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Old 03-07-2013, 09:56 PM
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Default 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

Trident Fly Fishing just completed our first annual 8-Weight Challenge. We pitted 17 of the best fly reels in the industry against each other in a head-to-head battle to answer the question: What is the best 8-weight fly reel?

It's been a few weeks of hard work to put together - we hope you enjoy it. Tight Lines.

8-Weight Challenge

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Old 03-09-2013, 02:49 AM
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Default Re: 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

Hi,

Really like the review, must have been a lot of hard work. A quick question - I´m interested in getting a Cheeky Mojo. On their web site it states that the drag is sealed but in your test you said that it wasn´t. What´s the score?

Cheers,

Damian F
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:17 AM
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Default Re: 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

I'm curious why the Lamson Guru placed so high in your rankings if you think it really isn't a saltwater-capable drag.

If you considered the Guru and the Sage 1880, I would also have liked to have seen how the Orvis Access reel compares. They sell a lot of those for saltwater use, at a similar price point. And I'm surprised at the omission of the Nautilus, which seems to be Hatch's most direct competitor.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damo View Post
Hi,

Really like the review, must have been a lot of hard work. A quick question - I´m interested in getting a Cheeky Mojo. On their web site it states that the drag is sealed but in your test you said that it wasn´t. What´s the score?

Cheers,

Damian F
Damian,

I just heard from them - it is sealed - I've updated the results.

---------- Post added at 10:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:18 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by moucheur2003 View Post
I'm curious why the Lamson Guru placed so high in your rankings if you think it really isn't a saltwater-capable drag.

If you considered the Guru and the Sage 1880, I would also have liked to have seen how the Orvis Access reel compares. They sell a lot of those for saltwater use, at a similar price point. And I'm surprised at the omission of the Nautilus, which seems to be Hatch's most direct competitor.
Moucheur,

The scores were calculated by an algorithm, but essentially, price was a big component in the overall scoring, because, fundamentally, we believe you should get what you pay for.

I can't comment on the Access, but the older generation of Orvis (Mid-Arbor, Large Arbor) were very weak in the drag department.

Last edited by tridentfly; 03-10-2013 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

From the two fly shops I frequent in Florida - one up by Mosquito Lagoon, the other in Islamorada - the biggest (by a lot) selling reel is the Nautilus in all sizes. Second is the Tibor.

Up until last year, the best buy in salt water reels I think, was the Mako - which sold for very little more than the Abel. Unfortunately, the wait for a Mako was at least a year, as they could not keep up with demand. The only one I saw, used, on ebay sold for more than a new one. Last year Mako upped the price about 40%.

I would have to take issue with this statement about drag settings.
Quote:
For bonefish, that means at least 8lbs. Baby tarpon or big stripers – 10-12lbs.
Here are some quotes from an interview of Jake Jordon, who's caught more billfish on fly than anyone ever, on drag settings. He uses Makos.

Quote:
The angler has the rod stretched out pointing at the fly, in the case of a Sailfish, white marlin or striped marlin the drag is set at 4 to 6 pounds of pressure (6 for sailfish), for Blue and Black Marlin the drag setting is about one pound.
Quote:
Question: What differences are there between hooking & playing a sailfish & a marlin.
Answer: From the bite of a Sailfish i use the full 6 pounds of drag until the battle is over, With a big Marlin it is necessary to use one pound or less drag from the bite until the fish has run and jumped, for a period of time determined by the fish and the angler. On most big Marlin this at least 20 minutes before increasing to two pounds, by the time that the fish starts to tire (usually up to an hour) I am still under 4 pounds of pressure. after we get onto the fly line for the second or third time I bump it up to 6 pounds and the fish usually is finished soon after that.
Jake does say in the article that the reel should be "capable" of putting 10 lbs of sustained smooth drag on blue marlin (200-400 + lbs).

Quote:
Question:Anything else you want to add?
Answer: I love my job, 70 years of age, over 1400 Billfish on Fly, and still catching and teaching, most of the improvements have been during the last five years.
Full article here: Welcome to Jake Jordan's Fishing Adventures

In short, I think the emphasis on max drag capability is basically hogwash, and that anyone using 8 lbs of drag on bonefish is asking for a breakoff one way or the other. The emphasis should be on sustained smoothness and the ability to smoothly change settings during a fish fight. On an 8wt., it normally does not need to be for hours either.

To get an idea of what a 4 lb drag setting is, tie the running line around a half gallon jug of milk orange juice or whatever, and lift it off the floor with the line coming straight off the reel. And if you can get high enough off the ground, do the same with the line strung on a rod. Most people have no conception of what pounds of drag feels like.

Personally, I don't think price or looks should have anything to do with equipment reviews - though the manufacturers' suggested retail prices should certainly be listed.

But then, I have never paid much attention to reviews and rarely read them anyhow, as I have my own criteria.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

No Bauers? Odd.....
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

No Coltons either. They missed a good one.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

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Originally Posted by ditz View Post
No Coltons either. They missed a good one.
I too would like to have seen how the Colton's matched up... they're hard to beat for the money IMHO.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:38 PM
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Default Re: 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

@wjc

Thanks for the *mostly* constructive criticism. Drag is a very personal setting, but as we mention in the article, we gave you the data so that you can draw your own conclusions. While there's no way (that I know of) to test "sustained" smoothness, if you check out the drag graphs, you'll find the smoothness of each reel as well.

The interview you quote is interesting, but you should note that he's abiding by IGFA rules, which limits your tippet strength. Conventional anglers often use 20-30+lbs of drag. You'll note that he also fights these fish for many hours, and honestly, you can just reverse the boat for several hours while the fish builds up lactic acid and not use any drag at all - of course the fish will be dead when you bring it in...
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: 2013 8-Weight Challenge: What's the Best Saltwater Fly Reel?

It is all grist for the mill particularly the overall score. It is good to see some form of comparision with some relatively sophisticated and unbiased testing.

hopefully you'll get to do it again Tridentfly and be able to expand the list of reals to include the nautalis, colton, solitude, TFO reels in the testing as well.

It all had to start somewhere and this was a very good start!!!

Maybe you could also run a 10 or 11 reel test/review as well.

all the best.

Adam
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