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Tested on Animals-Nautilus CCF Series Reel Review
Just what we need--another new fly reel on the market. Those were my thoughts as Jerry Darkes was dragging us over to the Nautilus booth at the 2006 AFFTA show in Denver. I could read the same thought in Ray's eyes, but we both had empathy for Jerry as each of us had been in the same position as manufacturer sales reps. It is difficult to get a new line of products into an established shop, let alone a shop operated by our very own Ray Schmidt. As we explored the booths, Ray told the manufacturers' that he wanted to see how well the new and improved fly tackle worked. That is exactly what the guys at Nautilus did when they sent a CCF 8 Fly Reel home with us to test. They wanted us to try it out under our fall fishing conditions and perform our own "animal testing" on some migratory fish.
What really caught my eye was the fully-sealed and seemingly bullet-proof drag system. That is top priority when fishing in cold, wet conditions that may start out at 20 degrees and climb to 40 degrees by mid-day. Daily use and abuse during the average salmon and steelhead season will test a reel's finish, strength, and tolerances. A reel that can perform without a hiccup in these conditions will win my vote every time. The Nautilus reel was passed around the guide staff like a bottle of cheap whiskey with each one of the staff putting the reel through its paces.
The CCF drag system performed without flaw from September to December. The anodized finish remained intact, and the reel foot, or handle did not fall out (all of which has happened with other products we have tested and do not carry in the fly shop). I particularly like the smooth pick-up the reel has with no click on the uptake. This gives the reel a very silky feel and is great for spinning up line in a hurry when an October steelhead charges the boat. The large arbor design has almost become a standard in fly reels and the CNC styling of the barstock aluminum is beautifully designed and fully functional. Another very impressive feature was the amount of start-up inertia that the drag possessed. There was virtually no resistance on start-up.
The real kicker was a day that I fished the reel in 29 degree weather and completely submersed the reel for what seemed like an eternity. The drag still performed, without so much as a hitch. The line actually froze to itself, but the drag remained fully functional.
Yes, we do need another fly reel on the market, as long as it is as tough and functional as the Nautilus CCF Series. This will be my next Spey reel with the 12S CCF being my reel of choice.
Nautilus CCF Series Fly Reels
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