John Wolstenholme reviews a fly reel that he reckons puts British, more specifically Yorkshire, reel manufacture firmly back on the map: The Fly Reel Company's RB1.
There have been a number of high quality machined reels coming out of the USA in recent years, so it was of some interest when the first fly reel from Fly Reel Company based in Yorkshire was announced – the ‘Reel Britannia’ – or RB1.
British reel design has always been able to evoke traditional aesthetics with functionality and the new reel certainly blends a traditional look with modern functionality.
The first impression of the RB1 reel is of a solid and rugged design, which perfectly balanced the 15ft Spey rod I tested it on. There is plenty of capacity on the reel for backing and a big speyline, or additional backing if you were targeting other species such as tarpon. The reel is easy to take apart and open, or for changing from left to right hand wind.
I have always been a fan of anti-reverse reels, having had bruised knuckles on more than one occasion from a madly spinning handle on non anti reverse models, however there has always been a limited choice, so it’s nice to see this feature on this new reel.
The reel incorporates a state of the art composite drag material coupled with large titanium discs and a lot work has gone into the shape and design of the reel back which dissipates heat quickly. The gearing on the reel is smooth with low start up inertia and on its highest setting will stop a leviathan.
I love fly reels. I do not actively collect them, unless you count the dozen or so hidden away from the wife in my attic...The reels I covet the most are the ones able to tell a story and ones that speak of conquest and discovery - others of innovation and beauty. Most reels serve a functional purpose and reels spun off a production line don’t give me the same pleasure or leave me with the same memories.
Some pretty clever engineering and thought have gone into this reel and it has a great story behind it. Created, designed and manufactured by Shaun Benzon and Tim Brown in Yorkshire, it’s a reel business start-up success story and their passion and love of fishing is very evident in this reel.
The Fly Reel Company has put UK reel manufacturing back on the map.
• Machined from solid block aerospace grade 6082 aluminium, hard anodised to MIL Spec 8625 Type 3, class 2
• Precipitation hardened and pacified 17-4 stainless steel shaft and 316 stainless steel components
• High performance composite drag material coupled with large titanium disks, producing up to 18lbs of drag force
• Heat generated during a run is dissipated through the ported aluminium spool to prevent overheating
• Titanium click and pawl system with optional click check
• Easily interchangeable between left and right hand wind requiring no tools
• Zero backlash anti-reverse system with large exposed palming rim
• Reverse tapered handle to prevent line snagging when casting
• Line Capacity: 300m 30lbs Dacron +AFS shooting head or 500m 50lbs gel spun +WF12 TT
• Heavy duty needle clutch bearing with a dynamic load rating of over 350kg
• Fully sealed clutch and bearing arrangement with Viton O-rings
The RRP of the RB1 is £599, if you would like to track one down contact Tim Brown on 01423 709741 or check out the Fly Reel Company website