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Archive for the ‘Fly-Fishing’ Category

Travel Spey Rods and More

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rod 1_DSC0340

These are not my usual art pictures, but as this is more about information than illustration, I decided to sacrifice on the photography.

Many many years ago for single hand rods, I moved to “travel” versions, id est rods that were 4 pcs and could fit in a carrier that usually carry on a plane or not be charged with large baggage fees.

This change started with the GL3 9′ 7wt, at a time when there was a debate you sacrifice “capability”. Yet, when I selected this rod (American Angling in Salem NH (now long gone)) from the many I tried, it was my favourite – 2pc or 4pc.  Nearly 20 years late, it still is my goto rod for bass fishing on my local river for nearly 20 years and so far the only “similar” rod that I have liked as much is the new Scott Merdian 8wt.

Five+ years ago, I started spey (two hand) fly fishing. My first rod, as you can see on the bottom with the Red Nautilus 12S Reel is a 14′ Scott 9wt G.  Heavy rod, with a heavy reel and currently my winter skagit setup.  Rods two and three are gone (almost) – I sold my Sage 7136 Z-Axis and trying to sell my Loomis GLX 15′ 9wt, but all rods travel like skis and golf clubs in how they consume space.

As I developed, I decided my previous rods where too “big” (line weight) for what I needed – long rods were good, but a lighter line rod made more sense, and then came the Meiser 1264S, then Burkmeimer 7134 for steealhead and most recently my travel rods.

Spey travel rods, do not get much attention as they should, given they are great rods. The selection may be limited, but they are great rods.

rod 8_DSC0336

So my current limit up of double-hand rods, setup and thoughts.

  • Meiser 1264S – 12’6″ 4-piece with a SGS (from Meiser and Steve Godshall) 31′ 324g head plus 10′ Polyleaders on a Nautlus CF 10 Reel. This is my favourite rod for trout and my local river, as it just casts to my want (a natural fit).
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  • Meiser 1305S-5 – 13′ 5-piece travel rod currently with Guideline 78 (417 grain) PT Scandi – 35′ + 10′ Polyleaders on a Danielsson L5W 8twelve.  The original SGS Scankit (411gr 32′) was nice, but the rod really feels well with the Guideline 3Density line. I have two heads for it FHS1 and a IS1S2. If I was going to add another, it would be new Guideline 3D FHS4 to get the fly deeper when required, but I would use the next rod in lieu of this.
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  • Meiser 13668CX-6 – 13’6″ 6-piece travel travel rod with a SGS 35.7′ 502 grain head with 7wt RIO Heads (so actual shooting head weight is closer to 580 grains).  This is my newest rod, and only recently been released by Bob Meiser. It is light and responsive.
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    I first started out with a lighter line and reel, (Danielsson and NextCast WA 78 520 grain (with head)), which was wrong on both accounts. Yes the rod is lighter and using a light reel may have been possible, if Bob  kept the lower handle to 4.5″ versus the actual 5.5″, so you should be thinking about a 12oz reel or ask Bob to make the lower handle shorter.  The grain weight is listed at 450-750 grain, but I felt the lighter line was under-powering the reel and the provided line was absolutely right!
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    The Nautilus 12S was to heavy, but the Nautilus 12DD (having an empty weight of 12 ounces is right, and can afford a little heavier.
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    I like this rod, and it is a compliment to the 1305-5 above.
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  • Burkheimer 7134 – 13’4″ 4-pc with a SRO Ballistic 38′ 470 grain head with 8wt tips on a Nautilus 12S Reel  (placing the line total head weight close to 550 grains). It is a rod that requires a relax cast and will release, a rod I like using for Steelhead.  As I have gather a collection of some other lines, I still want to experiment and will consider a heavier line.  I have a Nextcast WA 520 grain 47′ line ready for it, and will try the above Guidelines later this year on it (if the rain ever stops, and the local river becomes safe).
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  • The old Scott G1409 – 14′ 9wt 4pc used as a Skagit Rod to search the bottom of a river in Winter with large flies, and currently has a Airflow Skagit 570 with Medium MOW tips, but I think I prefer it with the 600 grain line or greater.  It is on the Red Nautilus 12S reel, and the handle has been modified (previously posted) to be more friendly for casting understand.
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    To be honest, I have not connected this rod, so I am still playing with it, and see if I find that magic I get with the above rods.
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  • Not shown, as it is a short “spey” switch rod is my 10′ 7wt 4pc (travel ready) James Green Fiberglass with the OPST 350 grain line on a Danielsson 3W reel.  Rod is designed for close in fishing conditions.
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  • Not shown, is a Scott ARC 1007 – 10′ 7wt 4pc that has a 7wt multi-tip Airflo line. This is just a great single-hand spey rod that I and Judy will fight over to use. It is great trout streamer rod in normal conditions or when the river is high, and you are casting from the bank.

So what would I take with me, for travel?  Considering you usually can fit 4 rods in most carriers.  If I was going to a trout haven, where I wanted Spey Rods, such as New Zealand:

  • Meiser 1305S-5
  • Green 7wt 10′ and-or Scott 7wt ARC 10′
  • Scott G2 805 – my travel dry fly rod (Judy’s a Scott STS 905)
  • Open to my current fancy

And places where Steelhead, Salmon may also be considered

  • Meiser 1305S-5
  • Meiser 13668CX-6 – consumes space of 2 rods though
  • Open to current fancy and whatever else I might encounter.

rod 4-DSC0339

And what about travel cases.  As I do believe in using what you have, and what I have is no longer available, this may not be to helpful.

  • Abel Rod Carrier – Built like a tank and I trust my rods in them, even it is checked baggage.  Today, the option is get Harding and Sons from Oregon to make you a case.
  • DB Dun – Secure and good for carry-on for 4 rods and reels. A great carry-on case, and is closest match today is from Fishpond.

In the past few years, I have been able to carry-on my rods through Europe, Canada, United States and Bahamas.  The only area forced me to check in the rods, was in Japan.

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Oh yes, I built a new rod rack too, as shown, so I have a place to leave rods for practice and dry when I get home.

rod 10_DSC0335

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/07/03 at 04:15

Fly Reel Backing – Notes

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Suggestions and believes:

  • Backing is only an issue when targeting large fish on rivers that can support a run back to the ocean-lake or saltwater. Otherwise it is a filler.  20m of backing will suffice for trout, bass and pike.
  • For single hand rods of 8wt or less, 20# is sufficient.
  • For double hand rods of 400gr or less, 20# should suffice.
  • Above this, limit, I migrate to 30#.
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  • Use Dacron.
  • Avoid gel-spun, as you do not want to handle this when the line and fish is out.  Yes, I do use it, when I find the stated backing capacity of a reel is less than what is stated, and I need extra capacity, but I use a 20m section of 30# Dacron between the fly line and gel-spun.
  • Never use mono, as it will stress the reel.
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  • To help you identify what strength you have on, colour code your backing.  For me:
    • 20# is Yellow or Green
    • 30# is Orange or Blue
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  • Good connection from backing to line is the Albright knot.
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  • If using shooting heads or looking to change lines, 20# Dacron usually does not create good loops that form around a line loop.  So if you are using shooting heads and using a loop to loop connection at the backing, add 20-30m of 30# to the end to form a loop.
  • So as illustrated, I am using in the following setup.
    • Reel to 20-30m of 30#Orange as a sighter (oh no, I am almost out of line!)
    • Double Duncan Loop knot to join 20# Green backing.
    • Shooting Line End –  20-30m of 30# Orange – Double Duncan Loop knot.
    • Perfection Loop large enough to pass a flyline (as illustrated) OR Albright knot to a running line.
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    • I have had no issues with the Duncan Loop Knot, but make sure your knots are strong.  As I am using these on rods where I am expecting the fish to be under 12lbs and the tippet more so, the knot is not be a critical issue.
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      The only issue can be, when you are being “spooled” and you have past the last 20-30 transition, you have a weak link close to you. I rather have the warning that I am almost out and I accept this comprise knowing that the fly-line itself is stronger than the 20# or 30#, so if you need to break-off, hope for the tipper-leader to break otherwise the flyline is gone, irrespective of the knot.

Danielsson_DSC0205

backing_DSC0256

  • For 30# it is backing from reel to line.  By the same token, you can include an 30# orange sighter on the last 20-20m.
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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/27 at 19:35

Posted in Fly-Fishing

Fly Fishing Reels – IMHO – Conclusion

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I seen in 20+ years an evolution of reels and I would argue reel (pun intended) improvements. But with these gains, we seen companies leave you stranded or push the “greatest” innovations at you.  With my desire to continue and expand my fishing, my portfolio of rods and reels is exhaustive. If I was starting afresh today, I would keep it simple.

For Trout, you do not need complicated and focus should be on rods and lines for presentation, so stick with a reel that is readily available and spools that are readily available, where the reel weights less than 4oz.

For this, I recommend the Hardy LRH or one size larger, the Princess (which I am using).

princess_DSC0209

I recommend this, knowing that Pure Fishing (who bought and now owns Hardy) is sending out signals they are going to cancel this product line that is generations old (and stop providing spare pawls, springs, et cetera).  Never-the-less, given its presence for decades, old reels should be easy to find.

The alternative is the Danielsson Nymph.

loop-nymph

For everything else, except for long spey rods, look to Danielsson L5W and H5D series.  As Danielsson is producing a great product at a great price, with a Swedish sense of support! (versus disposable product lines).

Danielsson_DSC0205

And what about long spey rods?  Sorry, I cannot recommend any current solution in production.  It might be there, but I have not put my hands on such a beast where you get the weight to balance, spool that you can palm and fast retrieve. Closest solution is from Hatch (and it has a closed base), but I have never handled one and always surprise why on the boards the number of used Hatch are up for sale (leaves me suspicious)!

Be prepared to spend some time at a store with some inventory, with a known weight required for you take action.

The alternative is to add weight into the rod or onto the spool.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/27 at 06:09

Posted in Fly-Fishing

Fly Fishing Reel – IMHO – Post 5

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If there is one theme across the multiple posts, there is no singular answer, and you must look at the requirements for the use.

Spey Reels

There is a lot of similarity between Saltwater Reels and Speys, with a few notable differences – drag and weight.

  • Drag: Supporting pressure for 8-20# tippet is nice, and it will assist you in landing a fish, but it is a not absolute.  As takes are often strong, so a soft (low) startup is nice, but not critical. To be clear, I usually keep the drag setting light, and if necessary, I may increase.
  • Noise: Still do not care, but it appears there are many who like a noisy reel and will define this as the only requirement.
  • Rate of Retrieve: High rate of retrieve with a minimum of 150m of 30# backing. Given manufacturer’s boastful claims, make sure the reel is specified supporting 200m of backing.
  • Weight:  A standard reel works weighing less than 10oz can work for spey rods of less than 13′ in length, but long rods need a heavy reel to reduce fatigue.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: If you are only fishing freshwater in summer, this is not a requirement, but it you like me fish in the estuaries and in winter, a seal drag is a good thing.
  • User Maintenance: Not critical, but nice to have.
  • Cross-Functional: Nice to have, as these reels can provide good service for streamer and saltwater fishing
  • Spool Changes: Nice to have for cross-functional use, but as many spey lines are now shooting heads, this is not critical.

So priority is rate of retrieve with backing that has the weight to balance the rod.

Nautilus

Sadly Nautilus has moved away from this line and stopped supporting their older (heavier) reels suited for Spey Rods.  In affect they dropped me, so I have decided to find a new company.

  • Drag: A. and easy to palm it.
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  A for the Older Discontinued Reels, D for the new line up.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: A
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: D, given move their move away.
  • Spool Changes: D, given their lack of commitment to support their old product lines and show no interest in maintaining forwards-backwards compatibility.

The now discontinued and unsupported 12S. Fortunately, when I realize they were abandoning this segment, I got spare reel and spool.

12s_DSC0228

Danielsson – Traditional

  • Drag: B
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  D – only for short spey rods. I use them on 10′ rods.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: B
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: C
  • Spool Changes: A

Danielsson_DSC0221

Danielsson – L5W and H5D

  • Drag: A.
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  A
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: A
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: A
  • Spool Changes: A

My new standard for Salt and Spey

Danielsson_DSC0205

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/27 at 05:38

Posted in Fly-Fishing

Fly Fishing Reels – IMHO – Post 4

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Saltwater Reels

When I started these series, I missed one important criteria – backing capacity.  With saltwater and spey rods, I believe backing capacity is important, especially with saltwater.

With the former (spey), where you are likely casting to steelhead or salmon on a river that wants to move and has a river to help it run, but often you are bound by the river  – whether it is bends, trees or other structures – and I have found 150m will usually suffice – or be prepared to break-off.

With saltwater and open horizons and fish that live to run, you will need 150m or more.

Sadly, many reels are optimistic on the backing capacity they have, and please take caution and be prepared to include gel-spun.  In a later post, I will discuss backing solutions.

If backing capacity is important, you can imagine I also believe a fast rate of retrieve is also important.  So running against of requirements, what do I see as important and good attributes.

  • Drag: Supporting pressure got 8-20# tippet is an absolute, 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 hand, as you would see on anti-reverse reels. (Oh yes, while I will start with a heavier drag setting in salt, I am not putting a lot of pressure).
  • Noise: Still do not care.
  • Rate of Retrieve: High rate of retrieve with a minimum of 150m of 30# backing. Given manufacturer’s boastful claims, make sure the reel is specified supporting 200m of backing.
  • Weight:  A reel under 10oz will serve you well.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: Yes, so look for anodized solutions and sealed drags. Unfortunately, what typically rusts is the small things – rivets, screws and parts of the drag. After every daily outing, wash your reel!
  • User Maintenance: Reliable sealed drag has been one of the great advances that has happen, so exploit it. The previous generation of drags, such as my graphite-cork drag on my Islander is very good, but suggest you consider the recent evolution to see drags.
  • Cross-Functional: Nice to have, as these reels can provide good service for streamer and spey fishing.
  • Spool Changes: Nice to have for cross-functional use, but many saltwater reels have spools locked in and require tools to remove.

So the priority is a reel with a fast retrieve and backing that is durable-reliable in a harsh environment (sealed drag) and provide resistance when a fish runs in open spaces.

Good news, all the reels I present here are suitable for Saltwater – at least light duty – but some are better than others.

Nautilus

Saltwater reels is their root, so you should expect them to excel here, and they do.

  • Drag: A. I have hammered Nautilus for abandoning support for their earlier product lines and support for long-rod Spey, but I will acknowledge their drag in this transition migrate from excellent to better. Any yes, I can palm it.
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  A
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: A
  • User Maintenance: A and with the open frame, enables a good rinse at the end of the day.
  • Cross-Functional: D, acknowledging they walked away from supporting spey.
  • Spool Changes: D, as stated earlier, as you do not know when they will abandon their product line, eliminate forward-backwards compatibility and obsolete your reel-spool. If you buy a Nautilus, budget for a spare spool.

nautilus 10 2_DSC0224

nautilus nvg_DSC0201

So it may seem harsh my position with Nautilus, given it is a very fine reel, but I value support. If the company chooses to abandon me and my investment in their product, I do respond in kind. My response, is a just a reflection of their action.

Islander

Another company whose eye is to the sea.

  • Drag: A, solid and with the discontinue AR version, I can adjust the drag without much distraction.  And yes, I can palm it to!
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: B – stated supported backing was optimistic. Be prepared to go one size up or use gel-spun.
  • Weight:  A
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: B – See User Maintenance.
  • User Maintenance: C – you do need to occasionally lubricate the drag AND the closed reel spool base will reduce the ease-effectively of any wash.
  • Cross-Functional: C
  • Spool Changes: D, now, I have not called Islander to see if they can produce a spare spool for me (and they might), but otherwise getting  spare spool is not likely. Add to this limitation and the need for tools to change spools and involves loose parts – screw, washer, et cetera, this is not a task to do in the boat or on the bank.

islander_DSC0208

No qualms with using this reel, but additional care in maintenance and setup needs to be taken.

Danielsson

You can use the traditional reels in saltwater, but I would restrict them to light usage. I would not use them for sharks, tuna, tarpon, et cetera. So my focus is on my L5W, and will note that Danielsson has a heavy duty model as well. If targeting tarpon, tuna and the like, I would use the H5D 11fourteen.

I note this is my newest reel, and has not seen the decades+ use that the other reels have seen.

  • Drag: A.
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  A
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: A
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: A
  • Spool Changes: A

Danielsson_DSC0205

The traditional reels, suitable for light saltwater fishing.

Danielsson_DSC0221

Yes, the new Danielsson are my goto reels.

Waterworks Force

Beautiful sculpture, but an okay reel.

  • Drag: C, nice sealed drag and the most rough in my collection, but a plastic clicker?
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: B – rate of retrieve is great, but backing capacity is understated. I have choose to use gel-spun.
  • Weight:  A
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: A
  • User Maintenance: B, but the lack of an open spool base degrades the rating to a B
  • Cross-Functional: C
  • Spool Changes: D, easy to change, but replacement spools are impossible to locate now.

force_DSC0206.jpg

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/25 at 03:01

Posted in Fly-Fishing

Fly-Fishing Post – IMHO – Post 3C

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Anti-Reverse Fly Reels

islander_DSC0208

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.
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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.
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    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.
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    As a result, the reel is typically heavier.
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    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.
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  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.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/22 at 19:08

Posted in Fly-Fishing

Fly Fishing Reels – Reel Weights – Post 3B

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A survey of actual weights of my reels associated with Streamer Fishing and those associated with Two-Hand Rods. Weights taken with flyline on, but the line head has been pulled off, as if casting or added 20 grams for rear line.

  • Danielsson-Loop 2W with an Airflow MT 7 – 201grams
  • Danielsson-Loop 3W with OPST 350gr – 255grams
  • Nautilus NV-G 8/9 with RIO versatip 9wt – 284grams
  • System 2 89 with Airflo 40+ 9W – 286 grams
  • Danielsson L5W 8twelve with + 20 grams for line – 298grams
  • Waterworks Force 3.5 with RIO Bonefish Quickshooter 9wt – 302grams
  • Islander AR LA 4 +20grams for the line – 328grams
  • Nautilus CCF-X 10 with an Airflo 40+ – 335grams
  • Nautilus 12DD with a Guideline PT Scandi – 363grams
  • Nautilus 12Spey with Skagit 600 – 455 grams

. Nautilus CCF-X2 10 appears to be about 40grams lighter than the X, putting the X2 slightly heavier than the NV-G.

Why did I not list my trout reels? As long, the reels – empty – less than 4oz – I believe you will find it balance, with the exception of high-stick nymphing.  With high-sticking, the answer should not be in a heavy reel, but a butt-weighted rod (custom).

With single streamer or saltwater rods, weight can be an issue, but most reels are fine. Most will gravitate to light side, which is nice, but not critical.

12S red_DSC0196

For spey rods, especially large line / long rods that are greater than 13′, a heavy reel is a good thing to keep fatigue in the wrist down, as you let your fly fish. This is where the discontinued Nautilus 12Spey shines.  Fortunately, when Nautilus discontinued their true Spey line, I did pick up a spare, so I currently holding onto 3 Nautilus 12Spey and a spare spool, all for long rods.

What is available with similar to Nautilus 12Spey?  Sadly, the answer is little, so you are likely need to revert to the old standby of adding weight to the reel or make other comprises.  Never-the-less here is a sample look of 2017 options, referring to the manufacturers specification for unlined reels:

  • Nautilus 12S  – 13.5oz
    • actual measurement – 14.8 oz
  • Nautilus X2 King (the replacement) – 9.1 oz
  • Nautilus NV Spey – 9.1 oz
  • Danielsson H5D 11fourteen – 272 gr – 9.5 oz
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    In alphabetical order …
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  • Einarsson Invictus 10-12 – a little light, but very nice modern reel – 11.5 oz
  • Farlex 4″ – traditional, but nice – click-n-pawl – 14 to 16oz
  • Hardy Fortuna  XDS – maybe? – 12.3 to 13.5oz
  • Hardy WideSpool Perfect – click-n-pawl – 11.0 to 11.3oz
  • Hatch 9-12 Finactic – best match, but sealed spool base – 11.1 to 15.6 oz
  • Olsen Disc Drag – traditional and beautiful – 4.0″ – 13oz
  • Olsen Disc Drag – may need tools – 4.25″ – 14.5oz
  • Saracione 4.25″ Salmon – difficult to palm – 13.5oz
  • Tibor GulfStream Pacific – tools required to change – 11-14.5oz
  • Waterworks Speedster HD – plastic clicker – 9.38oz

Fortunately, I am not seeing the need to add another heavy reel into my “tool-kit”, thus requiring to comprise on my requirements.  If I had to, I would start off looking at the Hatch or Einarsson.

The Olsen is a very nice traditional style reel, but expensive with a waiting list that is nearly 2 years. I would not use this reel in the ocean, but then again, a 14+oz reel is for the sole purpose for use on a long spey rod.  The closest it comes to the ocean would be in a delta.

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Last comment: I have found manufacturers’ specifications usually optimistic on weights (list them lighter than they are) with more backing capacity than is practical.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/21 at 21:48

Posted in Fly-Fishing