Our Special Edition Reel Kits
have been very well received! The Raised Pillar kit sold out very quickly - but don't worry, we are working on Raised Pillar standard kits in brass and aluminum to be released soon. We are also nearing release of our 2 3/4" 3wt reel kit in brass. Announcements will go out when these are available - with a special offer for our Newsletter
subscribers.The Eclectic Angler
is also pleased to announce that we can now accept most major credit cards on our web site, over the phone and even face-to-face (with a very cool iPhone credit card reader). You can also still use PayPal to purchase with a credit card if you choose.
We also wanted to let you know that we will be offering a Reelsmithing Workshop at the Colorado Rodmaker's Reunion
. The Reunion goes from July 14 to 16 at Chair Mountain Ranch. The workshop will likely take place on the 14th. Contact me for more information if you would like to attend. The class is almost full.The Eclectic Angler
was interviewed by a reporter from Blood Knot Magazine earlier this year. Blood Knot's "Blue Collar Issue
" with the interview was published yesterday. You'll have to scroll through the magazine to read it. It's a little fun and edgy!
New ProductsThis month we have extended our Fly Line Combo Pack selection to include 3wt, 4wt and 5wt lines in yellow, olive and sand in stock. The sale on these combo packs is continuing this month (see May Specials below). And, of course, watch for several new reel kits to be introduced this month:
- a 3" all brass raised pillar kit
- a 3" all aluminum raised pillar kit
- a 2 3/4" brass 3 weight reel kit
May SpecialsAluminum Reel Kit Sale!
Our metal supplier had a special deal on aluminum last month that we couldn't pass up. So, we are able to offer our Silent and Click Check Aluminum Reel Kits at a great price through May. The Silent Check Aluminum Reel Kit is now on sale for $65 and the Click Check Aluminum Reel Kit is on sale for $80 - that's a $15 and $20 savings! You have your choice of black or white Delrin™ for the handle and hub. These aluminum reels nicely compliment fiberglass and graphite rods and light bamboo rods.
Fly Line Special!
We are continuing our popular Fly Line Combo Pack sale through May. These combo packs include your choice of a 3wt, 4wt or 5wt premium quality line in yellow, olive or sand with backing and a tapered leader - all for $36. We normally sell these combo packs for $45 and other retailers sell them for $59. We can also special order 6wt to 8wt combo packs at this special price - just email us or add a note to your order with your line weight.
ReelflectionsThe Rabbeth Patented Adjustable Drag
Albert Einstein said "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." I think that is especially true with angling equipment! When I come across a simple but effective design or early patent, it catches my attention. A few months ago, while perusing some US fishing reel patents, I came across patent #691,073
granted Jan. 14, 1902 to Francis J. Rabbeth of Boston, MA. This patent was especially interesting to me since I study and collect MA rod and reels. I'd heard of the Rabbeth patent but never really spent time trying to understand it. But this time I did.
The patent is for an adjustable drag mechanism that is as elegant and effective as it is simple. The basic idea was to isolate the handle from the spool with a "frictional connection". In other words, the spool can turn while the handle is held stationary and the amount of resistance (friction) can be increased or decreased. Here is a quote from the patent:"In practical use the angler will use the crank-handle in the ordinary manner when he desires to reel in the line. Whenever the fish makes a rush, the angler may continue to turn the crank-handle or he may hold the crank-handle stationary, and whenever the strain upon the line becomes sufficient to overcome the frictional connection between the crank-handle and the spool the spool will turn, while the crank-handle remains stationary, thus paying our the line until the struggle of the fish ceases."
The handle is simply connected to the drive train via a simple clutch. This is an especially nice feature when chasing big game like tuna and tarpon! The fish can run and the angler does not have to worry about busted knuckles from the rapidly spinning handle. In fact, the 1907 Abercombie & Fitch
catalog offers two models in several sizes of "Rabbeth" patent handles that can be retrofit on to existing reels. The "Rabbeth" sold for $5 and was made for large game reels. Here is a copy of the product page:
Abercombie & Fitch
The "Governor" was a smaller version suitable for lighter reels. The drag is preset to yield just below the breaking point of the weakest link of tackle (usually the line or tippet). Here is the excerpt for the "Governor":
Abercombie & Fitch 1907 Catalog
Of course, several reel makers offered reels with an integral "Rabbeth" handle too.
Shortly after discovering the Rabbeth patent, I acquired this reel fitted with the patented handle. Let's take it apart and see what's inside!
First, the handle assembly is attached the standard way. A square hole engages the square end of the handle shaft, in this case, the multiplier gear shaft. The embodiment of the patent is contained in this handle assembly (nickel plated brass):
Note the 6 small screws. They are used to control the friction by tightening or loosening them. On my reel, this is set and left alone. I have seen some reels that have 2 or more miniature wing nuts that can be used to adjust the drag on the water.
Here is the backside of the handle. It is stamped "PAT'D JAN 14, '02". The easiest way to track down reel patents by date is with Jim Brown's wonderful book Fishing Reel Patents of the United States 1838-1940
. It was published in 1985 but can still be found. It's a real (reel) time saver.
Removing the 6 screws reveals the mechanism:
Here are the guts of the mechanism. The screwed on "cap" is on the right surrounded by the 6 tiny screws. The handle itself has a large hole and a circular recess that holds a thin ring of rubber. I did not want to remove and possibly damage the rubber. The circular part on the left fits in to the recess and its backside contacts the rubber ring in the handle. It appears to be made of nickel silver. It also has a thin rubber ring on its top surface. This presses against the cap when assembled. It has a square hole that engages the reel's drive shaft.
This should give a pretty good understanding of how the drag works. The metal slip disk (left) is screwed on to the reel's drive shaft like a normal handle is. The handle sandwiches the metal slip disk between 2 thin layers of rubber. The cap holds it all together. If the 6 cap screws are fully tightened, the rubber disks grab the slip disk so that it can't turn (except under extreme force). However, if those screws are loosened, the slip disk can be precisely controlled to slip at a specific amount of torque. I have seen reels outfitted with cork, rubber, and leather disks.
The drag works remarkable well and is very simple and easy to fabricate. It seems to have enjoyed a following, especially with the big game anglers, until more sophisticated drags like the star drag were developed. This idea is applicable to today's reels and could easily be incorporated in to one of our reel kits or the design from The Reelsmith's Primer
. John Bett's has built and written about a similar slip clutch in his Reels and Making Them
(see Section 3 - A Diary
). I am going to experiment a little with this and report back in a future issue.