Product Reviews

Loomis Adventure Series Reels
by Tom Kirkman

Unlike complicated hundred-piece casting and spinning reels, fly reels are pretty simple when you come right down to it. And for that reason nearly anybody with machining equipment and a decent design has tried their hand at manufacturing fly reels. Although it sounds impressive, machining is actually an inexpensive means of churning out reels. The expensive is casting, unless you are able to break down the cost of the casting over thousands and thousands of reels. So getting into fly reel manufacturing has been relatively easy and affordable for quite a few enterprising individuals. So much so that it seems we are being inundated with new fly reels at every turn!

Well, there area lot of choices in fly reels if you are willing to spend a small fortune. As the owner of a fly shop for about a dozen years I had no trouble finding good reels in the $200 and up range. The problem was in offering my customers a choice in the entry level range - reels selling for $50 to $100 or so. I had the Scientific Angler's System 2L's at the $125 mark and they were certainly outstanding reels and a great bargain at that price. They were also just a tad out of range for some people. I also offered the venerable Pflueger Medalist at about $30 and it was a heck of a workhorse for the money. But I never found a high quality reel with a true disc drag in that $50 to $100 spot. I wish I had. I could have sold thousands of them.

Now the folks at G. Loomis have brought us a $100 reel with disc drag, machined spool and frame and an attractive design. The obvious question is whether it's a really good reel or just another teaser that relies on its price tag to pry its way into the market. I picked up three of them, one in each size, last year and have since spent quite a few days on the water using them as hard as possible. My opinion, is that not only is it a great reel for $100 - it's a great reel period!

Pick one up and give the spool a spin and you'll immediately notice how smooth everything turns. Retrieve is silent while outgoing line is signaled with a pleasant and low volume click. Run the large easily grasped and finely detented drag knob up a bit and try pulling some line. Darn smooth and with very little start up inertia - as good or better than many reels costing twice as much. The fit and finish is very good, the quick release spool welcome and the price is just too good to be true. How can they manufacturer and sell a reel this nice for $100?

What we forget is that many manufacturers of casting and spinning reels have been selling high quality reels for $100 for quite some time. Unless we're talking fly fishing, a hundred dollar bill can buy a lot of reel. Now it appears that same money can be used to buy a lot of fly reel too.

I have fished my new Loomis Adventure Series reels in rain, wind, cold, heat, and dust. Even managed to get some large fish on the reel and wore them down quickly. The reels have performed flawlessly and without incident. I can't imagine anything that they haven't done or that a more expensive reel could have done better. I've heard a very few reports that some owners have had the plastic retainer on the spool roller bearing crack and result in harsh drag operation. I've not had this happen but will not say that it can't. The good news is that if it does, the small part is obtainable from G. Loomis and easily installed in seconds.(Currently I have enough confidence in mine that I have not bothered ordering the part "just in case".)

The Adventure reels are available in 3 sizes - #3, #5 and #7. They are appropriately sized for rods in the 2, 3 and 4 weight genre, the 4, 5, and 6 weight range, and the 7, 8 and 9 weight category respectively. The entire reel and spool is anodized in an attractive bronze color. Some might have wished to see these reels in a large arbor version, but remember that once you load backing on a small arbor reel, it takes up line just as fast as the large arbor counterpart, provided the spool diameter is the same. (It's the outside spool diameter on fully loaded reels that determines line pick-up rate - not the arbor size.)

So it is worth the money? Darn right they are. If I was still in the fly shop business this is the reel I would have front and center in my display case. It not only fills the bill for those anglers who can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars on their next fly reel, but also those who just want a great reel and aren't offended by a low price. ~ Tom Kirkman

G·Loomis, Inc.
1359 Down River Drive
Woodland WA 98674
Phone 360-225-6516
Phone 800-662-8818
Fax 360-225-7169

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