Sights & Sounds

Sights & Sounds

Andy Dear | Monday, 26 February 2024

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds, exhilarate the spirit, and restore the tone of languid nature.

-William Cowper

  Years ago a friend of mine gifted me a beautiful fly reel made by Shilton reels in South Africa. From a quality of workmanship standpoint, it was as fine of a piece of equipment as I have ever used. However, for my use, it had one glaring flaw....a silent outgoing drag. I know many of the Abel reels were made this way as well, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why. The sound of the drag serves a very important purpose for a guide trying to gauge how fast or slow to pole after a fish. For me though, the sound of the drag is proof positive of a job well done.

 Just an hour or two ago, I was out in the casting field knocking the dust off of the 170 when I noticed a new sound that I have become enamored with. I refer to it as the "tug". For practice sake, I generally strip out the entire fly line with about 5 feet of backing to practice tracking, while false casting long lengths of line. Two of the key components as many of you know for achieving maximum distance. 105' plus a 9' leader is not an incredibly long cast, and more often than not I can push this out to the max without much trouble. When you really hit one just right, the line will FLY through the guides resulting in an audible TUG as the line runs out and hits the resistance of the drag on the reel. If the drag is set light enough, you even get a momentary couple of clicks as the momentum of the cast "yanks" a sliver of line off the reel.

  While we are on the subject of drag, it is my personal opinion that the original Tibor reels have absolutely the sweetest sound ever...the perfect combination of buzz, click, and whine. The Shilton has long since left the quiver, as has the one Abel I tried as well. I just couldn't get used to not having that positive audible feedback that the drag of a fly reel provides. I have gone back almost exclusively to Tibors, just because the drag is so exquisite. I have written many times over the years about how silence and seclusionare are the big attractions for me in fly fishing, but the one sound I don't mind breaking the silence of the flats is a Tibor Everglades being pushed to its limit!

Hope you all are having a great week!