Spool Diameter- 5.25"
Bearings - ABEC7
Warranty- 1 year
Made in Canada from Candian and U.S. materials
Limited production run of 25
4 7/8" River Keeper
4 7/8" Frog Water Reel
This reel is big! At 5.25" in diameter, it is the
largest that FFC has tested. It is narrow, proportionately to its
diameter (which I like). Two tone colored reels always seem to
look more interesting to me. The black back plate and clear anodized spool
is an attractive addition.
The reel is put together very well. I noticed
tight tolerances and the absence of any spool play.
The porting is both functional and aesthically
pleasing. You'll have to like the look of holes, because this reel
has many. We didn't mind them at all. The tapered handles are a
smart addition and yield to line loops, thus assisting in the prevention
of handle to handle wrapping from a misguided retrieve. In the event
you like to finger flick your spool to retrieve line, the holes nearest
the center of the spool body are just large enough for this function.
The clicker mechanism slides back and forth with minimal effort and seems
to click into position with a good audible thump. The clicker is
designed with a spring loaded ball bearing and a circular plate with
recessed holes for it to fall into when engaged.
Onstream performance reveals everything
about a reel design.
Regardless of tolerance, color, weight, etc...the functionality that is
felt during the first dozen or so drifts and certainly during a decent
fish battle either glorify the purchase or push short comings to center
stage. This reel performed with the best of them and with only a few
distractions. It had good startup (a true determiner of build
quality) and, due to spool mass, kept pass with long drifts even under
winding conditions. It balanced a 13' 3pc XST float rod well and
wasn't overtly heavy when the entire rig was prepared. With a mass
of 11.7 ounces, the reel is quite light considering its 5.25" diameter.
So, here's some things that we
had to learn to live with. The center hub has a semi-permanent cover
which is secured with four phillips screws. This arrangement makes
cleaning of the reel almost impossible on-stream. Over the several
months that we field tested this reel, I found that while I was careful,
an unexpected splash of dirty water was all that was needed to have the
reel grinding and squealing in agony. Another factor, was the tight
tolerances. This reel is certainly put together extremely well,
almost too well! While this may sound completely ironic, the model
we tested had such tight tolerances and minimal allowances that when it
came to dirt or ice build up, it didn't take much to effect the spool.
On an especially cold day, I accidentally splashed the reel with the
smallest amount of water and it instantly locked up. The spool was
frost frozen to the back plate. Rotating the spool, forcibly, did
little to remedy the problem as the gab between the two surfaces was so
thin that the water was pulled and distributed via capillary effect over a
large swath of the inside rim. Without a screwdriver, I was out of
commission. Now, we could argue that sub freezing temperatures mixed
with aluminum (a heat sink) and water is a recipe for disaster when it
comes to the notion of a free running bearing reel, however, I pointed
this out because the amount of water was so small that other reels I've
tested would have faired better.
The flip side of this reality
is the tight tolerances prevent line trap. This condition is caused
when fishing line slips into the gap between the spool and the back plate.
I also noticed the holding
power on the clicker is as good as most any centre-pin reel on the market,
but just slightly less than what I'd prefer. I don't require a boat winch
when it comes to locking the spool down, but I felt the mechanism could
use an additional pound or two of pressure behind it. Under a constant
load and once the spool started spinning, the ball bearing clicker
mechanism would pop in and out of the recessed "catch" holes with minimal
pressure. I also recognized the possibility of engaging the clicker
mechanism in between "catch" holes. This would result in a belief
that it was fully engaged when in fact it wasn't. A small tug would
have the spool spinning under drag. Sliding the clicker lever off
and then back on and rotating the spool identified without question that
it was fully engaged. This may or may not be an issue for you and
your fishing style, but I thought I'd mention this tendency regardless.
Information coming soon....