In the beginning, there was the pole and line.
Soon after, the spinable wooden line holder came
into being. That same line holder now is made
from better materials and has a drag system. The
world of rods has advanced to your choice of the
perfect Old World designs of classic materials
with masterful workmanship or space age materials
with perfect Modulus of Elasticity, connections,
finishes, ergo dynamic grip shapes, etc. The world
of lines has advanced from twisted cotton to the
silk of the rich to computer designed tapers with
the most advanced interior weaves and exterior
super plastics with every desired feature imaginable.
Then there are the reels. Sigh. Still line holders.
Better materials, yes. Fine drags, yes. But still
just line holders. Now for baitfish like 20" trout,
they are fine. For the one-run fish, they are fine.
But for serious fishing, the serious advances thus
far have been in spinning and bait casting reels.
It is time for a fine fly reel for serious fishing.
My fishing of choice is for salmon and steelhead.
These fish sometimes CHEAT. They sometimes rush at
you. Now a large 1:1 fly reel of say 4" diameter
will bring in one foot per wind. It ain't enough.
One must have two feet per wind, or the salmon
simply eat you up. With barbless hook requirements
in some fisheries, you be fat outta luck, fella. I
am sure the 19th Century was a fine time, but it is
OVER. We HAVE the fine workmanship and space age
materials. We have fine drag designs. What we NEED
is a MULTIPLIER! A three-inch diameter with a 3:1
multiplier, or a 4" diameter with a 2:1 multiplier
would give us the two feet per wind. I favor the 4
inch which is a good size for a significant sized
fish. The less multiplication required, the stronger
the gear system can be. It would match well with the
8 wt or better rod for these larger fish. With the
line thickness being a factor, the optimum diameter
would be about 4 3/16" -4 ½". The ergo dynamics of
features for big fish reels is well known. Handle
shapes, extension from rods, etc are all known
factors. We simply need the multiplier in conjunction
with the other fine features which are already out there.
What is available now? Well, there is a special run
of 500 this year of the 1930 designed Hardy 1.7:1
multiplier. Unfortunately, It is $2250. The Martin
Mod 72 is also out there for about $45 and does the
job of two feet per wind, but is just a bit weak for
continued service on big fish. Abel is in the design
phase with a multiplier, but it isn't here yet.
The right multiplier will run the table with present
competition and probably bring in many more people to
fly fishing who now see the present system as quaint
but Victorian in engineering. Until the right reel
is available, they will stick to more advanced forms
of fishing. The right multiplier will revolutionize
fly fishing. There are some novel ideas out there
coming into fruition like the new Marryat reel drag
system and others. Who will take the next big challenge
of the new Century? ~ Pete (Whopper Bubba)