One thing my father taught me about fishing gear was that you get what you pay for. I’ve discovered that it’s not always true – sometimes you get way more. The trick is finding those bargains, especially in a sport where $600 rods and reels are the norm. Well, here’s one from Down Under – Hayden Fly Reels. Engineer Terry Hayden decided to build his own reel to fit his specifications, and came up with a series of lever-drag antireverse reels capable of handling almost any fish that swims.
Hayden designed his reels to be almost bulletproof so they would not break down under extreme operating conditions. The frame and spool are machined from bar stock aluminum specially designed for this kind of application. All other parts are stainless steel, except the reel seat, which is titanium. The parts are machined and then hand-polished and assembled. The simplicity of the design and the sealed drag system mean that the reel requires practically no maintenance.
With the lever-drag system, an angler can set the drag to apply specific amounts of pressure to a fish. The simple spindle design provides pressure evenly to both sides of the spool and cannot be locked up; the largest versions can generate well over 20 pounds of drag. The system incorporates cork- and graphite-impregnated Teflon drag washers and is sealed to avoid contamination.
Finally, each reel is tested and numbered and comes with a 30-year unconditional guarantee that even covers corrosion. The reels are available in both anti-reverse and direct-drive configurations in sizes ranging from Salmon (6-weight), Barramundi (8-weight), Sailfish (10-weight), Yellowfin (12-weight) up to the new large-arbor Broadbill (15-plus-weight). Reel capacities range from 150 yards of 25-pound backing to 450 yards of 30-pound, and weights range from 9.5 to 15 ounces. The antireverse reels retail for between U.S.$363 and $486; direct-drive reels are priced slightly lower.
For more information, contact Hayden Fly Reels, 19 Maramba Ave., Grovedale, Victoria, 3216, Australia,; 011-61-3-5241-4293; www.flyreels.com.au .