Click Pawl or Disk Drag?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by LCnSac, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. I've been thinking this through, thinking about offing some of my older disk drags (G-2) for click pawls. I am not convinced, but on the fence. I see it this way, without thinking it through thoroughly.

    Click Pawl Pros
    *Less to go wrong
    *Can be more dependable
    *Little to no hesitation for the drag to kick in
    * Sound can be cool

    Click Pawl Cons
    * There's always "that fish" that can take you for a long, fast run. Unless you're used to palming the reel (I'm not), it can get away from you quickly.
    * Less adjustment

    Disk Drag Pros
    * Drag on good reels can be adjusted in small, fine increments
    * If you get a wild one that's heading toward wood or weeds, you can stop it easier/faster
    * Personally I love good, machined hardware (aesthetics)

    Disk Drag Cons
    * Stuff can go wrong
    * Expensive
    * Usually heavier
    * Newer ones hard/impossible to work on
    * Sometimes the drag is silent/near silent (Galvan)

    My big fear for anything above about a 4 wt. setup is "that fish," and "that fish" may not happen often but when it does I still want a good, quality disk drag. It's saved me more than once on Craine Prairie and Crowley Lake.

    You say?
  2. I say click n pawl,with a palming rim. You will get used to palming fish pretty quickly. They are just so simple and bullet proof,but not always cheaper in my experience.
  3. I have yet to catch "that fish" but I prefer click pawl. For me it's probably more to do with my budget, where I can't really afford a good disc reel. The crappy disc reels I've had were finicky to adjust and wouldn't hold their adjustment. Click pawl stays consistent. Since I'm usually fishing smaller fish the drag isn't important to me, I just don't want the backlash when I strip line off the reel.

    I do have one higher end disc reel that I like, an Edco Solitude. I didn't pay for it and it's technically too big for the rod I use it with, but I can tell that something happens when you spend a little more. The drag is super smooth, infinitely adjustable, and stays where I set it. The only thing I don't like us the lack of outgoing clicker, but that's just a personal preference.
  4. I enjoy both equally as long as it's not a piece of shit. Silent retrieve sucks the fun out of reeling in. I think the Medalist makes the best reel noise, like a cat purring in my ear.
    Sawyer and Randall Clark like this.
  5. You have to match the reel to the rod in most cases and rods are matched to the fish you are seeking. I have no problems with a click-pawl reel for trout or on a spey rod for steelhead. That being said, I wouldn't have had the pleasure of landing the tuna I did this last week with a click-pawl reel under any conditions. The fish would have had 500 yards of backing out in about 20 seconds and I would have had a blister on my palm trying to slow it down. There is room for both styles in any fly fisher's collection of gear.
    Kyle Smith likes this.
  6. I have several disc drag reels and they have all the cons you mentioned. To me they are the automatic transmissions of the fly fishing world. I learned to drive with a stick shift so I kinda prefer the click pawl reels nowadays. The 2 biggest freshwater fish I ever caught were on a SA Series I, 7-8-9 clicker with a palming rim. A 17# wild buck on the East Fork Lewis and a 15# Garrard rainbow in Sheridan Lake. Both required some skill and finesse to land, I couldn't just point the rod at the fish and let the reel do the work.

    The palming rim is elegant simplicity and a joy to use. Back before the palming rim when fish were bigger and there was more of them we were catching fish on the old knuckle buster reels and sure thought we were having a good time. Modern clickers are vastly superior to some of the old models being almost jewel like in quality and a delight to use and hear.

    There is certainly a place for both clickers and disc but for the trout fishing that many of us do the click pawl is more than adequate. And as far as the occasional "that fish" is concerned, just accept the challenge of landing it with skill and experience and not depending on the magic of technology. Remember-this is recreation, not duty.
  7. Well stated Ive, you expressed my exact thoughts on this.
  8. Really well said, Ive. Gives me pause to rethink the "necessity" of the disk drags that I depend upon--apparently more than I need to (with some practice). Garrard Rainbow? New to me, and five pounds larger than my best public water trout, wow.
  9. Do a Google image search for these bad boys . Some of them are truly frightening , like this one (which is not my fish ) .

  10. Five minutes of reading, and I'm all in. Where do I need to go in BC for these, and when is the season?
  11. Gerrard Rainbows are successful in large lakes with healthy Kokanee populations. The Kootenays region is where they originate from and they fish for them using ocean techniques (downriggers/plugs/spoons). Certain times of the year bucktailing flies can be very successful, though I have never done it.
    Sheridan Lake doesn't have Kokanee so wouldn't support Gerrards. It may have been stocked with them at one time when they did a bunch of experimentation but not in a very long time. Sheridan certainly grows them big and is a challenging lake to fly fish (think fishing naked chironomids in 100 feet of water).
  12. Maybe that's why I'm not familiar with them. Doesn't sound like a good bet for fly fishing? I've never fished BC, just salt around Vancouver Island, always wanted to go inland though.
  13. Man, you could fish there all summer, then head to Jurassic Lake all winter! One day...
  14. LCnSac,

    You say you've been thinking this through without thinking it through. IMO you're over-thinking it.

    First an aside, there is no such thing as a "click and pawl" reel. Show me the part called a "click." There isn't one. Click & pawl was popularized on the internet by some dumb fuckers who were too stupid to realize they didn't know the right name for the part. And magazine writers and editors have been too accepting of shitty work to correct it, and now it's become part of the fly fishing lexicon.

    I enjoy the incredible simplicity of spring and pawl reels. They have fewer parts and fewer moving parts than disc drag reels. As a baby boomer I learned early on to question authority. So I've always questioned the notion of using a reel that is more complicated than necessary for my fishing. I think disc drag reels are perfectly fine and functional for salt water fishing or even for chinook salmon fishing in fresh water, where using a finger or your palm for drag could result in actual skin blistering. But for trout fishing?

    Any angler who is under-served by a spring-and-pawl reel for trout fishing isn't worthy of being known as an angler, again IMO. You mention "less adjustment" as a con of the spring-and-pawl reel. You couldn't be more wrong. My finger applies infinitely adjustable drag to any of my reels, from the cheapest to the most costly. And the skill ain't that hard to learn, not being rocket science and all. And again, any angler who finds the learning curve to applying drag manually to be too flat is probably a dunderhead who should take up a simpler passtime, which would be difficult, as it doesn't get much simpler than going fishing.

    So unless you routinely encounter trout in excess of 30 pounds or are a dunderhead, any need for a disc drag reel for trout fishing is imaginary.


  15. I love it.:)
    highangle likes this.
  16. I got a Sage 106M as part of a combo package with a Discover II. It is both click pawl and drag, and I absolutely hate it. Too loud by far.

    I have a cheapo Cortland Rimfly that I use for my 4-weight, and it's much quieter. No drag, but I always have the heel of my hand when that's needed. It's all I need in that size or smaller.

    Both of these go "click," so click pawl is what I'll continue to call it.
  17. Song folks love the sound of a "screaming reel" and I find it offensive as fingernails on a chalkboard.

    Thus, I'm a disc drag man all the way. I wouldn't buy a reel that relied on noise for a drag system :)
    chief and LCnSac like this.
  18. That is one of my biggest complaints, and nothing is louder than my Redington Drifts. It's embarrassing and annoying. Some sound is OK. Those things sound like a Halloween toy.
  19. This thread has not got out of hand yet? Damn..............ill check in later.

    edit: I knew that when I saw the term click pawl, that salmo was gonna be here shortly to crack some skulls.
  20. Single action "click-pawl" reels are not necessary for 5-6wt and less. Above that I like an adjustable drag. I've never needed one of the high end drag systems, but... maybe if I was to go Tarpon fishing.
    As a separate reel issue. I've found myself disappointed with large arbor reels. They hold less backing and there's no way I can reel in as fast as a salmon/steelhead charging upstream. So, I end up stripping in the line. Interested in what others think about that.

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