May 26th, 2003

By James Castwell

Drag Pads

It's so new it's not even done yet. They are still working on which colors will be available. It's so new that most of the competition has not even heard of it yet. It's so new that even some of the world-wide patents are not quite issued yet either. And there has never been one like it, never.

That's kind of hard to say about a fly reel. We hear it way too often in fact. But this is a completely different idea fabricated in Europe into a concept shattering reel. One of the biggest things to happen to the fly reel world was the exposed rim, so you could 'palm' the edge with your fingers to control the amount of drag exerted on a running fish. Then constantly engaged drags hit the market along with anti-reverse and a small host of other features. Mostly that is what they were, features. This reel is not a features gadget. It is a whole new concept in fly reel design.

Finger-pressure controlled drag

I can't give you a 'Field-test,' or a 'Product Review,' now, I have not fished it, abused it, torn it all to heck, left it on the dashboard for a few months nor plunged it into a bucket of sand and salt water. But one thing is for sure.

I have one here right now, a prototype, and I can safely say, I have never seen anything like it. It is anti-reverse, or not, your choice instantly. You can palm the rim, or not, you can reverse it easily, no tools required. You can adjust the drag with a small twist of a knob on the back side of the frame. Did I mention that that is just the drag on the spool? Drag on the spool you ask? Let me try to explain.

You are after a fish running about eight pounds. You set the main drag so the fly line comes off the spool just at the point where the reel will not over-run. That is what you would do with any reel. Now you strip off some and set the small adjustment knob on the handle side of the reel. This will allow the reel to be going out even if the handle is not moving. This is not a positive stop, it is easily and infinitely adjustable. You can set it to slip as little or as much as you might like.

Ok, so now you have a fish on line. You grab the main knob handle and start reeling. The fish is still going out and you are cranking and nothing is happening. Gently 'squeeze' the handle. That's right, squeeze it. On both sides of the crank are two pads which when squeezed apply pressure on the main side of the spool and add more and more pressure (drag) the more you squeeze. The fish makes another run, stop squeezing, or just relax the pressure some. Complete control over drag for the first time in fly-fishing history.

Now, you can't get these yet, they will be introduced in Europe at the EFFTEX show in late June, 2003, then at the main fly fishing dealer show in the US in Denver in September. I have read one of the actual 'field-testers' reports and after catching and landing a whole bunch of dandy Canadian rainbows from two to six pounds and not once breaking a tippet, he is sold solid.

Like I said, it is not out yet, but it will be available this summer and will make a large splash in the trades. It is of course bar-stock aluminum, extremely well machined, nice looking, appropriately ported, extremely light weight and should retail for about $370.

This reel I will be returning soon and it will be replaced with a production model in time for our 'Idaho Fish-In' this fall, perhaps the 'International BoneFish Tournament' in the Bahamas in October and the first ever 'BoneFish-In' on South Andros in November. I'll try to do a 'Product Review' as soon as I can get out of here and fish one.


By the way, if you already have a Marryat CMR reel, you can just buy the spool, that's where all the drag controls are, they interchange, remember this is the Marryat CMR ON-LINE... and you saw it here first! ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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