This reel came as part of my Temple Forks Fly Rod outfit from Cabela's. Now that I've used the rod combo on several trips I feel comfortable reviewing this product. First off, I cast with my left hand and retrieve with my right hand. As such, the first thing I had to do was flip the reel for right hand retrieve. This reel proves very easy to do, probably the simplest of any of my reels so far. All I do, it take it apart, undo the e-clip, flip the one-way bearing, and put it back together. Done!
Performance of the dragEarly on in this combo's life, I took the reel out to a local brown trout waterway that sometimes has trout of size. I managed to hook into a very nice Brown trout on this trip. I shouldn't fish this water with a 3 weight, but I wanted to see how it did casting wise, and wanted to get more comfortable with it. This fish took a fly, and I realized immediately it was a quality fish. I was able to get the line on the reel quickly and started playing the fish. This clear water freestone stream let the fish see me quickly, and once he did he took back off into depths pulling line with him. The large adjustment knob made it easy to adjust the drag to a comfortable level so that I was able to play him comfortably.
Quality of materials
This reel is built from graphite construction. As such, if you are looking for something with aluminum, you should continue looking elsewhere. The reel comes with a drawstring nylon pouch that seems to do fairly well at keeping enough dirt out, when I throw it in my travel bin with my wading boots.
Fit & Finish
This is where the reel starts to falter a bit. Overall the large arbor design is nice, and works well. However, the spool leave a small gap, wide enough for my fly line to sometimes come out of the spool and around the rod. In fact, I had this very problem while landing the fish above. The result. The fish wasn't able to take any line past this point, as it caused the fly line to loop around the cross brace. Luckily the fish was mostly done running when this occurred. But if it had been earlier in the battle, it would have surely cost me that trophy. According to the reviews on Cabela's at least one other person has experienced this same issue.
For $30, it's always hard to complain, especially for a reel at that price with a large arbor design. However, I feel that there are better solutions out there for the price. Additionally the reel falters, because you cannot purchase spare spools. But that slot that allows fly line to potentially be hung out and then snagged on the brace is scary to me. I'd hate to lose a fish in that scenario. So I must give this one a rating of 2 trouts. Keep looking elsewhere, you'll find a better reel at this price, made with better materials.