Over the years I have had plenty of clients ask me about how well my fly reels have performed and it seems that over the last few trips everyone has been asking me . So I decided it certainly deserves a mention on my blog . Over the last 12 years I have used and abused so many reels in the saltwater . Vosslers are dead and drags seized , greys rotted out , Abels are solid workhorses but rather heavy and too expensive . The original Nautilus CCF reels had drag issues , I have trashed my hatch reels with salt build ups and sticky drags . I have a Tibor Pacific that sounds like a tractor . I dread to think how much money I have blown away over the years through a mixture of hard fishing and periods of neglect ?
The Nautilus FWX reels are by no means at the top of the range . Actually the drags were never designed to stop a GT but they do us fine here in the Uk , well thats mostly true , a big Pollock has astonishing power when it takes a dive back down and if and when I hook into double figure Pollock on the fly I do have to palm the FWX , that said I actually quite enjoy that feeling of loss of control , it adds to the excitement in a way . The maintenance schedule on my nautilus reels has been non existent , they will often get a hose over when I get home but thats it . I cringe when I think of how many rods and reels I have worn through , broken ,even lost overboard ( That leads into a good story to tell later )
So 5 years later I find myself considering an upgrade to the latest equivalent , the X frame , but if I am honest it would just be a flight of fancy all the while my reels are working 100 % and my bank balance remains somewhat sticky . So that concludes my 5 year review of the Nautilus reels on Zen2 10 out 0f 10 . I wish I could say the same for so many other bits of kit that just could not take the constant abuse .
Fly rod overboard
One day a few years ago I shared the boat with a client , we were both fly fishing . I decided to give the fly rod a rest . so I wound all the line and some of the leader into the rings . I just had 3 foot of leader dangling outside the rod tip . I placed the rod across the transom briefly and the fly was swinging back and forth and occasionally dapping the water right next to the outboard engine , suddenly I heard a big splash as a fish hit the fly and bolted and took the rod with it, the rod and fish were never seen again !
Lure rod overboard
At least this has a happy ending .We were fishing one shallow reef close to the shore one day and as I pulled a lure rod out of the rod holder on the T top it dragged my Tenryu Jigging rod with it and before I could react the Red rod flew over the side . We were in 10 foot of water . I could see the rod quite clearly on the bottom but despite all my efforts I just could not get it back , so I decided to circle the rod with the boat and mark the circle on my GPS with waypoints . The next day I fished with Ross Johnson and his brother , we had an absolute blast of a day catching plenty on surface lures , when we hit low water I headed back to the spot , stripped off and put a wetsuit and goggles on and went snorkelling . The red rod was easy to find and I did an excalibur with the rod as I rose the the surface , feeling somewhat of clever I must say !
Fly rod broken in the mangroves
Im on a roll now !Even more years ago I fished the Mexican mangroves with Gorden Morse for Tarpon around Isla Holbox. The guide was the worst on the planet , he would just grunt occasionally and point us in the direction of super spooky Tarpon , it was embarrassing at times . Over the week we did learn to distinguish one grunt from another . We were fishing the mangroves casting tight to the shore. Gordon’s fly snagged a bush , he was using a snowbee fly rod . I think i had already commented about the life expectancy of snowbee rods in saltwater . A somewhat better guide elsewhere had showed me a trick to get a fly out of the bushes so I decided to impress Gordon with my pro guide skills . I cant even remember what the trick was now but suffice to say Gordons 4 piece rod was converted into a 6 piece within seconds . When the fishing is crap , the guides crap and you bust a rod , it almost becomes one of the highlights of the trip !
Popping rod broken
The memories are flooding back now Im enjoying this . I remember being on one of our Seychelles trips before those nasty Somali Pirates spoilt it , one of the guys pulled out a Snowbee travel popping rod . I commented that I had heard they were not that robust , he replied brazenly ” Nah mate nothing wrong with this rod ” and gave it the tackle shop wiggle like you do . He rigged it up and dropped a lure behind the boat as we would troll when making passages on the yacht . First hit from a fish and the rod completely exploded ! `everyone including the rods owner burst into tears of laughter !
No dramas , no heartache , just there and ready to fish with year after year