I posted a pic of this reel in another thread and I've gotten a few questions about it, so thought I'd start a new thread to focus on it.
What is it -
a classic reel that combines the spring and pawl design of the Hardy Lightweight series, the daisy cut outs of Sal Trout and other classic reels, and the exposed rim and open frame of CFO series reels.
How does it compare?
Well, what is it being compared to - a Hardy Lightweight or Orvis CFO? Or a modern Battenkill or new Medalist? At $275 list, I'd think it is being positioned in the market closer to the Hardy and CFO, as the Hardy seemed to have had an MSRP of around $300 and the CFO was $325 when Orvis sold the Abel model. The Orvis Battenkill at $120 and Pflueger Medalist at $125 are significantly easier on the budget at MSRP. The Medalist 3/4 has the same spring and pawl system, weighs about the same, and has a full cage plus a palming rim. I'll let each make their own aesthetic decisions, but I thought those were points in the Leland's favor, which factored in my purchase.
How does it sound? I absolutely want to communicate a good answer on this, so I thought that the best way to quantify it was to use a dosimeter and measure dB when reeling. I don't have a Hardy Lightweight, Battenkill or modern Medalist, unfortunately, but I do have a Hardy made CFO III, an Able made CFO II, and Heddon clones in sizes 300, 310, and 320.
Sure that I'd be able to tell the difference, I reeled them all about 6" away from the speaker - and they all hit about the same level, going from 40 dB background to about 80 - though it's not that loud further away than 6" of course. So i didn't get the differentiation I was looking for there, I grabbed my most tooth rattling caliper reel (an empty Sal Trout) and it also came up to the same level, though with a completely different level of harshness. So unfortunatly that test doesn't let me tell you anything quantifiable.
So I'll just do my best to describe the reel. It sounds to me like a sharper click than either of my CFOs. The Able made reel seems like it may have a heavier grease in it from the factory which mutes it a little bit. The feel of the reels is very similar. The Hardy CFO and Leland have 32 teeth, they all have very similar pawls. The Abel CFO has 30, but feels similar, and per pictures the modern Medalist has 36.
For what its worth, the Leland and my CFOs feel more similar than my three Heddon clones do to each other. The 300 was tuned by Ron and has a very smooth retrieve and a stronger play. The 310 is a bit clacky, and the 320 is a much softer click.
Shown are the springs of the Leland, the 300 and an Olympic 4300.
So that has me thinking that the spring could be loosened a little bit to bring it a lighter click in line with some of the others. Surely Ron could comment further on this if he sees this as the changes he made on the Heddon 300 I bought from him (including changing the pawls to Hardy pawls) have a noticable difference. I don't plan on taking pliers to the springs in my reel, I look forward to fishing it as is, but hopefully this helps some of you who are on the fence as to the Leland Classic model.