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STH Turbine/Disc Fly Reel

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#1 ify4fun

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Posted May 11 2010 - 1:51 PM

I remembered seeing these reels several years back and now some are popping up on closeout sale. I always thought the reel had an interesting concept. The reel has an impeller spin in an oil solution when the reel spool is turning creating drag. When the spool turns very slowly, there is little or no drag but the drag force increases as the speed of the spool increases. No spool overruns or need to adjust the drag as the drag force is dictated by the speed of the spinning spool. The saltwater version also has a separate disc drag that can be turned on for increased drag pressure. A lot of things working on these reels compared to other fly reels.

I'm not really interested in buying one, but has anyone used these reels and how well do they work/fish? Thanks.

#2 dalton

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Posted May 11 2010 - 2:49 PM

I have the L-3 Turbine/Disc reel for 7/8/9wt lines. The reel is very well made, with good machining, thick frame and thick spool. The concept behind the turbine drag is neat, and seems useful so far. I put it to the test on Sunday when I foul hooked a catfish that ran into the strong current, and took me into the backing. Not a crazy fight but the reel worked well enough. The disc drag is an offset disc, much like an Orvis Battenkill, which works OK, but I think it is a bit too tight at the lightest setting--this is not a huge deal for the tippets I fish with a 7+ wt rod.

The design is definitely classic, with a small inner arbor, narrow drum and large diameter--designed nothing like a modern large arbor saltwater reel. With a narrow drum, and large diameter, your line does not go in small coils as the backing makes up a tall "arbor" under the fly line. I suppose an issue could arise when a fish gets deep into your backing and you are working with such a small radius reeling in line, but this is not an issue I have been lucky enough to have.

I definitely recommend the reel, its functional and novel, and the closeout prices should make it affordable.

#3 Pine Tree

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Posted February 04 2012 - 5:39 AM

I have used the BT&T model for years on school size bluefin tuna to 60 pounds. It is amazing the first time you hook such a fish and feel the turbine drag kick in as the fish runs.It is difficult to explain, but the turbine disc works wonderfully. I like being able to keep my drag fairly light so when a violent hit doesn't break off, but the drag automatically kicks in when the fish runs and gets stronger as the fish goes faster. I use a smaller ST-3 model for for albie fishing. I love them. Easy to maintain as well.

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