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Thread: Nautilus Reels

  1. #1

    Default Nautilus Reels

    Unlike Abel Super and Hatch Reels, Nautilus, built in Miami, Florida, do not maintain a uniform, scalable design from #2 to 12-weight. They recognize that the performance parameters of big game fishing embodied in their high performance "NV" series which start at an 8-weight appropriate size ascending to the "Monster" #12 do little but add weight, complexity and cost to their freshwater sized "FWX" series which encompass the #2 through 7-weight line sizes.

    I fish two FWX's for trout and their capacity to weight ratio is unparalleled. When I bought my first one, a 3.8 oz. 5/6 intended for my Sage ONE #5, a light weight rod, I found it too light. It found an appropriately balanced home on one of my 4-weight rods (a distinct upgrade) and I replaced it with the FWX 7/8 for the 5-weight. Line ratings on reels mean nothing to me, balance parallel to the ground (water?) with the fulcrum point being toward the front of the cork where my forefinger encircles it is what I am after. If anything, I would rather the reel be a hair too heavy than too light. Therefore I select a reel for a new rod based on these few criteria: 1. Does the reel fulfill the performance and capacity requirement for how the outfit will be fished? 2. Does it, with backing and line loaded, balance the rod correctly? And 3. Does the reel's design and build meet my personal quality and aesthetic standards? Nautilus FWX has a very smooth and linear drag that maintains its setting and has very little inertial start-up resistance. I regularly fish fine tippets and small dry flies on large rivers using these reels and they have performed perfectly. Their super light weight allows me to mount lots of backing, even #30 in the case of the "7/8" 5-weight reel which I like for its thicker diameter's kindness to my hands when some Missouri River big boy decides to head for Great Falls. I have featured this large arbor, well proportioned, handsomely built, black or silver with red accent reel in "Reel Love" along with a couple of other high performance trout reels I use as well.

    Where Nautilus compares to Abel and Hatch Reels though is in its NV Series. They share the light weight, skeletal design language of their FWX little siblings but take on the grown up role of dealing with the truly tough fish. I quote from Nautilus's web site's tech section:

    "NV CCF: First introduced in 2006, the NV CCF is a stronger, lighter version of the CCF brake. It sports a larger drag, Hybrid ceramic bearings, a titanium drag shaft and delivers the same less than 1% startup inertia as the CCF disc brake. Even at twice the drag surface, this brake unit weighs almost half of that in the CCF line of reels, allowing the NV line to deliver true big game reels that weigh less than many trout reels. The BremboŽ brakes of fly fishing reels."

    Make no mistake about it, when it comes to drag strength, there is no substitute for sweep area. Draw-bar Abel, Tibor and Islander do it with a big hunk of cork composite, Hatch and Hardy Fortuna do it with multiple, stacked surfaces and Nautilus NV does it with their fully sealed, large diameter drag surface. Fully sealed? If you wish to convert an existing NV to opposite hand retrieve, you need to acquire a new drag assembly from the factory as the enclosed ceramic bearing is inaccessible to you. If you can reach a one-way clutch bearing with your fingers to flip it over to convert from right to left-hand wind, you do not have a "sealed" drag.

    Like Hatch with their optional mid-arbor spool to increase backing capacity, NV comes standard with a deep but large arbor spool. Optional is their "Giga" spool. So my Nautilus NV 10/11 is rigged with its standard spool as a permit reel but with its Giga spool it is a super large arbor "Giga" 8 optimized for bonefishing. When a bonefish zooms toward the mangroves, I can turn my rod low and to the side, crank down on NV and really test my rigging and leader knots and, when I turn him and he re-joins his small group of peers and streaks back towards me, the super large diameter arbor facilitated my quickly cranking in line in big wide coils. Importantly this big 4.25" diameter reel is a wise 1.09" in spool width so I do not have to give much focus to uniform, tight line retrieval.

    It happens that Nautilus NV "Giga" 8 is a perfect balancing, performance and aesthetic match for super bonefish rod, G.Loomis NRX #8

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    south florida

    Default Re: Nautilus Reels

    I kinda like the NV's too. Cheers, Jim

  3. #3

    Default Re: Nautilus Reels

    I bought my first Nautilus FWX 7/8 to match a 7xt TFO Mangrove. The balance is a great match for me. I've caught some med reds; 17"-22" and a couple of flounders. The kit has served me on 3-4 hours wades away from car or boat.

    With WF7-F it holds 150yds+ 30 Dacron. Which for any purpose for a 7wt ought to be sufficient.

    Good reels IMHO.

    Pete A.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nautilus Reels

    All of my Big Game reels are Abel reels. When I purchased my new NRX 10' 9 weight I wanted to change it up and fish a new reel. It was between the Nautilus and the Hatch and I ended up going with the Hatch Fanatic 7 with the mid-arbor spool. I don't think I could have made a wrong choice between the two, but that Hatch is one darn smooth reel. I will not part with my Abel Reels, but I can see me adding another Hatch.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Nautilus Reels

    This Nautilus thread is intended to compliment the Hatch thread below. There are not that many makes of reels I feel 90+% critically positive about but surely Abel, Hatch and Nautilus are among them. These are all reels that I have fished both for trout and saltwater species with and it is clear to me that the large, fast and strong Oceanic fish illustrate a reels virtues to me most clearly. Many a reel design that is perfectly fine astream looses it composure in a larger size attached to a false albacore. A Montauk Captain friend of mine has literally thrown reels overbroad (litter bug!) to demonstrate to his clients his contempt for their shortcomings; "troutiness" he's been known to exclaim.

    I was born a sweetwater fisherman but have fished the salt with a fly since the 1970's. My first Atlantic bonito and bass were caught on a Fenwick 10-weight mounted with a Pflueger Medalist 1498. I have been a tackle experimenter since my youth and today continuously upgrade my arsenal as rod and reel makers annually advance their craft...every year I learn something new. Where I not this way and never succumbed to the lure of the sea and the Rocky Mountain river drainages; I might still be fishing the Esopus and Beaverkill with a richly patinaed CFO IV.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nautilus Reels

    It's too bad they're the birth child of Paul Conover and Old Florida Fly reels…and total and complete crook and phony….Christian Mustad would have been better off starting from scratch than trying to adopt his horrible business practices...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Broomfield, Co
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Nautilus Reels

    I love my FXW3/4 it is lined with rio gold so it goes back and forth perfectly between my 390-4 Sage One and 389-4 circa . For me being its a "trout reel" I just couldn't justify the additional cost to go Abel even thought they are beautiful.

    I will buy more FWX reels as needed.



    "The fish you're gonna find up here, you're gonna find; Rainbow,Cuttbow,CuttBrowns,Brownbows,RainBrowns,
    CuttyRainbrowns, Pike ,Perch"

    "Snap it" Hank Patterson

  8. #8

    Default Re: Nautilus Reels

    I match an FWX 7/8 on my ONE #5...a great outfit. I never had an Old Florida Reel though I know the reel had a good reputation. I don't know about the reel maker though. Mustad's reels, as far as I can tell, have nothing to do with the original reels made in this there a connection I am missing?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Foristell, MO

    Default Re: Nautilus Reels

    Nautlilus is one reel that I don't own. I have looked at them for awhile-just decided on a Hatch instead. The Nautilus was considered as a close 2nd.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Nautilus Reels

    I can't think of any more praise to give to Nautilus reels. Very smooth, lightweight for today's modern rods, sealed strong (enough) drag, classy, unique porting, good pricing, excellent warranty, and Made in the USA. My experience with them only falls in the FWX range, but for trout, freshwater, and light saltwater, they cannot be beat, and if you factor in their price and the history of their design, it just gets better.

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