Daily Archives: February 13, 2010

Reel Karma

I’ve been fly fishing for over 25 years now and have owned ALOT of reels, but this reel is what I believe will be something that I will hold onto and fish most often. Why you might ask? Its because of the flexibility, build quality, price, and performance (hopefully). I just received the package today as the UPS driver showed up with his last drop off of the evening. The reel I am raving about is “The Fly Shop” C3LA reel in size 5/6. Whats different about this reel? Well, it first solves the issue of having to buy expensive and sometimes hard to find spare spools. This reel uses a cartridge or cassette type system, and one would wind the same amount of backing and fly to a spool, instead on the spool it goes onto the cassette. The cassette itself is not flimsy plastic, lexan or other composite, but rather CNC milled aircraft quality 6000 series aluminum. They’ve been hard anodized an attractive red color and look nice in my opinion against the black colored frame of the reel.

I was wondering how the fit and finish would be on such a reel as I would be concerned about dirty, salt, and other debris making its way in between the cassette and the hub, but to my amazement, these tolerances are very tight. The reel comes with 3 cassettes, and spare cassettes are $25. The typical trout fisherman might use several different lines depending on what he or she is fishing: rivers, lakes, streams, saltwater beach, spring creeks, etc… so the traditional way would be to buy a spare spool which would run anywhere from $100-$160 for the reels that I was formerly using; Galvan T-5 and the Lamson Litespeed Hard Alox 2.0.

The C3LA is $249, The Fly Shop offers free shipping and there isn’t any tax, so really in my mind there is easily over $500 worth of reel for this price. The reel also features a completely sealed and non-user serviceable drag system which seems to be good. There isn’t as much variability of the drag knob and it only takes 2.5 revolutions to go from zero to max drag. Im really interested to see how it handles fighting a fish, but not too concerned as its typically trout that I am going to be chasing with this reel. I still love my Galvan T-8 for Salmon, but will be considering changing those out if this C3 proves to be a reliable reel.

I figure that I have 30 days to test out the reel and it passes, then I’ll keep it. The Fly Shop indicated that there is a lifetime warranty on the reel, but I wonder if they’ll be in business 20 years from now. I guess that would apply to any reel company in this day and age. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if a company like Abel went under, especially with more and more innovative and quality products coming from Korea.

I was hoping to head out to Pass Lake tomorrow with the C3 in tow, but it looks like the forecast is pretty crummy for fishing, so you’ll have to wait to hear about its fish fighting capabilities on my next outing, which at this point is unknown, perhaps next Tuesday.

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