Sunday, July 22

In the land of the one armed fly fisher, the automatic reel is king.

I get looks from some people when I say my favourite reel is an automatic, I've been known to quip that "its not your grandfather's automatic."

I bought a Franco Vivarelli Goldstar semi-automatic reel a few years back, mostly because it was cheap and entirely bizarre.

Most automatic reels are chunky spring fired affairs which are reknowned to suck ass. The Intertubes is filled with stories of destroyed rods and impaled troot seem to pretty much go hand in hand with people bitching about the classic automatic reel.

The semi-automatic doesn't work the same way, when there's resistance, they stop. Its actually pretty fucking brilliant. I bought one because it was cheap, and because I like weird shit...the thing is, it turns out it'll pretty much ruin you on any other reel. Christ, last time I took out a regular reel, my hand got tired cranking it in every time I moved.

So, the ultimate goal is to get more of these things because it turns out they're fucking awesome. Matter of fact, once you start using one, you can't really go back, certainly not for the kind of fishing I generally do where I know I'm not going to find a fish I can't line by hand.

The downside is at $560 per reel means I'll never own another. There's only a couple manufacturers of these things, all of them European, and all of them almost as expensive, unless you want the shitty kind of automatic reel (and I've considered them), you're shit out of luck.

Then I discovered that you could buy semi-autos on the eBays for under $20. Turns out these fancy European things are not original designs, but classics. The goal was set, and it turns out I had ended up buying your grandfather's automatic reel. Shot that whole fucking line to hell, eh?
As usual, it turns out no one else on the planet seems to know or care about these things at all. I'm stuck without any information other than a few asides of these things, and obviously no one can give you a head-to-head comparision to a modern semi-auto because, well, no fucking one bought them.

So, I guess its up to me to step up and explain how these things work to the universe, because it turns out that my stupid Vivarelli post gets the occasional Google hit, and fuck knows when I tried to get this old school beast, several other assholes had to jack the price up to a point where I didn't care about it anymore.

So, here's two models out there, ond of which,the Pachner and Koller Re-Treev-It, came in the other day and I couldn't wait to take it out and see how it compares to the Franco Vivarelli Goldstar.

In a nut shell, it doesn't. 1947 manufacturing is a far cry from the machining Eyetalians can do in 2004. 

However, for the $18.81 it cost me, it's got its charm.

Mechanically, they're pretty much the exact same design. On the Re-Treev-It you pull the lever up, pushes the toothed bar down, which'll turn the main gear attached to a plate on which a pawl will then spin the spool on a spindle, with a spring (a bar on the Re-Treev-It, a coil on the Newstar) to return the handle to its initial position.

The Vivarelli includes a series of gears that will multiple the effort, plus bears in the spool, there's no simple pawl on the Vivarelli, either, but a spring loaded clutch that only engages in one direction.

Due to the extra gears and bearings, the flip of the lever in the Goldstar causes the spool to spin with fury and retrive anywhere from 12" to three or even more feet of line (depends on the resistance), a pull on the Re-Treev-It will get you about four to six inches of line. 

One of the things I hate about the Vivarelli is the fact that it has no handle. Thankfully, since the retrieve rate of the lever sucks balls, the Re-Treev-It comes with a little plastic handle to manually retrieve line, and it performs as well as you'd expect a 65 year old reel to work, really. Its got a very quiet click on retrieve, almost completely silent, even. 

Also, the fucking handle's on the wrong side. Stupid right hand retrieve.

Play out, on the other hand, is awful. It has a terrible sound, and is woefully light (casting will cause it to play out line if you carry too much). It truly has no practical drag to speak of, and judging from the general condition of the reel, I suspect it never really could. 

There may or may not be some adjustability to it by moving the spring that the pawl presses against, but  P&K did build in a novel feature, the lever doubles as a brake. The more you pull it during use, the more drag you apply and squeezing it firmly locks the spool in place. The downside is that the amount of travel you have from "hey, that's barely any resistance" to "perfect" is about a millimeter, and you can add another millimeter to the dead stop setting.

So, how's it fish, then..? Meh. As a feature, the handle's still sweet, but you'll find yourself cursing the shitty drag, shuddering when you strip line, and fucking pumping that goddamned handle way too much. Its still more convienent than goddamned reeling in all that shitty slack, though.

Trying to get one, I watched them go for $30-40, plus shipping. Two popped up, one for $18.81 all in, and one for $33 all in. I was prepared to BIN the 33 one, but let my lowball ride first, realizing if I liked it, I could go back and BIN the second one.

Its still there, go get it. I'm not interested, but I can assure you if I ever see another for $10, I'm on it. Its interesting, but its not the answer I wanted. Now, if only I can convince the guys at Thinkfish to send me a demo Bold...

1 comment:

  1. I never saw one of those until recently. Very slick