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″ tolerance for machining the clutch housing, as well as the hub, rotor sleeve, and spindle, providing near “ZERO” movement side to side. This is an important feature when fighting large explosive fish. When the line is being stripped off the outer edges of the spool it can create torque against the spindle, any side to side play can cause the spindle to rack even slightly, creating inconsistent drag (drag lash)… resulting – broken leader lost fish!
All of this sounds good off the water, but as they say “the proof is in the performance” I can’t wait to fish this puppy… I’ll let you know.