When we set out to design our own reels, we started by evaluating not just the reel, but the rod/reel system. As we discussed, observed and evaluated rod design at the world’s leading rod manufacturers, we quickly came to the conclusion that reels were too heavy. We needed to lighten reels in order to keep pace with the ever-lighter rods and to eliminate the negative impact that a reel has on a rod’s casting performance. Call this our first objective: reduce physical weight.
Another objective was to simplify the design of a reel. With any mechanical device, simplicity is a virtue. We saw reels with 80+ parts. It is easy to make something with too many parts; it’s hard to make something work with fewer parts. Simplicity means that there is less that can go wrong, can result in the virtue of less physical weight, and moreover, often becomes the catalyst for an elegant design solution.
A third objective was to optimize large arbor benefit. The world is full of reels that call themselves “large arbor” but whose bark in this regard is louder than their bite. Call these reels mid-arbor. We believe in the virtues of large arbor: faster retrieve rate, constant drag tension and elimination of coil memory. So we set out to maximize the benefits.
We felt that we could bring a better reel to market by using superior materials and processes. We looked at fly reels and saw materials being used that were cutting edge at the time of Jesus. Much advancement has been made in the past 2,000 years, even the past 10 years, that were not being applied to fly reels to make them perform better.
Finally, we set out to design the world’s best drag system. This meant zero start-up inertia. It meant silk-smooth through the entire torque range. It meant top-end torque sufficient to stop what you catch. It meant that the drag would perform exactly the same under all conditions that one met in real life: water, sand, dirt. It meant that you shouldn’t have to think about your drag, ever. No cleaning or lubrication required.
And so our objectives were clear:
Now rods weigh almost 50% less than they did ten years ago. When we began this project, trout reels still weighed five ounces and more. Reels had become the 350-pound passenger in a finely tuned Lotus. It became time to get a lighter passenger.
How do you reduce the weight of the reel? There were a number possible approaches to choose from: reduce overall size; reduce material usage; use lighter materials; create a lighter structural format; reduce the weight and number of components.
Obviously, to build a large arbor reel, the first option was not a practical consideration. But each other directive held promise.
We reduced material usage by careful and precise engineering and machining, leaving material only where it provided structural strength, carving every gram from non-critical areas.
We made bold (and expensive) material choices employing titanium where other manufacturers used steel, polymers instead of wood and cork.
We invented a structure that would free the reel from the bulkiness of traditional designs. Key to this process was a drag system that, unlike a disc, wouldn’t dictate a particular and restrictive geometry for the reel. The development of the conical drag was therefore integral to building what would seem to be an engineering paradox: Bigger yet lighter.
Lastly, we shaved grams off each individual component through testing, evaluation, re-design and refinement.