Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
This last weekend I spent a fair amount of time working on my fish house. I wanted to make sure that everything is in order for the up and coming season. New rattle reels made it to the top of my list this year. If you have a permanent fish house you can’t place enough emphasis on these wonders of technology and design. Besides the obvious fact that they look cool they have a specific function to serve. They provide you with a solid foundation to fish from and alert you when a fish has taken your bait. There are many styles of rattle reels on the market today and each one of them is claiming a major innovation. This isn’t rocket science so why resort to flame retardant bushings and carbon fiber spools? The key to choosing a good rattle reel is keeping it simple. You don’t need space age materials to land fish. As a child I landed hundreds of fish with nothing more than a stick, some line, and a hook. Here are a few key things to look for when purchasing a new rattle reel.
1- Mounting: You want to make sure that you have the proper mounting hardware. Some rattle reels utilize clamps that allow you to take the reels with you as you move from hole to hole. I prefer to mount my reels directly to the wall (they look great that way too) but, for some folks who may travel the clamp style mount is great. Make sure that the bracket that secures the reel to the wall is sturdy. Also check the screws that come with the mounting bracket. Some times the supplied screws aren’t long enough to get through the wall to a stud. A friend of mine found this out the hard way when a musky ripped his right off the wall and took it into the abyss. He was watching the big fish on his underwater camera, and didn’t even realize it had his hook until it was to late. If you find a good rattle reel but it has less than desirable parts just take a trip to your local hardware store. You can get high quality screws and brackets for fairly cheap.
2- The Bell and Spool: Some reels have a contained bell chamber and some have dowels that leave the chamber open. The open chamber reels excel because they allow the bell that is inside to really sing when a fish pulls your line. Believe it or not the bell inside is very important. I have actually had bells stop rattling all together.
3- The Nut: No, not my neighbor who insists on snow blowing his roof in the middle of the night. It’s the little attachment that keeps your spool on the axle and controls how fast it spins. The nut is essential. Without it, a fish could send your spool into a spinning frenzy, or even worse fall off. If the nut is to tight your spool won’t spin at all. You won’t know when a fish takes the line, and you know those light biting finicky walleyes? Forget about em. Look for a good nut that holds the spool securely in place and wont loosen or tighten when a fish takes the line.
The bottom line here is to look for quality. Don’t be fooled by new and fancy designs. They often don’t stand the test of time and can wind up costing you fish. Find a good hand made reel at your local bait store and you wont be disappointed. You will put more fish on the ice and your wallet will thank you for it.
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