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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 22 Dec 2007, 16:17 • #1 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/08/05
Posts: 3570
Location: Western PA
It's dawned on me that I don't have a favorite reel, but I've a few I really like. As far as click-pawls goes, I think the >Islander IR has some of the best features. It has rim control which I don't use much, but it's nice. I also like the locking drag detents. It's also smooth. I do have to knock one design feature. Porting the inner spool plate, opposite the spring & pawl is bad; unless you LIKE grease on your line and backing.
Most dreaded reel: the >Cortland Embassy. They're so bad, Cortland shoulda recalled them! The drag loses friction when wet. The wide spool doesn't manage line well. The screw on spool works loose all the time and especially when you're wading fast water! Is chasing a spool down the riffles a sport? Oh, it gets worse. The drag knob doesn't set tight. If you set the reel down in the grass, the drag will move! It always moves ... The ONLY thing it has going for it ... it looks nice. :\


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 22 Dec 2007, 16:36 • #2 
Sport
Joined: 06/12/05
Posts: 68
Best reel=Pflueger Medalist, Worst reel=everything else!


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 22 Dec 2007, 18:42 • #3 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 7216
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Best bang for the buck is the Browning Strata MZ reels and its brethren. They are discontinued, but are usually available at a nice price on the secondary market. If money were no object, my favorite click pawls are the Hardy Lightweights, but the price is just too much now.

The worst reel I have had the displeasure of paying money for is a Ross Flycast. I bought it because I had some faith in the Ross brand name. I don't know what I was thinking. The cheesy little offset drag is about the size of a penny. And it can't hold a setting worth a damn. The market has dozens of reels just like it, so they must be incredibly cheap to import and market.

Tom


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 05:03 • #4 
Guide
Joined: 09/30/07
Posts: 320
Best reel---the best that I own are my tuna cans. 62/64 Martins. What would I like to own, well like Tom, I will take a Hardy, but not the Lightweight as they won't balance what I fish, I would take a St. John probably.

Worst reel---the worst reel I have ever fished was Cabela's click/pawl reels. Too damned hard to set the drag, and they claimed it was adjustable, haha. Also, I side with Tom again on the Flycast. I played with one in the flyshop and had the drag freespool on me with no more than 3# of pressure on it. Not good for big fish.


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 05:36 • #5 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/30/07
Posts: 2333
Location: Arlington, TX
Favorite modern reel Ross Rythm 3 for light work- it has handled many fish with no problems. Favorite older reel a Scientific Anlgers 8 (made by Hardy) used with 7wt double taper on my Curt Gowdy has done very well handling 22-24 inch stripers.


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 07:28 • #6 
Sport
Joined: 02/04/07
Posts: 77
Location: US-CT
I'm comfortable with my Medalists.. while other reels are just tools, medalists are like your favorite old boots

The worst reel ever (not counting the Cabelas graphites) was the Berkley Specialist.
Designed to fail


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 11:13 • #7 
FFR Founder
Joined: 06/07/05
Posts: 792
Location: US-MA
My favorite all around reels are the Valentine single actions. The disc drag can be set light enough for trout or panfish, or heavy enough for stipers and blues. They are built like tanks and don't have that silly rim-control. They have been described as a medalist on steroids. I agree. They are a great and well made American reel - their loss is much lamented. I hope Valentine brings them back some day.
For a more "trouty" reel, I like the Hardy lightweights. I agree, the prices now are silly. I'm glad I got mine when I did.
For vintage reels, I really like the Symploreel and the Stuart. Worst reels? I would have to say the modern large arbors. Oh they are a sorry sight ... :rolleyes
Alec


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 12:51 • #8 
Master Guide
Joined: 07/18/07
Posts: 635
Location: US-NH
one of the few "best reel" I own = Sage 504L :D aka Hardy?
worst reel = don't own one:D


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 12:54 • #9 
Guide
Joined: 09/30/07
Posts: 320
Wow, a Valentine Alec? I must see one. Time to search ebay.


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 13:09 • #10 
Global Moderator
Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 8207
Location: US-ME
I have too many I like to say which is "best." Pflueger is right up there for sure, though, although I rarely fish mine anymore. Most over-rated, I'd say some of the Hardy knock-offs like my Eagle Claw EC 11. "Worst," I couldn't argue with Berkley Specialist mentioned above (if we mean the Delrin Spool, alu-framed, 3 position click) which was, nevertheless, an interesting attempt with newer materials and styling for its time.) I bought one as a back-up and have fished it quite a lot. In 1978, I even got a friend and fly-shop owner to try one, which he hated so much he gave it to me. Well, really, between that one, mine and a couple others that fell in my lap, I still have parts to keep one working, so that is the best worst reel I ever had.come to think of it, though, the Lawrence Sunbeam--I've had one since like 1960--would easily knock the Berkely off the worst position.

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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 17:53 • #11 
Master Guide
Joined: 02/03/07
Posts: 569
Worst reel- the old Vernon DeLuxe. Don't be deceived by the "vintage look" and the circular line guard. It is stiff, stiff, stiff ... and there's no way to access the innards, even with a screw driver. I bought mine in "NIB" condition, and the gear has a skip in it. Fortunately, it was part of a package deal with a 1/2 decent reel, and I didn't pay too much for it.

Close second- South Bend 1122. A caliper check with a tooth made of ... I don't know. Pot metal. Ribbon solder. Something that bad. But at least you can open the thing up.

I presently have a Cabela's click-pawl reel, metal, with the twin-pawl and rim drag screw a la Hardy and the earlier knock-offs. It's about the size of the Hardy Princess/Heddon 320. However, unlike the earlier-vintage Hardy knock-offs, the drag on this one is minimally functional, to the point where there's little difference which pawl is engaged, and which way it's reeled. It's the reel that I intend to use as the guinea pig for my first pawl-tuning experiment. Could be a nice reel with properly tuned pawl springs ... I'll have to see how that works out.


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 18:00 • #12 
Master Guide
Joined: 07/05/05
Posts: 742
Location: US-VA
I've had a bunchm burt have wound up with Medalists and a couple of older CFOs, so I guess they are tops to me. (Still have and use the14941/2 I bought in 1974.)


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 23 Dec 2007, 19:42 • #13 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 09/29/06
Posts: 4415
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
I see Medalists a ugly clunkers, but I expect to be in the minority and that is okay with me. There are the old pickup truck of fly reels for sure but they just have never grabbed me.
Favorites? I like obscure reels such as the Ocean City Brandybrook and the Cortland Multiplier. Also, the Daiwa reels are tops in my book. Best and worst - there are some cheapo Eagle Claw reels out there that are pitiful. Best is completely subjective. I love, love the Marryat and J. Austin Forbes reels.
Paul


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 25 Dec 2007, 01:26 • #14 
Master Guide
Joined: 10/09/07
Posts: 444
I was born in 1978 and started fly fishing in 2004. So I can't really say much about these elegant vintage fly reels. I don't own & use even enough of them to make comparisons (even though I drool upon them all the time) ...  >D

But what I do know is my best ever reel I've ever owned & used are the whole range of ABELs. I have the Creek, Trout, Super Series & Big Game ... all comes up true to their names & reputations.

And the worse one would be the DORMISCH-ABSI R2 reel. One look at it and you'll know that the reel is flimsy. When I tried changing the retrieve for the first time, I broke 3 screws & the line guard. I epoxy-ed the line guard & change the screws with cheap ones. And if it ever breaks again, I'll toss it straight into the bin right away ... :p


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 25 Dec 2007, 04:58 • #15 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 17467
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Let's see, a reel with a brake drag mechanism introduced in 1937 that is still in production today (current parts can be used on the 1937 reel) - I would say there have been enough Medalists made that they don't miss your affection. :hat

Best reel ever made - Young pattern 15A (st. george clone)
Image

worst reel ever made? I am just going to leave it at many of the stamped-out early post WWII US reels and throw in the H-I Mohwak and Wilby as examples.


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 25 Dec 2007, 13:18 • #16 
Master Guide
Joined: 06/11/05
Posts: 905
Location: US-NY
My favorite trout reel is a Hardy-era CFO III. I would probably enjoy owning an old Hardy lightweight but I'm not willing to pay what they cost and the new ones lack mojo. I also have a bunch of Medalists that I use for all my warmwater and some trout fishing. The Medalists have a charm all their own that either you get or you don't. Probably my least favorite reel would be the Martin tuna can. I never owned one but I remember my brother received one as a gift once and I hated it.


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 25 Dec 2007, 18:35 • #17 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 09/05/07
Posts: 2125
Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
To me the best reels are the Hardy Lightweights. When I try other reels I always find them lacking by comparison. If I need a heavier reel, the St. John does fine. Unfortunately, they are ridiculously expensive now when you can find a new one. I think I paid less than $50 each for most of mine years ago.


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 25 Dec 2007, 20:15 • #18 
Guide
Joined: 09/30/07
Posts: 320
$50 for a Hardy ... haha.

Good joke. Now, they are five times that much in decent condition!


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 29 Dec 2007, 17:50 • #19 
New Member
Joined: 11/08/07
Posts: 17
My favorite reel right now, is my Hardy 1903 Bougle Re-issue, my lovely wife just bought that for me last month for our anniversary ... I may keep her around for a while. Others are the Young made Battenkill Lightweight or the Hardy made Battenkill III.

Image

For the worst I'll have to go with the South Bend 1122 with a close second going the the STH IM-Cassette reels, both are prime examples of "how not to build a good quality reel"

Image

I'm enjoying this post,
Jamie


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 29 Dec 2007, 18:16 • #20 
Administrator
Joined: 07/17/06
Posts: 5586
Location: South Carolina
You know what is to bad about the South Bend Finalist #1122 is that the rest of the series (#1133, #1144, and #1155) are well built tanks with drags that are really quite amazing. If the #1122 had the same type inards as all the others ... it certainly wouldn't make the "worst reel" spot.


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 30 Dec 2007, 05:35 • #21 
Master Guide
Joined: 06/11/05
Posts: 905
Location: US-NY
I remember watching a TV fishing show maybe 10 years ago where a guy was fishing for bonefish with a South Bend Finalist. After hooking up the reel handle fell off and the guy had to play the fish by sticking his fingertip into the hole where the handle was.


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 30 Dec 2007, 06:23 • #22 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/08/05
Posts: 3570
Location: Western PA
Gaddis,
Now that's "must see TV"! You could also break a bone doing that. I also wonder if you'd see that footage if that happened to a Shimano or Daiwa on a show they sponsored? :lol
I recall seeing vintage watches in a jewely store that had been "restored". The gears and springs were shot so they were stripped out and replaced with quartz movements. What you got was the old case and classic looks with the functionality of a battery movement.
The conversation regarding the Finalist 1122 made me think of that. Wonder how folk will view the reels from the 30s,40s and 50s we fish and collect 60 years from now? Will they be worth the time and money to justify an "under haul"?
So, in keeping with this topic. Which reels will last; what will always be great and which ones will be junked, moth balled or retro-fitted?


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 30 Dec 2007, 07:21 • #23 
Emeritus
Joined: 06/27/07
Posts: 1496
Location: US-NC
I could agree with Jamie Crona, gaddis & Cam as to worst. I own a Finalist 1122, and I suspect the spool is only a little more loose and wobbly than it was when it left the factory.

Here's the funny thing. Surrounded by a dozen stylin' reels matched with beautiful vintage and build rods at the Christmas Clave, my nephew Henry landed a brookie on the Finalist and an old W&M glass Granger. One of three fish we caught that day ...

As to favorite reel- I haven't bought mine yet ... :rolleyes


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 30 Dec 2007, 14:22 • #24 
Emeritus
Joined: 06/08/07
Posts: 2505
Location: Superior, Colorado
My vote for best goes to the Orvis Madison 8 (aka Pflueger Medalist) It is such a classic reel, able to handle most anything. It looks good on every classic rod I've seen it on.

Image

The worst reel is easy for me. The WM Autograph. It's kind of a cool reel, but if you wanted to change spools in the middle of a hatch, forget it ... it's a jigsaw puzzle!

Image


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Best reel/ worse reel
Post 31 Dec 2007, 02:20 • #25 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/08/05
Posts: 3570
Location: Western PA
I'm getting a headach trying to figure out the WM Autograph. How do you store a spare spool with a line?


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