I’m ashamed to say that this reel was bought through impulse rather than necessity as I have 2 reels that are perfectly adequate for float fishing but given the specification and price of Drennan’s new float reel I found it hard to resist.
Drennan produce two reels in this, the series 7 range one of which comes packaged as a feeder reel with 3 spools and this reel, rated slightly lighter than the former but with the same looks and features. First impressions are outstanding, like with all of Drennan’s products that I have used it is obvious that they take the utmost pride in the innovation, design, quality and variety of their wares and to top it off for me they are 100% British designed and built for the UK angling market.
The reel’s aesthetics are simple, functional and elegant which I like and best of all they are understated which I think is important in fishing tackle. The body of the reel is a mix of metal and hard plastic with a lovely powder coat/ graphite dark grey finish which is highlighted by regions of ‘Titanium’ finished metal such as the one touch button on the handle, the mounting for the rear drag dial and the pivot points of the bale arm mechanism. I’m not taken by fancy fake chrome that scratches easily and looks ‘naff’ after a few sessions. Well done Drennan for focusing on the job in hand and not getting carried away with unnecessary trinkets and ‘bling’.
One of the selling points of this reel for me was also one of its simplest but most innovative features. Included with the reel are several rubber inserts that fit into the spools to remind you, at a glance, of the line weights on your spools. The rubber inserts come in two units of measurement, millimetre diameter of line and pound test of line including popular decimals like 3.2lb, 4.4lb etc.
Another feature that I found excellent was that the spools are designed to take a variety of line weights and diameters (Nothing new there you say?) but this includes 100 meter ‘hits’ of line of varying diameters which also negates the use of backing and guess work when loading the spools. In turn this ties in perfectly with the spools of line sold by Drennan such as the superb and classic ‘float fish’ which you would be hard pressed to beat even to this day. At circa £3 per spool you can hardly see this as a shameless marketing ploy more of a clever way to perpetuate business and make the angler’s lives easier when trying to load the spools correctly.
If you are anything like me you will always load the reels a little bit too much in the search for a few more yards on the cast but often this only results in tangles and headaches in the future. There is even a chart on the box which tells you the recommended line weights and types for the included spools which I found useful.
The spools themselves are cleverly designed with positive and pleasing ‘one touch’ removal for quick changes with perfectly shaped taper that, when correctly filled, I have found allow much greater distance than the reels that I am used to namely browning and Avanti this is especialy noticable when using lighter floats. This is testament to the series 7’s impeccable line lay that is further aided by the clever recesses in the spools for the loop knots as well as a deeper groove in this region to eliminate any accumulative ‘bulge’ when filling. The real comes complete with 3 shallow spools, one of which is alloy and the other 2 are made from a composite material.
The line clips are another clever design feature as, with the aluminium spool, they are a 2 piece clip so the line clip sits within a further plastic recess to prevent line damage when repeatedly casting to the clip. The line clip is attached to a metal component inside the spool to acts like a leaf spring to give further protection and durability.
The roller on the bail arm has been cleverly designed to prevent line looping over the bale arm assembly within use and I am yet to experience this happening. This happened often with my other reels so makes the reel that much more enjoyable to use.
The handle is made of dimpled rubber and is very tactile and fits between your fingers very nicely. Winding is perfectly weighted and the reel is balanced and although I could hear an ever so light scuff every 2 revolutions you can’t feel it and it has proved un-noticeable in ‘real world’ fishing. This has improved in the few months that I have been using the reel. The anti reverse is very easy to operate and positive with a definite click when you engage and is totally instant as is the rear drag which has a great tough plastic bezel. Again it operates smoothly and positively with audible and pleasing clicks as it rotates.
The reel contains a whopping 8 ball bearings and one clutch bearing which is astonishing for a reel in this price bracket. The reel is very smooth and the clutch is like silk. I have landed carp to high single figures that really went and the clutch coped very very well and was very easy to adjust in the fight. The ratio is 5.1 to 1 (the bale rotates 5 times for every turn of the handle) so this is great for fishing ‘on the drop’ or where regular casting is needed. In use the small size of the reel makes it very manageable as the spool and bale arm can be controlled single handedly and line can be trapped on the lip of the spool with a finger.
I will now be critical as I have been very surprised and happy up until this point. For a starter the reels boast 8 ball bearings I would expect it to be a little smother. I have felt much smoother reels in shops that contain less BB’s but admittedly they have cost up to 4 times as much. This reel retails at about £34.00 which in my eyes is at the top end of budget reel money so you can’t be ‘too’ critical of this. The other thing that I wasn’t head over heels with it that the reel has to be cranked a bit to engage the bail arm after the cast when in certain positions. This can obviously be solved by engaging it with a finger and may improve with use but I just thought I’d try to give a balanced review.
In summary – If you are in the market for a great, float/ light feeder reel there are well worth considering. It’s Drennan’s first foray into the reel market along with their budget ‘Red’ series reels and I think that this should be seen as a great success. I am very happy with it and would recommend one to anyone especially when considering the sub £35.00 retail price point. Another great, no nonsense product from the Drennan range that I’m sure will gain in popularity for years to come and become a classic very quickly.
Posted 19 January 2012 – 10:35pm