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flyfisher117 12-10-2011 01:32 AM

Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
This coming summer for my own little "graduation" present Im wanting to do A LOT of fly fishing, this summer I didnt make it out enough so this coming summer Im already planning a few trips and a few hikes into alpine lakes.

anyways my current set up is a St. Croix Triumph 9' 5wt fly rod. It has a cheap little Cabelas Prestige Plus fly reel. Im just curious what you guys think, should i upgrade the reel? Or should I use the Cabelas untill it breaks? Ive never caught fish big enough to need to fight with the drag system I just dont want to be out one day 4 miles in at an alpine lake and have the reel fail.

What do you think? I was thinking about upgrading to either a Lamson Konic or an Allen Trout series. Thoughts?

-John H

caseywise 12-10-2011 01:42 AM

Re: Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
wow, tough one. i would say go allen, as i believe, as a forum you get a discount.

williamhj 12-10-2011 02:42 AM

Re: Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
I have three of those reels and they work fine for 4 or 5 wt rods. I say, if it's working, don't replace it. Use the cash for something else - upgrade your line if it's bad, buy flies or tying stuff, some other gear, use it as money for a fishing trip, whatever. Unless you're worried about tying into a stealhead or salmon on your trout stream get some more life out of the Cabelas reel.

famill00 12-10-2011 07:16 AM

Re: Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
I have one of those reels. Its on a 4wt rod for bluegilling. Never needed the drag. I think its a fine little reel....


webrx 12-10-2011 07:32 AM

Re: Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
get another reel, so you have a spare, and carry both on your trips. I never hit the water without at least 2 reels and I also typically carry 2 rods as well. I don't want a trip ruined because I snapped a rod or my reel failed.


flyfisher117 12-10-2011 10:52 AM

Re: Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
I could deffinately use some new waders and the fly boxes could handle a good restocking. Its just this is the last of my free spending money so after this its all going into savings for both college and my fishing adventures this summer.

jaybo41 12-10-2011 11:39 AM

Re: Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
Seems to me like you answered your own question here. You have other needs and a working reel. If it's the same one I am thinking of, it was made by Okuma and is the Cabelas version of the Sierra. That is a solid reel with a good drag for a 4 or 5 wt! I fished the Okuma version for years and it never failed me. No doubt a Konic or Allen would be upgrades, but that will come in time.

Get what you need now and stash away a little bit of money for fishing equipment/gear, maybe you'll find something in the classifieds here.

At the risk of sounding parental, save up for college, get a good education and you can buy all the nice gear you want once you graduate and get a job:)

flyfisher117 12-10-2011 05:35 PM

Re: Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
haha I just cant save up becuase I need to be able to go shooting or go fishing.. if not i wont be able to relieve stress and probably wont be able to make it through College so I need gear that will last a while

FrankB2 12-11-2011 06:47 AM

Re: Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
Cabelas makes two Prestige reels. The Okuma Sierra type is no longer offered, but is a very good reel. If you reel looks like the one below, it's an Okuma Sierra (Cabela's doesn't make reels ;) ):
I've owned a couple Okuma Sierra reels for 8-9 years, and they aren't going to wear out any time soon. The only upgrade you'll get in a 5wt reel that the Okuma doesn't offer is a larger arbor. If you're having line coiling problems, then it is possible to upgrade, otherwise that reel is dandy. There are Okuma SLV large arbor reels selling on ebay for $35 right now(!!!). I also have a couple of those, and they too are bullet-proof with a great drag. You won't have line coiling problems with the SLV, and the drag is more substantial than the Sierra/Prestige drag is you hook into a monster.
CLICK HERE FOR OKUMA SLV That same seller has the SLV in a 4/5 size, but I've used the 5/6 with a 4wt line and it's fine.

Assuming your Prestige looks like the picture of the Okuma Sierra, the reel has a caliper drag. The difference between a caliper drag and disc drag (in ths case) is that the disc drag is a less finicky when setting. Caliper drags can go from light to a little too heavy with a small turn of the drag knob, but I've never had any real problems with the Sierra. The SLV adjust much more quickly, however, and holds that setting all day. I've used the SLV's extensively, and they last for years without maintenance. While some will quickly point out that it's a cast reel, I've pounded my SLV's on pavement many times, and they all survived. A few years ago, it seemed like every time I took my SLV fishing, both rod and reel slide off the roof of my car, and slammed the pavement. I was driving a Caprice back then, so that's probably why. :D

Ard 12-11-2011 09:42 AM

Re: Is it worth it too upgrade reels?
Hi Flyfisher,

I've read all the posts on the thread and I think I understand what you are saying. If you really would be more comfortable with a reel having a better pedigree I believe having one would be proper. I can only tell you about my own experience with this dilemma and how it worked out.

I started all of this with one of those old skelletal reels that barely held a fly line, it was very affordable. Next came a South Bend #1200, maybe another dollar or 2 but it looked more like a fly reel. I stuck with the South Bend for about 10 years however I was not really serious about fly fishing or fly tackle at that point in my life. Some time around 1977 - 78 I got an Olympic reel that was better than the South Bend but still this was an under 20 dollar reel. It didn't take lone before I bought a Pflueger 1495, now if you follow the years here you will notice that as I became more financially able, I upgraded the reels. In 1979 I wandered into a sporting goods store owned by family friends and was offered a Hardy Featherweight reel for 65 dollars. That was more expensive than any three reels put together that I had ever bought but I was earning just shy of 30 K annually and in 79' that was a lot so I bought the reel.

As you know those were not disc drag reels (the Featherweight) and there wasn't anything outstanding about it at all except its exotic persona having been made in England. I used that reel almost exclusively to fish all over the continent for the years 1979 - 1994, it would have been nice to have a bunch of reels but quite frankly the one I had was getting it done. In 1994 I met a fellow who had an immense tackle collection and when I began lusting after one of his Princess reels (he had several) he sold me one for 150 dollars and the race was on. Before the year was out I had bought the entire Lightweight line and more, all as close to mint or new as I could find. Then came the Marquis and etc.

The point is that I used the same reel for 15 years and those fifteen years were arguably the most adventuresome of my life. I do not feel that not having 2 or 3 reels in any way detracted from my pleasure, not a bit. When you can afford to have things that you don't need you may choose to do so. Until then don't spend too much thought on what you should have in order to fit in. In the end it's all about reaching a quality level that will meet two criteria; you should be completely comfortable owning and using it and it must be allowable based on cost.

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