Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Great Debate: Which Reel to Get?

A few months ago I was having a debate, both in my head and with others, on which reel to get. Guatemala was my destination and billfish were my targets. I needed a fly reel that would be up to the test. I had narrowed it down to the Tibor Pacific vs the Tibor Gulfstream. Both reels are bad mamma jammas and I would be happy to own both but due to monetary constraints and not having a fishing sponsor I had to choose one.

Tibor Gulfstream QC


Tibor Pacific QC

The year before we had fished The Gulfstream and tested it against an approximately 300lb Blue Marlin. The reel did everything it could and held up to the fish so I knew it could handle anything I threw at it. The Gulfstream also seems more versatile. With a few different spools it could handle several different types of fishing and the weight and size would lend itself to blind casting better than the heavier and bulkier Pacific but would reeling in the smaller arbor become an issue after fighting many fish.

The Pacific is attractive due to the speed you can reel in your line when the fish changes direction and charges you. With the larger diameter you can retrieve line considerably quicker.

It was finally decided (after many agonizing hours of scouring the web for similar debates and finally just going with my initial thought) that The Pacific is the reel to get if you only want a reel to use for billfish. It would be pretty cool to have a reel for every species of fish you chase and there is no difference in price between the two. However, I decided that because I only get to chase billfish once a year and can't yet afford to have a reel per species, that the more versatile Gulfstream would be the way to go.

ps: There are other reels that I would love to own including Abel, and probably my top choice for billfish, the Mako and I am sure there are others in this class. Once you get to a certain level of quality, any of the top reels would be up to the challenge of tackling a billfish and a prize to own.


  1. Im a tibor man myself... You get the Gulfstream? Im hearing disturbing accounts of them rusting though. As a boat reel though, you cant go wrong. Ill be buying my first Mako soon, Jono (the marlin guy) has been telling me about the repeatable drag. Its incredible. The clutch plates realign themself to a specific setting on the drag knob corresponding to a lb force. So- if in 40 years your kid uses the reel and sets it to position "4" for example. The exact same amount of force will be applied. Jacks testing them for 400 hours at up to 65mph with no fade and no detectable wear. Incredible. I like a versitile reel and wish the Mako could accommodate multiple spools like the Charltons did. I chatted to Mr Henschel about drag. His 13-20 Anti Reverse reel is about as mean as they get. He noted something interesting. Drag force at max on a full loaded reel is 15lbs. But as the backing decreases it will increase to about 35. Something to consider with those light tippets. Diggin the blog man. keep it up

  2. As I wrote this entry I thought about the Mako Reel. It is such a sweet reel. If I had more time to save before that trip or if someone said, "Here is $1200-1600.00 bucks that must be spent on only one reel" I would do it in a heartbeat. The price is scary but there is no doubt that reel will handle anything thrown at it and that the components and the reel itself wont wear out. That reel would be passed down through generations of fly fishers and work just as well decades from now. Now if there is a hookup somewhere out there that could get me that reel for half-price, I'm in. No questions asked.