Fly Fishing Reels for Trout Fishing in Maine

Reels – Just for line storage?

Not hardly, even if line storage is all you consciously use your reel for it is doing more for you. At least two more things: one is providing a counter balance to the weight of the rod and line and the other is preventing free spooling when you strip out line, thus avoiding back lash and the resulting tangling. That’s the least reels do for you. They can do much more.

From a storage point of view holding line isn’t much good unless they will hold line and backing. How much backing is subject to much debate as many people fish for years and never have a fish take them into their backing. Others, especially , Atlantic Salmon. Steelhead and Saltwater fly fishers are into their backing almost every hookup. For those who only see their backing when they change lines the backing is still important as it fills the spool and helps relieve the all to common coiling problem many fly lines have. A problem that is becoming less of a problem with Large Arbor reels. But I jump ahead.

Lets begin by establishing some general guidelines for reel types and categories. First lets define drags and their purposes. The spring and pawl drag design is simply a spring pushing against a pawl that engages a ratchet or gear and the spring tension may or may not be adjustable. A disc drag design is generally a pad that presses against the spool or an offset gear and the pressure or drag is adjusted by turning a knob which increases the tension applied by the disc. A drag, adjustable or single setting has two purposes: drags prevent spool overrun and the resulting backlash problem, and they tire the fish. Smooth drags of either type are a blessing, rough or stuttering drags are a curse – unless you are the fish and then rough or stuttering drags are a blessing that will set you free.

Next come types of retrieve. For years there were three general categories of retrieves systems: Single-action, Automatic and Multiplying. We can add a fourth to that these days – Large Arbors.

The Single-action retrieve, by far the most popular, is simple, light, easy to maintain and has few moving parts. Each turn of the spool brings in a length of line; the length of which is determined by the circumference of the backing and line that remains on the spool. If all the line and most of the backing is played out a full turn doesn’t bring in much backing. If all the backing and most of the line are on the spool a full turn will bring in more line. Either way, full spool or almost empty spool, one turn of the handle means one turn of the spool

The Automatic retrieve, by far the least popular, is complex, heavy, hard to maintain and has a lot of moving parts. You don’t turn the spool or crank any line in. Instead you pull on a lever and the line is retrieved by spring tension. As you pull line back out you rewind the spring. Think of a window shade. At first glance this seems like the way to go but the dirt always finds a way to jam things up and changing spools is always a challenge. These reels were once fairly common on the stream but today I seldom see one.

The Multiplying retrieve enjoys moderate popularity, is somewhat heavy, borders on the complex, is fairly easy to maintain and by necessity has more moving parts than a Single-action retrieve. Their appeal is the rapid rate of retrieve achieved by using extra gearing to get something better than a one turn of the handle, one turn of the spool retrieve. Most multipliers give you two or more turns of the spool for each rotation of the handle. Handy if you want to get line back on the reel in a hurry. A lot of people didn’t like the extra weight normally associated with multipliers but I always thought of the extra weight as a bonus – I think most of today’s reels are too light and that they don’t provide enough counterbalance to a long line.

The Large Arbor retrieve is quickly gaining favor. They are simple, lighter than multipliers, easy to maintain and have few moving parts. If that sound a lot like Single-action reels it’s because most Large Arbor reels are Single-action conventional reels on steroids. The Large Arbor overcomes the standard Single-action reel’s shortcoming when it comes to cranking in line. That is because with a Large Arbor’s spool diameter even an empty spool brings in a lot of line – as much or more than a full standard size spool. So with only a moderate increase in weight over a standard Single-action reel you get the rapid rate of retrieve of a multiplier.

And that’s it for now – will be finished in a day or so. I’ll put it up as soon as I can. Probably by Sunday. Thank you for your patience. 🙂