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Old 11-04-2011, 12:03 PM
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Default A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

For some time now we have been hearing the various sales pitches for large arbor reels. This is usually the stance that a large arbor will give the angler a faster retrieve and this will be an asset with a long running fish such as a steelhead or bonefish. Being a long time reel enthusiast this was a simple enough reason to purchase a few of these, truth be known a never really need a good reason to buy a reel...

Anyway, I have always wonder just what there was to this concept and if it really makes that big of a difference. With that in mind I took a few reels from my collection an put them to the test.

The test subjects range from a small Hardy Lightweight (Featherweight model) to the original large arbor reel, the Loop 3 (Sage 709). Between the extremes are two Abels, a 3N and a 5N. Also included is a Ross Big Game number 4 to provide contrast to the Loop.
Click the image to open in full size.

I wanted to see just how much line each reel would retrieve per revolution. This would be measured against a measuring tape, recorded and compared to the results of the other reels.

Click the image to open in full size.

The measurements were quite revealing- One revolution of each spool per reel is as follows

Loop 3W- 11inches
Ross BG4- 10inches
Abel 5N- 10inches
Abel 3N- 8.25inches
Hardy Featherweight- 8inches

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

So how does this translate to actual fishing. Lets say that the angler needed to retrieve 50 feet of line.

50 ft x 12 = 600 inches

To retrieve 600 inches each reel according to the above measurements would take the following revolutions to accomplish the task.

Loop- 54 revolutions
Ross and Abel 5N- 60 revolutions
Abel 3N- 72 revolutions
Hardy- 75 revolutions

This reveals a spread between the two extremes (Loop and Hardy) at 21 revolutions. In a clocked test at a moderate/fast pace it took me an average of 9.5 seconds to reel my little Hardy an extra 21 times.


To me the facts pretty much speak for themselves here- buy that large arbor reel because it looks good, which I have, but not because you think you will stand a greater chance of angling success.

Another thought- get a standard arbor reel and as long as weight is not an issue, load it up with backing. You will achieve the same line friendly aspects of a large arbor such as a reduction in coiling but you will have the added backing in times of need.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

Interesting. I suspect that if you actually strip off 50' of line the results would be even more striking. -m
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

Quote:
Originally Posted by russellb View Post

This reveals a spread between the two extremes (Loop and Hardy) at 21 revolutions. In a clocked test at a moderate/fast pace it took me an average of 9.5 seconds to reel my little Hardy an extra 21 times.


To me the facts pretty much speak for themselves here- buy that large arbor reel because it looks good, which I have, but not because you think you will stand a greater chance of angling success.

Another thought- get a standard arbor reel and as long as weight is not an issue, load it up with backing. You will achieve the same line friendly aspects of a large arbor such as a reduction in coiling but you will have the added backing in times of need.
9.5 seconds is actually a long time and not a short time to lose contact with a fish.

The main reason a large arbor has an advantage is not when the fish is pulling away from you. It is when the fish is running toward you and a faster retrieve allows you to maintain and regain contact with the fish more quickly.

Would you be content to lose contact with a fish for 9.5 second?
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

Thanks for the research, the results are what I expected. I happen to be a big fan of large arbor and wide spool reels for two reason:
1. I like the look
2. I usually leave lines on my reels because I'm lazy, when I do use them the coils are not as tight on the large arbor reels.

That being said retrieve rate isn't a huge factor for me and I target some large, hard running fish. I've watched other fishermen frantically trying to get a fish on the reel, why? If he belongs on your reel he'll put himself there. The only time a fish is on my reel is when I can't hold on to the line. If he swims towards me I strip the line tight and handline them again. I don't know if it's better of not but I get more satisfaction stripping a fish in rather than reeling it in.

Just my $.02
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:37 PM
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Default Re: A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

I've never had to frantically reel line as a fish ran towards me. A large/mid arbor appeals to me for picking up line when moving to another spot, and reducing coiling at the backing end of the line. I've been using SA's GPX and Mastery Trout lines for the past few years, and do not have problems with these lines coiling on conventional arbors. Cortland 444 lines were awful on smaller standard arbor reels, but I left a SA Mastery Trout line on a 2.85" reel for months (unused), and there was zero memory when I pulled it out of the bottom of my reel bag. When I decide it's time to move, I can notice a difference in how much longer I have to linger while reeling in line on a large/mid arbor and standard arbor.

The retrieval test needs to be done with 30-40 feet of line stripped off the spool. That's where the large arbor/wide spool has its advantage: the effective diameter of the line on the reel remains relatively unchanged, while the standard arbor/narrow spool chages diameter dramatically. Having said all that, I like the looks of a conventional reel. My wife needs a narrow spool reel because she doesn't guide line on while winding, and can jam a wide spool reel vey quickly. I bought a Sage 4540 (she wanted one after seeing it online) recently, and that reel was ridiculous! It has a very wide spool, but the shallow depth made it impossible for her to use. Its handle was more of a nub, but I digress....

P.S. That Abel 5N looks great, Russell!
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:51 PM
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Default Re: A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

Russ, you just need more backing on that Hardy That was an interesting post you have made there. I will rep this as soon as I finish using up thread space. Don't let any of the findings bother you, I caught about 40 silvers / coho while trout fishing this past fall using the Featherweight and those 75 or 100 turns of the handle go so fast you won't even realize you've done them.

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Old 11-04-2011, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
The retrieval test needs to be done with 30-40 feet of line stripped off the spool. That's where the large arbor/wide spool has its advantage: the effective diameter of the line on the reel remains relatively unchanged, while the standard arbor/narrow spool chages diameter dramatically.
Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!

To better duplicate your test, make that 50' of line.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post

The retrieval test needs to be done with 30-40 feet of line stripped off the spool. That's where the large arbor/wide spool has its advantage: the effective diameter of the line on the reel remains relatively unchanged, while the standard arbornarrow spool changes diameter dramatically.
You raise an interesting point.

There are two issues. The first is large arbor, the second spool width.

What you say is true ONLY if the large arbor is a wider spool than the standard arbor as you state. The first large arbors were not. Some of them actually used the next reel size up for the frame with an expanded arbor for the spool. So spool widths were identical. You got the worst of both worlds. A heavier reel with less line and backing storage.

Some standard arbor salt water reels do have wide spools as I understand it. Maybe a saltwater fisher can tell me if that is true.

I think one needs to think in terms of both the arbor size and the spool width as separate issues, when comparing reels. I think to assume that a large arbor is going to automatically be wider than a standard arbor is not always correct.
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

The first Abel reel did not have a very large diameter, but did have a wide spool. It also had a standard arbor. Scientific Angler's System 1 reels came in a 4/5 and 6/7 size. The only real difference was that the 6/7 had a significantly wider spool. Abel has moved toward narrow spools lately, while keeping the spools' diameters the same for a given line size.

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Old 11-04-2011, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: A few thoughts on reels- Large, mid and standard arbor-

Okay then... a correction... using the reels you pictured to start this topic, pull 50' of line off and then post the results.
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