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Thread: Large Arbor

  1. Default Large Arbor


    I fish mostly with a 5wt outfit for trout and an occational bass. I would like to get a new reel. Is there any real advantages in going with a Large Arbor reel?

    Fly Girl

  2. Default

    Fly Girl,

    Almost all fly reels of this today and time operate on a 1:1 ratio, simply meaning that one revolution of the spool will release or retrive a length of line equal to the circumference to the boundary line on the reel's spool. Obviously the exact length will vary depending on whether the reel is fully loaded or almost empty. On a conventional fly reel, the length can get diown to as little as an inch as the line reaches the arbor. Importantly, the amount of drag being applied to the line is also being artifically increased as the line nears the spool's center. That easily becomes a big problem.

    Loop, the Swedish reel manufacturer, pioneered the large arbor reel to (1) alleviate the problem of drag consistency, (2) minimize startup inertia, and (3) increase retrieval speed. The large arbor, offset as it is from the reel’s spindle, quite naturally retrieves or releases more line in a single turn than that possible with a conventional fly reel. The trouble is, to carry the same amount of backing as a conventional fly reel, the large-arbor has to have a greater diameter and a spool configured with greater width and shallow line cavity. If it doesn’t, the backing capacity is sacrificed.

    Like most things designed and developed to solve problems, the large arbor reel isn’t a perfect solution. It creates as many as it solves. There is a practical limit to the width of the spool. In fact, the wider the spool, the more difficult it becomes to lay the line smoothly and equally during the retrieval process, especially in a battle with Friend Fish. To bad there isn't a level wind avalable.

    With this background the time has come for bias and opinion. If I were chasing steelhead, permit, bones, or Jaws, The Great White, I would want a large arbor to counter the drag effect. Somewhat assured that Friend Fish will get into my backing, tt's my belief that the middle of a fight is not the time to have to adjust the drag. For a largemouth bass, trout, redfish, and sea trout, I much prefer a conventional reel.

    Being of the view that fish suitable to the lighter rod weights, such as the 5, are not likely to get into the backing -- at least not far. In my view, that sort of sets aside the argument for the large arbor reel.

    Trust me, the large arbor fad will wane and a new breed of mulitpliers will hit the market proclaimed to be the greatest thing in fly fishing since the tree branch or the vine.


  3. Default Thanks


    Thanks for the Large Arbor info. You've been a great help!

    Fly Girl

  4. Default

    Glad it helped ... Best of Luck,


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas


    here's a weird reply, i sort of disagree with Doug, but I'm going to make another point for his case.

    I generally like large arbor reels and think they have a legitimate advantage over conventional reels. However I recommend avoiding those with a shallow arbor like the plague. Example: the Orvis Large Arbor Battenkill. Pretty reel, but their "8 weight size" had to be filled WAY too completely to get a WF8F and enough backing on there. Solution: mid-arbor reels. Examples: Lamson Velocity and Radius, Ross Rhythym. Faster line pick-up, more wiggle room.

    Another drawback of large arbor reels is their size. To get that larger arbor, you generally need to use more weight to make the reel. The other option is to machine the metal down further to reduce weight. This leads to reels that are either heavy, expensive, or weak. I view the reels mentioned above as some of the best performers in those three areas of critique.

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  6. Default

    I like the large arbor reels ( I have a couple ) when targeting hard fighting fish that I call "sprinters". Those are the ones that seem to swim at 50MPH or faster straight towards you. The large arbor reels will allow you to pickup more line with each turn of the spool.

    For the other fish I hunt I prefer my Galvan OB3 which is a "wide arbor" reel..

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