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Tackle review - Allen Fly Fishing XL 5/6 Fly Reel

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The Allen Fly Fishing XL 5/6 Fly Reel The Allen Fly Fishing XL 5/6 Fly Reel

Forum Manager Frank Whiton gives us his views on this fly reel from Allen Fly Fishing that seems to already have a strong following amongst forum members to see if they are justified.

I am sitting here at my desk looking at an Allen Fly Fishing XL 5/6 reel.  The members of the North American Fly Fishing Forum that have this reel are praising it highly.  I talked to Justin, the owner of Allen Fly Fishing, and he sent me a reel to take a look at.  As soon as I removed it from the box there was no doubt that this was a quality built reel.  It was light in hand and just felt solid.  I could see right off why people were so high on this reel. 

The first thing I did was weigh the reel and it comes in at 4.2 oz. on my postal scale.  To me that is about the ideal weight for a 5/6 reel.  Not so light to be flimsy but heavy enough to balance your rod and have longevity.  The design is an open back style with three legs feeding out from the center of the frame.  There are lightening holes drilled into the legs that add to the looks of the frame.  It is a basic skeleton style frame and the foot is screwed to the frame.  The shaft and housing for the brake is stainless steel.  The stainless does contain some level of carbon and I would keep it protected.  Some paste wax on the brake housing and a little grease on the shaft will keep things in order.

cap_662654002.jpgThe spool has the same holes as the frame drilled around the perimeter.  I tested the spool balance and it is well balanced.  There is a very nice counter balance and the handle is some type of plastic.  Both the handle and counter balance are fastened to the frame with screws.  I did notice that all of the screws used on the reel are bright colored.  My preference would have been blued or darken screw heads to better match the color of the reel.  To remove the spool from the frame you have to unscrew a cap that screws onto the shaft end. This is a very positive way to fasten the spool to the frame.  In fact it is much more positive attachment method than a lever or push button used on many reels.  The cap is retained on the spool when it is unscrewed so you don’t have to worry about losing or dropping it if you change spools while fishing. 

knob_645832892.jpgWith the frame and spool together I see the tolerance between them is very high.  There are no high or low spots in the spool rim.  You won’t have to ever worry about getting your fly line caught between the frame and the spool.  The knurling on the drag control is very well done with flat diamonds.  It looks good and gives a good grip.  The flat diamonds are much more comfortable on your fingers than some drag control knobs with sharp diamonds.  The drag control knob and the spool removal cap are high gloss and give a nice contrast to the semi-gloss of the rest of the reel.

The drag from low to high is just a little more than three quarters of a turn.  The low end of the adjustment still has a slight amount of drag.  Probably just about right to keep the spool from over travel when you pull line off.  The maximum drag setting is not locked down but it is more than adequate for a reel of this size.  The drag knob is a good size for operating with out looking. 

spool_749257378.jpg

Over all this is a heck of a lot of reel for the asking price.  It is made on CNC equipment from bar-stock aluminum and stainless steel.  The finish is some type of electro-plating and looks great.  Allen Fly Fishing advises that the finish is adequate for fresh and saltwater fishing.  It has no incoming click which I really appreciate.  The outgoing click is soft and pleasant, very nice.  Other features include 2+1 BB, 1:1 gear ratio, exposed palming rim and easy right to left hand change over.  The XL reel also comes in a 3/4 and a 7/8 Model.  Soon there will also be a XL 9/10. 

This is a top notch reel from overseas and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.  It may be the best reel available at this price point.  This reel and others are available from Allen Fly Fishing at http://www.allenflyfishing.com/ .  You need to keep checking Allen Fly Fishing for specials and other new products. 

Frank E. Whiton
Manager, North American Fly Fishing Forum.

 







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Comments (7 posted):

imxer on 06/04/2010 15:38:39
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Hi Frank, Read your review this AM, thanks for putting it together.. The first thing that caught my attention was the discrepancy between the weight of your XL 5/6 and what Allen shows in their specs, about 1 oz , making your reel about 20% lighter. I have made a practice of recording the weight of all my reels, and rods. Just something I enjoy, obviously doesn't effect their fishability. Results have been interesting. From what your review found, it seems obvious that quite a bit of thought and planning went into the XL prior to production. The reception the reels have received from Forum members seems to demonstrate that. Will post the weight of my XL when it comes in. Regards, imxer
gbanker on 12/04/2010 13:33:56
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Thanks for the review Frank. I hear a lot about sealed drags on saltwater reels. Not sure what the drag system is on this reel.
ab fisher on 12/04/2010 14:14:57
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Thanks for the review Frank. I hear a lot about sealed drags on saltwater reels. Not sure what the drag system is on this reel. on all of the prior to now XL reels there is no sealed drag. as far as i am aware he is designing one with the sealed drag.
Tajue17 on 14/04/2010 23:44:39
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I like the looks of this reel,, very curious how big the 9# reel will be but the price is as good as it gets.. I need to upgrade my old medalist cause the handle knob is worn and sticks so that 5# is perfect!
allenflyfishing on 14/04/2010 23:53:09
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Hello, I'm not going to do a 9wt in the reel. The one that I had made that was larger than the 7/8 wt just wont hold that much backing. I do have a 7/9 wt in my Trout Series [url=http://www.allenflyfishing.com/trout.html]www.allenflyfishing.com/trout.html Its a large arbor reel with some highlights from the XL and the Alpha Series. Hope this helps Justin
Frank Whiton on 15/04/2010 21:42:21
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Hi Everyone, I weighed the reel on a postal scale and it may not be as accurate as it could be. I was surprised, but glad, that it came in lighter than what is posted on Allen Fly Fishing. Justin is trying hard to provide an inexpensive well built reel with good features. I like the fact that the spool has a nice wide arbor even if that sacrifices some backing. The XL 5/6 is primary a Trout reel and a sealed drag is not that important to me. The one I reviewed had a enclosed carbon disk drag but not really what I would call sealed. If you look at this photo you will see the stainless cup that holds the drag disk. This stainless cup goes inside of another lip with close tolerances. You would really have to work at getting sand into the drag. Frank
imxer on 16/04/2010 15:16:04
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Frank, Justin sent one of his trout 5/7 reels to me that weighs the same as the number he uses in his specs, 5.8 oz. The description of it would be the same as most, or all, that have been posted so far. Also, good service and communications that compliment the value of the reels he offers.
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