TFO Cassette Reels
by Captain Barry Evans
I've been a big fan of cassette style reels since I used
my first one about 10 years ago. They have worked well for
me for about 95% of the fishing I do. So when I heard that
TFO had just come out with a series of cassette reels (two
sizes) I knew I'd have to check them out.
First impression as they came out of the box was this isn't
a bad looking reel at all. They are finished in what appears
to be a Matte Black baked Epoxy applied to an Aluminum frame
and spool assembly. Both the frame and spool assembly have
weight reduction holes in them. And, they come with two
Graphite cassettes (saves having to buy a spare spool). They're
easily converted for left or right hand wind with no tools by
lifting the one way clutch off the spindle/shaft and flipping
it over (rotating it 180 degrees) and replacing it on the spindle.
They use an offset compression drag system. In fact, they look
like TFO's Mark Series of Machined reels.
The Midge weighed a little over 3 ounces, is 2-7/8" in
diameter and a 1-1/2" wide. The standard cassettes that come
with the reel will hold 40 to 50 yards of 20 pound test Dacron
backing with a 4 weight Orvis WF-F line. The 6 wt will hold
100 yards of backing. In fact, it looks
like one would be able to use a DT line and still fill the
cassette with the same amount of backing. A plus in my way
The Mayfly weighs about 4-1/2 ounces, is 3-1/4" in diameter
and 1-1/2" wide. The standard cassettes that come with the
reel will hold a 100 yards of 20-pound test Dacron
backing with an 8 weight SA, WF-F Headstart line.
There is a large Arbor cassette available for both of these
reels that can be ordered/purchased for an extra $15. You
just pop the standard cassette off and replace it with the
large arbor cassette. Even though using these large arbor
cassettes will help to reduce line coil memory, start-up
inertia and increase line pick-up rate, it does however
reduce the amount of backing that you'll be able to spool
Not to shoddy for a reel that lists for under $50.00!
I decided to test the drags by dropping a loop tied into the
backing over the trailer ball on my Jeep and pulling down
the road to see how smooth they ran. Not exactly scientific,
but it gets the job done. Both reels performed flawlessly,
(as I'd come to expect from TFO products). I had my helper
make 4 or 5 runs with each reel hooked up to the vehicle
and not once did the drags show any sign of roughness. Not
bad for a reel that won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Are these little reels in the same class as the high dollar
machined works of Art that are on the market now? No, they're
not. But for a reel that will cost you under $50.00 and comes
with a spare cassette (saves you the cost of buying a spare
spool), I'd have to say they are a great value. Especially
for those of us that want to be able to purchase a reel for
day in and day out use without having to put another mortgage
on the farm.
If you are in the market for a well made, inexpensive reel,
that'll get the job done, I'd suggest you check them out.
~ Capt. Barry Evans
Born and raised in South Florida and the Keys. Spent a lot
of time fishing the local waters while growing up.
Guided in South FL 5 years then guided out of Key West
for 12 years. Built rods professionally for a number
of years as well tied flies. Member and strong supporter of the CCA.
Avid kayak fly fisherman in both the fresh water and the Texas coast.
Retired and now living in North Texas.
Temple Fork Outfitters
8115 Sovereign Row
Dallas, Texas 75247
[ HOME ]
[ Search ]
[ Contact FAOL ]
[ Media Kit ]
FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice