Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Reels and Reels and Reels

Spring cleaning, line washing, lubrication this weekend.

At left, trout reels in 4 wt. and 5 wt

In the foreground: Konic from Lamson, Ballan (one where the pieces fit together properly), an SA system 1/ Diawa 456, another SA System 1/ Diawa 456 of the other flavor reel face (both Marquis clones and some of the best clones made) , yet another System 1/ 456 ... and the line continues...

So, trout reels.

If you catch the usual trout most of us encounter -- the under 20" variety -- the reel is a line holder.

The Konic in the foreground was used for streamer and smallmouth work where I do enjoy a disk drag when I get a nice fish on and try to flounder by stepping in a hole.Seems to happen on the Huron every time I get a nice smallmouth hooked.

Holding the rod aloft as I flounder certainly benefits from a subtle drag system!

Nevertheless, a couple reels for consideration:

At left, a Douglas Argus I've used for a couple seasons. The brass foot is a nice touch and the design aesthetic features wonderful detail. The palming rim is inset with hundreds of pin-sized holes which provide a nice friction stop when your paws are cold and you're not quite sure how hard you'e pressing.

This is a beautiful click-and-pawl reel on a par with any classic reel. Comes in a padded bag as pictured. The pawl tension is adjustable from a brass screw on the back fixed rim. Classy.

Goes for ... too much money for any utility argument. Nice, but pricey.

Beauty frequently costs.

Once apon a time, beauty cost me a brand new Ford Bronco (like O.J.'s)  when she put it in a creek having missed the WPA bridge late one evening. That Bronco never did run right afterward. Sold it to a guy I didn't like. I don't think the Bronco was going to help him like me any better either when it wouldn't start every other morning. 

I wasted windfall money on that Bronco, anyway. Shouldn't have bought it.

Beauty ended up breaking my heart, too.  Don't they always?

 At left, one of the SA system 1 456 / Diawa 706 reels in my collection.

The aftermarket bag is a requirement as I've yet to see a reel case that was designed for these beasties.

The reel is a dead simple clone of the Hardy Marquis and as I have one of those (Model 5) too, I feel confident saying the clone is the better reel.

Yes, the Hardy makes a great, distinctive sound.

The Marquis also hates grit or dirt or anything other than fine machine oil for lubrication. If the reel is dunked in anything but gin-clear water, I'm soon to be mid-stream servicing the thing for a stray bit of sand. If I'm taking the Marquis out, I have a dropper of oil, some gauze pads, and some Q-tips in a plastic baggie that goes into my side bag.

An older fellow sold me the Marquis -- new in box, unused -- that he bought in '73 for his son who promptly decided he didn't like fishing at all and became a pretty good golfer. Pops has a collection of Garrison rods I've got my eye on. I gave about what Pops paid in '73 under the agreement I'd fish it until I couldn't fish anymore then find some other "pup" to sell for the same paltry price under the same terms.

I don't think Pops likes golf. He pronounces the word with the same emphasis most people use for "asshole" when driving.

Anyway, SA 456 Marquis clone is the Kalashnikov of trout angling fly reels. It isn't ornamentally beautiful but it is tough, true, and reliable. It looks like something that should do the job and it does.

That auction site has them regularly for about $35. The new -- re-designed -- LWT Marquis runs ten times that new.

One has to decide about gear: nicer gear or more days on the water with travel money in the pocket.

If it is a line holder, I'm not sure its a value proposition of cost over function.

Of course, fly fishing is just about the most difficult manner by which to put a trout in a pan for dinner. We're not out there for practical reasons.

Beauty will cost you. Sometimes it costs more than money. 



  1. Spike looks like quite a collection.
    One reel looks to be a TFO BVK, if it is do you like it?
    Also what's the reel next to the LL Bean case?

  2. Alan, sorry - no.

    The reels by the LL Bean bags (1st class bags, by the way though I suspect you know this) as all Scientific Anglers System One 456 or Diawa 706. The only difference is a little finish detail on the spool and the Diawa has a triangular handle where as the SA has a nicer rounder one.

    These are excellent little 4/5/6 wt clones of the Hardy Marquis and I cannot recommend them enough. I buy them and give them to new anglers I set-up. It's very little money, 20 year of hard use quality gear, and attractive.

    I have gotten smarter over the years. A decade ago, I believed in gearing-up for the two nights a year of hunting big trout through mousing or casting into the big Hex hatch. sealed disk drags? Sure!

    Now I recognize that my native waters harbor a majority of fish between 6 and 10 inches in size, just like everyone else's. (Steve - I don't know what to say about those monsters from the Big Water you call home. Most of us would be afraid to step into such a river).