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  1. #1

    Default Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    Is there any disadvantage to using a down locking reel seat versus an up locking reel seat? I notice that most manufacturers have gone to up locking reel seats. I'm looking at the possibility of purchasing an 8 or 8.5 foot four weight and a few of my options have a down locking style of reel seat.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
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    Default Re: Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    On a single hand rod, uplocking gives you a bit more of a "fightng butt" to it. On a spey rod where you have a long rear grip anyway, but actually need to balance the rod, downlocking allows you to use a lighter reel. I build rods and pretty much always do it the way I just said for exactly those reasons. For example, my 15" Albright spey rod balances perfect with my 13oz. PENN 4GAR. But try and find a 13oz. fly reel. Now days they have more hole than metal. Your doing well if you can get a 9 oz. reel. If the seat had been down locking like I do it, you may have gotten away with a reel more in the 9 oz. zone. On a single hand rod, if you get Moby Dick on, and feel the need to rest the butt against your belly, that extra 3/4 or 1 inch your hand is away from you when you reel may help a bunch. I built a 12 wt. and caught what would be considered a freakin monster by fly rod standards. It has an uplocking seat and a fairly hefty fighting butt designed to use with a fighting belt. I both needed and liked it. If the reel seat would have been reversed, my reeling hand would have had less room. I would have been OK, but I like the way it turned out. I think it makes less difference on single hand rods than spey rods, but I like it the way I said.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Akron Ohio (don't let that fool you)
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    Default Re: Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    I'm still in the process of getting the materials together for a build but theres also the element of eye pleasure! On a spey it just looks classy to these eyes. Which brings me to a question, can an up-locker be reversed into a down locking? More to the point does the hardware have to change as I've seen the recessed hood down locking seats on T&T's two handers.
    Oh I live to be the ruler of life not a slave

  4. #4

    Default Re: Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    Downlocks died when that BIG, relative up-start of a rod manufacturer stopped offering them.
    If you go to a fly shop these days it seems most of the staff never heard of downlocks much less actually used one.
    I like them on lighter line weight rod and have them on the few bamboo rods I own. I like the bit of added hand room they allow.
    One arguent I heard over the years against downlocks is that your reel can get more readily scratched up when setting your rig down. My reels or reel seats never get scratched when I set them down anyhow no matter which type of reel seat I'm using, I set the rod butt down on grass or in a pinch my hat.
    Another type reel seat I like on very light line-weight rods are sliding band seats. These things give you a bit of adjustment on where the reel sits on the rod and thus let's you tweak the balance a wee bit.
    Can't comment on two-handed rods as I don't know much about them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
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    Default Re: Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    When I started fishing almost all were down lockers. My problem with up lock seats is that it is easier to drop a reel while trying to mount it. With a down lock seat the reel kinda stays put while you bring down the ring. With an up lock you must hold the reel up into the seat or it will fall. Any rods I bought under #7 weights that came with up lock seats I changed to down. For some reason on 7's, 9's, and two handers I don't care what they are..............?

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  6. #6

    Default Re: Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    I love my downlocking reel seats. Every glass rod I have that I built has a d/l seat. The only one I have with up locking is my Steffan. But I didn't build that one. I think all but one are sliding band seats too.
    I like the looks on them on glass rods too, very classy. Graphite on the other hand, all uplocking seats.
    Life is not like a bowl of cherries. It's more like a jar of ghost peppers. What you eat today might burn your ass tomorrow...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    Quote Originally Posted by mojo View Post
    I love my downlocking reel seats. Every glass rod I have that I built has a d/l seat. The only one I have with up locking is my Steffan. But I didn't build that one. I think all but one are sliding band seats too.
    I like the looks on them on glass rods too, very classy. Graphite on the other hand, all uplocking seats.
    I would agree. I mostly fish graphite rods which all have an uplocking seat. I prefer this for two reasons I think both were mentioned earlier.
    It creates a fighting butt, but it also gives a little better balance.

    I sometimes fish my late grandfathers 8.5ft 8wt fenwick glass rod that was one of my grandfathers and it has a downlocking seat. It gives better balance to the heavier rod.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    sycamore, illinois
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    Default Re: Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    my .02
    uplocking reel seats seem to have become the norm in the last 15-20 years. not sure why, but i'm assuming it has to do with the trend of style that has occured over this time. all of my early reel seats, say pre 90, were all of the down locking style. then as the decades have passed, here we are, almost exclusively uplocking. as far as balance goes, i've always thhought that the dl were fine but as i look at all my rods, they're all ul.


    ARFE

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
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    4,752

    Default Re: Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    Quote Originally Posted by caseywise View Post
    uplocking reel seats seem to have become the norm in the last 15-20 years. not sure why,
    I'm pretty sure it was the invention of the recessed hood in the grip. Less hardware shows. The wood in the seat shows all the way to the grip, and it hust looks cleaner. In factory rods making the seat look cleaner and 'prettier' is a selling feature. I still do it so I have the reel farther from my body when I fighting butt the thing.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Up locking vs. down locking reel seats

    All of the reel seats I make are DL with a sliding band. I wouldn't use anything else on rods that I was going to use. A reel will not drop off a properly fitted sliding band seat. I have an high-end uplocking seat that backs off at least once every time I use it.
    Last edited by 304rodco; 01-16-2011 at 03:12 PM.
    Lee Orr - Maker
    304 Rod Company

    www.304rodcompany.com

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