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.
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.
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
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.