Q2 Following on from the very successful introduction of the soon-to-be patented Arden-grass drag system do you think that it is important to spend a large amount of money on a saltwater flyreel? I have heard stories of reels melting down. And what of anti-reverse. is this an unnecessary embellishment?
Bruce: It is important if the buyer wants a very pretty, art-like reel, and that is certainly the case with a lot of anglers. It is not important if the desire is to just get a good functional reel. Just spending a lot on a pretty reel is not insurance that it won't fail, but in general, most of the expensive reels sold today will perform slightly better than less expensive reels, and may require less maintenance. Properly maintained there isn't any reason the better less expensive reels can't catch just as many fish as the big bucks reels. (I have no personal preference either way, I fish with a lot of our System 2 reels, and also fish with Charltons costing many times more.) It is wise to check the reputation of a reel before buying one for a demanding application. Find a shop that sells them and ask their experience. If they sell them it is probably because they have faith in them due to experience. Anti-reverse is a personal preference. Most anglers don't use it, they learn to keep their fingers out of the way early on. Some anglers like it. The number of AR reels sold is pretty small, due to low demand, not because they are a lot more expensive or unavailable.
Tom: I do think that a good quality reel is very important. I can catch a tarpon over 100 pounds on a Plfueger Medallist, or a Loop with no drag. That is not really the point of paying for a reel like an Abel or Tibor. You get what you pay for. A cheap reel may service you well for a while but you are likely to replace it many times over the years. I have had reels totaled by big fish but not too many. What usually happens is that a cheap reel will have cheap parts that are highly susceptible to corrosion. No matter how meticulously you keep the reel, it will still corrode over time and eventually fail when you need it. First of all, I do not have the time not energy to meticulously scrub each reel and oil it daily. What you pay for when buying an Abel is a reel that will never let you down and a reel that does not require much or any maintenance and you will be able to pass it down to your kids.
Brad: gives a longer answer