Several may not agree with my theory but here it is.
REEL, What exactly is the function of a reel on a fly rod? It holds the line enabling one to have a reserve on which to draw from in the event extra line is needed. A location for storage if you will. Beats having a wad laying at your feet when ya need it.
DRAG, Is a mechanism that allows the person holding the rod and reel to hopefully restrict the forward movement of the object being pursued. Drag is resistance placed on components of the total system whether it be by means of mechanical or the ability of said user to manipulate the components being used. Myself i never use the drag system on the real, NEVER. I loosen it all the way and when drag is needed i feather the rim of the reel if it is of the exposed type or i use the method of feathering the line via friction through my fingers against the rod.
In gathering all this wisdom i have found that people place way too much value on a mega buck reel that is used mainly for the purpose of holding additional line in reserve. Save your money and learn how to work the rig you have.
Thank you for the post Eddy. Many different reasons, for a bigger reel, advanced drags and high end models. Others with certainly more experience than I will add their technical comments, but there are reasons from the human nature side to be considered as well. An investment grade reel if taken care of may be fished for a lifetime and be worth more than the original price. For others the architectural design may mean everything to their artistic eye. And there are folks who had nothing growing up, put the kids thru college, honored their spouse and finally find themselves able to afford something nice for themselves...Job well done I say and enjoy the new reel.
A good drag system is certainly relevant depending on the size & species being targeted. Panfish for example can be handled without a drag, 10-20+ pound Steelhead....the drag system is a welcome addition.
Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather have it and not need it, rather than need it and not have it.
I may have agreed with your presumption 30 years ago but since then I've gotten way too good at catching fish to concur with what you say. Whether I have just had my fly grabbed by a 14" trout (or similar species) or by a 45 pound salmon I work that fish from the reel within seconds. I have went through more reels than I can remember trying to come up with the right tackle for different situations. In every case I get the fish on the reel as soon as possible. I'm definitely not one of the guys who pulls a fish in using the free hand to haul line and letting it coil at my feet or float on the water.
As for rim control; this can be a good thing when fishing trout and other fishes that you don't expect to surpass 7 - 10 pounds. Once you enter into the heavyweight class trying to apply friction by letting the line pass between the fingers will result in deep line burns and cauterized cuts from the burn. A good mechanical or friction drag is a friend when in need.
I don't make these statements without having had experiences that led me to acquire some good heavy duty reels. The beauty of using a reel like any of the large disc drag reels is that when you catch a 14" trout it is fun or perhaps I should say rewarding. When you are trout fishing and you hook up with a steelhead or a salmon that will run off 90 feet of line before you can say 'Holy Cow" the reel will have you in control long before the fish gets 90' on you.
When talking about mega buck reels I can empathize on this point for I am not a man of great wealth. I buy a lot of reels that someone else didn't want for one reason or another. I did pay 750 for my Cascapedia when I got it but thinking I would find one used was a long shot so I bit the bullet. The reel is the best salmon machine I've ever had and I have went through them like a combine through a wheat field over the past 8 years. I just picked up a 2003 Orvis Vortex 11/12 reel for a rod I'm going to use this season. The reel cost me 270 with shipping included. I don't consider that to be too much for a good reel at all.
So to cut this off before I really start to ramble; the reel holds the line until I pull off what I intend to fish with. Then when a fish grabs the fly the reel retrieves the line with the fish attached regardless of how large or small that fish is. The drag on the reel does all of the control work for me if that fish happens to be the new state record. So I have to say that I believe a reel is a rather important part of my tackle.
I don't mean to suggest that you cant get the job done without a huge expensive disc drag reel. I've caught somewhere around 100 silver salmon while trout fishing with a 5 weight rod and a Hardy Featherweight on the rod. Still, I played the fish off the reel and cranked the fish to shore with that little knob and that standard arbor. It wasn't this easy 30 years ago because I had not had the practice.
The little reel with no drag will do this, it's a Battenkill 3/4 clicker.
The big reel with the really good drag will make this look easy.
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Originally Posted by rapid eddy
Several may not agree with my theory
Count me in the disagree with you group. Your theory is great if you are fishing for Crappie. Once you get into big fish it stinks on ice. First of all, I don't care how good you are, you are not going to 'feather' the line through your fingers smoothly. I don't even like how some cheaper drags jerk. Palming the rim is a bit better, but still no match for a good drag. Plus a good drag won't bust you in the finger.
I like to buy US made when I can (or at least Europe / Japan, etc), and unless I want to buy used, my only choice are the so called "mega buck" reels since the lower cost stuff now is made in China, sadly..
For me, a) I can afford it, and b) I enjoy owning something that is made well, and serves a good purpose (make my life easier) and c) place high value on fine workmanship... but that's just me, and I don't expect others to feel the same.
I understand that the fish don't care what you spent, but for me, I'd rather spend $500 on a high quality US made reel than $40 on a Chicom sweatshop special.