Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Fly-Fishing Post – IMHO – Post 3C

with 2 comments

Anti-Reverse Fly Reels


This is another subject in the forums that seems to generate a lot of negative comments and I will say inappropriate bias.  The usual theme is “real men do not use anti-reverse reels”. Never-the-less, I have one, evaluate it and see some benefits, as well as issues that I will lay out.

If we truly believe the macho references that real men do not use AR, then maybe they should be using CP reels with no drag or tenkara with no reel at all.
The attitude is silly, decide on need and merits.

What do you gain with Anti-Reverse Reel?

  1. If you are slow to release the spool when the fish takes off, this provides the protection from breaking-off, when the tippet is light to the fish you are fighting.
    1. Q: Is it an advantage when I am using 12# fluorocarbon on a bonefish? A: No.
    2. Q: Is it a real advantage when I am searching for Pike? A: No.
    3. Q: Is it a real advantage when I am using 20# for large Tarpon? A: Yes
  2. The drag control is on the handle side, the “free hand”. This means you can set-change drag in the fight, without much distraction, fumbling et cetera.

What do you lose?

  1. Complexity of design is higher than most, but the manufacturers who build these solutions are at the top end. So complexity is higher than most reels, but I do not believe the actual durability is any less.
    There is a very true principle, more parts, more risk to failure and with this, you could associated AR reels as less reliable. But I believe the practice applied by those making the reels, is to counter with strength, such that durability is that of a Direct-Drive reel.
    As a result, the reel is typically heavier.
    And spool change out is usually a multi-piece affair and requires tools. Not a good thing if you want to change your spools out in the ocean.
  2. As this “only Direct-Direct” fad has been pushed, the number of products has disappeared. A quick survey of what is or was out there:
    1. Abel – discontinued – cork drag, standard arbour, strong but require user maintenance. I did like this reel, but I found the Islander easier to “palm” and it had a large arbour.
    2. Islander – discounted – cork-ruflon drag, large arbour, strong,  and requires some greasing of the drag – which requires tools and disassembly. I found the finish great, easy to use and it was the reel I bought.
    3. Billy Pate – proven with time as a durable solution. I did not buy this, as the reel was difficult to palm and had a standard arbour.  Like the above required tools to change spools (and maintenance?)
    4. Danielsson Control – Dynamic Braking with a sealed drag with a large spool. As I have not handled it, so I offer no more comments.
    5. Henschel – Large arbour sealed focus on saltwater fishing. Another reel I have not touched, so I offer no additional comments.

So this Islander reel has landed me some nice steelhead in winter, and have no qualms about using it, but I think it is best suited for large saltwater fish  or anyplace where the tippet is fine relative to the fish.

An AR reel can provide value, it is a question is this value worth something to you.



Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/22 at 19:08

Posted in Fly-Fishing

2 Responses

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  1. […] and if there is one occasion you may wish to adjust drag during a fight it is with Saltwater. As previously posted, if you want to address drag during a fight, consider a reel where the drag setting is on the reel […]

  2. […] Anti-reverse reels have a real advantage with the drag control on the reel hand side, but they are heavier. […]

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