and he has always been prompt with his replies and very easy to deal with.
On the contrary, I am not implying that EVERY Dealer on eBay is not legitimate. I for one, find eBay to be a very useful and simple way to have your gear shown world-wide to a very receptive fly fishing consumer. I'm saying that there are some dealers in this business who have the inside contacts to get their hands on these reels and do not back them up when you buy them. Your friend, like me and other importer/manufacturers have gone through the process of becoming licensed importers and manufacturers. Thus, paying the required federal excise taxes (for those that don't do that and get caught - stand by for the agony to begin from the IRS) to the IRS, the appropriate import duties to US Customs and Border Protection, the correct license fees to the US Fish and Wildlife Agency and so on. On top of all that, you get a professional package, perhaps a reel case, and most importantly, a warranty and a customer service number to handle your needs AFTER the sale. I have bought some of the reels off eBay to see if they were the same reels we have been developing and sure enough, they are. But, the guys and gals you buy them from are very careful about making sure you understand on the ebay auction that they are not responsible for the reels after you get them Sold "As-Is" in most cases. For example, there was one sale that was $5.99 for the reel and $54.99 for the s/h and the reel came from Tokyo Japan. No margin in the reel price but perhaps $40 in the s/h costs if sent International 1st Class Mail because of the weight of the reel. No customer support after the sale at all! I also want to say that the people who manufacture this equipment are very professional and in most cases, foreign educated. They want the gear to be top notch and usually do not discriminate on who they will sell to. They assume you will take care of all the administrivia to become an importer and pay the appropriate duties and excise taxes. Mind you, they don't care if you do or not ensure you are legitimate in the eyes of the US government. I took extra precautions and made sure I did everything within the letter of the law as I am a retired federal law enforcement agent. In this day and age of the economy, there are still ways to get great fly fishing gear for a great price. Let's face it, this is an expense sport and if you don't have the income to support the habit, it is tough to get good gear. That is why I do what I do and make sure I can provide a quality product for a great price and the best part is, I donate 100% of my proceeds to fly fishing organizations like PHWFF, TU and FFF. I wanted to say that if you find these reels and actually put your hands on them, that will be the clincher. I like the idea that there are ways to continue with our passion of fly fishing but can still live with the bills at the end of the month because the gear I have, was worth the paultry sum I paid for it. Tight Lines!
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  #37 (permalink)  
By Aljack on 02-21-2009, 10:44 AM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

Nice reply. I understand what you are saying about buying directly from the overseas dealers (the $6 dollar reels / $45 shipping). My ebay searches are for U.S. dealers and auctions. My only exception has been in regards to used Hardy reels and I have dealt (very satisfactorly) a couple of times with a dealer in Scotland. John offers a warranty against any defects on his products. If the reel seat should loosen up or whatever after an outing or two and it's an obvious mfg flaw, John would replace it. No risk in dealing with him.
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  #38 (permalink)  
By Shane Stroud on 04-21-2009, 06:24 PM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

I see lots of commentary here, mostly about business practices. Well, I have the 103 model. And heres my story about it.

Im probably a heretic, but I did something crazy. I took this Chinese reel, mounted it on a Chinese split cane rod, and strung it with Chinese silk fly line. Before you flame me for it, remember that you should walk a mile in my waders before you criticize me. Yes, it has some drawbacks, as any setup may, but I will give you my opinion, and you can go from there.

I ordered it and it took about a week to get here, so the shipping from ARE was alright. The first thing I noticed when I got it out of the box was that it wasnt exactly like the ones pictured on eBay. Alright, it wasn't even close. It has a wooden knob rather than metal, and the holes in the body are round vice oval. I would ding the seller for accuracy and/or truth in advertising, but I kinda like it better than the one pictured on eBay. Its probably a screw up, but I like the fact that it looks a bit like my Pflueger President. Sure, I was ticked about it until I got to play with it a little.

As others have said, it came with minimal instructions, a parts breakdown that I could swear I have posted on this site before, and a copy of the review on this site the one at the beginning of this thread, in fact. Shameless self promotion. And as others have stated, there wasnt a word in any of the literature about how much backing belongs on the reel. I put 150 yards of 20# on it. Nothing about warranty, maintenance, or disassembly was in the box with it.

As advertised, there was a little black jewelers bag to put it in. It was already setup for left hand retrieve, so I havent had the pleasure of trying to switch it, but I do wish it had come with the required wrench for the task.

The next thing I noticed was how light the reel was. WOW. Youd have to pick it up to believe it. Its really too light to counter balance my rod, but I can deal with it.

The knob was VERY tight and didnt want to rotate freely, so I lubricated it with some 3 in 1, spun it some, and it was fixed.

The action is smooth and easy. The drag is as easy to adjust as my Pflueger, and nothing rattles, cracks, pops, or gives any indication of being amiss. And it has silent retrieve, just as advertised.

I have heard rumors that the foot doesnt fit some reel seats, so I tried it on every rod I own. It fit them all with no issues.

Ive fished the reel pretty hard over the last few months. Ive had it out in some pretty rotten weather, even saltwater, and it did fine. But the jury is still out, as I will have to see how it does over a period of years. It did survive the winter pretty well.

For the price, I think it would be a good starter reel for someone looking to get into the sport and not spend a small fortune. Even if it fails after a few years, the loss is relatively small, and it has features normally found in reels that sell for much more. But that's just one man's opinion.
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  #39 (permalink)  
By Aljack on 04-22-2009, 04:40 PM
Default Re: The Finest Reels you can Ill Afford NOT to buy

One question that quickly came to mind: did you ever contact A.R.E. (John) about any of your questions or displeasures?

I have purchased several items from him since last June, including his 101 and 103 reels. Both reels were exactly the same as the ones pictured on ebay. I can't recall what I got for literature but I wasn't floored by any problems in setting them up. I have used them both, the 103 a few times more, and have not had any problems. For the amount of money that I paid for each reel, I am extremely impressed with them. Do I have the confidence in them like I do with my Hardy reels (have 3)? No, but that's based only on the lack of knowledge about how long they will last.

As far as foriegn built equipment goes, I think there was a Fly Fisherman magazine article that basically stated that just about anything that is manufactured in the U.S. can be duplicated at far less cost overseas. The only exception was in the manufacturing of fly lines.
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