Reel Testing

OK, you should just go HERE to see some reel testing that actually succeeded. Good stuff.

My reel testing, while I think a good effort at trying to replicate the trials and difficult conditions you could face on the flats, just had a hard time getting the product to test. Those guys at Trident (above) pretty much got most of the biggies I’d like to see tested and they put some science behind it. Check it out.

Here is what I was trying to do…

The primary purpose of reel testing will be to assess durability and dependability.  The question at the end of the day will be “Does it still work?”  I will not try to assess aspects of reel performance that require precise measurements (like trying to gauge start-up inertia, for example).

There are three possible outcomes… Perfect Pass (the reel had no issues at all), Pass (the reel had to be adjusted or repaired in some way that was not significant) or Fail (it dun broke).

Proposed testing regime

  • 20 high speed mechanical pulls using a drill
  • Immersion in saltwater for 5 minutes
  • 20 high speed mechanical pulls
  • cover in fine sand
  • 20 high speed pulls

Manual pulls will be made at the end of each set of mechanical pulls to evaluate changes in the drag.

Mechanical pulls will be made for real-life distances (100-200 feet at a time) and at bonefish speeds (25 mph or less).

Pictures of me figuring this stuff out…

my set up for the pulls

The first pulls start out close to 25 MPH.  The battery drains a little each pull, so by the 20th pull in a series, it is a little less than 25 MPH.

The drag is set at about 1 lb., which is a really reasonable amount.


2 cups of water = 1 pound

That works for me… 1 pound

OK… so, the tape would sag in the middle, pulling the sides in and so each test was running a bit different.  After a little bit of trial and error I have it all fixed… the arbor is large enough that I can get my 25 mph approximation.  The key turned out to be pvc pipe and wire hanger.

That is going to work.

Yup… that works pretty well.

First Up…  the Orvis Mirage ($445).

The Mirage

First 20 High Speed Mechanical Pulls are in the bag.  Reel still is silky smooth.

A little saltwater bath.

The Waterworks Lamson Vanquish ($359)

I’ve started doing the pulls on the Vanquish.  Looking forward to picking it up again later in the week after it has had some time to corrode from the salt.

The Vanquish looks nyce.

Lamson Vanquish

First 20 Pulls on the Board (literally)

This thing is moving at a glacial pace, but I did just complete the second 20 high speed pulls on the Vanquish.  This is post-saltwater.  At this point, the reel is holding up very well.  No discernible change in the function of the reel at all. After 40 high speed pulls and 5 minutes in saltwater, this reel is at 100%.

The only criticism I’d have is that the actual handle on the reel is not comfortable.  It has little divots in it and when you are reeling a whole bunch it gets a little uncomfortable on your fingers.  I’m sure it is supposed to help with grip.  If you are really, really hot into the fish, it would probably kind of start sucking a little bit.  I’m curious if it persists through the next iterations.

Mechanically wonderful, but I’m not a fan of this.

A little sand bath

The verdict – The Vanquish passes with no mechanical problems.  I’d feel confident with this reel out in the salt for a week.