The Single-action Click Fly Reel
The Single-action Click Fly Reel
Just why the single-action click reel is the only satisfactory implement for the fly-caster can, as regards its chief claim for precedence, be stated with brevity. It is because the single-action reel does not have an outstanding “balance " handle upon which, continually and with devilish insistence, the line is bound to catch. The stream fly-fisherman who has to contend with the innumerable natural difficulties of the river— thick brush, slippery rocks, overhanging trees that lie in wait for careless back casts, and numerous other natural impediments — can ill afford to utilize a tool which by its very nature is calculated to increase his troubles; and every form of multiplying reel, since the gearing necessitates an outstanding balance handle, is a first-class trouble-maker for the fly-caster.
The very general custom among expert anglers, when fly-fishing, of manipulating the line with the hand not occupied with the rod, grasping the line between the reel and the hand-guide, and thus paying-out and retrieving the line both in casting and playing a trout quite independently of the reel, using the reel only when there is too much slack, renders the reel but little more than a mere line holder. And even when the reel is used when landing a fish the multiplying machinery is not necessary, indeed, is dangerous, since the tendency is toward handling the trout altogether too strenuously. The single-action reel is fully equal to every trout-fishing emergency.
In addition to its freedom from line-fouling the single-action has also the advantage in weight over the multipliers, as a result of which the light fly-rod balances better. Another argument for the single-action is its simplicity and consequently its lesser tendency to get out of order and greater ability to withstand the sometimes unavoidable hard knocks and abuse which a reel receives in stream fishing. And still another favorable thing is the price. A very fine single-action reel can be procured for a third of what a multiplier of equal grade would cost. So, for trout fishing, the selection of the reel is not a question of what sort of reel but, rather, what sort of single-action click reel should be chosen.
In construction the single-action reel is simplicity itself, and the variation in different makes of reels of this sort is slight and not worthy of How the comment. Briefly, the reel consists of the spool which revolves within the side Made plates, the motive power being supplied by the handle which is attached to one end of the spool shaft; at the other end of the spool shaft is a small cog-wheel, or spur-wheel, which connects with a small wedge-shaped piece of metal, the " pawl," the latter being affixed to the side-plate and working on a pivot within a circular steel wire spring. The pawl and pawl-spring in connection with the spur wheel supply the entire click mechanism. The click should be strong, and the “song of the reel" fine and clear, with a metallic ring which denotes good material — well-tempered steel. See that the spool is narrow so that, when reeling in, the line will build up on the reel rapidly, thus making the retrieve faster.
The reel should be made with an ample "protecting band" around the edge of the side plate on the handle side of the reel, within which band the reel handle revolves. It is the protecting band which makes the single-action reel practically free from line-fouling — the important thing. If the protecting band has sufficient projection it makes little difference whether the reel handle is "balanced " or not; that is, whether the handle is full sized, extending quite across the side plate and with a weight or balance at the extremity, the most common American construction, or simply a short crank without extension or balance. Personally, I think the balance handle gives the reel a more finished appearance and a slightly better action. Another form of single action reel construction, known as the English style, does away with both protecting band and reel handle proper. In this form of reel a disk revolving within the side plate is attached directly to the reel shaft, and the reel handle is simply a small knob, preferably slightly tapered outward, fixed to the disk. In a good many ways this is the best sort of reel for fly-fishing.
As regards materials, reels may be had of nickeled brass, German silver, hard rubber, hard rubber and nickel in combination, hard rubber and German silver, and, also, of aluminum.
Choose either a reel of entire German silver or one of hard rubber with protecting band, spool and handle of German silver. Nickeled reels do not give continued satisfaction, since the plating wears off and the reel takes on a generally tough appearance. Reels of hard rubber only, with no metal bands about the side plates, are very light and good reels, but they are certainly not to be recommended because of their great liability to breakage. It is simply a matter of dropping the rod-butt on a rock — and getting a new reel. Aluminum reels are not to be recommended for the same reason; the metal is apt to be too soft. A reel of solid German silver is rather an expensive tool, but reels of this sort are very fine ones. The metal is hard, long-lasting and clean and these reels are very serviceable. The reel of hard rubber, with German silver bands and handle, and spool of the same material or aluminum, is, on the whole, the reel which can most unreservedly be advised. The cost is not excessive; the reel looks well and wears well; it is strong enough to stand hard usage; it is light, and, in the various sizes, can be procured to balance nicely fly-rods of any length and weight.
If economy is an object it may be said that the reel of hard rubber, with nickeled bands and handle, is the best. In a good many instances the mechanism of these reels is of the same good quality as that furnished in rubber and German silver. In some cases the reels are, in fact, the same; the only difference being in the German silver and nickel; this, of course, as regards the product of any one manufacturer and the best rubber and nickel reel of that manufacturer. In the makeup of these reels there is enough rubber to partly take away the curse of the nickel, and it is a good plan to have one of these reels along if only for a "reserve." When outfitting for an extended fishing trip be sure that a reserve reel is in the kit. If your reel is broken or lost, either of which things can easily happen in the woods, the extra one will come in rather handy.
Camp, Samuel Granger. Fishing Kits and Equipment,. New York: Outing Pub., 1910. Print.
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