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Why are we doing a review on a reel? Don't they just hold the line? It's not like bait or spinning equipment where the reel is actually something more than a glorified line holder, right?
Well, if that's your opinion, why don't you just jump into Tenkara! (We don't have anything against Tenkara, it just may be more fitting if your opinion of the reel is nothing more than something to hold your line.)
When we finally needed to replace our reel on the Cabela's Three Forks Outfit, there was no desire to break the bank! If we were going to spend over a hundred dollars on a fly reel, we would rather have bought an entirely new Outfit for the same price!
The SLV is cast aluminum, hence the low price point. Don't take that as meaning it's inferior however. After a quick look-over, the finish was smooth and did not have any sharp edges that could possibly cut the line that happens with other cast reels. There are five models within the SLV line, a 2/3, 4/5, 6/7, 8/9 and 10/11 weight version. Of course, we purchased the 2/3 model to fit our 3 wt. rod. Every model though is designed the same and have the same features, the size being the only difference. From their website:
- Roller bearing allows the drag to engage in one direction only
- Precision Machined Brass Bushing Drive System
- Precision Machined Stainless Steel Spool Shaft
- ALC: Alumilite Diecast Aluminum Frame
- Diecast Super Large arbor spool design
- Non-slip positive grip rubberized handle knobs
- Easy to change left to right hand retrieval conversion.
- The drag is smooth and it stays set regardless of what is being done. We've fished with reels that were clunky with the drag. One moment they'd release the line and the very next they'd grab and stick. Or, the drag adjustment knob was able to be adjusted unknowingly. For example, when we land a fish we usually put the rod under our arm and more times than we'd like, when finished the drag would either be looser or tighter than what it was just a moment before. With the Okuma, this is not a problem, the drag releases smoothly, every cast and every retrieve. And how the drag adjustment knob has been designed and integrated into the reel, it takes focus to adjust!
- The reel can take a beating. We've dropped it, it's been water logged, it's been put in the dirt, and so much more. Every time, it comes back to perform as if it was just out of the box.
- The arbor is much larger than what we expected. So much so that after putting on about 20 feet of backing and then our fly-line, there wasn't enough room for everything on the reel. We cut off almost all of the backing and the nail knot connecting the fly line to the leader still rubs the frame if we load the line a little unevenly. Also, if you have to use the reel to land a fish, you're probably not focusing too much on how the line is being retrieved on the reel, it really stinks if you have let line out and pay more attention to how its distributing on the spool so that you can land that fish. This is probably the only complaint that we have.