COMPACT FREE-SPOOL REELS – TESTED
Tested by Ian Welch
A great value starter reel but lacking the finesse of control and solid reliability demanded by regular commercial carpers. Three ball bearings and 5.1:1 gearing deliver decent power via a tough handle with soft-touch grip, but it lacks real oomph in the engine room and the bale arm roller didn’t function correctly. Line capacity of 100 m of 0.30 mm is adequate for commercial work but line lay is variable and line clip very poor. Front-mounted clutch jars slightly but rear free-spool mechanism is user-friendly and reliable. A spare spool is provided.
A smooth and powerful commercial performer with five bearings, perfect anti-reverse and high gearing of 5.4:1 making short work of retrieving. Deep aluminium spool holds 140 m of 0.30 mm line which is laid in even coils to assist casting and there is a good, oversized roller bearing but the line clip on my model was bad, almost shredding my test 10 lb mono. Front-adjusted clutch is smooth and the free-spool mechanism easily adjusted and reliable. A shallow, match-style aluminium spare spool is provided.
Five ball bearing performance and gear ratio of 5.1:1 delivers a gutsy performance from this smart and robust black and silver free-spool which delivers decent power without undue wobble or stress. A comfortable wooden handle, reliable bale mechanism and
anti-reverse feature but line lay is not perfect and the aluminium longcast spool, holding 120 mm of 0.25 mm line, had minor damage on the lip which could weaken line. Line clip is horribly harsh but the rear–mounted free-spool and front-mounted clutch are reliable and smooth. Spare aluminium spool provided.
Powerful, stylish compact free-spool delivering enough grunt for heavy-duty commercial carping via six bearings, 5.0:1 gearing, perfect anti-reverse and a tough handle with soft touch grip. The two aluminium spools hold
100 m of 0.30 mm line, the roller bearing is large and reliable and the line lay reasonable but the clip is poor. Front drag is easy to tension, smooth enough to cope with fish of any size and the free-spool mechanism is sweet although not the easiest to set. Main downside is the price when compared to similarly appointed models.
There’s bags of solid and reliable cranking power here for commercial hauling with nine bearings and a gearing of 5.4:1 smoothly driven by a tough handle with a comfortable rubber grip. Two aluminium spools hold 170 m of 0.25 mm line and line lay on the spool enables good casting with line management further enhanced by a decent roller although the line clip is a liability. Front-adjusted drag is smooth enough to cope with fast-moving, powerful fish, anti-reverse mechanism is sound and the free-spool mechanism is sweet and easily adjusted.
A double handle with sure touch rubber grips delivers great balance to this pokey performer which is an ideal complement to a light carp or barbel rod for commercial bagging. A 5:1 gearing and six bearings provide solid performance with no free play and there is good line lay on the two aluminium spools holding 140 m of 0.30 mm line. Oversized roller bearing helps combat line twist but the line clip is harsh and unforgiving. Free-spool and clutch mechanisms are rear and front mounted respectively and both are easily adjusted and reliable.
Nicely-sized but still remaining compact this sharp-looking, five-bearing free-spool delivers solid and reliable power with a 5.1:1 ratio which will withstand the toughest commercial punishment. Retrieve is wobble-free, the anti-reverse solid and the whole package robust. Great line lay on a properly-sized aluminium spool holding 190 m of 0.28 mm line aids casting and the line clip is not too bad. Front-mounted clutch is sweet and the free-spool lever and adjuster easy to set and reliable throughout the range of settings. A spare polymeric spool is provided.
Wide aluminium spool on a compact reel delivers exceptional line lay and casting performance with
140 m of 0.30 mm line ideal for bagging pools. Air bale, twist buster roller and usable clip complete the impressive top end. In the engine room bags of solid cranking power is generated with six bearings and 4.9:1 gearing, anti-reverse is instant and there’s no wobble with a large, comfortable, sure-touch grip on a one-touch folding handle driving it all. Front drag is micro-adjustable and silky smooth, the free-spool easily set and equally sound. Spare aluminium spool provided.
NOTE: All products tested April 2009. All prices correct at the time of going to Press. Angler’s Mail do not take responsibility for price or product changes or current availability.Like Angler's Mail? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.