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Why a SEALED Drag?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
It may have started with Van Staal. I've noticed over the last few years some higher end reel makers have introduced a sealed drag. I am trying to understand why. What is wrong with an exposed drag like cork where you can clean it if necessary? I do a lot of wading and the reel spends considerable time underwater. Its a certainty that there is no such thing as sealed, and you are only asking for saltwater to eventually find its way into that "sealed" drag to deposit salt and other materials. I challenged a rep at one of the shows. He just shrugged and suggested the best way to have it clearned was to send it back if it became clogged. Is this a step forward? What do you think?
post #2 of 30
I may be wrong but I believe Jack Charlton was the first to put a sealed drag in a fly reel?

I'd rather have a maintenance free "sealed" drag then have to worry about cork dying a saltwater death.
post #3 of 30
Also keeps out sand.
post #4 of 30
Its basically a fad imho. Everyone will have an argument on why they're needed but people were using cork drags in the surf LONG before there was a sealed drag. I've fished in the surf with cork dragged reels since the early-mid 90's and never had an issue. It takes less than 5 minutes to maintain the cork drag on my tibors, open, wipe, little grease and be done with it.
post #5 of 30
Its all about marketing and giving people what they want or what they think they need.Reel companys also have to offer what their competition offers to stay current.
post #6 of 30
Although my main reels all have sealed drags (Mako and Charlton) that is not why I bought them or why they became my primary reels. For me it just so happens that they are sealed - it's just icing on the cake. They are, IMHO, the most advanced drag on any fly reel on the planet, and maybe any reels period. I'm not going to extol their virtues because that is not the point of this thread, but I do like the fact that they are sealed though. To me a cork drag is an anachronism that will slowly die off - every cork drag reel I've had eventually loses a significant part of its top end drag due to cork compression...that is unacceptable to me. I've also had exposed drags free spool in the surf when I used to surf fish with fly rods - mostly from sand and grit jamming up the anti-reverse dogs. This has never happened with my Charlton or Mako reels, although the times I take them in the surf are pretty much non existent these days as I do almost all of my fishing from boats - hard to get tuna from the shore .

Sealed drag reels also offer up the ability to remove the spool with no drama (small parts being lost, making sure the anti-reverse dogs are engaged properly and their little springs haven't popped out - it's why I almost never remove the spools on my Tibors outside of my workshop). With any sealed drag reel the removal of the spool is trivial and gives you the ability to swap out lines, free up any line that might get caught up behind the spool or the frame, etc.
post #7 of 30
I don't know when Charlton reels came out, but the Ross Gunnison had a sealed drag in the early nineties, at that time a sealed drag was not considered for anything but light duty. Now it's the latest way to make you feel like you've got to out and chuck your old cork drag reels that you thought were the greatest a few years ago and have been serving you fine ever since. I'll have unsealed drag reels for the rest of my life because that's what I have and they're good ones.

Jon
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
is there really a belief that the drag is really sealed, and that nothing gets in there? for life?
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP View Post
is there really a belief that the drag is really sealed, and that nothing gets in there? for life?


Until I see evidence otherwise, I'm fully confident in my Charlton and Mako reels - I have never heard of anything getting in there. If you do a search on it, there was a Mako reel that was lost at sea for 5 months (you can find it on Dan Blanton's site or Sexy loops under the Mako reel thread in the Saltwater section) - the reel was covered in barnacles, some of the Type II (this one was not ordered with the Type III finish) was worn off, but the drag and interior mechanism was dry as a bone after inspection by Mako reels. Jack Charlton said that all the reel needed was to be rinsed off with freshwater, the barnacles scraped off and it would be ready for battle again. The reel was later fished and landed some pelagics from my understanding. Last I heard the reel is in service being fished as further testament to its durability. If that isn't proof to how well sealed a Mako reel is, I don't know what other proof can be provided to you...
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew C. View Post
Its basically a fad imho. Everyone will have an argument on why they're needed but people were using cork drags in the surf LONG before there was a sealed drag. I've fished in the surf with cork dragged reels since the early-mid 90's and never had an issue. It takes less than 5 minutes to maintain the cork drag on my tibors, open, wipe, little grease and be done with it.


By that same logic, I could argure that cars are a fad. People used to get around on horse an buggy just fine for many, many years before Henry Ford came along.
post #11 of 30
I ´be been using for up to three seasons in different rivers, travelling, etc a 3300 D from Sage and it´s still like new, I think indeed that it worths the money . I am using it in salt now , with no worries at all..
post #12 of 30
If you have a "sealed" drag and wade fish like this



here is what happens if the clutch is not corrosion proof:



If you swap out the clutch for a corrosion proof model, here is what happens. Lamson repair service said that saltwater leaked in and dried up, leaving salt crystals behind.



On the other hand, if you use a non-sealed drag and rinse it out with tap water after every use, here is what happens:



Moral: Don't let your reel get wet.

Steve
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Schullery View Post
If you have a "sealed" drag and wade fish like this



here is what happens if the clutch is not corrosion proof:



If you swap out the clutch for a corrosion proof model, here is what happens. Lamson repair service said that saltwater leaked in and dried up, leaving salt crystals behind.



On the other hand, if you use a non-sealed drag and rinse it out with tap water after every use, here is what happens:



Moral: Don't let your reel get wet.

Steve


Unless it's a Mako reel in which case you can leave it at the bottom of the sea for 5 months, clean off the barnacles, rinse and it's ready to fish with no rust whatsoever on the bearings, no water intrusion in the sealed drag, etc....
post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
I don't doubt the story about the Mako, but I would say that leaving a reel underwater, but without any repeated use of the moving parts, is not really proof of a successfully sealed system. If you had told me you were underwater for that length of time, fishing with that reel underwater, now that would be impressive! Even for a $1000+ reel, quite impressive!

What do you guys think about the seasled drag systems on the "less expensive" higher end reels?
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_in_CT View Post
By that same logic, I could argure that cars are a fad. People used to get around on horse an buggy just fine for many, many years before Henry Ford came along.



No, not really. The drag on my tibors is more than capable of being durable, reliable and more than adequate to do the job. I have several Charltons, I didn't get them because they had a sealed drag. They're great reels that happened to have a sealed drag.



This argument comes up in the main page all the time with sealed reels. A lot of newer or less experienced guys seems to think a sealed reel (VS, Zee) are REQUIRED for surf fishing. They're not. People fished a long time (and quite successfully) before sealed reels were available. Might a non-sealed reel need some extra maintaince, sure. But you can surf fish quite well without a sealed reel or sealed drag. People get caught up in the marketing and think something is needed when it really isn't. Its a nice feature but far from a necessity.



Another issue is what to do when there's a problem. When my Islander's drag gets a little sticky I open it up, re-lube the drag and I'm all set (takes less than 5 minutes and no tools). Have yet to have that problem with a tibor though, but if I did it would be just as easy to fix. But what happens on the day I have a problem with a Charlton, that day may never come, but what if? I'm not going to open it up and fix it.
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