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Category Archives: Fly Reel Guest Reviews

Fly Reels Reviews – SR4 SR2

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Solitude Fly Reels Reviews by Jeroen Schoondergang Jeroen sent us these incredible photos along with the following fly reels reviews for the SR4 and SR2… We spent a week in Bodø in Northern Norway, just above the Arctic circle. Last year we fished there two weeks earlier, and we had a ball sight casting at cod, feeding heavily on crabs in the shallows. This years the cod had already started schooling for their trek to deeper water. They were still aggressively feeding and certainly the dominant predator. With the help of a small fishfinder/gps, a Lowrance Elite4, we tracked down drop-offs, reefs and plateaus which we fished with fast sinking shooting heads (11 to 18 grains per foot) and sinking running lines. The SR4 fly reel was perfect for this. The reel is solid and gets the job done. I was fishing 4 and 7 weights, which is extremely light for this type of fishing. It does however give me an edge in fishing speed and with the right equipment you can give the fish some serious stick, even on this gear. The SR4 is an essential part of the outfit. It performs perfectly with no startup inertia at all, which is crucial with the very light rods we used. I used the SR2 in combination with my 4weight and an intermediate line to fish for coalfish in the shallows. Like its bigger brother it performed admirably. My Solitudes have become steady travel companions.  

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Fly Fishing Alaska’s Arolik River

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Fly Fishing Alaska’s Arolik River by Troy Buzalsky The fly fishing planning was fierce, nine days and nine nights floating Alaska’s Arolik River, in pursuit of Arctic Grayling, Leopard Rainbows, Dolly Varden, and potentially all five Salmon species. Getting there was the easy part, thanks to Papa Bear Adventures, whom orchestrated our fly in, fly out, and necessary gear which included raft, cooler, kitchen, and tent…the big stuff! We needed to travel as light and practical as possible, but on a trip-of-a-lifetime, shortchanging ourselves on fly fishing gear was not an option. We chose to be prepared for every fly fishing opportunity available taking a 4 weight bamboo, 6 weight trout rod, and 8 weight steelhead rods. These rods would allow us to fish dries, swing streamers and flesh patters, run TroutBeads, and strip gaudy pink clumps of marabou when we found fresh Silvers. We also packed a special rod for Mousing, an eight and a half foot seven weight Mike Brooks bamboo. We love our bamboo! To balance the rods we needed reels, and to be honest, fly reels have always been a place to store line. In fact, growing up fly fishing Oregon’s McKenzie River, I have always utilized the iconic Pfleuger Medalist. Lets face it, they hold line fine, and they still look great, especially on classic cane. This year’s trip would be different. It was a trip of a lifetime, so our reels needed to match our adventure. After visiting a few area fly shops I was not sold on any particular brand of reel. It wasn’t until I seen the advertisement, or shall I say advertisements that I digested the name Solitude Reels; a new name to me. They looked nice. I liked their advertisement profile. I thought, hey, why not, and placed an order for two…

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Solitude Fly Reel 4 Review by Fish Zoo

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Solitude Fly Reel 4 Comes to the East Coast by Rob Enslin – Fish Zoo Just in time for our spring Striped Bass catch and release season…I received a new 8 wt large arbor fly reel from Solitude Reels located in on the west coast in Skagit Valley Washington. Surrounded by some of the most diverse and demanding fly fishing in the US, it’s the perfect backdrop for the development and manufacturing of big game fly reels. The first thing that drew me to this reel was the design roots. The original product was designed and manufactured primarily to perform and stand up to the punishments of Steelhead fishing. Solitude Reels took the design to the next level by improving its features and function to tackle even larger and more aggressive saltwater fish. Additionally these reels are all precision milled from solid aircraft grade, corrosion resistant, aluminum alloy billet, with every part being manufactured in-house with the exception of hardware and some finishing. When I unwrapped the Solitude SR4 from its packaging, I was immediately enamored by the finish. The optional type III hard anodized black finish provide the highest quality finish for use in extreme environments, particularly marine. The photos just do not capture the deep black mirror glaze, level 8 polishing on the frame and spool. Type III anodizing virtually penetrates the aluminum with near ceramic hardness while building-up on the surface by an equal thickness….translation – beautiful and bullet proof! Like any angler with a new reel…. the next thing I did was start fooling with the drag. The oversized cork and stainless steel drag washers were silky smooth. The drag adjustment knob allows for infinite drag settings up to 17 lbs. Most impressive is the solid, “one piece” feel when rotating the spool and frame. .0002″…

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Eat Sleep Fish – Fly Reel Review

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Fly Reel Review By Jeroen Schoondergang  for  Eat, Sleep, Fish Solitude Fly Reel –  handcrafted, beautiful and affordable… Opinions about the ideal fly reel for the Low Countries vary from a simple line storage device to a high tech piece of art with a drag to stop a train on the run. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. The drag on your fly reel of choice should be in good working order. Not because you will need it to stop any of the fish you are likely to hook over here, but mostly because a faulty drag can cause a reel to freeze. Another mark of a quality reel is very low tolerance between spool and frame. The frame should be tough enough not to bend when dropped and the reel should have a good anodising finish to avoid corrosion and scratching. Fly reels that meet these requirements, are often the product of reelmakers with a near obsessive passion for their craft. Jonathan Knapp of the Solitude reel company, probably fits this description. The sense of precision with which Knapp and his colleagues construct and assemble the Solitude reels, suggests that we are dealing with a priceless piece of engineering. It comes as a great surprise that the Solitude reels are actually very affordable, even with the costs of ordering one overseas taken in consideration. The reel becomes an even  better bargain if you order spools with different arbor-widths, that are available for the Solitude 4 and 5. I use a large arbor Solitude 4 on my seven weight and have the standard arbor spool filled with a copious amount of backing and a WF9 line. The Solitude is a well-constructed fly reel. It has an excellent drag which will be of great help on fishing trips abroad, when tangling…

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Solitude 2 Fly Reel Review

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Solitude 2 Fly Reel Reviews When choosing my fly reel I searched for a quality one made in the USA. My search led me to a small company called Solitude Reels. Located in Seattle, they have been making a quality, proven reel that can withstand the rigors of fighting Steelhead and had to be tough enough to handle anything that I could possibly throw at it, and it has. ~ Texas Fly Fishing Adventures Designed for 4-5-6 lines, the Solitude II is perfect for western rivers, large spring creeks or chasing Alaskan rainbows. Use of crest- to- crest wave spring in the drag allows for a near-infinite range of settings. The fine, silky-smooth drag system helps protect light tippets and delivers even, consistent pressure during demanding runs.  Made from fully machined 6061-T651 aluminum. 4-5-6 wt. line weight reel – Weight: 6.20 oz. Colors:  Gold Reel, Pewter Reel, Black Reel  Backing and line capacity: DT 4 (90’ line) + 115 yds 20 lb backing DT 5 (90’ line) + 90 yds 20 lb backing WF4/WF5 (90’ line) + 200 yds 20 lb backing WF6 (100’ line) + 140 yds 20 lb backing Spool diameter (inner flange): 2.77” More from Texas Fly Fishing Adventures…The smoothness of the drag, which is made of a cork/teflon disk system really comes in handy when playing a large fish. Being type II anodized gives me the comfort of knowing that when I fish in saltwater it will be able to handle the elements. With the capability of changing the spool quickly, you are able to adapt to the conditions on the water easily.

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Solitude Fly Reels & Atlantic Salmon Fishing

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Fly Reels, Atlantic Salmon and the Miramichi River By Michael Crutcher For the past several years I have been lucky to fish for Atlantic salmon on the Southwest Miramichi River in New Brunswick, Canada.  Among eastern Canada’s many fine salmon rivers, the Miramichi is the top producer.  My friend and fishing buddy, Howard Rossbach, is a member of the Salmon Brook Association, which was founded in 1929.  The Association operates Salmon Brook Camp; the association and camp are named after the eponymous creek that joins the river on camp waters. The camp occupies a majestic perch overlooking the Miramichi.   The camp takes only four anglers a week.  Howard is from Seattle and owns Firesteed Cellars, which makes the top-selling Oregon Pinot Noir.  He was our host.  The entire gang is pictured here.  From left to right: Howard; Ed Zamojski, an international hotel consultant (Seattle); the author, Michael Crutcher, a retired lawyer and businessman (Seattle); and William Loring, an executive at a major family company (Beverly Farms, MA).  We’re wearing tee shirts printed with photos from a prior Salmon Brook trip. We fished the last week of September 2012, in fine weather but with low water conditions.  We saw a lot of jumping fish but few seemed eager to take the fly. The Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, once had a range as far south as the Hudson River.  A combination of dams and overfishing decimated its population in U.S. waters.  Today, only a remnant of original population survives in rivers in eastern Maine.  Canada is a different matter, however.  There the species has been protected through the efforts of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, private landowners and the Canadian Provincial governments. Netting at the mouths of rivers has been largely eliminated.  International treaties ban pelagic fishing in the waters off Greenland…

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Fly Reels & Fiberglass Rods

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We love when our fly reels make the movies.   Doug Roland of Lowcountry Journal and Cameron Mortenson of The Fiberglass Manifesto worked together on this video project of fishing fiberglass fly rods on the South Carolina coast.  From The Fiberglass Manifesto blog:   I’m always looking for a good excuse to spend more time in the lowcountry and long time readers will know that my redfish game has been a long time coming. Now, besides redfish, we’re also talking about cobia, amberjack, and it’s looking like I’ll be on a lowcountry bender over the next few months.  Yesterday I had a chance to get together with John Irwin of Fly Right Charters on the push pole and Doug behind the lens. We battled wind and a wicked late afternoon glare but finally all the pieces came together on a solid redfish as the sun was dropping behind the marsh grass. I ended the day with a Lowcountry Slam with a redfish, speckled seatrout, and a flounder. All in all a stellar day on the water.  Doug put together this short video of our day and hopefully it’s just the beginning of what we’re talking about doing. I am pretty stoked and it was also neat to put a glass fly rod in both John and Doug’s hands to see their reaction. I might convert a few more believers as this project goes along.    

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Solitude Fly Reel – Performance & Durability

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Thank you to flyfishingporn.com for this fly reel review! My first introduction to the Solitude fly reel was many years ago on the PM fishing with a guide. He had a drift boat filled with them. We were hunting Steelhead in late December and the weather was less than perfect, but, when is it when your steelheading? I was young in my fly-fishing career and never hesitated to ask too many questions. The questions finally came to the gear and his reasons for choosing the artillery. Performance and durability were clearly the only reasons he chose his gear over the other competitors. When he talked about the fly reels there was a more delivered message about how the Solitude fly reel shined. The fly reel was designed for weather and ergonomics of a steelhead fisherman. Making it to withstand the punishing runs and environmental challenges were their main concerns. The guide said he put them through the ringer 240 days a year on the rivers and lakes in the area, and he loves them. The fly reels were made in Hazel Park, Michigan by Craig Harris a tool-and-die man. The passion of fly fishing and fishing with guides while listening to their complaints about how fly reels can’t hold up to Michigan winters was interesting to him. The reels would freeze up or have bad start up inertia would drive the guides crazy when they put clients on fish. Finally a guide said to Craig if you’re such a great machinist why don’t you make a reel! Well the rest is history. The Harris Solitude is still highly regarded in the Michigan area by guides and fisherman.  Unfortunately, the Harris Reel Company would go out of business.  Edco, Inc. would eventually acquire the assets to the company in 2005 through the…

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In search of Solitude (a reel story)

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Thank you to Texas Fly Fishing Adventures for this fly reel guest review! Hard to believe that almost a year ago my fly fishing adventure began. Although I feel like i’ve learned a lot at this point, there is still more fly reel and fly flishing knowledge to gain. When starting to piece my gear together, a lot of discussion was had on fly reels. So much is said that a fly reel is only there to hold your line. That statement might be true when it comes to smaller species of fish but i’ve had quite a few large bass take me close to the backing before the use of the drag system on the reel tired them out. When choosing my fly reel I searched for a quality one made in the USA. My search led me to a small company called Solitude Reels. Located in Seattle, they have been making a quality, proven fly reel that can withstand the rigors of fighting Steelhead and had to be tough enough to handle anything that I could possibly throw at it, and it has.     The smoothness of the drag, which is made of a cork/teflon disk system really comes in handy when playing a large fish. Being type II anodized gives me the comfort of knowing that when I fish in saltwater it will be able to handle the elements. With the capability of changing the spool quickly, you are able to adapt to the conditions on the water easily.   Currently i’m using the Solitude 2 reels on a 4wt and 5wt rod. Soon I hope to add a Solitude 3 to put on an 8wt for use on larger fish as well as at the coast when pursuing redfish.    

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